- A politician's words reveal less about what he thinks about his subject than what he thinks about his audience.
- Quoted in A Ford Not A Lincoln (1975), Richard Reeves, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, ch, 1 ; as cited by The Columbia Dictionary of Quotations (1993), ed. Robert Andrews, Columbia University Press, p. 707 ISBN 0231071949
- Football combines the two worst things about America: it is violence punctuated by committee meetings
- International Herald Tribune (7 May 1990)
- Byrd [former Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia] rose to his current eminence from conditions of severe poverty, and he represents a poor state, so perhaps some of his grasping should be forgiven. Some, but not this egregious sort. His career has become a caricature of a particularly crass and cynical theory of representation. The theory is that election to Congress is tantamount to being dispatched to Washington on a looting raid for the enrichment of your state or district, and no other ethic need inhibit the feeding frenzy.
- Restoration: Congress, Term Limits and the Recovery of Deliberative Democracy, Simon & Schuster (c. 1992), Chapter 1, p. 31 : ISBN 0029347130
- There is an elegant memorial in Washington to Jefferson, but none to Hamilton. However, if you seek Hamilton's monument, look around. You are living in it. We honor Jefferson, but live in Hamilton's country, a mighty industrial nation with a strong central government.
- Restoration: Congress, Term Limits and the Recovery of Deliberative Democracy, Simon & Schuster (c. 1992), Chapter 2, p. 167 : ISBN 0029347130
- This is an age in which one cannot find common sense without a search warrant.
- Column, May 9, 1996, "FDR's memorial hides character" at baltimoresun.com
- The nice part about being a pessimist is that you are constantly being either proven right or pleasantly surprised.
- The Leveling Wind: politics, the culture, and other news, 1990-1994 (c. 1994), Will, Viking; as cited in Quotable Quotes (1997), Editors of Reader’s Digest, Penguin : ISBN 1606525956
- The realistic way to reduce the amount of money in politics is to reduce the amount of politics in money -- the importance of government in allocating wealth and opportunity.
- Column, April 12, 2001, "PACs and McCain-Feingold" at townhall.com.
- Geology has joined biology in lowering mankind's self-esteem. Geology suggests how mankind's existence is contingent upon the geological consent of the planet.
- from a review of Simon Winchester’s Krakatoa (2003), as quoted in The Oxford Dictionary of American Quotations (rev. 2005), ed. Rawson & Miner, Oxford University Press, p. 600: ISBN 0195168232
- Liberals think their campaign against Wal-Mart is a way of introducing the subject of class into America's political argument, and they are more correct than they understand. Their campaign is liberalism as condescension. It is a philosophic repugnance toward markets, because consumer sovereignty results in the masses making messes. Liberals, aghast, see the choices Americans make with their dollars and their ballots and announce — yes, announce — that Americans are sorely in need of more supervision by . . . liberals.
- Column, September 14, 2006, "Dems Vs. Wal-mart" at jewishworldreview.com.
- When liberals' presidential nominees consistently fail to carry Kansas, liberals do not rush to read a book titled "What's the Matter With Liberals' Nominees?" No, the book they turned into a bestseller is titled "What's the Matter With Kansas?" Notice a pattern here?
- Column, September 14, 2006, "Dems Vs. Wal-mart" at jewishworldreview.com.
- Reformers desperate to resuscitate taxpayer funding [of elections] cite the supposedly scandalous fact that each party's 2008 presidential campaign may spend $500 million. If so, Americans volunteering to fund the dissemination of speech about candidates for the nation's most consequential office will contribute $1 billion, which is about half the sum they spend annually on Easter candy. Some scandal.
- Column, September 28, 2006, "Checkout for an Undemocratic Checkoff" at jewishworldreview.com.
- If, after the Foley episode – a maraschino cherry atop the Democrat’s delectable sundae of Republican miseries – the Democrats cannot gain 13 seats, they should go into another line of work.
- Column, October 5, 2006, "What Goeth Before the Fall" at jewishworldreview.com.
- A decrease in the quantity of legislation generally means an increase in the quality of life.
- Column, December 23, 2007, "The Gift Of Doing Very Little" at washingtonpost.com.
- For conservatives, seeing is believing; for liberals, believing is seeing.
- Column, August 24, 2008, "Little Rhetoric Riding Hood" at jewishworldreview.com.
- The people do not decide issues, they decide who shall decide.
- Column, January 15, 2009, "Of Judges, By Judges, For Judges" at jewishworldreview.com.
- The Obama administration's agenda of maximizing dependency involves political favoritism cloaked in the raiment of "economic planning" and "social justice" that somehow produce results superior to what markets produce when freedom allows merit to manifest itself, and incompetence to fail. The administration's central activity – the political allocation of wealth and opportunity – is not merely susceptible to corruption, it is corruption.”
- Column, May 14, 2009, "Tincture of Lawlessness" at realclearpolitics.com.
- [P]rogressivism's aim is the modification of (other people's) behavior...
To progressives, the best thing about railroads is that people riding them are not in automobiles, which are subversive of the deference on which progressivism depends. Automobiles go hither and yon, wherever and whenever the driver desires, without timetables. Automobiles encourage people to think they—unsupervised, untutored, and unscripted—are masters of their fates. The automobile encourages people in delusions of adequacy, which make them resistant to government by experts who know what choices people should make.
Time was, the progressive cry was "Workers of the world unite!" or "Power to the people!" Now it is less resonant: "All aboard!"
- "Why Liberals Love Trains" (27 February 2011), Newsweek
- I grew up in central Illinois midway between Chicago and St. Louis and I made an historic blunder. All my friends became Cardinals fans and grew up happy and liberal and I became a Cubs fan and grew up embittered and conservative.
- Machiavelli, however, took his bearings from people as they are. He defined the political project as making the best of this flawed material. He knew (in words Kant would write almost three centuries later) that nothing straight would be made from the crooked timber of humanity.
- Many of the words and numbers bandied by Obama and his administration may reflect an honest belief that the world is whatever well-intentioned people like them say about it. So, Obama's critics should reconsider their assumption that he is cynical. It is his sincerity that is scary.
- Column, February 7, 2014, "President Obama's Magic Words and Numbers" at washingtonpost.com.
- When a politician, on a subject implicating science — hard science, economic science, social science — says, ‘The debate is over,’ you may be sure of two things. It’s that the debate is raging and he’s losing it.
- Discussion, Fox News Sunday, February 16, 2014
- Capital is mobile. It goes where it is welcomed and stays where it is well-treated, so states compete to create tax and regulatory environments conducive to job creation. Liberals call this a "race to the bottom." Conservatives call it a race to rationality.
- Column, February 18, 2014, "Breaking the grip of the unions" at washingtonpost.com.
- When a politician says, concerning an issue involving science, that the debate is over, you may be sure the debate is rolling on and not going swimmingly for his side.
- Column, February 26, 2014, "The liberal agenda: Being good to liberals" at washingtonpost.com'.
- Someone who is determined to disbelieve something can manage to disregard an Everest of evidence for it.
- Column, March 14, 2014, "Democrats are making income inequality worse" at washingtonpost.com
- The family is the primary transmitter of social capital – the values and character traits that enable people to seize opportunities. Family structure is a primary predictor of an individual's life chances, and family disintegration is the principal cause of the intergenerational transmission of poverty.
- Column, March 21, 2014, " Paul Ryan was right – poverty is a cultural problem" at washingtonpost.com.
- Taking offense has become America’s national pastime; being theatrically offended supposedly signifies the exquisitely refined moral delicacy of people who feel entitled to pass through life without encountering ideas or practices that annoy them.
- Column, May 7, 2014, "Thin skins and legislative prayer" at washingtonpost.com.
- I believe the most important decision taken anywhere by anyone in the 20th century was the decision about where to locate the Princeton Graduate College. President of the University Thomas Woodrow Wilson wanted it down on the campus, integrated with the undergraduate college. His nemesis, Dean Andrew Fleming West, wanted it where it now is, up on a little hill overlooking the Princeton golf course. President Woodrow Wilson had one of his characteristic snits, resigned as president, went into politics and ruined the 20th century.
- Remarks at the Disinvitation Dinner, William F. Buckley, Jr. Program at Yale (15 April 2015). Of his quip, Will remarked, "I simplify a bit and exaggerate somewhat."
- Biography at the Washington Post Writers Group
- Biography from Newsweek
- Biography from ABC Medianet
- Newsweek Column: Archives at www.newsweek.com (June 1990 to February 2011)
- Syndicated Column: Archives at www.washingtonpost.com (October 2013 to the present)
- Syndicated Column: Archives at www.jewishworldreview.com (October 1999 to the present)