Skip to comments.Parting Ways [National Review fires John Derbyshire!]
Posted on 04/07/2012 4:24:15 PM PDT by cartan
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.
I understand the concept, and I saw it often in the older generation with conservative “cultural Catholics,” and secondhand was aware of it with Korean Buddhism, in which more conservative older people accepted the religion as providing a moral foundation for society and might participate to one extent or another while being agnostics or atheists. My impression, for better or for worse, is that Derbyshire’s approach to religion was rather common in the older generation of British conservatives.
I've been saying for a very long time that the division between economic, national defense and social conservatives does not need to be as bitter as it has become. The older type of political conservative, even if he didn't personally believe, thought that being a good American (or good Englishman) included at least formal support for the church and not openly attacking morality. It sounds like Derbyshire falls into that older model of conservative.
Thanks for the note, Phantom.
Those who are familiar with the Dutch Reformed world will understand a little bit about what it means to sit down with a young black father with a significant record of drug use or criminal convictions, give him a copy of the Heidelberg Catechism, and tell him that his only comfort in life and in death is not his needle and not his weed and not his buddies from the ’hood, but rather Jesus Christ who went to court and was convicted and sentenced to death for crimes he did not commit — our crimes.
The Catechism was written to teach German Christians in the Palatinate, often illiterate peasants who knew virtually nothing about the Bible, not only the basics of the Bible but how to apply the Lord's Prayer and Ten Commandments to their lives.
It works pretty well with people even if they don't have blond hair and blue eyes, as long as the know they're sinners who can do nothing to earn their own salvation.
Lack of discipleship is a major problem in the black church, but in fairness, that is rapidly becoming a huge problem in other evangelical churches. The Bible says a great deal about how to live our lives after we're saved, not just about how to be saved. That's what it means to build a Christian family and a Christian culture, and it's a huge gaping hole in the teaching of far too many American churches, whether white or black.
Obviously I'm a Calvinist, but I think the same focus on discipleship could be done with Luther's catechism, or the Baltimore Catechism for Roman Catholics, or a serious in-depth Sunday School curriculum for non-creedal evangelicals. There is simply no excuse for churches letting their members get blown around by every wind of false teaching without a solid foundation of discipleship based on what the church says the Bible teaches.
Singing “Shine, Jesus Shine” fifteen times with your hands in the air may make you feel good, but a focus on entertainment and emotion simply will not build a strong Christian faith, and the result will be the spiritual ignorance combined with grossly sinful behavior and broken families that has become common in the black church. Cheap grace is not grace at all — it atrophies Christian character, exposes families to collapse, and given time, destroys the culture.
White families are today in the same position that black families were a generation ago, and we're well down the road to destroying not only minority culture but all of America.
“It was a mis-use of statistics to suggest a larger problem than really exists, in order to justify a wholesale treatment of a race of people differently because of the actions of a few.
It was the basic fallacy of the stereotype. So there was one incident in a theme park. Does that mean that you need to avoid ever going to a theme park anywhere if you find out there is a minority event at the park? Thats what Derb wrote, and its absurd and frankly, it is a racist statement.
I think we are in a civil war in this country, because of race, but I dont think we need to give into the war. We need to end the war.”
Are you kidding me? A “misuse of statistics”? Based on my PERSONAL experience over the past 35 years and based on reading and following local and national news for the past 35 years (since I was about 12), there is nothing he said that was not right on the money. Yep those conclusions are statistically significant. Not only that, but another indirect piece of damning information is the percentage of the black population behind bars compared to the percentage of the white population behind bars. And NO, contrary to what Holder would have you believe there is no systemic bias against blacks in the judicial system - they are generally held to the same standard. If you disagree, produce the academic evidence that suggests otherwise - it doesn’t exist.
Actually I should correct myself there - Holder doesn’t even maintain that there is bias against blacks in the judicial system - he simply wants the percentage of blacks convicted to be the same as for whites after adjusting for the general population percentages of both races. He would do this even if meant having two DIFFERENT standards of justice for the different races.
As for the Bell Curve, I suggest you read it. Or if you don’t have time it is available on audio as well - you could listen to it on your commute. As was indicated earlier in the thread, in spite of the hysterical liberal critics who produce blatantly fallacious criticisms of it, it has withstood criticism quite well. The argument that all IQ tests are hopelessly culturally biased is bunk.
Take a close look at what you see around you on a day in and day out basis. And if you’re feeling very brave (or lucky), take a liesurely stroll in the black section any major (or not so major) urban area in the country at around 2 AM. Good luck with that.
“Hes a racist. Just because he may get something right once in a while doesnt mean he should be admired.”
Depends on how you define racist. Whenever you meet someone you don’t know, but they have a distigushing characterisic that you have been able, over time, to identifiy with particular behaviours more so than for those without that characteristic, you are perfectly justified in using induction to make assumptions in the absence of specific knowledge about that individual.
When I see a cat, based on my experience, I expect it to meow. When I see a dog, I expect it to bark. That is MY experience. I know from my personal experience that blacks are more likely to commit violent crimes. If I’m on the street and I see a black person that I don’t know personally, I would be a fool to not rely on MY past experience to guide my actions.
It is essentially an information problem. Utilizing gneralizations/induction in the absence of specific information is something we all do every single day. I know black people who I don’t even see as black any more because I know them personally. But if I don’t know them, I will protect myself by relying on my past experience.
And that is NOT racism. Or if it is, then so be it.
How does one argue against “personal experience”? You must have had a lousy life, if you have personally experienced everything that Derb mentioned statistically.
You mention black incarceration rates. How does that personally effect you? Do you spend a lot of time in prisons, and find it hard to deal with blacks in that environment?
In the environments I exist in, there are people of many races, and as we are all in the same environments, we all have similar backgrounds, similar abilities, interests, and all seem to get along just fine. I don’t walk down the halls of my work worrying about whether there are too many blacks in the next aisle. I don’t get scared if my softball team is playing the AME church, nor am I scared if a group of black people get off the bus for the local walk for life.
I don’t get scared when I visit my son’s school, which has a significant black population. I don’t stay home rather than visiting the local mall, even though there is a significant minority presence. I don’t find the theme parks any less enjoyable when there are minorities there, or dislike my summer vacation because upwardly mobile blacks have decided to buy into the timeshare experience.
I ate dinner in Brunswick on a 4-day bike camping trip on the C&O canal. We road right past several minorities, and I didn’t think twice about it. They came to the pizza place we went to, and I said hi to them and made small talk about their bikes as compared to the loaded-down bike I was riding.
Sure, all of this is just “personal experience”, but that was the playing field you insisted we use.
I’d prefer to note that every day, almost every white person in America is NOT beat up, assaulted, or in any way inconvenienced by a minority.
So when Derb argues that you shouldn’t try to be a good samaritan to a minority, and offers as “proof” a single story where a 3rd-party trying to stop a guy from beating up his girlfriend is attacked (something that clearly would happen no matter what the race of the attacker), that is a harmful use of “statistics”.
“How does one argue against personal experience? “
You’re missing the point. Having had graduate level classes in statistics, my point is that the data I have accumulated through my personal experience over a very long period of time constitutes statistically signficant evidence that blacks are more likely to commit violent crimes than are whites. Granted I can’t provide you with a data set to demonstrate that.
“You mention black incarceration rates. How does that personally effect you?”
Of course It doesn’t personally affect me. What it does do is affect the state of my knowledge, knowledge that I would be a fool not to act on in the absence of specific information.
“Id prefer to note that every day, almost every white person in America is NOT beat up, assaulted, or in any way inconvenienced by a minority.”
Now THAT would be a classic example of a misuse of statistics. Can you identify the name of the fallacy of your statement?
“So when Derb argues that you shouldnt try to be a good samaritan to a minority, and offers as proof a single story where a 3rd-party trying to stop a guy from beating up his girlfriend is attacked (something that clearly would happen no matter what the race of the attacker), that is a harmful use of statistics.”
It is fairly common to provide an illustrative example when outlining an argument for which you also provide statistical evidence. Which is exactly what Derbyshire did in this case. Try to be just a little more intellectually honest with your comments.
You are also more likely to get killed by lightning on a golf course than on a ski trip.
But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t play golf. And someone who argued that you should ski, but never play golf, and cited as “evidence” a story about a person getting killed by lightning on a golf course, would be making the same fallacious argument of “statistics” that Derb makes.
How does knowing that more blacks commit crimes than whites change your “action” when confronted with a random black person? Do you assume that the black guy who just got out of his car at the rest stop is likely to kill you or rob you? And would you feel that “knowledge” would give you the right to act pre-emptively to protect yourself? My point is that this is a harmful argument — one that makes people more likely to act improperly, out of fear, because of some false statistical “choice”.
I’m not arguing that you should ignore common sense. But beyond that, your failure to address the issue of Derb’s argument by anecdote, and suggestion that this is actually a valid logical argument which I dismiss out of some “dishonesty” doesn’t lend itself to a logical response, or engender much interest in discussing further.
And why don’t you tell me what “fallacy” you think I have invoked by pointing out that doubling the chance of something highly unlikely to happen still leaves it unlikely to happen.
“How do black incarceration rates personally affect those of us who aren’t black (paraphrasing your question)?”
Someone has to pay for this. Total US prison expenses are over $70B/year and climbing.
Ah, brain fart.
The incarceration rate also costs the US taxpayer in increased aid to single women with children, increased police costs, increased insurance claims, increased costs to criminal victims, decreased real estate valuations, business revenue and growth in blighted neighborhoods, etc.
There’s plenty of costs to the rate of crime.
Of course not. And so let me congratulate you on winning the coveted Pharisee Merit Badge, inscribed with:
"Oh thank you Lord for not making me a racist, sexist xenophobe like these untermenschen swine that I am trying to enlighten through my noble example. Amen."
Wear it in good health!
when you have a minority determined to rule/take over and then in the other corner, you have a wimped out majority...who do you think is going to win....???
I hope I'm wrong, but "my" people seem pretty impotent....the few times they get it right, they get fired, fired at, or forced into hiding...
I think Bermuda has had influx of Jamaicans and Haitians....
.there must be some way to quantify those who can socialize and communicate effectively and those who can not.
..those that can follow instructions and those that can not..
.those that can delay pleasure and those that give into instant gratification..
..those who's first inclination is NOT violence and aggression and those who's first inclination is to do just that....
its something....maybe not IQ...but its something...
This is, very unfortunately, looking at the situation from the wrong end.
Look at the issue from the perspective of dealing with dogs.
It is well-known that some breeds are more aggressive than others. When suddenly confronted by a pit bull is it appropriate to perceive yourself as at greater risk than if suddenly confronted by a golden retriever, all else being equal?
Obviously it is. Is the difference in breed the only relevant factor? Obviously not. Behavior is more important.
It is interesting that this analogy has been used in reverse, to claim that it is "breedist" or something equally silly to recognize this difference.
Let us say your chance of being assaulted in a black neighborhood is one in 10,000 on any given day and in a white neighborhood one in 100,000. The relevant issue is the difference in risk, not the risk factor itself.
Your chance of dying in a car crash is very low on any given day. That doesn't mean that driving without a seat belt is a good idea, even though your risk of dying without it is low.
It is interesting that up to and through the 50s, race riots consisted largely of whites attacking blacks. Since then they have consisted largely of blacks attacking whites.
I am personally astonished by the enormous reservoir of goodwill by most white Americans towards black Americans. Have expected (not wanted, but expected) the mythical "white backlash" for decades. But the reservoir is not infinite in extent.
Oddly, statistics show that as a breed, Golden Retrievers and Pit Bulls are in the same range of aggressiveness. Pit Bulls are perceived to be more dangerous, and for that reason some think more poeple raise them to be aggressive because they want an aggressive dog as a weapon, and that makes them more dangerous. But Golden Retrievers really are listed as one of the safest dogs.
You are absolutely correct that, because of “what we know”, people when confronted with a random dog will feel more threatened by a pit bull than a Dachshund.
But how do you use that information? Do you teach your children to take “special care” around what they think is a “pit bull”? Do you have training sessions for dog identification? About 16 people are killed by dogs each year, and some of them are not pit bulls; so if you tell your kid too much about avoiding “pit bulls”, will they fail to ignore the “really nice dog” who is being mistreated by his owner and therefore will lash out if you try to pet them?
Of course, you can reasonably tell your kid to never go near ANY dog that they don’t know. That is also a great rule for kids when dealing with people. But training people to be scared of pit bulls means that people act differently around pit bulls. In fact, there is some anecdotal evidence that people get more aggressive around pit bulls, EXPECTING to be attacked, and this invokes more aggression in the dogs, thus bringing on the attack they feared.
Dogs are pets. We are talking about fellow human beings. Imagine a world where every white child is trained that they should fear black people, should avoid black people, shouldn’t stop to help black people. They should not go to places where black people are. They should expect black people to be stupid, to be aggressive, to do a bad job at work. They should never vote for a black person because they make lousy politicians. When confronting a black person, they should assume that black person is going to cause them harm, and be prepared to strike first if necessary. And if they happen to find a really nice black person, they should work hard to pretend to be friends with them, because it’s good to have a pet black person.
I find it remarkable that so many people want to actually DEFEND that last paragraph, simply because it was written by a guy who worked at National Review, and the “left” is attacking him for it. You can’t treat human beings like dogs, and we will not survive as a society if we train our children to fear, loathe, hate, and ostracize entire races of people.
Of course, if I am walking in an unfamiliar place, and see someone who is acting suspicious, and they are black, I might feel more anxious — I was raised in that environment; I think I’d be suspicious regardless of race. I would also avoid large groups of kids of any race if they looked like they were up to no good. There are places I don’t walk when I am walking, especially at night, even in my own surroundings, because one area has a reputation of having more crime (it is a majority hispanic neighborhood with a large other minority population, and quite close in fact to where Zimmerman grew up — I live in Zimmerman’s old home town).
People see some of what Derb wrote and think it sounds reasonable, and ignore all the things he said that were well beyond polite. One writer at NR made a good point that Derbyshire may have been angry because Marion Barry gets away with attacking asians, and Derb is married to an Asian. I think if Derb had made it clear he was being sarcastic, writing satire, and was trying to point out the double-standard where his wife can be attacked by a black politician with no consequence, he would still have a job.
The problem is that too many people think Derb actually believed everything he wrote. I have no idea — I didn’t think he meant it, but I don’t know the guy.
As to your point about “relative risk”, my argument is that it is NOT particularly relevant. If you were trying to live the safest life possible, and had a choice with no other consequence where the ONLY decision was which street to walk down, it would be relevant that one street is “10 times more dangerous”. But nothing is in such a vacuum. The harm to teaching people to live a life in fear of an entire race of people is far greater than the minor increase in risk of not always choosing the more absolutely safe path.
There was an interesting statistic leading up to the last powerball lottery. Apparently, if you drove your car more than a mile to buy a ticket, you were more likely statistically to get killed in a car accident than to actually win the lottery. So, should everybody have stayed home and not bought tickets? Well, no, because while driving is dangerous, people want to drive because there are great benefits.
And we don’t all buy the safest car to drive, even though the statistics tell us which cars are safer. We don’t all buy the safest dog, or live in the safest neighborhood, or work at the safest job. We judge our happiness, satisfaction, hundreds of other things, and properly dismiss the minor risk of harm, even though one job is 10 times as dangerous as the next job.
I mostly agree.
I would not, and have not, taught my children to automatically distrust all black people.
However, race is one factor that should be taken into consideration when determining your actions.
John’s descriptions of the facts is, unfortunately, generally accurate. When I am around some black people, I sense a definite underlying hostility, which obviously makes me feel uncomfortable and defensive. With others I sense no such hostility. I do not know if my feelings are accurate.
Some of his descriptions of appropriate ways to change ones behavior in response was unnecessarily harsh, and I agree truly racist.
Personally I suspect his judgment as to what can be said was affected by his being on heavy-duty meds for cancer treatment.
It is also relevant, though I don’t know what to do about it, that “people of color” can say much harsher things about white people without consequences to themselves. In fact, they are applauded for doing so.
That John was defenestrated for what he said when Al Sharpton retains his job is disgusting. AFAIK, Derb never got anybody killed, and never ruined the life of any individual. Al built his career on doing exactly this.
This is Rich Lowry:
“Al Sharpton Is Right
George Zimmerman should be charged.”
Who is the embarrassment to NR?
There is definitely hostility, and it is a problem. I wrote a local opinion column on that subject today, in part based on some of the ideas I’ve been trying out here the past week.
When we train our children to act differently based on a person’s race, or color, or gender, we sow the seeds of distrust, fear, and anger. I think the “black leaders” have truly done a disservice in perpetuating a sense of oppression and violation in the black youth population. The “Black Talk” as some have called it is little more than a brainwashing of youth promoting a hatred of “white people”.
” During halftime of the NBA All-Star Game, Martin left the home of his fathers girlfriend to walk to the local 7-Eleven for Skittles and iced tea. It was about 7 p.m., and he caught the attention of 28-year-old George Zimmerman, who had taken it upon himself to patrol the neighborhood armed with a gun. He considered Martin suspicious and called 9-1-1, which dispatched police. Ignoring the 9-1-1 operators urging not to pursue Martin, Zimmerman followed the young man, got into an altercation with him, and shot him dead.”
Lowry sounds like Keith Olbermann...National Review, R I P