While the larger portion of movement conservatives are rushing to partake in this week’s Two Minutes Hate against John Derbyshire, not everyone is eager to jump on the persecute-the-racist-Derbyshire bandwagon. Thomas Fleming expresses his support for John Derbyshire, implies that he agrees with much of what Derbyshire wrote, and took several shots at the pathetic National Review:
Posted by Lawrence Auster at April 09, 2012 06:49 PM | Send
John Derbyshire, as probably everyone but me already knew, has been fired by National Review. The firing was in response to a calmly written but injudiciously frank piece on Takimag on what to tell American children about race relations. Rich Lowry, in slipping the knife into his colleague’s back, was surprisingly polite, confining himself to words like “nasty and indefensible.” Compared to the nasty and indefensible name-calling that has been the hallmark of NR, this is almost a compliment. Wanting to think as well of Lowry as I ought to, I can only assume that he deliberately avoided terms like “racist” and “bigot” in order to avoid harming Derbyshire’s damaged reputation.
Mark Steyn took a more tepid view (but when has he not?) on the Derbyshire issue:
On the other hand, the worst thing that John Derbyshire has done to his reputation with serious people is to associate with NR. He is intelligent, reasonably well-read, possessed of a decent prose-style and the courage of his convictions. What in the world was such a man doing in such company?
I regret the loss of John Derbyshire to National Review. Short version: Didn’t like the piece, but don’t think NR should have hustled him into the drive-thru guillotine on the basis of 24 hours of hysteria from the Internet’s sans-culottes.
He doesn’t tell what he didn’t like about this piece or say that Derbyshire was necessarily wrong, but he does bring up the issue of liberal-enforced political correctness and the danger of always caving to it:
The Left is pretty clear about its objectives on everything from climate change to immigration to gay marriage: Rather than win the debate, they’d just as soon shut it down. They’ve had great success in shrinking the bounds of public discourse, and rendering whole areas of public policy all but undiscussable. In such a climate, my default position is that I’d rather put up with whatever racist/sexist/homophobic/Islamophobic/whateverphobic excess everybody’s got the vapors about this week than accept ever tighter constraints on “acceptable” opinion. The latter kills everything, not least the writing skills of the ideologically conformist: Note how cringe-makingly limp the Derbyshire “satires” are, even in the marquee publications.
Whatever is to be said of Steyn, at least he doesn’t want to feed a fellow conservative to the liberal vultures and recognizes the danger of continuously accepting the parameters set for acceptable thought and speech by the liberal PC police.
The net result of Derb’s summary execution by NR will be further to shrivel the parameters, and confine debate in this area to ever more unreal fatuities. He knew that mentioning the Great Unmentionables would sooner or later do him in, and, in an age when shrieking “That’s totally racist!” is totally gay, he at least has the rare satisfaction of having earned his colors.