Wednesday, March 28, 2018


Last week I made my feelings known about Kevin D. Williamson, the latest wingnut hire in the not-exclusively-wingnut press, and so did lot of other liberals who were surprised (as I was not) that The Atlantic would hire a guy who said, in so many words, that women who have abortions should be executed.

Now I see conservatives are extremely butthurt that anyone would speak harshly of Williamson -- which, given Williamson's own viciousness, is pretty rich right off the bat. But the defenses -- oy. Get a load of Bill Kristol, an unrepentant Iraq Warmonger sometimes unaccountably celebrated by liberals for being anti-Trump:

I can't guess what he means by "reality-based," unless Kristol accepts as empirical truth that women who have abortions should be killed, or that in our rich land it's morally acceptable that white working class people must either move hundreds of miles to find subsistence-wage jobs like the Joad family or die, or that the Republican Party remains black Americans' best friends and the only reason they don't accept that is because they're stupid. And I wouldn't put it past him! As for "indomitable," I assume he means Williamson can't be moved off his ridiculous ideas for anything -- but why should he? He's one of the more successful professional assholes of our time.

But the weirdest thing is the reference to the "philistine progressive mob."  First, some mob -- they couldn't keep the New York Times from employing David Brooks, Bret Stephens, and Ross Douthat, nor the Washington Post from hiring Megan McArdle,  nor Williamson from joining a masthead once occupied by James Russell Lowell. Also, I don't know what he finds "philistine" about them, given that, compared to the advocates of welfare, universal healthcare, and public education, the epithet more closely fits Williamson; maybe Kristol is even dumber than I thought, and thinks Williamson's frequent forays in Roget's Thesaurus mean he's an intellectual.

But wait, there's more -- h/t @Trillburne for this:


Nobody knows the trouble they've seen! And Reason's Cathy Young actually posted something called "The Kevin Williamson Two-Minute Hate," as if he were being driven from The Atlantic instead of publicized for joining it. Young criticized people who accurately reported Williamson's abortion comment as "outrage mobs"; then she offered this defense of Williamson:
About those “hang women who have abortions” tweets: I’m reasonably certain this was not a statement of Williamson’s actual views, especially since he has expressed qualms about the death penalty in general. 
How could someone possibly be hypocritical by being pro-life yet wanting to kill pro-choice adults?
Williamson is no Milo Yiannopoulos, but he can be a provocateur. 
What's especially funny about this is, Young was a big fan of Milo before things got too hot for her.
Assuming that he was trolling, it was definitely not one of his best moments... 
This, not to put too fine a point on it, is bullshit; Williamson doubled down on his statement when pressed. But at least it isn't as weak as when Young tweeted that what Williamson said wasn't so bad because he was only endorsing the execution of future abortion-having women, not women who'd had them in the past. 

Meanwhile at National Review David French does a whole argle-bargle-you-are-persecuting-this-fine-man shtick without once mentioning what Williamson said about women who had abortions -- he just says liberals persecute Williamson because he "holds a lot of bad opinions — opinions about abortion," but doesn't articulate the one homicidal opinion that people are complaining about, probably because moderates and bothsiders anxious to believe Buckleyite conservatives are just their brothers from another mother, and even some conservatives, might be dismayed to see it and have to pretend they hadn't when Williamson's column finally launches with, in the spirit of comity, a call to kill both women who have abortions and women who use cell phones in theaters. Look, he's meeting you halfway! Sheesh, you guys are such a mob.

It's very interesting that conservatives who would not themselves publicly call for the executions Williamson favors -- because that's a little too hot for the early-show crowd, I guess -- cheer on Williamson for doing so. It perfectly fits the Age of Trump, in which credentialed conservatives roll their eyes when the brute does something gauche, but cluck over their good fortune when he stuffs a reliable anti-Roe vote onto the Supreme Court and rub their hands at the probability that he'll give them the Iran invasion they've been dreaming about -- sure, he'll only do it to save his own electoral skin, but who cares so long as they get the conflagration and the contracts that go with? Williamson rolls his eyes at Trump, as well, but in his own way he too is a berserker, and his followers excitedly anticipate the creative destruction he may wreak on their behalf. And if anyone has the gall to say out loud how ridiculous this all is, they'll flop to the soccer pitch holding their dignity and scream that they've been fouled.

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