Friday, April 06, 2018

The Song of Kevin, Brave And Bold

Kevin Williamson, for those who are not addicted to American political bickering, is a very very conservative journalist.  He was recently hired, for ideological diversity reasons,  by the Atlantic Monthly magazine which has a mostly liberal readership.  And then a few weeks later he was fired by them.

Some parts of the story are inside baseball, of real interest to only those who work in the field.  Other parts not so much.

Williamson is known as a very good writer in the troll genre.  You can get a taste of his trollery here.  But what caused the Atlantic Monthly to part ways with him was his assertion that women who have had abortions should be executed for the pre-planned, callous and clinical murder of the weakest among us*.  Preferably by hanging.

Given that roughly 25% of American women have had an abortion, his proposal would be fantastic news for the rope manufacturers.  It would also provide lots and lots of new jobs for hangmen, though perhaps we could now have hangwomen as well.

All this would happen, of course, only after life was declared to begin at conception (not before that because sperm must not be punished or sperm-producers, like Kevin,  inconvenienced), because then abortion would become first degree murder.  To the gallows with you, sluts, I imagine Kevin bellowing.

That's the man the women at the Atlantic were expected to work with and perhaps courteously debate.  One conservative at the National Review seems to think so:

After Kevin was fired, Guardian columnist Jessica Valenti tweeted that she was “very relieved for the women” who work at The Atlantic. Why? What was Kevin going to do to them? Write things that made them angry? God forbid! His ideas might hurt? Have mercy!

I always enjoy people saying stuff like that when the debate is never about whether they, too, might be human beings or whether they, too, should be hanged at dawn.  The fields of debate in politics are not level playing fields.  Kevin, for instance, will never face the dilemma of unwanted pregnancy caused by rape.

There's a lot I could say about the song of Kevin The Brave And Bold, but probably the most interesting aspect of the whole debacle is the utterly weird assumption that the liberal media should have conservative voices, while the conservative media has no liberal voices at all and nobody even mentions that.

I get that intellectual diversity is good for learning all arguments and for thinking deeply about them.  But if only liberal media outlets provide all arguments and the conservative ones don't, we will end up favoring the conservative arguments overall.  Conservatives don't have to learn about facts their information bubble suppresses and they don't have to think about arguments they dislike. Rather, they get their prior beliefs strengthened every day.

* Not really.  Jeffrey Goldberg, the editor-in-chief of the Atlantic Monthly knew what Williamson believed before the hiring decision.  Williamson was let go because of the large number of voices pointing out his general racist and sexist etc. trollery.