As the saying goes, The more things change, the more they stay the same. Accordingly we can see George Will as one of Aristophanes's "bloviating ignoramuses"--a hair-splitting, eristic, lawyerly Sophist of the first rank; an unscrupulous Machiavelli devoted to the political alchemy of converting raw arguments into pure crap.
Will's inductive powers are really quite stunning. Did you know, for instance, that "Reasons for the Supreme Court to reconsider Citizens United are nonexistent"? I bet you didn't. (Not to be as fastidiously cranky as Will, but I think he means to argue that "good reasons" are nonexistent, since even bad reasons indisputably "exist.")
But we must further ask, How does George Will know this, and better yet, how does he choose to enlighten you about it? Why, through the happy abuse of argumentum ad verecundiam, of course. That is, Will actually cites as an authority the Citizens United-hugging Sen. Mitch McConnell--"Congress’s staunchest defender of the First Amendment"--who has "noted," in Will's words, that "Through March 31, the eight leading super PACs supporting Republican presidential candidates received contributions totaling $96,410,614. Of this, $83,220,167 (86.32 percent) came from individuals, only $13,190,447 (13.68 percent) from corporations."
Ergo, "These facts refute"--we're back to Will now--"such prophesied nightmares as The Post’s fear that corporate money 'may now overwhelm' individuals’ contributions." Does the "fact" that many of these generous chaps are corporate individuals who are using their amassed, corporate-derived income to bribe pols (and bamboozle the electorate) bother you? It shouldn't, says Will. Just "Disregard the unsupported smear that candidates are bought." And that's that.
But we haven't yet arrived at Will's principal thrust of sophistic snarkiness. That he saves for last: "The collapse of liberals’ confidence in their ability to persuade is apparent in their concentration on rigging the rules of political persuasion."
You will notice in that passage a subtle omission--"ability to persuade," as in, ability to raise money with which comes the ability to honestly persuade. That, anyway, is how those of intellectual integrity would naturally interpret "persuasion," which is not by nature a rhetorical art in which success is measured by the most effectively outrageous, unfounded and unverifiable claims.
That, it is almost needless to add, is mere demagoguery; which, left unbridled, soon creates a demagoguery gap, and before long we're in a galloping demagoguery race. And what did the framers fear above all other republican fears? Ultimately a gross imbalance of powerful factions, who could through sheer volume and repetition and accumulated might--super PACs, anyone?--befuddle and mislead the susceptible masses.
One would think that given George Will's aggressively self-advertised fidelity to intellectual honesty, he would find "honesty" in others' political debate and persuasion indispensible, too. But he can't be bothered to even mention it--because intellectually, he's either as blind or corrupt as Citizens United.