Monday, April 09, 2018

Op-Ed Diversity Does Not Include Liberals

The mainstream press has been spending the Trump era trying to figure out how to “diversify” their op-ed pages, which always means adding more conservative voices. The latest example of this was when The Atlantic hired and almost immediately fired Kevin Williamson, a hardcore conservative who has routinely written outrageous and inflammatory articles for the National Review (and his Twitter feed was even more toxic).

I don’t actually mind the impulse to add variety to the op-ed page. (As a liberal, it’s part of my value system, one notably absent in the values of conservatives whose publications—WSJ, National Review, etc—do not feature liberal voices.) But what’s really amazing is how the lack of diversity is never addressed by moving to the left of Paul Krugman. I am considered uncomfortably conservative by most of my friends, and yet my actual views would be considered unacceptably out of the mainstream by Atlantic editor Jeffrey Goldberg. For examples, I support:
  • Socialized medicine (eg, Britain’s); 
  • A full slate of pro-labor policies and
  • Taxes and regulations that would curtail corporate power and generational personal fortunes;
  • A much smaller military;
  • Full denuclearization;
  • Full withdrawal from the Middle East;
  • Carbon taxes;
  • Massive spending to address climate change;
  • Effective open borders (to non-terrorists and criminals);
  • Repealing the 2nd amendment...

And it goes on and on in this vein. Again, a majority of people in my orbit consider me too conservative because I support things like the TPP and free trade. And yet my views—held by a huge number of mainstream European parties—are considered so radical that they never appear on the pages of the Atlantic or the New York Times. To editors at these publications, views like Kevin Williamson’s are mainstream and important and need airing. Views like mine are literally unthinkable.

This is the most potent indictment I have for the state of our national politics in the United States in 2018.

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