Well, yes, but what about the actual argument?

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.

So what?

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?

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15 COMMENTS

  1. Absolutely no one thinks that Williamson’s sexuality has anything to do with anything other than his own sexuality.

    I’m not so sure. I think it’s more a case of, in the great game of victim hood poker, being a white male cancels out his being gay. I’ve mentioned a few times on my blog that gay men are being thrown under the bus by SJWs, trannies, and feminists using the forces they helped unleash. If being gay is the only card they hold, they’re screwed.

  2. If one lives a political life of assembling Pitiable Victim Classes and advocating for “equality,” never mind whether of opportunity or results, then one is duty-bound to continually count Victims, just to measure one’s own success. So Williamson is not a columnist but a “gay columnist” to measure the progress against the presumed enemy of anti-gay publishers.

    Ever since James Watt was fired for bragging that a council he set up was compulsively balanced, with “a black, a woman, two Jews and a cripple,” the real taboo is to state what the left is doing: reducing people to ciphers. There was another Cabinet officer fired for refusing to be a “bean-counter.” Haterz!

  3. Tim, we would move toward not-giving-a-shit much faster if homosexuals, and other people playing games of pretend, would also regard it as a personal matter and not flock to the legislature seeking legal recognition, protection, penalties for people who believe they are wrong, and imprisonment for psychologists their parents hire to try to straighten them out.

  4. Fed up with identity p..no, not politics but an invasion of the entire social space. I don’t like victim communities existing, and if you ever find yourself in one, reject the characterisation. Even if you are gay black crippled poor all at once and trans-gender too.

    Don’t classify people for any social purpose as anything other than people,. of presumed equal value.

  5. “I’m not so sure. I think it’s more a case of, in the great game of victim hood poker, being a white male cancels out his being gay. I’ve mentioned a few times on my blog that gay men are being thrown under the bus by SJWs, trannies, and feminists using the forces they helped unleash.”

    We’re seemingly still thoroughly stuck in “an assumption that leaning one way would mean belonging to one particular thought gang”. The assumption is that being gay, he’s one of the gays who “helped unleashed forces”. Even with an overtly right-wing columnist who made so little issue of being gay that Tim, a regular reader, hadn’t even realised – we’ve still got people complaining they’d have more sympathy if he didn’t “flock to the legislature seeking legal recognition, protection, penalties for people who believe they are wrong, and imprisonment for psychologists their parents hire to try to straighten them out.” Isn’t Williamson an example of precisely that? But if a gay writer doesn’t make an issue of being gay, and doesn’t flock to legislature, does that buy them any slack? No it doesn’t.

    This is pure identity politics. It’s like assuming someone is a communist because they’re poor, or a man-hating feminist because they’re female. The silent majority of all those groups who don’t support it, who don’t speak up on it, are ignored. The entire group are assumed part of the same tribe, because tribes are all the players of identity politics recognise.

    • Not all homosexuals flock to the legislature. I do not know that Williamson did, nor did I write that he did. I did not know he was gay. Nevertheless, many still clamor for special political rights, and they are the reason identity politics persists. Thank you for not quite calling me a homophobe, this time.

      • Hi Spike,

        Tim was talking about Williamson specifically (“this current furore”) – that it was wonderful how people had moved to not giving a shit about his sexual orientation, which he hadn’t made an issue of. I’m pretty sure Tim wasn’t saying this applied to *all* such cases. You responded “Tim, we would move toward not-giving-a-shit much faster if homosexuals, and other people playing games of pretend, would also regard it as a personal matter and…” which I therefore assumed was about the same subject Tim was talking about – i.e. the Williamson furore. Apologies if I misunderstood.

        And you’re quite right – I noticed but deliberately ignored the bit about “people playing games of pretend” because I didn’t think it necessary to point out it was homophobic. You’re very welcome! 🙂

        I don’t have a problem with people being homophobic – Freedom of Belief applies even to beliefs one thinks are wrong or incorrect. It’s only when they flock to legislation to impose legal penalties, imprisonment, or physical torture by psychologists on them (as used to be the case here, and still is in many of the more “Traditional” parts of the world) that I object.

      • It’s generally taken to refer to the same subject mentioned earlier in the conversation, used as a means to avoid repetition. Thus, I would assume the “gay men thrown under the bus” are supposed to be the same as those who “unleashed forces”.

        Of course, the people who actually unleashed these forces were the Christians – following centuries of religious war in which Catholics persecuted Protestants, and then Protestants persecuted Catholics, until everyone got fed up of it and started talking about the benefits of religious tolerance, which led to Enlightenment philosophers like J S Mill generalising the principle, and, for example, initiating equal rights for women, slaves, and so on. Mill was certainly no SJW in the modern authoritarian sense, but he did campaign for freedom and justice for women. If you’re going to blame anyone for unleashing feminism on the world, you could very well blame him.

        Every generation enforces its own social norms, and is shocked by the next generation enforcing different norms. All authoritarians see the enforcement of their own norms on others as right and natural, and the enforcement of anybody else’s norms on themselves as tyranny. This is nothing new.

        What was once done to homosexuals is now done to homophobes. Nothing new has been “unleashed”, these forces were always there. They simply have been given a new target, as social norms have changed. And all the different authoritarian groups are not united – you can no more assume feminists and gay-rights activists are on the same side than you can assume Western homophobes and Eastern Islamists are. It’s all-against-all among the authoritarians. It’s no more true that all homosexuals agree, or constitute a monolithic bloc of opinions/policies, than that all heterosexuals do. To think so is the essence of identity politics, or class war, or whatever you want to call it.