Seven or eight years ago I started noticing Kevin Williamson in the pages of National Review. He often wrote about the sort of things I find interesting and he has some decent reporting skills. Buckley’s paranoia in his old age drove off most of the quality writers from the magazine so Williamson stood out. His quill pen act was ridiculous, but I can forgive a little phoniness if the material is good.
Of course, Bill Buckley was a world class phony. His exaggerated Brahman routine was so ridiculous it could have passed for satire. Late in life this style became so absurd his columns were unreadable. But, it served the purpose of inoculating him and his movement from the charge of being middlebrow by the tribunes of the people on the Left. It’s hard to dismiss a rich guy as stupid or provincial when he sounds like a Victorian barrister.
The first time I saw Williamson, I had to laugh as the phony-baloney style immediately made sense. White trash guys with something more on the ball than the typical prol often go to the extreme in order to lose their white trash past. They are aware enough to see there is a better way than what they were born into, so they get as far away from home as possible. That usually means aping the habits they observe in their betters. The terminal insecurity makes them extremely prickly about issues of class.
The sad thing for these guys is they tend to get bitter as they are never welcomed into the club. They end up living the life of Silas Lapham, if they are lucky. Otherwise it is life of the servant, full of petty indignities. People born into the upper classes know how to spot these phonies and they enjoy reminding them that they are forever outside the club. Williamson can force himself to sound like Bill Buckley, but he will forever be white trash from West Texas. There’s no escaping biology.
All that I aside, I enjoyed reading his work at NR for a few years. The libertarian nitwittery was never my thing, but once a month or so he would land on an interesting topic and report some useful facts. The ragged condition of modern journalism means basic reporting can no longer be taken for granted. Anyone that does it well in medium and long form journalism these days is a rare bird, even if their writing style is unnecessarily ornate.
A couple of years ago I noticed that Williamson was doing some dangerous noticing. The managerial class hates noticing almost as much as they hate normal people. I was not the only one to pick up on it and his noticing abruptly ended. Williamson spent a long time polishing apples to get a perch at National Review. He was not about to foolishly let himself get purged so he went back to writing libertarian gibberish and conservative boilerplate. It’s safe material that flatters the people that write checks to National Review.
Last summer, Williamson went all in on the Trump bashing and my instinct was to assume it was more apple polishing. He just wanted to prove to his betters that he was not going to be a problem, now that one of the dirt people was getting uppity. It’s that old inferiority complex kicking in. Trump is making a lot of people in the servant class nervous because he exposes the reality of their situation. A guy like Williamson, I just assumed, was particularly freaked out by it.
Over the weekend, this piece by Williamson was rocketing around twitter. The source is locked away behind a firewall, but the gist of the piece is that Williamson hopes white working class people are exterminated. He considers it the moral thing to do. That’s not much of an exaggeration. When you argue that the traditional American communities organized around work and family need to be destroyed, you’re pretty much arguing for genocide.
It’s a funny thing that has happened in America over the last fifty years or so. It used to be that men who worked in the newspaper business accepted the fact they were working stiffs. They reported on the rich and powerful back to their friends and neighbors. They had no illusions about their place in the world. Watch an old black and white movie that has newspapermen in it and they are decidedly proletarian and proudly so.
Hatred of the working class is now the norm. On the one hand, welfare spongers are regularly called working class, along with drug addicts and criminals. Williamson enjoys this shtick, writing about hillbilly heroin, obliquely suggesting that this is typical white people, but mostly dumping on poor whites like his parents. Then there’s the bit where downscale whites are assumed to be Nazis and Klansmen, driven to racism by their inability to keep pace with the beautiful people, many of whom are of the dusky variety.
I think that’s why we have seen the Conservative Industrial Complex go berserk over Trump. It’s not just that he is a proletarian guy with billions to spend, and thus having no need for the approval of frivolous scriveners like Williamson. It’s that he has no interest in joining their club. If you have organized your life around aping the manners and opinions of your betters, it is your identity. Trump’s rejection of them is a negation of everything they are as people. They hate him for it.