John Derbyshire is my favorite atheist. While he may incur the ire of fellow conservatives for his horizontal world view and the limitations thereof, he is usually quite insightful as well as very funny. He functions as the unofficial Puddleglum of National Review, but he nonetheless expresses the most honest worldly common sense of any public commentators around. In addition to writing for National Review, the American Conservative, and other publications, Derbyshire has produced a radio webcast for some time, Radio Derb, which is endlessly entertaining. His sign-off for the miserable year of A.D. 2008 was typically charming—you may listen to it here. I especially appreciate his commentary on Gaza. Consider his handling of Obama’s Inaugural “Poetess” Elizabeth Alexander on the previous broadcast:
And—oh no!—we’re going to get a poem from Elizabeth Alexander, who is to Maya Angelou as Ms. Angelou is to Elizabeth Barrett Browning. As a poetry lover, I’m going to need to know exactly where in the program this lady shows up, so I can hit the mute button on my remote. I can tell you what her poem will be like anyway. It won’t rhyme, scan, or make much sense, and it will contain lots of keening about oppression and injustice along with gassy stuff about striving and uplifting and the soulful wisdom of Apaches. She’s that kind of poet.
Few voices in the public sphere are as honest as Derbyshire . . . folks who have the courage to disrespect the disreputable.