That's #slatepitchy, even for Slate. (It immediately occurred to me that the piece would probably make a particular stylistic choice just to make a point.)
That piece was had to read, with its lack of variation in sentence structure, and that odd use of the colon.
Right, structured just to fit the argument. Even Hemingway used commas, FFS.
It also survived the limits of the inventory of lead type -- that's why you had "In Congreff" instead of "In Congress" a lot -- f's a suitable enough replacement if you needed an "s" but ran out. But it looked like crap.
Tomorrow's Slate column: "You Would Probably Use Water to Put Out a Fire. Here's Why Gasoline is Better."
As someone who regularly reads handwritten letters and legal documents from the 1500s, commas are good. Even when they didn't use commas explicitly or consistently (or regular spelling for that matter), in many cases they used different ornaments to imply punctuation.
Upworthied: You Won't Believe What Happens When You Throw This Everyday Liquid Onto A Fire!
HuffPoSpoilered: it explodes
"Let's eat Grandma." and "Let's eat, Grandma." Totally the same.