I make no bones about that fact I don’t like Kevin Williamson, the house rumpswab at National Review. I have no tolerance for people who put on false fronts and Williamson’s quill pen act is as phony as a three dollar bill. George Will did the same thing for decades, but he at least had a first class education and did some time as a university instructor. He was a gold-plated phony, but at least he had some credentials. Williamson has none of that. He’s just a real life version of Comic Book Guy from the Simpsons.
Gratuitously mocking fat guys is not a good look so I resist the temptation by doing what most everyone does and that’s avoid reading National Review. It’s not that hard as the only interesting thing about conservative commentary these days is the remarkable dullness of it. Even the most boring people are interesting on occasion. It takes special talent to be that ineffectual all the time. So, I was minding my own business scanning twitter and I see this tweet from Charles Murray:
— Charles Murray (@charlesmurray) May 3, 2017
It was in response to this tweet;
— Arthur Brooks (@arthurbrooks) May 3, 2017
Naturally, I thought it was word that Williamson had got what he has been publicly wishing on normal Americans for the last few years. Instead it was more poverty porn aimed at the pseudo-academics, who populate think tanks and opinion sites in the Imperial Capital. It’s becoming a specialty for Williamson. He writes up a scene from lower class white America that portrays the people as benighted losers, who deserve the abuse heaped upon them by the good whites in his audience. It’s a ghetto tour as morality play.
The unconcealed contempt Williamson has for the subjects of his poverty porn is both ugly and bizarre, given his alleged background. He has invested a lot in creating a hillbilly back story for himself, which suggests it is probably fictional or highly exaggerated. Even if it is accurate, his contempt for the sorts of people he claims to have grown up around as a kid is pathological. It suggests that Kevin Michael Grace was right when he said in our chat a few weeks back that Williamson is filled with self-hatred.
Self-loathing fat guy is not an interesting area of inquiry. What is interesting is the audience. Charles Murray pimping this stuff suggests something about Murray and his view of the current crisis in American culture. Murray is a libertarian and like all famous libertarians, he is a ward of the state. AEI is a tax racket, like all of the so-called think tanks. Murray also makes big money charging taxpayers between $20,000 and $30,000 per speech at colleges and universities. That’s not working class wages.
Similarly, Arthur Brooks is cashing in on the college speaking rackets. He also gets between $20,000 and $30,000 per speech. Brooks also pays himself $700,000 per year out of AEI, plus expenses, of course. He also gets $100,000 a year for other work at AEI, but that’s not defined on the tax filing. He may not be a one-percenter, but he is close enough to see it from his perch in the Imperial Capital. Being a libertarian lion is a lot easier when you take home close to a million a year from a tax exempt foundation.
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t begrudge these fat-cat grifters their money. It’s a crooked and corrupt system and they are simply working it to their advantage. I could do without the Randian lectures about small government and rugged individualism, but hypocrisy is a feature of the human condition, not a bug. What’s curious to me is why these people seem to take pleasure in the suffering of the white lower classes. The glee with which they praise these Williamson columns suggest they get some strange pleasure from it.
That’s thing. That column was mostly just sneering, but Williamson put a lot of effort into letting the reader know he took pleasure in not only evicting his wayward tenants, but also in observing the suffering of the poor people in housing court. I grew up dirt poor, so I have no illusions about poverty. Poor people are poor mostly because they have low-IQ’s and poor impulse control. Progressive efforts to romanticize poverty were always ridiculous, but that does not mean we should take pleasure in their suffering. That’s just sick.
Regular readers of this blog will know that my view of the Official Right and their slow-witted little brother, Official Libertarianism, is that they trail along behind the Progressives, as they flit from one fad to the next. Their contempt for the Dissident Right is not about ideology. It’s that they think the scruffy trouble makers to their Right make them look bad to their friends on the Left. It’s hard to make $30K from college speeches when the people running the college are blaming you for the alt-right hate-thinkers.
Maybe that’s why there is a market on the Official Right for the type of contemptuous poverty porn Williamson is peddling. The Left has made hatred of working class white people that shop at Walmart a centerpiece of their identity. Hillary Clinton ran for President on a platform of “White People Suck.” Perhaps the Official Right is just aping what they see, but with their own spin on it. “The Conservative Case for Hating Poor Whites” is probably in the works at National Review.