A day after getting dismissed by National Review and hours after undergoing chemotherapy, John Derbyshire seems unperturbed by the uproar he caused with his awful "non black" version of "The Talk." Gawker's Maureen O'Conner spoke to Derbyshire via email on Monday and he appears to have no regrets about the racially charged Taki's Magazine post that was called "nasty and indefensible" by his own boss.
"Derb" tells O'Connor that "my overall attitude is blithe, with just a dash of sad" given that he wasn't really fired by National Review since he wasn't an actual employee there. He reiterates that his special brand of "mild and tolerant racism" is rooted in numbers and facts and that his "advice" on how to deal with black people (mostly by avoiding them) remains sensible. Ultimately, he can't say he regrets publishing the piece, because "I never ponder counterfactuals" — which is smart guy way of saying "I am incapable of self-reflection." There's way more to the Gawker interview, which you should read, but the underlying message is that Derbyshire is unimpressed by all that happened this weekend and those who find fault with his opinions.
What makes Derbyshire's racial attitudes particular distasteful is that he believes them to be rooted in "science." He has the empirical evidence to to prove, for example, that black people are incarcerated at higher levels than whites and considers the matter of equality to be settled. There's no real consideration for why those facts might have come to be or what could be done about them other than avoiding amusement parks. He says that he used to believe the "nostrums" that ending poverty and fixing schools could solve the race problem in America, but since fifty years went by and those things never happened it was obviously a "massive self-deception." To him, that fact that centuries of racial strife were not wiped out within a single generation is the fault of failed ideas and not, say, the people who stand in the way of such progress with their confident bigotry.
So Derbyshire will go on to write for slightly less prominent publications and continue to shake his head at the "hysterically deranged PC left" and probably go to his grave believing that he was in the right.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.