Comments on the Derbyshire episode

Several comments have just been posted in this new entry. See in particular my disagreement with a reader’s assertion that Derbyshire was “stabbed in the back.” To the contrary, all evidence suggests that he knew what the consequences would be of his publishing this article, and he courageously chose to publish it anyway.

Irv P. writes:

VFR’s response to the John Derbyshire article and his subsequent dismissal from NR [here, here, here, and here] has been penetratingly insightful. You and your commenting readers have been brilliant in analyzing this situation. I just wanted to add my two cents on one angle of this multi-faceted dilemma.

For quite a while now, whenever I read about almost any topic that I consider important to our now crumbling culture, I’ve been saying to myself the phrase, “You can’t handle the truth.” The Derbyshire episode makes it crystal clear that publicly voicing an opinion that runs counter to the myth we live by with regard to our black population, will not be tolerated at any time, in any venue.

I scratch my head and wonder why there is such devotion to the “myth” on the part of the movers and shakers in our society. Why is there such fear about possibility of the truth being expressed? Why must we live the myth? The obvious answer to me is that this is a strategy to avert the destabilizing effects of mass civil disturbances that could grow into all out civil war.

From the perspective of our elites making and enforcing the mores we live by, to face honestly the issue of race is to unleash a massive storm upon the seas, the waves of which we would be unable to negotiate. Better to keep the waters calmer with appeasement and the fantasy of one big happy family as seen in almost every installment of popular culture.

Given these facts of liberal rule, white people have to adjust their lives accordingly. They have to give “The Talk” to their children and themselves, but it had better be in secure privacy lest they unleash the keepers of stability on their right to earn a living. The keepers are vicious and they are powerful.

At least we were once the land of the free and the home of the brave!

A reader writes from Canada:

We have occasionally spoken in the past via email. I have been blogging furiously since the Trayvon hysteria at www. I have not been so outraged since the Alberta Human rights Commission tried to pursue Ezra Levant, about four years ago, for saying true things about Islam.

In the meantime we got our majority government in Canada and the screws are being turned very slowly on every manner of leftist orthodoxy under the jurisdiction of the federal government. You can’t hear the screaming in the background from the left because the purr of contentment emanating from Mr and Mrs Average Canadian drowns it out: long gun registry abolished, its records to be destroyed; tax investigations of U.S. funded ecological groups blocking tar sands exports; laws on self-defence to be strengthened; Prime Minister telephones store keepers who have been harassed for defending their establishments, to encourage them; major changes to immigration policy announced and being implemented, etc.

You can link to my blogging on Trayvon, Zimmerman, or Derbyshire as you see fit, Lawrence, but do not use my name. I am a public official (I can barely believe it myself).

Here is my conclusion on Derbyshire being canned by those weasels at National Pink-Tory Review.

It has been my intuition, since the Trayvon Martin case exploded into our consciousness, that it would cause a vast amount of suppressed anger, true facts, and things that need saying, to appear in American discourse. It has also been observable that the accusations of racism, and calls for censorship firings, apologies, groveling by whites, will only mount, until such time as this particular political pustule is lanced by the cleansing effect of free discussion.

Tell me, anyone, if you do find Derbyshire’s advice wrong, is it wrong because it is contains advice predicated on statistical inaccuracies, falsehoods or errors, or because—even if true—one should never say those things aloud, let alone publish them? Is it false? In what sense is it false? Is it morally vicious? Why? Is it racist? Define race and racism please. I want to know. What public good is served by censuring Derbyshire, and is the public good to be served greater than the evil of censorship? Discuss.

Something very large is being unleashed by this persecution of free speech.

I continue to have you on my list of must-reads every day.

William E. writes:

William F. Buckley often quoted with approval Ambassador Robert Strausz-Hupé’s saying that a major failing among conservatives was not to recover their wounded. Unfortunately, our wounded, such as Derbyshire, Sobran, and Francis, have mostly been shot in the back by supposed allies. But what can be expected from such as National Review, when it has become dominated by what one of the founding editors Wilmoore Kendall called “adjusted conservatives?” Kendall defined them as conservatives who disagree with liberals on everything but essentials. Kendall defined the essential divide between conservatives and liberals as the latter’s support for equality. And it is questions of equality that make adjusted conservatives as Lowry such treacherous allies.

LA replies:

I don’t think your victimology is correct. Sobran, Francis, and Derbyshire were not shot in the back. Sobran made statements about Israel that were unacceptable to WFB, WFB warned him about this, Sobran persisted, and WFB fired him. He was not shot in the back. He was an adult who took a stand knowing what the consequences would be.

Francis, after being targeted by the Dinesh De Liar, instead of being more cautious for a while, published a column in the Washington Times in which he appeared to be approving of slavery. Obviously this was unacceptable and he was fired for it. He was not stabbed in the back. He knowingly went outside the bounds of the acceptable and was fired.

Derbyshire also, from all appearances, deliberately took a position that he knew would get him fired. As Lowry said in firing Derbyshire, Derbyshire’s article amounted to a letter of resignation. He was not stabbed in the back.

So please, let’s not get all paleo and victimological and Gottfriedesque about how “they stabbed us in the back!” The problem is not that Derbyshire lost his job as a result of violating liberal racial strictures. The problem is those racial strictures themselves.

Chris K. writes:

The great value of John Derbyshire’s firing from NR is that it clarifies just how bankrupt the mainstream conservative movement is. As you have pointed out many time previously, Derbyshire’s nihilism, secularism, and frivolity made him something other than a conservative. The one reason to keep reading him after his turn to materialism and atheism (other than his gifts as a writer) was his honesty and forthrightness on racial/cultural matters.

NR has shown itself to be fundamentally liberal in orientation. I predict that within a year or two, Mark Steyn and Andrew McCarthy will be shown the door as well, leaving NR without a single grownup (McCarthy) or writer of note (Steyn) left in the building.

You have often been accused of acting as “Pope Lawrence I, supreme arbiter of all true conservatism.” I think this characterization is wrong, and the Derbyshire episode shows the importance of Traditionalism. In a traditional society, everything of value in Derbyshire’s piece would have been taken for granted. Indeed, you would have been thought insane if you differed from the common sense of being alert to, and avoiding the danger of, black violence. The problem with the nihilistic conservatism of Derbyshire, Richard Spencer, and the “Game” writers is they are not “for” anything. Game is about getting sex from whorish women, Richard Spencer seems to dream of a reformed fascist white America, and Derbyshire’s writing, for all of its grace and style, amounts to a rather schoolboyish amusement at being naughty.

As this episode illustrates so well, traditionalists have been correct to reject the mainstream completely, and to strike out on their own, online. If the mainstream press will not permit the truth to be told, stop patronizing the mainstream press. As seen in many of the comments in articles about the firing, those sympathetic to Derbyshire are winning the argument. When those who recognize the truth in Derbyshire’s writing go looking for more information, they will end up here at VFR and sites like it. Travonmania and the defenestration of Derb have torn the mask off liberalism (both left- and right-) and the average white American is seeing what lies beneath. God bless you and enjoy the Easter Season.

April 10

Diana writes:

One thing I don’t like about the “pro-Derb” commentariat is that they lump him in with Sobran amongst the unjustly fired from NR. Quite apart from the fact that, as you point out, NR doesn’t owe anyone a position or writing gig*, I disagree with the idea that the two have anything in common. By the time Sobran had been fired, he had demonstrated that he was obsessed with Israel and Jews, writing incessantly about them with frothing hatred. After his firing he showed his true colors—a large percentage of his “oeuvre” was devoted to attacking Jews using explicitly anti-Semitic tropes.

Derbyshire is a totally different animal. He rarely writes about race, and when he does, it is usually with reference to scientific findings. I don’t know “Derb” but his writing persona was that of the charmingly eccentric, mathematically inclined Englishman. The only thing he’s obsessed with is numbers. He seems devoid of personal, or even impersonal, hostilities.

Further, he wrote about interacting with blacks only because the Trayvon Martin case is still hanging over us like a bad stench, and the article concerned a very specific aspect of that, which had lately been highlighted in our rotten to the core media. Sobran used to rave on about Jews and Israel because he was obsessed with them.

The contrast between him and Sobran couldn’t be more stark and the fact that some conservatives lump the two into one category shows how weak and marginal we are.

I do think that Derbyshire can be compared with Ann Coulter. She was fired from NR for writing extreme but sensible things about Muslim countries right after 9/11. If we’d followed the Coulter plan, we’d have saved a lot of lives and money. The only problem I had with the Coulter plan was that by converting Muslims to Presbyterians we would have increased the world’s liberal population by a billion. Ugh. What a thought. I would rather they stay Muslims and that we cut off all contact with them, thereby suffocating them to death, because they need us more than we need them.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at April 09, 2012 06:40 PM | Send

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