We live in a strange world.
In this world, I am the “bigot” and “extremist” and the underground “hate group.” And yet, I have read Andrew Sullivan over the years and it has never occurred to me to hate or despise the man or to whip up a mob to silence him. Sure, he is a homosexual and I disagree with his lifestyle as a Christian, but I can’t say that I just loathe the guy the way that his Woke colleagues do in the mainstream media.
“What has happened, I think, is relatively simple: A critical mass of the staff and management at New York Magazine and Vox Media no longer want to associate with me, and, in a time of ever tightening budgets, I’m a luxury item they don’t want to afford. And that’s entirely their prerogative. They seem to believe, and this is increasingly the orthodoxy in mainstream media, that any writer not actively committed to critical theory in questions of race, gender, sexual orientation, and gender identity is actively, physically harming co-workers merely by existing in the same virtual space. Actually attacking, and even mocking, critical theory’s ideas and methods, as I have done continually in this space, is therefore out of sync with the values of Vox Media. That, to the best of my understanding, is why I’m out of here.
Two years ago, I wrote that we all live on campus now. That is an understatement. In academia, a tiny fraction of professors and administrators have not yet bent the knee to the woke program — and those few left are being purged. The latest study of Harvard University faculty, for example, finds that only 1.46 percent call themselves conservative. But that’s probably higher than the proportion of journalists who call themselves conservative at the New York Times or CNN or New York Magazine. And maybe it’s worth pointing out that “conservative” in my case means that I have passionately opposed Donald J. Trump and pioneered marriage equality, that I support legalized drugs, criminal-justice reform, more redistribution of wealth, aggressive action against climate change, police reform, a realist foreign policy, and laws to protect transgender people from discrimination. I was one of the first journalists in established media to come out. I was a major and early supporter of Barack Obama. I intend to vote for Biden in November.
It seems to me that if this conservatism is so foul that many of my peers are embarrassed to be working at the same magazine, then I have no idea what version of conservatism could ever be tolerated. And that’s fine. We have freedom of association in this country, and if the mainstream media want to cut ties with even moderate anti-Trump conservatives, because they won’t bend the knee to critical theory’s version of reality, that’s their prerogative. It may even win them more readers, at least temporarily. But this is less of a systemic problem than in the past, because the web has massively eroded the power of gatekeepers to suppress and control speech. I was among the first to recognize this potential for individual freedom of speech, and helped pioneer individual online media, specifically blogging, 20 years ago.
And this is where I’m now headed.
Since I closed down the Dish, my bloggy website, five years ago, after 15 years of daily blogging, I have not missed the insane work hours that all but broke my health. But here’s what I do truly and deeply miss: writing freely without being in a defensive crouch; airing tough, smart dissent and engaging with readers in a substantive way that avoids Twitter madness; a truly free intellectual space where anything, yes anything, can be debated without personal abuse or questioning of motives; and where readers can force me to change my mind (or not) by sheer logic or personal testimony.
I miss a readership that truly was eclectic — left, liberal, centrist, right, reactionary — and that loved to be challenged by me and by each other. I miss just the sheer fun that used to be a part of being a hack before all these dreadfully earnest, humor-free puritans took over the press: jokes, window views, silly videos, contests, puns, rickrolls, and so on. The most popular feature we ever ran was completely apolitical — The View From Your Window contest. It was as simple and humanizing as the current web is so fraught and dehumanizing. And in this era of COVID-19 isolation and despair, the need for a humane, tolerant, yet provocative and interesting, community is more urgent than ever. …
And that’s my larger hope and ambition. If the mainstream media will not host a diversity of opinion, or puts the “moral clarity” of some self-appointed saints before the goal of objectivity in reporting, if it treats writers as mere avatars for their race and gender or gender identity, rather than as unique individuals whose identity is largely irrelevant, then the nonmainstream needs to pick up the slack. What I hope to do at the Weekly Dish is to champion those younger writers who are increasingly shut out of the Establishment, to promote their blogs, articles, and podcasts, to link to them, and encourage them. I want to show them that they have a future in the American discourse. Instead of merely diagnosing the problem of illiberalism, I want to try to be part of the solution.”
It is like we are living in a world where religious fundamentalists have actually seized power and established a theocracy. The mob went after Ellen DeGeneres last night. Colorblindness, the Star Spangled Banner and classical music have all recently been declared new targets. Jerry Falwell and the Religious Right never came anywhere close to wielding this level of cultural power.
Andrew Sullivan is right to return to blogging. I can say anything that I want here. I also wouldn’t trade that for any position in the mainstream media. I’m not sure how long these islands of internet freedom will be allowed to last though. As we saw with The Daily Stormer, Stormfront and VDARE, it is only a matter of time before the domain registrars are pressured into pulling domains for “hate speech” which will be defined as expressing any opinion that is contrary to the narrative of woke supremacy.
Woke people are Saints who are morally superior to all other White people as well as all other races on this continent. They have the right and the duty to persecute other people for their unorthodox opinions, impose their views on others and to destroy artifacts of the hateful past. Not only are they better than everyone else who has ever lived by virtue of being immersed in the doctrines of Critical Social Justice Theory and through the practice of “anti-racism,” the law shouldn’t apply to them either.