I’ve had my say and I’d like to let it go at that, but since you’ve portrayed me as having argued pretty much the opposite of what I argued, that won’t do.
I, too, am fond of Derb, learn a great deal from most of what he writes, and regret his loss — though not so much that I think he and the public debate have been wronged. Regarding the racialist double-standard, however, I never suggested, nor do I believe, that “them’s the rules and we just have to accept it.” I’ve condemned the racialism of the Obamas, Eric Holder, and plenty of others who make race (and knock-offs like “Islamophobia”) their full-field theory for explaining all phenomena. And I’ve got the grievance industry scars to prove it. What I said in the post to which you refer was that we ought to heap on the Left’s race hucksters the same “disgust” as is currently being heaped on Derb. My point is that, in condemning what is condemnable, we have to condemn all of it, not that we should tolerate the skewed status quo. If that is “insouciance,” then you and I are working off a different definition of insouciance.
I am not insensitive to the concerns you raise. There is a global campaign to repress free expression, and that argues for giving speech an even wider berth than usual. But it doesn’t mean anything goes or that opinion journals should no longer have standards. For NR to have and enforce them is not a surrender to the Left. I get a steady diet of the kind of crap David Weigel is experiencing. So do you. It means nothing. We take it from its source and carry on, unmoved. There is a world of difference, though, between the need to be able to discuss uncomfortable facts about IQ and incarceration, on the one hand, and, on the other, to urge race as a rationale for abandoning basic Christian charity.
To decide, as NR has, that the latter is beyond the pale is not unreasonable — even if reasonable minds can differ over whether the penalty was too extreme. Either way, the parameters of the public debate will not change one iota over this episode. If one is considering drawing in public some sensible inferences from crime data, I suspect he won’t shrink from doing so just because the “avoid being a Good Samaritan” advice is now explicitly suicidal rather than just obviously suicidal. And if MSNBC suddenly came to its senses and fired Sharpton, or if the Justice Department — instead of pandering to Obama’s base about “civil rights” violations — opened up an investigation of the Trayvon Martin race-mongers for the federal offense of soliciting violent crimes, I wouldn’t hand-wring over the specter of tightened constraints on the marketplace of ideas. I would applaud.