Posted on April 13, 2012

National Review Eunuchs

Ilana Mercer, World Net Daily, April 12, 2012

In an interview with Brian Sack on GBTV, columnist and author John Derbyshire inadvertently anticipated his future in commenting about the dismissal from mainstream of another iconoclast, Patrick J. Buchanan:

“MSNBC is a private company. They can hire and fire who they like. But Buchanan is a serious guy who talks in a serious way about serious issues. Yet he is out of the national conversation. That’s bad.”

Not long after, Derbyshire was dismissed from National Review, where he freelanced. The “girlie boys” of NR had taken offense to “The Talk: Nonblack Version,” a column Derbyshire published at Taki’s Magazine. {snip}


National Review used to be conservatism’s flagship publication. These days its ideology reflects “Modern Republicanism’s” “dime store New Deal” proclivities (Barry Goldwater’s characterization). Launching oxymoronic attacks on Obamacare for “endangering Medicare”: that’s the extent of NR’s fight to free minds and markets.

Tons of pixels have since been spilt in response to Derbyshire’s article and subsequent dismissal. The dimwitted discourse reflects a polemical landscape from which the Derbs of this world have been uprooted. None of John’s critics can write or reason as he does. None has his “range of historical and literary allusion,” as Mark Steyn observed. John Derbyshire’s is pellucid prose at its best.


More so than enforcing conformity — ousting John was about safeguarding the future of mediocrity.

As professor Clyde Wilson of Chronicles Magazine has written,“Tocqueville in the 19th century, and Solzhenitsyn in the 20th, noted that conformity of thought is powerfully prevalent among Americans.” Indeed, Americans cannot abide enormous talent, unless it presents itself in a mindless or uncontroversial field: sports or the hard sciences.

Cognitive consonance is what writing in the Age of the Idiot is all about.

The key to success in the scribbling profession is to strike the right balance of mediocrity in writing and thinking, which invariably entails echoing one of two party lines, poorly.

Conservatism once had the genius of James Burnham, Russell Kirk, Frank Chodorov and Felix Morley; now the brand boasts S. E. Cupp, Kathryn Jean Lopez, Rich Lowry, and their editorial enablers. {snip}


For my part, I cop to Western man’s individualist disdain — could it be his weakness? — for race as an organizing principle. For me, the road to freedom lies in beating back the state, so that individuals may regain freedom of association, dominion over property, the absolute right of self-defense; the right to hire, fire and, generally, associate at will.

I want to see a lot of well-written, wickedly witty, controversial writing in print — in pixels or paper and always at the pleasure of the print’s owner. Why must the consensus-craving mob conflate this last wish with absolute endorsement?

Those who hoist their pitchforks to purge ideological disagreement, in Soviet-style, they are the enemies of civilization, not John Derbyshire.