Needless To Say?

by John Holbo on April 7, 2012

I’m a bit puzzled by Rich Lowry’s degree of confidence that no one at NR agrees with what the Derb wrote. After all, the Derb himself is at NR. He was posting there as of two days ago. Does this mean he’s out at NR? Is Radio Derb going to cease broadcasting its message of freedom? Kremlin watchers want to know.

I’m curious to see how comments to Lowry’s post shape up. [UPDATE: no such luck. They’re closed.] What is wrong with Derb’s version of ‘the talk’, after all? He has the courage to speak Bell Curve truth to liberal power? He has the keen-eyed discernment to see race hucksterism and political correctness for what they really are? His remedy consists entirely of the rigorous practice of freedom of association? “Avoid concentrations of blacks not all known to you personally.” I’m not seeing the problem here.

The Derb is a veritable Gandhi of passive resistance to injustice – compared to George Zimmerman, just for example. In a season in which reasonable conservatives are debating whether Zimmerman was is the right, surely they can at least come together in agreeing that the whole sorry situation – and the President’s shameful if perhaps inevitable insertion of race into the mix – could have been avoided if only someone had taken Zimmerman aside, at an earlier point in his life, and given him the Derb’s version of the Talk.

Pressing the Gandhi analogy: suppose this sort of thing were to catch on and be practiced widely. Couldn’t it have a salutary effect, embarrassing the ruling liberal elite by highlighting their hypocrisy? It’s not as though the government is going to force people not to do as Derb advises. (What are they going to do? Send in the National Guard to carry protesting white people, who have gone all limp, into the midst of crowds of black people they don’t know? It’s absurd. Even liberals wouldn’t dream of it.) At worst, then, the Talk keeps a few Zimmermans from becoming victims. At best, it might clear the air – slowly, quietly – in thousands of homes. That won’t result in a clearing of the air in the much more polluted public sphere, of course. But a virtuous citizenry is no more built in a day than Rome was. Mightn’t The Talk – at the knee of father and mother – be the first, tremulous baby step on the way to what we all always say we want: a frank, adult national conversation about race – by which liberals, of course, mean yet another lecture to conservatives about race, as if they are all a bunch of disobedient children? Give the liberals what they say they want – some Talk – and see if they like it!

What, exactly, is Lowry’s problem with that? Perhaps comments to his post will enlighten me.

UPDATE: Seems Derb’s fate at NR is in some doubt. Ponnuru and Goldberg have tweeted against him. I would be curious to hear them explain why they think this is over the line, not just that it is. To me, it looks to me like an assemblage of points, all of which are, by general and specifically Derbish precedent, accepted as mainstream conservative discourse. Admittedly, put them together and they look bad. Yes, I can see that now. (Did they never notice that the Derb thinks these things before now?)

2nd UPDATE: And he’s outa there!

{ 196 comments }

1

swearyanthony 04.07.12 at 7:36 am

Lowry appears to have forgotten to enable comments on that post. I wonder why?

Is “dog vuvuzela” a term yet?

2

Reinder Dijkhuis 04.07.12 at 9:10 am

I’m not going to follow any of these links, but did the Derb manage to say something that was even more embarrassing than what he’s said about women in the past? That must have taken some effort.

3

Kevin Donoghue 04.07.12 at 9:36 am

Reinder Dijkhuis, I’m not an expert on the Derb, but what he wrote seemed to me just the sort of thing a racist would say to his children. Can’t see what’s bothering Rich Lowry, unless hypocrisy is NR policy.

4

Metatone 04.07.12 at 9:45 am

I think Derb’s piece is an instructive example of how the current right-wing think-tank-media complex regularly uses a “concept colonisation” tactic.

Because talk about “The Talk” that characterises a lot of the African-American growing up experience was starting to touch a chord. It was a symbol of the fear.

So Derb sets out to repossess the meme for his tribe – see, we’re really the ones under threat…

5

mjfgates 04.07.12 at 9:51 am

No one could have imagined that the man who wrote this, or this, might produce anything as gauche as a “screed.” Such a thing would be as unthinkable as bankers destroying the economy.

6

roger 04.07.12 at 10:00 am

The article by Derbyshire surprised me. Where was Slate? That’s the kind of contrarianism they pay the big bucks for. If Derbyshire is out at NRO, perhaps Saleton and he could exchange theories of black inferiority and warm each others hearts. Here’s Saleton giving a more “liberal” version of the Derb talk, full of bonyfied race science from J. Phillipe Rushton!
http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/human_nature/features/2007/created_equal/liberalcreationism.html. Perhaps Sally can advise Derb to voice the racism in conditionals, and to not so openly quote J. P. So embarrassing! http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/human_nature/features/2007/created_equal/regrets.html

7

belle le triste 04.07.12 at 10:10 am

(This is a losing battle, but it’s Gandhi, not Ghandi.)

8

John Holbo 04.07.12 at 11:03 am

Why is it a losing battle? Is the accepted spelling being changed under pressure from careless folks like me? If so, maybe I should try to get on the right side of history and just leave it as-is?

9

bexley 04.07.12 at 11:03 am

The interesting question to me is how the UK has managed to export so many gits into the US punditocracy. Sully, Derb and formerly Hitch: naturally as a Brit I’m happy for them not to be polluting the discourse here but I’m bemused that the US was so happy to take them on.

10

Meltog 04.07.12 at 11:08 am

Satire, to be effective, requires that a certain proportion of the audience thinks that it is serious.* Um, this _is_ satire, isn’t it? **

* Probably Menken said this – it seems an appropriate time to trot him out anyway.
** Which is worse – not seeing the humor, or seeing humor when there really isn’t a joke?

11

John Holbo 04.07.12 at 11:14 am

“Um, this is satire, isn’t it?”

Naw, I was totally kidding. I totally corrected the spelling in the post as soon as it was pointed out.

12

Jim Henley 04.07.12 at 12:21 pm

Looks like NRO isn’t taking any chances in re comments? I think they’re turned off on that post.

13

david 04.07.12 at 12:21 pm

Lowry has used his powers of clairvoyance to foresee that the comments will, against all odds, not be unanimous agreement to condemn Derbyshire. To spare us the horror he has pre-emptively disabled them.

14

Henry 04.07.12 at 12:29 pm

bq. The interesting question to me is how the UK has managed to export so many gits into the US punditocracy. Sully, Derb and formerly Hitch: naturally as a Brit I’m happy for them not to be polluting the discourse here but I’m bemused that the US was so happy to take them on.

dsquared has a theory on this as I recall (but it’s more one of puzzlement about why more loony pundits have not been exported from the UK to the US).

15

John Holbo 04.07.12 at 12:32 pm

“Looks like NRO isn’t taking any chances in re comments? I think they’re turned off on that post.”

Damn, you’re right. I was hoping to get some data.

16

Russell Arben Fox 04.07.12 at 12:58 pm

I want to see someone give odds on the likelihood that somebody (Ross Douthat?) will soon write a prominent piece which sadly condemns the Derb for contributing to simplistic racist stereotypes when what we’re actually dealing with here is A Very Serious and Complicated Problem About Which We All Must Think Carefully and Deeply.

17

Jexpat 04.07.12 at 1:15 pm

Wake me up if Lowry ever has an original thought.

Seriously- not to bag on the substance of the post, but I’m Rip Van Winkle here.

18

Matt 04.07.12 at 1:15 pm

The interesting question to me is how the UK has managed to export so many gits into the US punditocracy.

Though he’s not as well-known now as he was a bit ago, don’t forget Peter Brimlow, another Brit who has devoted his life to protecting America from the Brown horde who threaten our purity. (The group he works for now, “V-Dare”, is named, in slightly tricky fashion, after a person who was supposedly the first European born in North America. That gives you some indication. Yet, he does still get invited to contribute to serious works on immigration policy and the like.)

Russell- have you turned against Ross? That would really be quite like him, yet I always thought you were a fan of his.

19

matttbastard 04.07.12 at 1:30 pm

NRO readers to Rich Lowry: “We are all Derbyshire.”

#popcorn

20

R Johnston 04.07.12 at 2:09 pm

The NRO hasn’t turned off comments on all posts, and their readership, while dimwitted, is still smart enough to figure out how to post comments to the Lowry post about the Derb in other comment threads.

Closing down comments on that post is going to turn the entire website into a bigger cesspool than usual rather than keeping the extra special racism overdose confined to a specific comment thread.

21

Stephen 04.07.12 at 2:18 pm

Kevin Donoghue@3:

Are you entirely sure that “The default principle in everyday personal encounters is, that as a fellow citizen, with the same rights and obligations as yourself, any individual black is entitled to the same courtesies you would extend to a nonblack citizen. That is basic good manners and good citizenship” is exactly the sort of thing a racist would say to his children?

Or “As with any population of such a size, there is great variation among blacks in every human trait (except, obviously, the trait of identifying oneself as black). They come fat, thin, tall, short, dumb, smart, introverted, extroverted, honest, crooked, athletic, sedentary, fastidious, sloppy, amiable, and obnoxious. There are black geniuses and black morons. There are black saints and black psychopaths. In a population of forty million, you will find almost any human type.”

We may, of course, have different ideas of what it is to be racist.

22

Manta1976 04.07.12 at 2:25 pm

Bexley, I wouldn’t be so happy if I were you about British “gits” striking big in US: habits, fashions, and policies developed in the “new world” come back to the “old word”.

23

bjk 04.07.12 at 2:32 pm

Finally John Holbo writes something a) I finished reading and b) agree with.

24

Phil 04.07.12 at 2:45 pm

Stephen – racists clear their throats just the same as you and me.

25

William Timberman 04.07.12 at 2:54 pm

Has anyone ever read Bartle Bull’s ruminations on foreign policy? (I encountered them in Prospect some years back.) Here are the first two sentences from one titled Mission Accomplished, from 2007, which appeared under the famous package picture of Bush on the aircraft carrier:

The question of what to do in Iraq today must be separated from the decision to topple Saddam Hussein four and a half years ago. That decision is a matter for historians. By any normal ethical standard, the coalition’s current project in Iraq is a just one. Britain, America and Iraq’s other allies are there as the guests of an elected government given a huge mandate by Iraqi voters under a legitimate constitution.

Seems as though not every pundit of questionable judgment from the UK winds up here in America. (Please, please tell me that the NYT hasn’t just hired him to replace Paul K.)

26

Henry (not the famous one) 04.07.12 at 2:59 pm

On the subject of hacks we’d be happy to give back to the UK, there is Niall Ferguson, who gets cover articles on Teen News, formerly known as Newsweek.

27

DaveL 04.07.12 at 3:22 pm

I’ve been sort of mystified about “The Talk” itself. The advice it gives is the advice that any parent would give their children about dealing with the police (especially) and other authority figures*. It is more or less what I told my children, and I’m white. What makes it particularly a “black thing”?

What do you (those who are in that position) say to your children? Does anyone advise their children to be impolite to the police, for example?

* To avoid providing quibble-bait, I don’t doubt that, as I did, many or even most parents would also say that the reason to follow the advice is not that police or authority figures are “better” than you, but that in most such encounters you are often in a “down” position with respect to them, and that there are circumstances where you legitimately ignore the advice.

28

Watson Ladd 04.07.12 at 3:28 pm

Stephen, but the important part is his equating blackness with criminality, as though all blacks were prone to violence. I overheard a great conversation on the six once: A black guy was complaining about how when he was driving a Porsche on the South Side he got pulled over and booked on suspicion of stealing it. So he demands his phone call, and an hour later a lawyer comes down, hands the cop on duty his card, and the guys who arrested him turn white. That’s the sort of attitude (on the part of the cops) that Deb is defending, and its an attitude that makes people make bad decisions. (Cops are more likely to think a black man has a gun then a white one)

29

Scott Lemieux 04.07.12 at 3:30 pm

Fortunately, the previous post still has open comments than enable some data collection:

http://www.lawyersgunsmoneyblog.com/2012/04/needless-to-say

30

JP Stormcrow 04.07.12 at 4:04 pm

Shorter Rich Lowry: “What part of our chat the other day about concern trolling didn’t you understand, Derb?”

31

P O'Neill 04.07.12 at 5:08 pm

At least with the tactless buffoon gone from the Corner, we won’t have to read more posts like

Attn: Superdome Residents August 29, 2005 10:05 A.M. I think it’s time to face facts. That place is going to be a Mad Max/thunderdome Waterworld/Lord of the Flies horror show within the next few hours. My advice is to prepare yourself now. Hoard weapons, grow gills and learn to communicate with serpents. While you’re working on that, find the biggest guy you can and when he’s not expecting it beat him senseless. Gather young fighters around you and tell the womenfolk you will feed and protect any female who agrees to participate without question in your plans to repopulate the earth with a race of gilled-supermen. It’s never too soon to be prepared.

Oh wait ….

32

Stephen 04.07.12 at 5:09 pm

Watson Ladd @28:

I would be outraged at Derbyshire’s racism if he were, as you say, “equating blackness with criminality, as though all blacks were prone to violence”. But are you sure that is what he did?

My understanding (not informed by a deep knowledge of American racial politics) is that he wrote “A small cohort of blacks—in my experience, around five percent—is ferociously hostile to whites” and “the means—the averages—of many traits are very different for black and white Americans, as has been confirmed by methodical inquiries in the human sciences. Of most importance to your personal safety are the very different means for antisocial behavior, which you will see reflected in, for instance, school disciplinary measures, political corruption, and criminal convictions.”

How you get from that to “all blacks are prone to violence” I cannot tell.

Now, you may well be able to argue that no (or negligibly few) blacks are in fact ferociously hostile to whites; or that antisocial behaviour is much the same in all American racial groups. If so, produce evidence for these arguments, and I will happily write off Derbyshire as a deluded racist.

But I wouldn’t do that just because he would advise his children to keep out of black areas.

33

phosphorious 04.07.12 at 5:15 pm

If so, produce evidence for these arguments, and I will happily write off Derbyshire as a deluded racist. But I wouldn’t do that just because he would advise his children to keep out of black areas.

I’m not sure the burden of proof lies where you think it lies.

34

CK MacLeod 04.07.12 at 5:23 pm

(I don’t think there’s much doubt about the correct spelling of “Gandhi.” As for popular usage, I think that question was settled, if it ever really was a question, in 1982, at latest, when the film Gandhi, as in G-a-n-d-h-i not G-h-a-n-d-i, took 8 Oscars. You will still on occasion, like here!, find “Ghandi,” but in this instance the popular decision also appears to be orthographically sound, the “dh” referring to an actual aspirated consonant in the original pronunciation of the name. A little net-work ought to confirm this all.)

35

CK MacLeod 04.07.12 at 5:24 pm

(Well now I see you’ve corrected it. Such a kidder. Ha ha.)

36

Stephen 04.07.12 at 5:27 pm

Watson Ladd
Also: I do not doubt that, in the example you gave, some US police behaved despicably. I do not doubt that, in many other cases, US (and other) police have behaved equally despicably.

What I do doubt is that you can conclude, from Derbyshire’s article, that he defends such police behaviour. Can you point out where he did?

37

Bill Murray 04.07.12 at 5:51 pm

Stephen,

Why does Derbyshire confine this talk to being about blacks? Does he give separate talks to his kids about Asians and whites and people with British accents? If so, why not just make one that’s generic to all people. If not then he must believe only blacks have crime problems and should be avoided, which is pretty explicitly racist.

38

phosphorious 04.07.12 at 5:54 pm

What I do doubt is that you can conclude, from Derbyshire’s article, that he defends such police behaviour. Can you point out where he did?

As long as Derb doesn’t insist that the police beat people for being black, then he’s not a racist? But to avoid people for being black, and refuse to help them, and to teach your children to do the same. . . that’s not racist?

39

Slocum 04.07.12 at 6:05 pm

This thread has two optima, by my lights: (a) respondants to this thread will ignore Stephen; (b) after a long enough quibble-fight, he, in exquisite frustration, finally breaks down and makes an racist comment (no doubt his last here).

40

bert 04.07.12 at 6:29 pm

Derbyshire published this via Taki, a noxious import to the UK with a regular column in Tory house journal The Spectator.
bq. In Taki’s Spectator musings New York Puerto Ricans are spics – “a bunch of semi-savages … fat, squat, ugly, dusky, dirty.” Kenya is labelled “bongo-bongo land” and black men are periodically referred to as “Sambo”.

Foolish of him not to couch his racism in the context of American partisanship, in which guise it would stand a chance of attracting defenders, but instead to outsource it to a foreign outlet, leaving him rather friendless.

41

bjk 04.07.12 at 6:30 pm

Derb’s advice boils down to “don’t go where you might be outnumbered.” In order to avoid incidents like this.

http://current.com/community/93732595_the-viral-video-of-a-man-being-beaten-stripped-and-robbed-in-baltimore-have-pushed-police-to-act.htm?xid=RSSfeed

42

Kevin Donoghue 04.07.12 at 6:31 pm

From John Holbo’s update: “To me, it looks to me like an assemblage of points, all of which are, by general and specifically Derbish precedent, accepted as mainstream conservative discourse. Admittedly, put them together and they look bad.”

That’s part of it. Also there’s the way he says it. The approved method is to refrain from saying that blacks are, on average, pretty stupid and instead say that there should be no prim PC prohibition on discussing the evidence for black stupidity and the need to face the facts (hard facts, of course; Flann O’Brien’s catechism is well-memorized) when considering social policy.

It’s not good to say racist things, it’s better to champion the right to say them, in a suitably regretful, scholarly tone.

43

bert 04.07.12 at 6:39 pm

I’d forgotten, Taki is one of the forces behind The American Conservative.
So the turf wars of US bullshittery may be a factor also.

44

Lurker 04.07.12 at 6:42 pm

Man, I wish abb1 were here for this.

45

Substance McGravitas 04.07.12 at 7:02 pm

Derb’s advice boils down to “don’t go where you might be outnumbered.”

Outnumbered by whom? Choose one:

a) Accountants
b) Famous celebrities
c) Children
d) Black people

46

Manta1976 04.07.12 at 7:03 pm

I can’t believe that John and the commenters left out the true victims here: Derbish’s sons, that for years had to endure this kind of “talk”.
Not to mention the readers of NR, that for years had to read this kind of articles: they are like battered spouses, unable to leave their abusive partner…

47

Stephen 04.07.12 at 7:36 pm

Slocum@39

If I have understood you correctly, your position is that

a) I have asked undesirable questions and should therefore be ignored
b) I must be a racist and will eventually reveal myself as such

a) is unworthy of an intelligent contributor to this thread
b) is contemptible, unless you have full confidence in your powers of telepathy.

To make it as plain as possible: “race” is in my opinion a rather ill-defined concept, but in as far as it can be used, I can see no reason whatever to believe that members of any one race are necessarily superior to members of any other.

Is that sufficiently non-racist for you, or could you suggest a stronger form?

48

Stephen 04.07.12 at 7:48 pm

Phosphorious@38

Derbyshire’s general advice, as I read it, was ““The default principle in everyday personal encounters is, that as a fellow citizen, with the same rights and obligations as yourself, any individual black is entitled to the same courtesies you would extend to a nonblack citizen. That is basic good manners and good citizenship”.

Do you have any reason to suppose he did not mean that to extend to the police as well? (They do not, of course, always follow that advice: which is not Derbyshire’s fault.)

49

phosphorious 04.07.12 at 7:56 pm

Stephen@47

Ahh. . . here’s the problem: Derb’s general advice as I see it is this:

(10g) Before voting for a black politician, scrutinize his/her character much more carefully than you would a white.

(10h) Do not act the Good Samaritan to blacks in apparent distress, e.g., on the highway.

(10i) If accosted by a strange black in the street, smile and say something polite but keep moving.

Which doesn’t sound like he would grant black people “the same courtesies he would extend to a non-black citizen.

I have no idea whether he thinks the police should act the way he expects his children to act.

50

Steven Tran-Creque 04.07.12 at 7:56 pm

You know, it’s really easy to feel like it’s impossible to tell the difference between reality and good satire now, but I’m pretty sure the actual difference is that I laughed at Derbyshire and this just made me feel kind of uncomfortable.

Not really sure what to make of that.

51

Stephen 04.07.12 at 7:59 pm

Bill Murray@37

The reason Derbyshire’s “talk” was concerned with blacks is probably that the “talk” to which he was responding was addressed to blacks. I do agree with DaveL that the first “talk” could usefully have been addressed to many others.

Your conclusion that “he must believe only blacks have crime problems ” does not seem to me to follow from what he said. If he does believe that he is, of course, a racist idiot. But that is something to be demonstrated, not asserted.

52

rf 04.07.12 at 8:00 pm

If the most useful insight John Derbyshire can offer us after 60 odd years on this planet is

“As with any population of such a size, there is great variation among blacks in every human trait”

Then being racist is the least of his worries

53

Andrew F. 04.07.12 at 8:08 pm

The substance of Derbyshire’s post doesn’t really merit discussion imho – more interesting here is the contrast between JH’s perception of mainstream conservative discourse and Lowry’s (and others apparently) perception of mainstream conservative discourse.

To the extent that mainstream conservative discourse is defined by, or at least substantially influenced by, the standards of the National Review, I’d think Lowry’s and others’ condemnation of Derbyshire’s post is a point in Lowry’s favor.

The points raised above as to the likely content of comments posted on the National Review in response to Lowry’s post are plausible as well, however.

Perhaps the best we can say is that for Lowry, and others, conservatism is exemplified – and “truly about” – the standards and values held by the more reasonable of that crowd, while for JH, and others, conservatism is exemplified – and “truly about” – the standards and values held by the less reasonable of that crowd.

Let’s say for the sake of argument that the less reasonable are numerically superior to the more reasonable: does that settle the question of what conservatism is truly about? Does Lowry’s more prominent condemnation of Derbyshire’s post count for more than a few hundred anonymous comments supporting it?

54

Eli Rabett 04.07.12 at 8:16 pm

If Derbyshire was a Brit in Britain they would have thrown him in jail. Inciting racial hatred is a serious crime there.

Eli wonders about their attitude towards extraterritorial jurisdiction for their citizens over there.

55

Eli Rabett 04.07.12 at 8:20 pm

Stephen, that dog don’t whistle here abouts

56

Lurker 04.07.12 at 8:21 pm

“The reason Derbyshire’s “talk” was concerned with blacks is probably that the “talk” to which he was responding was addressed to blacks.The reason Derbyshire’s “talk” was concerned with blacks is probably that the “talk” to which he was responding was addressed to blacks.”

Um, no. He said that this was a talk he’d had occassion to give his sons in bits and pieces over the years.

“a) I have asked undesirable questions and should therefore be ignored
b) I must be a racist and will eventually reveal myself as such”

Basically–especially “b”. As for “a”, not undesirable so much as disingenuous.

57

rf 04.07.12 at 8:22 pm

58

Manta1976 04.07.12 at 8:37 pm

Maybe Steven has a point, and Derbyshire _is_ a brilliant satirist?

@rf, the guys in the article you linked to are Muslim: terrorists do not enjoy freedom of speech.

59

C.P. Norris 04.07.12 at 8:52 pm

Theodore Dalrymple is my favorite pundit who gets paid by Americans to make up stories about how Britain has gone to the dogs.

60

Slocum 04.07.12 at 9:33 pm

61

rf 04.07.12 at 9:41 pm

Ha, I was looking for that
Appears pretty conclusive, unless, Stephen….

62

P O'Neill 04.07.12 at 10:55 pm

Lowry explains what Lowry’s problem is:

We never would have published it, but the main reason that people noticed it is that it is by a National Review writer. Derb is effectively using our name to get more oxygen for views with which we’d never associate ourselves otherwise. So there has to be a parting of the ways. Derb has long danced around the line on these issues, but this column is so outlandish it constitutes a kind of letter of resignation.

63

Eli Rabett 04.07.12 at 11:18 pm

Gee whodda thunk that the National Review would publish such garbage, other than the fact that they did for ziggtidy years and were quite overjoyed with the eyeballs and $$.

64

rf 04.07.12 at 11:56 pm

The beginning of the end of political correctness and the backlash?

65

merp 04.07.12 at 11:57 pm

Eli’s point is the only point, honestly. In the context of the 50’s column we all know, the southern strategy, lee atwater’s niggerniggernigger speech, helms and thurmond and lott, all the racist Obama emails gop members keep circulating, and the myriad other examples of racist behavior, any conservative or republican statement on race can’t possibly be “given the benefit of the doubt”, or argued that “it takes place in response to something”, or some other caveat. if it disparages a specific race, it’s racist, and should be treated as such.

66

Neil 04.08.12 at 12:09 am

Stephen@46:

“I can see no reason whatever to believe that members of any one race are necessarily superior to members of any other”.
Finally someone brave enough to recognize that there are possible worlds in which the Übermenschen are no better than black folk.

67

JP Stormcrow 04.08.12 at 12:48 am

Apparently NR/NRO has severed its ties with him pera Rich Lowry post.

68

robotslave 04.08.12 at 12:58 am

@64

I think you mean Eli’s point would be the only point, had the National Review been the publisher of the piece. It wasn’t; Derbyshire’s article appeared on a different, unaffiliated site (which apparently can’t handle the traffic).

The National Review is still guilty of all that other stuff, and more, but they specifically repudiated this particular piece in the announcement of the author’s firing.

69

purple 04.08.12 at 1:04 am

Derb is old colonial-minded racist Brit.

Yet people like him are welcome with opens arms by U.S. immigration.

70

purple 04.08.12 at 1:09 am

His website gives us details on his IQ and personality traits. Very weird. An IQ test is basically like the SAT (it measures the development of our synapses due to conditioning, mostly), yet is somehow given some sort of innate metaphysical quality.

71

John Holbo 04.08.12 at 1:57 am

Lowry has closed comments, as well, to the post announcing Derb’s firing. But here are some comments to the adjacent post:

http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/295511/ok-downturn-officially-over-fred-schwarz?toggle=y#comment-bar

“Since Lowry appears to not only have banned John Derbyshire, but any comments regarding the sacking of John Derbyshire on *his* posts, I will post my farewells here.

If Derb occasionally stepped over the line he was otherwise far and away the only honest man at NRO with regards to issues of race, multiculturalism and immigration. He was the only man or woman here with the courage to tackle the PC fascists that NRO purports to oppose but silently cowers to. You cannot tackle the problems of this country without addressing the topics which the Left has deliberately banned from discussion.

I am happy to be done with NRO. If ever in the future I long for the stunningly insightful commentary of the neocon/neofeudalist/open borders/dirt cheap labor/invade-the-world-at-any cost-and-to-heck-with-the middle-class commentary in which NRO specializes, I promise to return.”

And:

“Amen.

National Review shows itself to be cowards by summarily dismissing Derbyshire.

We Conservatives have had the charge of racism rammed our throats whenever we oppose the very obvious racism of those who pretend to lead us.

Yet, when we speak the obvious, illuminate the statistics, tell the truth, we are turned off much like Mr. Derbyshire here.

Shame on you.

You should be rising in support of him, pleading that he has the right to express his views and to confront the evils that he perceives.

Because it is just that – evil.”

And:

“You will never win by cowering to liberals, by giving them what they want. I’m not talking about opposing genuine racism. I was happy to see Trent Lott get sacked for his Strom Thurmond comments (and didn’t really even like Lott anyway). I’m talking about thoughtful commentary informed by data.

Derb’s actual post is nothing like what the left has portrayed it to be. But they’ve tasted blood now, and they’ll be back. Witness how you can’t even talk thoughtfully about stopping illegal immigration, or reducing illegal immigration to anything less than our ridiculously high rates of ~1.1 million/year, not even at a time of 8% unemployment (and Friday’s abysmal job figures). We’ve ceded that argument. Today we just ceded a whole lot more.

But at least NRO still has Jonah Goldberg here, to refer to opponents of the Iraq War (those fools) as “cheese eating surrender monkeys.””

I have trouble telling where the irony starts and stops in that last comment.

72

js. 04.08.12 at 2:08 am

the neocon/neofeudalist/open borders/dirt cheap labor/invade-the-world-at-any cost-and-to-heck-with-the middle-class commentary in which NRO specializes

Part of me really wants to figure out what this position would be (and then maybe hold it! because, why not?). Part of me wishes I had never read this, because right now my brain is hurting. Sadly, neither of these things is likely to happen.

73

js. 04.08.12 at 2:14 am

Oh, and Stephen, more please. (Are you the same Stephen who was suggesting on the other thread that imperialism is, you know, sometimes better than non-imperialism? Maybe, also, sometimes, and within reason of course, a dash of racism—like you know, distrusting black people per se—is better than non-racism? Apologies, of course, if this is an entirely different Stephen.)

74

John Holbo 04.08.12 at 2:14 am

Wait, I just noticed: the first and third comment are by the same guy.

Obviously we aren’t getting a valid sample of NR readership opinion. I do wish the NR editors would allow an open discussion of this because, so far as I can tell, the points that Stephen makes, upthread, are standard conservative fare. Derbyshire has a perfectly valid get out of of racism jail free card. Several of them in fact. He plays them in the article. So why is NR firing him rather than pointing out that liberals are the real racists here?

75

Doctor Memory 04.08.12 at 2:48 am

Purple@68 sez: “Derb is old colonial-minded racist Brit. Yet people like him are welcome with opens arms by U.S. immigration.”

Actually, possibly the single most offensive thing about Derbyshire’s very existence is that he was, for a good long time, an illegal immigrant: he’s gone on record as saying that he overstayed his original visa. Apparently the rules on that work a little bit differently when you make a career of sucking up to the right people.

76

Matt 04.08.12 at 3:02 am

he’s gone on record as saying that he overstayed his original visa. Apparently the rules on that work a little bit differently when you make a career of sucking up to the right people.

I don’t know enough about Derbyshire’s personal case to know what happened with him (nor do I have any interest in finding out, though I had known this fact) but in general, under US immigration law, you’re much better off coming in legally with a visa and then over-staying than entering originally “without inspection”, as the legal term goes. In the first case it’s often possible to adjust one’s status (often, but not always, via marriage) while still inside the country and then be more or less fine. In the second case this is only very rarely, almost never, possible, and, given the bars for “unlawful presence”, if one leaves, it’s very hard to come back. So, there are different rules for different kinds of “illegal immigrants”, with visa-overstayers in general being treated much better than people who entered without inspection. Given this, it’s perfectly possible that Derbyshire didn’t receive any special treatment, though of course that doesn’t forgive or reduce any of his very many sins. (Again, I don’t know his personal details and have no interest in knowing them. The less I know about him the better.)

77

John Holbo 04.08.12 at 4:53 am

I am somewhat gratified that comments to the adjacent NR post post are now running exactly according to the template in my post. How else? [Could this be the start of a new Occupy movement? Occupy the thread about Eighth Street and make it about Derbyshire! Derbyshire is the 99%!]

“I believe that Derb went too far, and in too rude a fashion.

But this instantaneous purge of one of NR/NRO’s top writers, without any openness to discussion or comments, while the man’s being treated for cancer forcryinoutloud, still stinks. You couldn’t even bear to sleep on it and talk it over, thoroughly and calmly, with everyone on Monday? Derb deserves better, as does National Review’s readership.

I’ve thought for some time that it was inevitable that Derb and NR would part ways. But I sure hate to see it happen in such panicked pantomime of the way our foes try to read us out of polite society for almost every single non-Leftist stand we dare to take ever (cf. “War on Women”, Ryan budget demagoguery…and that’s just a partial selection from the stream of current events).

I hope you’ve not paid the Danegeld in the vain expectation that next time, you’ll get a respectful hearing instead of being immediately denounced as some sort of “-ist”. Because you won’t. No, instead your enemies will remember how easily you were stampeded…and will eagerly await their opportunity to do it to you again …”

And:

“I guess my handle [Derbosphere] is going to be kind of awkward around here now, so goodbye.

To you nice married betaboys Lowry and Goldberg, if you think sacrificing Derb to the thought police will save your bacon in the long haul, you’re very much mistaken.

Apparently we should have been more vocal when you purged Coulter.”

And:

“How incredibly cowardly of National Review. I cannot find words powerful enough to express my disappointment. I can say, however, that I will not be renewing my subscription, nor donating to a fundraiser in the future.

It isn’t enough, apparently, that you kowtow to Romney and attack other Republican candidates, thus insulting those among your readership who are more conservative than the mushy-middle candidate.

What, exactly, was so horrible about the article? It included a list of links to research, surveys and statistics. It was a jumping-off point for discussion and debate. And most of the advice he gave flat-out makes sense. Provocative? Yes. But based on fact.

Sorry if that’s not politically correct enough for you. Perhaps you should ban my comments as well.

And sad that you have learned nothing – NOTHING – from the Trayvon Martin fiasco.”

It’s very hard for me to imagine Lowry and co. pushing back against all this without also pushing back against all the things NR folks currently are saying about the Trayvon Martin case, among other things.

Also, Althouse’s comments are interesting today. She did a Lowry (actually a meta-Lowry – ‘needless to say I need not say anything about Lowry’s needless to say’) and discussion has gotten quite heated:

http://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=6329595&postID=1935239955125880148

78

Doctor Memory 04.08.12 at 5:25 am

There is not enough popcorn in the WORLD, people.

79

js. 04.08.12 at 6:00 am

Matt @75:

What you say is true, but there’s this too: If you’re say one Muhammed Hussain from Karachi who’s overstayed his visa you’re not quite treated the same way as you are if you overstay your visa and your name is (or sounds like) an English county. Even if your reason for overstaying is exactly the same, whether you’re Muhammed or Hampshire (e.g.).

80

Stephen 04.08.12 at 9:57 am

I think there are two positions about Derbyshire’s article that we should be careful to distinguish between.

One: that some foolish ignorant racist bigots believe all blacks are stupid, violent criminals, and should be treated accordingly. Derbyshire explicitly rejects and opposes that view, but nevertheless his article may be interpreted by foolish ignorant people as confirmation of their bigoted views. Given the way the US is, it would have been better if his article had never been published.

That is an entirely reasonable view, and may well be correct.

Two: Derbyshire’s article may be interpreted by foolish ignorant people as confirmation of their bigoted views, and therefore he must be denounced for holding views which he does not hold, and explicitly opposes.

That is not reasonable. You should not use bad arguments, even in a good cause.

At least, I think not. I realise I would never have made a politician.

81

Stephen 04.08.12 at 10:10 am

js. @72

Yes, same Stephen, no apology due for confusion.

Some apology due, though, for suggesting that if I suggest imperialism has not been always and at all times without benefits, I must therefore be in favour of “Maybe, also, sometimes, and within reason of course, a dash of racism”.

Compare this: I would say that the Soviet Union was not always and at all times without its merits. If some demented American conservative were to insinuate that I must therefore in some way favour the labour camps and Ukrainian starvation, I would treat him with open contempt.

Do you see the parallel with your own case?

82

Rogers 04.08.12 at 11:19 am

Thank you, Mr. Holbo,
For the entire post. My favorite part – Lowry doubling down on the pious cowardice by attempting to stifle the comment thread, FAILING, and the comments themselves being all one could have hoped for. “And sad that you have learned nothing-NOTHING- from the Trayvon Martin fiasco”… I don’t think I’ll ever stop grinning

83

Andrew F. 04.08.12 at 12:21 pm

Another interesting aspect of the clash of perceptions of conservative discourse, in addition to the question of whether a greater number of comments on NR should count for more than the words and actions of NR itself, is the extent to which conservatism seems to be a contested discourse. And – as funny as parts of the post and this thread are – I think any element on the right that seeks to undercut the “talk-radio” crowd from within the conservative sphere should be encouraged and supported.

84

Manta1976 04.08.12 at 12:53 pm

I am a but uncomfortable about Derbyshire’s sacking: is it really a good thing that opinion writers should lose their job because of what they wrote?
This is especially troubling for opinions that are unpopular, and, at least for me, for opinions that I find repellent.

Said otherwise: freedom of opinions matters especially for opinions that are against the common morality (popular opinions do not need any special protection).

On the other hand, the entertainment value of the post may be enough to ease my discomfort.
BTW, does Derbyshire have an IWSB friend as “an amulet against potentially career-destroying accusations of prejudice”?

85

Kevin Donoghue 04.08.12 at 1:04 pm

“…is it really a good thing that opinion writers should lose their job because of what they wrote?”

Chefs get sacked for cooking horrible food, so it seems quite fair to me.

86

Tim Worstall 04.08.12 at 1:24 pm

@40: Takimag is, at least I think it still is, edited by Taki’s daughter, not by him. He does write the cheques though.

She can’t be all that bad an editor either: she had the gumption to fire me soon after she took over.

87

None 04.08.12 at 2:01 pm

Stephen #80
“Do you see the parallel with your own case?”

No.

88

Bruce Baugh 04.08.12 at 2:08 pm

Manta: Of course it’s a good thing. A magazine has finite space, and online venues have effectively limited space based on readers’ available time. An organization with an outlook to convey and agenda to recommend absolutely should be cutting out the people who aren’t helping to persuade others of the outlook and/or advance the agenda. “X is wasting space we could use better” is not an exile to Siberia.

This is apart from practical considerations like contracts and rank hypocrisy, of course.

89

Andrew Burton 04.08.12 at 2:08 pm

Derbyshire’s post at Takimag couldn’t be waved off as containing a sentence or two of possibly poorly worded sentences. It is a piece of work. If I were one of Derbyshire’s colleagues with black friends, I can’t imagine how I’d respond if I were asked whether I considered them an Intelligent Well Schooled Black (IWSB), and whether I thought they could be used as an amulet against accusations of bias. And that’s just one example of the noxious effluent flowing through the article.

So this put the editors of National Review in a nasty dilemma. One clear result of the media attention given to the killing of Trayvon Martin is that a large number of conservatives refuse to give up the idea that the only people affected by racism are steadfast whites unfairly targeted by the undeserving and by the virulent Left. So firing Derbyshire over an article which put into words what many of their readers thought would be very unpopular. Not firing Derbyshire would mean those views would continue to find a home at National Review. And Derbyshire wasn’t a peripheral player: he’s been a very regular contributor to The Corner since it started. Lots of close personal relationships at play, I should think.

I genuinely thought NR would pick door number 2: find reasons to state that although they didn’t endorse what Derbyshire had written (for another publication, mind), but his critics were much nastier people than him, and conservatives are the victims here. I was wrong. I thought Rich Lowry’s statement was strong and principled: NR took 24 hours to review matters and then took (in my view) the right action.

I did expect they’d come in for a lot of criticism by some of their readers if they did this, and they are. I don’t think Lowry and his colleagues had an easy call to make.

Leon Wolf at Red State also came out yesterday morning with a strong condemnation of Derbyshire’s article, and called for him to be let go. As of yesterday evening, I thought comments were split about 50:50 in support of Wolf. It’s crickets on most other right wing sites as far as I know.

90

Manta1976 04.08.12 at 2:38 pm

Andrew, it is Easter Sunday: before using the word “crickets”, I would wait a few days…

Bruce, I get your point: firing Derby was good for NR; however (unlike NR editors), I am not particularly interested in what is good for NR; since many calls for Derbyshire firing came from outside NR (both left and right, but especially left), one should articulate a case for it beyond “he was not good for NR agenda, or conservative agenda in general”.

91

Alex 04.08.12 at 3:56 pm

she had the gumption to fire me soon after she took over.

Getting fired from “Taki”‘s magazine actually reflects quite well on you.

92

Eli Rabett 04.08.12 at 4:14 pm

The National Review is still guilty of all that other stuff, and more, but they specifically repudiated this particular piece in the >announcement astonishment of the author’s firing.

There, fixed.

93

Robert M. 04.08.12 at 4:20 pm

De-lurking for a moment to address the point, brought up both here and on the NR thread, that Derbyshire can’t be racist because he links to his evidence.

From a measurement and test-theory perspective, there are critical problems with almost every study that purports to compare mean intelligence between races. First, the observed differences generally become non-significant when you control for participants’ socio-economic status. (Incidentally, Derbyshire essentially gives away the game on this very point when he discusses “IWSBs”.) It’s an issue that’s about as well-known in social science as evolution is in biology; correspondingly, anyone who discusses research on the effects of “race” (as Derb does) but doesn’t even hang a lampshade on the issues of class and income is either ignorant or lying by omission.

Second, any study that categorizes people based on race has a fatal problem with construct validity. Examples of why this doesn’t work are so commonplace in American history as to be trivial: where do you put Barack Obama in your classification scheme? What race do we assign to notorious octoroon Homer Plessy? There’s no objective standard for race (although I suppose you could simply use the brown-bag test!) The alternative of asking study participants to self-identify partially solves the construct problem, but introduces an unavoidable and substantial selection bias into your data.

Defending Derbyshire because he cites “evidence” is directly analogous to defending Bob Morris, the Indiana state representative who went on a crusade against the Girl Scouts, because he talked to “well-informed constituents” and did “web-based research”.

94

Eli Rabett 04.08.12 at 4:21 pm

Make no mistake about it the racists are out on the Easter egg on hunt. Drop by some blogs and offer support to the put upon authore. For example

http://www.theatlanticwire.com/national/2012/04/john-derbyshire-has-finally-been-fired/50868/

http://www.theatlanticwire.com/politics/2012/04/why-john-derbyshire-hasnt-been-fired-yet/50803/

http://www.thenation.com/signup/167276?destination=blog/167276/john-derbyshire-national-review-and-conservatives-race-problem

Even if all you do is flag the foamers and recomment the sensible, it counts

95

an innocent bystander 04.08.12 at 5:03 pm

Reminds me of the one about a drunk lying in a gutter with a pig.
A woman walks past and says: “You can always tell a man by the company he keeps!”
With that the pig gets up and walks away.

96

bert 04.08.12 at 5:48 pm

Tim, as a UKipper, subsisting on a diet of spam rations and Spitfires, were you ever worried by Taki’s repeated enthusiasm for the Wehrmacht circa 1940?

97

Lurker 04.08.12 at 5:53 pm

” that some foolish ignorant racist bigots believe all blacks are stupid, violent criminals, and should be treated accordingly.”

It is pretty convenient of you to limit the definition of racism that way, but it’s much more than that, encompassing both Derb’s statements and the ideas you’ve admitted to holding here.

98

Kevin Donoghue 04.08.12 at 6:13 pm

Derb column “widely viewed as racist.” — Politico. That should be a meme. Al Gore widely viewed as obese. Pol Pot widely viewed as homicidal.

99

Sebastian 04.08.12 at 6:51 pm

I’ve given up on the National Review years ago. But formulating the issue in the way you do strikes me as a bit of “heads I win, tails you lose”. If you can turn them firing one of their more popular writers as proof of NR’s current racism, you probably are just playing tricks with the argument.

Perhaps NR doesn’t want to be racist, so they fired the person who wrote a racist piece.

Just because you disagree with them about for example the proper policy to run an inner city black school (they are probably less rabidly pro-teacher’s union I suspect) doesn’t mean that they can’t be against absolutely clear examples of racism.

100

Substance McGravitas 04.08.12 at 7:03 pm

Read Mark Krikorian’s contributions.

101

Kevin Donoghue 04.08.12 at 7:12 pm

Sebastian: “Perhaps NR doesn’t want to be racist, so they fired the person who wrote a racist piece.”

Isn’t it a bit like sacking a porn star for promiscuity? The question John Holbo is asking is, why now?

102

parsimon 04.08.12 at 7:34 pm

I assume the answer to “Why now?” is a function of the Trayvon Martin case, as well as the scrutiny Stand your Ground laws have come under, and possibly the involvement of ALEC in the construction of such laws in a number of states. It’s one thing to engage in racist rhetoric under the radar, and another thing entirely to be exposed to the light.

103

robotslave 04.08.12 at 10:15 pm

@99

I’d agree that the short-term political climate and Trayvon Martin do a lot to explain the timing. But ALEC left me gibbering a bit; they’ve got nothing to do with Derbyshire’s ideas about race, and dragging them into the discussion reminds me uncomfortably of the way ACORN was used as wingnut punctuation lo these many years ago.

104

DaveL 04.08.12 at 10:54 pm

This is only tangential to the topic, but I just realized (rereading “King Leopold’s Ghost”) that Sanford, FL, site of the Trayvon Martin killing, was founded by “General” Henry Shelton Sanford, who was the lobbyist behind America’s (first post!) recognition of Leopold’s “Congo Free State.”

Sometimes history repeats itself as tragedy.

105

parsimon 04.08.12 at 11:24 pm

robotslave: Allow me to explain. ALEC effectively wrote the Stand your Ground law adopted in Florida; ALEC has come under scrutiny since Trayvon Martin’s killing, and has lost several prominent members/sponsors (Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Kraft, Intuit) whose membership appeared to be fine by them as long as it went unnoticed.

There’s been a (mild?) trend of conservative organizations losing sponsorship and/or advertisers when it came to the attention of the public at large that these organizations engaged in less than savory practices or beliefs of one sort or another. Rush Limbaugh, the Komen Foundation, now ALEC, albeit to a lesser extent so far. (Glenn Beck finally became too much as well, though it’s hard to tell just what was going on there.)

I wonder, then, whether conservative outfits in general are becoming skittish about generating too much publicity for themselves. That may go some way toward explaining why National Review would decide to ditch Derbyshire — not merely on principled grounds, but on pragmatic ones.

106

Colin Danby 04.09.12 at 12:03 am

Read his text. Lowry is annoyed at Derbyshire for giving the game away. Lowry was happy when Derbyshire “danced around the line,” and was just “politically incorrect.” Then, he was lovable. But when he “lurched” into setting out his views clearly, that was too much. Note the absolutely nobody is suggesting that the offending column is in any way a departure from Derbyshire’s views — it represents zero surprise *in its content.* In that sense, the NRO protesters have a point.

107

parsimon 04.09.12 at 12:38 am

when he “lurched” into setting out his views clearly, that was too much

Isn’t that fascinating? I find it so.

I would actually like to see them (Rich Lowry, or heck, Jonah Goldberg can have a go at it) explain why Derbyshire’s column, published elsewhere after all, went too far.

108

Jerome 04.09.12 at 12:59 am

I read Derbyshire’s piece. I can’t agree with the part about not being a Good Samaritan, but other than that it seems pretty much what every non-black person in America knows already. If you are riding the subway in a strange city, and everyone at the stop is black, don’t get off there. If knowing that makes me a racist, fine, I’m a racist. Me and Derb.

What part of town do all you fine non-racists live in? What part of DC do you suppose Rich Lowry lives in? Which school do Obama’s kids go to? What a pack of whinging hypocrites.

109

Medrawt 04.09.12 at 1:16 am

parsimon @105 –

Indeed. Given that the Derb was not too shy to call himself a racist in the past, what did they think he meant? It was this! In fact, what I find amusing is that Derbyshire is kind of a poster boy for the kind of stuff that makes conservatives angry when you call it (not them, for the sake of argument, but it) racist, because it’s not lynching and crossburning, but he at least knows perfectly well what to call it, because he wasn’t socialized with the idea that he ought to be embarrassed by it.

110

phosphorious 04.09.12 at 1:39 am

If knowing that makes me a racist, fine, I’m a racist. Me and Derb.

Yes. . . we know! Everyone always has known: Conservatives are racists. But they ALWAYS get hissy when you call them that.

Why is that?

111

parsimon 04.09.12 at 1:43 am

Medrawt: He wasn’t socialized with the idea that he ought to be embarrassed by it … because he’s British? Or because he just wasn’t? In any case, certainly many people in the States aren’t socialized in such a way either.

I can’t manage to be amused by the phenomenon; I just keep twitching. I’m frankly glad that Derbyshire has done this, put it on the table.

112

John Holbo 04.09.12 at 1:53 am

Sebastian, you do see the point we’re trying to make (me, anyway)? Namely, the NR editors have to denounce Derb. That’s necessary for public relations, if nothing else, and they probably do feel queasy about what he wrote. But doing so introduces inconsistencies into their position, or so it seems to me. Goldberg has tweeted that the Derb is totally over the line, for example. But if the stuff that Goldberg has written about Trayvon Martin, and the problem of racism today is right, then it’s hard to see that the Derb is so off-base as all that. Maybe he’s a bit too forceful. Maybe he’s lacking in sympathy for black people. Maybe he doesn’t know when to keep his head down, to avoid giving liberals an easy target for their faux outrage. But he’s basically right, except in matters of detail that are debatable. Surely that isn’t a firing offense.

113

poco 04.09.12 at 1:55 am

Jerome@108–Yanno–some of us reading this might be people of color living in neighborhoods that are majority African American and may find you to be a bigoted idiot.
Of course you are a racist–I am sure that did not come as news to you!

114

parsimon 04.09.12 at 2:35 am

Holbo: the stuff that Goldberg has written about Trayvon Martin

Is it awful if I confess that I haven’t read that?

The twittersphere is messing up blogospheric conversation these days, I notice. For example, I don’t follow Goldberg’s tweets about Derbyshire, just as I didn’t follow tweets about or by Graeber, and so on. Man, is it getting to the point where a person can’t stay informed without twitterizing? People seem to cite twitter posts, aka tweets, I believe you kids call them, with increasing frequency. No fair. Twitter is a forum limited to 140 character blurts.

115

parsimon 04.09.12 at 2:43 am

That was a bit of a sidebar — sorry.

116

John Holbo 04.09.12 at 3:18 am

One thing Derb-sympathetic commentors in this thread and elsewhere keep saying – inevitably – is that the stuff Derb is preaching (white people: separate yourself from black people) is stuff white people are already practicing. So obviously they are thinking it, even if they aren’t talking it. So how bad could it be for one guy to talk the talk, given most everyone already walks the walk?

This is a really complicated issue, to say the least, but one point – which is not simple, in itself, and won’t unsnarl the whole knot in any case – would be this: not every earnest liberal who moves to get her kids in a ‘better’ school is happy about the overall sociology of existing race relations.

The Derb, by contrast, is happy about all the things that give liberals awkward pain. For the Derb, it’s a self-expressive ethical triumph – an ‘I’ve just got to be me’ relief – not a painful forced-move, to be able to dole out grim, cruel, illiberal rules for life. There’s no ‘more in sorrow than …’ attitude from Derb. If he had just framed it differently: ‘Kid, once upon a time, good people had a noble, liberal dream of a color-blind society. But reality played a cruel joke on us all, and here’s the way things work and I doubt anything is ever going to change that. But anyway, you don’t want to be mugged, so be careful …’ If he’d said that, he’d have kept his job, to say the least. But that wouldn’t be him. He obviously thinks it’s more like this: ‘once upon a time, bad people had a warped, liberal dream of a color-blind society. And reality played a deliciously cruel joke on them. Now the rest of us have to live somewhat artificial lives, in the aftermath of this vain social engineering collapse, but at least we – who are not actually the butt of the joke – can derive some vicarious Schadenfreude from the sorry spectacle – which is no small compensation …’

Derb doesn’t try to pretend that the things he regards as basically comfortable racial home truths are actually unhappy, inconvenient truths. I think that is what got him fired. But again, this isn’t the sort of thing that can be pointed out by the NR editors. The Derb’s problem is that he ‘wants’ the things conservatives tend to say about race relations to be true? You can’t say that. That’s not a firing offense at NR, surely.

It is quite clear many other conservatives ‘want’ these things Derb says to be true, in that they will patently engage in motivated reasoning to defend Derbish views, piecemeal, against any liberal attacks. But the Derbish package deal is ugly. You can’t say you WANT that old racist thing. But why then do you want all the pieces so badly? (Getting them will only get you closer and closer to the bad old thing, after all.) Conservatives have to maintain the ‘more in sorrow than …’ attitude, while discussing race, while also maintaining the ‘wanting this to be true’ (in the sense of ‘always trying to make out how this could be true’) motivated reasoning rigor of the partisan, ideological line. But it’s not a psychologically credible combo. Derb isn’t making it any easier by just letting down the side completely by taking the side’s side too completely.

It’s complicated.

117

Neil 04.09.12 at 4:46 am

Right, it’s complicated. The Derb thinks he can avoid the complications because he thinks he is recognizing natural facts. It’s the genetics! Of course, it is not the genetics; it’s poverty (plus some other stuff, including racism) that explains why many black neighborhoods are dysfunctional and produce more dysfunctional individuals than elsewhere. The Derb doesn’t want to do anything about the things that blight other people’s lives. He’s not just saying what other people think and do; he’s advocating abandoning others to their fate.

118

js. 04.09.12 at 5:16 am

Derb column “widely viewed as racist.”—Politico. That should be a meme. Al Gore widely viewed as obese. Pol Pot widely viewed as homicidal.

I like this! How about: Politico widely viewed as crap.

119

SC 04.09.12 at 5:39 am

Charles Pierce, as usual, gets to the point:

“The National Review has fired John Derbyshire for violating company policy regarding admitting what American conservatism has been all about since 1964…”

http://www.esquire.com/blogs/politics/john-derbyshire-fired-7927485

120

Tim Worstall 04.09.12 at 6:45 am

@96 Pecunia non olet and I was skint.

121

Data Tutashkhia 04.09.12 at 7:09 am

@117 Of course, it is not the genetics; it’s poverty…

Yes. It’s interesting that he begins with “forty million who identify as black”, which still leaves a possibility of some sort of socioeconomic category, in which his IWSBs don’t count as ‘black’: they do ‘act white’ after all. And then immediately he eliminates this possibility by stating: “American blacks are descended from West African populations”.

122

P O'Neill 04.09.12 at 10:37 am

The NRers may just be mad that the Derb saved us from an Easter weekend of demands that all liberals apologize for Gunter Grass.

123

PaulB 04.09.12 at 12:05 pm

Just one question I’d like to know the answer to: has Derbyshire tried to get Americans to pronounce his name as it would be in England?

124

bert 04.09.12 at 2:44 pm

Taki olet mucho.

125

BenSix 04.09.12 at 3:22 pm

In 2002 Jonah Goldberg said he was an admirer of the principle that…

Every ten years or so, the United States needs to pick up some small crappy little country and throw it against the wall, just to show the world we mean business.

It’s odd that someone who’s promoted and never apologised for this opinion – or, come to that, someone who’s idly speculated about nuking Mecca and flattening Damascus and Tehran – is in the position of judging what is and isn’t legitimate to believe.

126

DRR7 04.09.12 at 3:32 pm

I’m a white cis-gendered male slash garden variety liberal democrat and all the not so impressive connotations that go with it. I always thought American conservative’s opinions regarding race were ignorant and poorly thought out but in my heart-of-hearts I would chafe at describing them as racists. I admit I occasionally rolled my eyes at what I considered sub-standard liberal political dialogue, wherein the Gawker crowd examines a statement by whomever the conservative republican of the moment was, teases out the supposedly racist undertones, sometimes in bad faith in my view and pronounces said opinion maker and all that agree with him as racists.

The popular conservative response to this along with their response to the larger Trayvon Martin affair has really exposed to me just how self-deluded I was. My previous view was, however one might describe the economically insane, war glorifying, power adoring, sexist & sexually backward views of the American conservative movement, that movement wasn’t particularly concerned with racialism. This is probably still the traditional conservative view as it exists ‘on paper.’ But exposing myself to the popular response to this at even the most conventional conservative outlets, much less Freerepublic and yahoo news comment threads has lead me, someone previously disposed to giving them the benefit of the doubt, to conclude that at least 50% of so-called ‘conservatives’ in America are basically white nationalists in all but name. I’m left wondering honestly if their is any aspect to American conservative thought that isn’t purely reactionary.

127

geo 04.09.12 at 4:27 pm

Channeling Walter Benn Michaels, I would like to suggest that “pro-black” means “pro- full employment, progressive taxation, and universal early childhood education.” The rest is commentary.

128

geo 04.09.12 at 4:29 pm

PS – How could I have forgotten “pro-universal health care”?

129

More Dogs, Less Crime 04.09.12 at 7:18 pm

“At worst, then, the Talk keeps a few Zimmermans from becoming victims”
Zimmerman didn’t accidentally wander into the “wrong” neighborhood, he was patrolling his own and then either attacked or was attacked by Trayvon Martin.

Also, heaven forbid that VDARE would be named after the first EUROPEAN, as if the wogs didn’t begin at Calais. As they will tell you, little Virginia was not the first child of european descent born America. She was merely the first english child born there. They even sometimes quote Benjamin Franklin on the plague of “palatine boors” (Germans) arriving in the 18th century.

130

More Dogs, Less Crime 04.09.12 at 7:21 pm

Stephen, have you read Charles Kenny on the economic performance of communism?
http://charleskenny.blogs.com/weblog/files/russ6.pdf

131

Stephen 04.09.12 at 8:16 pm

More Dogs, Less Crime:

Thanks. No,I’d not read that, but it does fit with much else: that the effect of Soviet rule on the westernmost parts of their empire (east Germany, Hungary, Czechoslovakia etc) impoverished them, the effect on the more eastern parts enriched them, oftn substantially. As I said: there were good aspects of Soviet imperialist rule as well as bad (and I would not seek to diminish the bad). Similarly with pre-Soviet Russian imperialism in Siberia and central Asia: by no means exclusively bad.

Actually, looking for a massively beneficial example of imperialist rule, you can’t do better than the USA, from the first English colonies to the westward expansion to Alaska and Hawaii. From the point of view of native Americans or southwest Hispanics or Polynesians, often not at all beneficial. For the world as a whole, enormously so.

Query: does that make me an advocate of racist imperialism? If so, how few US citizens, even Democrat voters, are not also racist imperialists?

132

CJColucci 04.09.12 at 8:19 pm

Jerome at 108:
I live in the Bronx. Not Riverdale, the actual Bronx. For about 30 years, I have travelled daily by subway through dodgy black (and hispanic) neighborhoods at all hours, and too often even to begin to count I have had reason to get off in some of them, wandering about as a small, bespectacled honky in a suit, to do various kinds of business. I have never followed Derb’s rules, have never had a problem, and have never needed to be more than slightly more alert than I would have to be in midtown Manhattan or the financial district. And no more alert than I would have to be in Little Italy — either the Manhattan or Bronx versions. I’ll put my actual, lived experience up against Derb’s crackpot realism any day.

133

Stephen 04.09.12 at 8:22 pm

None @87

“No”.

Congratulations on a fine, detailed, logical and well-argued answer.

134

bianca steele 04.09.12 at 8:24 pm

The OP’s reference to The Bell Curve might remind a reader that Murry’s recent book is half about a fairly dangerous neighborhood that is actually lily-white. Not clear how the Derbyshires of the world reconcile those facts.

This whole thing is almost enough to make Dalrymple look good.

135

Patrick 04.09.12 at 9:00 pm

@132 Me too, as a visitor to Chicago and other cities from 1971 until now. In the seventies, we went to a concert at a Nation of Islam site at about 7500 south, maybe where the shiny new mosque is now. Not even a rolled eye. (They made the men and women sit apart, which was weird and offensive to us white college kids. We were guests, so we saved the commentary for the El.)
My son went to a majority black/Latino elementary school and had not one racial incident the entire time. Not one. There was tension, especially as the cohort moved through middle and high school, but the kids tended to be a great deal smarter than some of the parents around here.
Anecdotal, to be sure, but I’ve found that generally people treat you as they expect you to treat them.

136

P O'Neill 04.09.12 at 9:05 pm

We’re going to need a bigger popcorn holder.

The Cornerites are back from Easter and comments are open. Steyn ain’t happy about what happened to Derb.

137

rf 04.09.12 at 9:46 pm

Steyn: “I didn’t agree with Derb on many things, from Ron Paul and talk radio to God and science”

The great tragedy of the whole affair is that Derb was probably the most sane out of the lot of them. The whole working class Brit Tory racist straight out of central casting shtick never seemed convincing to me, but I can understand the allure of becoming a caricature in such a morally deformed and emotionally stunted enviornment. Kind of funny though, all things considered

138

Jerome 04.09.12 at 9:47 pm

So, let’s review the bidding;
Phos @ 110 – RAAAAACIST!!!
Poco @ 113 – raaaacist!
Holbo @ 116 – It’s complicated.
Neil @ 117 – It’s the poverty. Mendel was a racist.
CJ @ 132 – I’m a fine non-racist, and I live in the Ghetto.
Patrick @ 135 – I went to a concert, and no one beats my kids much.

Come on, people. We’re talking black neighborhoods here. How come they’re black, if all you white liberals live there?

CJ, I used to wander around the Loisaida in the 80’s in a suit. 6th Street and Avenue E. Couldn’t afford to live anywhere else. Lots of crime, not much violence. When I got to know some of the locals, they told me that everyone thought I must be a cop.

139

CJColucci 04.09.12 at 9:52 pm

CJ, I used to wander around the Loisaida in the 80’s in a suit. 6th Street and Avenue E. Couldn’t afford to live anywhere else. Lots of crime, not much violence. When I got to know some of the locals, they told me that everyone thought I must be a cop.

From which you concluded what, exactly, that is germane to the Derb rules?

140

LizardBreath 04.09.12 at 10:10 pm

Avenue E? What city are we talking about here?

141

Uncle Kvetch 04.09.12 at 11:17 pm

Avenue E? What city are we talking about here?

Unless there’s another “Loisaida” besides the one here in New York, which happens to have an Avenue E, he’s talking about Wingnutville. It’s an amazing, enchanted place where anything is possible…

142

Uncle Kvetch 04.09.12 at 11:18 pm

In case that wasn’t clear — NYC (which contains the only “Loisaida” that I’ve ever heard of) does not happen to have an Avenue E. So Jerome’s blowing smoke and hoping no one will call him on it. Shocked, shocked.

143

Steve Williams 04.09.12 at 11:35 pm

Needless to say, Steyn’s piece rather lights the dynamite under Lowry’s earlier assertion. Although he hedges it weakly – “didn’t much care for it”, indeed! – it’s clear he’s firmly in Camp Derb on this one.

Incidentally, Steyn is a much more talented hack. His piece maintains crucial plausible deniability all the way through, and contains prodigious amounts of smoke-blowing but-whatabouttery that helpfully fog up his real opinions on the issue. Derb should take note.

144

Patrick 04.10.12 at 12:45 am

The neighborhood we lived in when my son started school is mixed (racially and economically), as is the school. He decided to stay at the more diverse school when we moved to a neighborhood where the school is decidedly whiter and much richer, but is still not as homogenous as Jerome makes out. He got into fights, mostly with his best friend, a white kid. He’s had black friends, male and female, of a variety of economic statuses, all his life. It’s not perfect, but it’s an order of magnitude better than the segregated world I grew up in, which conservatives seem to think was the promised land.

While it’s palpable that conservatives are afraid of black folks, and that they project on all minorities the hatred they feel, the point is that not everybody is and does, and hey, guess what, it turns out that when you don’t act like a coward, people generally treat you well. If Derbyshire’s kids are paying attention, they’ll know that his talk originates entirely out of the gutless conservative id. Or that he’s lying. I’ll go with gutless.

145

phosphorious 04.10.12 at 12:47 am

So, let’s review the bidding;
Phos @ 110 – RAAAAACIST

You missed a few ‘As’. Seriously, you seem to think that I should be somehow ashamed of calling a racist a racist. Odd that.

Conservatives often argue. . . in fact you argued @108. . . in the form “If X makes me racist, then I’m a racist.”

Well for values of X = “thinks black people are violent/stupid/dangerous/should be avoided,” then yes, X makes you racist.

And so you are a racist. Modus ponens convicts you.

146

js. 04.10.12 at 1:19 am

Avenue E? What city are we talking about here?

E for East River, people. Jerome was walking on water! In a suit! That’s how totally awesome (and obviously non-racist) he is.

147

Aulus Gellius 04.10.12 at 1:35 am

I have to push back against all the people saying that every non-black person avoids black neighborhoods all the time. I mean obviously, people who can (even black people! it’s true!) tend to avoid high-crime neighborhoods at night; and yes, black people are more likely to live in high-crime neighborhoods. But anyone who’s lived a significant amount of time in a city develops a reasonably good sense of what’s a dangerous neighborhood, and of course it’s not largely based on the race of the people around. You notice lack of activity on the streets at night, vacant lots, boarded-up buildings, frequent cop cars, etc, etc. There are obviously-safe black neighborhoods, and obviously-dangerous white (Hispanic, Asian, etc.) neighborhoods. I’m quite white, and have lived all my life in US cities, and the “don’t get off the subway at a stop full of black people” rule sounds hilariously silly to me; it’s certainly not a rule I’ve ever observed or thought of observing. Derbyshire’s warnings about not engaging with black strangers who “accost” you in the street (Jehovah’s witnesses? Kids selling candy bars for their basketball team? People asking the time?), or stopping to help black people in the street, are similarly dumb. Also racist, as people have pointed out. But at least equally dumb, and not, in fact, secretly shared by the entire non-black population of the US.

148

poco 04.10.12 at 2:29 am

Jerome still not realizing that some of the readers and commentators at this blog are non-white liberals. Do racists just filter that out?

149

Belle Waring 04.10.12 at 2:40 am

140: Non-amulet power-bearing black people have gills, which make them useful in water. They can’t help you at all against charges of racism, but are +10 in defending against Dire Toads. Clearly you want a real ISWB for a saving throw against racism–that amulet is like, natural 20, get out of racism free! But the gilled, Ave. E-type blacks are not useless. There are Apocalypse Frog Swarms out there too. Best to be ready.

150

js. 04.10.12 at 5:35 am

Actually, looking for a massively beneficial example of imperialist rule, you can’t do better than the USA, from the first English colonies to the westward expansion to Alaska and Hawaii. From the point of view of native Americans or southwest Hispanics or Polynesians, often not at all beneficial. For the world as a whole, enormously so.

Stephen, this is your argument for how imperialism is not all bad? Seriously? Ok, let’s try this on for size:

The Belgian Congo: often not at all beneficial for the Congolese; totes awesome for the Belgians! (Or even: “the world as a whole”, because presumably the Congolese aren’t part of “the world” [mutatis mutandis, etc.])

Or Even:

Racism: widely regarded as beneficial to Teh Whites. Not all bad after all.

151

Tim Worstall 04.10.12 at 9:14 am

@ 124: quite possibly. But pecunia not so much.

152

bert 04.10.12 at 10:54 am

I’m sure I’ve done worse things, Tim.

Steyn says Taki is “proudly listed on the NR masthead”, whatever that means. He certainly took money from Buckley back in the day. But as far as I can tell, right now he pays out the pocketmoney at The American Conservative alongside Pat Buchanan. This change in status presumably made possible because, after surviving on a trust fund well into middle age, he finally came into that Greek shipping inheritance.

153

JL 04.10.12 at 11:36 am

Neither Taki nor Buchanan are involved with The American Conservative anymore. It’s Ron Unz’s magazine these days.

154

bert 04.10.12 at 11:57 am

Which may partly explain why the response here from a Friend Of Derbyshire is actually pretty good. If you ignore the attempt to blame it on his meds.

Looking it up, I see the change of ownership happened five years ago. In future, if I have anything to say about festerings on the fringes of the American conservatism, I’ll try to check it first rather than rely on memory. Apologies.

155

Katherine 04.10.12 at 12:43 pm

Not knowing who Derbyshire was, I starting reading that in all innocence, thinking it wasn’t bad, for small children, maybe if they’ve heard something simplisticly racist from another adult and are parroting it back (as small children are wont to do), wondering if there were going to be some interesting pointers on how to approach a complicated subject in such a way as to make it understandable to small children. Would there be a nice in-a-nutshell explanation of race as a social construct that I can steal should the need arise?

Then woah! Suddenly I realised is was just a long winded “I’m not a racist but”. Dammit, I was really looking forward to a nice in-a nutshell explanation of race as a social construct to have in my back pocket. Can anyone oblige?

156

bianca steele 04.10.12 at 1:57 pm

It occurs to me that the polite thing to do in those neighborhoods is probably just to learn the Warlocks high-sign. As an outsider and all. Not that I should be stereotyping people for any reason. It would have been just rude to wear my school jacket there and advertise that I didn’t belong.

Because really, are there people who go fishing around in their wallet in NY or DC or Philly when a white person stops them on the street with a cockamamie story about something that makes less than no sense? (I do know someone who got scammed by a guy following him from the ATM in New York, no idea what he looked like.) I guess that’s why my friends from the midwest think I’m not very trusting. I race for taxicabs, too.

157

bianca steele 04.10.12 at 1:59 pm

On second thought, some of those midwesterners were pretty dubious about New Yorkers of whatever shade, fwtw . . .

Not to sidetrack the thread.

158

Eli Rabett 04.10.12 at 2:12 pm

While Derbs is on a “Brit Tory racist straight out of central casting shtick ” that dish comes with a large dash of anti-semitism which must have made things at the NR interesting (Buckley had some of that too).

159

Manta1976 04.10.12 at 2:27 pm

Katherine, I think you misunderstood the piece: it is not “I am not racist, but”, it is “I am racist, and these are the reasons for it and the consequences of it”:
if anything, hypocrisy is not something Derby´s piece can be accused of.

The article linked by bert@154 is quite well-written (but it does not even mention the part about the “amulet” black friend…).

160

Katherine 04.10.12 at 2:44 pm

Manta1976 – like I said, I came to it without any prior knowledge of Derbyshire. So the first couple of paragraphs were shaping up quite well – treat people decently etc etc – and then veered off into racist territory. I genuinely thought, for a couple of minutes, that his version of The Talk was an explanation of racism (and how not to be racist) for small white children.

Without a wider reading off his work, I think it does read as a longer version of “I’m not racist but”, in that it starts off with general expressions of not treating people badly, and not looking at people as if they are just members of a group, before recommending specific instances of treating people badly and looking at people as if they are just members of a group. Ie “I’m not racist, but actually I am and here is how”, which is how statements like “I’m not racist, but” always always end up.

If his wider stuff is, as people have said above, “I’m racist!”, then sure.

161

OCS 04.10.12 at 2:58 pm

Jerome @108

…it seems pretty much what every non-black person in America knows already. If you are riding the subway in a strange city, and everyone at the stop is black, don’t get off there. If knowing that makes me a racist, fine, I’m a racist.

This is worth responding to because it really is an example of white American “common sense,” which I shared when I was a younger, stupider man whose main contact with black people came from TV and movies.

Then I moved to Baltimore, a city with a majority black population, and guess what? It turned out there were a lot of black neighborhoods that were dangerous. And a lot of black neighborhoods that were safe and pleasant. And some safe white neighborhoods, and a few white neighborhoods I didn’t like to walk through. It was almost like you couldn’t generalize about a neighborhood based on the race of its inhabitants. Not because it conflicted with your white liberal guilt, but because those generalizations were factually incorrect.

So yes, thinking that black residents equate with dangerous neighborhood is a racist conclusion — racist in the full sense of a negative judgment made about people based solely on their race.

(And just in terms of street smarts, it’s also dangerous — if you look around and think, “Everyone’s white, I’m safe,” you’re setting yourself up for some nasty surprises.)

162

More Dogs, Less Crime 04.10.12 at 4:19 pm

My understanding is that neither Buchanan nor Taki have much involvement in the operation of The American Conservative nowadays, though syndicated pieces may be republished. Ron Unz has taken over the magazine. Interesting in that in the early 90s he said he got his political education from Commentary and actually ran for governor of California on a pro-immigration platform. I don’t know if he explicitly pushes a pro-immigration line now, but he wrote a cover story “His-Panic?” downplaying claims of immigrant criminality while concluding that there does seem to be a somewhat higher rate of crime among hispanics than non-hispanic whites. Unfortunately he bungled his statistical analysis by age-adjusting data that had already been age-adjusted, which to his credit he acknowledged promptly.

I recall going to the far south side of Chicago for a library book some weeks ago and being asked by the first local I walked past what a white boy was doing there. I acted friendly enough and gave a fist-bump to the mostly toothless man (who had been miming some guns-akimbo action movie near the railroad tracks) but kept walking (past Trinity United, in fact) when he tried to talk to me about Jesus. I would have done the same if he were any other race, but I can’t say I would have been willing to walk alone through the neighborhood if it hadn’t been light out and with a decent amount of street-traffic (per Jane Jacobs). Most people seemed friendly, but I can’t say I talked to enough for Derbyshire’s percentage to result in an expected value of “hostile” people >= 1.

163

Stephen 04.10.12 at 8:05 pm

js. @ 150

If you seriously believe that USA = Belgian Congo, then there is no point talking to you, since you are remarkably mistaken.

If you do not believe that, but are pretending to in order to produce what you believe to be an argument, then you are not mistaken but dishonest.

Farewell.

164

Stephen 04.10.12 at 9:04 pm

Phosphorious@49

My apologies, I overlooked your earlier post.

Our difference of opinion: I don’t see that as D’s general advice, but as his specific advice in particular circumstances.

I should add that I knew nothing of D before reading this thread, and the more I learn of him the less I approve of him: which is not to say I would denounce him I share your reluctance to believe his assertion that black US politicians are more corrupt than others, if only because I have limited expectations of any politicians.

As for D’s specific advice: well, I would suggest a possible parallel. Imperfect, of course, as are all comparisons, but still, try it and see what you think.

At the height of the late deplorable troubles in Northern Ireland, I can well imagine an intelligent and unbigoted Catholic advising his children: always remember that Protestants come in all sorts, good, bad and indifferent. Never treat a Protestant with whom you are dealing as an individual worse than you would treat a Catholic.

But, and this is a very important but, always remember that there are a small minority of Protestants who bitterly hate you, and all Catholics, because of what you are. There are others who do not hate you but, for one foolish reason or another, would follow those who do. Therefore, in the interests of your survival, keep out of predominantly Protestant areas, particularly at some times of year.

Equally, I can imagine intelligent and unbigoted Protestants giving the reciprocal advice to their children; perhaps with the advice that they don’t hate you because you’re Protestant, but because you’re British.

Such advice, either way, would not be racist (the two communities are racially almost indistinguishable). Furthermore, the advice while still valuable is far less urgently important than it was, though the marginal racial differences have not changed. You might say it was culturalist.

Now, I don’t know how far the parallel extends to racial politics in the US. There are obvious differences: there is no equivalent of the home-made armaments on either side, or of the weaponry coming from Canada and South Africa on one side, or from Boston, New York, Prague and Tripoli on the other. But given the abundance of firearms in the US, that may not be relevant.

Nor is there, perhaps, an equivalent of the British or Irish police and army, trying on the whole to keep the peace, and taking heavy casualties in doing so.

On the other hand, the casualties in NI were relatively slight: Belfast or Derry for most of the troubles were, compared to most US cities, rather safe.

But the advice to children to keep out of troubled areas might be equally sensible.

Would you agree?

165

Andrew F. 04.11.12 at 12:14 am

At a certain point, the explanation for why Derbyshire’s firing is nonetheless consistent with the thesis that the persons who fired him “really agree” with Derbyshire’s post begins to look a lot like an ancillary hypothesis cobbled together to save the original theory in light of inconvenient facts.

Derbyshire’s firing is inconvenient for the conventional (for here) narrative of conservatives as all motivated, deep down, by racism (among other unpleasant things). It could be that the story is that Derbyshire’s post is simply an uncomfortably sharp image of what conservatives really believe, and they handled the resulting dissonance by firing him. But that seems unnecessarily complex. The easier explanation, albeit the more dissonant one for liberals, is that some species of conservatism, at least, isn’t quite as racist at its core as believed.

166

Neil 04.11.12 at 12:31 am

Andrew F – I think everyone around here agrees that not all conservatives are racist. But it wasn’t all conservatives who were involved in firing him, or tolerating his views over the years. Do you see the difference between “the people who fired him” and “all conservatives”?

167

John Holbo 04.11.12 at 1:26 am

“The easier explanation, albeit the more dissonant one for liberals, is that some species of conservatism, at least, isn’t quite as racist at its core as believed.”

Andrew, I don’t think anyone would deny that there is some species of conservatism that isn’t racist at its core. For that reason, I think you need to drop the ‘as believed’ from your formulation. (But this will considerably lessen its utility as a wake-up call for liberals, admittedly.)

The point is basically this. The conservatives who are upset about the Derb’s firing have a point. They are saying all sorts of things in his defense that are basically expressive of the sorts of stock, conservative points about race and race relations and conservatism and liberalism that the NR editors (Goldberg himself, for example) often say. If you take that stuff seriously, it’s hard to see that what the Derb did was so bad. Maybe it was a bit off, tone-wise. But substantively it was correct. So how can that be a firing offense?

So if you really think what the Derb said was intolerably racist, you should probably not stop with just saying that. You should probably go on to say a lot more things that don’t really fit with what the likes of Goldberg himself usually say.

Take this column, for example:

http://articles.latimes.com/2012/mar/27/opinion/la-oe-goldberg-trayvon-martin-race-20120327

It ends with a call for ‘honest talk’ about race. It’s hard for me to see why, given what the column itself says about race relations, the author wouldn’t regard the Derb’s talk as a step-up from the status quo. According to Goldberg, the major race problems we face are liberal race hucksterism and the fact that blacks are 10 times more likely to commit homicide than, etc. etc. If that’s your picture of the world, it’s hard to see why Derb’s picture of the world would seem intolerably offensive.

168

John Quiggin 04.11.12 at 1:29 am

Talking of magic amulets, it strikes me that the “Political Correctness” amulet (where you get to say racist/sexist things, then respond to any critics by calling them PC) seems to have run out of charges. What with Rush, Derb and ALEC it seems to have been invoked at least one time too many.

169

js. 04.11.12 at 5:05 am

Jesus, Stephen (163), it’s a fucking analogy. You’re not really that dense, are you? More to the point, how exactly is this supposed to convince anyone of the beneficent qualities of American imperialism:

From the point of view of native Americans or southwest Hispanics or Polynesians, often not at all beneficial. For the world as a whole, enormously so.

I mean, honestly, I’ll start taking you seriously when you manage to stop erasing “native Americans or southwest Hispanics or Polynesians” out of “the world as a whole”.

170

James K. 04.11.12 at 1:36 pm

“If he had just framed it differently: ‘Kid, once upon a time, good people had a noble, liberal dream of a color-blind society. But reality played a cruel joke on us all, and here’s the way things work and I doubt anything is ever going to change that. But anyway, you don’t want to be mugged, so be careful …’ If he’d said that, he’d have kept his job, to say the least. But that wouldn’t be him.”

If you read his Gawker interview, he actually pretty much DOES say what you say he would never say.

171

Manta1976 04.11.12 at 2:52 pm

About John Holbo’s reply @116, I did not understand one point.
Is John claiming that, if Derby said more or less the same things (minus maybe the ones about the amulet black friend and not “being a good Samaritan”) but with the (sincere, not faked) tone of “this is the unfortunate state of things”, it would have been acceptable to John Holbo (by “acceptable” I mean not that John would have agreed, but that he would have taken the position seriously, and it would not have considered it a racist one)? And that acting on those premises, as long as it is done with compunction, is not racist?

Or does he mans that if only Derby had faked the “more in sorrow…” tone, he would have been acceptable to NR?

172

roger 04.11.12 at 2:57 pm

Earlier I made a comment comparing Derbyshire to Saletan. We are in such luck! On the same day that Eschaton published his Saletan as wanker of the decade no. 5 post, we get Saletan on what was wrong with Derbyshire! Bliss to be alive in the midst of such contrarian Renaissancery! Apparently, Derbyshire is the wrong kind of racist – not the kind, gentle racist of the Saletan type, aware that, yes, blacks are definitely inferior, but some of them are quite good! Ah, these are the type of things that make you grateful that Saletan has read his J. Phillipe Rushton and separated the wheat from the chaff.
http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/human_nature/2012/04/john_derbyshire_trayvon_martin_and_the_ignorance_of_racial_profiling_.html

173

Watson Ladd 04.11.12 at 3:29 pm

JH, what exactly is objectionable about pointing to the fact that violence in black neighborhoods has a deleterious effect on educational attainment and represents a major obstacle to those living in such neighborhoods? Goldberg is pointing out that seeing race relations as a white system oppressing the black man in a country run by a black man isn’t that easy. That’s a far cry from calling all blacks criminals and advising children to stay away from them.

174

roger 04.11.12 at 3:33 pm

PS – the good stuff – where Saletan eases past Derbyshire in the racism sweepstakes, the genteel category – comes when S. reprises his old article and revamps white supremism in the most fabulous way: “Egalitarian fundamentalism—the idea that the right to be treated as an individual depends on the strict equality of group averages—is a dangerous mistake.” Dangerous, no less! Genteel racism takes the most charitable of views towards the inferior black race, and means to help them, oh, as much as they can be helped, poor dears. But no further. That would be – a dangerous mistake!
Saletan is, I think, sorta mad that he didn’t get first in the Eschaton wankery sweepstakes, and is trying extra hard with this article. Go Lord Saletan!

175

Aulus Gellius 04.11.12 at 4:29 pm

“seeing race relations as a white system oppressing the black man in a country run by a black man isn’t that easy.”

It certainly isn’t that difficult. Give it a try!

176

r. laughlin 04.11.12 at 5:06 pm

Isn’t the ‘racist’ simply saying they are afraid? (after following this thread down the internet hole for the past hour)

177

Salient 04.11.12 at 7:52 pm

Interesting to note that the NR author who wrote the most about Derb’s firing, Daniel Foster, can’t help but slip into the comfortable armchair of sexism by intentional omission:

Being racist is not a binary state, and the world is not neatly divisible into evil bigots and enlightened cosmopolitans. Any man, right or left, who is sufficiently honest with his reflection in the mirror will admit to as much. The decent men are just the ones who fight with their better angels against their baser prejudices–when it comes to race or anything else.

…those manly men eternally locked in mortal battle with their innner demons worse angels.

The whole article is worth a quick scan through, for anyone still poking at this trainwreck. Foster does say (presumably with management’s approval) that he believes Derb was fired for “counseling active bigotry,” and goes so far as to say that bigotry is a natural, if not rigidly logical, extension of conservative principles.

I think they fired Derb because (1) he apparently believes that “bbbut n of my best friends are black” is still a useful response to accusations of racism, which is far too hopelessly dated for such a forward-thinking organization, (2) he apparently believes that you actually have to cultivate black best friends in order to empower the “bbbut n of my best friends are black” deflection, which is far too hopelessly naive for such an uncompromisingly-incisive organization, and (2) he clearly has no clue what the fuck an ‘amulet’ literally is and must have cribbed it from a thesaurus, which is far too vexing a solecism for such an erudite conformation of scribes as do comprise the National Review (oh, how deeply do I wish his synonym source had led him to fetish instead).

It wasn’t until a second, less skimmy read of Derb’s talk that it became apparent I’d been conflating two articles’ acronyms, and misreading IWSB as ICBM (meaning, I dunno, intelligent conservative black male, or whatever); of course I’d been maliciously substituting in “intercontinental black missile” all throughout, and was laughing almost to the point of choking on tears; with the mix-up in mind, reconsider everything Derb was saying:

[ICBM]s are something of a luxury good, like antique furniture or corporate jets

Be aware, however, that there is an issue of supply and demand here.

One can only imagine how all this would relate to Derb’s perspective on concealed carry laws. It would be irresponsible not to speculate.

178

Andrew F. 04.12.12 at 12:05 am

But John, when you write that the points Derbyshire argues are “stock” conservative points about race, what else can you mean but that conservatism – in some essential sense of the school of thought to the extent there is one – is racist at its core?

Reading the Goldberg column you linked, I do see typical conservative friction with certain elements on the left. A Shelby Steele op-ed last week would, if memory serves, provide a similar example. But I see those as being substantially different than Derbyshire’s post.

A liberal critique of the focus on Zimmerman would note that white racism on an individual level is not the most pressing race problem in this country, and has long been on the decline; the central problem is composed of the varied facets of an embedded institutional racism. That’s not so far off from – in fact it has a lot in common with – Goldberg’s critique of his portrayal of the arguments and concerns raised by Jackson and Sharpton.

Derbyshire’s post, by contrast, seems to see white racism on an individual level as practically justified. That’s a very different argument to make, and one which many prominent conservatives seem to find deeply wrong.

179

John Holbo 04.12.12 at 5:14 am

“if only Derby had faked the “more in sorrow…” tone, he would have been acceptable to NR?”

That’s what I meant.

I did read the Gawker interview and it’s true he says the thing I said he wouldn’t say. Obviously people are free to take that as they see fit. Maybe a bit from column A, a bit from column B. Derb has his ‘more in sorrow’ side but also his harsh, Taki column side. Maybe both are real.

“But John, when you write that the points Derbyshire argues are “stock” conservative points about race, what else can you mean but that conservatism – in some essential sense of the school of thought to the extent there is one – is racist at its core?

Reading the Goldberg column you linked, I do see typical conservative friction with certain elements on the left. A Shelby Steele op-ed last week would, if memory serves, provide a similar example. But I see those as being substantially different than Derbyshire’s post.”

I wasn’t saying Goldberg’s points are the same as Derb’s. I was saying it’s hard for me to see why, if you believed what Goldberg says he believes, the Derb’s points would be anathema. The things Derb says should be well within the range of ‘civilized discourse’ about race. What we need, according to Goldberg, is more frank talk about race, that would inevitably include many of the things Derb says. The tension comes in here: for Goldberg, the moral of the story is that white racism isn’t really a problem because it isn’t real (not a significant phenomenon any more). These days it’s just a club to beat conservatives with. This is in tension with the view that white racism isn’t really a problem because, while it is extreme and unsavory in some forms, it emcompasses a set of basically reasonable opinions. Racism is common but that’s not a problem because, in the sense that it’s common, racism is reasonable and defensible. This is what makes it bad that racism is a club to beat conservatives with (not that it isn’t real but that it is, and that’s ok: racism is the common sense that dare not speak its name). The Derb is a poster child for both points, but Goldberg only wants to make the former point, so the Derb is not such a useful poster child.

In general: “when you write that the points Derbyshire argues are “stock” conservative points about race, what else can you mean but that conservatism – in some essential sense of the school of thought to the extent there is one – is racist at its core?”

Well, I do think that the Republican Party, post Southern Strategy, is, in a sense, a racist party. But it’s a weak and … I don’t know – atmospheric? sense. It’s no mystery why so few African-Americans vote for Republicans. It would be very odd for things to be otherwise. But the modern Republican Party is obviously not explicitly – plank in the platform – a racist party. It’s a matter of dog whistles that fuel identity politics and tribalism. The Derb blew a few too many dog whistles too audibly in that Taki piece. The point is NOT to do that. It is emphatically NOT the goal of the Republican Party to explicitly justify white racism on an individual level. But the Republican Party depends on white ethnic resentment against African-Americans for some degree of its support. This entails an eternal, delicate dance between saying and not saying and explicitly saying not about a lot of things to do with race.

180

SC 04.12.12 at 9:05 am

Rich Lowry channels Freddie Mercury and…another one gone at NRO…

“Unbeknowst to us, occasional Phi Beta Cons contributor Robert Weissberg (whose book was published a few years ago by Transaction) participated in an American Renaissance conference where he delivered a noxious talk about the future of white nationalism. He will no longer be posting here. Thanks to those who brought it to our attention.”

http://www.nationalreview.com/phi-beta-cons/295729/regarding-robert-weissberg-rich-lowry

So confusing.

181

John Quiggin 04.12.12 at 9:51 am

Wow, the magic PC amulet really has failed. The consternation in the comments thread is palpable.

182

Alex 04.12.12 at 10:36 am

Someone’s going around spamming a text about IQ and “g” into Derbyshire threads, so it’s advisable to keep your copy of Cosma’s classic refutation of the concept with you. (One from the annals of Blog Posts That Will Make You Measurably Smarter.)

183

JP Stormcrow 04.12.12 at 11:20 am

… if you have the right genetics …

184

rf 04.12.12 at 12:46 pm

Derbyshire’s interview at Gawker is quite funny and well worth a read. He appears to be seriously damaged by the fact that a racially harmonious Utopia didn’t ensue in the 80s/90s and has given up on any progress ever being made. This sentence really undermines any intellectual pretensions the man might have.

“I’m more at ease in a room full of Chinese people than I would be in a room full of black American rap artists. “

Hes now looking for a freelance job with American Renaissance.
Give me the unrepentant lunacy of JD over the mealy mouthed careerism of Rich Lowry anyday.

185

JP Stormcrow 04.12.12 at 12:56 pm

Trudeau should start a series of strips with the Derb as ambassador to China.

186

mattski 04.12.12 at 3:38 pm

Isn’t the ‘racist’ simply saying they are afraid?

Yes, and I almost think ‘fearist’ is a better term than ‘racist.’ The crux of the problem is that people like Derbyshire & Goldberg seem to feel powerless to do anything about their fearful feelings. “I’m afraid, and my fear is rational.”

Compare that to, “I’m afraid, but maybe there is something I can do about it. Maybe, if I cultivate relationships/friendships with people from the ‘fearful group’ I might lose some of this negativity.”

Learn to swim?! Water is DANGEROUS!!!

187

Watson Ladd 04.12.12 at 4:55 pm

mattski, that’s a pretty unfortunate last line to use in a conversation about race. Despite the YMCA offering free swimming lessons, US blacks are less likely to swim then whites, contributing to an epidemic of drowning.

188

More Dogs, Less Crime 04.12.12 at 5:54 pm

Any drowning death is unfortunate, but is it really accurate to describe it as an “epidemic”?

mattski, as mentioned above the Derbyshire column actually does advocate cultivating friendships, however it does so in very cynical terms and it’s not obvious that he ever did so himself. Or by “fearful group” are you referring to not merely racial but class-based groupings, a la Charles Murray?

189

Stephen 04.12.12 at 7:06 pm

js. @169

Apologies for repeating your vulgar abuse which on some sites would get you deleted:

I would like to suppose that when you wrote “it’s a fucking analogy” you meant “it’s a fucking awful analogy”. Otherwise, you must detest all analogies: which would make comparison with one condition and another impossible for you, right?

If it is awful – and I started by saying it’s imperfect – I would be grateful, though a little surprised, if you could state what makes it awful.

I would be surprised because, when I wrote that American imperialism was “from the point of view of native Americans or southwest Hispanics or Polynesians, often not at all beneficial. For the world as a whole, enormously so” you replied “I’ll start taking you seriously when you manage to stop erasing “native Americans or southwest Hispanics or Polynesians” out of “the world as a whole”.

Let me point out to you a rather simple piece of logic. If I say “A is true, on the whole, of set B” that is perfectly compatible with “A is not true, specifically, of subset B’ of B”.

Think about that, take a long cool drink, and calm down.

And when you write my argument would not “convince anyone of the beneficent qualities of American imperialism” please consider the following statements:

The creation of the American colonies, and their westwards expansion, were acts of imperialism.

This expansion was often not at all beneficial from the point of view of native Americans or southwest Hispanics or Polynesians. Almost all states, including the USA, are the product of violence and theft, unacceptable to modern liberal democrats.

Nevertheless, the USA with all its faults has been usually – need I point out that does not mean always – a shining example to the rest of the world.

Please let me know, with whatever courtesy you can manage, where you disagree, and where you think most Americans, Democrat or Republican, would disagree.

190

Data Tutashkhia 04.12.12 at 7:50 pm

Stephen, your defense of imperialism (colonialism, really, in this case) is utterly unconvincing. Whatever the US is to the rest of the world – a shining example or an object of ridicule and hatred – is completely irrelevant. Proper defense of colonialism (or slave trade, for that matter) should focus on the benefits acquired (supposedly) by the native populations (whatever’s left of them), and you specifically excluded those.

191

Lurker 04.12.12 at 9:57 pm

“I would like to suppose that when you wrote “it’s a fucking analogy” you meant “it’s a fucking awful analogy”. Otherwise, you must detest all analogies: which would make comparison with one condition and another impossible for you, right?”

Stephen, “It’s a fucking analogy” doesn’t imply at all that he detests analogies. This isn’t what “fucking” means in this sentence. It means: “you are obtuse in your seemingly to realize that it is an analogy and thus that I don’t think that the US is the same as the Belgian Congo.” It was an expression of incredulity and frustration and your obtuseness. How you imagine that “It’s a fucking analogy” means that he detests all analogies, unless he writes “it’s a fucking awful analogy,” which changes the meaning to a great degree, is beyond me. Then again, reading over your posts, it is actually possible that your obtuseness is genuine and not willful. So there’s that.

192

Steve Williams 04.13.12 at 12:46 am

Any news on how he feels about Chinese rap artists?

193

js. 04.13.12 at 5:43 am

Stephen, just a hint:

If you want to defend imperialism (or colonialism—you don’t seem to distinguish these very well), read Data T @190 carefully, and maybe start talking about the railways the Brits built in India. Or, you know, something like that.

194

mattski 04.13.12 at 2:30 pm

Or by “fearful group” are you referring to not merely racial but class-based groupings, a la Charles Murray?

Well, yes. I think it is very difficult to discuss this subject because of the *charge* behind the word ‘racist.’ Maybe there is some relief to be had in focusing on the fundamental emotions at issue.

And, yes, it’s difficult to believe that Derbyshire could feel the way he feels if he genuinely took his own advice and made an effort to cultivate a deeper understanding of the black community in America.

195

Andrew F. 04.14.12 at 1:23 am

But John, why would more “frank talk” about race “inevitably” include all the things that Derbyshire claims in his post? I don’t see any statements in Goldberg’s column that would support that conclusion. And I think Derbyshire’s termination is good evidence – while obviously not conclusive in itself – that a critical mass of conservatives at the NR think that at least some of Derbyshire’s assertions fall outside the realm of a desired discussion of race.

As to the GOP’s relationship to white racism generally, I agree that it is at the very least a complicated relationship. I’m not certain though, at this point, to what extent that is due to contemporary policy positions and ideological stances taken by the GOP and Democrats generally, and to what extent it is due simply to inertia and lack of options for such racism in the contemporary environment.

Simply from the vantage of political self-interest, it’s clearly not in the GOP’s longer term interests to maintain any type of endorsement of white racism – its struggle now is to disavow such beliefs as credibly as possible. So I would expect, all else being equal, actions such as Derbyshire’s firing to be not uncommon a conservative reaction to posts like his. At the least, I would say that non-racist variants of conservatism are ascendant, and that this action lends credence to that hypothesis.

196

John Quiggin 04.14.12 at 2:04 am

Honestly, haven’t these trolls had enough of a feed already

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