There are causes and then there are causes and then there’s George Will, who was once considered a leading conservative political columnist but who is no longer conservative enough for today’s conservatives and is now just a guy who has really good hair and writes really well but has little of interest to say to pretty much anyone.
Today Will is a columnist without a constituency, so he needs to look new places for readers.
Like spa owners, for example.
Will’s cause du jour: a case before the Supreme Court that is challenging the right of state governments to regulate who can whiten teeth. The combatants: dentists who believe only they have the skill and knowledge necessary to do the job and spa owners and others who say that pretty much anyone who can read the instructions on tooth-whitening products can bleach teeth.
The Curmudgeon has no dog in this fight: he’s not in the market for teeth-whitening services and he doesn’t even pretend to know whether any true skill or knowledge are needed to whiten teeth. What he does know is that there certainly are some professions that need to be regulated because he knows he doesn’t want a carpenter drilling his teeth in preparation for filling them, doesn’t want a plumber wielding a snake during his colonoscopy, doesn’t want a jeweler, so skilled with sharp cutting tools, standing over him when it comes time for Lasik surgery, and, having watched enough episodes of the E Entertainment series Botched, doesn’t want a dentist repairing his deviated septum.
And he also doesn’t really have much use for political columnists who write things like “If the court refuses to hear the case, or if it hears it and decides it incorrectly” because he knows that when it comes to rendering opinions on cases before the court, political columnists should stick to politics and leave legal issues to people who, you know, actually know something about the law.
And he knows that it’s kind of sad that George Will has been reduced to writing about Supreme Court cases involving who gets to whiten teeth for a living.