American Samizdat

John Derbyshire is among the most prominent and prolific of writers of the paleo or nationalist right.  I think of him as a Tory, and his writing as Swiftian.  Some readers of this magazine are likely regular readers of his online essays, a selection of which, all culled from the year 2013, have been reprinted in this book.  Two transcripts from his weekly radio show have been included as well, and several short pieces from The American Spectator.  The collection has been appropriately titled.  Mr. Derbyshire may never have been arrested for his writings, but he is excluded from reaching anyone who does not peruse such websites as Takimag and VDare.  American totalitarianism, as Christopher Dawson foresaw nearly 80 years ago, is of the soft variety.  You will not be imprisoned for your views, nor will you will be shot, but you will be denied employment, or (if a writer) a public forum.  Like a patient carrying a contagious disease, you will be isolated, lest you infect your neighbor.  John Derbyshire—articulate, informed, well read—is under quarantine.  The left has cultural hegemony now, and it does not tolerate dissent.

One of the questions raised by this highly readable collection (one that our author, regrettably, does not ask) is how to deduce the proper proportion among stupidity, cowardice, and villainy behind the policies of the governing...

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