Considering that Taki, the Greek shipping magnate’s son, hard-right scribbler and socialite, owns a webzine, “Takimag”, in which a notorious recent article by John Derbyshire was published, I wondered whether the fellow was going to write about recent events about Derbyshire. You see, Derbyshire, who lives in the US and has written for various publications such as National Review, was recently fired by NR editor Rich Lowry after a storm of protest concerning Derbyshire’s comments about black people in Takimag.
But when I read Taki’s regular column in the Spectator a few days ago, it was all about Ernest Hemingway (and pretty good, too). No mention of the Derbyshire affair. Odd. Maybe the Spectator’s editor had warned the chap off, but he’s written some pretty fiery stuff before that got into print, so I am not sure. But of course, I had completely forgotten the one-and-only Rod Liddle:
“Derbyshire’s piece contained one or two points with which I do not agree, but I suspect that for the most part its advice was precisely the sort of thing which readers of the National Review have probably passed on to their children, anyway.”
Well, he may be right that that is what readers of that publication tell their children. Who knows, maybe they are all telling their youngsters things such as this:
“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.
(10i) If accosted by a strange black in the street, smile and say something polite but keep moving.
In that pool of forty million, there are nonetheless many intelligent and well-socialized blacks. (I’ll use IWSB as an ad hoc abbreviation.) You should consciously seek opportunities to make friends with IWSBs. In addition to the ordinary pleasures of friendship, you will gain an amulet against potentially career-destroying accusations of prejudice.
(14) Be aware, however, that there is an issue of supply and demand here. Demand comes from organizations and businesses keen to display racial propriety by employing IWSBs, especially in positions at the interface with the general public—corporate sales reps, TV news presenters, press officers for government agencies, etc.—with corresponding depletion in less visible positions. There is also strong private demand from middle- and upper-class whites for personal bonds with IWSBs, for reasons given in the previous paragraph and also (next paragraph) as status markers.
(15) Unfortunately the demand is greater than the supply, so IWSBs are something of a luxury good, like antique furniture or corporate jets: boasted of by upper-class whites and wealthy organizations, coveted by the less prosperous. To be an IWSB in present-day US society is a height of felicity rarely before attained by any group of human beings in history
It is worth reading the whole piece, if only to get the full, patronising, vileness of much of it; the tragedy is that there might be one or two things he says that actually make some sort of sense (there are issues concerning crime rates among different ethnic groups that need to be discussed, openly and without pandering to PCness). If this article was meant as satire, it failed. An argument I have seen in defence of the piece is that Derbyshire wrote it in response to another idea of what black parents are telling their children about white people. But even if that is true, do two wrongs make a right? I just cannot see how that is the case here.
But what I found particularly bad, from a libertarian perspective, about this item was that Derbyshire, working backwards from some highly debatable statistical assertions, then used them as a sort of rule of thumb test of how to treat a black man as an individual. And this is proof, in my view, of his racial collectivism.
As already has happened, a number of people, no doubt sympathising with these comments, have said they will cancel their NR subscriptions, etc, etc. This is a terrible blow of freedom of speech, etc, etc. It is not. NR would not be obliged to print this material, and as Lowry said in his announcement of the parting of the ways, he would not have done so. If an editor feels a writer is so incendiary that he no longer wants to be associated with such a person, then he or she is entitled to act on that view, however mistaken. That is part of the freedom to act on judgements that, ironically, Mr Derbyshire might claim to be defending, however hamfistedly, in his article. We live in the world of massively expanding internet-based news and views; I am sure that the British-born Mr Derbyshire will find outlets for his opinions.
Update: It seems another NR contributor has got the boot, by the name of Robert Weissberg. Crikey.