National Review, once a stalwart conservative publication, has offered up John Derbyshire as a sacrifice to the unappeasable gods of political correctness. Refusing even to engage his points intellectually, Rich Lowry (its chief editor) instead has labeled one of his columns “racist” and now NR is done with it. John is a fine, funny, and altogether interesting writer. He is intellectually honest, even when offending conservative or liberal taboos, on issues like religion or race respectively.
His public firing has occurred in the same manner as those of the left, which rarely engages the substance of conservative heterodoxy on race or much else, instead preferring to scream, condemn, ostracize, and engage in other anti-intellectual means of social control. Ask Juan Williams or Jimmy the Greek. The left and the pseudoconservatives on the right don’t believe in intellectual engagement; for them, we’re engaged in an inexorable moral progress defined by liberal goals that permamently removes certain views from polite discussion. Those who hold them are little more than cranks at best and enemies of the people at worst. This is all wrong. What is needed is more, not less, candor on matters of race and much else! This need does not mean that every or event most expressions of Derbyshire on such issues are completely agreeable, but what he said in the offending column is hardly beyond the pale, and it is far more agreeable and closer to reality than much of what passes for race discussion among liberals and self-titled conservatives.
Lowry has weakened NR in countless ways: not only is the magazine not recognizably conservative these days, but it’s boring, predictable, and unserious. It ceased to be worth reading five or ten years ago, and even today is only worthwhile for the writings of Heather MacDonald, Andrew MacCarthy, and a few others.
What a sad and cowardly end to a publication that began by “standing athwart history, yelling stop.”