For the past half-century George Will has written the most consistently readable and engaging newspaper column in America. Mr. Will is nobody’s idea of a movement conservative—he inveighs against politicians, and especially presidents, of both parties—but every scribbler and officeholder on the right has, knowingly or not, been influenced by him. At age 78 he has written a lengthy, tightly reasoned book on the vast subject of American conservatism: “The Conservative Sensibility” (Hachette, 600 pages, $35). Readers on the right, especially, owe it to themselves to consider what he says.
American conservatism, Mr. Will reflects, is about the conservation of the wisdom of the nation’s founding; otherwise “it is nothing of much lasting significance.” He seeks to show “the continuing pertinence of the Founding principles” and to trace “many of our myriad discontents to departures from those principles.”