Interview with John Derbyshire

Vox Day, April 16, 2012


For the most part, there’s been a tremendous amount of support for you across the right blogosphere, whereas there hasn’t been much defense of Rich Lowry’s position except by the other writers at National Review. I would estimate that eighty to eighty-five percent of the comments have been running in your favor. I thought that was really striking, because I’m not sure that would have been the case ten years ago.

Do you mean the comments on the National Review blog?

I mean the comments on pretty much every blog where it’s been discussed, with the exception of the left-wing blogs where the competition is to see who can feign the most outrage.

I am in quite high spirits because I’ve had tremendous email support. I’ve had hundreds of emails and I’m going to have to do some collective thank you for them somewhere because I’ve totally given up trying to deal with them. I’d answer a dozen and forty more would come up in the meantime. It’s been almost a tsunami. I’m taking my life in my hands here, I know, but almost none of them have been negative even though my email address is right there on my web page. I think by the time I got through the first few dozen, there were two negative ones. And they weren’t vituperative, they were sarcastic and sneering, but they weren’t horrible. Everything else was really positive and supportive. That’s just tremendous, I’m really heartened by it. I am going to read them all. I can’t possibly answer them all, but I am going to read them all. People have been great.

I get the definite impression that something has changed. You talk about how 50 years ago, you would have had some different opinions more in line with the Standard Model view of race. And certainly 20 years ago, the reflexive anti-racist position was the normal one in educated society. But now things have changed and people are much less terrified of having the race card waved at them. Have you noticed that yourself?

There are a number of things in play there. One, which I’ve written about more than once, I think, in the United States, is just despair. I am of a certain age, and I was around 50 years ago. I was reading the newspapers and following world events and I remember the civil rights movement. I was in England, but we followed it. I remember it, I remember what we felt about it, and what people were writing about it. It was full of hope. The idea in everyone’s mind was that if we strike down these unjust laws and we outlaw all this discrimination, then we’ll be whole. Then America will be made whole. After an intermediate period of a few years, who knows, maybe 20 years, with a hand up from things like affirmative action, black America will just merge into the general population and the whole thing will just go away. That’s what everybody believed. Everybody thought that. And it didn’t happen.

Here we are, we’re 50 years later, and we’ve still got these tremendous disparities in crime rates, educational attainment, and so on. And I think, although they’re still mouthing the platitudes, Americans in their hearts feel a kind of cold despair about it. They feel that Thomas Jefferson was probably right and we can’t live together in harmony. I think that’s why you see this slow ethnic disaggregation. We have a very segregated school system now. There are schools within 10 miles of where I’m sitting that are 98 percent minority. In residential housing too, it’s the same thing. So I think there is a cold, dark despair lurking in America’s collective heart about the whole thing. That’s one factor. Another factor is the Internet, especially YouTube. Now, you can log on any morning to the Drudge Report and see videos of crowds of black Americans misbehaving. Maybe there should be some videos of white Americans misbehaving, but there just aren’t that many. People are seeing these things and it’s fortifying that despair.

I’m a bit scared of it, it’s making us kind of cold. But we’re still mouthing the platitudes. It’s something happening under the surface and it hasn’t really come to the surface yet except perhaps in reaction to events like this. But I do think that in our innermost hearts we’re in a state of despair.


National Review has a long and rather Stalinist history of purging its writers, including Joe Sobran, Samuel Francis, Ann Coulter, and now you. Is this part of National Review’s culture or is there something else going on there?

On National Review’s behalf, let me just correct you on Coulter. She wasn’t a National Review employee, they just syndicated her column and they stopped syndicating it. I think that was all that happened there. I’m sorry to sound defensive on National Review’s behalf, but it is something they have to do, to some degree. I actually spoke to Bill Buckley about this a couple of times. As a committed conservative, it hurts to say this, but there are a lot of crazy people on the political right and if you’re going to have any kind of presentation in the media marketplace at all, you do have to keep fending them off. Unfortunately, it’s a matter of judgment about which ones you fend off and which ones you let into the tent. It’s awfully hard to get right, and I know, Bill Buckley had said to me, that he didn’t think he’d always gotten it exactly right. It’s an approximate art. You sometimes boot out the wrong person and sometimes keep in the wrong person. Bill called it a policing exercise and it does have to be done. If you’re going to be a, oh dear, respectable publication, and get your ideas out there in the marketplace, you do have to draw a line against the craziest of the crazies. It’s not an easy line to draw. It’s not an easy judgment to make. Sometimes you get it wrong. I think Bill got it wrong with Sam Francis.

You sound remarkably comfortable having been found to be on the wrong side of the line.

Well, I say again, it’s a hard thing to get right. Did Rich Lowry get it right in my case? You be the judge.


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  • JohnEngelman

    Here we are, we’re 50 years later, and we’ve still got these tremendous disparities in crime rates, educational attainment, and so on. And I think, although they’re still mouthing the platitudes, Americans in their hearts feel a kind of cold despair about it.    
    – John Derbyshire
    The anger directed against John Derbyshire and others who press against the constraints of political correctness indicates inner doubt. People do not get angry when beliefs they are confident in are disputed. 

    • Mainstreaming_Diversity

      He talks sanity, then he talks crazy.

      White Humanity is feeling despair, and we will get our galvanizing flash point that finally brings us together to take long overdue action, but only if it comes before the Internet is censored into oblivion and “unapproved and hateful social commentary” is punished by law and imprisonment.

      Let’s just forgive him for his crazy talk, because such hubris must be generated from the high that comes from so many supportive emails. “People love me! I not alone, after all!” Any of us who received massive support on our “extremist and noxious” race prejudices would also get high enough to talk crazy, and crazier than JD, at that. For example, if 88 people like this comment, I’ll get high enough on the congratulations to post some of the craziest racist and insane mantras you’ve ever seen on the Internet, anywhere.

      • Rocky Bass

         Doesn’t take too much encouragement to spiral out does it?

  • holyflower

    Derbyshire: “I think there is a cold, dark despair lurking in America’s collective heart about the whole thing [the project to uplift blacks].”


    Well said.  A great many on the left and right are slowly waking up to a bleak reality.  Evidence against the dominant social ideology of the past fifty years, egalitarianism — and evidence against egalitarians, past and present — just keeps piling up. 

    Consider, for example, this notable addition from the summer of 2011: “Stephen Jay Gould mismeasured skulls in racial records dispute,” USA Today, June 8, 2011. Opening paragraph:

    “The late scientific icon, Stephen Jay Gould, botched and perhaps faked his critique of a racist 19th-Century scientist’s skull collection…” So reports a Stanford research team which attempted to replicate Gould’s findings.

    DOCUMENTATION: “Stephen Jay Gould mismeasured skulls in racial records dispute,” By Dan Vergano, USA TODAY , Jun 08, 2011:


    “Our [the Stanford team’s] analysis of Gould’s claims reveals that most of Gould’s criticisms are poorly supported or falsified.”

    “…our results falsify Gould’s hypothesis that [Samuel George] Morton manipulated his data to conform with his a priori views. The data on cranial capacity gathered by Morton are generally reliable, and he reported them fully. Overall, we find that Morton’s initial reputation as the objectivist of his era was well-deserved.”

    Morton’s reputation rises, Gould’s reputation crashes..

    • JohnEngelman

      And yet I am still told that Stephen Jay Gould has “decisively refuted” The Bell Curve. I wonder of those saying stuff like that believe their own words. 

    • Oil Can Harry

      One of the Stanford researchers summed it up nicely: “I just didn’t trust Gould…I felt he was a charlatan.”

      Steven Jay GHOUL was a lying Marxist propagandist. He has about as much credibility as Tawana Brawley or Crystal Mangum.

  • anmpr1

      If you’re going to be a…respectable publication, and get your
    ideas out there in the marketplace, you do have to draw a line against
    the craziest of the crazies. It’s not an easy line to draw. It’s not
    an easy judgment to make. Sometimes you get it wrong. I think Bill got
    it wrong with Sam Francis.

    How hard can it be, if one uses truth as the arbiter?  If one speaks and writes only the truth, how can one’s arguments be crazy?  And for the life of me, I don’t understand the reverence Buckley engenders, from those that he and his scions cast off.

    • bluegrass91

       truth is treason in an Empire of lies.

  • Hm,  this sounds more like he thinks Rich Lowry made a bad call (a really, really bad call) then Derbyshire thinking his firing was necessary.

    I don’t find it a surprise that the majority of commenters are in agreement with myself (minus the american far left nutters) when it comes to being peeved at the National Review.  The AR opinion piece about ‘feeding the beast’ had to be the best explanation I’ve read yet on why it was such a horrific thing to do.

  • Danimalius

    When I first heard Derbyshire’s reaction, I was a bit surprised and a little disappointed. After I thought about it some more however, I take it that he isn’t bitter, which is important. It’s done, he’ll move on, possibly into our camp, maybe continuing to have one foot in and one foot out. In any case, it certainly wouldn’t help anyone, least of all Derbyshire, to carry a wound and act out spitefully.

  • MrGJG

    The cat’s out of the bag as they say. I’ve been noticing more and more web sites are allowing, if not outright encouraging that dialogue on race that Eric (my peeps) Holder suggested. Hopefully, he and his minions won’t try to shut it down.

    • 20670

      Holder suggested a dialogue on race?  The government will permit its citizens to hear only what they approve of first on race or anything else…it was under Holder’s watch when the so-called “Justice Department” ruled that the Black Panthers cannot be tried for civil rights violations because they are *black*(the voter intimidation incident)…The Department of Justice clearly stated that it would not seek to prosecute black people for violating a non-black person or individuals of their civil rights.

      This philosophy is the basis of Critical Race Theory (read Farbers book on CRT), essentially because the main idea is that blacks are victims of a history of slavery thus they can never be in power positions (even if they are) whereby they can actually have the power to  commit or carry out acts of racism toward others who are non-black…it is a logic based upon irrational thought but the traditional logical thought of the white race is deemed as irrational thought to those who promote CRT.  It doesn’t have to make sense to non-blacks or radical liberals in order to utilize this philosophy.

  • I, and I’m sure a few others around here, are heartened by the outpouring of support for John Derbyshire by AmRen and its readers, particularly when he clearly implied in “The Talk: Non-Black Version” that he married an Oriental woman and has Eurasian kids:

    (3) Your own ancestry is mixed north-European and northeast-Asian, but blacks will take you to be white.

    Link to original:
    Please share this article by using the link below. When you cut and paste an
    article, Taki’s Magazine misses out on traffic, and our writers don’t
    get paid for their work. Email [email protected] to buy additional

  • geraldmartin

    The interviewer Vox Day greatly exaggerates the percentage of pro-Derb (race-realist) comments at places like NRO and The American Conservative. Takimag, AltRight, AmRen – yeah, places like these are overwhelming in their support. But most of the comments at NRO and (surprising to me) at TAC are not only hostile to Derb and the idea that inherited race differences exist, but many are extremely emotional and self-righteously “anti-racist,” almost as vicious as the ones leftist commenters posted at Takimag (though those were swamped by the ones defending Derbyshire.) 

    I may be overreacting, but it appears to me that it isn’t just the leaders, but the rank and file of mainstream conservativism who have become thoroughly poltically correct on race over the past 40 years, the result – I suppose – of the 24/7 indoctrination they have received from schools, TV, movies, church, and most other venues of popular culture.

    Maybe Vox Day is right that expressions of race reality are becoming more common in public discourse, but it appears to me – given the recent fates of James Watson, Pat Buchanan, Derbyshire & Weissberg – that such expressions are punished even more severely than they were 20 years ago.

    Perhaps this is merely the desperation of the multiculturalists & egalitarians who still dominate the commanding heights of our culture, but don’t expect conditions to improve in this arena any time soon.

  • robinbishop34

    I honestly think being fed the stifling orthodoxy of “diversity as a strength” for so long has simply zapped the average white person’s ability to even acknowledge black violence and destruction even when they do see it. In other cases they simply don’t want to hear it.

    For instance, if you look up a video by Kevin MacDonald on youTube and scan the right side “related videos” section there will be many clips of black violence caught on tape. Not one of them will have over a couple thousand views (if that). On the other hand a clip titled “white racist gets a beat down” will have a half million hits easily.

    They want to deny the truth while celebrating the illusion that there are Nazi Stormtroopers lurking around every corner.

  • robinbishop34

    Cranky, cynical writers are not enough.

    Maybe not enough in the future, but I think it’s a good start. Most people under 30 and many people under 50 have been so steeped in the abstract ideas formulated and pushed by the ideological left for so long that they have simply identified with their captors. It’s a Stockholm Syndrome of sorts that will take slow and steady incremental de-programming in much the same fashion in which they were brainwashed in the first place. 

    Good writers, especially those who can sewn some clever humor throughout their commentary, are very effective in putting people at ease and making it easier to discuss political powder kegs like the lies of diversity, immigration, black crime, etc.

  • Xanthippe2

    Lies can never win in the long term.  Truth must be put before “respectability.”

  • Whiteyyyyy

    Exactly, Yt @ the internet is a bigger factor in encouraging WN than anything else.Once u see those videos, u can’t unsee them. 

  • JohnEngelman

    Any magazine that has been around for 48 years must face the problem that a lot of its most dedicated and loyal readership is rather old. The magazine needs to keep the loyalty of these readers for reasons both moral and financial; yet it must also be constantly trying to get new readers – the younger the better, so that they too will get theNR habit and join the long-term core readership.     
    In America today this is a difficult balancing act, because very fundamental shifts of outlook have occurred in the past 48 years, among conservatives as much as – perhaps even more than – elsewhere. I frequently meet college students who tell me they are conservative, who have all the attributes of what seems to me a broadly conservative outlook on life and society, who want to read conservative publications… yet who have a deep dislike of many of the topics – not just the point of view, the actual topics – that interest older readers.      
    This shows up most especially in the area of race, and the penumbra of issues – immigration, for instance, or crime-fighting – that are associated with it. The kind of thoughtful and intelligent young people that NR would like to have as readers understand that there are problems and absurdities connected with race in our public life, and are happy to hear arguments pro and con about racial profiling, affirmative action, and so on. They laugh with us when we lampoon the more outrageous kind of black race hustler – a Sharpton, a Farrakhan, a Johnny Cochran. They are, however, determined to make the multiracial society work, they believe it can be made to work in spite of the hustlers and liberal guilt-mongers, and they are unwilling to read, say, or think anything that could be construed as unkind towards people of other races. The pessimism and cynicism on this topic that you rather commonly find among conservatives – including NR readers – born in 1930, or even 1950, are profoundly unappetizing to these younger conservatives.     
    The editors of the magazine have to square this circle, and it ain’t easy. One simple way to do it is to rule certain topics out of bounds.       
    –  John Derbyshire       

  • NaturalBornCitizen

    The problem of course with Bill Buckley’s rag is that National Review has NEVER ‘gotten it right’ as a conservative America magazine but rather has always been progressive lite.

  • gemjunior

    Where did it go wrong?  WHY did such an amazing organism – the White Man – LET IT go wrong?  I mean, I think that they started to see Unintended Consequences (of the Civil Rights Bill etc) but what I mean, really, I suppose (without ENTIRELY blaming only White men) is why didn’t they turn things around earlier, when it was so much easier for them to do and for all of us?  I can’t really understand why because surely the idiots could have been muzzled.  I think it was greed and payoffs, that the few scum happened to be in high places.  Rather like Clinton, I guess.

    • Speaker of Truth

      Decadent culture and a hostile, anti-White media are where it has gone wrong.  The tremendous success of White accomplishment in the 20th century lead to a great period of time (post WWII) where a lot of otherwise intelligent people socially devolved into what they are today.

      Lazyness, idleness, drug and alcohol abuse, etc., has made the White race ripe for the picking.  The White man has lost sight of the big picture and is paying dearly for it.

      Will he wake up in time to save his race and culture?  Only if folks like us spread the word and recruit others to help.

  • Crazy – SCHMAZY

    You’re either right
    or wrong

  • 20670

    Well, the English always had the Irish and their own downtrodden for cheap labor so they never dreamed of hauling African slaves to their own home shores…but they are paying the special pay-back price for hauling them to the West Indies…I mean didn’t they have some pretty serious black uprising recently? Ever read Thomas Carlysle?

  • tobermory

    A writer who openly discusses subjects that the thought-police prefer to hide  is doing us a service.

  • 20670

    It is good news to hear of another white person being branded a racist.  I especially enjoy this sort of thing when it happens to those who think it can’t.  It is always a wonderful thing when it happens to a certain self-rightous leftist or liberal.

    The more often whites are persecuted in the name of political correctness, especially of a racial nature, the closer we may come to a social condition whereby an authentic discussion of our unique American racial situaltion can take place…I figure that will be in about 10 years at the rate we are headed now.  

  • Whiteman

    “They want to deny the truth while celebrating the illusion that there are Nazi Stormtroopers lurking around every corner”.
    To many Americans, anyone who thinks affirmative action might not be a good idea IS a Nazi storm trooper, or at least someone who needs to be dealt like one. 

  • radical7

    It seems that many supporters of  John Derbyshire long for an America that denied rights and dignnity to Blacks , women, gays and lesbians and other non-White males. 

    •  I remember that episode of Leave It To Beaver when Ward, Wally and The Beaver went out at night to lynch lesbians, and June waited back at the house with ice cream to reward them when they were done.

    • Patrick_A_NonnyMouse


      “Rights” are inherent to any human being.  They can be protected, by government and rule of law, but not conferred.

      “Dignity” is ” the quality or state of being worthy, honored, or esteemed.”  It is earned.

      So when are the race-baiters going to tell their followers: “You *HAVE* your rights.  You have freedom of speech, to peacefully assemble, to petition government for redress of greivances, you can follow your chosen religion, and so forth.  Now stop shooting each other and acting like wanna-be gangsters.  Go get jobs.  (There is a great sense of dignity that comes with PROVIDING FOR YOURSELF and PROVIDING FOR YOUR FAMILY.)  Let go of the grievances from a century ago.  Drop the chip on your shoulder.  You are EQUAL, dammit, now go ACT equal.”

      We’re waiting….