John Derbyshire wrote a racist article for Taki’s Magazine where he, among other things, suggests whites should avoid Good Samaritan acts toward blacks. National Review Online fired John Derbyshire for having written this article. In the liberal blogosphere, people ask why NRO hadn’t fired Derbyshire earlier, given that, apart from this article, Derbyshire’s racism is pretty apparent and self-avowed. And while I can’t speak for NRO, one reason I wouldn’t have fired Derbyshire previously is that racism isn’t a disqualifier from an ability to write about things other than race. For instance, I was very gratified to read Derbyshire in NRO on creationism, on pessimism, on science education, and if he wasn’t there, I wouldn’t have. Finding my favourite Derbyshire posts on the internet right now is difficult because you have to wade through the morass of press generated by the article above, but here is one example that has long stuck with me (upon re-reading, I notice he mentions Velikovsky… (and I thought only my Dad ever talked about that guy)). Racism to me is a negative personal characteristic and also makes a person an untrustworthy source on questions of race. But it does not make a person not worth listening to on topics that aren’t primarily about race.
An example that allows me to link to a post I really like: Steve Sailer is obviously a racist. If I wanted to read something about the experience of black people in America, for example, I wouldn’t read Steve Sailer. From what I can tell, I don’t have a very high opinion of Steve Sailer as a person. But this post he wrote on Racehorse Haynes is one of the best blogposts I’ve ever read. And if I were running a magazine, I would gladly pay for a post like that.