Silas Lapham

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.

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Pupster
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Pupster

Huh. Until now I though Kevin was a black man, based on his profile picture. I also enjoyed his writing, but he seems to have gone off the rails as you observed.

Turk Sylvester
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Turk Sylvester

I thought the same thing; that maybe KW was a quadroon or maybe an octaroon.

Ripple
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Ripple

I also thought KW was black. Are you positive he has no African blood?

roger
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roger

I guess he’d rather be an NR’er than himself.

Rick Svengali
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Rick Svengali

Buckley worked for the CIA, his function was to make American Conservatism globalism-friendly, he opened the doo to the Trotskyit take over of the GOP, the CIA wanted to promote anti-Soviet Leftism and the Troskyit served this function with the GOP.

NunyaBusiness
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NunyaBusiness

I would invite Mr whateverthefuckhisnameis to try to live for even a month without using any of the fruits of these horrible low class white people. He’d better never drive a car, or use a road or sidewalk for that matter. He probably ought to give up eating too, wouldn’t want him to ingest anything touched by those grubby working class white folks. Basically, fuck that guy. He can argue for genocide all he likes, but what he (and seemingly all of these rich fucks who dream of wiping all the other white folks out) forgets is that we’re the… Read more »

UKer
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UKer

The shift in what the working class does, or is perceived to do, in the eyes of the media is one of the most interesting aspects of our age. In the UK we are burdened with the BBC. They make much of having ‘quality’ wildlife documentaries and airing air such British cultural events as the annual ‘Proms’ which is a summer season of classical music (and I always watch the Last Night of the Proms as it is all sea shanties, Jerusalem, Rule Britannia and other jingoistic stuff, even if Al-Beeb always try to focus the camera every so often… Read more »

James LePore
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With Watergate, reporting became cool, hip, something to set you above the blue collar, redneck stiffs, to make you a Hollywood-type guy or gal. That was the beginning of the end of our culture.

Joan of Argghh!
Guest

The recursion of Hollywood-Media upon itself began with Watergate.

Turk Sylvester
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Turk Sylvester

What would make a person so monsterous as this Williams person? So uncaring of his fellow man and citizen? If i had to guess I would say there was some non-consensual touching (of the cornholing type) somewhere in his history. I understand that Trump and his followers are putting their livelihoods on the scrap heap, but aren’t they all for that when it comes to other people? Come on you NR cucks, get with the program! Oh, and Ed “no lube for me, please” Driscoll over at PJ Media is a particularly irritating cuck, so here’s a shout out to… Read more »

Teri pittman
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Teri pittman

Ed Driscoll has made Instapundit unreadable.

If you want to read about the poor whites, written symapathetically, read “The Most They Ever Had” by Rick Bragg. It’s about textile workers. Bragg got an education and escaped the poverty but he never looks down on those people. This book talks about the pride they had in their work and how even the unsafe conditions of the mills were better than what they had before. It was a tragedy to outsource those jobs.

Saml Adams
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Saml Adams

There is a great line early in “Sgt. York” where his mother ends Grace with “and may the good Lord grant that we be beholden to no one”. My experience (first gen fully off the Midwestern farm) is you will find no harder working or more adaptable group of people. But have to hand it to the “cloud people” as you term them…they have made these virtues into vices and cut the economic legs right out from under them. Try eating without the “dirt people”. Problem is they have succeeded so wildly at what they do, that only a handful… Read more »

Severian
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When I’m dictator (and my Department of Education enforces its decisions with pikes and catapults), I’m going to direct the entire educational system to preach 2 bedrock truths: 1) verbal dexterity is not intelligence; and 2) nobody cares if you’re “smart” anyway. A good chunk of America’s problems could be solved if Williamson types just got that message. “Cognitive stratification” from the 1950s forward has put a premium on verbal skills and test-taking. Problem is, there just aren’t that many economically useful things that depend on talking good while acing tests. So poor bumpkins like Williamson think they’re owed a… Read more »

ganderson
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ganderson

As a History teacher I’d argue that a decent mechanic was worth 10 History teachers!

Severian
Guest

I’m halfway involved in the academic scam too, ganderson. I know exactly what you mean. There’s a place for guys like us in a civilized society, but in return, we need to know our place. Most, e.g. Williamson, don’t.

Terry Baker
Guest

Indeed. Garbage men and plumbers save civilization everyday.

I once worked at a rendering plant (Phoenix Tallow) with a man named Dallas Cheatham. He was fundamentally a better man than about 95% of the people I’ve met since. Black, little formal education, poor language skills. But he was the most honest, trustworthy and kind man in a horrible work place.

He was almost Christ-like in his acceptance and forgiveness of all the shit swirling around him. I will never forget him.

Thanks for noticing these things, everybody.

Doug
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Doug

It’s the politics of envy this hatred of Donald Trump. A guy like Donald Trump, this a very productive person your seeing, the art of selling things people want or need, the providing of services and employment of millions, it is a rewarding endeavor, it is a skill, and those who excel at it honestly without cheating and stealing off the backs of others, they have a lot going for them, it requires virtues and an honest realistic sense of the world to be successful. It takes heart and dedication to something larger and better than just yourself. You got… Read more »

Lulu
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Lulu

DT seems to be a happy man. Much to be happy about. Productive life, beautiful and apparently loving wife, a lovely family who seem to admire and love him. Makes people like Williamson and French (yes, David French piled on with his own article in defense of Williamson) crazy with envy.

JPW
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JPW

That’s way more advanced and complex than Kevin Williamson just being a bigoted f#ck.

Ganderson
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Ganderson

Perhaps I’m being too charitable, but I don’t really think Williamson’s talking about working class whites- I think he’s talking about the white underclass, which, at least as it appears from my perch at a public school in the Northeast, is growing. Many of these folks exhibit the characteristics of ghetto culture, and , as a wise man once said- it will not end well for our society. You said yourself, Z, within the last coupe of weeks, how devastating things like easy divorce have been to those far down on the food chain, be they white, black or Hispanic..… Read more »