Atlas Shrugged: The Mocking

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Racist Is As Racist Does

It's good to see people discussing the rank, rotting racism at the heart of National Review's loathsome John Derbyshire. His post at Taki explaining to his children how they should protect themselves from all those stupid, violent black people finally tipped the scales, and Derbyshire at last stepped out of his tribe's boundaries.

The New York Daily News seems to think he was joking; of course he was not, as he regularly spouts racist screeds like the one he wrote for Taki. Dave Weigel blamed those who fight racism for racism, for if they would just shut up all this racism nonsense would simply go away.

If a simmering racial controversy simmers long enough, the likelihood of someone using it to justify racism rises dramatically. We're a month into the Trayvon Martin story, which makes it time for John Derbyshire to weigh in with a column about the frightening qualities of black people in groups.


There's a sort of micro-movement building to shame National Review into firing Derbyshire. Why would they? Derbyshire is saying something that many people believe but few people with word-slinging abilities know how to say: There are differences between the races, and whites should watch out for blacks. One popular Internet hobby of the moment is grabbing dumb blog comments or tweets and assembling them like a Pinterest page, to show what racists think. Derbyshire isn't stupid and he isn't being caught out. If someone wants to publish this, someone should.

All that said, I don't think I've taken much of this column's advice.

His post was so half-hearted that criticism forced him to follow up with another post downplaying Derbyshire's actions.

There's been some tsuris about my Friday post on John Derbyshire's Taki magazine essay "The Talk: Nonblack version." It was written in a pretty dry way, so I never ended up saying the obvious: People, the essay was disgusting.


the new Taki essay doesn't have any new science or research in it. It's an argument to warn nonblacks that black people are threatening. How much to fret about this? Well, the publication matters here. Derbyshire published in Taki magazine, which is the latest iteration of a rich man's controversialist web site. He's not talking this up on a cable news network. He doesn't have the cover of Time magazine. This isn't like the (successful) campaign to boot Pat Buchanan from MSNBC. It's a public shaming of a stupid article on a fringe site. And if you're going to have anti-black sentiment, would you rather have it dumb and exposed or would you rather have it subtle? The authors of stories about how Trayvon Martin looked really scary in his fake grill and tweets don't add oh, and this is because black youths are scary. Even if they're unarmed. Derbyshire came out and did it.

He might have done permanent damage to the whole "human biodiversity" project. It usually thrives on criticism. Those "shrieks of horror" are the whimpers of people who hate science and ignore reality. Not this time. The alleged value of Derbyshire-style analysis of race is that it's honest about human differences. You're explaining the thin-slice bias of the basketball coach who'd rather put a tall black kid on his team than a shorter white kid, something like that. But in this essay, Derbyshire tried to validate the fear of the nonblack person who -- oh, totally random example -- might decide that a tall black kid in a hoodie is a threat to his gated community. It's useful to have that out in the open.
If only Slate would fire Weigel.

Matt K. Lewis at The Daily Caller is upset that Derbyshire makes conservatives look racist; no doubt Derbyshire immediately and retroactively will no longer be considered a conservative.

Derbyshire’s screed (which was actually written at Taki’s Magazine) is, of course, incredibly harmful to conservatism because it reinforces a bogus stereotype that conservatives are inherently racist.

In one fell swoop (actually, Derbyshire has a history of flirting with this sort of thing, but it has finally caught up with him), he has done more harm to the conservative cause than any liberal ever could.

Too often, conservatives reflexively defend anyone attacked by the left, presumably based on the logic that the enemy of my enemy is my friend. I’m happy to see his colleagues are instead standing on principle.

I believe in free speech — especially unpopular speech. But that doesn’t mean National Review has to subsidize it. And it certainly doesn’t mean we shouldn’t condemn it.

Some people aren’t worth the fighting for. Some things are indefensible. This is one of those cases.

Nobody believes conservatives are inherently racist; babies and small children are not racist and either are fascinated by the differences of others or barely notice them. They become racist because they are brainwashed by their parents or choose to take out their frustrations in life by blaming others.

The rest of the morally imbalanced crew at NR have plenty of racism of their own but of a much less showy sort, and they are canny enough to know when they are at risk.  Rich Lowry has already denounced Derbyshire; we have to give him credit for having the sense to realize that for once Derbyshire will not go unnoticed.
Needless to say, no one at National Review shares Derb’s appalling view of what parents supposedly should tell their kids about blacks in this instantly notorious piece here.
Other NR writers tweeted their disapproval and at Forbes, Josh Borro, a National Review contributor, said  Derbyshire must be fired as his racism spills over on the rest of National Review. We wouldn't want anyone to think that the magazine that offers for sale the most racist children's literature it can find, the better indoctrinate the kiddies, is racist.

Tod Kelly at The League of Ordinary Gentlemen is also concerned about the reputation of conservatism, so wrongly pegged by those liberals as racist.

It seems so clear to me that if the right as a whole is going to shed the reputation it absolutely has (and by and large does not deserve) on these fronts, it needs to be willing to stand up and be counted when lines are crossed, or at the very least to not defend them.
It is now inherent in conservatism to impede progress, and for conservatives, improving the lives of others is considered progress. Authoritarians must have an Other; the define themselves by who they are not. And they must have an enemy, the better to experience the cohesiveness and sense of belonging that comes from being part of a group. Hatred of the other is endemic in authoritarianism. People hate those whom they fear, and they fear those whom they have wronged. John Derbyshire is far from alone, and his conservative brethren are just as guilt as he, if not as brazen.

ADDED: Rich Lowry regrets to announce that John Derbyshire is no longer welcome at National Review.

Anyone who has read Derb in our pages knows he’s a deeply literate, funny, and incisive writer. I direct anyone who doubts his talents to his delightful first novel, “Seeing Calvin Coolidge in a Dream,” or any one of his “Straggler” columns in the books section of NR. Derb is also maddening, outrageous, cranky, and provocative. 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. 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. It’s a free country, and Derb can write whatever he wants, wherever he wants. Just not in the pages of NR or NRO, or as someone associated with NR any longer.


Salty Justice said...

For an ideology that isn't racist, it sure has a lot of racist adherents. Must be a coincidence.

Anonymous said...

Dave Weigel nicely proves that there's no such thing as a Reasonable Conservative. There are all monsters, just with varying levels of skill in how well they're able to hide it and pass as functioning human beings. Weigel kept his facade up longer and better than most, but eventually the mask cracks and the ugliness inside shines through.


Anonymous said...

Jesse Jackson at a 1993 Operation PUSH convention:

“There is nothing more painful to me at this stage of my life than to walk down the street and hear footsteps and start thinking about robbery — then look around and see somebody white and feel relieved.”

Susan of Texas said...

If you would give me a comprehensive list of what I may and may not discuss I would be very appreciative.

I would also appreciate a link to all the conservatives you have taken to task, although that might be a little difficult as you are anonymous, as are so many others.

It's only consistent.

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

I suspect that as derbyshit apparently has cancer and is dying, he feels that he can be open about his misanthropy and hatred.

This is America and it's his right,

as it is also our right to deride him as a racist fucknozzle pedophile.

not to mention our right to mock you for being too cowardly to even use a pseudonym in your defense of a repellent racist.

Susan of Texas said...

I'm sorry, you are merely repeating yourself and still have not given me the list of anonymous-approved topics of discussion.

As you are most concerned about fairness in criticism, I will also need to see your critique of Derbyshire as well.

I would also appreciate an essay on liberal authoritarianism, with footnotes and bibliography. I suggest you start with Bob Altemeyer, who has explained in detail why conservatism is more authoritarian than liberalism. It's due tomorrow by the end of the working day.

Thank you.

Anonymous said...


Your twisting and swirling and attempted re-direction fail to hide your lack of response to my queries. No surprise there.

An essay? With a deadline? Oh my, how very authoritarian of you.

Susan of Texas said...

I thought we all had the right to discuss whatever we wanted to discuss. If we don't, as your demand that I discuss what you want me to discuss seems to prove, then I will need a comprehensive list of what I should and should not discuss. You have given me one example--I should denounce the actions of Jesse Jackson. While I appreciate the sample, it simply won't do. What if I decide to discuss someone else you don't like, or neglect to discuss someone else you do like? Can't you see how much easier it would be on both of us if you would give me a list now instead of us both having to check with each other every time I write something?

For instance, I am working on a post about Ross Douthat. Is that okay with you? Is there someone I should be denouncing instead? Surely you can see my dilemma? Don't you want to save me time and effort?

You complained when I gave you an assignment--I didn't complain, which was very accomdating of me. I simply asked for a little assistance in following your orders. Don't you want to help me follow your orders?

Anonymous said...

No need to get all bristly and passive-aggressive, Miss Susan.

Here's your essay. I'd love to hear your feedback on it ...

As you libs love to say ...You are entitled to your own opinion, but you are not entitled to your own facts.

Mandos said...


Susan of Texas said...

Oh you poor thing. That's a video, not an essay. On a site with many, many videos, mostly of violence or breasts or noisy and exciting natural disasters. I'm sure a good time is had by all but it's not an essay. Or even a list.

Giblets is not only angry, he is not very clear on the difference between words and pictures.

Susan of Texas said...

Still waiting on your permission to write about Douthat, by the way.

Anonymous said...

Misdirection, again.

More authoritarianism.


Your little tattered bag of tricks is woefully inadequate.

However do you keep up in the real world?

Or, is this little safe echo chamber as far as you dare venture into what the rest of us know as reality?

I suspected you lacked the gumption to either watch or comment on the video and your juvenile mockery is both expected and tiresome. Step up to the plate, if you have it in you.

I seriously doubt you do.

Mr.Wonderful said...

So Derbyshire said a bunch of stuff that you've deemed racist. This is America and it's his right, same as it's Maher's right to call Pain a c**t. They're both ugly and designed to stir the shit. Live with it and get off your sanctimonious high horses (or at least ride them with consistency, mk?)

Derbyshire condemned an entire race--which is, by definition, what racism is. Maher mocked and applied a nasty name to a specific individual based on her words, deeds, and behavior, for which she is entirely responsible.

If you can't see the difference-- and if you don't think the former is more objectionable than the latter, since Derbyshire was exercising his "right"--then so be it.

We'll pass over the high hilarity of criticizing someone else's sanctimony in the same breath as he defends a racist essay by virtue of the author's "right."

Hamish Mack said...

Anonymous overlooks 95% of Dementedshires drooling and uses a very ambiguous statement by Jesse Jackson for a false equivalence.
Fox and Friends: Home Schooling for Conservatives

Anonymous said...

Nowhere in my original post did I "...defends a racist essay by virtue of the author's "right.""

Mr. Wonderful:

In fact what I said was, "They're both ugly and designed to stir the shit." By no stretch of anyone's imagination could that be construed as 'defending'.

Are you with me so far?

My point, my good Mr Wonderful, is that - like it or not - in this country we all have the right to free speech under the first amendment of the Constitution (with certain exceptions such as yelling fire in a crowded theater when there is no fire) ...whether this speech meets with your approval or not. Are we clear on this?

I am defending Mr. Derbyshire's right to say what he has said. I am not defending here what he said. It's an important distinction.

Please correct me if I misunderstand, but is this current outcry from the left against Mr. Derbyshire's essay exactly what I implied above? ...that free speech must be quashed if YOU don't like what it is saying?

Should Jackson's right to say what he said about 'relief that it was white people following him' be taken from him, even though it's very similar in spirit to what Mr. Derbyshire said? Or should his right to say it without ramification be upheld because he is black and Mr. Derbyshire is white? (I hope at this juncture you are clearly seeing the inherent racism in that fact of this matter. How else does one justify the lack of outcry - you included - at what Mr. Jackson said as anything other than pure racism?)

I certainly thought Mr. Maher's calling Palin a c**t was reprehensible but never did I screech in outrage that his right to say it must be taken from him. Where were all the public movements to boycott him, where were all the published calls for his ouster? For the most part, the right shrugged and said 'just another juvenile liberal asshole doing what juvenile liberal assholes do" and went on about their business.

And that, Mr. Wonderful -- and Miss Susan -- is the difference between the right and the left. The right doesn't sit up in their ivory towers or express themselves as elite arbiters of societal norms.

I know this is hard for you to square with your world view, but it is the liberal left that is near-totalitarian in its desire to engage in social Darwinism (see my video posted above, explicit in its portrayal and support of this statement) to control and engineer society as they see fit, up to and including governmental regulation on what we can eat, what we can drive, what we can grow and what we MUST buy. Calling the right authoritarian is nothing more than simple projection on the part of the left.

You've twisted yourself into a pretzel in your attempt to skew my words into something other than what I did indeed say clearly. I hope my clarification has helped undo a few of your knots.

I am not the bogeyman, Mr. Wonderful. The bogeyman is one who wishes to control others, to bend them to his will, and to reshape them according to what he wishes them to be. And that, Mr. Wonderful and you too, Miss Susan, is what your posts have clearly unveiled you both to be.

Susan of Texas said...

Needs footnotes.

Jim Parrett said...

Anonymous - you're not telling the truth. There was plenty of outrage from the right over Maher's calling Palin a name. Plenty.

You mentioned authoritarianism. Citizens calling for the firing of someone is democracy in action; it is not authoritarianism is defined by the dictionary "favoring complete obedience or subjection to authority as opposed to individual freedom". It is our right to call for someone who is promoting violence against a minority to work to minimize that voice. We are not looking to pass a law; just use our voices to ask for dismissal.

Why are you so unsure of yourself you demand praise because you didn't "screech" for Maher's firing? Why do you need your head patted? Your ivory tower is so high, you feel as though you are above it all. But you are just another cog who is promoting hate in the name of free speech.

Racism and homophobia, both of which Derby proudly claimed in 2003, are products that invite violence and bigotry. I didn't appreciate Maher's description of Palin using the word he did. But he was addressing a single person who possesses many mean-spirited and provocative views and statements herself. Derby was provoking and demeaning an entire race, not an individual. That's the difference between the right and the left. We mock individuals and majority groups; you advocate violence against people who have been oppressed for far too long.


Jim Parrett said...

Just one more point. The left and center dismiss people who do or say harmful things. The NBC guy who screwed up the Zimmerman video. Helen Thomas. It's a matter of conscience.
The list goes on. The right seldom does so itself. It takes action from people to get them to do what left-leaning and centrist organizations do on their own.

Susan of Texas said...

The armies of Political Correctness have claimed another victim. The non-authoritarian National Review has tossed out Derbyshire on his ear for speaking that which should be unspoken, only alluded to, or perhaps put into a racist cartoon.

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

Obviously infringing on his constitutional right to a national audience.

Also, "authoritarian liberals", LOL. Sounds like an argument that has never been made with such detail or care.

Hamish Mack said...

Feck, I have only just become used to being a Liberal fascist, now I have to change. THANKYOU MR. OBAMA!!!
How long before dementedshire gets the call from Big Breitbart?

Lurking Canadian said...

Somebody should phone Suderman and tell him Megan's posting as Anonymous again, instead of working on her book.

Roger said...

If only Slate would fire Weigel, they'd hire Mickey Kaus again.

Substance McGravitas said...


cavorting with nudists said...

" doubt Derbyshire immediately and retroactively will no longer be considered a conservative."

Aaaaand, right on cue: Over at HalfBreit's bunker (no link) Dana Loesch has already said that Derbyshire's screed "would have been more at home on Media Matters."

blivet said...

Lurking Canadian, I'll bet you my copy of Atlas Shrugged that Megan's book never sees the light of day. She's just too damn lazy to produce anything but dashed-off blog posts and tweets.

Leah A said...

Dear Anon:

The constitutional right of free speech does not include the right not to be criticized by others, like our hostess on this blog, who also has her right of free speech.

I will never understand this right-wing notion that vigorous disagreement with their point of view is somehow an abridgement of their right to free speech, and thus an example of liberal intolerance.

It's true that National Review has since severed its relationship with Mr. Derbyshire, but not because of liberal pressure, although a few commentators called for it.Most of us felt that the National Review has its own history of racist attitudes toward African-Americans that stretches into the present, which isn't going to be changed by firing Derbyshire.

In fact, NR showed its own contempt for the black community, and more specifically, middle-class blacks, especially black journalists, who were bothered by the death of Trayvon Martin journalists.

First it was Jonah Goldberg, wondering if Charles Blow, columnist for the NYTimes, ever comes in contact with "underclass" youth, and whether or not he cares about the black kids who get killed by other black kids, the implication being that both black leaders and the communities they lead don't pay attention to the problem of "black on black" violence.

This became a theme on right-wing blogs, and Rich Lowry, who finds himself so horrified by Derbyshire's open racism, wrote a post on The Corner, picking up where Goldberg left off by offering more specific examples of dead black kids killed by other black kids, based, apparently, on a five minute Google search.What Lowry didn't mention was that those other black kids were all duly arrested and tried in a court of law for their crimes.

Then Juan Williams, who can always be counted on to not get the point, despite being African-American himself, made the whole thing explicit by wondering where the concern, the marches, the protests, etc., were for these dead black kids.

What these various comments showed most clearly is that much of the racism that constantly bleeds into the commentaries at the National Review and so many other right-wing sources arise from their utter and complete lack of knowledge about African-Americans.

Hence the irony of Anon's Jesse Jackson quote. I assume that Anon left it as proof that even Jesse Jackson admits that black folks are violent. In fact what the quote shows, along with piles of other evidence, is that African-Americans are well aware of the violence in too many of the de facto segregated neighborhoods; they acknowledge it, worry about it, and yes, they have marches and protests, constantly commemorate the memory of children lost and wasted lives, and try to do as much as they can to ameliorate the causes with minimal help from the the government or the rest of America.

Ta-Nehisi Coates has a superb answer to Juan Williams and all the others, including Anon.

Anonymous said...

Poverty and hopelessness make people violent. Violence has always been endemic to American society--especially at the lower end of the SES scale. Violence has always been a feature of White poverty, especially Southern White poverty and there is nothing about Modern Urban Violence (whether white or black or hispanic) that is at all distinctive, culturally, from violence in all white ethnic enclaves. African Americans in Oak Bluffs never mug anyone, and plenty of poor whites in Applachia or anywhere else have abused the Welfare system and had kids out of wedlock. Its class, class, class and relationship to the mean's of production and to the State's Monopoly on force.

Everywhere the State has abdicated in preference to letting local people settle their own disputes (whether in the South post Reconstruction or in the North in Urban Ghettos) violence and self policing become the norm. If you are going to leave people prey to their worst elements--again whether Southern Planters or Gangbangers--you can't turn around and argue that there is some essentialist, racial reason why the poor are preyed upon by the powerful. People get fucked over by the armed vigilantes in their towns. Its not surprising.


Mr.Wonderful said...

My Good Anonymous: May I join you in indulging in an ostentatiously breezy--let no one say "supercilious"--style? Splendid. I note with an amusement similar to that which you affect that you failed to address a point I advanced, viz., that Derbyshire maligned an entire race, while Maher maligned a specific individual, and that suggests a mitigation against regarding their two utterances as being comparable.

Your postings, however admirably suave and refined in the superb elegance of their polemical natural goodness, exhibit a woeful (and, may one wonder, deliberate?) confusion between the left's condemnation of what Derbyshire said, and his right to say it; between Derbyshire's blatantly racist "Talk" about all blacks, and Maher's insulting epithet applied to a single person; and between what various specific writers say, and "liberals"--who, you say, "as a group, have zero credibility."

But then, your own mockery founders on the mis-use of a single word. What does it mean when you say that the meaning of the left's response to Derbyshire is "that free speech must be quashed"? No one is calling for such an enquashment. No one (at least no one under discussion here) has claimed that a racist's right to free speech should be eliminated.

Calling for Derbyshire to be fired from a publication which routinely rejects criticisms of its own covert (or overt) racism has less to do with Derbyshire than with the National Review. Indeed, no one is saying the NR hasn't the right to publish the writings of such a person. No one is calling for the quashing of anything--at least, assuming "quash" means "suppress completely," which it does.

The left isn't saying Derbyshire's essay should be suppressed. They're saying its sentiments and ideas are repellent.

You are right about one thing, dear Anonymous: you did indeed say "they're both ugly," and in that sense I was mistaken in saying you defended Derbyshire's racism. You were defending his right to say what he wanted in stout defiance of the fact that no one was attacking it. Please accept my most elegantly-phrased apology.

As for the rest--"the liberal near-totalitarian," "...calling the right authoritarian is nothing more than simple projection," etc.--that, Anonymous, is hyperbole unworthy of you, unless of course it is worthy of you.

Nabokov (in the voice of Humbert Humbert) said, "You can always count on a murderer for a fancy prose style." We might add: you can also so count on a conservative--or, rather, a Republican--troll.

Ben said...

I just want to note for the record that Susan being called an authoritarian is the funniest fucking thing I've ever read.

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

You were defending his right to say what he wanted in stout defiance of the fact that no one was attacking it. Please accept my most elegantly-phrased apology.

I would also like to extend my congratulations to Mr. Nonny Mouse in his hard-fought victory in the Battle of Straw.

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

My point, my good Mr Wonderful, is that - like it or not - in this country we all have the right to free speech under the first amendment of the Constitution (with certain exceptions such as yelling fire in a crowded theater when there is no fire) ...whether this speech meets with your approval or not. Are we clear on this?

Golf clap, Mister Nonny!

Now could you tell me why Concerned Conservative Citizens such as yourself are so protective of the "right" of racist windbags to scream "Ni-CLANG" in a crowded Klan meeting without being criticized by decent people, but we never hear jack from you clowns on actual civil liberties abuses by our government?

Here's an example.

But Poitras’ work has been hampered, and continues to be hampered, by the constant harassment, invasive searches, and intimidation tactics to which she is routinely subjected whenever she re-enters her own country. Since the 2006 release of “My Country, My Country,” Poitras has left and re-entered the U.S. roughly 40 times. Virtually every time during that six-year-period that she has returned to the U.S., her plane has been met by DHS agents who stand at the airplane door or tarmac and inspect the passports of every de-planing passenger until they find her (on the handful of occasions where they did not meet her at the plane, agents were called when she arrived at immigration). Each time, they detain her, and then interrogate her at length about where she went and with whom she met or spoke.

Batocchio said...

Also, Susan, why don't you post more pictures of puppies, and LOLcats?

After all, isn't there more substance to a good LOLcat than the arguments of Douthat, Derbyshire, and McArdle? Your rank favoritism is showing!

I think the silliness of the attacks on you have been thoroughly dissected at this point, but I've seen this line of attack so damn often (Fluke, Limbaugh, Maher, etc.) I think I'll have to post something just for cathartic reasons, even though the subject has been well covered... Sigh. The idiocy and bad faith of conservative hacks and centrism fetishists are like a dark muse.

Anonymous said...

It's bad faith anyway. These "conservatives" have never read Derbyshire and jump up to talk about his "right to free speech" (which clearly misunderstands the first amendment).
The sad truth is he's been doing this race dance forever, and it's only an NR archives away.
Also fun is his post on finding a wife in China from way back.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

derb is no longer a conservative. see: number of righty pundits noting how derb was pro choice, against keeping schaivo on life support, etc. he was some sort of evil librul plant the whole time.

Anonymous said...

Late to the party but there's always something sad and comical to a Cartman type going on and on on how you're an Authoritarian and then screaming at the top of his lungs "Respect My Authoritah!"

fish said...

Susan, being an agent of the US government and using force against Derbyshire to prevent him from having his say, is clearly infringing on the 4th amendment.

The free market has nothing to do with Derbs being silenced by Lowery.

If you don't criticize all bad things equally, then you are a HYPOCRITE!

Kathy said...

... all these Bill Buckley wannabees convinced if they use big words from their thesaurus their gleaming intelligence and glittering wit will silence all those slovenly liberals forever.

Dragon-King Wangchuck said...

My favourite bit of Lowry:
Derb has long danced around the line on these issues, but this column is so outlandish it constitutes a kind of letter of resignation.

IOW, we're not shitcanning Derbs because he's racist, he's always been racist. We're "parting ways" with him because he's now too obviously racist.

cynic said...

Derb has been scum of the earth since he went after Chelsea Clinton. NRO which had no issues with that is *now* concerned he has stepped over the line?


atat said...

I love how this hideous rant is kicked off with this idiot's misreading of a Discovery article: "American blacks are descended from West African populations[...]"

Why is it that racists always assume that all American blacks are descended from slaves?