JOHN DERBYSHIRE: Michael Anton’s Right Of Revolution vs. Rich Lowry’s Shot In The Back
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The lady representing the ”Spirit of Liberty” above is from Eugene Delacroix’s famous picture of France’s July Revolution of 1830, not the much worse 1789 French Revolution. A similarly attired lady can be seen on the State Seal of Virginia.

[Adapted from the latest Radio Derb, now available exclusively on]

Michael Anton is a former Trump Deputy National Security Advisor and an occasional acquaintance of mine. He it was that wrote the famous ”Flight 93 Election” essay in the Claremont Review of Books before the 2016 election, urging readers to vote for Donald Trump. Given the prominence that article attained right before the election, and the narrowness of the vote margins, it is entirely possible that Michael gave us the Trump Presidency.

Michael just fired off another broadside ”What Does Fidelity to Our Founding Principles Require Today?” [American Greatness, September 26, 2022].

This essay is in the grand tradition of mocking Establishment conservatives like Britain’s Tories and our own GOP for their meekness and ineffectuality in the face of leftist advances.

But Michael also builds up a case for a thoughtful, carefully qualified Right Of Revolution—which is actually   specified in the famous second paragraph of the Declaration Of Independence. He says:

I maintain it as axiomatic that you can’t have Natural Rights without a Right Of Revolution, just as you can’t have the Founding without an actual revolution, and since you can’t have the regime of the Founders without Natural Rights, you can’t have the Founding principles or the Founders’ regime without a Right Of Revolution. Each piece is integral to the machine. Remove one, and the whole thing collapses in self-contradiction.

Read the piece for yourself—please: It’s an important contribution to our national conversation.

The final paragraph left me smiling. Here Michael is speaking about Establishment conservatives:

To be fair, the conservatives can muster strength when they see a real threat to their position. You can be sure that, if you so much as glance in the direction of wondering if the Right of Revolution exists—even in theory—there a conservative will be, armed and ready…to shoot you in the back.

On that theme: if you had been in my kitchen Tuesday morning watching me scarf down my breakfast oatmeal alongside that morning’s New York Post, you would have seen a weary little smile cross my face as I was perusing an Op-Ed headlined  Dems’ pathetic ‘it’s racist!’ defense on crime, September 26, 2022.

This Op-Ed was about crime. In the propaganda battle leading up to the November midterms, the Republican Party is attacking the Democratic Party as Soft On Crime. The Democrats and the Main Stream Media—yes, I repeated myself there—are complaining that those attacks are Racist.

The writer of this Op-Ed is arguing that Republican anti-crime propaganda is not racist, just legitimate policy criticism.

That’s a fair thing to argue. Given that the average Establishment-GOP operative would rather pluck out his own eyeballs with salad tongs than be called a racist, it’s very likely true.

But the opinionator here is actually Rich Lowry [Tweet him], editor of National Review and my former boss there.

Rich is a decent guy so far as personal character is concerned; but he is Establishment-GOP down to his boot-heels, and keeps a set of salad tongs close to hand.

What caused me to smile was Rich’s desperate Race Denialism:

Crime isn’t a racial issue; it’s about affording all Americans, and especially vulnerable communities, the protection they deserve from lawlessness. Obviously, violent crime is not a blight on the lives of white upper middle-class people.

 ”Vulnerable communities.” Which communities are those?

From the subsequent sentence it would seem to be communities that are not ”white upper middle-class.” Hoo-kay: How about communities that are white working-class or white lower-middle-class? I guess they suffer some crime; but the perps I see in videos of street criminality almost never look like white working- or lower-middle-class types.

And when white working- or lower-middle-class communities do suffer serious crime, who are the criminals?

The Mayfair district of northeast Philadelphia is only 19 percent black, with 43 percent white, 22 percent Hispanic. Doesn’t sound like ”white upper middle-class,” but still pretty white, definitely not ghetto.

Why do I mention Mayfair? Because there was a nasty little episode of mob crime there last Saturday evening. A crowd of around a hundred young people, some thought to be only ten years old, swarmed and ransacked a Wawa convenience store in Mayfair [Video: About 100 juveniles ransack Wawa in Philadelphia’s Mayfair section, CBS, September 25, 2022].

There’s plenty of video footage of the event. On a basis of perfect equity, 43 percent of the looters should be white, because that’s the proportion of whites in Mayfair. Is that what the video shows?

See for yourself below.

But ”crime isn’t a racial issue”—and don’t you dare say otherwise.

In his next paragraph Rich tells us that

In Milwaukee, according to the tracker of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, 87 percent of the victims of homicide this year have been black or Hispanic.

Then Rich takes us to, yes, Philadelphia, to tell us that 92 percent of that city’s 1,750 shooting victims this year have been black or Hispanic.

But ”Crime isn’t a racial issue.” Absolutely not! No way! Shut up, racist!

Sorry, Rich, but crime is a racial issue. Black Americans are present in the crime statistics at big multiples of their proportion in our population; and that fact is driving a lot of public policy.

The policies of de-institutionalization and ”bail reform,” for example—the policies that are letting known violent criminals walk away free from their court appearances. The sacralization of blacks makes it intolerable to Progressives that blacks are over-represented in statistics on prison inmates. Solution: Stop sending black criminals to jail!

What the heck, crime is just a social construct anyway.

That is actually how our Progressive elites think. They have taken the logic so far that, as I opined back in January when commenting on the Ahmaud Arbery case in Georgia, we now have four different systems of criminal justice:

  1. White-on-black crime = Mob justice just short of lynching, but with the optics of a fair trial.
  2. White-on-white crime = standard American jurisprudence.
  3. Black-on-white crime = Standard American jurisprudence, but with reduced severity given that the Root Cause is Systemic Racism, not any depravity on the part of the defendant; and in any case whites have it coming because of slavery and Jim Crow blah blah.
  4. Black on black crime = Discouraged, but not investigated or prosecuted too vigorously except in the most egregious of cases. Nobody much cares what blacks do to each other; and there’s no money to be made from these crimes by Al Sharpton or Benjamin Crump.

Crime IS a racial issue. The pretense that it’s not is distorting our jurisprudence and making our big cities uninhabitable.

Instead of jailing fewer black criminals in pursuit of ”equity,” we should be jailing more in pursuit of safe streets and equal justice under the law.

If Establishment Republicans are afraid to say that—to say that we should be sending more blacks to jail—they deserve all the scorn Michael Anton heaps on them.

And yes: when you’re around those Establishment Republicans, watch your back.

John Derbyshire [email him] writes an incredible amount on all sorts of subjects for all kinds of outlets. (This no longer includes National Review, whose editors had some kind of tantrum and fired him.) He is the author of We Are Doomed: Reclaiming Conservative Pessimism and several other books. He has had two books published by com: FROM THE DISSIDENT RIGHT (also available in Kindle) and FROM THE DISSIDENT RIGHT II: ESSAYS 2013.

For years he’s been podcasting at Radio Derb, now available at for no charge. His writings are archived at

Readers who wish to donate (tax deductible) funds specifically earmarked for John Derbyshire’s writings at can do so here.



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