It comes to my attention that Kevin D Williamson, fired from the Atlantic over his comments concerning abortion, is gay. This isn’t something to remark upon these days except to remark upon how no one is remarking upon it. I’d regard that as one of the great victories of the classical liberal ideal in recent decades.
I’ve been reading Williamson for ages, the green eyed goddess often enough making an appearance as I try to work out how that style works and why I can’t make it do so. I’d not known – nor, obviously, cared – that he was gay. It’s not something that’s at the core of his writing like it is of, say, Owen Jones’. So, I didn’t know this:
Its ironic – Kevin Williamson even has a UK analogue – Matthew Parris. Both gay.
Well, it marks how society has changed. As a minor point it shows that diversity isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. We get a constant wail of how organisations must be diverse on such matters as the sexuality, gender, sex, melanin content, of the workforce and yet when diversity of thought rears its ugly head everyone is all aquiver.
The major point being, well, more major. It was only a couple of decades back that a gay conservative was seen as a near lunatic aberration. Akin in the US to a black Republican. Sure, they existed, but rather quietly. The Log Cabin Republicans were seen as being somehow a betrayal. For to be gay was to be part of the left coalition, wan’t it? That stitching together of everyone with a grievance about the current order into a political force.
Which is the thing I note about this current furore. Absolutely no one thinks that Williamson’s sexuality has anything to do with anything other than his own sexuality. He’s not being attacked nor defended upon the basis of it. His ideas, sure, they’re being machine gunned. And I think that’s a vast advance. In that properly classical liberal direction.
We rather went from no one knowing about the sexuality of a commentator, through to both a prurience about it and also an assumption that leaning one way would mean belonging to one particular thought gang, to today’s who gives a shit? Yes, that is a better society. It’s a pretty good definition of that classical liberalism in fact, that where and when you affect some third party we need to take note but for the vast majority of how you live your life who gives a shit?