Finally, a worthy opponent!

In the spirit of arguing with smart people with whom I agree on many things, I am delighted to have discovered the Popehat blog.

The issue at hand is Williams College president Adam Falk cancelling a speech by John Derbyshire, who had been invited by a student group. [The irony of NRO defending Derb is rich; their T-level had dropped precipitously when they’d canned him.]

Half a cheer to Ken White for prefering that Derb’s views — no matter how objectionable to himself — be heard rather than silenced. Three boos to Ken White for blatantly misrepresenting those views! Ken suggests that Derb has claimed that “some people are inherently biologically and socially inferior” (my direct quote of Ken paraphrasing Derb). Challenge to Ken: find a direct quote from Derb that supports this characterization.

Oh, and to commenter “puss-filled fistula” @desconhecido. First, might want to check your anatomy. Did you really mean fistula and not pustule? More to the point, let’s bite the bullet. Let’s go look at that Derb piece in takimag you linked to, the one that got him fired from NR.

The paragraphs are helpfully numbered 1-15; which one do you find the most objectionable, outrageous, factually incorrect? Is it (9), where Derbyshire estimates that around 5% of American blacks are “ferociously hostile” toward whites? That might seem a bit over the top, but let’s click on that link Derb provides there. Why, it’s a clip of Dr. Kamau Kambon advocating the extermination of all white people(!) on C-span(!!) to audience applause(!!!). Allright then, Derb may be off by a percentage point in either direction, but I can’t dispute the general sentiment.

In fact, try as I might, I can’t find a single thing I disagree with or even am offended by in this article. Believe me — I tried! As a product of the American education system and a respected tenured professor, it would assuage my conformist instincts to find something in Derbyshire’s piece I could distance myself from. Sorry, I can’t.

Oh, and another thing for @Ken. You want me to “articulate what exactly separates Derbyshire from your idiot cousin you sends you the Obama-is-a-Kenyan emails”? Easy. Aside from speaking in complete, flowing sentences — and occasionally using a word that’ll send you to the dictionary — John Derbyshire is obsessively, scrupulously, fastidiously careful with his facts and sources. I don’t believe he’s ever made a major factual blunder in all of his literary career, and the minor errors he’s quick to acknowledge and correct. I don’t have an idiot cousin who does that, do you?


Update. My enthusiasm regarding the “worthiness” of this opponent was premature; this was a case of stumbling on a stopped clock that happened to be showing the right only a slightly off time.


6 thoughts on “Finally, a worthy opponent!

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