This curious myopia is one cause of their reluctance to draw more stringent lines against right-wing bigotry and cynical identity politics.
Credit to National Review for permitting its authors the editorial freedom to openly grapple with John Derbyshire's ouster from the magazine. Dan Foster is the latest to avail himself of the opportunity. It's admirable when a writer wrestles publicly with a fraught subject on which he is conflicted. Foster's work always has integrity. But he gets big things wrong about the intersection of political ideology and race, and ultimately creeps too close to the relativism of Mark Steyn for my comfort.
He makes two specific claims to which I object:
- It's harder for conservatives to police racism. "We have to yield that there is something to it when liberal trolls snark about how tough it can be to distinguish a conservative from a racist. The fact is that both conservatives and racists think that considerations about race should play a much smaller part in our political discourse," Foster writes. "And while only racists think that this is so because blacks are less than fully human, it can be tough to get them to admit as much."
- Conservatives and liberals have different lines about what is unacceptably racist partly because racial divisiveness is core to the left. "Charges of racism are used as a cudgel to stifle uncomfortable conversations," Foster writes "and I do believe that there is a coalition on the Left whose material interest is in the forestalling of a 'post-racial America,' not its arrival."