Da, Comrade Derbyshire is a traitor to the Party! Let us begin the trial! Or so argue the Yoohoo-swilling, cheeto-stuffing commissariat nerds at the Corner, 'neath the giant poster of benevolent Comrade Irving Kristol of the Conserva-culture Counter-revolution.
Some background here. John Derbyshire, while a self-admitted racist and such an over-the-top homophobe that he invites speculation on his own relationship to closets, has called a spade a spade with regard to the Kristolmethodist embrace of Intelligent Design. No matter his aforementioned rightwing credentials, this will not do.
Now let's go to the commissar prosecutors. First is Steven Hayward, who gets right to the ideological point, the unforgivable crime that Derbyshire has commited:
I find it odd that Derb embraces the same critique that the Left makes against Straussians.
Tut tut, Derb. Giving ammo to the enemy and using the enemy's ammo! Anyway, since this is a show trial, Hayward's obliged to obfuscate, even if he has to admit in passing that Cliff May is an idiot:
A political philosopher in a decent regime would want to be careful not to undermine that regime's decency through popular criticism of a regime's weaknesses, in which case a worse regime will almost always follow.
Is it not just, comrades? Is this not the epitome of conservatism? Who could deny its utility or truth then? Who but a traitor indeed!
Realising that more is needed, but that he doesn't have the firepower for a Chafetz-like Strauss (dissembling, disingenuous) defense, he leans on the old, and admittedly true, adage that it's impossible to disprove the existence of God. Da? Then only a fool of a philosopher would condemn religion knowing that there's a chance it may be true!
Of course this is irrelevant. But then Hayward's real task is to defend/deny the Straussian belief that it serves the (conservative's utopian) state's interest to give the people their opium. Derbyshire saw that this is exactly what the Kristolmethodists are doing via endorsing ID, and rightly called the endorsement cynical and vile. Hayward's point is to first defend the dogma against apostacy. The apostate will be dealt with soon enough...
Ramesh Ponnuru says that Derbyshire is mean, ungentlemanly and of course wrong.
Derbyshire shows some strength. Says that Gertrude Himmelfarb shouldn't be allowed to use "the word 'Darwinism' in a sentence."
Comrade Iain Murray next smoothly suggests that science not be abused. What?!?! But before he can be lined up against the wall, he makes everything all right again by quoting a Simpson's reference from Comrade Goldberg's little red book.
The accused then takes the opportunity to reiterate his critique of Comrade Kristol, yet he also structures a way out. Uh-oh, are we to see a Koestlerian confession? Or, maybe not.
Ponnuru ups the ante, accuses Derbyshire of slander. Which is funny on so many levels: a day without some casually tossed libel being posted on the Corner is a rare day indeed. And I mean really libel. Not "tells the truth about", which is what Ponnuru condemns Derbyshire for. Sure enough, slander/libel of the day is puked up by Comrade K-Lo.
Comrade Wesley Smith loses all patience with Derbyshire: Look, Derb, do as Comrade Irving says, not what he actually believes in. Some animals are more equal than others, dammit! For the elite Commissars like Comrade Kristol, some things may be appropriate that are not, on the other hand, appropriate for
It makes for great theater, that last one. One imagines cheers from the Corner crowd, accompanied by the emetic strains of the Party's band -- no doubt Toby Keith and company playing behind chickenwire.
Ahh, but next is wise old Comrade Teachout, whose skill at velvety dissent is too subtle for the Prosecutors to catch (hence, his continuing good graces with the party, an oddity for one who can, as it were, remember the days of Snowball, the days before Boxer was sent to the glue factory). Teachout essentially confirms Derbyshire's beef with Kristol, yet delivers it via a quote from the beyond-reproach David Frum! Told ya he was subtle.
Whatever relief Derbyshire must have felt after Comrade Teachout's comments was shortlived, however. The Prosecutors roll out their big guns: Charles Murray, a more dedicated racist than Derbyshire (or even Comrade Goldberg!), is presented. He promptly chastises Derbyshire, extolls the bounteous virtues of Comrade Himmelfarb, and decides that a certain Comrade Derbyshire is, yes, uncivilised.
The Accused, annihilated and blindsided by his mentor, is crushed. Still, still, he is belligerent! He stands up to Comrade Ponnuru with force, but allows that Comrade Smith may have a point. The strain of the trial is showing. He's going to crack...
Promptly forgetting what he'd said a few minutes prior, Comrade Ponnuru gratuitously slanders Derbyshire, and snarkily, too!
Enough, Comrade Goldberg decides. It's time to link Derbyshire with exiled Comrade Sullivan. Plainly, Comrade Goldberg is persuing the death sentence. Then he embellishes: what's wrong with Comrade Kristol's cynicism? And how dare the apostates Sullivan and Derbyshire argue that Kristol's cynicism is a power play! The audacity!
Defeated, Comrade Derbyshire confesses his ideological crime in a very roundabout way. Thank God they didn't have to bring out the rubber hoses and rats in cages.
This is enough, apparently, for most of the Prosecution. Derbyshire is destined for the gulag, which in this case means janitorial duties cleaning out the crumbs in K-lo's cubicle, and hosing out the blow-up dolls in Comrade Goldberg's. In other words, he'll be joining losers like Macubin Owens and Jack Fowler. A fate worse than death, for sure.
Well, I said good enough for most. Comrade Podhoretz, who overslept (or, perhaps, had an extralong appointment at the Party's shoulder-waxing service), suddenly appears and decides that he wants a more definite confession. Comrades Kristol and Himmelfarb are perfect Conservative Beings, and he wants Derbyshire to acknowledge what is no doubt the dialectical historical Truth. Derbyshire is sent to the firing squad.
Comrade Goldberg closes things out with a little irony, something that he's not usually all that skilled with:
SOMETHING TO PONDER [Jonah Goldberg]
Is the difference between questioning beliefs very different -- and if so how? -- than questioning motives?
Posted at 07:58 PM
Translation, ignoring the socratic form of the statement: Derbyshire's the real Stalinist! Not his Prosecutors! Hahahaha.
(Via Roy, who I hope enjoys this little dramatization.)
Update, 7-10-07: linkrot has set in. To see what I'm talking about, go to the Cornhole's archives of December, 2005 and read the entries for the 4th and 5th days.