No sympathy for the Derbyshire

Matt K. Lewis Senior Contributor
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You might have seen the calls for National Review to fire John Derbyshire over what even NR editor Rich Lowry has called his “appalling view of what parents supposedly should tell their kids about blacks…”

Lowry wasn’t alone in condemning his NR comrade. Ramesh Ponnuru (who has feuded with Derbyshire over the abortion issue) responded “I know I don’t,” when someone asked him on Twitter if he wanted to be associated with such “racist trash.”

And Jonah Goldberg tweeted, “For the record, I find my colleague John Derbyshire’s piece fundamentally indefensible and offensive. I wish he hadn’t written it.”

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.

Matt K. Lewis