Since the resignation of Brendan Eich has already been compared to McCarthyism, fascism, and Jacobinism, I suppose calling it the new Gulag was inevitable. This article was tabbed by Reynolds, which will be particularly amusing to those of you who remember the intense outrage at Instapundit over an Amnesty International report describing the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay as “the gulag of our times, entrenching the practice of arbitrary and indefinite detention in violation of international law.” Whether the term “gulag” is more plausibly applied to CEO who resigns in the wake of a very mild campaign of opposition to his discriminatory political actions or to a site where people are sent to be arbitrarily detained and sometimes tortured, I leave to the reader’s judgment.
Leaving aside the world-class levels of hypocrisy, Williamson’s argument is expectedly awful, constructing a fantasy of liberal CommieNazism out of a variety of random anecdotes, many of fail to even bear relevance to the Eich case, which itself bears no resemblance to McCartyhism (let alone fascism or Stalinism.) In addition to the Eich case’s violation of ad hoc norms nobody really believes in, you have a legitimately dumb “provocative” argument about imprisoning climate change troofers, which would be relevant if Gawker bloggers spoke for anyone else. You have someone not permitted to attend a private meeting, assertions that anyone who interprets the First Amendment the way the Supreme Court did until last week with respect to aggregate political donations is opposed to the concept of free speech and therefore a fascist, and assertions that anyone who thinks that neutral rules should be applied uniformly rather than be subject to exemptions based on trivial burdens on religious practice is a fascist. (It’s not clear what disagreement with the Republican platform circa 2012 isn’t fascism.) But this is my favorite:
Charles Murray, one of the most important social scientists of his generation, was denounced as a “known white supremacist” by Texas Democrats for holding heterodox views about education policy…
First of all, note the classic Sarah Palin definition of free speech — free speech, apparently, means that it’s illegitimate to even criticize the political views of conservatives. (Oddly, calling liberals Stalinists and fascists for the crime of disagreeing with recent Republican innovations in campaign finance law and the freedom of secular, for-profit corporations to deny statutory rights to their employees based on trivial burdens on religious practices of extremely dubious sincerity is entirely consistent with free speech. You might say that Williamson’s thought process is muddled and self-refuting even by NRO standards.) And in addition, I’m going to guess that Murray was called a “white supremacist” not because of his “heterodox views about education policy” but because he wrote a whole book about how African-Americans are genetically inferior. I can’t wait to find out whether accurately describing Murray’s political views makes me more like Hitler, Robespierre, or Pol Pot.
UPDATE: I would have to agree that Williamson has pretty much achieved peak hack.