Yesterday I looked back at an old post, “Dissident Write.” That piece detailed five of my favorite political writers. Their work is engaging, insightful (occasionally inciteful), and memorable.
Staying power is difficult to achieve in the written word—think of all the famous authors’ books you’ve never heard of—especially when writing about the inherently transient and shifting topic of politics; it’s a testament to those writers’ skill that they achieve it.
With Memorial Day coming up—and summer break hot on its heels—it seemed like a good time to get around—finally!—to another list of excellent writers. These scribes of Western Civilization’s twilight years possess the intellectual chops and mirthful fun that draw me to them.
Of course, if you like my writing, you can support it over at SubscribeStar.
All shameless plugs aside, here are five more must-read writers (with the usual disclaimer—I do not endorse or believe in everything these or any other writers believe, including other sources to which I link; I’m just intellectually curious and read expansively):
- Conrad Black – As I was writing today’s post (on Wednesday) night, I searched for Lord Conrad Black and discovered President Trump issued him a full pardon for his egregious 2011 conviction on wire fraud and obstruction of justice charges. Sheer serendipity. Lord Black’s writing is robust and sophisticated, like an Arby’s Beefwich with class (a metaphor he would never stoop to employ). Read his essay on his conviction and pardon—his barely-concealed rage at the rank injustice he suffered at the hands of grandstanding prosecutors and judges never breaks the surface of his polished, exact prose.
Lord Black remains one of the few National Review contributors I will read. I’m a conservative firebrand, but I appreciate that Lord Black is conservative in an older, loftier, more sanguine sense, a la William F. Buckley, Jr. He’s a fan of FDR and Nixon (I am of the latter, but not the former), and has written books about both of them, as well as one about President Trump. He’s an historian in the mold of the British nobility—a skilled researcher with the funds and time to dig deeply into the archives. I highly recommend any of his articles, and I hope to read his massive books soon.
- Dalrock – Dalrock is the pseudonym of an anonymous Texan, a father of two children and devoted husband. Dalrock is also a traditional Christian, which makes him somewhat unusual as a fixture of the “manosphere,” the universe of writers and modern-day Sophists dedicated to promoting neo-masculinity and Western civilization.
Dalrock is a bit out of place here because many of those writers—like the recently deplatformed Roissy of Chateau Heartiste—are pick-up artists (PUAs). One day I’ll have to write an intellectual history of that movement, as it’s a fascinating, often disturbing glimpse into a world that went from giving nervous soyboys tips on how to pick up chicks into a movement that came to reject the sexual nihilism of our age.
But I digress. Dalrock is a true traditionalist in the biblical sense: he actually believes and applies the Word of God. He also goes hard after other Christians who try to smooth over the very clear teachings of the Bible on issues like homosexuality, marriage, and feminism. He particularly harps on the heresy of chivalry, a gynocentric cult that wormed its way into Christianity, distorting our faith in inexorable ways (Dalrock rests this argument on no less a scholar than C.S. Lewis).
Dalrock is probably the best writer to synthesize the social scientific works influential to the red-pilled mansophere with traditional Christian doctrine, and probably presaged the so-called “God Pill” awakening of key figures in that movement.
- John Derbyshire – John Derbyshire now writes for immigration patriot website VDare.com, and releases a great podcast every Friday night/Saturday morning. Derb immigrated to the United States from Great Britain in the 1970s; he married one of his Chinese students while teaching there; and he writes about math. He’s also a cancer survivor. Clearly, this guy has some interesting stuff to say.
National Review fired a cancerous Derb because of a piece he wrote for Taki’s Magazine back in 2012 entitled “The Talk: Nonblack Version.” You’ll recall that during that unhappy period there constantly seemed to be incidences of police officers killing young black men. Most of those incidents were justified—as would always come out after weeks of rioting and white progressive virtue-signalling—but some weren’t. The mainstream media began featuring stories about black parents giving their kids “The Talk”—how to behave around the police so, presumably, they wouldn’t get shot simply for being black.
Derb’s controversial piece—still listed first under “Greatest Hits” on Taki’s Magazine—included advice to his half-Asian, half-Caucasian children on how to deal with black Americans they encounter in their lives (treat everyone with respect and as individuals, but keep your head on a swivel, essentially).
Personally, I don’t think it’s Derb’s best work, but it didn’t warrant his firing. NR grew excessively cautious and squeamish, so they let Derb go. He beat his cancer, and continues to write at VDare.com. His writing is also collected at his personal website, and he meticulously releases transcripts of his podcasts and a monthly diary of miscellany. Derb’s mind is fecund and curious, so his writing is always lively and far-ranging.
- Steve Sailer – Regular readers know that I often reference Steve Sailer’s work, especially his book reviews. From border walls to education to surfing, Sailer writes and thinks creatively across a broad range of topics. I’m a sucker for the polymathic Renaissance Man, a mold that Sailer shares with Lord Black and John Derbyshire.
Sailer is a demographer and statistician, and his work on human biodiversity asks tough questions about life in a multiracial, multicultural society. Sailer and Derb are a bit heavy on the race realism stuff, but Sailer’s deep statistical analyses of biology’s impact on human social development are fascinating (consider: he has an entire essay on evolution and golf courses).
Whether you agree with Sailer’s conclusions, he’s an erudite, far-ranging writer. I always learn something new and intriguing when reading Sailer’s pieces.
- Taki Theodoracopulos – The “Taki” of Taki’s Magazine, Taki (I’ll refrain from calling him “Theodoracopulos,” because it’s a pain to type, and because no one who works for him calls him that) is, from what I can tell, a super-wealthy journalist who spends his free time attending parties with the Royal Family and skiing in Gstaad, as well as mastering judo. He also really, really hates Arabs.
Taki’s writing is sometimes a bit self-indulgent, even for me. But when you’ve got millions in the bank, you can afford to write free-flowing, semi-autobiographical essays about your karate lessons and attempted womanizing.
Taki hearkens back to a vanishing breed of unapologetic nobility. He wistfully yearns for the old New York, for when men wore suits on planes and women were feminine and winsome. His writing his mirthful and wry, but also contains a hint of melancholic nostalgia for a better, vanished time.
So, there you have it. Some more of my favorite writers on the Dissident Right (some, naturally, are more dissident than others). As I wrote immediately before the list, I don’t necessarily agree with any or all of these authors’ conclusions, but I do appreciate their erudition, their style, and their commitment to the pursuit of Truth, wherever the facts take them.
Careful readers will note that many of these writers, as well as those from the first “Dissident Write” listicle, are contributors at Taki’s Magazine (and this list includes the owner!). That’s no coincidence. I stumbled upon TM a few years ago after reading about a campus protest against John Derbyshire in National Review (when I still subscribed to and read the print edition cover-to-cover every two weeks). It’s really brought to my attention some excellent, relatively unknown writers, so I’m thrilled to share them with you.
Check out these writers’ work, and draw your own conclusions. Have any recommendations? I’m always looking for new, interesting perspectives. Share your favorites in the comments.