Before I get into the firing of Kevin Williamson, let me say this: Williamson is a talented, unique, and compelling writer. I have complimented his work privately to him and publicly on social media. Even when I strongly disagreed with him—particularly with his harsh assessment of Trump supporters—I still envy his way with words. Kevin has a painful personal history that he is not afraid to share, and it clearly shapes his view of the world.
He is also Donald Trump’s harshest critic on the Right. He wrote a book about the president, The Case Against Donald Trump. Williamson has mocked Trump’s business acumen, his family, and his supporters in a vile way. His Twitter timeline—before he deleted his entire account at the behest of his now-former employer—was filled with even more vicious remarks. (He was once a clever, engaging personality on social media, but had recently devolved into a nasty crank.) He is not a sympathetic character.
Conservatives are outraged that Williamson was fired Thursday by Jeffrey Goldberg, The Atlantic’s editor-in-chief, after a left-wing media watchdog released audio clips of Williamson supporting capital punishment for women who have abortions. He also referred to illegal immigrants as “peasants” and advocated waterboarding terrorists. But it was his view that women who abort their babies should endure “hanging”—and his dodginess in owning up to the remark—that primarily led to his ouster. (Williamson and his defenders originally downplayed it as an impetuous tweet.) But in an email to employees, Goldberg said:
The language he used in this podcast—and in my conversations with him in recent days—made it clear that the original tweet did, in fact, represent his carefully considered views. The tweet was not merely an impulsive, decontextualized, heat-of-the-moment post, as Kevin had explained it. Furthermore, the language used in the podcast was callous and violent.
In other words, one of Trump’s fiercest critics got fired for, well, acting like Trump.
There are already plenty of tweets and think pieces decrying the chilling effect of Williamson’s firing and lamenting the disappearance of tolerance on the Left for diverse views or controversial opinions. But that’s not my take because, frankly, it’s not terribly insightful. The Left is on a rampage in the media, academia, and corporate America to shut down anyone who strays from the prescribed narrative.
What happened to Williamson is the natural result of a Left that has been emboldened by the very people with whom Williamson is now politically-aligned with: The anti-Trump Right. For two years, in their craven desire to destroy the president, Trump foes on the Right have either intentionally or unwittingly empowered the tyrannical Left. They’ve given aid and comfort to the enemy by cribbing their language and borrowing their tactics. They sold out their previous “conservative” principles to win new admirers on the Left, particularly in the elite media.
Like pitiful geeks trying to win over the class bully, this pathetic clique of Trump haters has sucked up to liberals in order to sell their books, gain more Twitter followers, and get hits on MSNBC and CNN. Those who can muster only tepid opposition to the Left ignorantly insist that there is no “binary” choice today between Right and Left, as if an imaginary Shangri-la led by John Kasich and Ben Sasse can be magically grown out of the burning garbage heap that is American culture and politics right now. These middling milquetoasts are just as complicit.Co
A Strange and Sordid Alliance
Since Trump was elected, Trump haters disguised as “conservatives” have joined the Left to call for the repeal of Second Amendment and restrictions on gun owners. They joined the Left in supporting the removal of historic statues. They joined the Left in accusing the president of coddling white supremacists and linking his staff to the alt-Right. They joined the Left in calling Trump a racist after allegedly referring to shithole countries as “shithole countries.” They joined the Left in bashing Evangelicals and mocking “thoughts and prayers.” They joined the Left in portraying Americans who want the flag and the anthem respected as demagogues and fake patriots. They joined the Left in demeaning Tea Party activists. They joined the Left in proclaiming they had discovered their “inner socialist” and “inner feminist.” They joined the Left in vilifying Trump voters as stupid and destroying the country.
They joined the Left in admitting they are products of white privilege. They joined the Left in hoping Democrats take control of Congress in November and impeach Trump. They joined the Left in abandoning the rule of law and Constitutional norms by pushing the destructive Trump-Russia conspiracy hoax and ignoring the malfeasance of the Obama administration’s Justice Department.
At every turn, the anti-Trump “Right” has signaled its solidarity with the tyrannical Left. Now that one of its own scalps has been seized by the mob, they want to get out the fainting couches while we sit here, amused by it all.
Guess Who’s Next?
What did these fawning Trump-haters think? A few Trump-bashing columns in the Washington Post and appearances on CNN would make their quasi-conservative views more acceptable to the intolerant Left? That their opinions on abortion or free speech or transgender troops would be welcomed with open arms?
No, dummies, that’s not how the Left operates. And now, not only will you be smeared for defending Williamson’s right to a divergent opinion, you also will be accused of wanting to execute women who’ve had abortions. Because that’s how the Left rolls. It’s not enough simply to support a person’s right to express a controversial viewpoint: You own whatever that viewpoint is as well. It’s the strategy for how the Left expands its hit list, and now you’re all on it.
So, anti-Trumpers on the Right, don’t spend too much time pearl-clutching about Kevin Williamson. It’s only a matter of time before they come for you.