Taking a stand against suffrage

TAKING A STAND AGAINST SUFFRAGE…. I tend not to expect much from National Review‘s John Derbyshire. The conservative writer/columnist more or less jumped the shark when he expressed contempt for the victims of the Virginia Tech shooting massacre. (As he saw it, those who feared for their lives should have tried to physically confront the armed madman.)

But it seems Derbyshire continues to push the boundaries of good taste. His new book apparently includes a section against women’s suffrage, and Alan Colmes explored the matter on his radio show this morning.

The National Review writer initially said “women lean hard to the left,” which isn’t necessarily true, and certainly isn’t a rationale for denying women the right to participate in democracy. So, Colmes pressed further. Faiz Shakir posted a transcript:

DERBYSHIRE: Among the hopes that I do not realistically nurse is the hope that female suffrage will be repealed.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.

He added that the United States “got along like that for 130 years,” and added that the Civil Rights Act may also lack value because you “shouldn’t try to force people to be good.”

Just so we’re clear, a leading conservative writer at one of the premier conservative political outlets, argued publicly against a woman’s right to vote and against the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

It’s extraordinary. Generally, conservative media figures try to maintain the pretense of sanity in public. I’m afraid that’s no longer the case.

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Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.