John Derbyshire and National Review – What Took So Long?

Over the weekend, National Review editor Rich Lowry ended the magazine’s long relationship with contributing editor John Derbyshire (“Derb”) over a racist article he wrote for another publication: 

His latest provocation, in a webzine, lurches from the politically incorrect to the nasty and indefensible. 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.
Lowry is certainly right to call Derbyshire’s piece “nasty and indefensible,” but I’m not so sure about his claim that National Review would never associate itself with such views. After all, they’ve been associated for years with people who hold such views, despite efforts to purge the magazine of so-called paleo-conservatives.
 
Here’s a taste of the article that got Derbyshire fired, which consisted of a list of suggested items for white and Asian parents to tell their teenage sons:
  • (10a) Avoid concentrations of blacks not all known to you personally.
  • (10b) Stay out of heavily black neighborhoods.
  • (10c) If planning a trip to a beach or amusement park at some date, find out whether it is likely to be swamped with blacks on that date (neglect of that one got me the closest I have ever gotten to death by gunshot).
  • 10d) Do not attend events likely to draw a lot of blacks.
  • (10e) If you are at some public event at which the number of blacks suddenly swells, leave as quickly as possible.
  • (10f) Do not settle in a district or municipality run by black politicians.(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.
Back in February, Derbyshire appeared on the notorious CPAC panel on the “Failure of Multiculturalism,” which featured prominent white nationalist Peter Brimelow. Brimelow himself was a senior editor at National Review from 1993 until he was purged by William F. Buckley, Jr in 1998. He then went on to found VDARE.com, which he named after the first white child born in the Americas to English parents.
 
At CPAC, Derbyshire argued that society could avoid disaster and racial violence by accepting that some groups (e.g. blacks) are inherently inferior and other groups (e.g. whites) are inherently superior. Once society accepted this premise, Derbyshire argued, individuals would be happier and know their stations in life:
Imagine you are a member of a group that, in the generality, underachieves socially and economically: a black in the U.S.A., an Inuit in Canada, a Pacific Islander in New Zealand, even a Malay in Malaysia. If the Standard Model is true, the only possible explanation for your group's underachievement is malice on the part of other groups. Hence the rancor, resentment, rage, and division.
 
If, on the other hand, group underachievement is a consequence of the laws of biology working on human populations, there is no blame to assign. The fact of group inequalities, even in societies that have striven mightily to remove them, is as natural and inevitable as individual inequality, which nobody minds very much. The only proper object of blame is Mother Nature; and she is capable of inflicting far worse things on us than mere statistical disparities between ancient inbred populations.
 
Under a reigning philosophy of candor and realism, each of us can strive to be the best he can be, to play as best he can the hand he's been dealt, in liberty and equality under the law.
The CPAC speech, which was published verbatim on VDARE, is arguably even more offensive and racist than the one that got him fired, but it wasn’t as explicit. The National Review apparently tolerates racism so long as there’s a sheen of intellect or sophistication. Derbyshire made the mistake of being too honest about his extremist views, and Lowry was forced to act.
 
UPDATE: Peter Brimelow is currently running a fundraising appeal on VDARE that suggests that National Review editors knew about Derbyshire's racist inclinations and were keeping him on a short leash: "Without betraying confidences, I hope that John Derbyshire will resume writing for us—he was prevented from doing so by NR’s current degenerate (and fearful) management."

 

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