Will's endorsement of baseball's designated-hitter rule represents a serious lapse from his usual high standards of conservative thought.
Will uncharacteristically pays no heed to the long history of opposition to this pernicious novelty by such varied champions of conservative thought as Genghis Kahn, Simon de Montfort, Lord George Germain, President Warren G. Harding, and the Dowager Empress Szu-Tse. Surely he cannot have forgotten how from the very beginning Marcus Porcius Cato, with his reiterated cry of "Delenda est omni nova!" fought in the Roman Senate for repeal of the iniquitous lex designata passed by radical elements in the Assembly.
Confucius said, "The superior man does not oblige another to go to bat for him." The words of Prince Metternich, "Le batteur designe, c'est abominable!" (one of the few points upon which Metternich and the Duke of Wellington agreed at the Congress of Vienna), should be recalled. Even Joseph Fouche, who was something less than an exemplar of conservatism, said of the designated-hitter rule, "It is worse than a crime; it is a blunder." And it should hardly be necessary to remind Will and other informed conservatives of what Acton, Chesterfiled, and John Stuart Mill had to say.