09 Apr 2012

Defending Derbyshire

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Take that, heretic!

What’s the difference between NYM and NR? Coming across John Derbyshire’s politically incorrect remarks in Taki’s Magazine the other day, I complimented Derbyshire on his courage and quoted and linked the piece.

National Review, on the other hand, responded by firing him.

I did not mean to specifically subscribe to Derbyshire’s estimate of the precise percentage of the African-American community constituting its dangerously Xenophobic portion or to his specific figures pertaining to intelligence found in sample populations, but I certainly did take the view that Derbyshire was basically saying aloud what everybody knows and what everybody considers forbidden to say out loud.

NR’s editor Rich Lowry hastily lifted the ancient conservative journal’s petticoats high in the air, emitted a shrill scream, and leaped high upon a chair upon being confronted with a piece of commentary published in a different venue by an NR contributor containing such sentiments. Like Stella Gibbons’ Aunt Ada Doom, in Cold Comfort Farm, Editor Lowry seems liable to be scarred and traumatized for life as the result of encountering “something nasty,” not in the woodshed, but rather in Taki Theodoracopoulas’s webzine.

Derbyshire’s comments, warning non-African Americans to be careful of African American neighborhoods and groups, Lowry opined, were not only “nasty.” They were indefensible and outlandish.

Lowry, of course, did not explain that he was firing Derbyshire for violating the speech taboos defined by political correctness. That wouldn’t look well. No, no, he was firing Derbyshire for exploiting his association with National Review. No one, Lowry implies, would think of bothering to read Derbyshire published in Takimag, were he not a grand and magnificent member of the NR writing stable. The bounder, Lowery explained, was using NR’s brand “to get more oxygen for views with which we’d never associate ourselves. … So there has to be a parting of the ways.”

It’s important to clarify these things. If NR failed to fire Derbyshire, it’s perfectly obvious, isn’t it? that all of NR’s readers would naturally assume that all NR writers and editors and all the features, editorials, and reviews published in NR, past, present, and future implicitly endorsed everything John Derbyshire did, wrote, thought, or said otherwise. That’s how journal publication works.

The fact that during the very same Easter weekend news reports appeared featuring excerpts of videos being distributed on the Net showing a crowd of Baltimore African Americans beating, robbing, and gleefully stripping naked a drunken white tourist on St. Patrick’s Day inevitably further underlined the outlandishness and indefensibility of Derbyshire’s observations.

The great American racial comedy proceeds ad infinitum, with Derbyshire’s martyrdom at conservative hands representing a particularly funny interlude between weeks of agitation over Trayvon Martin and the latest racial outrage on the streets of Baltimore.

It is a little dispiriting that the left had hardly begun agitating for John Derbyshire’s execution when prominent representatives of the right had already proactively removed his head. (Derbyshire wasn’t only fired by Lowry. He was denounced by Jonah Goldberg and Ramesh Ponnuru as well.

Of course, this is a tempest in an inkpot. The emolument for contributions to journals of opinion, even NR, is undoubtedly nothing terribly large, and writing for Takimag probably does not pay much less than writing for NR.

But all this does demonstrate, once again, just how thoroughly the culture of Puritan hypocrisy and cant continues to dominate American intellectual life.

What really happened here is that another of those unruly expatriate Brits came up against the (from his point of view) silly and bizarre cultural taboos enforced on this side of the Atlantic. In Europe generally, and in Britain in particular, franker speech, and bolder humor, on racial matters typically prevails. The Brits and Europeans have, in this area, at least, freer speech than do we.

Derbyshire really ought to have been awarded special clemency, on the basis of the Americans With Disabilities Act, since in his capacity as a heterosexual Briton he cannot possibly be expected to understand, or enter into, our domestic American racial hypocrisies and neuroses.

NYM is not quite alone in defending Derbyshire, the Village Voice lists other offenders.

7 Feedbacks on "Defending Derbyshire"

No Man

What is this “National Review” about which you post?

Capt. Craig

I hear it is a suppository of yellow bellied longing to be loved by allists.


What is wrong with you? Just because you learned critical thinking doesn’t mean you can just use it whenever you like.

Judging the soundness and general worth of statements such as those Derbyshire used is just not done, at least in polite conservative society. It’s a slippery slope if that is permitted. Why next thing you know, there will be freedom of thought and open discourse. What kind of world would that be?

Maggie's Farm

Tuesday morning links…

Toon via Theo Surgery may not be necessary for appendicitis The pomo generator Fracking is Blamed for … Well, Everything, Really. VDH: Strangers in a Stranger Land Obama Will Say and Do Anything Angry people who demand things, don’t stop bein…


So much for ever having an honest debate on race. I don’t agree with some of Derb’s opinion – but have already passed some of those warnings to my kids.


The issue is really one of electorial tactics. Obama and the Left which to incite racial anamosity amongst the blacks to increase their turnout for the Democrats this November.

Derb bit on the race baiting and addressed the real issues with real statistics and common sense, from a non-black perspective.

The Establishment GOP and Romney wish to avoid all controversy to better reap the swing voters, all to gain and hold power.

Conservatives want to solve problems by confronting them head on.

The former think the latter are hopeless ideologues. The latter think the former are sell-outs.

When do our society’s problem get attacked and solved?

Steve Bodio

Hear, hear! What a bunch of f*****g second- rate “thinkers”.

I intend to be around for a while but things like seeing Derb as the target of the new hate campaign makes me glad I’m not young. PC Republicans are just as bad as Democrats– or worse because of hypocrisy. I am furious that a nonentity like Lowry would take such a superior tone addressing an older, smarter, far more talented writer, one who is only “racist” by the standards of PC Left academics and the likes of Ta Nehisi Coates (an absurd name BTW).

I think they wanted to dump him because he doesn’t fit in a nice box and used it as an excuse. Lowry is an intellectual pygmy and should be ashamed of himself. Bill Buckley must be spinning in his grave.


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