Current Affairs

That’s It, I’m Out

The internal ideological climate of Current Affairs has become intolerable. I can bear it no longer.

Esteemed subscribers and readers,

It has been a pleasure and a privilege to serve as editor of this magazine for the last five years. However, I must ruefully inform you that I am hereby stepping down from the position and terminating my connection with this enterprise. 

I speak from sorrow, not resentment. I am proud to have assisted in transforming this publication from a glorified blog into the mighty national print bimonthly and intellectual powerhouse that it is today. I have great respect for a number of my colleagues and bear no ill will toward those whose misplaced idealism has forced me to take this extreme step.

Alas, it seems that a free and independent intellect has no place at a left journal anymore. Diversity of opinion, once a fixed and immutable ideal, has fallen by the wayside, the ideology of conformity having taken its place. Unless one’s thoughts are Socially Just, they are considered unworthy, even appalling. Every day, we see stories of a new hideous injustice. A white person is politely discouraged from doing a rap about the school library. An article about hamentaschen has its headline changed. An esteemed political scientist is called a “racist asshole” (and even more unspeakable names) on Twitter, merely for declaring that imperialist atrocities have an upside. A professor is condemned for uttering a racial slur. A comedian is heckled about his history of sexual misconduct. A publishing company questions whether an author’s work has intellectual merit. A company requires its staff to attend a one-day seminar on “treating colleagues respectfully.” A perfectly decent man is told his perspective may be biased. The Woke Mafia never sleeps. 

No longer can one explore ideas freely. There was a time, reader, when the important questions could be posed and discussed in a civil manner. Questions like “Was the 19th Amendment wise or unwise?” and “How do we know phrenology wasn’t onto something?” Now, even to pose these questions is considered an affront, something unwoke and discreditable. The discourse has been debased to the point where even to ask whether some people ought to be placed in cages for the rest of their natural lives, or whether there is something kind of fishy about people who look different from one’s self, is considered a “cancelable” offense.

Yes, reader, I am among the canceled. I never thought it would happen to me. I thought my commitment to facts and reason would keep me safe. But nobody is safe from the mob. The Robespierres of social media conduct literal electronic beheadings. 

My own case has been an extreme example. I am sure the reader has seen it. Tweet after Tweet, a barrage of relentless mockery and scorn. “Nathan Robinson is a fucking imbecile who knows nothing about architecture.” “dude fuck nathan j robinson seriously.” “lol at a guy who dresses like this calling himself a leftist [insert photograph].” My inbox overflows with subject lines like “hey cumstain” and “important factual correction to your piece.” I find myself trapped in Orwell’s nightmare.

What has distressed me most is the lack of support from colleagues. Drawn from the Millennial and Zoomer generations, they are unaccustomed to norms of free speech and open debate. When I wished to publish a 7,000 word article by an abusive misogynist defending his conduct, I was told that this was a “horrible idea” and pelted with questions from subordinates like “why the fuck would you do that?” and “please please can we talk about this?” The New York Review of Books snagged the essay instead. An opportunity missed, for reasons of pure political correctness. When I recommended publishing an open letter by an esteemed intellectual that posed as a defense of neutral speech principles but was clearly intended as an attack on the left, fellow editors had the gall to suggest the piece needed “specific examples” and “research.” Yet again, a rival magazine scored clicks that were rightfully ours. Yet again, the cancelers triumphed. 

I can take it no longer. I cannot work under these conditions. I am told that certain forms of speech by a magazine editor are frowned upon, such as the statement “you will all come into the office, pandemic or no.” Intolerance reigns supreme: I am even asked to refer to people the way they would prefer to be referred to—that is to say, my very words are being crafted for me by others. An ideology of forced equality has created demands of me such as “eliminate gender pay disparities” and “try not to publish anything racist.” Finally, I understand what Solzhenitsyn must have felt during those years in the gulag.

I repeat that I bear no simmering resentment toward those who have treated me maliciously and undermined the foundations of Western liberalism. I do not take this step voluntarily. I do so because it is the only way to ensure that my mouth can continue to flap freely about subjects I have never so much as read a book about. I share the Founding Fathers’ sincere belief in complete freedom for all. 

I will henceforth be publishing independently at the new newsletter subscription service Domstack. I have already quintupled my previous salary, which shows that there remains a small band of people committed to preserving freedom, and does not show that my perspectives are actually the ones that most closely align with those of the white, wealthy, and powerful. 

In the love of liberty and reasonableness, 

Nathan J. Robinson 

Editor in Chief (emeritus) 

P.S. Your generous financial contributions will help me keep the fight alive. 

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