[Music clip: From Haydn's Derbyshire Marches, fife and drum version]
01 — Intro. And Radio Derb is on the air! This is your paschally genial host John Derbyshire with news from far and wide.
I'll explain that modifier down at the end of the broadcast. First, let's see what the carrier pigeons have brought in to our little hideaway here in the sun-kissed Aegean.
02 — The Cleveland kidnapper. Big news story of the week was the Cleveland kidnappings.
Three young women who went missing in 2002, 2003, and 2004 were discovered living as prisoners in a small two-storey frame house in a working-class neighborhood of that city. The house belonged to Ariel Castro, a 52-year-old bus driver of Puerto Rican origin. The women were aged 21, 17, and 14 at the time they were kidnapped. They are now 32, 27, and 23. The 27-year-old, Amanda Berry, had a child, apparently by Castro, who is now six years old; she was kept imprisoned in the house, too.
The women were real prisoners, kept in cells, first in the basement, then upstairs. They were secured with chains and not allowed to socialize with each other. They were raped, beaten, and sometimes starved. There was mental torture, too: Castro would leave a woman unchained and a door unlocked and pretend to leave the house; then, when the woman got out, he'd pounce on her. He served them cakes on the annniversaries of their abductions. They were allowed out of the house just twice in all those years, to the back yard.
What a piece of work! But the thing that's hard to figure out is, how did he get away with it? Castro's house is an ordinary flimsy working-class structure. You can kick your way through the wall of a place like that. A good piercing scream would be heard the length of the street. How did he do it? I guess we'll find out.
This is a pretty pure specimen of what newspaper editors call a human-interest story. It's hard to squeeze any large social or political conclusions out of it.
Should we be more attentive to what our neighbors are up to? Some people might say so. Others — and I'm one of the others — while I completely approve of neighbors helping each other in a crisis or keeping an eye on the house when I'm away, and enjoy occasional socializing on Labor Day and so on, would prefer we all mind our own business when not invited to share.
Should police and other public services keep closer tabs on misfits like Castro? He was a known woman-beater. Court papers show that his late common-law wife, who left him in 1997, suffered, quote, "several broken noses, broken ribs, busted teeth, a brain blood clot, and dislocated shoulders." End quote. Again, not on my dollar. I'd hate for the U.S.A. to degenerate to the condition of modern Britain, where a child who falls and suffers a bruise is kept home from school till it heals for fear the Child Protection stormtroopers will seize the kid and put him in a foster home.
However, there was one related issue that called for comment from the thumb-suckers of opinion journalism, although to the best of my knowledge only one of them rose to the occasion.
03 — Where to go for honest race talk. So here's that sidebar issue to the Cleveland abductions.
The local ABC News affiliate interviewed Charles Ramsey, a neighbor of Mr. Castro's. Charles Ramsey, known around the neighborhood as Chuck, washes dishes for a living. I pursued the same line of work for my first six months in the United States, so naturally I start off with warm feelings for this fellow member of the suds'n'mops fraternity.
They only got warmer. In that three-minute interview with the TV guy, Chuck spoke eloquently about how, while eating McDonald's fast food on his porch, he had heard Amanda Berry screaming. He had gone to investigate, kicked out a panel of Castro's house door, and freed Berry and her daughter.
Eloquently, and also colorfully. [Clip: "You got some big testicles to pull this off, bro."]
Then Chuck, who is black, got a little too colorful.
[Clip: "I knew something was wrong when a little pretty white girl ran into a black man's arms. Something is wrong here. Dead giveaway. Dead giveaway. Dead giveaway. Either she homeless, or she got problems. That's the only reason she run to a black man."]
The TV reporter, who is white, didn't know whether to sneeze or wind his watch. He broke off the interview and scuttled out of there as fast as he could. The print media had a similar reaction. They all covered the interview with Chuck Ramsey, but to my knowledge none of them — not even America's Newspaper of Record, the New York Post — mentioned the "pretty white girl" part.
Columnist Larry Elder, who is black, was the only big-name commentator to cover those remarks. He also covered the media silence on them. Quote:
News sometimes makes reporters feel uncomfortable. So what? Ramsey's comments reflect how the Good Samaritan felt — which makes it news. If Ramsey's other comments get reported, why not that one?
We all know why not: because white Americans are deeply neurotic about race, much more so than black Americans. If you want honest talk about race, an articulate working-class black person like Chuck Ramsey is your best bet. A white person is just going to cringe and blush, stutter and lie. An upper-class black like Barack Obama is just going to be condescending, or stick you with a guilt trip.
Blacks are also more receptive to honest race talk than whites are. As Larry Elder notes, polls show that they are more willing to agree with negative statements about blacks as a group than whites are.
A couple of times I have spoken to black audiences, expressing my views in a straightforward way just as I do on Radio Derb and in my columns. I was always politely and thoughtfully received. If I'd said the same things to an audience of white liberals, I'd have been howled down.
Well, thanks to Chuck Ramsay for reminding us of some home truths, and to Larry Elder for reminding us that he reminded us. I look forward with eager anticipation to the TV talk show Chuck will soon be hosting, if TV producers have any eye at all for natural talent. Get out of dishwashing, Chuck, like I did: It ruins your hands.
04 — Should Britain be an independent nation? Who's going to control Derbyshire? was the question on everybody's lips last week.
Well, perhaps not everybody's. It was an issue in the actual English county of Derbyshire, though. Elections for county governments were held all over England on Thursday, May 2nd. The big winner was Nigel Farage's UKIP, that's the United Kingdom Independence Party, which campaigns on the extraordinary platform that British affairs should be decided by British people.
UKIP got 26 percent of the vote in these elections, up from three percent at the last general election three years ago. The number of county government seats they hold went up from 7 to 147. In a parliamentary special election held the same day, they placed second to Labour in a safe Labour seat, crushing the Tories and Liberal Democrats.
Britain's affairs at present are decided by globalist bureaucrats in the headquarters of the European Union. Immigration, to take one sore point, is out of the hands of British people or their elected representatives; it's decided by rules set by the EU. One consequence of this is that come next January 1st, Britain's borders will be wide open to immigrants from Romania and Bulgaria, two nations both dramatically poorer than Britain.
Britain's main political parties are globalist-liberal Labour, the globalist-liberal Tories, and the Liberal Democrats, who are globalist-liberal. British people have been voting for one or other of these parties based on vague historical sentiment or sheer habit: memories that Labour was once the party of the working man, the Tories were once the party of capable born-to-rule upper-class types like Churchill, and the Liberal Democrats were greener, more up-to-date, more technocratic and cool than boring old Labour and Tories. That is indeed how things once were. Nowadays, though, if there is any significant policy difference between the three parties, you need an electron microscope to find it.
British people are waking up to that, and to the fact that the EU is little more than a bankers' ramp, and that Britain governed itself pretty well for a thousand years while scoffing at the French as a nation of gun-shy dance instructors, at the Germans as obsessive-compulsive eaters of rotted cabbage, at the Dutch as tulip-fanciers in wooden shoes, and at the rest of the continent as garlic-breathed pederasts. If it worked for a thousand years, they're saying, maybe it wasn't so bad, the occasional war notwithstanding.
The immigration issue is more salient than ever. Millions of Third World immigrants now live in Britain, and ethnic disaggregation is proceeding apace, as anyone not blinded by ideology would expect it to. A report published this week from a left-wing think tank over there says that nearly five million black and South Asian people, half the total, live in areas where white British are a minority. Just ten years ago the number was one million, a quarter of the then total.
Quote from the head of that think tank, quote:
This has uncovered a really quite shocking level of concentration of the ethnic minority population, which means there is less opportunity for interaction with the white mainstream.
End quote. Is there any limit to the stupidity of the multicultural left? Most human beings prefer to live among people like themselves. How hard is that to understand? The fantasy of utopian egalitarianism is stronger in its appeal, in its grip on the human mind, than any religion, it seems to me.
I suppose sooner or later reality will assert itself upon even their ideology-addled brains. The trouble is, by the time that happens these fools will have turned several once proud, coherent nations into copies of Brazil, with the blacks down there, the browns over here, and the whites up on the hill. It's a shame.
There's a faint hope that UKIP's election triumph might turn Britain back towards ethnonationalism and sovereignty. More to the point for Americans, UKIP might inspire a similar movement in the U.S.A. The globalist elites will do all they can to prevent this from happening; but as the British showed on May 2nd, the people still have a voice.
Derbyshire? That went to Labour unfortunately, leaving us with only the consolation of seeing Tory leader David Cameron, the most pathetically useless British leader since Ethelred the Unready, crying into his Veuve Cliquot.
05 — Benghazzzzi. Some of my friends and listeners are worked up about the Benghazi business. I see their point, but find it hard to engage with the issue.
Just to remind you: Last year, on September the 11th, a mob sacked the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya, and killed our ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans. At the time the Obama administration said the attackers were a random mob fired up because of an anti-Muslim video posted on YouTube by someone in California. We now know that it was a preplanned al Qaeda operation, and it's probable that key names in the administration knew it at the time.
This Wednesday in Washington, D.C. the House Oversight and Governmental Reform Committee opened hearings on the matter. Diplomatic and military folk who were on the spot have been testifying as to how FUBAR the administration response was, and that everybody and his dog knew this was a planned terrorist attack.
Why aren't I engaging with this? Basically because it's all so deeply unsurprising. Barack Obama came to the White House having never administered anything in his life bigger than a playgroup in some Chicago slum. That he is a slipshod and inattentive administrator does not take my breath away. Hillary Clinton is, as Bill Safire told us 20 years ago, a "congenital liar." Every word out of her mouth is a lie, including "and" and "the."
As Radio Derb explained to you last October, all our troubles in Libya are the result of stupid humanitarian meddling by liberals who think they can fix the world with sanctimony and cash. These are liberal world-improving fantasists let loose. I'm talking about you, Susan Rice, and you, Samantha Power, and yes you, Hillary Clinton.
These fools got four of our people killed with their pointless meddling; then they lied about it. Would I like to see them breaking rocks in some federal pen? Of course I would. They are more symptoms, though, than problems in themselves. Washington's full of these saviors of humanity, their silly heads bursting with grand schemes to turn foreigners into vegetarian Yankee feminists with gay rights bumper stickers on their hybrids.
They are vain, incompetent, and ultimately unserious — eleven-year-old kids with the keys to the family car. Unserious as they are, I can't take them seriously. I watch with scorn and disgust, and shake my head, and hope for better times.
06 — Witchcraft at Harvard. So how are we getting on with the 2013 American Worker Displacement Bill, otherwise known as the Rubio-Schumer Amnesty and Cheap Labor Bill?
Well, the thing went into committee this week and the senators are chewing over it. We'll hear soon enough what they decide.
In the meantime, there's been an outbreak of shrieking, clutching of skirts, and jumping up on chairs from the guardians of our state religion. It's all related to the amnesty bill. Here's how.
As we reported last week, the shirts of the bill's promoters are getting badly discolored by flop sweat. The bill hasn't been an easy sell. Along with fanning himself desperately to get his body temperature down, Marco Rubio has been listening to the sucking, gurgling sound of his conservative support draining away. Meanwhile stories about the bill even in leftist newspapers like the New York Times and Washington Post are drawing online comment threads angrily hostile.
Then came more bad news. The Heritage Foundation, a neoconservative think tank that you'd expect to be happy about open borders and cheap labor, brought out a report calculating the cost of the amnesty provisions in the bill, if enacted, to U.S. taxpayers as a minimum $6.3 trillion over 50 years. The newly legalized immigrants would cost $9.4 trillion in government benefits but pay back only $3.1 trillion in taxes.
The report was denounced all over, by Chambers of Commerce Republican shills like Paul Ryan and Grover Norquist, and of course Marco Rubio, as well as by the usual suspects on the left: administration stooges, software billionaires, George Soros's myriad front organizations, the race lobbies, and so on. It was serious, scholarly work, though, and made an impression. Something had to be done!
The bill's supporters did some frantic digging, and quickly struck gold. One of the Heritage researchers who'd prepared the report was Jason Richwine, a statistician and political analyst with a good background in math. Turns out that Richwine's Ph.D. from Harvard's Kennedy School of Government was titled "IQ and Immigration Policy." The thesis was read by three examiners, all eminent Harvard scholars, and approved, and Richwine got his Ph.D. four years ago.
In that thesis Richwine does a thorough quantitative study of the average IQ of immigrant populations, broken down by the region they immigrated from, and quoting some well-known results on the different average IQs of different races. He then makes some policy suggestions: mainly, that U.S. immigration policy should favor smart immigrants over dumb ones; but for the sake of political acceptability should cast the issue in terms of preference for skilled over unskilled immigrants.
Which was what the Heritage cost study had done. Obviously Richwine was a horrible racist and so, therefore, by association was the Heritage study. Just what the amnesty-cheap-labor lobbies needed!
As Radio Derb goes to tape the internet is ringing with denunciations of Jason Richwine as a sinister racist with Klan robes in his back closet and a Confederate flag on his pickup truck. It all reminds me of something, though I can't quite bring to mind what.
In fact Jason is a polite and charming young man — I've met him a couple of times — and his thesis, which I have read (it's on the internet), is an exemplary piece of quantitative scholarship, well structured, fully referenced and carefully argued.
The witch-hunters are in fact having some trouble explaining how three eminent scholars — an economist, a sociologist, and a political scientist — at Harvard University, not formerly known as a hotbed of extreme-right radicalism, signed off on the thesis. The mystery deepens when you learn that the sociologist has a long paper trail as a liberal. In one of his early books, in fact, published forty years ago, he described himself as a socialist. Yet here these guys are, associating with, oh my god!, a racist.
What on earth is going on? The leftists just can't figure it out. It defies all their categories. Racists are snaggle-toothed hillbillies drinking liquor from a jar. What's one even doing at Harvard?
Over at the Daily Kos website some writer under the pseudonym "Empty Vessel" has called for the three professors to be, quote, "held publicly accountable." He tells us he's written to the dean of the Kennedy School of Government asking, quote, "why the School awarded Richwine a Ph.D. and what they plan to do in the future to prevent it from happening again."
This is Soviet stuff. As an Enemy of the People myself, I hope Richwine stands tall and spits in the eyes of these two-bit commissars, as I do every chance I get. I also hope that the scholars who passed his thesis will stand up and make a vigorous defense of academic freedom and rational enquiry. If these things don't happen, we shall have edged a little way closer to the darkness.
07 — Miscellany. And now, our closing miscellany of brief items.
Imprimis: Physicist Stephen Hawking is a hero of our time, and quite rightly so. He has set an extraordinarily high standard for coping with extreme disability — coping with courage, good humor, and a dogged determination to live a useful life. In 1963, aged 21, he was diagnosed with motor neurone disease, and given two years to live. That was fifty years ago. Not only is Hawking still with us, he has been married, divorced, and remarried, produced three children, contributed to major advances in theoretical physics, and authored several best-selling books. For decades he has had no motor functions other than the ability to twitch some facial muscles.
A hero of our time, as I said. Hawking's also a left-liberal in politics, though. He was recently invited to address an annual conference of international luminaries in Israel, along with Bill Clinton, Tony Blair, and Michael Gorbachev. Hawking wrote to tell the organizers he'd decided not to go, quote, "after receiving a number of emails from Palestinian academics."
It's his choice, I guess, though an odd one. For one thing the head of the Palestine Chamber of Commerce, Munib al-Masri, will speak at the conference. If Palestinians aren't boycotting, what's the rationale for boycotting on behalf of Palestinians?
Furthermore, the computer chip that controls Hawking's speech gadget — the one that turns twitches of his facial muscles into speech sounds — was designed by an Israeli team.
The left has its own logic, I guess, but I'm sorry to see this genuine hero being sucked into it.
Item: There was a lot of fuss this week about a libertarian group making a working plastic handgun by using a 3-D printer. I was skeptical when I saw this. The pressures inside a gun at the moment of firing are tremendous. That's why gun metal is heavy, solid stuff. Can plastic really take that?
Apparently it can, at least for a while. The news reports said the gun fired off six 38-caliber rounds before becoming unusable, and I saw a TV demonstration of the firing. Ideally you'd want a handgun to fire more than six rounds. On the other hand, in a lot of situations, six rounds is more than enough.
I suppose Michael Bloomberg and Barack Obama and the congressional gun-grabbers are having conniptions over this, but I'm fine with it. I'd be fine with the society of that Robert Heinlein novel where everyone was armed all the time. On this at least I agree with the libertarians. An armed society is a polite society.
The federal government seems to be taking a different line, and they're not letting that boring, antique old Constitution stand in their way. DEFCAD, the website of those libertarians who published the printable-gun software has been shut down (though not before a hundred thousand people had downloaded that software). A banner across the web page reads, quote: "DEFCAD files are being removed from public access at the request of the U.S. Department of Defense Trade Controls. Until further notice, the United States government claims control of the information." End quote.
How about that. Not to worry, though; I'm sure the federal government knows what's best for us.
Item: Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey has had something called "lap-band surgery" to help control his weight. I never heard of this surgery. I thought a lap band was where you got the music for a lap dance from.
Not so. I looked it up. "Lap" is short for "laparoscopic," which relates to observing the inside of one's abdomen. The band is a wee belt that is tightened around the stomach so less food can get in.
It all sounds a bit icky; but I've sat across a table from Chris Christie and let me tell you, he's fat. He apparently plans to run for President in 2016 and figures he'll be more appealing to voters if he's slimmer.
That's probably right; and Christie's probably right in believing he'll be healthier if he slims down. Still I can't repress a twinge of sadness about it. Look at it this way: It's a loss of diversity. The world I grew up in had fat people, thin people, ectomorphs, mesomorphs, and endomorphs. Fat people were jovial and social; thin people were irritable and solitary. "Let me have around me men who are fat," says one of Shakespeare's characters. My best friend's a fat guy, and he's fun to be around. Isn't diversity supposed to be the supreme good? Not in this case, I guess.
And speaking just for myself, Christie could slim down to Jimmy Stewart girth, I still wouldn't vote for him. The guy's an open-borders gun-grabber.
Item: Finally, meet Kong Dongmei, 41 years old, of Peking … or "Beijing," if you want to be up-to-date; or "Pei-p'ing," if you want to flaunt your reactionary credentials. Anyway, please meet this lady. She's rich, seriously rich: net worth around $800 million. That, someone has calculated, makes her the 242nd richest person in China.
OK, but why is this noteworthy? China's been popping out billionaires like the proverbial Pez dispenser for the past quarter century. Why is Ms. Kong worth our attention? Well, because she's the granddaughter of Mao Tse-tung, that's why.
In related news, we learn that Al Gore, who ran for President on the ticket of the Democratic Party — you know, the party of the little guy — is worth north of $200 million. He made $100 million just in January! Across the pond there is Tony Blair, former Labour Party Prime Minister, charging a quarter million dollars for a speech.
Back in the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution the ChiComs had a song titled "Socialism is Good!" [Clip: "社會主義好!"] It sure is good to the ones running the show.
08 — Signoff. There you have it, listeners; another week older and deeper in debt — around twenty billion dollars deeper, in the case of the U.S.A.
Here in the sun-kissed Aegean it's been a week of quiet reflection. Last Sunday was Easter Day by the Greek church reckoning. The main thing Greek Christians do at Easter, other than the prescribed religious observances, is eat lamb.
If you were raised as I was in the old English tradition, it's impossible to eat lamb at Easter without there coming to mind the surpassingly beautiful hymn "All In the April Evening." Yes, yes, I know April is long gone, but let's not be too punctilious here.
Here's a snippet, sung by the Glasgow Orpheus Choir — which was founded, incidentally, by Hugh Roberton, who composed this music for Katharine Hinkson's words.
More from Radio Derb next week.
[Music clip: From "All In the April Evening."]