Revelations of Bailey's and Academy Press' close PR connection
with right-wing homophobic writer John Derbyshire:
Who Is John Derbyshire?
J. Derbyshire



Well, just who is John Derbyshire?

Examples of Derbyshire's teachings about homosexuality.

Derbyshire reacts to our investigation's exposure of his extensive homophobic writings!

The Derb defends Bailey against formal complaints by transgender women by calling his critics "transsexual terrorists"!







John Derbyshire is well known in conservative circles as a writer of columns and articles for the right-wing conservative magazine National Review. His columns are well received in that community. He writes on a wide range of issues of interest to conservatives, and he often gives voice to their inner thinking on these issues.
In his writings, Derbyshire for some reason often returns to an issue that seems to particularly haunt him: the existence of gay males and "effeminate men". We've included examples of his writings on these topics below, in which you can sense the particular and peculiar focus of his horror about homosexuality, namely that some people enjoy "being penetrated", and his perception of the degradation and humiliation such penetration involves, notwithstanding that "Women expect a certain amount of penetration as coming with the territory of femaleness ... " (J. Derbyshire, The Houston Review, April 25, 2001).
An author/coauthor of several minor books in the past, he has just now has published a more successful one - at the National Academy Press/JHP.And, by some "coincidence", the production and publication of his book, Prime Obsession: Bernhard Riemann and the Greatest Unsolved Problem in Mathematics occurred in parallel with the in-production work and publication of. Michael Bailey's book The Man Who Would be Queen. Both were published in spring of 2003 by the JHP imprint of the National Academy Press.
As a result of this "coincidence" of having book in production by same publisher at the same time, J. Michael Bailey and John Derbyshire became well acquainted (in fact they had known each other for years, as members of a special e-mail discussion group, as we'll see). They went on book promotion tours together, jointly promoting both their books side by side under the National Academy Press banner at NAP/JHP book tables.
In the process, a symbiotic relationship appears to have developed, perhaps over the past several years as their books were in production, in which Bailey realized that Derbyshire could help him achieve notoriety for his book and bring him fame and sales within right-wing circles, while at the same time Derbyshire realized that Bailey's book could help him instigate controversy about transsexualism in right-wing circles and thus support an escalation of his railings about "effeminate men" - by giving him "science" with which to better defame them.
Derbyshire made his first overt move to exploit The Man Who Would be Queen for such right wing homophobic/transphobic purposes on June 30, 2003, in a glowing review of Bailey's book in the main-line conservative magazine National Review. In that review Derbyshire follows Bailey's teachings to the T, and defames transsexual women as being merely effeminate gay men or paraphilic autosexual men.
Homophobic writer John Derbyshire
writes a glowing review of Bailey's book
for the conservative magazine National Review
June 30, 2003
The National Academy Press clearly hoped to benefit financially from this symbiotic relationship between its new junk sex-science publication and homophobic members of the right wing, because whatever controversy is stirred up will undoubtedly help its books sales. The Academies then defended against "the controversy" by the claim "it is good to see open scientific discussion about these matters". Such is the corporate climate at the National Academies these days.
Meantime, out of curiosity, we've done some web searches to find out just who this "Derbyshire person" is, and are now compiling the results below. We first include some biographical information - and then include examples of his homophobic writings, so you'll have a clue as to what kind of weird dude we are dealing with here. Check it out.


Well, just who is John Derbyshire?

Here are some things we've learned about John Derbyshire via web searches.
John Derbyshire lives on Long Island, NY. From his letter to the editor of the Long Island Newsday of July 26, 1992 we learn that he was a British Citizen as of that date. He arrived in the U.S. in 1985, and became a U.S. citizen more recently.
From his column "Making the Grade", on NRO November 28, 2001, we learn that: "I attended University College, London, the oldest-established, and in several major disciplines the most prestigious, of London University's 50-odd colleges. - - - I went to U.C.L. to study mathematics, with which I have been having a sort of unrequited love affair on and off since childhood. I mean, I love math, but it doesn't love me — I am not actually much good at it. - - - "
Derbyshire has held "various positions on Wall Street", but seems to actually spend most of his time doing "free-lance writing".
Regarding his free-lance journalism, he says on his website that: "I have been doing freelance print journalism since 1983, though with a few dry years around 1990 when I was establishing a family and trying to make a career on Wall Street." For a list of his writings (mostly columns for the National Review), see:
In recent years, Derbyshire has been particularly active in on-line journalism: "Since the spring of 2000 I have been writing a column for National Review Online. In theory it is twice weekly, though there are variations, particularly at the beginning of the run. I also do occasional movie or book reviews for NRO, and I have done a small number of pieces for other webzines. Web journalism is developing a different "flavor" from print journalism. You have more latitude to express yourself and you are edited less - - - " For a list of his web postings (mostly articles for the National Review Online), see:
Note that Derbyshire's foray into on-line journalism has been coincident with his book being in production at the National Academy Press, and thus with the National Academy Press's own foray into web-based marketing and PR, under the new leadership there. These are coincidences that we will be exploring in more detail in the future.

During the summer and fall of 2003, our investigation discovered that Derbyshire (along with J. Michael Bailey)  was an active member of the Human Biodiversity Discussion Group (HBDG) of the Human Biodiversity Institute (HBI), run by noted right-wing racist, anti-immigrationist and homophobe Steve Sailer (a major contributor to V-DARE, a website designated by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a "hate-site").

For more about HBDG and HBI, and Derbyshire's and Bailey's connections there, see this link and this link.  For more about Mr. Bailey's, Steve Sailer's and the HBI group's role in the propagation of "Queer Science" that defames and stigmatizes transgender and transsexual women, see the SPLC Investigative Report article of that title published in the winter of 2003.




Examples of Derbyshire's teachings about homosexuality:

Derbyshire rails against "buggery" and the humiliations of "being penetrated"

Derbyshire's call for rage in the fight against gay marriage

Derbyshire cautions young people from being tempted to turn gay

The Derb rants against the election of a gay man as an Episcopal bishop

Derbyshire justifies homophobia from an evolutionary biology point of view

The Derb teaches a five-year old boy how important it is to be a REAL man



November 16, 2003:

Derbyshire reacts to widespread exposure of his obsessively homophobic writings,

trying to explain away his exposure as a lunatic-fringe homophobe and transphobe

by posing as a victim in the "culture wars".

As a result of the investigation into J. Michael Bailey's book, Human Biodiversity Group (HBDG) member and staunch Bailey supporter John Derbyshire had by now been openly exposed as a lunatic-fringe homophobe and transphobe. This is not an empty rhetorical claim: You'll find clear evidence of Derbyshire's extreme views regarding homosexual and transsexual people at the following websites:  

As a result of his exposure on those websites, Derbyshire, a prominent National Review magazine columnist, been must have been getting lots of e-mail from his more rational conservative friends asking him "Hey, what the heck is up John?".  In his concern about his colleagues' reactions, "The Derb" went on the attack in a lengthy rant in National Review Magazine's website on November 16, 2003, in efforts to deflect attention away from his exposure as a nationally prominent gay-basher. In his rant, Derbyshire simultaneously attacks trans women by reporting details of Baileyan teachings that they are actually "sexually paraphilic men", and poses himself as being a "victim" in the "culture wars".

The Derb's article (for details and commentary, see the following page) was posted in "The Corner" in National Review Online, exploiting Derb's powerful media-access as a prominent columnist for the right-wing magazine National Review.

The title of the article was "CULTURE WARS: REPORT FROM DERB BUNKER". Check it out. You'll find it quite interesting...








April 8, 2004:


John Derbyshire jumps to defend Bailey against the new formal complaint at Northwestern,

claiming his critics are a "gang of pseudo-academic fascists"

engaging in "transsexualist terror"! 


On April 6, 2004, Andrea James, Deirdre McCloskey and Lynn Conway filed a formal complaint at Northwestern University containing evidence that J. Michael Bailey had functioned as a clinical psychologist in the State of Illinois by conducting clinical interviews of and compiling clinical case histories of transsexual women, and that he had done this without ever being licensed as a clinical psychologist in Illinois.

Two days later, on the morning of April 8, 2004, the Daily Northwestern published an article about this latest complaint.

At 4:16pm of that very afternoon, John Derbyshire (who in his November 16, 2003 attack on Bailey's critics had claimed to be only "slightly acquainted with Michael and his work") posted a scathing and libelous attack on Mr. Bailey's critics in the National Review Online, claiming that they were engaging in "transsexual terror".

We've heard reports that the public exposure of Mr. Derbyshire's obsessively homophobic writings has led to subsequent shunning of him in academe as he's traveled to various universities to promote his new book.  This must have truly stunned the Derb and knocked him mentally off balance, making him incredibly angry at having been exposed him this way, as evidenced by the strangeness of his latest writings in NRO.

So, instead of defending his now well-documented positions on homosexuality, Derbyshire has instead begun publicly calling his critics a "gang of pseudo-academic fascists" engaging in "transsexualist terror" for simply daring to use their personal websites to criticize him and his friend Mr. Bailey for their homophobia and their transphobic teachings about trans women. 

The Derb is now publishing these hysterical accusations of "terrorism" in major national media, via postings in the National Review Online (see below).  In these rants he continues the Baileyan tradition of the public defamation of transsexual women as being "paraphilic men", presuming to negate their criticisms by remotely diagnosing them as being mentally ill. 

Furthermore, his claim that he is only "slightly acquainted" with Mr. Bailey is revealed to be false by the intimacy with which he can parrot word-for-word Mr. Bailey's teachings about trans women, and by immediacy of his response to news of the latest complaint against Mr. Bailey.  We suspect that Mr. Bailey contacted the Derb on the 8th of April after reading the Daily NU article that morning, commiserated with him about that latest news, and sought his help in further defaming those who dared file formal complaints against him.

Seems like the Derb loves to dish it out and libelously defame others in national media.  However, when he's the object of well-reasoned criticism by private citizens in their personal websites, he calls it "terrorism".  My goodness, what a wimp and what a power abuser.  Just like Mr. Bailey.

Lynn Conway


National Review ONLINE


Thursday, April 08, 2004

As bad as the homosexualist agitators can be, they are kittens compared to the transsexualists. (NB: Transsexuals are people who wish to be not the sex that nature made their bodies, but the other one. The word is used regardless of whether or not "reassignment" surgery has taken place.)

I have mentioned before on The Corner the case of researcher Michael Bailey at Northwestern U. Last year Bailey published a book, The Man Who Would Be Queen, about effeminate men. (I reviewed the book for National Review -- see
here.) Bailey adheres to the theories of another researcher in this field, Ray Blanchard; in particular, to the theory that a certain subset of male transsexuals are "autogynephilic" -- basically, they are men who are erotically attracted to the idea of themselves as women. This very curious and paradoxical state of affairs is nicely caught by the title of the chapter on it in Bailey's book: "Men Trapped in Men's Bodies."

This theory infuriates the transsexuals in question, and a small group of them has launched a ferocious and determined campaign to destroy Bailey. What makes them so mad is the implication, contained in the Blanchard/Bailey theory, that they are really just very eccentric men. WE ARE NOT MEN, WE ARE ***W**O**M**E**N***!!! they scream. Bailey's book, by the way, is full of sympathy and humanity towards people who are sexually odd. This, of course, counts for nothing with the people hounding him. These transsexuals are not the least bit interested in compassion or tolerance. They want total roaring approval of their self-constructed self-images, and of the theories they have concocted to support them. If you do not offer that, you are a vile bigot, and must be destroyed.

The wrath of these transsexualists extends to anyone who has worked with Bailey, supported him, or given a friendly review to his book. It probably, I don't know for sure, extends to anyone who ever sold Bailey a pizza. This is major-league wrath. Because I gave Bailey's book a friendly review, and have the same publisher, I myself feature in their propaganda, which is all over the Internet.
Here is a specimen. Note that their "facts" about me are wildly inaccurate. I have never written a book about sailing, "instructed young men in PE," or (until I read this) heard of B. Devereux Barker IV. These idiots seem to have just Googled "Derbyshire" -- a rather common surname in parts of England -- and thrown together everything they found. These are the people criticizing the accuracy and integrity of Bailey's research! I note, by the way, that their error-laden and vituperative account of me is posted under a "" URL. Does the University of Michigan know what kind of material is being posted under its web addresses, at the university's expense?

Anyway, the latest installment in this sorry saga can be read
here. The transsexualists are pushing a bill of goods about Michael Bailey having violated proper procedures in gathering the data for his book. This is all humbug; they wouldn't give a fig about his procedures if he hadn't wounded their precious self-esteem. In any case, to judge from their U-Mich-hosted attacks on me, concern for procedural regularity in the gathering of facts is not a thing that features very high on their agenda.

Make no mistake, this is not a scholarly disagreement over abstract theoretical principles. It is a determined attempt by a gang of pseudo-academic fascists to destroy a working scientist who bruised their egos. If they get away with it, it will be a triumph for the forces of obscurantism and PC totalitarianism. Support Michael Bailey!

Posted at 04:16 PM

Friday, April 09, 2004


In response to my rhetorical question about
this , which was: "Does the University of Michigan know what kind of material is being posted under its web addresses, at the university's expense?", several students & alumni of U.Mich. have responded to the effect that, if they don't know, they'd be proud to find out. U.Mich. (these people tell me) is Diversity Central.
Posted at 03:34 PM









Examples of Derbyshire's teachings about homosexuality:



Dearbyshire rails against "buggery"
and the humiliations of "being penetrated"
"Let us consider what is in people's minds - - - when homosexuality is mentioned? Buggery, that's what."
- John Derbyshire, April 25, 2001
"More to the point - - - is a widespread revulsion, found in both genders, all times and all places and cultures,
towards the man who plays the part of a woman."
- John Derbyshire, April 25, 2001
"There is a fundamental human contempt towards a man who permits himself to be penetrated"
- John Derbyshire, April 25, 2001
"Even those penetrations consented to and not forced lower the status of the person so penetrated ...
The penetrator is engaging in an act of domination, desecration and humiliation of another ..."
- John Derbyshire, April 25, 2001
"Women expect a certain amount of penetration as coming with the territory of femaleness ... "
- John Derbyshire, April 25, 2001
 The Houston Review
April 25, 2001
by John Derbyshire
When David Lloyd George told Winston Churchill he was going to extend diplomatic recognition to Lenin's regime, Churchill protested: "Recognize the Bolsheviks? Why, you may as well speak of legalizing sodomy!"
How far we have come. Legalize it? As the old joke says: If we take things much further, it'll be compulsory. The homosexual lobbies are now a great force in the land. They are swilling in money and their activists have plenty of time to give to agitation — both functions of the fact that most homosexuals do not sacrifice large parts of their lives to establishing and raising families. Hollywood produces gushing movies about homosexuals; no TV soap opera or sitcom is complete without one. Editorial meetings at the New York Times are, we have been told, sometimes numerically dominated by them. Organizations that dare to offend the homosexual lobbies find that their sources of funds are drying up, while they must devote more and more of their dwindling resources to defending themselves in the courts. Bliss is it in this dawn to be alive: to be gay is very heaven.
And are there citizens who do not go along with all this? Why yes, of course there are. We all know them: they are the Religious Right, who have read in the Bible (Lev. 18:22) that God does not approve of homosexuals. The "gay rights" crowd have much sport with this, pointing out that neighboring verses command the death penalty for adultery (Lev. 20:10), prohibit the touching of a menstruating woman and anything she has sat upon (Lev. 15:19-27), instruct us to purchase slaves from neighboring countries (Canada? Mexico? — Lev. 25:44) etc. etc. So much for the case against homosexuality!
At the risk of being torn to pieces by a howling mob of New York Times editorial staffers, I should like to suggest that the case against homosexuality amounts to more than this; that there are strong, non-religious reasons for disapproval of homosexuals; that such disapproval cannot be completely eradicated by propaganda or legislation; and that homosexuals have probably got as much acceptance from the rest of us as they can reasonably hope for. In a 1996 Gallup poll 59% of the public believed that homosexual behavior is morally wrong, compared to 34% who believed that it is not morally wrong. I doubt if the first of those figures will ever get much lower; I doubt if the second will ever reach 50%.
Let us consider what is in people's minds when the subject of homosexuality is brought to their attention. I am not talking about the faculty of Harvard University; I am talking about people, including even people who never went to law school (yes! there are such people!) What is in their minds when homosexuality is mentioned? Buggery, that's what.
I was a bit disconcerted to find, when trying some of these themes out in conversation, that this word is almost unknown in the U.S.A. A colleague brought to my attention the following exchange on Booknotes back in 1991 when Brian Lamb was interviewing Martin Gilbert about his biography of Churchill (it seems you can't avoid Churchill in this area):
Gilbert: ... When Churchill was 20 and a young soldier, he was accused of buggery, and you know that's a terrible accusation. Well, he ended up prime minister for quite a long time.
Lamb: Why was he accused of buggery, and what is it?
Gilbert: You don't know what buggery is?
Lamb: Define it, please.
Gilbert [clearly flustered]: Oh, dear. Sorry, I thought the word would — buggery is what used to be called "an unnatural act of the Oscar Wilde type", is how it was actually phrased in the euphemism of the British papers. You don't know what buggery is? It's a very nasty thing which men can do to each other.
This strikes me as one of the more severe deficiencies of U.S. English. How do Americans cope without a verb for this action? And what do they make of Rossini's description of his mules: "bestie buggierone"? One of my earliest memories from an English childhood is of being goaded by my (older) sister to say "I chased a bug around a tree" without it coming out "dirty". Well, so far as definitions are concerned, I think Martin Gilbert provided the necessary clarification. That is buggery; and that, according to me, is the first thing that comes to people's minds when you raise the topic of homosexuality. Not equal rights for an oppressed minority; not the gruesome death of the unfortunate Mathew Shepard; not Ellen DeGeneres "coming out" on prime-time TV; not Tom Hanks fading away photogenically in Philadelphia. Buggery. Like it or not — and I can quite understand that many homosexuals do not like it at all — buggery is, in the minds of the straight population, the defining act of the "homosexual lifestyle".
Now, this is not altogether fair. In the first place, a large proportion of homosexuals are women — that is, lesbians — who do not commit buggery. They cannot, at any rate in the strict meaning I intend here. In the second place, even if we restrict our attention to male homosexuals, there are many who do not practice buggery. Quentin Crisp told us he gave it up early in his career, finding he did not enjoy it. W.H. Auden seems to have favored fellatio exclusively, at any rate in middle age. We are pretty sure that Lord Byron buggered; but Oscar Wilde may not have, whatever the British press thinks. (See below. And if true, by the way, this last sentence rather spoils the point of Kenneth Tynan's priceless remark that: "Victorian literature began and ended with an anal scandal — Lord Byron up Annabella's bum, Oscar Wilde up Bosie's.") There is in fact a fastidious sub-category of male homosexuals — the late British comedian Kenneth Williams was an instance, according to Joe Orton — who do not give any physical expression at all to their sexual urges. And in the third place, a lot of heterosexual men practice buggery with their wives and girlfriends.
I don't believe any of these objections invalidates my main point. The conflation of lesbians with male homosexuals is mainly squid ink. The two groups have precisely one thing in common: they are both romantically attracted to their own sex. In practically every other characteristic, they are not merely different but opposite. The indispensable Steve Sailer documented this in detail some years ago (National Review, 5/30/94: "Why Lesbians Aren't Gay" — it can be read on Steve's web site). If you introduce the topic of homosexuality, nobody is thinking about lesbians, and I am not concerned with them here. There is a story that when the British Parliament re-criminalized homosexuality in the 19th century, attempts to include lesbianism under the statutes were thwarted by Queen Victoria, who refused to believe that such a thing was possible. I am wiser than Queen Victoria. I know that lesbians exist. I just don't think their existence has any influence at all on public attitudes to homosexuality.
Similarly, the fact that many male homosexuals do not commit buggery does not alter the fact that buggery is, none the less, in the minds of most people, the defining act of homosexuality. You can see this from the coarse slang expressions people use for male homosexuals. Most of these expressions are unprintable on a respectable website, and I shall therefore spell out none of them; but any reader who has lived in the world much (or seen the movie As Good As It Gets) will know the sort of thing I am referring to. I suggest than when people use expressions like this, they are not thinking about cohabitee health insurance benefits. And again, though it has been a while since I read a survey on the topic, I do recall that heterosexual buggery polls as a minority taste — that the commonest pattern among heterosexuals is to give it a try a few times, then abandon it as not very pleasurable. The act is not popular with women; prostitutes (who very unfairly, and surely Politically Incorrectly, refer to it as "Greek") will not do it within the normal scale of fees. Besides, as William Miller points out in The Anatomy of Disgust, "Women expect a certain amount of penetration as coming with the territory of femaleness ... the issue about where the penetration is to take place is one about the propriety of location rather than about the issue of penetrability per se". Of which more later.
Now, supposing I am right in my assertion that talk of homosexuality brings buggery to the front of most people's minds, it is not unreasonable to see why there is — as I believe there is — a widespread public distaste for homosexuality that can never be altogether eradicated. Buggery is, in the first place, unhygienic. In the second place, it spreads disease. And in the third place, it pushes important body parts past their design limits. I don't think these things need elaborating on; though of the second, it is worth remembering that even before the AIDS epidemic came up there were numerous diseases found almost exclusively in male homosexuals. Buggery is, in short, a gateway to disease and dysfunction — much more unhealthy than, for example, cigarette smoking. This is pretty widely understood, even by people with no medical training; and so long as male homosexuality is associated with it in people's minds (which, according to me, it always is), there will be a corresponding distaste for homosexuality.
More to the point than any of these, however, is a widespread revulsion, found in both genders, all times and all places and cultures, towards the man who plays the part of a woman. There is a fundamental human contempt towards a man who permits himself to be penetrated — sufficiently fundamental, I should have thought, to deserve a place in anthropologist Donald E. Brown's list of "human universals" along with fear of snakes, envy, love of gossip and so on. The Anatomy of Disgust again: "Even those penetrations consented to and not forced lower the status of the person so penetrated ... The penetrator is engaging in an act of domination, desecration and humiliation of another ..." As soon as you start to dig into the literature on homosexuality and attitudes towards it, this fact pops up all over the place. Christopher Hitchens in the New York Review of Books (9/21/00), writing about English boys'-boarding-school homosexuality: "Mutual and manual gratification is the rule. The employment of orifices risks the imputation of unmanliness." (Though nobody should venture into this particular neck of the woods without packing Jonathan Gathorne-Hardy's definitive book The Public School Phenomenon, which has much, much more to say on the topic.)
Even in ancient Greece, generally thought to be a culture very friendly to male homosexuality, this antipathy was clear and often expressed. The famous "romantic friendships" the Greeks favored, between an older man and a young boy, did not usually involve buggery. Greek fathers — warriors, athletes and orators, who believed women belonged in the kitchen — did not care to think of their sons "playing the part of a woman". The classicist K.J. Dover's 1977 book Greek Homosexuality, based on a careful analysis of ancient pornographic pottery, revealed that what went on was "intercrural" sex — between the thighs. (This was also the technique favored by Oscar Wilde, according to one of his biographers.) It is clear from the Greek Anthology that while buggery certainly occurred, it was furtive and disapproved of. In every consequential society, in fact, under almost all circumstances, buggery has been out of bounds. The fact that it is closely associated with homosexuality in people's minds sets a ceiling to how much acceptance homosexuals can ever hope for from the rest of us. Homosexual activists seem to be aware of this; in presentations to the broad public — that awful Philadelphia movie, for example — they carefully avoid any mention, or even suggestion, of buggery. (Oddly — or perhaps not so oddly — we are more squeamish about these things now than we were back in the "homophobic" days of 30-plus years ago. Matt Crowley's 1968 play The Boys in the Band, made into a general-release movie two years later, had some buggery references, only lightly coded.)
All of which proves what, exactly? That male homosexuals should be jailed? Run out of town on rails? Surgically altered? Burned at the stake? Of course not. In a free society, the things people choose do do with each other in private, even if unhygienic and unhealthy, are nobody else's business. They become someone else's business only when the people concerned go into the public square and start advertising their tastes, and recruiting to them. If my neighbor wants to be buggered in the privacy of his home, I wish him joy of it; if he wants to get on my school board and agitate for the establishment of a "gay" students club at my son's school, I shall have something to say about it. These elementary social principles seem to have been mislaid in recent years. Look: in a civilized modern society, majorities owe a debt of tolerance to harmless minorities. But minorities also owe something to the majority: a decent respect for its tastes and opinions, and careful restraint in challenging them. The second part of this arrangement seems to have been forgotten. The issue, as one current joke has it, is not whether society is willing to tolerate homosexuals, so much as whether they are willing to tolerate the rest of us.
Tolerance of homosexuality has been won, not without courage, sacrifice, and, yes, some advertising, both individual and organized. My feeling is that as much has been got as can be got. On the spectrum that runs from hatred through hostility and disapproval to tolerance, acceptance, and approval, to admiration, homosexuals have traveled as far as they can go: most of the way to "acceptance", I think. I believe that society has an interest, just on public health grounds, in discouraging homosexuality, though I can't see that society has any interest in persecuting it, as we used to. To the contrary, I think we should dissuade people from persecuting homosexuals, where such persecution is not taken care of by ordinary laws against assault, intimidation, and so on.
However, perfect equality is never going to happen. No large number of people is ever going to believe that homosexuality is "normal", that "gay is just as good as straight". There will always be a few occupations in which male homosexuals are unwelcome; there will always be some residue of contempt for and mistrust of them as a class, for the reasons I have given above (supposing I am correct). People will always have a strong preference that their own sons not grow up homosexual—I myself have a very strong preference in this regard—and will always resent and resist those who try to "turn" young boys. None but a tiny minority of American parents will ever be happy to see their sons taken off into the woods for a camping trip by a homosexual scoutmaster (or their daughters by a male heterosexual one). Homosexuals would, I believe, be wise to lower the volume, cherish their private lives, withdraw the more contentious litigation, and stop "pushing the envelope". Envelopes can break.
John Derbyshire, a Contributing Editor with the National Review, is a writer-- critic, commentator and novelist-- living on Long Island, New York His homepage can be reached by clicking here.


Derbyshire's call for rage
in the fight against "gay marriage":
"Come on, guys. Stiffen the sinews! Summon up the blood! Disguise fair nature with hard-favored rage! Etc. etc.
There's a line to be held here. We are C-O-N-S-E-R-V-A-T-I-V-E-S. Remember Thermoplyae."
- John Derbyshire, June 20, 2003


Friday June 20, 2003
From The Corner - on National Review Online:

RE: SANTORUM & GAYS [Jonah Goldberg]
Ramesh - All your points are well-taken. I guess I'm a bit cynical about those who tried to make Santorum's comments the moral equivalent of Lott's. First, since I flatly reject the facile analogy of gays to blacks, I always treat such arguments as -- for want of a better word -- theatrical or propagandistic. It seemed to me at the time and seems to me now as well, that many of the people who said Santorum's "sins" were as a great as Lott's were trying to make it so by saying it was so. In this sense there was something of a Stalinist strain to the denunciation of Santorum. Good liberals felt they had to call Santorum a bigot and the moral equivalent of a racist even though many of them understood that the issue -- and Santorum's comments -- are complicated than that. I'm sure some people believed it, but I got the sense the real point of that argument was to close off debate and delegitimize opponents. Over all, you may think gay activists haven't "won" yet, but it seems to me there on a "mopping up" mission now -- going after pockets of resistance and the like. When you contemplate how hard it would be to put the genie back in the bottle, it looks to me like there's still shooting but the war is effectively over.
Posted at 11:31 AM

I agree with a modified version of Jonah's thesis--my version: Gay marriage is close to inevitable. I also agree with Stanley that Andrew Sullivan's habit of describing opponents of gay marriage as belonging to the "far Right" is annoying: That makes, what, 65 percent of the country far-right? I think Jonah draws a slightly wrong lesson from the Santorum controversy, which actually suggests that Jonah's version of the thesis is a bit premature. Gay activists, and at least some gay-conservative polemicists, thought what he said was equivalent to what Trent Lott said. They wanted Santorum to be forced out of the Republican leadership. It didn't happen. Santorum hasn't even suffered in the polls at home. Ten years ago, Santorum's comments would not have aroused even the controversy they did. So we're closer to the destination to which Jonah is pointing. But gays haven't "won" just yet.
Posted at 10:59 AM

RE: GAYS [John Derbyshire]
What a bunch of sniveling capitulationists! "Gay marriage is close to inevitable"--R. Ponnuru. "The war is effectively over"--J. Goldberg. This, from employees of a magazine whose founder declared that its mission would be to stand athwart History crying "STOP!"? This, in the context of dismantling and re-engineering what is probably--I'm not sure--Western culture's oldest institution? This, when important and relevant issues cannot even be discussed for reasons of political correctness? (E.g.: What proportion of health-care costs in the U.S. go to treating diseases peculiar to male homosexuals?) Come on, guys. Stiffen the sinews! Summon up the blood! Disguise fair nature with hard-favored rage! Etc. etc. There's a line to be held here. We are C-O-N-S-E-R-V-A-T-I-V-E-S. Remember Thermoplyae.
Posted at 11:58 AM

In saying that I considered gay marriage "close to inevitable," I obviously was not saying whether that was a good thing. An opponent of gay marriage could well take the view that gay marriage is on the way but that it should be fought and delayed at every turn. I would expect John Derbyshire, of all people, to see that fighting the good fight even when you expect to lose is an honorable conservative position.
Posted at 12:15 PM

WELL, NOW THE BOAT'S A-ROCKIN'! [Jonah Goldberg]
Derb - First, I do not snivel. I snort, I snarl, I sneer and I snark, but I do not snivel.

Now, a few clarifications. I do not support gay marriage and I've been consistent on this from the beginning. But, it seems from your perspective I should say A is not happening because I am opposed to A. Not only would that be intellectually dishonest, it would be precisely the sort of intellectual dishonesty (i.e. rightwing political correctness) we criticize the Left for on every issue under the sun, from race to, yes, homosexuality. I think gays -- for want of a less monolithic term -- have largely won. My argument is that it is better to fall back on civil unions or some such than to keep shouting "Stop!" as the temple of marriage itself is overrun. It would also be the decent thing to do for homosexuals, most of whom are certainly law-abiding and decent people.

You also seem to imply such honesty about trends not to ones liking is somehow inconsistent with being a C-O-N-S-E-R-V-A-T-I-V-E of the National Review stripe. I seem to recall that Whittacker Chambers was convinced he'd joined the losing side when he left the Communists and signed up with the NR crowd (though to be fair, Chambers considered himself a "man of the Right" and not a conservative). I also seem to recall that James Burnham was equally pessimistic about Western Civilization's chances against the forces of Stalinist collectivism. It also seems to me that voicing ones pessimism may have a positive effect on those who do not see how dire the situation is. That was surely one of the beneficial effects of NR pessimists in the past.
Posted at 12:22 PM



Derbyshire's cautions young people
from being tempted to turn gay:
"Young people — and I would include college-age under “young” — need some guidance and authority
to turn their raging romantic and sexual urges into healthful and socially desirable channels."
- John Derbyshire, May 17, 2001
" - - - homosexuals are an out group (no pun intended). They are an unpopular minority — unpopular, at least,
with huge numbers of their fellow citizens, and likely to remain so for a very long time to come."
- John Derbyshire, May 17, 2001
" - - - while homosexuality can be, and in my opinion ought to be, tolerated as a fringe activity
for people who are determined to follow that inclination,
attempts to proselytize and normalize homosexuality ought to be resisted - - - "
- John Derbyshire, May 17, 2001

Article by John Derbyshire
National Review Online
May 17th, 2001

Whoever Causes One of These to Sin


I am going to take issue with my colleague Deroy Murdock. Reluctantly and respectfully, since I love Deroy’s stuff, and I also love the fact that a tiny alteration to his first name gets you started on my last name. And in fact I’m not even sure I’m taking much issue, rather filling in something important I think he left out of his piece on homosexuals being re-oriented by therapy (Gays Can Go Straight, 5/14/01 on NRO).

To begin with, let me quote, with permission, an email I recently received from Lawrence Henry, who is a columnist for Enter Stage Right and a person of much worldliness and wisdom. This email was one of several in some exchanges we were having about homosexuality. Here is what Larry wrote (except that I have changed a name and a city).

My best friend in college was a wonderful-looking young man named Gerry, who studied modern dance with Merce Cunningham and Martha Graham. He was really very good. I visited Gerry's home with him once on a school break. He lived in Richmond. His father was the rector of one of the oldest downtown Episcopal churches.
During that visit, his father told me (perhaps suspecting an attachment that did not exist between Gerry and me) that Gerry had come home from a high school vacation spent at a dance camp or conclave of some kind, and had told him he had been propositioned by a homosexual, and had asked him what to do about it.
"I told him," the old rector rumbled in self-righteous satisfaction, "'Gerald, it's up to you."
I thought then, and still think, this was one of the most extraordinarily cowardly acts I ever heard of.
Adolescence, of course, is a time of such powerful sexual desires that adolescents can be persuaded to attach themselves to almost any set of images, objects, or ideas — especially when appeals are made to the equally powerful adolescent insecurities and desires to belong to some seemingly attractive group. Lee Trevino, describing himself as a young man, said, "I'd f--- a rock if I thought there was a snake under it." W.H. Auden, asked in old age what it felt like when his sexual desires diminished said, "It's like being allowed to get off a wild horse."
To exploit that adolescent complex of desires is about the most despicable thing I can think of. "Whoever causes one of these to sin, it would be better if a millstone were hung about his neck and he were cast into the sea," just about summarizes it.


Before I proceed to my main point, let me say that I think the whole issue of homosexuality is a very difficult one for social conservatives. For some of us, anyway. If you’re a Christian or Jewish fundamentalist, it’s a no-brainer: the proscription is right there in Leviticus 18:22, and there is nothing more to be said. Most of us, however, are not fundamentalists. I myself am a not-very-observant Episcopalian. (Which, from a strictly pastoral point of view, leaves me wide open on this topic. A colleague of mine who once served time in a Jesuit seminary told me the following joke, which apparently has them slapping their thighs round the refectory table. Q: How many heterosexual Episcopalian ministers does it take to install a bishop? A: All three of them.) For people like me, who think that homosexuality as a social phenomenon — whatever we may think of individual homosexuals, or wish them to think of us — is deplorable, or at least regrettable, there is some explaining to do, especially to the homosexual friends and colleagues all of us have. I have no space to do that explaining here, though I think what I’m going to say covers some of the territory. What I mainly want to do is just unpick one single thread from Deroy’s Monday piece, and pull on it to see how much unravels.

In that piece, Deroy discussed the controversy over a recent study asserting that “highly motivated” homosexual men can be “turned” by appropriate counselling and therapy. Deroy quotes some of the angry reactions to this study from homosexual-rights activists, and points out that their protests are based on the widely-held beliefs that sexual orientation is firmly fixed at birth, and that a person is either 100 per cent gay, or 100 per cent straight. He then explodes those beliefs by raising some counter-examples, for example of heterosexuals like James Hormel, the former U.S. Ambassador to Luxembourg, who went in the other direction after fathering five children. Deroy concludes:

Perhaps it's best for gays and straights to agree that it's OK for every American to follow whichever sexual frequency suits his fancy, whether he tuned in at conception or switched channels as an adult.

Perhaps it is; but what, exactly, does the phrase “every American” encompass? Every American above the age of ... what? Obviously it does not include my son, aged, as he will be pleased to tell you, five and three-quarters. What about “Gerry” in Lawrence Henry’s little story — is he included, as his father seemed to believe? Young people — and I would include college-age under “young” — need some guidance and authority to turn their raging romantic and sexual urges into healthful and socially desirable channels. They know they do — what is Gerry doing but asking for guidance? So what guidance should we give? Is homosexuality healthful? Is it socially desirable?

Well, in the first place, there cannot be much dispute about the fact that male homosexuality is seriously un-healthful. There was not much to dispute about this even before the rise of AIDs, though this has been pretty much forgotten now. Leaving that aside, is homosexuality — male or female — socially desirable? Is any kind of entirely private behavior any of society’s business?

That, of course, is where the interesting arguments begin. Social conservatives like myself rest their case on the common experience of humanity across the ages. You can’t have much of a society — let alone a civilization — without some reasonably stable system for nurturing and socializing children, some system sanctioned by custom, fortified by law, and granted preferences and privileges to assist it. The only system with much of a track record is the man-woman family arrangement. There might be individual records of success with other schemas; but statistically speaking, homosexual partnerships are way too unstable to serve the nurturing and socializing purposes, and the single-parent family gets you what we see in our inner-city ghettoes. (And while polygamy and polyandry might, for all I know, both work, they are both grossly and obviously unfair.) It follows that while homosexuality can be, and in my opinion ought to be, tolerated as a fringe activity for people who are determined to follow that inclination, attempts to proselytize and normalize homosexuality ought to be resisted, even if it could be shown that normalization is possible, which I don’t think it could.

The common attitudes of humanity reflect these (as it seems to me) obvious truths. Very large numbers of people agree with me that homosexuality is not socially desirable. Polled by Gallup in February 1999, in fact, 43 per cent of respondents to the question “Do you think homosexual relations between consenting adults should or should not be legal?” answered with “Not legal.” This is much sterner than my own position — I can’t see any point in laws against homosexuality, nor can I see how such laws might be enforced — but it’s obviously how an awful lot of people feel.

Now, you might say that widespread beliefs prove nothing. You might say — well, you probably wouldn’t say, but you might very well think — that the only thing proved by Mr. Gallup is that 43 per cent of the American public are unenlightened bigots in need of some serious re-education. They are homophobes! (A stupid word, which, if it meant anything, would mean “having similar fears”, as in: “She and I are homophobic; we’re both scared of spiders.”) You might add that a majority of citizens in 16th-century Spain probably supported the burning of heretics, and that until quite recently, a majority of people everywhere believed that the earth was flat. Sure, sure: but look at the sheer stubborness of these attitudes. By 1999, the American public had been marinated in pro-homosexual propaganda for thirty years . Movies, TV sitcoms, magazines, newspapers, celebrities, colleges and even high schools have been preaching the gospel for an entire generation. Tolerance! Diversity! Could be your own child! Gay is just as good as straight! Yet after all this — in the teeth of all the propaganda, all the proselytizing, all the sanctimony and intimidation and lawyering and moral blackmail — the U.S. public obstinately refuses to believe that homosexuality is just fine. Close to half of them think it should be “Not legal”!

Whether you think they are right or not, one important fact undeniably follows: that homosexuals are an out group (no pun intended). They are an unpopular minority — unpopular, at least, with huge numbers of their fellow citizens, and likely to remain so for a very long time to come. If thirty years of relentless propaganda by the massed forces of the U.S. media, education and entertainment industries have still left 43 per cent of us wanting homosexuality “Not legal”, when, exactly will homosexuality be taken as “normal”? Homosexual activists are in complete denial about this. Like British generals in WW1, they believe that one more propaganda Big Push — one more Philadelphia, one more Queer As Folk, one more Mathew Shepard atrocity — will swing the public to their side, will suddenly have everyone believing that, by gosh, yes, gay is just as good as straight! I have news for these activists: it ain’t gonna happen. You are stuck in the trenches. For ever. Again, you may think this is a grave injustice, and you may be right: but unjust or not, it’s a fact as plain as the nose on your face.

So what does a wise adult say to a young person like Gerry, who is wondering whether to take a ride on the gay side? At the very least, he should say this. “The common opinion of humanity is, and always has been, against homosexuality, in almost all times and places. (And the exceptions are not very exceptional: see, for example, K.J. Dover’s Greek Homosexuality.) There are strong social reasons for this, and probably some biological ones, too. You may be wiser than the rest of humanity, but this is not a priori very likely. If you commit yourself to homosexuality, you are committing yourself to a life apart from the main current of society, to being despised and sneered at, mostly but not entirely behind your back. The generality of people, always and everywhere, feel that male homosexuality is mildly disgusting, and female homosexuality mildly ludicrous. You might have the luck to settle into some social niche — certain of the performing arts, for example, or the women’s professional golf circuit — where the sneering is at a minimum, but no-one can, or should, live altogether apart from the larger society. People in whom the homosexual impulse is irresistibly strong put up with this outsider status. Some of them even like it — to a certain personality type, there is a thrill in being an outsider, a trangressor. It’s not probable that you are that type, and in any case this is not the time to try to find out. At your age, you should be sampling the ordinary pleasures that most people have found fulfilling and satisfying, and the proper pursuit of which helps hold society together, and has provided the raw material for most great art and literature down through the ages. If you find those pleasures irksome, there will be plenty of time in your adult life to experiment with others. Before you can break the rules you must master them; before you can create abstract art, you must cut your teeth on still lifes and landscapes; before you can write free verse, you must cope with sestinas and sonnets. Yours is not the age for transgressions — especially not for trangressions that spread disease and dysfunction, as male homosexuality does. Your best shot at a happy and fulfilled life is bourgeois normality, unless you are an exceptional case. Whether or not you are such a case simply cannot be decided at your age, certainly not by you yourself. Stay away from that guy!”



The Derb rants against the election
of a gay man as an Episcopal bishop:


The point is that open homosexuality is - not necessarily, but all too often - an infiltrating, exclusivist, corruptive, and destructive force.
- John Derbyshire, June 25, 2003
Any organization that admits frank and open homosexuals into its higher levels will sooner or later abandon its original purpose and give itself over to propagating and celebrating the homosexualist ethos, and to excluding heterosexuals and denigrating heterosexuality.
- John Derbyshire, June 25, 2003
I do believe, with a high degree of certainty, that after a few more appointments of the Canon John/Rev. Robinson kind, my church will cease to be a vehicle for the teaching of Christ's gospel, and become instead a dating service for homosexuals.
- John Derbyshire, June 25, 2003


Article by John Derbyshire
National Review Online
June 25th, 2003

The One and the Many

So now the Episcopal church has an “openly gay” (i.e. proselytizing homosexual) bishop. The Rev. V. Gene Robinson, 56, was elected bishop of New Hampshire on June 7, in a vote by clergy and church activists. Robinson abandoned his wife and two infant daughters in 1986 to pursue his “lifestyle.”

The Episcopal church belongs to the Anglican communion, in which the Church of England is first among equals. That church is itself close to schism over the issue of homosexual clergy. The bishop who presides over the Diocese of Oxford, which covers some 600 parishes in the southwest midlands of England, has declared his intention to appoint as suffragan bishop — that is, a sort of assistant bishop, under his authority — a man who is openly homosexual. The appointment has been loudly opposed by scores of churches in the diocese and has given rise to a slightly farcical “duelling bishops” spectacle. Nine bishops signed an open letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury protesting the appointment; eight other bishops then sent a letter supporting it.

All this is taking place in the context of ructions within the world-wide Anglican communion over this same issue — openly homosexual clergy. Anglicanism is very strong in the Third World, especially in Africa. Out there they stick close to Scripture and are socially conservative, and they feel strongly that homosexuality in the clergy is contrary to church teaching and tradition. The bishop of Nigeria, whose diocese is believed to be the fastest-growing in the Anglican communion, is one of those who protested the appointment of Canon John.

And all that is taking place against the background of the recent scandals in the “other” catholic church. (We Anglicans consider ourselves to be catholic. At Eucharist we recite the Nicene Creed, including the line: “We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic church.” The main difference of opinion is over the authority of the Pope in Rome, which we do not accept.) Those scandals revolve around the issue of homosexuality in the clergy. It is very politically incorrect to say that, but anyone who has been involved in the matter, or in reporting it, will tell you it frankly and angrily, and it comes loud and clear from Michael Rose’s book Goodbye, Good Men.

Now, of course, homosexual clergy are nothing new, certainly not in the Church of England. The queer vicar was a staple of schoolboy jokes in my own childhood, long before “gay liberation” was heard of. It has probably always been the case that the Roman Catholic and Anglican clergy include a disproportionate number of homosexuals. Quite aside from the “glamor” element of priesthood in these churches — the colored vestments, delicate altar furnishings, chants, bossing about of altar boys and so on — priests belong, after all, to the “caring professions,” to which homosexual men are disproportionately attracted. My mother was a professional nurse all her life until she retired in the 1970s. In those years there were very few male nurses; but every one of them, according to my mother, was assumed to be homosexual unless he presented convincing evidence to the contrary. A high proportion of those who work as servants to the British royal family are homosexual. (One of George V’s footmen was arrested for sexual assaults on young boys. His Majesty, on being told, said: “Good grief! I thought chaps like that shot themselves.”) Teachers in boys’-only schools likewise; Evelyn Waugh remarks on this somewhere, and so do I.

Not only are homosexuals attracted to the caring professions, they are usually good at them. A.N. Wilson’s fascinating piece in the Daily Telegraph makes it plain that a lot of the homosexual Anglican clergy he writes about are, in fact, so far as the carrying out of their pastoral duties is concerned, excellent priests. In my oblique way, I made the same point about that schoolmaster of mine, in the column I linked to above. At the boys’ school I attended, the repressed pederasts were far and away the best teachers. (Please don’t send me e-mails arguing that pederasty has nothing whatever to do with homosexuality. I don’t believe it.)

So... what’s the fuss about? Isn’t a homosexual just as entitled to be a schoolmaster, a nurse, a footman, or even a priest, as anyone else? Wouldn’t it be unjust, not to mention unkind, to deny a job of this kind — they are mostly thankless and ill-paid jobs — to a person who, as I have just said, is likely to do it well? In the priesthood, of course, the issue of church teaching comes up: homosexual acts are proscribed in the Bible. However, Canon Jeffrey John, the priest at the center of the Oxford fuss, tells the world that the 27-year relationship with his partner (also an Anglican clergyman) ceased to be physical in the 1990s. He can therefore claim that he is not violating church teaching at all. Why deny him a promotion? Why would so many of us want to deny him? Why do I want to? Isn’t this just “homophobia” — blind unreasoning prejudice?

For a clue to the answers, I refer you to Mrs. Leona Helmsley, a person perhaps not as well known out there beyond the Hudson as she is in New York City. Mrs. Helmsley is an 82-year-old lady who owns a number of swank hotels in Manhattan. She was in the local newspapers back in January because of a court case: an ex-employee, name of Charles Bell, was suing her for discrimination, claiming that Mrs. Helmsley had fired him for being homosexual. There were some gray areas in the testimony, but the following at least became clear:

  • Bell had been hired by Helmsley’s Chief Operating Officer at the Park Lane Hotel, who was also homosexual.
  • His résumé was a work of fiction.
  • He handed out blocks of rooms, at deep discounts, to members of a leather-fetishist group his boyfriend belonged to.
  • That last led to one of the best courtroom exchanges. Mrs. Helmsleys’s attorney asked Bell about an incident when the lady walked into an elevator at the Park Lane and found herself face to face with Bell’s boyfriend, all decked out in leather-fetish regalia and with a shaven head. From the New York Post courtroom report: “’He was dressed completely in black leather?’ [the attorney] asked. ‘Not completely,’ Bell snapped.”

    I tell this sad little tale to make a point. The point is that open homosexuality is — not necessarily, perhaps, but all too often — an infiltrating, exclusivist, corruptive and destructive force. It seems unlikely that anyone can help being homosexual in nature, and no-one should be subject to acts of unkindness or unjust discrimination on account of something he cannot help. On the other hand, an 82-year-old lady of dignity and accomplishment should not be confronted with outrageously-dressed freaks paying discount rates when stepping into the elevator of a hotel she owns.

    Here is another case, this one from Michael Rose’s book. Joseph Kellenyi is talking about his time as a student at Mundelein Seminary near Chicago, a training school for Roman Catholic clergy.

    “The issue was never one of my suitability for ordination. Rather it was that the gay clique had been given power over who got ordained in Chicago. Furthermore, the faculty members in question were not willing to settle for tolerance from me, which I could give. What they wanted was affirmation and my respect, which I could not give. It must be noted too that at no time had it ever been suggested that I had a problem dealing with gay men, or was ‘homophobic.’ The issue was that they had a problem dealing with me. And the rector even admitted again that gay men don’t like people like me. This of course raises the question of ‘heterophobia.’ I have heard time and again that the sexual orientation of priests and seminarians does not matter, as long as they are celibate. Yet when gays come into positions of authority they knowingly and consistently appoint gay men to important key positions.

    (My italics.) So it will always be. Homosexuality, open and proud, is a subversive force — subversive, that is, of any institution in which it becomes entrenched. The Roman Catholic church has recently learned this. The Anglican church is about to learn it. The Boy Scouts of America would have learned it, but for a lucky break from the judiciary.

    There is no reason why an individual homosexual might not be a good and honorable person, any more than there is any reason why an individual heterosexual might not be a liar and a thief. In matters social and organizational, though, the sum is often greater than the parts, and it is not the one we should focus on, but the many. This, unfortunately, is a very difficult thing to get people to do in a highly individualistic culture like ours. “What about Joe? He’s homosexual, but a finer human being you could never wish to meet.” Sure, we all know Joe; but his case tells us nothing about the probable behavior of an organization whose higher levels are 30, or 50, or 60 percent homosexual.

    I do believe, with a high degree of certainty, that after a few more appointments of the Canon John / Rev. Robinson kind, my church will cease to be a vehicle for the teaching of Christ’s gospel, and become instead a dating service for homosexuals. Its ethos will no longer be Christian, it will be “gay,” like the ethos at that Chicago seminary (and many others Michael Rose reports on).

    Long-time readers of National Review may recall Robert Conquest’s three laws of politics, of which the second was: “Any organization not explicitly and constitutionally right-wing will sooner or later become left-wing.” (Conquest actually offered the Church of England as an example of this law in action.) I should like to hypothesize a fourth law, which I am going to call Derbyshire’s Law.

    Derbyshire’s Law

    Any organization that admits frank and open homosexuals into its higher levels will sooner or later abandon its original purpose and give itself over to propagating and celebrating the homosexualist ethos, and to excluding heterosexuals and denigrating heterosexuality.

    The key phrase there is “frank and open.” These things I am talking about are new in the world. Catholic seminaries of fifty years ago were not, to judge at any rate from the novels of J.F. Powers, plagued with the kinds of issues detailed in Michael Rose’s book, though there must have been lots of homosexuals in them.

    In this sense, the problem is not homosexuals or homosexuality. I am sure that God loves homosexuals and has a purpose for them. (I even think that their prowess in the “caring professions” offers some clue as to what that purpose might be.) The problem is the sexual revolution. The problem is hedonism. The problem is the preening vanity and selfishness of “coming out,” of parading private inclinations, of a kind that repel normal people, as if those inclinations were, all by themselves, marks of authenticity and virtue, of suffering and oppression. A large part of the problem, too, is “heterophobia” — the dislike, mistrust and contempt which many homosexuals feel towards normal people.

    My own reaction to all this is, well, reactionary. I rather liked the old order I grew up in, where everyone knew that the local vicar or the Latin master was a bit of an iron,* but that he kept his hands to himself and his private life private, and did a first-class job of work in his chosen line. Such a one could be a respected and admired member of the community. That homosexual schoolmaster in my National Review piece was known and liked throughout our town — a substantial place, pop. 100,000 — and widely mourned when he died.

    The Rev. Robinson, with his selfish betrayal of two little babes, and Canon John, with his self-important announcements about his “lifestyle” and his bedroom activities, will never have that kind of respect and admiration, certainly not from me.** The church that they and their friends are busily colonizing will soon be one that ordinary Christian families will stay away from in droves.

    Organized Christianity began as a religion for women and slaves. It looks set fair to end, at least in the Western world, as a religion for homosexuals. The only thing that might turn the tide would be a determined missionary effort by the diocese of Nigeria.

    * Working-class English rhyming slang. “Iron” = “iron hoof” = “poof” = “homosexual.”

    ** It seems that Canon John has in fact been less than honest about these matters. In an interview with the London Times, the canon said that he and his partner had never lived together. Some days later, it emerged that in fact the two of them jointly own an apartment in London, and give frequent dinner parties there.




    Derbyshire justifies homophobia from an evolutionary biology point of view
    as a universal feature of human nature:
    Derbyshire exploits his friend Steven Pinker's theories to support the idea that homophobia is innate and natural:

    Homosexual spokespeople nowadays lean heavily on the argument that “we can’t help it, we’re born that way.” ... The evidence from history and anthropology is that “homophobia” is so widespread and deep-rooted, it might very well be one of those universal features of human nature listed in the back of Steven Pinker’s book The Blank Slate. ... Indeed, from the point of view of evolutionary biology, “homophobia” makes a great deal more sense than homosexuality!

    Derbyshire goes on to quote Steve Sailer's claim that gay weddings will cause an aversion to marriage among straight guys:

    Enter Steve Sailer, who, on an e-list we both belong to, was asked the other day to give his opinion about gay marriage. Steve was phlegmatic on the issue...
    “On the other hand, there's a process of gay ghettoization that goes on when straight men recognize that some institution is disproportionately attractive to male homosexuals. Broadway, for example, has gone from a popular national institution to a a largely gay ghetto in recent decades. It's hard to get a serious discussion going of this since nobody wants to be accused of being homophobic, but I see it everywhere. I don't think marriages will be popular enough among gays to start this process, but I worry that weddings will be. It wouldn't take much to get the average young man to turn even more against participating in an arduous process that seems alien and hostile to him already. If some of the most enthusiastic participants become gays, then his aversion will grow even more.”


    Article by John Derbyshire
    National Review Online
    July 29th, 2003

    Straight Flight

    “[T]hey do what Americans have always done when faced with disapproval, anxiety, and potential conflict. They move away.” — David Brooks

    A thin congregation at my church (smells’n’bells Episcopalian) last Sunday. This is normal for a hot, muggy day in mid-July. People are away, or off to the beach, or reluctant to leave their central air conditioning. The advantage of it is that you get a good look at the hard core of Anglo-Catholic worshippers. What do they look like? Old, unfortunately — but that should be discounted, as older people are less likely to be off on family vacations, or to be addicted to air conditioning, than the rest of us. How about the remainder, the non-old Episcopalian cadre? Well, they come in all sorts, but one prominent element consists of plump, crop-haired women traveling in pairs, wearing frumpy clothes and truculent expressions. On their way to the golf course, perhaps.

    Meditating on this during a too-long and not very inspired sermon (look, I write for a living; I spend my whole day reading and writing; you need to compose some sermon to hold my attention), and on something a friend had said a day or two before, and on the future of my church, I developed a long train of thought that ended up with the expression I have used as a title for this piece. Let me see if I can reconstruct that train of thought.

    * * * * *

    The topic here is homosexuality. In the USA today, heterosexual public opinion on this topic is spread out across a spectrum, with “total acceptance” at one end of the spectrum, “total rejection” at the other. The spectrum can be divided into three fairly distinct bands: acceptors, tolerators, and rejectors. Characteristic responses from the three groups, if you raise the topic with them, sound like this.

  • Acceptors. “What’s the fuss about? It’s their private thing. It doesn’t concern anyone else. Sure, of course they should have full civil rights. Anti-discrimination laws in hiring and accommodation? Certainly. Discrimination is wrong. I work with gay people, and have no problems. Let a room in my house to a gay person? Yes, I would. Gay marriage? Why not? Why should they be denied what the rest of us have, on account of something they can’t help? They’re just a harmless minority. Against nature? Wearing clothes is against nature. Against religion? This is not a theocracy. Anti-social? Wouldn’t marriage be a great way to socialize them?”
  • Tolerators. “I have to admit, I’m not crazy about homosexuality. No, I’m not totally at ease with gay co-workers, though I don’t favor workplace discrimination. I wouldn’t let a room in my house to one, unless it was someone I already knew well, a quiet and sober kind of person. Still, they’re entitled to live their lives in their own way, same as the rest of us. I wouldn’t interfere with them, if they don’t interfere with me. I certainly wouldn’t criminalize their activities. Gay marriage? I don’t know. Seems kind of strange. But then, people complain about gay promiscuity. Maybe marriage would reduce that.”
  • Rejectors. “It repels me. It’s against nature, against religion, and against all the social norms of millennia. Can’t help themselves? That’s denying free will. Any criminal, any drunk, any drug addict could make the same plea. ‘The Devil made me do it.’ Harmless? Who was it that let AIDS loose in our society? Their activities spread disease — how is that ‘harmless’? And you can’t tell me they don’t try to ‘turn’ youngsters. It’s common sense that some of us will be heterosexual whatever anyone does, and some of us will be homosexual likewise, but there must be some borderline cases that can be ‘turned’.”

  • Now, any division of a continuous spectrum is to some degree arbitrary, and there are shades of opinion in each of those three groups. Even among the acceptors, I suspect there are very few who could truthfully say that they wouldn’t mind at all if a child of their own turned out homosexual. Similarly, even among the rejectors, only a tiny minority would advocate the forcible incarceration of homosexuals in mental asylums — a widespread practice in many countries 50 years ago, and in some (China, for example) still today.

    I think the US heterosexual population at present breaks down very roughly as 25-50-25, acceptors-tolerators-rejectors. Given the characteristic attitudes I have sketched above, and the infinite determination of modern Americans not to be thought unkind, that means Ramesh Ponnuru may well be right — that gay marriage is in our future.

    It means another thing, too, though. America has been here before — here, I mean, with an accept-tolerate-reject spectrum of opinion, on a very different topic. Now, the analogy between black people and homosexuals is one that I myself generally resist. It is my impression that most black Americans resist it even more strongly than I do. (In fact, I should very much like to see some “gay rights” spokesman expound on that analogy to a roomful of working-class black Americans.) Historically, socially, and biologically, the analogy leaks like a sieve. However, there is not quite nothing there. There is at least this much: human beings prefer to be among others like themselves. You may think this speaks badly of human nature, and you may be right, but I don’t see how you can deny the plain fact that most people, given a choice, prefer not to be among those they perceive as radically different from themselves. That is the human basis for the right of “freedom of association.”

    Radically different how? By looking different? I don’t think that’s really a big part of it, though that is how the issue is always propagandized by liberals, as part of their endless campaign to make normal human preferences seem stupid or cruel. My children, at their public schools, are endlessly indoctrinated with the need for tolerance towards “people who look different from ourselves.” In fact, hostility based on differences in appearance is rather shallow, and easily overcome. I myself once lived for several months in a town where I was the only white person. When at last another one showed up, I was struck by how odd he looked, and was a little wary of him for a while...

    The phenomenon I am working my way towards here, and which inspired my title, is the “white flight” from America’s cities that occurred during the third quarter of the 20th century, as poor southern rural blacks moved off the land. Why did those white people take flight? Because the sight of dark skin was intolerable to them? I don’t think so. I have actually met quite a lot of the white fliers. Probably you have, too. What they were flying from, they will all tell you on being asked, was not blackness, but misbehavior. (As Thomas Sowell notes in his classic book Ethnic America, long-established urban black elites were fleeing too, with the same alacrity, and in proportionate numbers, and from the same motive.) For all kinds of historical and cultural reasons, a lot of those rural southern blacks had, or quickly developed, low standards of behavior. They acted up in school, they fell easily into drink and drug habits, they committed lots of crime and had babies out of wedlock.

    How is this relevant? American homosexuals, with minor and ignorable exceptions, don’t characteristically misbehave in those particular ways, do they? No, they don’t (in the last way, in fact, can’t). There is, however, a strong feeling, all the way up the heterosexual opinion spectrum from rejectors, through tolerators, and I think even some way into acceptors, that homosexuals are radically different from the rest of us — behaviorally different.

    This is something that, in my experience, it is very difficult to get across to homosexuals. They are, as the psychobabble cant phrase has it, “in denial” about this — about “homophobia.” Ernest Hemingway is supposed to have said that rich people are exactly the same as all the rest of us, except for having more money. Homosexuals, the ones I have spoken with (all right, it’s a small sample) similarly believe that they are just like all the rest of us, except for this thing about finding members of their own sex erotically attractive. Lots of heterosexuals, most of us probably, disagree, and to that extent are “homophobes.” I am a “homophobe” myself, and I know all sorts of people who are likewise. We are not stump-toothed hill-billies, but respectable middle-class people with good educations, who would not harm a fly, nor deny civil rights to anyone — “tolerators,” in the scheme I laid out above — but who just don’t like homosexuality.

    Homosexuals, in fact, as well as being in denial about this, are in a philosophical contradiction about it. Homosexual spokespeople nowadays lean heavily on the argument that “we can’t help it, we’re born that way.” My guess, based on the evidence I have seen, is that in most cases this is true, so far as inclination is concerned. (Actual deeds are, of course, subject to our free wills.) But what if the same is true of “homophobia”? The evidence from history and anthropology is that “homophobia” is so widespread and deep-rooted, it might very well be one of those universal features of human nature listed in the back of Steven Pinker’s book The Blank Slate. I don’t know whether this is so, but I can’t see any strong reason to think it is impossible. Indeed, from the point of view of evolutionary biology, “homophobia” makes a great deal more sense than homosexuality!

    Enter Steve Sailer, who, on an e-list we both belong to, was asked the other day to give his opinion about gay marriage. Steve was phlegmatic on the issue. On the basis of the Netherlands’ experience, he thought the numbers would be small, and so would have little impact on society at large. Then he said the following thing, which I quote here with Steve’s permission.

    “On the other hand, there's a process of gay ghettoization that goes on when straight men recognize that some institution is disproportionately attractive to male homosexuals. Broadway, for example, has gone from a popular national institution to a a largely gay ghetto in recent decades. It's hard to get a serious discussion going of this since nobody wants to be accused of being homophobic, but I see it everywhere. I don't think marriages will be popular enough among gays to start this process, but I worry that weddings will be. It wouldn't take much to get the average young man to turn even more against participating in an arduous process that seems alien and hostile to him already. If some of the most enthusiastic participants become gays, then his aversion will grow even more.”

    I believe it is that “ghettoization” that worries a lot of people, especially Catholics (of both Roman and Anglo varieties), and not only in respect of weddings. Homosexuals, as I have noted before, to much scorn and some abuse, have a track record in several spheres of clannishly discriminating in favor of, well, people like themselves. Some of the most famous things ever said by homosexuals about homosexuality testify to this inclination. Christopher Isherwood, for example, speaking of his deep-rooted loyalty to “my kind,” or E.M. Forster’s appalling remark that: “If I had to choose between betraying my country and betraying my friend, I hope I should have the guts to betray my country.” It is possible, of course, that this clannishness is, or was, a defensive reaction to the marginalization of homosexuals in past times. Possible; but I don’t think I’m willing to bet my church on it. And, as Steve notes, even in an environment like the theater, where it has been some decades since anyone was marginalized for his sexual preference, the ghettoization proceeds anyway, increasingly, in the latter phases, by heterosexuals opting out of the scene — by “straight flight.”

    Deplorable as it may be, we do not want to find ourselves among people who, we believe, differ radically from ourselves in their behavior. Not among lots of such people, anyway. One or two is no problem — is, to the contrary, welcome to us as evidence of our own tolerance and open-mindedness. It is not the first arrival in our street that causes the FOR SALE signs to start sprouting, nor even the second nor the third. There is, as Sandra Day O’Connor would say, a critical mass.

    That’s what “white flight” was all about. That’s what today’s residential segregation is all about. It doesn’t mean that the fliers “hate” anyone, or want to “bash” anyone, or wish to deny any civil right to anyone. Some of them, some small subgroup of the rejectors, do “hate,” want to “bash,” or wish to deny, but most of us don’t. I myself certainly don’t, and I bitterly resent people who suggest otherwise.

    If, however, some institution to which we belong is colonized by those who are, in some way that seems important to us, different — well, we won’t necessarily fight, or “hate,” or “bash.” We will just quietly sell up and leave, in order to be among people we feel more comfortable with, and the institution will then be something different from what it was. It will belong to them, not to us.




     Derby, baseball & sexism:
    The Derb teaches a five-year old boy how important it is to be a REAL man
    lest you be called a "woman" ( the worst thing you could be - - - )

    "Are we Yankees or Mets?" enquired five-year-old Ollie as I settled down in my armchair for Game Two. "Yankees!" we all yelled. "Why?" he wanted to know. I took him on one side and patiently gave him the necessary facts. We are Yankees because the Mets are women. They hang out at those places where coffee costs three dollars a cup and has names, and they stick out their pinkies when holding the cup. They say "Oh, shoot!" when they have to go back in the house for their car keys. They laugh at Friends and cry at Robin Williams movies. They vote Democrat. They are women. Ollie looked a bit puzzled, but I think he got the main point. It is so important to set them on the right path while they're young.- - - "



    This page is part of Lynn Conway's
    "Investigative report into the publication of
    J. Michael Bailey's book on transsexualism
    by the National Academies"