Just three days after firing John Derbyshire as a National Review contributor, the magazine’s editor Rich Lowry announced that Robert Weissberg was persona non grata, too. His crime? He “participated in an American Renaissance conference where he delivered a noxious talk about the future of white nationalism.” Prof. Weissberg said that any movement based on white racial identity is “dead on arrival,” but it seems that merely speaking at an AR conference is “noxious.”
Mr. Lowry even thanked—yes, thanked—the people who called Prof. Weissberg’s noxiousness to his attention. Who were they? Something that calls itself the Institute for Research & Education on Human Rights (IREHR), one of those peeping-tom lefty organizations that issues breathless reports on the doings of “racists.” IREHR claims to investigate “the smallest corners of white nationalist activity,” which accounts for its April 5 write up that mentioned Prof. Weissberg.
There are, of course, no equivalent groups on the Right. No one makes a living snooping to see who once had lunch with a Weatherman or who bankrolls the New Black Panthers. There’s no point to it because the Left does not recognize thought crimes on the Left and does not sacrifice its own. Unlike the Right, which is always terrified of what its enemies might say, the Left doesn’t care. It doesn’t let the Right make its policies and hiring decisions for it.
The Right could scream all it wanted that William Ayers admits he planted bombs and wishes he had planted more, but the University of Illinois-Chicago will never fire him as distinguished professor of education. It is impossible to imagine the university firing Prof. Ayers and then thanking the conservative snoop group that dug up the facts. But that is exactly what National Review did in the case of Prof. Weissberg. IREHR issued Mr. Lowry a cheeky but justified “you’re welcome” after Mr. Lowry took its advice and cut off Prof. Weissberg.
Don’t these invertebrate “conservatives” realize that cringing is fatal? As Mr. Derbyshire himself points out, “the more you feed the beast, the stronger and more arrogant it grows.” Any two-bit lefty with a blog can make National Review dance like a cat on a hot tin roof. The solution? Refuse to dance. So long as “conservatives” keep dancing the Left will keep collecting thank-you notes.
Prof. Weissberg spoke at the AR conference on his own time. He never said a word about National Review, but Mr. Lowry has apparently absorbed lefty manias to the point that he thinks he has to police the conduct of his contributors 24 hours a day. There is dreary sport in imagining what else a contributor might have to do to get the Weissberg treatment. Get a summons for wife-beating? Be convicted of manslaughter? Get caught with a call girl? Advise the North Koreans on rocketry? Hard to say, isn’t it?
But take part in a conference with people who think that even white folks have legitimate interests as a group and you are no longer fit for polite company. This is especially contemptible coming from a magazine that claims it “stands athwart history yelling Stop” and that used to defend the very positions American Renaissance now takes.
NR made no friends by cutting off its smartest contributors. It earned the contempt of both its supporters and its enemies. The beast just wants more, and the beast will get more for precisely as long as “conservatives” are content to be the lap-dog opposition and let their enemies tell them what they can and cannot say.