Disingenuous Derb

John Derbyshire at The Corner responds to readers who have criticized his endorsement of Charles Murray’s comment (discussed here at VFR) that he doesn’t care about the fate of Anglo-European America. Derbyshire says that when it comes to immigration, numbers are everything, and that if Murray’s immigration prescriptions were followed, there would be no worry about our country’s losing its Anglo-European identity.

This might be a valid point in itself. Unfortunately for Derbyshire, it is not what Murray, backed 100 percent by Derbyshire, said yesterday. First, Murray did not say anything about the need for reducing the numbers of immigrants, let alone reducing them for the purpose of protecting America’s Anglo-European identity. Second, what Murray did say was that he is “not impressed by worries about losing America’s Anglo-European identity.” Now, if Murray’s prescriptions would save Anglo-European America, but if (as is the case) Murray’s prescriptions are not currently being followed and there is no immediately foreseeable prospect of their being followed, then Murray ought to be extremely worried about the loss of our country’s Anglo-European identity. But instead of saying that he’s worried, he issued his superior-sounding remark that he is “not impressed by worries about losing America’s Anglo-European identity.” So, what the comment clearly expresses is that Murray is indifferent to the urgent concerns people have about the threats to that identity, period.

Next came Murray’s gratuitous remark that “I’d a hell of a lot rather live in a Little Vietnam or a Little Guatemala neighborhood, even if I couldn’t read the store signs, than in many white-bread communities I can think of.” In the context of his stated lack of concern about preserving America’s historic ethno-cultural basis, his “hell of a lot” preference for non-white communities, even if they don’t speak English, clearly conveys his own personal departure from any identification with white America—a departure in which he is accompanied by his acolyte John Derbyshire.

If Derbyshire in fact does not agree with Murray, and if he wants readers to believe that he does not agree with Murray, then he needs to retract his endorsement of Murray’s statement, not just add some belated qualifiers of his own that ignore what Murray was actually saying.

* * *

On another point, Derbyshire says: “Meanwhile over in the humor-free zone, Larry and his boys have figured out why Charles & I are on the same page: It’s that durn yellow fever.”

First, since I have repeatedly spoken of “the boys at NRO,” Derbyshire has every right to strike back at “Larry and his boys.” However, the come-back is silly, given that my refrain about the “boys at NRO” refers to the stunning intellectual callowness and unseriousness of the contributors at that site, an accusation no one has ever made of VFR. Indeed, it is VFR’s very seriousness that Derbyshire—the man who boasts of sloughing off almost every belief he has ever had—cannot stand, and so he repeats his previous description of VFR as a “humor-free zone.”

Second and more importantly, Derbyshire misrepresents what I clearly said about inter-racial marriage and lack of identification with the white West. I wrote: “Not that marriage to a nonwhite is a necessary basis of race-treason, since race-treason is the prevalent belief system of the contemporary West. [Italics added.] But it is virtually impossible for a white married to a nonwhite to maintain a sense of identity with the white race.”

If abandonment of identification with the white race is the prevalent belief system in the West today, obviously it does not derive from the fact of a person’s having a nonwhite spouse. However, those who are married to nonwhites will certainly be more likely to have this attitude.

I would only qualify my quoted statement by saying that “virtually impossible” is too strong. I would change it to: “It is difficult, and rare, for a white married to a nonwhite to maintain a sense of identity with the white race.”

- end of initial entry -

Jacob M. writes:

Speaking of disingenuousness, it seems like Derbyshire is deliberately misinterpreting what Murray wrote in order to voice agreement with him. Derbyshire implies that the phrase “white-bread communities” refers to lower-class white neighborhoods with high levels of crime, and informs us that of course he wouldn’t want to live in those. But Derbyshire’s been living in the USA long enough now to know that the idiom “white-bread” doesn’t mean “white trash”, it means boring, bland, homogenous. As you correctly identified, Murray was expressing the typical liberal sentiment that he’d rather be able to get sushi at 3AM than live in a place where people eat meat loaf and mashed potatoes.

The more I think it about it, the more I think it makes sense for Derbyshire to take the position he does, given his presuppositions. As we all know, over the past several years, he’s emerged as a social Darwinist, which means a fatalistic view of life. For him, there is no question of who should be successful; only the cold, hard fact of who is successful. Thus, for the past 500 years or so, whites have built the most powerful and influential civilization, and they’re the most successful, so congratulations to us, isn’t it wonderful that we’re the most successful? Now, however, as it begins to look like changes are coming, and the winds of fate are blowing against us, others—be they Chinese, Indians, or Mexicans—appear as though they may be set to displace whites. If this happens, they will by definition be more successful than whites, and therefore this must be embraced, and even celebrated, simply because it is what is happening. Natural selection at work, you know. It doesn’t even matter why it’s happening: if others rise to dominance because they are more intelligent, they are to be congratulated for their intelligence. If, however, it happens merely because Western societies have lost their will to live and voluntarily allow themselves to be overrun by not-particularly-intelligent third-world immigrants, this is still to be celebrated, because the mere fact of it happening shows that Western societies weren’t “fit” to maintain dominance anyway.

Furthermore, Derbyshire celebrates the existence of genetic racial differences in intelligence (I think this is the reason he fell under the sway of Steve Sailer’s group in the first place.) This ties in with his marriage to an Asian woman. The same studies that show that blacks have a lower average IQ than whites, show that Asians have a higher average IQ. So, from his cold Darwinian perspective, the best thing he could do for his genes was to combine them with Asian ones, enhancing the likelihood that his children will have above-average intelligence and thus be more successful. I don’t assume this is what he was thinking when he married his wife, but it fits perfectly into the philosophy he has embraced.

David G. writes:

“And I’d a hell of a lot rather live in a Little Vietnam or a Little Guatemala neighborhood, even if I couldn’t read the store signs, than in many white-bread communities I can think of.”—Charles Murray

The term “white-bread” has always disturbed me. What does it really mean when applied to a community?

I have a general feeling that it is the middle-class to upper middle class, suburban neighborhood, or town, where there are generally two parents raising kids in a relatively low-crime area where whites are the predominant, if not exclusive, racial group. I guess the denizens of such areas are also characterized by their supposed intolerance, close-mindedness and fear of diversity. They also either lack awareness of the “real-world” or selfishly choose not to allow it to enter their consciousness. They probably are also religiously grounded in Christianity of some denomination or other. Do I have it right for the most part?

Well, I grew up in such a town and just from my personal experience I know it has produced doctors, judges, medical-care workers, entrepreneurs, world travelers, social workers, home-makers, PhD’s, lawyers, FBI agents, law enforcement officials, teachers, tons of college graduates and any number of wealthy people including a couple of multi- millionaires—and, maybe most importantly, a number of war heros, including at least two killed in Viet Nam. The list could go on to cover just about any occupation that one could train for in modern America. I guess that these people all lack “authenticity”, or something, to have their struggles and sacrifices reduced to mere “white-bread” status. By the way, I personally know of no one who has been murdered and I know of only one instance where someone who came from my town committed a murder. Somehow, I don’t feel deprived.

Is this the type of white-bread community that Mr. Murray, whom I admire, would like to avoid living in? I am ready to stand corrected if white-bread means something other than what I thought it meant.

Bruce B. writes:

“But it is virtually impossible for a white married to a nonwhite to maintain a sense of identity with the white race.” —LA

That’s one form of mixed-race family that makes white idenity more difficult. Another common phenomenon that I see is the adoption of non-white babies (both American-born and foreign born) by white, conservative-Evangelical couples. A lot of them seem to adopt minority (African, Latino, Chinese, etc) babies after they have a couple of biological children of their own. They seem to feel that it makes them a good person and a good Christian. And while it isn’t a case of “mixing genes”, it’s still real hard to identify with the white race when you have non-white children in your family.

“I know what I’ve said above will make some people uncomfortable with me.” —LA

Tell your critics to go pound sand. What you write would have resonated with most every one of our Grandparents and Great-Grandparents. Are we ashamed of them? Should we be?

“And I’d a hell of a lot rather live in a Little Vietnam or a Little Guatemala neighborhood, even if I couldn’t read the store signs, than in many white-bread communities I can think of.”—Murray

I’d rather live around “Deliverance” white-trash than live among non-whites . There’s something defective about people who can’t intuit the importance of ties of blood, culture, and common history.

I wonder what Derb and Murray’s ideal national demography would look like. It would probably consist of rootless, mixed-race people, all of which have IQs above 145 (OK maybe a few +2 sigmas thrown in to mop floors and wait tables). Derb is inconsistent, like a blade of grass blowing in the wind. One week, he’ll write an emotion-evoking op-ed on regular folks and traditional institutions being ruthlessly crushed by the elites. Some of his columns really resonated with me. Yet, in another column, he’ll betray us. I got tired of having my emotions jerked around, so I stopped reading him.

As usual, your criticisms of other conservatives helps to illuminate the issues. Thanks.

Tom S. writes:

It’s fitting that Murray would use a food-related perjorative (“White Bread”) with regard to immigration restriction. As you and others have noted, you can’t let an advocate of immigration talk for more than a minute or two without the topic of ethnic restaurants being brought up.They seem to be obsessed with the topic. It reminds me of an old Jerry Reed song, in which he gets married because he’s tired of his own cooking. Later on in the song, when he’s divorced and broke, he’s thinking “Why the Hell didn’t I just learn to cook?!?” If we keep importing people for the sake of flavorful food, we’re going to wonder the same thing.

Besides, I LIKE meatloaf and mashed potatoes….

Russell W. writes:

I think that you being a bit unfair to Sailer (and, in similar fashion, to Murray—though that comment of his about “white bread” communities was uncharacteristically dumb) in portraying him as a Darwinist, by which I mean who believes that Darwinism provides some sort of overarching organizing principle for human life, as the proprietor of The Inverted World apparently does.

I admit I don’t know Sailer’s religious convictions or his beliefs about materialism versus the transcendent aspects of life, but I think that’s only because “human biodiversity” (as he calls it) is his beat as a journalist, not his complete philosophy of life. Indeed, the biggest difference between Sailer and yourself is that his role is primarily empirical while yours is primarily normative.

(I use the word “primarily” advisedly. Sailer obviously has philosophical opinions he reveals, but they are of a quite tame, obvious variety, such as “tell the truth,” American nationalism, etc. Also, you yourself are quite good at making descriptive diagnoses of our current world, but this is, I think, a result largely of the fact that you intelligently hold to and apply a set of principles, i.e. traditionalism, that are so rare in the world today that it allows you to see what so many cannot.)

Indeed, the few times when Sailer has mentioned religion (which is rare), it’s been positive. This for instance is characteristic, where he quotes from an interview of Murray:

“I have been an agnostic since my teens. But I am increasingly drawn to the proposition that of all the hypotheses about God, simple atheism is the least probable. That to be a confident atheist is the silliest of intellectual positions. That thinking about spiritual issues, despite all the difficulties, must be part of being a grown-up.”

See also here, where he mocks Christopher Hitchens for his atheism.

LA replies:

You’ve got me wrong. I did not say anything about Sailer in that comment. I was referring back to Derbyshire’s own account of how he lost all his religious beliefs (such as they were) as a direct result of his contact with the minds in Sailer’s Bio-Diversity list.

Given Sailer’s bio-reductionism, I can’t imagine how religion fits into his world view at all, except as an unprincipled exception, i.e., as a non-reductionist attitude not backed up by a non-reductionist principle.

As for the proprietor of The Inverted World, the Realist, he has told me in general terms that he views Darwinism as the organizing principle for society, though I have not seen him develop such ideas in his writings. Obviously, I do not believe that Darwinism is or can be the organizing principle of society. Further, how would a Darwinist articulate and defend Western society, given that Western society has not been organized on Darwinian lines? It may be that the Darwinist angle will remain in the background at The Inverted World, with the race realism in the foreground. The Realist began the website on the basis that there needs to be a race realism that eschews the lunatic anti-Semitism prevalent on today’s white racial right, and on that basis I support his endeavor and look forward to seeing what he has to say.

My guiding principle is, those who have an instinctive love of Western society and Western man, within the bounds of morality and reason, are our allies.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at December 13, 2006 12:44 PM | Send

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