John Derbyshire

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John Derbyshire

John Derbyshire (born 3 June 1945) is a British-born naturalized American writer, journalist and commentator. He formerly wrote a column in National Review. He has also written for the New English Review. His columns cover a broad range of political and cultural topics, including immigration, China, history, mathematics and race.


  • I have never read the Koran and at this point I most likely never shall. It looks really boring. I can’t offer an informed opinion about Islam, any more than 99.9 percent of other Americans can. I certainly don’t wish any harm to Muslims in general. Jolly good luck to them all. Hate? Not here. But it is surely obvious that if you let masses of Muslims settle in your non-Muslim country, you’ve gotten yourself some frictions and problems you didn’t have before. Why bring such troubles on yourself?
  • The real menace, the disease eating away at the heart of Western society, is white ethnomasochism: hatred of one’s own type, one’s own race, one’s own ancestors, one’s own parents, one’s own fellow citizens who do not share a bizarrely unreal and idealistic view of human nature.
  • Starting with the Minnesota twin study thirty-five years ago, and now with a mountain of data from twin, sibling, and adoption studies, we know that pretty much anything you can quantify about human personality, behavior, and intelligence is to some degree heritable, average-average at around the fifty percent level but sometimes much higher. We now in fact have a busy and exciting field of study called “behavioral genetics.” Given that all these traits are heritable, it follows from the ordinary laws of biology that different races will exhibit different statistical profiles on them. That’s not astonishing, mysterious, or horrible: It’s just first-floor-level science.
  • Universal-suffrage democracy may have been a good idea 120 years ago, when most adults did productive work into their sixties, then died. In today’s top-heavy welfare states, it just empowers tax-eaters to loot the national wealth.
  • Our universities, after a few aberrant decades of experimenting with open inquiry and the advance of knowledge, have reverted to their medieval purpose (the purpose that Chinese higher education always had): to train an intellectual elite for the propagation and defense of the state ideology. Then it was Christianity (in China, Confucianism); now it is utopian egalitarianism—“political correctness,” the Narrative.
  • Historians of the future will amuse themselves by coming up with theories to explain why European civilization, at the height of its powers, rich with unparalleled achievements in science, music, art, literature, mathematics, and technology, gave up its lands and its treasures to people for whom those achievements were mere hated tokens of oppression or the impious and superfluous productions of infidels.
  • These post-Soviet rulers of Russia are certainly very wicked people. They have sucked their country’s precious natural resources out of the ground, sold them on world markets, and pocketed the proceeds, leaving Ivan and Katya to trudge through freezing mud for a lousy wage or starvation-level pension. Are they, though, more wicked than the rulers of the Anglosphere, who have swamped their own people with millions of hesperophobic welfare-dependent foreigners from regions of low mean IQ and high mean criminality — mullahs, muggers, and moochers — just for the satisfaction of humiliating their own domestic enemies? Will they, in the long run, have done more to destroy their nation, than our rulers have done to destroy ours? History will tell.
  • Nonmathematical people sometimes ask me, “You know math, huh? Tell me something I’ve always wondered, What is infinity divided by infinity?” I can only reply, “The words you just uttered do not make sense. That was not a mathematical sentence. You spoke of ‘infinity’ as if it were a number. It’s not. You may as well ask, 'What is truth divided by beauty?’ I have no clue. I only know how to divide numbers. ‘Infinity,’ ‘truth,’ ‘beauty’—those are not numbers.”
  • Pop culture is filth. It is now completely degenerate. Why do you never hear anyone humming a current pop song any more? Because none of them is hummable, or even worth bothering to remember. What is the main topic on TV sitcoms and "dramedies"? You know what. Why do you stand in the aisle in Blockbuster muttering to yourself: "There isn't a single damn movie in here I want to watch"? Because Hollywood produces nothing but crap, crap, crap.

We Are Doomed: Reclaiming Conservative Pessimism (2009)[edit]

  • Western culture is in its twilight; there is a dark age ahead; and while college-humanities fads and "secular-progressive values" have certainly done much damage, they are symptoms, not causes - fragments of junk sucked into a vacuum. The fundamental reason why so much of our culture is shit - either literally, like Signor Manzoni's masterwork, or figuratively - is exhaustion, cultural exhaustion.
  • Once this was a nation of farmers, builders, inventors, creators, explorers, and thinkers. Now we are a nation of bubblehead academic poseurs, race-guilt hucksters, and keening middle-class "victims" of imaginary wrongs.
  • The remarkable thing about the Diversity cult is that all the circumstances of the actual human world refute its tenets, wherever we look. I don't think it is an exaggeration to say that there has never been an ideology so heartily and jealously embraced by all the main institutions of a society, that was at the same time so obviously at odds with the evidence of our senses. It is as if the entire Western world had committed itself to the belief that human beings can fly by flapping their arms.
  • By holding firmly to a pessimistic, realistic view of what is and is not possible in a society of different ethnicities, we might have maintained the principles of a free republic, and saved ourselves much trouble and expense. In the world at large, diversity causes nothing but problems.
  • The happy talkers tell us that diversity is a boon, making our society stronger and better. Our own lying eyes tell us that it is the source of continual trouble; not merely the solitary "hunkering down" that Robert Putnam discovered, but rancor, disorder, litigation, and violence.
  • After the many hundreds of generations that Australian, East Asian, African, European and indigenous American populations of Homo sapians developed in isolation from each other, in different environments, there ought to be divergence aplenty, though nowhere near to speciation. And so there is. That is why a roomful of Australian aborigines looks nothing like a roomful of Hungarians, and neither looks anything like a roomful of Quechua-speaking South American indigenes.
  • Human beings are religious. We don't all have to be, any more than we all have to be musical, or athletic, or humorous; but as long as there are human beings, there will be religion to offer warmth to those who can believe its stories and its metaphysics, while those who can't will be left with a paler, colder flame.
  • All religions look wacky to an unbeliever, even to one who does not, like the celebrity atheists, consider religion a menace. Islam, in its present frustrated state, is doing more harm than most, but that's historically contingent.
  • Unbelievers may think - all right, we do think - Christianity is only slightly less nutty than Islam; but Christianity is ours. We've got along with it for several centuries; and the relationship between Western unbelievers and Western Christians, if not always polite, is stable and comfortable. Can we fit Islam in like that?

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