Book Notes: Kevin Williamson’s The Smallest Minority

I didn’t think anybody could hate the self-righteous Twitter mobs more than I do but Kevin Williamson does and he explains why these mobs are so rabid in a very brilliant way. I find all of these excitable folks who are earnestly ranting about the threat of Nazism in America to be like space aliens. I don’t get them at all. But Williamson’s book explains what motivates them really well.

This book is what’s missing from Zuboff’s attempt to explain everybody’s indifference towards the surveillance and suppression practices of Facebook and Google.

Williamson also hints at a recipe for avoiding the wrath of social-justicey fanatics. What angers them, he says, is not that dissenters exist but that they sometimes benefit from “a minute reordering of status hierarchies.” It’s all about status, which is everything for people without any sense of self.

The book is beautifully written, and the footnotes are simply brilliant. I’m not doing justice to this great book right now because it’s the second week of the semester, I have a house full of people, I have a cat living with us, I’m getting used to a new car, and my brain is colonized by all this stuff. But it’s a very, very good book.

I just finished it but now I want to reread it.

5 thoughts on “Book Notes: Kevin Williamson’s The Smallest Minority”

  1. “I have a cat living with us.”

    What?? You, of all the pet disdainers in the world, are allowing a cat beneath your roof?

    What does Klara think of the feline? From your posted quotes of her statements, she’s rapidly outgrowing the naive innocence that all small children share with their furry fellow mammals on this planet.

    Children turn into adults, but animals stay infantile forever. Is that a bless or a curse?


    1. Klara loves, loves, loves the kitty and is demanding we adopt one.

      I don’t hate cats. But I don’t invest them with human characteristics and imagine them as emotional and intellectual beings.


  2. Williamson, whose work I cited in my original post as an example of a conservative blaming poverty on bad behavior, writes:
    In my own reporting on poverty in the United States, I have tried to present the facts as unsparingly as I can. Perhaps Noah Smith thinks that I do this in order to savor the exquisite delights of moral condemnation. But the intended purpose is to scour away the crust of sentimentality that poverty has acquired in order that we may deal with the actual facts of the case in a way that is productive and that does not end up deepening the very problems we hope to mitigate. (emphasis mine)
    Here are some quotes from the Williamson article I cited:
    Yes, young men of Garbutt — get off your asses and go find a job…
    [N]obody did this to them. They failed themselves…There wasn’t some awful disaster. There wasn’t a war or a famine or a plague or a foreign occupation. Even the economic changes of the past few decades do very little to explain the dysfunction and negligence — and the incomprehensible malice — of poor white America…
    The truth about these dysfunctional, downscale communities is that they deserve to die. Economically, they are negative assets. Morally, they are indefensible. Forget all your cheap theatrical Bruce Springsteen crap. Forget your sanctimony about struggling Rust Belt factory towns and your conspiracy theories about the wily Orientals stealing our jobs. Forget your goddamned gypsum, and, if he has a problem with that, forget Ed Burke, too. The white American underclass is in thrall to a vicious, selfish culture whose main products are misery and used heroin needles.
    And in the article Williamson himself cites, he wrote:
    Thinking about the future here and its bleak prospects is not much fun at all, so instead of too much black-minded introspection you have the pills and the dope, the morning beers, the endless scratch-off lotto cards, healing meetings up on the hill, the federally funded ritual of trading cases of food-stamp Pepsi for packs of Kentucky’s Best cigarettes and good old hard currency, tall piles of gas-station nachos, the occasional blast of meth, Narcotics Anonymous meetings, petty crime, the draw, the recreational making and surgical unmaking of teenaged mothers, and death…
    If this represents “scouring away the crust of sentimentality”, what does poverty reporting look like with the crust of sentimentality still on??


      1. Oh, and Andy Ngo also has feet of clay

        But footage taken by an undercover liberal activist in May and described on Monday by the Portland Mercury showed Ngo witnessing activists from the far-right group Patriot Prayer planning a violent confrontation at a bar associated with left-wing activists. Ngo never reported on what he had seen the Patriot Prayer members planning, and some of the people involved in the attack at the bar now face felony riot charges.

        You know how to pick them. Who’s next, Immanuel Velikovsky?


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