Uncomfortable truths or cringe-worthy?

John Derbyshire has been banished from National Review. “Parting Ways” by editor Rich Lowry provides the rationale, and, sadly, it makes some sense.

Derb, as he is familiarly known, is someone we refer to as a “paleoconservative.” As in, a conservative before it was cool, and a conservative back in the day when one was pretty likely to be an anti-Semite, anti-black, anti-foreigner (except for WASPs).

But a paleoconservative can also be one who does not compromise on the conservative virtues of individual liberty, economic freedom, limited government, and personal responsibility. My reading of Derb showed him to be basically that kind of paleo.

And yet, there was always something about some of his writings that approached screeds, especially when it came to those of us who happen to be believing Christians. In short, I had a love/cringe relationship with Derbyshire’s works. He has spoken uncomfortable truths, but too often he gets into cringe-worthy episodes that do harm. This latest was the proverbial straw.

Just as Joe Sobran had to go, and Pat Buchanan before him, Derb’s time at NR was finally up. The first time an NRO piece linked to Taki webzine (I will not link to this), I scratched my head and wondered, “what’s a nice conservative like John Derbyshire doing in this retrograde intellectual slum?”

Sadly, his firing from NR will merely feed those who would deny some of the undeniable facts that Derb brings to light (e.g. about rates of black incarceration and criminality).

But there’s a civil, and an uncivil method when dealing with facts. Derb erred too often on the side of incivility.


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