I would prefer not to comment on NR’s cutting ties with Derb, but alas …
Long before I had anything to do with National Review, I was envious of Derb’s talent as a writer and thinker. Over the last few years, I’ve gotten to know him a bit. He is charming, fiercely witty company. All that said, racialism is noxious regardless of who practices it. It is wrong that what is a day at the office for the Left’s racialists becomes a hanging offense in Derb’s case. But that is a summons to disgust over the former, not a defense of the latter.
We believe in the equal dignity and presumption of equal decency toward every person — no matter what race, no matter what science tells us about comparative intelligence, and no matter what is to be gleaned from crime statistics. It is important that research be done, that conclusions not be rigged, and that we are at liberty to speak frankly about what it tells us. But that is not an argument for a priori conclusions about how individual persons ought to be treated in various situations — or for calculating fear or friendship based on race alone. To hold or teach otherwise is to prescribe the disintegration of a pluralistic society, to undermine the aspiration of E Pluribus Unum.
Yes, NR is a journal of opinion, and that entails vigorous disagreement about countless things. But that has never meant all opinions are equally entitled to exploit this platform — or, in Derb’s case, his connection to this platform. He is not being silenced: NR is not the government, I don’t believe the magazine is responding to any sort of government pressure, and what has happened here has nothing to do with the First Amendment. Derb remains free to express his views and he’ll surely find a market for them. But NR is equally free to say: Not here.
I am sorry to see it happen, but I don’t think NR can be blamed for emphatically distancing itself from opinions people here find more harmful than illuminating.