A New Era of Unity

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In light of recent events, I’ve decided to spend more time with my family.

Seriously, though, can you spend more time with your family when you’ve left your house, like, seven times over the past year? But you get it. What I’m saying is that it’s the dawn of a new era of unity, tolerance, healthy public discourse, and good-faith joke-appreciating — a terrific time to spend more time with your family.

Families, in my experience, love wearing shoes and eating food, which is why I’m firing up ye olde Substack. Despite the sudden thematic aptness of “Free Will,” I’m relaunching as “Model Citizen” to match my podcast, which will march ever onward into the glorious post-Niskanen future.

Yesterday was a profoundly shitty day for me, but it was a lot less profoundly shitty than it might have been. I can’t adequately convey my gratitude for the overwhelming outpouring of support I’ve received since yesterday afternoon. I’ve been deluged by hundreds of messages via text, DM, and email checking in on me, expressing indignant solidarity, and asking if there is anything at all they can do to help. I’m just staggered by the breadth and depth of kindness I’ve received and completely astounded by the level of respect and good will I didn’t realize I’d accumulated over the years. I’ve felt a bit like a verklempt ghost floating above his own premature but touching funeral.

But, yes, there is definitely something you can do to help. Subscribe to Model Citizen and encourage others to do the same — especially if you’ve got a big megaphone! I’m determined to leave you amused and amazed. As much as it sucks to suddenly, unexpectedly find yourself in free agency, it’s just bliss to shuck the shackles off. I feel like I could lift a house.

If you’re a discerning consumer of stimulating takes, this is going to slap, guaranteed. I’ve got a passion for truth, 90% of a philosophy Ph.D. and a chip on my shoulder. I’ve got an art degree, a fiction MFA, a box of pens and a grudge. I’ve got a barrel full of Adderall, insatiable curiosity and an interview podcast. I’m a good listener with a pleasant demeanor. Yup. Brace yourself.

Could I be any more energized about building my own distinctive, wide-ranging thing without anyone looking over my shoulder. No, I could not. You may be thinking, “Okay, Will. How much is it?” Just $6 a month. That’s a damn bargain!

I was an early adopter here at Substack, but my job at Niskanen didn’t afford the time or editorial independence necessary to make a real go at it — even as a consistently occasional affair. Now that that I’ve overcome the irksome obstacle of regular employment, Model Citizen will flow steady as Big Muddy into your Inbox, Monday through Friday. (But it won’t be, you know, wet.)

It’s exciting to get back to something resembling my blogging roots. I owe my entire career to blogging. It’s how I ended up at Cato, how I ended up writing for the Economist, the Week, Vox and the Times. Over the years I’ve come to understand that immediacy, lack of editorial friction, and a sense of direct connection with an audience meshes beautifully with my easily bored brain and brings out my best, most fluent writing in a way that barely feels like work. This feels like coming home.

Now, I have no idea what I’m going to write about tomorrow. I can’t tell you what, exactly, will show up in your inbox. All I know is that I will trawl the World Wide Web, chance upon an article or tweet that launches some part of my brain into a state of rising agitation that, in the language of neural activation, translates as, “No, no, no, no, no! What a fool!” and I will mount my keyboard, stirred by the spirit, and hammer away to banish confusion, make an overlooked but urgently important distinction, or set the record straight once and for all.

But what will it be? Who knows? What will I say? It’s a total mystery!

You know what? That revs me up. Because I can’t wait to find out. Because, whatever it turns out to be, I know I won’t be bored. You won’t be bored, either. So join me. It’s a new era of unity, isn’t it? So let’s do this together. Let’s fuck around and find out.

- WW


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