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

Derbyshire, Goldstein and Lowry

Posted on | April 10, 2012 | 63 Comments

The Bonfire of the Derbyshire has burnt itself out, although some latecomers are still poking around in the ashes. Liberals have reassured themselves of their moral superiority. Rich Lowry has reassured himself of his own editorial adequacy. And all is right with the world.

Except of course, it’s not really.

The wheels keep turning, and if Derbyshire’s downfall was just an isolated incident, rather than part of a larger phenomenon, it wouldn’t have resulted in such a carnival of finger-pointing and recriminations.

Mark Judge congratulates himself upon the theft of his bicycle? Meh.

The other day, I made a call to a Known Thought Criminal and chatted for a while about all this. Republicans have an amazing flinch reflex about race, I said, and the Left’s politicization of race is something the GOP can’t figure out how to deal with. National Review is a Republican magazine, and Derbyshire’s extracurricular outrage was a public-relations nightmare in an election year, which Think Progress seized on in a way no one had hitherto seized on Derb’s previous excursions into race-talk.

Having studied the ways of the finger-pointers — sanctimonious white liberals who are as eager as Ashley Judd to drape themselves in a borrowed mantle of righteous victimhood –  the whole ritual was to me entirely predictable. From the minute it was brought to my attention, I knew Derbyshire was doomed. If he wished to advocate freedom of association, certainly Derb understood that the proprietors of National Review must be extended the same freedom, eh?

We may therefore say they segregated themselves from Derbism, and the great misfortune may have been Derbyshire’s foolish belief that he could integrate himself into an unwelcoming community.

Perhaps no one will be offended (but my apologies in advance, anyway) if I extend the metaphor by saying that one day, Derb was minding his own business, wearing his hoodie and walking back from the store with some Skittles, when suddenly his career was ambushed by the Zimmermans of tolerance.

Like I said, apologies in advance.

Jeff Goldstein offers some wise words:

Eric Holder once told us were were afraid to have a real dialogue on race.  And he did so because he knew we were

Goldstein’s theme is “defending the indefensible.” I know Jeff as someone who, like me, absolutely hates to see liberals win a fight – any fight — and especially hates it when liberals win because conservatives permit cowardice or convenience to persuade them to surrender.

You don’t have to agree with Derbyshire’s argument to say that liberals routinely get away with making worse arguments with more serious consequences: “We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it.” And isn’t politics about electing officials and enacting policies?

Isn’t it true that accusations of racism — overt or implicit — are a common tactic of the Democratic Party? So wouldn’t it have possible for Rich Lowry to say something like this?

“Wait a minute! I’ve called John Derbyshire on the carpet, read him the Riot Act, and suspended him from National Review until we can calm down and figure this out. I strongly disagree with what John wrote, and some of my colleagues are very angry at me for having let Derb drift along like this for so long without any attempt at enforcing editorial discipline. He’s an old man undergoing chemotherapy for cancer, and I think his ill health should be taken into consideration in dealing with this problem. It is not, and should not be interpreted as, an endorsement of Derbyshire’s opinions for me to refuse to fire a longtime employee, a writer whose work has been enjoyed for years by our magazine’s readers, under such extraordinary circumstances.
“We may be unable to work out any honorable solution, and in that case, a parting of the ways will be necessary. However, as matters stand, Derbyshire is suspended until further notice, and this seems like as good time as any — a ‘teachable moment,’ as our liberal friends might say — for National Review to have a thoroughing discussion about how issues of race relations have impacted our nation’s culture and politics. What Derbyshire did was both stupid and wrong, but if I’m the Boss around here, I must bear the responsibility for what my employees do.
“I am inextricably implicated in Derbyshire’s misdeeds, which happened under my negligent supervision. Therefore, as General Lee said to his defeated troops as they retreated from the failed assault on Cemetery Ridge he had ordered, ‘This is all my fault.’
“It would be dishonorable for me to say otherwise, and if the board of directors should see fit to require my resignation as the consequence of this embarrassment, I would tender my resignation without resentment, regretting only my costly failure.”

Yes, if Rich Lowry were a man, he might have said something like that.

But the word “if” denotes a hypothetical, doesn’t it?

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Comments

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  • Pathfinder’s wife

    I think a seance to bring back LBJ and ask his scheming behind might go a long way towards answering how things got this bad.

    Or we could just ask Al, JJ, and Shabazz how much payoff they got for perpetuating the same gig a bunch of preachers took up when Sanger waved some influence their way.  Ooooh, that might be a question worth asking, huh?

  • Pathfinder’s wife

    Come to think of it, this might be a profitable discussion to be having with every “progressive” considering what they’ve done to the poor/working class whites of Fishtown huh?

    It might be kinda fun to lump them all together and ask them why they all think the same way — why do they hate Americans across the board so much?

  • http://knappster.blogspot.com/ Thomas L. Knapp

    “Perhaps no one will be offended (but my apologies in advance, anyway) if I extend the metaphor by saying that one day, Derb was minding his own business, wearing his hoodie and walking back from the store with some Skittles, when suddenly his career was ambushed by the Zimmermans of tolerance.”

    Um, no.

    Derbyshire is a racist. That’s not an accusation or allegation, it’s an accurate description which he himself has cheerfully put forward of himself.

    The piece he wrote was racist crap with very little resemblance to reality.

    Might he have been assailed for imaginary racism had he not been a racist and had the article in question not been racist crap with very little resemblance to reality? Sure. But that, not what actually happened, is the hypothetical.

  • Dmpward

    cur, craven, poltroon, trembler,milksop, Milquetoast, pantywaist, sissy, pansy, vacillator, wimp,chicken, scaredy cat, pussy, yellow-belly

  • davod

    I am shocked, shocked, to find dialogue about race in the comments.

    Who said Derb’s article wouldn’t further the debate on race.

    Racist?

  • davod

    http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/295591/re-derb-mark-steyn

    Steyn’s article is well worth the time.

    A taste:

    “…So I don’t share Andy’s insouciance about how what’s sauce for the MSNBC race huckster, Hollywood address-tweeter and New Black Panther bounty-offerer should be a “hanging offense” for the iconoclastic right-wing gander, and them’s the rules and we just have to accept it.

    The Left is pretty clear about its objectives on everything from climate change to immigration to gay marriage: Rather than win the debate, they’d just as soon shut it down. They’ve had great success in shrinking the bounds of public discourse, and rendering whole areas of public policy all but undiscussable. In such a climate, my default position is that I’d rather put up with whatever racist/sexist/homophobic/Islamophobic/whateverphobic excess everybody’s got the vapors about this week than accept ever tighter constraints on “acceptable” opinion. The latter kills everything, not least the writing skills of the ideologically conformist: Note how cringe-makingly limp the Derbyshire “satires” are, even in the marquee publications.

    The net result of Derb’s summary execution by NR will be further to shrivel the parameters, and confine debate in this area to ever more unreal fatuities. He knew that mentioning the Great Unmentionables would sooner or later do him in, and, in an age when shrieking “That’s totally racist!” is totally gay, he at least has the rare satisfaction of having earned his colors.

    Yet what are we to make of wee, inoffensive Dave Weigel over at Slate? The water still churning with blood, the sharks are circling poor old Dave for the sin of insufficiently denouncing the racist Derbyshire. Weigel must go for not enthusiastically bellowing, “Derbyshire must go!” Come to think of it, I should probably go for querying whether Weigel should go.

    NR shouldn’t be rewarding those who want to play this game. The more sacrifices you offer up, the more ravenously the volcano belches.
    PS If Derb’s piece is sufficiently beyond the pale that its author must be terminated immediately, why is its publisher — our old friend Taki — proudly listed on the NR masthead?”

  • http://thepagantemple.blogspot.com/ ThePaganTemple

     There you go again. No Fault Divorce is a state prerogative, as is any other marriage or divorce law. Doesn’t the federal government have enough power over us? If you want to attack gay marriage, that’s fine, there are plenty of valid reasons to support a constitutional amendment version of the DOMA. Stick with that and leave state marriage laws the hell alone.

  • Quartermaster

    The IQ things was far from being over the line. “the Bell Curve” dealt with the issue, and IQ and success in self-governance has also been shwon to have a very high correlation (Africa anyone? Average IQ 75).

    The issue here is that Derb raises the issues that cowards refuse to deal with anbd he gets nothing but whining condemnation for dealing with the truth. And I’m not going to agree to disagree either. The facts are what they are and the Gods of The Copy Book Headings have returned.

  • Quartermaster

    I love fair fights. I win everyone of them I’m in.

  • Pathfinder’s wife

    Hey, I’m not going to concede anything on the issues of fairness when I know my opponents got the advantage  on me going in (one of the rules of combatives, as I was taught them) — and the Dems do definitely have the advantage going into this one, so don’t be fair with them and go point for point.

  • Pathfinder’s wife

    …and I call your “Gods of the Copybook Headings” and raise you with “The Female of the Species”!

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