Strategic thinkers have long suggested that the best way to deal with a malcontent is to bring him in house—better, the saying goes, to have such troublesome figures inside the tent micturating out than to have them outside the tent micturating in. Never has that aphorism been truer than in the case of Kevin Williamson. In 2018, Williamson was hired to write for the Atlantic after a long stint at National Review, precisely because of his unique capacity to micturate from great heights and at long duration.
The Atlantic made the mistake of believing its editors could either housebreak Williamson or that they could convince their enlightened employees not to flood the rug themselves upon Williamson’s hiring. It was wrong on both counts, and the magazine fired Williamson unceremoniously after coffee-fetching interns complained that he actually believed the terrible, terrible things he had written.