[Music clip: From Haydn's Derbyshire Marches]
01 — Intro. Radio Derb is on the air! Yes, this is your sempiternally genial host John Derbyshire with highlights of the week.
That adverb "sempiternally" is not serendipitous. Nor indeed is it seminal, sepulchral, seditious, semi-detached, or sesquicentennial. I actually have a couple of items pertaining to the U.S. Marine Corps later on. First, though, our exciting new war, courtesy of Barack Obama Enterprises, a subsidiary of the W.J. and H.D. Clinton Corporation.
As I had occasion to remark in The Corner the other day: If two wars don't knock the Middle East into shape, try three.
02 — The Libyan War. There are some news stories the commentator jumps all over, howling with malicious glee. There are others he has to drag himself to reluctantly, from a sense of duty, sighing and groaning at the necessity to say something about events that (A) glow bright with such thermonuclear levels of dishonesty, hypocrisy, sanctimony and stupidity you can't find words to encompass your loathing and disgust at what's going on, and (B) have anyway been thoroughly worked over by every other pundit in town.
That, I'm afraid, is how I feel about our war against Libya. I'm going to be brutally honest here and say I hope Gadaffy survives. The reason I hope for this is not out of any liking for the man, who's just a low-grade gangster with a crazy streak. Nor is it from any disrespect for our servicepeople involved in the war, who are just doing their patriotic duty, and who I hope will come home safe at last. I hope Gadaffy survives because if he survives, Barack Obama will lose next year's presidential election. Going into an election with an economy bumping along the bottom is bad enough; add to that an unsuccessful war, and I'd say the guy's toast.
You may object to my position here on the grounds that Gadaffy's surviving will be dire for the people of Libya. Possibly you are right. I say "possibly" because I have no idea whether the rebels now fighting against Gadaffy are any better than he is. I have no idea, and neither do you; and the history of this part of the world does not offer much cause for optimism. Even if you're right, though, it's a problem for the Libyans, not for us. We tolerate all sorts of foul regimes in all parts of the world; I can't see that one more makes any difference.
And just look at our hypocrisy here! The civilized world cut an implicit deal with Gaddafy some years ago. The deal was:
Stop supporting terrorist movements in civilized nations. Pay compensation to victims of your past terrorism. End your nuclear-weapons development program. Keep the oil coming. Don't let black Africans use your country as a transit zone on their way to illegally immigrating into Europe. By all means dress up in weird costumes, deliver nonsensical speeches at the U.N., import Slavic blondes to keep you company in the jacuzzi, and feed your political opponents to sharks — we don't care about any of that stuff. Just lay off the terrorism and WMD, pump that oil, help us keep the blacks out … and, oh, if it's not too much trouble, give our construction companies a few nice fat contracts. Deal?
"Deal!" replied Gadaffy, and things have been going along pretty nicely. Gadaffy's been seriously beastly to his own people; but since we didn't see any of that on our TV screens, we didn't care.
Then along came this rebellion, and suddenly ol' Moammar is a limb of Satan, and there's a moral imperative to removing him from power. If Gadaffy at this point looks on the Western world as a zone of bare-faced chimp-stupid lying hypocrisy, please tell me how he is wrong.
03 — Bahrain. As I guess listeners know, there have been anti-government protests all over the Middle East. Here's one that hasn't been much in the news, but is worth a glance: Bahrain.
Why should we care about Bahrain? Couple of reasons. First, it's the home base of the U.S. 5th Fleet — our main naval base in the Persian Gulf. Second, it's the storm center of Sunni-Shi'a conflict, a big factor in the Gulf — which, just to remind you, has Saudi Arabia on one side of it and Iran on the other. And third, it has some whispered lessons for us in the matters of immigration and diversity.
Bahrain's a little island in the Persian Gulf, 34 miles long, just off the Saudi coast. It was Persian on and off through its history — and therefore mostly Shi'ite — until the Al-Khalifa family took it over in the late 18th century — about the time the U.S.A. attained independence. The Al-Khalifas still rule the place, and they're Sunnis from the mainland. However, Bahrain's mixed history has left it with a Shi'ite majority. Persia — nowadays Iran, of course — has tried to claim it back from time to time, and it's still officially regarded in Tehran as Iran's 14th province.
Economically Bahrain's a pretty nice little place, bustling and prosperous by the standards of the region. They have some oil and lots of refining; they have a strong mercantile tradition; they do financial services … not a Singapore by any means, but sort of a pre-civil-war Lebanon with some oil.
To stick it to the Shi'ite majority, whom they don't much like, and also to keep wages low, the Sunni rulers have brought in great masses of foreign labor, most of it from poorer Sunni places like Yemen and Pakistan. Sound familiar? More than half the population is now foreign-born — 54 percent. So the Shi'ites feel dispossessed and disgruntled. They're poorer and less well-educated than the Sunnis, and the foreign workers brought in have just made their situation worse. So they've been out on the streets demonstrating.
Last week the Sunni states, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, sent 1,500 troops to Bahrain to support the ruling family. Iran denounced that move. Bahrain in return blamed Iran for instigating the demonstrations … and so on. On the streets, some demonstrators have been killed, and are being elaborately mourned by the Shi'ite masses.
In short, Bahrain's a proxy for the power play between Iran and Saudi Arabia. Quote from Bahrain's foreign minister, who just happens to be a member of the ruling Al-Khalifa family, quote: "The sectarian divide is serious. It's a terrible situation to deal with two groups that have hated each other for 1,400 years." End quote.
Here's a thing he did not say. He did not say, quote: "The deaths of those demonstrators is a tragedy, but I believe it would be a greater tragedy if our diversity becomes a casualty here." He did not say that. So at least, for all their troubles, the Bahrainis are still holding on to some shreds of common sense.
04 — UCLA's double standard. I'm going to back-track a little here from some comments I made in last week's broadcast concerning Alexandra Wallace, the young UCLA junior who posted a YouTube video criticizing the manners of Asian students.
After some appropriate sneering at the PC commissars, I put a light spin on the item, assuming we'd hear nothing more once the storm in a teacup had died down. Well, there has been more. Ms Wallace was publicly reprimanded by the UCLA Thought Police. Her video got an editorial in the New York Times. Now she's quit attending classes at UCLA because of, as she puts it in a letter to the college newspaper, "personal safety reasons."
This is awful. UCLA tell us they considered punishing Ms Wallace but at last decided against it. Did they consider punishing the people who are threatening and ostracizing her? Is mimicking a Chinese accent punish-worthy, but mailing in a death threat not?
If complaining about cell phone use in a college library and students letting their parents use student laundry facilities, if that's punishable, then how about this? [Kent Wong clip].
That's a clip Radio Derb first posted last December 17. The speaker — the guy looking forward gleefully to the racial replacement of old white men — is Kent Wong, director of the Center for Labor Research and Education at — can I get a drum roll please? [drum roll] Thank you — at UCLA. Has Kent Wong been chased off the campus by angry old white men? Did he get a reprimand from the senior cadres of UCLA? Did the New York Times editorialize about him?
You know the answers, of course. And knowing them, you also know this: That all the bogus cant words of the PC mobs — the "diversity," the "tolerance," the "inclusiveness" — have no application to white people. You can be as un-diverse, as intolerant, as non-inclusive as you please, so long as you're not white. If you're white, and old, and male, you're a threefer, and anyone can say anything they like about you without stirring a ripple in the media.
When someone says a thing like the thing I just said, the usual come-back is: "Yes, but white people are a majority, so they owe a special sensitivity to non-white people." How does that apply in this case? Non-Hispanic white students are a minority at UCLA — 32 percent. Non-Hispanic white people are a minority in California — 42 percent. So run that argument by me again?
Kent Wong, a faculty member of UCLA on a nice salary, encourages students to break the nation's laws and looks forward to the racial dispossession of white Americans. Nothing happens to him. The guy still has his job — I checked. Then Alexandra Wallace, a fee-paying student, grumbles about bad Asian manners and mimicks a Chinese accent, and she's an object of loathing and outrage, and has to quit her studies. Could it possibly be made any clearer that the entire apparatus of Political Correctness is just a low-grade war against white Americans?
Here's a prediction. Alexandra Wallace groveled and kowtowed and begged for mercy. She confessed her sin, using all the right cant words of white self-abasement: "inappropriate," "insensitive," "hurtful," and all the rest of the mealy-mouthed vocabulary of ethnomasochism.
My prediction is that Ms Wallace's generation of young white Americans will be the last to kowtow to the race radicals. The next time there's an incident like this, or the next, or the one after that, the perpetrator will not kowtow. He or she will tell the PC lynch mob that kowtowing is not a thing Americans do, and if they don't like that, they should go find some other country to live in, one where kowtowing is more a part of the culture — the nation from whose language we borrowed the word "kowtow," perhaps.
That's what will happen. And the thing that will happen right after that will be, that I will publicly offer to buy that perp a slap-up dinner for himself and a companion at the restaurant of his choice. If we're to have equal rights in this country, let's start with the right not to kowtow to racial bullying, and the right to tell whining, weeping "victims" of imaginary offenses to go boil their heads, and the right to tell leftist troublemakers like Kent Wong that if he's looking forward to the dispossession of old white men, we'll see him in hell first.
05 — Justice Dept. will do anything for a Muslim. Mrs Derb started a new job recently, with a company in a nearby town. She's excited and enthusiastic about it, and the family's excited along with her. She's had some bad breaks in the job department this past couple of years, but now she seems to have found a firm in good financial health that appreciates her manifold talents.
There's a wrinkle, however. As is perfectly normal with U.S. employers, the firm insists she work for a year before becoming eligible for paid vacation leave. No prob: as I said, this is perfectly normal and reasonable. It's thrown a small wrench in our plans, though. We're booked on the National Review cruise this fall and I'd much rather go on that cruise with the Mrs than without her. So we have to figure at which point, if any, she feels in a secure enough position with the firm to ask for unpaid leave. If that point isn't reached, I'll have to go without her.
Again, no big deal. These are the little anfractuosities of life that we all have to work our way through every day of the week — petty stuff, which I wouldn't think worth mentioning if not for Eric Holder.
This story begins in Fall of 2007 when a lady named Safoorah Khan joined the faculty of MacArthur Middle School in Berkeley, a small township in the Chicago suburbs. Ms Khan's job was to teach math to the school's preteen students, and to run the math lab. All went well for nine months until August of the following year. Then Ms Khan, who is a Muslim, asked for three weeks' leave that December, December of 2008, to go on the hajj.
The hajj — that's how it's spelt, with two j's: if you can do a better job with them than I'm doing, good luck to you — the hajj is the pilgrimage to Mecca that a devout Muslim is supposed to take once in his lifetime, if he can afford to do so. I don't know how things work if you can't — a couple million years in Purgatory, I guess. Ask you local Imam, it's not for me to jujj. Anyway, this pilgrimajj has to be done at a certain time of year. You have to be in Mecca during a certain five-day period in a certain month on the Muslim calendar. Now, the Muslim calendar is lunar, so it moves around relative to our calendar on a 35-year cycle. For 2008 the prescribed period was December 6th to 10th, a critical period for the school in the test-taking and test-marking cycle. They didn't want Ms Khan absent at that time, so they turned down her request.
Just let me say that again: They turned down a request from a Muslim! How "insensitive" was that! How "hurtful" was that! How "intolerant" was that! It wasn't actually illegal, nor even against the local teacher union contract; but boy, were the town fathers of this little suburb — population five thousand — asking for trouble.
Ms Khan took it badly. She went into a decline, taking to her ottoman and dying some weeks later of a broken heart. Her last words, carefully recorded for posterity by the weeping throng of sympathizers and attorneys clustered around her deathbed, were: "Oh, America, how you have betrayed me! Where is the spirit of tolerance and liberty so proudly proclaimed by your founding fathers, Khalid al-Jefferson and Mohammed ibn Washington? …"
No, all right, I'll admit I made that up. What she actually did was just go on the hajj anyway, then submit her resignation, then file a complaint with the Federal Department of Giving Stuff to Whiny People Who Aren't White, Male, and Christian.
Now Eric Holder's Justice Department has taken up the case on Ms Khan's behalf. Berkeley, the little Chicago suburb that turned down Ms Khan's request for leave, can now expect years of paying lawyers, followed at last by a judgment against them of millions of dollars; because if they can afford ten lawyers, Justice will field twenty, and if the town can afford twenty, Justice will field a hundred. Justice will win at last, and the township — which is, by the way, sixty percent black and Hispanic according to city-data.com — the township will be bankrupted. Probably they'll have to lay off teachers. Just make sure none of them is a Muslim, guys.
Footnote here, a mathematical one: By my calculations, if Ms Khan had waited until 2018, when the hajj period is August 19-23, or even just to 2017, when it ends September 3rd, the day before Labor Day, she could have done her hajj without inconveniencing her employers. But then, of course, she wouldn't have had the opportunity to enrich herself at the the U.S. taxpayer's expense.
Another footnote, a personal one. As an unbeliever, I have naturally asked NRO to give me paid leave for the entire month of May so I can celebrate the tercentenary of the birth of David Hume, taking a trip to the great philosopher's birthplace in Scotland and devoutly attending the four-day public reading of the Treatise being planned by my colleagues at Secular Right. Should NRO turn down my request, I'll be looking for a civil rights attorney. I can be found in the Long Island phone book.
06 — Budget baloney. Two weeks ago on Radio Derb we had some rude things to say about the budget that President Obama submitted to Congress in mid-February. The bottom line, I told you, was: Spend like crazy, and cut taxes.
Well, if you won't take it from me, take it from the Congressional Budget Office, who have just issued a 22-page analysis of the president's budget proposals. The CBO sees deficits out to the far horizon — well out to 2021, which is as far ahead as they look. Quote from a report on the CBO analysis by WNYC TV, quote:
The CBO estimates show enacting Obama's budget would increase [the deficit ten years out] by about a third, bringing it to $9.5 trillion, as opposed to the $7.2 trillion estimate the Obama administration announced. The $2.3 trillion discrepancy is made up of much more rosy assumptions on the part of the President's analysis.
End quote. The CBO analysis, I should say, has some rosy assumptions of its own — steady economic growth through to 2015, for instance — so their $2.3 trillion difference of opinion with the president is likely an underestimate.
That assumption was shared, you may recall, by the president's Deficit Reduction Commission, an 18-member panel of political and economic grown-ups who delivered their report last December — the Bowles-Simpson Report, which actually carried the title "Moment of Truth." Bowles-Simpson was, though, much more realistic than Obama's budget, calling for big cuts all over, entitlement reductions, and tax increases.
Obama ignored the Bowles-Simpson Report, but it isn't going away. This Thursday ten senior economists published an op-ed on politico.com urging Congress to use it as a basis for deficit reduction. Meanwhile in the U.S. Senate, four senators who served on the Bowles-Simpson commission and signed off on its recommendations have been lobbying their colleagues with some success. Last week they got 64 senatorial signatures on a letter to the president urging him to engage with deficit reduction based on Bowles-Simpson.
Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles themselves are still in the fray too. Here's Bowles testifying to Congress earlier this month, quote: "This debt and these deficits that we are incurring on an annual basis are like a cancer, and they are truly going to destroy this country from within unless we have the common sense to do something about it." End quote.
So there is some sense, and there is some patriotic public spirit, even in the U.S. Congress. Whether it will be enough to prevail over folly, ambition, stupidity, and wishful thinking, is an open question. Personally I'm inclined to think that we are, you know, doomed. If you suffer from the curse of optimism, though, or if you adhere to one of those religions that believes despair is a sin, here are your grounds for hope.
07 — A Few Good Men … Kissing Each Other. As promised, here is a segment pertaining to the U.S. Marine Corps. The title of the segment is: "A Few Good men Kissing each Other."
It begins with a news story in the Washington Times, headline, quote: Military indoctrinated on gays kissing, behavior.
The main thrust of the story is that the Pentagon has sent out training materials to all 2.2 million of our active and reserve military to prepare them for the reception of open homosexuals.
I suppose there are some parts of the military where adjustments will be slight. Female soldiers have always labored under the suspicion of being lesbian, so nobody's going to swoon from shock if Staff Sergeant Susie comes out of the closet. The navy has its own customs and traditions, as Winston Churchill famously pointed out. The modern military plane doesn't seem to offer much space for shenanigans, so it's really the Marines you have to wonder about.
That Washington Times news story in fact says, quote, "The Marine Corps, which a Pentagon survey found holds deep opposition to lifting the ban, plans to publicly release its training material April 1," end quote. I bet "deep opposition" is right. It's hard to see how the Marine Corps ethos can survive with open homosexuality in the ranks.
Here's a sample scenario from the Marines training materials, quote:
You are the Executive Officer of your unit. While shopping at the local mall over the weekend, you observe two junior male Marines in appropriate civilian attire assigned to your unit kissing and hugging in the food court. Is this within standards of personal and professional conduct?
End quote. Given that anyone living in a town with a Marine base nearby can spot a Marine at 500 yards, in or out of uniform, I'd say they're bringing disgrace to the Corps. Kissing and hugging in public is gross bad manners under any circumstances, hetero or homo, military or civilian. I'd have 'em scrubbing the parade ground with toothbrushes.
Here's another scenario Marine Corps officers are supposed to ponder, quote:
A lesbian Marine approaches her platoon sergeant and states she can no longer tolerate her heterosexual roommate.
The approved answer is, quote: "The Platoon Sergeant must take a very active and positive leadership approach with a focus on conflict resolution and professional obligations to uphold the policy." Oh, that's helpful, isn't it? And what if a heterosexual Marine says he can no longer tolerate his homosexual roommate? I leave it to your imagination. What's this about "roommates," anyway? We don't have barracks any more? Roommates? Say what?
It's not even the homosexuality that is a morale-killer. It's the whole culture of "rights" and "lifestyle choices" and "discrimination" that the homosexuals will bring in with them, trailing it everywhere they go like a bad smell. You can't run elite military units when your personnel are more concerned with their own hurt feelings than with hurting the enemy.
The same applies to the report that came out this January from a special Military Leadership Diversity Commission set up by Congress, recommending that women be allowed to serve in combat units. Elite military units are a guy thing. They are effective because of a style of bonding that can only work among males. Putting in females just breaks up all the dynamics.
The law-school intellectuals and cultural Marxists who run our national affairs believe that all human differences can be ignored in all circumstances. That's a false and foolish belief. Sex and sexuality are core features of human nature. They play out in human groups in distinctive ways. We have found through long experience that the most fearsome, most efficient military units are all male and heterosexual. To break those units up and rearrange them is some different way might work or it might not. It's an experiment — what Roger Kimball has called "an experiment against reality."
How about we just leave things as they are, with what we know works? But that is what leftist intellectuals can never do. We human beings exist to be input to their experiments; and if the experiment fails, well, you can't make an omelette without breaking eggs, they'll tell us.
That is of course true. It's also true, though, that you can break a lot of eggs and still end up with no omelette. I'm afraid our elite military units are about to find this out.
08 — Miscellany. And now [soaring chords] our closing miscellany of brief items.
Item: Here's another story concerning the Marine Corps, this one from Fox News. Quote:
Border Patrol agents recently arrested 13 illegal immigrants disguised as U.S. Marines and riding in a fake military van, U.S. Customs and Border Protection said Tuesday … All of the vehicle's occupants wore U.S. Marine uniforms, all reportedly emblazoned with the name "Perez."
You'd think the coyotes would at least have come up with a few different name patches. Perhaps that was a forty dollar opional extra and the illegals just didn't go for it.
Item: My efforts to get you an update on Lee Jin-gyu, the South Korean guy who married a pillow, have come to naught, I'm afraid. We can only hope that the marriage is going well, and that some happy event has transpired or is in the offing — a little throw cushion, perhaps. With South Korea ranked 219th in fertility out of 224 nations, according to the CIA World Factbook, the country needs all the youngsters it can produce.
Item: Not much movement on the 2012 campaign front. It looks as though Michelle Bachmann's in; at any rate, she says she's going to set up an exploratory committee. Good luck to her. She's a Tea Partier, and I think the Tea Party has its heart in the right place, though I'm afraid they suffer fatally from middle-class American niceness and good manners, and will get rolled over by the Left, who don't give a fig for niceness and good manners.
In any case I've made up my own mind I won't vote in a primary for any candidate who isn't strong on the National Question: tough border enforcement, deportation of illegals, an end to birthright citizenship, and a willingness to tackle legal immigration issues in the interest of Americans, not — as the immigration laws are currently set up — in the interests of foreigners. In short I want a candidate who thinks U.S. citizenship should mean something — someone who believes that this is a nation, not just a place.
That gives me currently nobody to vote for, but I live in hope. In the general I'll likely end up doing what I always do: voting for the Republican while holding my nose and with tears running down my cheeks, and clutching a barf bag with my free hand.
Item: It's been two weeks now since the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. The latest figure I've seen for dead and missing is seventeen and a half thousand; and since at this point "missing" has got to be pretty much synonymous with "dead," we have an idea of the scale of the horror. Scare stories about leaking radiation are all over the news outlets, but as Radio Derb said last week, you should take them with a pinch of salt. If the number killed from radiation ever reaches one percent of that seventeen and a half thousand, I'll be amazed.
The great tragedy here is the dead, and the 200,000 people who've lost their homes and are living in emergency shelters. If you can help, please do. Some celebrity named Gwen Stefani has donated a million dollars to Japan relief. I don't know squat about celebrities and I have no idea who Gwen Stefani is or what she does, but whatever it is I wish her all success in continuing to do it.
09 — Signoff. That's this week's ration, listeners. Still no word from my research assistants Mandy, Candy, and Brandy over there on secondment to President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov in Turkmenistan. I do hope their research project is going well.
Meanwhile, bereft as I am of assistants, I am looking for some temps to fill in. Watching that video of Alexandra Wallace, it occurred to me that her speech patterns and thought processes are remarkably similar to those of the girls I seem to have lost. I wonder if Ms Wallace would be open to a job offer? If you are listening, Alexandra — may I call you Alexandra? — if you are listening, please have your people get in touch with my people here at National Review and we'll talk terms — in Chinese if you like. Just, please, don't ask for any time off to go on pilgrimages …
[Music clip: From Haydn's Derbyshire Marches]