‘This is Chilling’: Reaction to the Williamson Firing

Kevin Williamson’s short-lived tenure at The Atlantic is instructive, not so much for what he had to say (and the targets he picked), as for the response to his dismissal. Taken in isolation, the story doesn’t amount to much. Mainstream publications have hired (irony alert) and quickly fired controversial writers before. Add the erstwhile National Review writer and anti-Trump conservative to an ever-growing list.

Now, the story is that Williamson was fired because he tweeted and later repeated something intemperate about women who have abortions. That might have been his most incendiary and controversial public utterance, but the Left’s indictment against Williamson was much, much longer than just that. Here’s what the far-Left Media Matters for America put out earlier today. If it wasn’t abortion, they would have howled for his ouster for some other reason. Williamson was unacceptable to the Left, period.

Let the handwringing commence!

At this point, however, laments about Jeffrey Goldberg’s hypocrisy or the slow death of civilized discourse are wastes of breath (or pixels). (And to Noah Rothman: “Chilling”? Where have you been, man?) Better to heed Ace, or Kurt Schlichter:

This is the direction we’re headed: Kevin Williamson must be banished from respectable discourse. Christina Hoff Sommers is a fascist. Victor Davis Hanson is a white supremacist. James Damore cannot work at Google anymore. Brandon Eich was purged from the company he built. On and on. Notice, those stories—and many more just like them—span years. This has been happening for a good, long while. It won’t stop anytime soon. It’s going to get worse. Much worse.

Senior contributor Julie Kelly is at work on a follow-up to her Thursday article, which was only partially a response to Williamson’s initial (and final) salvo at The Atlantic. But here’s a hint of what she’s up to:

Most Americans just want to live peacefully. But some of us, anyway, will not be told what and how to think. Then it’s just a power exercise. It’s hard to imagine how that ends well.

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