»  VDARE.com Monthly Diary

  June 2018


It's a white thing, you wouldn't understand.     The month of June saw an unusually intense phase in the Cold Civil War between Goodwhites and Badwhites here in the U.S.A. We Badwhites watched with interest, though not much surprise, as Goodwhites at last came out openly for the abolition of our nation's borders — which is to say, the abolition of our nation.

In late June (24th-25th) Americans were polled on the question: "Do you think we should have basically open borders or do you think we need secure borders?" Twenty-one of white respondents went for open borders. (Thirty-eight percent of Hispanics, 28 percent of blacks: page 68 here.)

So one in five white Americans favors open borders. Let that sink in. Bigger numbers of Hispanics and blacks do: but since incomers are mostly nonwhite, minority groups see open borders as a way to increase their numbers and group power, so this isn't surprising. On the other hand, that 21 percent of whites yearning to become a minority themselves is strange — pathological, actually.

It's useful to remember — I do my best to keep reminding you — that this fanatically anti-nationalist position is a very white thing. I can't find any polling data on what proportion of founding-stock citizens in Bangladesh, or China, or Japan, or Nigeria believe in open borders, but I'd be astounded to learn it's a fifth in any of those places.

In strict logic it is possible that the Bangladeshis, Chinese, etc. are all wrong and our Goodwhites are right that open borders are a jolly good thing. It would be interesting to see a well-staged public debate featuring some leading American Goodwhite up against nonwhite intellectuals from elsewhere.

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Open-borders fanaticism: political pros and cons.     I can think of one possible political upside to this month's open-borders hysteria, and one possible downside.

Possible upside: The hysteria unleashed by the Left this month — and especially some of the staged confrontations we've seen — might have a spine-stiffening effect on some of the less stalwart members of the Trump administration.

You take a cabinet post prepared to face rational disagreement on policy matters with people you might be willing to meet half-way; you instead find yourself facing screeching mobs who believe anyone who disagrees with them is a Nazi; it's got to be educational.

Possible downside: The Democratic Party may now have lurched into such extreme positions they will suffer a huge, unmistakable repudiation at the polls in November.

I would enjoy that spectacle as much as the next Nazi. However, a party that enjoys a major setback like that because of unpopular policies does not usually react by doubling down on those policies. Much more often it goes through some introspection, coming out at the other side with policies that poll better.

That would mean that by the 2020 Presidential election grownups would have re-asserted control in the Democratic Party (there are still some grownups left over there, right?) with policies and a Presidential ticket that will be electorally competitive.

So taking the long view, while I don't want to see the Democrats come out ahead this November, I don't want them to lose too badly. I'd prefer to see them keep the crazy going for another two years, guaranteeing a Trump re-election in 2020. Then, four more years!

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The Inner Circle.     Setting aside completely the particular casus hysteriae of this month's moral panic, concerning which I have made my opinions as plain as I know how, let me ask you this: When, for whatever reason, the subject of little children crying for a parent is in the air, what literary or cinematic reference first comes to your mind?

For me the answer is: the first orphanage scene in The Inner Circle. That was the 1991 movie by Russian director Andrei (or Andrey) Konchalovsky (or Konchalovskiy; IMDb offers both transcriptions) set in Stalin's USSR from 1939 to 1953.

Stalin liked to watch movies. That's putting it mildly: "He was an obsessional movie buff," says his biographer Simon Sebag Montefiore. His taste was by no means restricted to Soviet productions: He enjoyed America detective and gangster movies, Westerns, rom-coms, and Charlie Chaplin comedies. As a result of the Allied victory in WW2 he acquired Joseph Goebbels' extensive library of American, English, and German movies, and spent many happy hours watching them in his Kremlin screening room.

Konchalovsky actually met Stalin's projectionist Alex Ganchin. He made him the central character in The Inner Circle, under a slightly different name.

The projectionist lives in a typically overcrowded Moscow apartment block. His neighbor Aaron Gubelman is arrested as an Enemy of the People in a 1939 purge and presumably shot, leaving behind his wife and their three-year-old daughter Katya. Soon the wife is also arrested: It was a crime under the infamous Article 7-35 of Stalin's Criminal Code to be spouse or child of an Enemy of the People. Little Katya is put in a special orphanage for such children. Those orphanage scenes are hard to watch.

The Inner Circle was not much liked by critics and soon sank without trace. There is a complete version on YouTube, but the quality is poor. The first orphanage scene is at around 36m50s.

I don't understand this — I mean, the neglect of this movie. I thought, and still think, that The Inner Circle was really good. There's a strong, plausible story line and the principals act well — most memorably Bob Hoskins as a creepy Beria, "Stalin's Himmler."

Aleksandr Zbruev is an excellent Stalin, although not as good as Timothy West in David Pownall's stage play Masterclass — the gold standard for dramatic portrayals of Stalin, but unfortunately not on film anywhere so far as I know. The detail is painstakingly realistic; you can practically smell that scuzzy apartment block. Some other scenes appear to have been shot actually in the Kremlin.

So why is the movie so little regarded? Two possibilities occur to me. I write in all seriousness: I'm willing to entertain either as a real possibility. Appealing to pure logic again, in fact, they might both be the case.

Possibility One: I am a lousy judge of movies.

This is certainly possible. I'm bookish: a words-on-paper guy, not an images-on screens guy. My opinion of a movie hardly ever coincides with the critical consensus. Mrs Derbyshire will tell you, at the slightest prompting, after several years of weekly Netflix rentals for after-dinner viewing at weekends chez Derb, that my commonest reaction to a movie is to fall asleep halfway through it.

(Although our most recent rental, Only the Brave (2017), did hold my attention all through — an excellent movie.)

Possibility Two: The kind of people who judge movies and promote movies are lefties, and lefties are made uncomfortable by a critique of Soviet communism.

Stalin is in fact a hero to some subset of today's left. Here was that subset at a May Day march in London this year, carrying banners with pictures of the Vozhd.

Protesters marked International Workers' Day with a rally in London's Trafalgar Square today, with some marchers holding up pictures of Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin …

Millions of people died in Stalin's Russia, many of them transported to labour camps to work in extreme temperatures or executed in mass killings of political prisoners, while others died in disastrous famines. [May day! Protesters marking International Workers' Day hold rally in London's Trafalgar Square — with some marchers holding banners of STALIN; Daily Mail, May 1st 2018.]

Even lefties less deranged than that still object to anything that subtracts from their cherished narrative of Hitler as the unchallengable embodiment of mid-20th-century evil, though on any rational moral calculus Stalin is at least a strong contender.

Can you imagine any Hollywood airhead or open-borders shill comparing President Trump to Stalin? I can't. Stalin, you see, was Left, which is good … though it may be that "mistakes were made." Trump is Right — just like Hitler! — and that is bad, very bad.

That is the entire depth of thinking across a great swathe of the opinion-holding public, a swathe that likely includes most movie critics.

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The Poconos love hotels: a report.     So how were the Poconos, readers are asking, and what were the demographics?

We had a very pleasant and relaxing long weekend. The whole ambience is, as I said last month, old-school (I actually said "corny") — not a hipster in sight. If you couldn't care less about being hip, cool, chic, and au courant though — and we couldn't — a lakeside balcony and a heart-shaped jacuzzi are just the ticket.

One day was totally rained out, but we didn't mind. Jacuzzi aside, there were indoor things to do. We played ping-pong for the first time in a couple of decades, tying at one game each, and pool, a rout of the Mrs by me, and we bowled.

Demographics? A good mix. Prole whites of all ages; some friendly, pleasant black or black-white couples (though the latter in way lower proportions than advertised); very few Asians, and those few more South than East; and, most surprising to us, several Orthodox-Jewish couples.

One of those couples made a deep impression on Mrs Derb. We were lounging by the outdoor pool when they showed up. The gent was stripped down to bathing trunks, though with kippah still in place, and went right into the pool to stand enjoying the coolth of the water. The lady was in a properly Orthodox long skirt, shoes and stockings.

They had a conversation going, he standing in the pool and she on the surround. Then, keen to impress some conversational point on him, she started walking down the submerged steps into the pool towards him, long skirt and all, until she was standing in the water up to chest level, still talking.

Mrs Derb could barely contain herself. She was jabbing me with her elbow and hissing: "Look! Look at her! Watch!" Me: "Honey, it's rude to stare. It's rude." She: "But look!"

I can understand it being kosher for guys to strip off and go in the pool but women not. On that principle, though, wouldn't a lady just stay out of the pool altogether? As opposed to going round the rest of the afternoon with a sopping wet long skirt and shoes full of chlorinated water? Eh, other people's rules.

Mrs Derb is still talking about it.

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Still not getting the Jew Thing.     It's a short step from that little anecdote to what Alt-Righters coyly refer to as "the JQ." In regard to which, I've had emails asking why I didn't respond to Edmund Connelly's recent post at Unz.com.

That's easy: I don't have anything to say.

Edmund Connelly has a lot to say.

I first wrote about Derbyshire's opinions of KMAC's [i.e. Kevin MacDonald's] work way back in 2008, then again in 2012. For the purposes of this current piece, I will crib liberally from those original two essays, though the links within have often not survived well. ["Derbyshire vs. MacDonald Revisited" by Edmund Connelly; The Unz Review, May 30th 2018.]

Connelly then goes on for — good grief! — another 1,600 words about a book review I wrote in 2003 and some subsequent exchanges I engaged in with a Jewish-identity website.

I can't help feeling flattered by Connelly's continued attentions, while at the same time finding something a bit creepy about them.

Look at it from my point of view. I'm a journeyman writer and reviewer. Fifteen years ago some editor sent me one of Kevin MacDonald's books to review. I read it (and its two predecessors by the same author on the same theme — I'm diligent like that), wrote up an honest opinion, as a book reviewer should, and collected my fee. That Jewish-identity website took an interest and asked me some questions, which I answered as best I could be bothered to, there being no remuneration involved.

Since then I've published a lot of book reviews — I make it 175, though some cover more than one book — on subjects from quantum mechanics to the Battle of Gettysburg, from Mao Tse-tung's poetry to the Church of England, from falconry to Transylvanian fiction. Nobody has visited, revisited, and re-revisited any of them with anything like the obsessive attention that Edmund Connelly has lavished on that review of MacDonald's book and those exchanges from back in the first G.W. Bush administration.

Sorry, pal, I just don't have anything to say that I didn't say back then. If you want to send me a book for review, at an acceptable fee, I'll review it; but you can't make me be interested in the JQ, certainly not as passionately interested as you are. I guess I still don't have the Jew Thing.

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The decline of hate.     That puts me in mind of a question I've occasionally pondered: What happened to hate email?

When I started blogging around the turn of the century I used to get a lot. Then, some time around the middle of the last decade, it petered out. Is it just not a thing any more?

Sending hate email certainly ranks way up there as one of the most unprofitable forms of human activity. As I pointed out back in the day, thanks to the delete button I can dispose of a hate email in way less time than it took the sender to compose it. I suppose there must be some psychic reward, some inner satisfaction, in just the composing and sending.

Well-nigh the only hate email I get nowadays is from race purists objecting to my choice of marriage partner. Actual sample from January this year:

You are responsible for the downfall of the white race. You gook f***ing race traitor.

Wow: little me bringing down an entire race! That's even more flattering than Edmund Connelly's obsessive attentions.

Then the other day I got a hate email from an open-borders enthusiast. This was so unusual I actually read it. His parting shot:

YOU ARE A JACK ASS RIGHT WING ZIONIST AMERICAN FIRST CHRISTIAN DISPENSATIONALIST

(The whole thing was in upper case.) I had to look up Dispensationalism. Having looked it up, though, I was no wiser, as my eyes glazed over before I'd finished the first paragraph of explanation. I am very, very, deeply uninterested in theology.

So what's my emailer's point? I guess I shall never know.

There's definitely been a decline. Hate email isn't what it used to be.

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Anti-Americanism as a career.     The most politically incorrect thing I read this month was published in 1862 by the brilliant but eccentric English writer George Borrow (1803-1881). Borrow is quite forgotten now, but sixty years ago his gypsy stories, Lavengro and Romany Rye, still featured on lists of instructive and entertaining books for English children.

This passage is from a later book, Wild Wales, which describes Borrow's travels in that principality in 1854. He started from the English city of Chester, near the Welsh border.

Chester was, and still is, one of the few remaining cities in Britain with a city wall still intact. Borrow takes a stroll along the wall. You need to know that he was an exceptionally gifted linguist, fluent in numerous languages (though he once admitted he'd found Manchu more difficult than he'd anticipated).

Once did I make the compass of the city upon the walls, and was beginning to do the same a second time, when I stumbled against a black, who, with his arms leaning upon the wall, was spitting over it, in the direction of the river. I apologised, and contrived to enter into conversation with him.

He was tolerably well dressed, had a hairy cap on his head, was about forty years of age, and brutishly ugly, his features scarcely resembling those of a human being. He told me he was a native of Antigua, a blacksmith by trade, and had been a slave.

I asked him if he could speak any language besides English, and received for answer that besides English, he could speak Spanish and French. Forthwith I spoke to him in Spanish, but he did not understand me.

I then asked him to speak to me in Spanish, but he could not. "Surely you can tell me the word for water in Spanish," said I; he, however, was not able. "How is it," said I, "that, pretending to be acquainted with Spanish, you do not even know the word for water?" He said he could not tell, but supposed that he had forgotten the Spanish language, adding however, that he could speak French perfectly.

I spoke to him in French — he did not understand me: I told him to speak to me in French, but he did not. I then asked him the word for bread in French, but he could not tell me.

I made no observations on his ignorance, but inquired how he liked being a slave? He said not at all; that it was very bad to be a slave, as a slave was forced to work. I asked him if he did not work now that he was free? He said very seldom; that he did not like work, and that it did not agree with him.

I asked how he came into England, and he said that wishing to see England, he had come over with a gentleman as his servant, but that as soon as he got there, he had left his master, as he did not like work.

I asked him how he contrived to live in England without working? He said that any black might live in England without working; that all he had to do was to attend religious meetings, and speak against slavery and the Americans. I asked him if he had done so. He said he had, and that the religious people were very kind to him, and gave him money, and that a religious lady was going to marry him.

I asked him if he knew anything about the Americans? He said he did, and that they were very bad people, who kept slaves and flogged them. "And quite right too," said I, "if they are lazy rascals like yourself, who want to eat without working. What a pretty set of knaves or fools must they be, who encourage a fellow like you to speak against negro slavery, of the necessity for which you yourself are a living instance, and against a people of whom you know as much as of French or Spanish."

Then leaving the black, who made no other answer to what I said, than by spitting with considerable force in the direction of the river, I continued making my second compass of the city upon the wall.

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Goodbye, cold world.     "There is but one truly serious philosophical problem, and that is suicide," said Albert Camus. I don't know about that, but there does seem to be a lot of it about lately.

There was that designer lady. I admit I'd never heard of her; but when I mentioned her suicide to Mrs Derb, my lady went to the front lobby and came back with a natty little purse she owns bearing the late designer's name. Then there was the celebrity chef, who I'd also never heard of — not his fault, I'm just clueless about celebrity culture — but who more clueful friends assure me was a household name.

This month the Centers for Disease Control published statistics showing a rise in suicide in all our states except, for some reason, Nevada. The overall rise was 25 percent from 1999 to 2016. Midwestern and mountain states seem to be worst affected, with farmers in particular more liable to kill themselves.

It's the same across the pond. At Beachy Head, a set of spectacular cliffs on England's south coast long known as a lovers' leap, the bodies have been piling up.

Ten people have now died in just two weeks at Beachy Head in East Sussex, police have confirmed, after the discovery of three bodies.

The remains of seven people in total were found last week, including a mother and her son …

Last week, remains of two men in their 20s were recovered from the bottom of the cliffs . Their deaths, on Tuesday evening, are not thought to be linked. One of the men may have been a suicide tourist who travelled to the UK to end their life at the world famous cliffs, it was claimed. ["Three MORE bodies are found at the foot of Beachy Head — bringing the grisly total to 10 in a fortnight"; Daily Mail, June 25th 2018.]

Suicide tourism! There's a business model there somewhere … Sorry, sorry, bad taste.

I don't see any big mystery here. We are, in the generality, even less social, less religious, less philoprogenitive, less involved with each other now than we were twenty years ago when Robert Putnam was putting together his classic book Bowling Alone. We are also, as Professor Putnam discovered to his anguish from later researches, much more likely to live among people whose ways are strange to us — "diverse" is the politically correct term.

Behavioral psychologist Clay Routledge got the nub of it the other day, I thought.

To bemoan the decline of neighborliness, the shrinking of the family and the diminishing role of religion may sound like the complaining of a crotchety old man. Yet from the standpoint of psychological science, these changes, regardless of what you otherwise think about them, pose serious threats to a life of meaning.

Consider that Americans today, compared with those of past generations, are less likely to know and interact with their neighbors, to believe that people are generally trustworthy and to feel that they have individuals they can confide in. This is a worrisome development from an existential perspective: Studies have shown that the more people feel a strong sense of belongingness, the more they perceive life as meaningful. ["Suicides Have Increased. Is This an Existential Crisis?" New York Times, June 23rd 2018.]

Check out the silent crowds in our streets and public places, each with head bowed over his smartphone. Play the movie forward through a couple more cycles of mass immigration-driven diversity, robot sex, and jobs lost to Artificial Intelligence. Then tell me if you can that things aren't going to get a whole lot worse.

Pretty soon Brits will have to take a ticket and stand in line for Beachy Head.

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Humani nihil a se alienum puto.     I used to hang out with a guy who claimed to have an aunt so auntishly prissy she would not allow anyone to utter the name Walt Disney in her presence. "It's Walter," she'd insist.

That certainly is an impressively high level of prissiness. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor got close to it, though, in her dissenting opinion on Trump v. Hawaii published June 26th. This was the so-called Muslim Travel Ban decision, in which the court upheld President Trump's executive order.

Justice Sotomayor is, you'll recall, the wise Latina gifted to us by Barack Obama in the flush of anti-American radicalism that followed his first election to the Presidency. Her dissent in Trump v. Hawaii is typical of the lady: gassy, brazenly politicized, and wa-a-a-ay too long — nearly nine thousand words.

That's longer than St Paul's Epistle to the Romans. If there is some person somewhere who has read the wretched thing all the way through, that person should get a decoration for valor.

Towards the end there is a prissy little footnote, tagged to the phrase "immigration and alien status" that the Justice, to her evident deep discomfort, felt obliged to quote from a 2012 judgment. Her footnote reads as follows.

It is important to note, particularly given the nature of this case, that many consider "using the term 'alien' to refer to other human beings" to be "offensive and demeaning." Flores v. United States Citizenship & Immigration Servs., 718 F. 3d 548, 551—552, n. 1 (CA6 2013). I use the term here only where necessary "to be consistent with the statutory language" that Congress has chosen and "to avoid any confusion in replacing a legal term of art with a more appropriate term." Ibid.

Now that's prissy. "Alien" is a perfectly good old English word, from an equally good and even older Latin word meaning "other." It's extensively used in federal legislation with reference to non-citizens. What, are we to rewrite our entire federal code because some trembling neurotic somewhere imagines offense in a respectable, familiar word?

RESIDENT ALIEN said the "Green Card" (it was actually pink) that I carried for eight years before becoming a citizen in 2002. I carried it with pride. What would Justice Sotomayor have preferred it say? RESIDENT FOREIGNER — nine letters replacing five? RESIDENT NONCITIZEN — ten letters?

Well, she's a lawyer, so I guess she defaults to longer is better. I offer this windy dissent in supporting evidence for that.

How much time would elapse, though, before some snowflake somewhere took offense at "foreigner" or "noncitizen"?

And after all, how dare we distinguish between so-called "citizens" and all those worthy, hard-working, law-abiding, entrepreneurial … others? One world! No borders! ¡Si se puede!

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Math Corner.     No brainteaser this month, just a comment and link to this nice short thumb-sucker piece posted June 18th by the blogger EvolutionistX: Why are there no Han Chinese Fields Medalists?

The Fields Medal is the math equivalent of a Nobel Prize (there is no Nobel Prize in math). The title question of this piece is one that has been asked from time to time in math and human-sciences circles without anyone, so far as I know, coming up with a convincing answer.

Of the 56 Fields Medals (essentially, the Nobel for Math) awarded since 1936, 12 (21 percent) have been French. Fourteen or 15 have been Jewish, or 25-27 percent.

By contrast, 0 have been Han Chinese from China itself.

The fact is pretty striking, and deserves another airing just now with Harvard admissions office under attack for discriminating against Asians.

Down at the end of the comments there's a reference to something related that I've written.

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