[Music clip: From Haydn's Derbyshire Marches]
01 — Intro. And Radio Derb is on the air! As you may perceive, gentle listener, I have become a little hoarse. [Whinny] I have in fact been rather ill this week, stretched out on the chaise-longue at Derb Mansion groaning "Death, where is thy sting?" To which my heartless children reply: "Don't worry, Dad, we'll find it!"
However, I summoned up the spirit of the Blitz — "We never closed!" — and staggered in to Buckley Towers at last for this week's recording. After a generous bumper of Old Crow and a rub-down from Mandy, I felt fit to face the microphone.
So here I am, your valetudinarianly genial host John Derbyshire, with all the week's news, or as much as I can report before my voice gives out. [Aside] Give me another shot of that, ah, medication, would you, Mandy? [Pouring sound] Thanks.
02 — Harassing Herman. My man Herman Cain is getting a baptism of fire in his bid for the GOP nomination.
The website Politico.com has accused Herb of the following appalling thing 15 years ago. You might want to sit down for this, listeners, it's pretty gruesome. You ready? Quote:
There were also descriptions of physical gestures that were not overtly sexual, but that made women who experienced or witnessed them uncomfortable and that they regarded as improper in a professional relationship.
Have you come out of your swoon yet? Just let me repeat the charge. Cain make gestures, not overtly sexual, that made women uncomfortable. He did not come on at them aggressively: that, depending on the precise circumstances, would be the ancient common-law crime of assault. He certainly did not grope them, placing hands on them uninvited: that would be the equally ancient common-law crime of battery. He made them feel uncomfortable.
It is not even alleged that he deliberately made the plaintiffs feel uncomfortable, went out of his way to make them feel uncomfortable. He just made them feel uncomfortable. The evidentiary basis for this is … what? Only that they tell us they felt uncomfortable.
Yes; causing someone to feel uncomfortable is now tortious. I should be a very wealthy man. Being mildly aspergery — socially inept, prone to mis-speak or to mis-read another person's intentions — I feel uncomfortable quite a lot of the time when in company. So why aren't I rich from lawsuits? Oh right: I'm a guy. Worse yet, I'm a heterosexual white guy — no free money for me!
Now look. I was in the corporate world for thirty years, including the nineties when this stuff came up. It is all utterly bogus. "Sexual harassment," outside the spheres long since adequately covered by the criminal laws on assault and battery, does not occur. I never knew of a single incident, in thirty years across a dozen business firms and government offices.
Nor, for that matter, did I ever see an instance of race prejudice. I have been in countless meetings to consider a raft of job applicants just interviewed. Never once, even back in the seventies, never did I hear anyone say: "OK, first off let's eliminate the black guy — we don't want them darkening up the office." If anyone had said such a thing, the rest of us would have assumed he had lost his mind.
My fellow Americans, you are the most exquisitely courteous, well-mannered people that ever lived on Earth. The notion that our nation is a seething pit of groping bosses and snarling racists is pure fantasy — a fantasy promulgated and nursed by cynical politicians and avaricious trial lawyers. It bears no resemblance to the truth as I have experienced it.
Any corporate executive will tell you that these sexual harassment claims are just a cost of doing business. They are false and frivolous; but the expense of defending them in court is way more than the cost of settling for what the trial attorneys are asking, so the firm settles. The settlement usually comes with non-disclosure agreements swearing everyone to silence, to insulate the plaintiff in case, after some change of management, a firm should decide to take a stand against the shakedown by reviving the case.
And they are a political weapon, a highly selective one. When Bill Clinton was helping himself to the typing pool at Arkansas State House, the only outlet to report his behavior was the conservative magazine American Spectator, on whom the mainstream media immediately unloaded a full-court press. And Clinton wasn't just making the typists feel "uncomfortable": he was banging them two by two. If you're a Democrat, nobody minds — certainly not the so-called feminist establishment.
Come to think of it: Have you ever heard anything, the hint of a shadow of a whisper, about Barack Obama's love life pre-Michele? Of course not, nor will you. All we know is what Obama told us in his autobiography, about the white lady he dated in New York, with whom he had to break up at last because she, quote, "could not be black." You'd think that a diligent investigative press corps would have left no stone unturned to find that lady, yet no-one's lifted a finger. Why not? Because they all assume, as I do, that Obama made the whole thing up to place himself at the center of an imaginary racial drama — the place where, in his own warped self-image, he most wants to be.
We live in a time of madness, listeners: of lies eagerly received and truth stomped into the dust. The social and spiritual effects — the effects, I mean, on our perceptions of ourselves and of each other — are dire. For the last word on this, permit me to quote attorney Kurt Schlichter, writing in the New York Post on Tuesday, quote:
Where sexual-harassment law once protected women from being forced to be the playthings of crude lechers, it's been transformed to enforcing a prim puritanism that drains the humor and humanity from the workplace. People are afraid to make an innocent joke or compliment a co-worker's appearance for fear of crossing some unspoken line that will bring down the wrath of the human-resources department.
End quote. But if any of what I've said there makes you feel uncomfortable, feel free to sue me.
03 — Who's the skulduggerer? Who's behind the paint-bomb attack on Herman Cain? We can only speculate.
First off, it's not very likely to be the Left, even though "sexual harassment" law is a typical product of the leftist mentality. The Left, which in this context means Obama's people, would like nothing better than for Herman Cain to get the GOP nomination. They believe he'd be much easier to beat than Mitt Romney, who'd pull in more votes from independents. I don't endorse that opinion; I'm just saying that this is the ruling opinion among the Obamarrhoids.
That leaves Cain's GOP opponents as the principal suspects. So who've we got?
Well, it might be a Mitt Romney ploy. I would like to think so. I mean, I would like to think that Mitt and his people are capable of this kind of ruthless skulduggery. If they can pull this kind of stunt against Herman, think what they might do to the unions, the ChiComs, Fannie Mae, the race lobbies, the Saudis. It gives one hope. I darkly suspect, however, that Mitt is just as big a RINO squish as he seems, and way too much of a gentleman to slip poison pills to the media. Pity.
That pretty much leaves us with Rick Perry. The Gingrich and Bachmann campaigns are too disorganized to pull off a stunt like this; Ron Paul's people would desert him in droves if they found him on the same side as sexual harassment laws, and I forget the rest of the field.
And circumstantial evidence points to Perry anyway. Texas politics is a pig pen, and to rise as high as Perry has requires mastery of the arts of eye-gouging and gonad-squeezing. More substantively, one of his staffers turns out to have known Herman Cain in the business world. Cain says it's Perry, and I bet he's right. Perry's pointing at Romney, by the way; so now we only need Romney pointing back at Cain to have the traditional election-time Republican circular firing squad up and running.
Well, I still say it's Perry. And again, it's good to know we have a candidate who knows how to push his grandma off the sidewalk. Problem is, with Perry you can't help but think it'll be us, the working stiffs of the U.S.A., whose gonads he'd be squeezing on behalf of his billionaire cronies and (to repeat myself) the government of Mexico.
I can't imagine many feminists were going to vote for Cain anyway; and the truths I have been noting — mainly that "sexual harassment" is a trial lawyers' racket — are sufficiently widely understood that Herman seems to have gotten a mild boost from supporters rallying round. The latest poll I saw has him leading the field. For all the political correctness and diversity and multi-culti claptrap, there's still a good deep reservoir of common sense to be tapped here in America.
I don't think Cain can beat Romney for the nomination, but he's a good man, public-spirited and smart, and he's done a lot of good just by running. Among the good he's done, in fact, is the shedding of light on the dark little world of "sexual harassment" litigation, and the expansion of public skepticism towards the whole stupid, lying business.
04 — Euro crisis. The Euro crisis sounds complicated, but it's really very simple. Fiscal unification only works under political unification. That's it.
Amending the U.S. consitution is a famously difficult thing. You need super-majorities up the wazoo: two-thirds of the House, two-thirds of the Senate, and three quarters of the state legislatures have to favor the thing.
Getting anything major done in Europe is a bit like that. Two-thirds of member states, both governments and parliaments, have to agree before major changes take place; and boy, does Europe need some major changes. But these are national governments and national legislatures, with only a thin and recent history of unification, and many historical grievances and animosities to be worked off. Just 70 years ago a German army was occupying Greece; now the Greeks are being subjected to rigorous austerity measures dictated by Germany. It's almost as if Reconstruction is going on every day of the week, all over the continent.
Did I say "rigorous austerity"? Boy, is it rigorous. Sales tax in Greece has been raised to 23 per cent, public-sector pensions have been cut by 20 per cent and 30,000 public-sector workers have taken a pay cut of, wait for it, sixty percent. They've been told that if they don't like it, they can go find work elsewhere. The Greeks are very unhappy right now.
So last weekend the Greek Prime Minister, George Papandreou, said he'd hold a referendum so the Greek people could vote on whether to stay in the Eurozone or go back to their old national currency, the drachma, which they could control themselves.
It's not clear how that referendum would have turned out. Getting out of the Eurozone would put Greeks back in control of their own financial affairs. They could devalue and make a recovery, as Argentina did after that country went through a similar crisis ten years ago, which they resolved by dropping their currency's link to the dollar. Argentina went through some white water, and is still plagued by inflation, but on the whole they're doing well.
On the other hand, Greece is a great big welfare queen, used to having France and Germany write checks to sustain their lifestyle. A lot of Greeks feel that once the present crisis is past, they'd like to get back on that gravy train.
So there's no telling which way Mr Papandreou's referendum would have gone. We shall never find out. The European project is much more ideological than it is fiscal. When the socialist Euro-boosters in France and Germany heard about Papandreou's referendum plans, they were outraged. As a matter of fact, so far as I understand it, leaving the Eurozone would not mean leaving the European Union. Britain's in the EU, but not the Eurozone. None the less, the Euro-Mandarins cannot bear the thought of any cracks opening up in the façade of European unity. And yes, finance comes into it too: If Greece can write off her debts, other European countries might be tempted to follow, leaving the big European banks — mostly French and German — with huge losses.
Well, Mr Papandreou was called on the carpet by Sarkozy and Merkel and told that if the referendum took place, Papandreou would lose his lunch break privileges. The Prime Minister of Greece, who has never been renowned for the stiffness of his spine, bowed his head meekly and obeyed.
Whatever turn the crisis takes next, the Greeks, the people who gave us the word "democracy," will have no voice in the matter. The future course of events will be decided by bankers, politicians, and transnational bureaucrats. That's how things work in a socialist super-state.
05 — Switzerland deports foreign welfare cases. Just to show how things go in a European nation that stayed out of the EU, here's a snippet of news from Switzerland.
Switzerland is divided into cantons, which have a lot of autonomy — "states rights" that we Americans can only dream of. Well, some of the conservative cantons don't like foreigners leeching off their welfare systems, so they're arresting and deporting them.
This isn't even illegal immigrants, mind, for whom there is even less tolerance. Story from an English-language Swiss newspaper, The Local, quote:
The Zurich-based newspaper Tages Anzeiger reported on the case of a Turkish woman who moved to Switzerland in 2006 when she married a Turkish man already resident in the country. The woman was beaten by her husband for several years and left him shortly after the birth of their daughter in 2010. After their divorce came through, immigration authorities in Zurich decided to deport both woman and child since they were living solely on welfare benefits.
End quote. Elsewhere in Europe this would be impossible, and that applies extra strength to the U.S.A., of course. The whole EU show is run by socialist mult-cultis who'd have a collective conniption if you tried to deport a welfare scrounger.
Socialist multi-cultis … that's what we media professionals call a segue.
06 — Leadership deficit. The Occupy Wall Street movement's Autumn of Love has ended up the way the hippie movement's Summer of Love did forty-four years ago.
That is to say, the flower-power pot-smoking pacifists have learned the lesson that pacifists seem to have to learn and re-learn every generation or two, namely that pacifism only works if absolutely everyone is on board with it; that a lot of pleasant, unworldly, middle-class young girls are easy prey to lowlife thieves and rapists; and that while you're in the meeting arguing fine points of tactics, and whether to declare yourselves on the letterhead as Trotskyists or Anarcho-Syndicalists, some street person is robbing your tent and crapping in your sleeping bag.
Everyone's been saying that the coming cold weather will drive the protestors back to Mom and Dad, but it's looking as though they'll fold even before first snowfall. Negative publicity is building up. The tabloid newspapers here in New York have already identified people who've lost their jobs because of the protests. No, not investment bankers: waitresses in diners where business has dropped off because nobody wants to go near the stinking camp, store assistants and maintenance people. Ninety-nine percenters, you might say.
Also helping to turn public opinion is the violence that broke out in Oakland on Wednesday. The protestors actually shut down the port of Oakland, the nation's fifth busiest, causing more workers to lose wages. That was OK with the protestors, who had actually called for a general strike, to only a very feeble response from Oakland's proletariat, who mostly work in government offices and schools.
Then rogue protestors torched a barricade and trashed a bank. That got the police out, and we were back to tear gas and beanbag rounds. I suppose the next development will be yet another teary apology to the mob from Oakland Mayor Jean Quan. Oh for some leadership!
Here's Dr Johnson, reporting to his friend Mrs Thrale on the Gordon riots of 1780, which caused great destruction in London — far worse, I should say, than anything the Occupy mobs have been able to accomplish. Quote:
The King said in Council, "That the magistrates had not done their duty, but that he would do his own;" and a proclamation was published, directing us to keep our servants within doors, as the peace was now to be preserved by force. The soldiers were sent out to different parts, and the town is now at quiet … There has, indeed, been an universal panick from which the King was the first that recovered. Without the concurrence of his ministers, or the assistance of the civil magistrate, he put the soldiers in motion, and saved the town from calamities, such as a rabble's government must naturally produce.
I know we had some issues with King George over here, but he did the right thing in calling out the troops — there was, remember, no police force at that time. It was a choice between the mob and the militia, and King George made the right choice.
I note by the way that following the suppression of the Gordon riots, the Mayor of London was convicted of criminal negligence for not reading out the Riot Act to the mob. He was fined a thousand pounds. Jean Quan might want to take note of that.
And I know, because I read my email, that there are listeners not unsympathetic to the milder of the protestors. Rob Long expresses that point of view very well in the November 14 issue of National Review. Fair enough; but when you have a movement made up of (a) love-the-world hippie innocents, and (b) hard-faced Marxist revolutionaries, and (c) underclass infiltrators looking for something to steal, break, or grope — well, that's a rabble, and what you're going to get, to re-quote Dr Johnson, is "calamities, such as a rabble's government must naturally produce."
07 — Signoff. That's as much as my voice can support, listeners, I'm afraid. I apologize for my incapacity, and shall strive to restore myself to the hale and hearty Derb of old before next week's show. Keep yourselves well, cherish your loved ones — Mrs Derbyshire, bless her sweet heart, is plying me with pills, potions, and hot drinks — and above all: don't take any wooden nickels.
Come on, cheer me up, Gracie.
[Music clip: Gracie Fields, "Sing As We Go"]