John Derbyshire Takes A Brave Stand Against Women’s Suffrage

Filed in National by on October 1, 2009

National Review’s John Derbyshire has a book coming out soon called We Are Doomed: Reclaiming Conservative Pessimism. In the book Derbyshire makes an argument for repealing women’s voting rights in a section called “The Case Against Female Suffrage.” Derbyshire was interviewed by Alan Colmes and Colmes pressed him about this section of the book:

DERBYSHIRE: Among the hopes that I do not realistically nurse is the hope that female suffrage will be repealed. But I’ll say this – if it were to be, I wouldn’t lose a minute’s sleep.

COLMES: We’d be a better country if women didn’t vote?

DERBYSHIRE: Probably. Don’t you think so?

COLMES: No, I do not think so whatsoever.

DERBYSHIRE: Come on Alan. Come clean here [laughing].

COLMES: We would be a better country? John Derbyshire making the statement, we would be a better country if women did not vote.

DERBYSHIRE: Yeah, probably.

Derbyshire reasoned that we “got along like that for 130 years.” Colmes countered by asking if he also wants to bring back slavery. No, Derbyshire responded, “I’m in favor of freedom personally.” Colmes noted that freedom didn’t extend to women’s right to vote, however. Derbyshire said, “Well, they didn’t and we got along ok.” […]

Later in the interview, Derbyshire said there’s also a case to be made for repealing the 1964 Civil Rights Act because you “shouldn’t try to force people to be good.”

His main argument appears to be that women vote the wrong way. I guess women need to be protected from their own bad decisions, huh John? This isn’t the first time that John Derbyshire has stuck his foot in his mouth. Derbyshire is famous for expressing his disgust at Jennifer Aniston’s breasts (and the breasts of any woman over the age of 20). (The post is from 2005.)

Jennifer’s bristols. Did I buy, or browse, a copy of the November 17 GQ, in order to get a look at Jennifer Aniston’s bristols?** No, I didn’t. While I have no doubt that Ms. Aniston is a paragon of charm, wit, and intelligence, she is also 36 years old. Even with the strenuous body-hardening exercise routines now compulsory for movie stars, at age 36 the forces of nature have won out over the view-worthiness of the unsupported female bust.

It is, in fact, a sad truth about human life that beyond our salad days, very few of us are interesting to look at in the buff. Added to that sadness is the very unfair truth that a woman’s salad days are shorter than a man’s — really, in this precise context, only from about 15 to 20. The Nautilus and the treadmill can add a half decade or so, but by 36 the bloom is definitely off the rose. Very few of us, however, can face up to this fact honestly, and I am sure this diary item will generate more angry e-mails of protest than everything else I have written this month.

Even more infamous is Derbyshire’s defense of his Aniston column that a woman’s attractiveness is best judged by the age she is most likely to be raped:

Some of the most vituperative emails I have ever got came in after I made an offhand remark, in one of my monthly NRO diaries, to the effect that very few of us are physically appealing after our salad days, which in the case of women I pegged at ages 15-20. While the storm was raging, biologist Razib Khan over at Gene Expression (forget philosophers, theologians, and even novelists: the only people with interesting things to say about human nature nowadays are the scientists) decided to look up some actual numbers. Reasoning that a rapist is inspired to his passion mainly by the physical attractiveness of his victim, Razib went for rape statistics.

He found a 1992 report (Rape in America: A Report to the Nation) from the National Victim Center showing the age distribution of female rape victims. Sixty percent of the women who reported having been raped were aged 17 or less, divided about equally between women aged 11 to 17 (32 percent) and those under eleven (29 percent). Only six percent were older than 29. When a woman gets past her mid twenties, in fact, her probability of being raped drops off like a continental shelf. If you histogram the figures, you get a peak around ages 12-14… which is precisely the age Lolita was at the time of her affair with Humbert Humbert. As Razib noted, my own “15-20” estimate was slightly off. An upper limit of 24 would be more reasonable. The lower limit really doesn’t bear thinking about.

I think I’ll just quote Amanda Marcotte here:

That makes perfect sense if you assume that most men’s reaction to finding a woman attractive is to seek out a chance to violently assault her.

Using that logic, males are most ravishing under the age of 18, since 71% of rapes of males occur with victims under the age of 18. Others might say that these ages correspond with ages they are most vulnerable, but I’m not a highly paid conservative pundit.

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  1. A. price says:

    wow, it’s like the guy is actively trying to never EVER “know a womyn’s touch” ever again. I can’t ever wrap my mind around these guys who fall JUST short of defending rape. Bill-O has done it too.. blaming the victim for “being hot”.
    Conservatives are all about personal responsibility unless a cute girl forced her rapist to rape her by not wearing a burka.

  2. Derbyshire is married and has one young daughter. I wonder how she feels about her father being comfortable taking away her right to vote. Derbyshire may be more bold than other people by outright advocating for the repeal of the 19th amendment but his rape apologism is depressingly familiar. I guess it’s been on my mind since reading all the disgusting apologism for Roman Polanski.

    I do feel really sorry for Derbyshire’s wife since he’s admitting that he finds women over 20 not very attractive.

  3. Rebecca says:

    Cha Ching. Clearly this guy is making a lot of money by saying totally outrageous stuff. As with any conservative pundit, all you have to do is look for the money, it drives everything they say.


  4. Rebecca I figure that conservative rhetoric has gotten so crazy these days that it’s hard to get attention unless you say something really outrageous.

  5. liberalgeek says:

    It is also useful to note that sex with a girl younger than 17 in many states is, by definition, statutory rape. Sex with a woman over 18 is generally considered “sex” if both parties are willing.

    But nevermind that, Derbyshire is a buffoon and an ass.

  6. Von Cracker says:

    lol – i’m a little sick from traveling, so when I read this I hacked with laughter so hard, i got a whippet buzz! thanks conservative!

    nothing sells better to these fools than simple 19th century thinking!

  7. Von Cracker says:

    what’s next, how krazy glue is a much more effective tool than a chastity belt to assure female abstinence?

  8. Progressive Mom says:

    As long as he is no where near me, my children, my under-age nieces, or a teaching career, he’s just another right-wing FlufferNutter to me.

  9. JustTheFacts says:

    Ugh. Disgusting.

  10. john thames says:

    Does anyone remember Alcohol Prohibition, that monstrous female insanity? And where were women at Vallet Forge and Yorktowm, earning their right to vote?