By Kevin D. Williamson
Diatribe by John Cowan
I knew I would like this book when I rushed to order it and it has not failed me. That does not mean that you will like it.
I had the good fortune to be born to two competing and hostile clans. My father was an Irish Catholic with a distant but impressive group of relatives committed to the Irish Catholic way, including that everyone else was going to hell. My mother was a Swedish Baptist whose family could not even conceive of any other way to be, or any other truth to be loyal too. My father asked my mother to convert to Catholicism. So she did. Did she change her basic truths. Heck no! Did her family make peace with his? Did his make peace with hers. Heck no!
Around my Swedish grandmother’s waiting grave my Irish uncle was muttering threats under his breath at one of the Swedish uncles over some driving issue that occurred during the funeral procession.
My Swedish grandmother once told the nine- year-old me that Catholics sacrifice babies. I told her that although only nine, I hung with a lot of Catholics, was one, and had never seen or heard of a baby sacrifice. She said we only do it in Africa. Hard to argue with that, but easy to disbelieve it.
How did I live with two such competing camps? I just made up my own mind always, while loving both of them, listening to them and then finding my own answer. I became an Independent Thinker. That is what Kevin is on a national scale. Except, he is angry about it. And he should be. It gets ugly at that level.
His first chapters will be soiled for many of you with scatology, much of which he invents. So, I fear that when he talks about “poh fights” you will be put off by the vulgarity and offended by the childishness. Do yourself and the rest of us a favor and plow through it. The words will improve as he goes forward. (I was fine with the dirt. I worked construction. They taught me a vocabulary my mother had skipped)
Kevin’s point is simple. Almost everybody, but particularly those interested in politics, is organized into mobs and seeks instead of the truth, conformity to the mob. That makes life rough for the few who seek the truth in the facts themselves. The facts slide around as each mob puts its spin on them. I often listen to one side commenting on the other and wonder at how they could turn an innocent statement into a horrible one.
Once upon a time I listened to Trump being interviewed about abortion and he was cheerfully rushing into the topic of punishment for those involved. The interviewer, with I am confident a certain malice of forethought, asked mildly, “Shouldn’t the woman be punished too?” Trump stopped cold. Gut shot! Long pause then halting words, “The — women—should be – punished too…” Next time I saw this part of the clip he said the same words but with confidence. Somebody had eliminated the stutters. A member of which mob? A Trumpist who did not want the leader to look undecided? Or a Trump hater who wanted him pinned to the hook?
Whatever the facts, once a few such examples run through my life, and many have, how do I trust the press at all? What is truth?
The book is example after example that illustrate similar points. All of which ring true to me. Say a nice word about Trump in the circles I live in and into the “nasty conservative” box you are plunged by those who belong to God’s progressives. So how do you think and then talk about what you think when half of your thoughts will anger the mob you happen to be sitting in the same pew with? And the other half will anger the group you meet at the docks?
So for saying that I think Trump got pushed further than he would have wanted to go by someone who manipulated the medium, do you see me as a Trumpist?
I detested the guy before he even considered running for office. Not because I think for myself, which while most often true does not work in this case. I detest Trump because my life is anchored in the working class. My dad was a union president. Donald is a rich daddy’s boy who made a royal and rotten living taking risks with my mob’s unpaid energy. (Technical term in this case for avoiding payment for another person’s energy is “bankruptcy.”) He is a jerk who will do anything to make money. That is what I say and what my mob says.
The high roller mob would say Donald was shrewd and my kind was not. Breaks of life. If I graduated from Harvard Business School and hung with high rollers, would I think what they think? Would I smother any thoughts other than their party line? Just as I am cautious with thoughts other than our party line?
And in seeking what is the right, to what court does one appeal? God? It is to laugh. I do not think God a human invention, but I do think we invent God’s positions. Hey, I have confidence in the ones my mob has taken. But other people have confidence in quite different ones.
If you are willing to read with an open mind you will note time after time mistakes, errors, even sins, being made in loyalty to the tribes on both the left and the right. Since I seldom listen or read the organs of the right most of my experiences are the lies of the left.
Do not miss the second to last chapter which tells the tale of Kevin being hired by Jeff Goldberg at the Atlantic. Kevin warns Jeff that the campaign to fire him will begin shortly after he is hired. It did, and he was. Why for? He was sitting with the wrong mob.
His first task for six months was to research what was destroying the white laboring class, similar to Moynihan’s study of the black family in that day. Minimal contact within the magazine. The Atlantic staff, four women in particular, did not want to see him at a desk three days a month.
If you are not in a mob it appears to most others that you must belong to different mob.
In describing the causes of the firing there is a highly uncomplimentary allusion from Kevin to Jeff’s private parts. Still, Kevin thinks Jeff is his friend, and he may be correct. On the back of this book, Jeff is quoted as saying, “He (Kevin) is not one of the most talented conservative writers in America He is one of the most talented writers in America.…And that’s why he can’t work here.”
Kevin thinks Jeff will be fired in a couple of years and of course Kevin just got fired. He urges you to not feel sorry for them since Jeff will go on to better things, and Kevin already has. That’s what happens to people like them.