The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Use ‘Derbyshire’ as a Verb

Posted on | April 7, 2012 | 84 Comments

It’s an interesting word-game concept, eh?

For years, I’ve advocated the overthrow of the decadent Rich Lowry regime at National Review, hoping that Jonah Goldberg might lead the coup. So my main interest in this remarkable controversy is whether or not it serves to undermine Lowryism.

What you might not notice is that this is a skirmish on the fringes of the Trayvon Martin controversy, which has turned into a stalemate, so that now frustrated people are in scalp-taking mode. The NBC producer got taken out by conservatives and now, for some strange reason, NR‘s John Derbyshire just volunteers himself as a target for the Left?

The smart thing to do would be to stay away from this, but Dave Weigel wandered over and made some remarks, and now the Left is going after Weigel: He’s not sufficiently outraged for their tastes.

The Left is intolerant, opportunistic and unprincipled. While it is impossible to imagine any scenario in which Lowry won’t be forced to fire Derbyshire now, I’m actually more fascinated by the Left’s attempt to bully Weigel for failing to denounce Derbyshire in strong enough terms.

This is a sort of Maoist tactic, the demand for conformity and solidarity. The Left is enraged by the fact that Weigel is an ideological wild card, yet employed by a “mainstream” news operation. So now they’re trying to indict him as “soft on racism,” and I suppose it wouldn’t help Dave any for me to say how much I’ve always liked him, huh?

Probably not. Anyway, the other day, a conservative friend of mine pointed out that, given Jen Rubin’s annoying pro-Romney bias, maybe some people are wishing they’d never gotten Weigel fired from the Post.

And now the Left’s trying to get Weigel fired from Slate?

Be careful what you wish for, lefties. It could be worse. Trust me.

Also, here’s the best headline yet in the Trayvon Martin controversy:

Armed Neo-Nazis Now Patrolling Sanford, Say They
Are “Prepared” For Post-Trayvon Martin Violence

Remember what I said about the “riot ideology“? Some people will be disappointed if the Trayvon Martin controversy doesn’t provoke a riot.

UPDATE (Smitty): linked at The Conservatory.

UPDATE II: Some interesting comments below, including this:

99% of the homeowners who are appalled by that article bought their house in the “whitest” school district they could afford.

UPDATE III: Also, Dan Riehl describes his own experience, and this is an important point: Everybody forms their own opinions based on their own experiences, and it is difficult to argue with people’s experience. That is to say, when discussing the military, lifelong civilians must defer to the combat veteran.

So when Dan says, “Here is an experience I went through, which exemplifies a general tendency,” your argument that no such tendency exists must be based on first-hand experience to the contrary. But if you’ve never been in a schoolyard fight — the subject of Dan’s anecdote — your personal experience is inapplicable as evidence.

One problem I’ve discovered in trying to communicate with intellectuals is that so many of them are wimps from sheltered backgrounds whose mamas wouldn’t let them play football — apple-polishing goodie-two-shoes who never strayed outside the confines of their safe, wholesome, upwardly-mobile affluent cocoon.

Dan’s from New Jersey and smokes Marlboro Reds. Deal with it.


84 Responses to “Use ‘Derbyshire’ as a Verb”

  1. SarahConnor
    April 7th, 2012 @ 3:28 am

    Will NRO show a modicum of courage and fortitude and defend their columnist’s right to his views, or will their resolve crumble as pathetically quickly as I suspect it will?

  2. robertstacymccain
    April 7th, 2012 @ 4:15 am

    Like I said, I can’t imagine any outcome of this scenario other than Derbyshire getting fired.

  3. JeffWeimer
    April 7th, 2012 @ 6:35 am

     I first read about it from a Corner post by Lowry denouncing it on behalf of NRO. So yeah, the future looks dim for Derb there.

  4. Adjoran
    April 7th, 2012 @ 6:37 am

    Had Mr. Buckley bequeathed the job to me, I’d have fired Lowry and Derbyshire long ago, and required the rest to wear long pants at all times.

    But if you skip through the Think Progress reports and read the actual article by Derbyshire, you must ask exactly what he says which is objectively untrue, even if unartfully expressed.

    Remember, this is a man of mixed ancestry, a naturalized immigrant from a country approaching Third World status voluntarily.  Do we owe him less deference than what we accord a muslim who wants to hack off the limbs of thieves, murder Jews, and kill his slutty daughter?

  5. Adjoran
    April 7th, 2012 @ 6:39 am

     Yeah, Lowry lacks the backbone to fold.  He can only melt.

  6. smitty
    April 7th, 2012 @ 7:05 am

    I guess I’d like to force everyone into a remedial biochemistry course, so we can face the truth: none of our societal problems are genetic in the slightest.

  7. Adjoran
    April 7th, 2012 @ 7:39 am

     Who said genetics had anything to do with it? 

    Again,  which of the specific things Derb said are untrue?  Can something be offensive if it is true?

  8. AnonymousDrivel
    April 7th, 2012 @ 8:28 am

    I thought the Politically Correct Rule of the Month indicated that only the use of “slut” was a firing offense.  It’s so hard to keep up these days.

  9. AnonymousDrivel
    April 7th, 2012 @ 8:58 am

    Actually, it would be a fascinating study (or series of studies) to correlate cultural differences as a consequence of DNA recombination in the human genome. Yes, humans have common DNA, but that which is expressed or expressed most ubiquitously will be determined by population dynamics and its pool of dominant traits.

    For example, lets say that elevated levels of epinephrine (Epi) give someone a competitive advantage. The population of Epi+ individuals in a localized population will increase over normal, global expression of Epi0 or Epi- individuals. It turns out that early stage development of the fetus in Epi+ specimens results in some other genetic switch that turns on as a consequence of epinephrine staying active longer because it isn’t cleaved… perhaps manifesting itself systemically as “aggression” due to the action of the epinephrine protein. Now, how might the “aggressive” gene/behavior manifest itself in a culture compared to another with exclusively Epi0/Epi- individuals? Is it wrong to design a study to observe such hypotheticals?

    Yes, we can be all offended that someone might suggest there are differences (not better or worse, just different) in races (as a consequence of regional breeding) while ignoring the fact that evolution is ongoing (though extremely difficult to quantify/qualify in Homo sapiens); or we can get over our offense and look for truth while using legitimate science as the tool for discovery.

    So, yes, biochemistry itself will be uniform in humans across populations by default because chemistry is physics, but there will enzymatic pathways and protein manufacture that might be over- or under-expressed as a consequence of selective reproduction. So then the direction of inquiry will lead to “chicken or egg” phenomena.

    But we’ll never see such quests for knowledge because to even inquire is to cross a rubicon. To that end, humans of the day are cowards but not fools. Who wants to be the leading martyrs?

  10. Calvin Freiburger
    April 7th, 2012 @ 8:59 am

    His First Amendment rights are neither here nor there. Derb had the right to write the column, Taki’s had the right to publish it, and NR has the right to discontinue their association with him.

  11. smitty
    April 7th, 2012 @ 8:59 am

    The basic division of people into races is a genetic point.

  12. smitty
    April 7th, 2012 @ 9:07 am

    I come at it from the other end: when you look at life, you grasp that the Almighty is really into recycling. There isn’t a lot of difference between the human genome and the various primates.

    Within the human genome, for example, you can’t tell the difference between any of the various peoples labeled ‘Semitic’, and have to strive to tell anybody apart from anywhere in the world.

    As an IT sort of person, it all smacks of a protocol stack: these genetic differences are implemented in the physical layer, like ethernet, whereas the various religious/racial/sexual tensions are coming up at the application layer, like HTTP.

    All analogies are like vacuum cleaners, and suck. So I wouldn’t drive this idea too hard. Yet, my contention is that some more basic education into how the DNA works would move the problem off of physical characteristics and racism, and into that conversation on race that Eric Holder likes to talk about having, but to which he doesn’t seem to bring much sincerity.

  13. smitty
    April 7th, 2012 @ 9:08 am

    That rule didn’t survive the NBC editor.

  14. Oschisms
    April 7th, 2012 @ 9:17 am

    99% of the homeowners who are appalled by that article bought their house in the “whitest” school district they could afford. In my opinion, racist deeds are worse than racist words.

  15. SarahConnor
    April 7th, 2012 @ 9:22 am

    So some things just can’t be said? And the people who say those kinds of things must be made to suffer. They can’t be allowed to keep their jobs, or for that matter to enjoy a moment’s peace for the rest of their lives. This is just the usual shrieking when someone tells the truth.

  16. JeffS
    April 7th, 2012 @ 9:23 am

     “Right to [insert action here]” is not semantically equal “Obligated to [insert action here]”.

  17. vermontaigne
    April 7th, 2012 @ 9:27 am

    Just so I’m up to date, could you please distinguish “to derbyshire” from “to frisch”?

  18. JeffS
    April 7th, 2012 @ 9:35 am

    The Left is intolerant, opportunistic and unprincipled.

    You left out self-centered.  This is why narcissism so rampant amongst their ranks.  Which is why the Left, as a whole, is unwilling to accept responsibility for failure.  Hence their trait of scalp hunting in the wake of any debacle is a consequence of their basic philosophy (such as it is).

    So no one should be surprised at their response to the Trayvon Martin controversy.  It’s inevitable; just look at how many people were murdered under Stalin and Mao because someone failed.

    Some people will be disappointed if the Trayvon Martin controversy doesn’t provoke a riot.

    Hell, I’m certain that some people bet on a riot, and not just Al Sharpton.

  19. “To Derb”: verb, intransitive
    April 7th, 2012 @ 9:40 am

    […] See Stacy’s for explanation. […]

  20. Radish
    April 7th, 2012 @ 9:44 am

    I’m thinking of a piece published in the Milwaukee paper last year after
    the wilding at the State Fair; a white man who was punched in
    the face while in his car wrote that he didn’t roll up his window when
    he saw a group of black teens approach because he didn’t want them to
    think he was a racist. And then one of the teens reached in and punched
    him in the face.

    Better to get punched in the face than to hurt the feelings of someone who would punch you.  It’s our attitude toward jihad, it’s our attitude toward the southern border, and it’s our attitude toward our cities. None of these things are going to end well.

  21. A timid truth-teller
    April 7th, 2012 @ 10:18 am

    Sad yet predictable.  I’m only surprised  Derbyshire lasted this long.  I guess the truth hurts the Trayvon Martin crowd.  What’s amusing is that all of the lefties baying for Derbyshire’s head still follow his advice.

  22. JeffS
    April 7th, 2012 @ 10:18 am

    For clarity, I don’t think we need to include “to fisk” in your request.  That should be evident.

  23. arturo_ui
    April 7th, 2012 @ 10:28 am

    “The Left is intolerant, opportunistic and unprincipled. ”

    Oh please.  Was the Right tolerant of Sandra Fluke?  Has it been tolerant of a dead teenager, Trayvon Martin?  Get over yourself.  You are just as intolerant as anyone else, Mr. McCain.

  24. Adobe_Walls
    April 7th, 2012 @ 10:29 am

    I’m not so sure Sharpton wants a riot at least not a big one.

  25. Wombat_socho
    April 7th, 2012 @ 10:44 am

     For bonus points, Derb’s in a mixed marriage, but I guess since she’s Asian he gets no points for that.

  26. JeffS
    April 7th, 2012 @ 11:12 am

     Yeah, you”re right, he likely prefers a small riot.  He can’t milk businesses if they’re burned out.

  27. Evi L. Bloggerlady
    April 7th, 2012 @ 11:14 am


    They will fall over themselves trying to show that they are not John Derbyshire.  

  28. SDN
    April 7th, 2012 @ 11:29 am

     So you don’t actually believe in the theory of evolution on any level?

    Face facts, Smitty: evolution doesn’t give much of a damn for PC. It simply operates to conserve genetic traits that contribute to survival and reproduction of those traits…. and culls out those that don’t. Anything with a biological basis is genetically determined; the fact that humans can attempt to override genetics doesn’t change that.

  29. Cube
    April 7th, 2012 @ 11:36 am

     Such deference would require intellectual consistency that the left is not known for.  The feelings of the politically correct crowd trump inconvenient facts like the ideas they previously expressed.

  30. ThePaganTemple
    April 7th, 2012 @ 11:39 am

    Some people will be disappointed if the Trayvon Martin controversy doesn’t provoke a riot.

    I’ll just be disappointed if leftists riot and the rest of us just sit back and take it. But I won’t be surprised.

  31. Tb
    April 7th, 2012 @ 11:45 am

    Since you’re expressing something no scientist has believed in 100 years, could you also expound on your belief in phrenology. Social Darwinism, alive on the Right

  32. Thomas L. Knapp
    April 7th, 2012 @ 11:56 am

    “The Left is intolerant, opportunistic and unprincipled.”

    Very true. And the Right is the opposite — unprincipled, opportunistic and intolerant!

  33. robertstacymccain
    April 7th, 2012 @ 12:08 pm

    I appreciate your Libertarian objectivity — or, perhaps I should say, Objectivism.

  34. Thomas L. Knapp
    April 7th, 2012 @ 12:19 pm

    Nah, I’m not an Objectivist. I do admire Ayn Rand’s work, but the tendency of her followers to part ways with reality at the drop of a syllogism eventually became regular and predictable enough that I had to evaluate it as inherent in her system.

  35. robertstacymccain
    April 7th, 2012 @ 12:35 pm

    Two important distinctions:

    1. Between groups and individuals.
    2. Between facts and theories.

    For example, one might dislike damned Yankees as a group, without supposing that everyone born north of the Potomac and Ohio rivers is a worthless scoundrel. And one might note the general traits of the despised Yankee — e.g., self-righteousness — as observable facts without resorting to any theory as to whether these traits are heriditary or acquired by habit.

  36. Kim
    April 7th, 2012 @ 12:35 pm

    What if all of this is a set up by Derb? What if he is substituting races in comments that he found about whites on liberal sites? It will be fascinating to see how this plays out. Methinks Stacy’s advice to stay out of it for now, at least until we have more info is the way to go. This is so uncharacteristic from Derbyshire’s usual fare, that it makes me suspicious.

  37. robertstacymccain
    April 7th, 2012 @ 12:43 pm

    Also: Our personal habits of courtesy, hospitality, kindness and friendship toward others are far more important, in the long run, than whether or not our thoughts and expressions comport with political fashions.

    And I married a Yankee. 

  38. JeffS
    April 7th, 2012 @ 1:01 pm

     Of course, you can say this because you are principled, tolerant, and selfless, everything that Democrats/Republicans are not.  A paragon of self-virtue, as it were.

    And here I thought that when some folks describe ‘Capital “L” Libertarians’ as “pure”, they meant “ideological”, not in “I can throw the first stone” level of righteousness. 

    My bad.  I’ll correct my genetically inherited political leanings immediately.

  39. Thomas L. Knapp
    April 7th, 2012 @ 1:16 pm


    I don’t recall describing myself as principled, tolerant or selfless, or for that matter making any claims relating to my own moral rectitude.

    Nor am I a “Capital ‘L’ Libertarian” — blame the Libertarian Party for anything you want, but not on my account. I am not a member of that organization and haven’t been for some time.

  40. Evi L. Bloggerlady
    April 7th, 2012 @ 1:21 pm  I would caution more introspection than outrage over John Derbyshire’s comments.  Matthew 7:1-5 comes to mind.  And to those who would like to paint all conservatives with the brush of faux outrage–spare me.  Look in your own hearts before you start criticizing.  

  41. Shelleys Playtime
    April 7th, 2012 @ 1:37 pm

    The truth behind the headlines is there are a lot of blacks who have been advising their own children some of what John Derbyshire’s wrote long before his column…

  42. JeffS
    April 7th, 2012 @ 1:42 pm

    You don’t do irony well at all, eh?

  43. Adobe_Walls
    April 7th, 2012 @ 1:48 pm

    Bad optics as well. The sixties riots paid off well in terms of government largess and guilt induced preferential treatment for the right sort.

  44. Thomas L. Knapp
    April 7th, 2012 @ 1:49 pm

    Yeah, I guess ya got me there.

  45. Shelleys Playtime
    April 7th, 2012 @ 1:52 pm

     “And I married a Yankee.” Heh! I feel for you.  I was a Damn Yankee for 20+ years…

  46. ThePaganTemple
    April 7th, 2012 @ 1:56 pm

    “Don’t go in their neighborhoods”

    Like he needed to say that. How many white people does he think make it a habit of going out of their way to go to black neighborhoods, unless they have a damn good reason to go there. Illegal reasons, maybe, but still damn good ones.

  47. richard mcenroe
    April 7th, 2012 @ 2:03 pm

    Actually relevant to this topic,  do you know why swords were banned in NYC even before handguns?

  48. Rich Lowry’s Editorial Impotence? : The Other McCain
    April 7th, 2012 @ 2:06 pm

    […] to play on us here?Mind you, I’m not saying you should fire Derbyshire: A commenter on a previous post raised the possibility that Derb was cleverly parodying a black racialist writer’s version of […]

  49. John Derbyshire: A Good And Brave Man « The Camp Of The Saints
    April 7th, 2012 @ 2:31 pm

    […] -Stacy McCain’s […]

  50. Bob Belvedere
    April 7th, 2012 @ 2:45 pm

    If anyone is unable to get through the Taki servers, which are quite overwhelmed, I have cut and paste the article into a page on my site with all of John’s links preserved: