[Music clip: From Haydn's Derbyshire Marches, organ version]
01 — Intro. And Radio Derb is on the air! This is your polychromatically genial host John Derbyshire with a selection from the week's news. Much to discuss this week, listeners, so let's go straight into it.
02 — Whistleblower or traitor? Name of the week is undoubtedly Edward Snowden, the 29-year-old computer wizard who told a British newspaper that our Department of Defense tracks our phone records, emails, Google searches, etc.
Depending on which outlet you're reading, Snowden is either a "whistleblower" or a "traitor," a hero or a villain. The Nation magazine, which is out on the far left, says Snowden has blown the lid off America's, quote, "Stasi State," a reference to the old East German secret police … which of course The Nation had no objection to back when East Germany was in business and the Stasi were pulling out dissidents' fingernails.
On the other hand, some of the fiercer conservatives like Ralph Peters want to have Snowden boiled in oil. Peters says that Snowden has, quote, "betrayed his country," and, quote, "subverted democracy," and, quote, "alerted our enemies about our most sophisticated capabilities."
It's not a simple left-right thing, either. Conservatives, remember, favor small government, private liberty, and the Constitution. The DoD keeping huge data banks of our peronal communications is not exactly emblematic of small government, privacy is obviously out the window, and the Constitution guarantees us against unreasonable searches and seizures; so plenty of conservatives — Theo Caldwell at the Daily Caller, for example — are willing to give Snowden a pass. Contrariwise, limousine liberal Senator Diane Feinstein, who last time I noticed her was encouraging illegal alien homosexuals to get married after first surrendering their guns, has spoken of, quote, "an avalanche of leaks … that puts our nation's security in jeopardy," end quote.
Where's the American public here? Reuters did a poll. They found 46 percent of us with no opinion on the matter. The opinionated 54 percent broke 31-23 in Snowden's favor.
So which is it, hero or villain? Where does Radio Derb come down on this? We say the guy's a villain, though we'll add a lot of footnotes.
I start with that newspaper that Snowden spilled the beans to, the London Guardian. I know that newspaper of old, from when I lived in England way back in the seventies and eighties. It's a Cultural Marxist rag, way to the left even of the New York Times, and has played a not inconsiderable role in turning England into a multicultural police state. Basically, anything the Guardian is promoting, I'm hostile to.
And then there are the people opening their arms to the guy: Vladimir Putin, the ChiComs. We haven't heard from Kim Jong Un yet, far as I know, but I bet there's a luxury apartment in Pyongyang waiting for Snowden if he wants it.
All right, you could say, but that's guilt by association, and what about the Fourth Amendment, and can I really be happy about the feds riffling through my credit card records?
Permit me to enlarge upon these issues. Next segment.
The idea is that those charged with running a country have the overriding duty to see that the country goes on existing, even if this means doing things contrary to the country's stated principles or religion. You get a similar flavor from the American maxim that "the Constitution is not a suicide pact." Statesmen should never, never be in the business of aiding and abetting national suicide.
Naturally there's plenty of room under the slogan raison d'État for judgment calls and differences of opinion. Back in the Cold War there were sober, thoughtful people who said that nuclear weapons are immoral. Should we really, they asked, have military personnel in silos up in North Dakota, sitting at keyboards that could wipe out Moscow and Leningrad, incinerating millions of men, women, and children?
Those people had a point. Still, if we'd held a referendum in 1955 on whether to give up all our nukes, I'd have voted to keep them. Raison d'État.
Statecraft isn't a weekend game of volleyball. It's in dead earnest. There are things a nation has to do if it wants to keep existing. Some of those things aren't pleasant. Some are downright immoral and un-Christian. Some will annoy or inconvenience a lot of people. Some may even injure or kill people. Worse yet in this age of whiny victimhood: some may, oh my God, hurt people's feelings.
We need serious people with sober judgment presiding over the doing of those things, and even then they'll sometimes get it wrong. Still the calls have to be made. Raison d'État.
I'm not entirely unsympathetic to Edward Snowden's case. Many years ago I served in a brief and very peripheral way in Her Majesty's Armed Forces. When I took my commission, I had to sign the Official Secrets Act. I wondered at the time what I should do if, in the course of my meager duties, I learned that my country was doing something shamefully wrong under cover of official secrecy, perhaps something that in my judgment was against the national interest.
I in fact went beyond just wondering; I looked up the regulations to find out. What should I do in that situation? The answer was that I should, quote, "seek an opportunity to discuss the matter with my Commanding Officer," end quote. Since presumably my C.O. was under the same rule, I guess the idea was that the issue should be passed up the chain of command until it got lost somewhere in the higher levels of the military bureaucracy. Not really optimal, if you have any kind of a conscience; but if you signed the paper, you should stand by your signature.
Edward Snowden was not a military person, only an employee of a civilian firm on contract to the DoD. I presume he had to sign something equivalent to the Official Secrets Act, though. If you sign something like that, you've made a commitment, and you should honor that commitment.
I'm not very surprised to find the government is storing my phone and email records. Other things equal, I'd rather they didn't; but I can't say I'm much bothered about it. And yes, I think it does come under a fair definition of raison d'État. As Pat Buchanan said in a very thoughtful and sensible column, this data-mining technology is out there, like nuclear weapons knowledge. It won't get un-invented. Other nations will use it against us for their strategic or commercial advantage. We're fools if we don't use it ourselves.
So yes, put me down as anti-Snowden. I don't want the guy boiled in oil, though. If I were the presiding judge in his case, I'd give him five years, with time off for good behavior, for violating the agreement he signed.
All that said, there is still one point to make. Allow me one more segment on this, please.
04 — Libertarianism in one country. OK, so the government is storing all this data on us — on us, the citizens. Raison d'État? Sure … but can a small-government conservative really be happy about this? And if not, is there anything to be done about it?
No, and yes. No, I'm not happy about it; and yes, there are things I'd like done.
The thing that raises my hackles in these conversations is when someone says: "Hey, the government has to keep us safe, and they're doing a pretty good job of that. We haven't had another 9/11, after all."
No, we haven't; but if you try to get me to say, "Thank you, Daddy Government, for keeping me safe," the words kind of stick in my throat. Sure, there are things government has to do for reasons of state, including disagreeable things. Seems to me, though, that we could be just as safe, in fact a lot safer, with much less violation of our privacy and rights.
What's all this government effort trying to keep us safe from, after all? Well, the guy who raised my hackles said it: another 9/11. Sure, a nation of 300 million is going to throw up the occasional native lunatic, a Timothy McVeigh or Ted Kaczynski. Most of this data-mining effort, though, is trying to keep tabs on crazy Muslims.
This guy, for example. Story from the San Francisco Chronicle, June 11th, quote:
Lawyers for an Uzbek national facing federal terrorism-related charges in Idaho and Utah want a judge to let them withdraw from the case, saying federal budget cuts have left their office with limited resources.
End quote. Admit it, you never heard of Fazliddin Kurbanov. You heard of Nidal Hasan, the Fort Hood shooter, and you heard of the Tsarnaev brothers who bombed the Boston Marathon, and you sure as heck heard of the 9/11 terrorists. You never heard of Fazliddin Kurbanov, though, or a hundred others like him, because their plans were scuppered by Daddy Government keeping us safe by snooping on our private activities.
Yet we could be spared the snooping, not to mention Mr. Kurbanov's, quote, "long and costly case," and further not to mention the horrors of Fort Hood and the Boston Marathon and 9/11, if we just kept Muslims out of our country.
Sure, that's profiling; and sure, most Muslims are nice and harmless people. If you let hundreds of thousands of Muslims settle in your country, though, you'll get a few hundred Major Hasans, Muhammed Attas, Tsarnaev brothers, and Fazliddin Kurbanovs. In a perfect world our visa officers would have mind-reading machines so we could tell, individual by individual, who the lunatics are. In the world we actually inhabit, no such machines exist, and we must fall back on profiling.
More generally, an ounce of security at our borders would save a pound of snooping and data-mining inside the country. I favor maximum liberty of citizens within the nation; and I believe an essential precondition for that is maximum rigor of security at our borders. The more security we have at our borders, the less we need inside them.
So I'd wish to see a huge transfer of resources from watching people settled in the country to keeping undesirables out. Daddy Government will probably end up with the same amount of work to do, but much more of it will be directed at foreigners, to whom our government owes nothing, and less will be directed at citizens, to whom the government owes a duty to respect our liberties.
05 — Heavens to Betsy. That segues naturally into the Schumer-Mac-Rubio Scofflaw Amnesty, Immigration Surge, and American Worker Displacement Bill, currently being pondered by the U.S. Senate.
The Schumer-Mac-Rubio Bill naturally does none of the things I've just been recommending. In fact it does the opposite to all of them.
Take the national security issue, for example, which I've just been arguing should be a key concern when considering someone for settlement in the U.S. Here I'm going to go to Betsy McCaughey, who has made something of a specialty of doing detailed analysis on long pieces of legislation. Betsy was instrumental in scuppering Hillarycare twenty years ago by exactly that kind of detailed analysis. Later she served as Lieutenant-Governor of New York. Just recently she's put out a devastating book on Obamacare.
OK, here's Betsy talking about just one aspect of national security being weakened by the Schumer-Mac-Rubio Bill, which she has actually read, the whole thing, from beginning to end. I apologize for the poor sound quality.
[Clip: Betsy McCaughey. "As you know, there have been numerous terrorist attacks committed by people connected with asylum seeking; either asylum seekers themselves or members of their families — including the tragic Boston Marathon bombing a few weeks ago. That was committed by two young men whose parents sought asylum in the United States.
What you see here in fact, when you read or listen to analyses of the Amnesty Bill, is a complete inversion of the principles I've been laying out. What you see is a falling over ourselves to accommodate the interests and wishes of foreigners without any concern at all for the safety or liberty of citizens.
What you also see is a kind of light-headedness, a kind of frivolity. You find yourself asking: Are we really a serious nation? Are we really capable of managing raison d'État in a grown-up way, a way that benefits citizens, however much it may inconvenience non-citizens?
We used to be a serious nation in that way. Sixty years ago the Eisenhower administration conducted mass deportations of Mexicans illegally resident here. Nobody bothered to worry how the deportees felt about it. They were here illegally; they should be sent home.
Nowadays we weep and moan and wring our hands about people living "in the shadows," as if they hadn't chosen to live there; and we drool and fawn and sob about "DREAMers," who are dreaming of availing themselves of all the accumulated social capital and benefits of a nation they have no right to be in.
It's frivolous. A serious nation has a serious concern for its own citizens, and a stern discipline for uninvited or misbehaving foreigners. We are not that nation. We are a frivolous nation, playing at being a nation; and the Schumer-Mac-Rubio Amnesty Bill ups the level of frivolity.
06 — Blackety-blackety-black black black. I confess I never watch MSNBC, but listeners send me clips. It looks really zany. There's a whole TV channel of stuff like this?
One clip I just watched is of a black guy identified as Touré, with an acute accent over the "e." That's a cool thing to have nowadays if you're black or black-ish: an "e" with an acute accent. Pop singer Beyoncé Knowles has one; and there's a law professor, a black lady prominent in Critical Race Theory, named Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw. That's not "Kimberley," e-y, it's "Kimberlé," e-acute. It seems to be something to do with black identity. Possibly the acute accent was invented by the Zulus, I don't know.
Anyway, there's this black guy identified as Touré, no last name. I googled him and his last name is actually Neblett, so you can see why he doesn't use it. I mean, "Neblett"! It might as well be "Cranshaw," or "Fotheringay," or, well, "Derbyshire." If he put the "Neblett" after the "Touré," it would totally cancel out the ethnic assertion of that acute accent.
So someone sent me this clip of Touré talking about, can you guess? — yep, his own blackness. He says he's tired of feeling like he and other blacks have to maintain a pattern of behavior that whites do not. He gave a name to his tiredness: "proper negro fatigue." Then he fretted that no matter how hard he tried at being non-threatening, he could still end up dead. I guess because, you know, white people are so dangerous to blacks. Uh-huh.
I asked around and apparently this is Touré's sole topic of conversation. He's a professional black guy, and seems to be making a nice living at it.
Then there's this story about a different MSNBC presenter named Chris Hayes. When I saw his picture, I thought: "Oh, he's their token homosexual." He has a smooth girly face, an expensive haircut, and artsy spectacle frames. His internet bio says he's married, though, and his spouse's name looks like a female name, so probably I'm wrong here. Hell, half the thirtysomething guys I see nowadays look like girls. What's going on here? — estrogen in the drinking water?
This Chris Hayes is in the news because he identified the late George Wallace as a Republican, and had to issue an apology for his slip. Well, people who live in glass houses, I guess: last week I identified Istanbul as the capital of Turkey. On the other hand, I'm not paid anything like as much as Mr. Hayes.
The George Wallace slip got conservatives chuckling because the thought processes that led to it are so obvious. George Wallace was a racist, therefore he must have been a Republican. Leaving aside the fact that today's Republican Party is so thoroughly race-whipped that any black guy who shows up at a GOP meeting is at once elected chairman by acclamation — leaving that aside, it underestimates George Wallace, who as a circuit court judge in Alabama in the 1950s was famously respectful to blacks. On one occasion, when a prosecutor kept referring to a black plaintiff by his first name, as was commonly done in the South in those days, Judge Wallace reprimanded him, telling him to use the plaintiff's last name, as he would for a white.
It's too much to expect these sheltered, pampered young metrosexuals to know any history, though, or to see more than one dimension in any thing or person. They're too busy having manicures and facials and picking out $1200 spectacle frames.
There's a lot of things to dislike about modern liberalism, but its sheer wanton ignorance is way out in front, far as I'm concerned.
07 — Miscellany. And now, our closing miscellany of brief items.
Imprimis: This week has seen jury selection going on for the upcoming trial for second-degree murder of George Zimmerman in Sanford, Florida.
You don't need to be a jurisprudential genius to figure out how this trial will go. Sanford is 45 percent non-Hispanic white, 30 percent black, 20 percent Hispanic. So in the jury we end up with after jury selection — six jurors plus four alternates — there will surely be at least a couple of blacks.
Those blacks will find Zimmerman guilty just out of racial solidarity, regardless of the evidence. If the nonblacks agree, that will be a guilty verdict. If they don't — and they most likely won't, the evidence for second-degree murder looks pretty thin — then it'll be a hung jury and a retrial.
There's no reason to think a retrial will go any differently, so this show will run and run. On the very slim possibility that the trial, or re-trial, or re-re-re-re-trial comes up with an acquittal, the U.S. Justice Department will bring a federal case against Zimmerman for violating Trayvon Martin's civil rights, or some such bull poop.
George Zimmerman may as well get new business cards printed up describing himself as "Professional Defendant." That's what he is from now on, a professional defendant. No job, no income, no liberty, no life, just a professional defendant, a sacrificial goat for the appeasement of the black race lobbies and their white liberal enablers. And all the guy was trying to do was keep his neighborhood safe.
Item: The East End of New York's Long Island is very tony — you've probably heard of the Hamptons, which are out there, and where many celebrities and Wall Street tycoons have homes.
Well, all those rich people need a lot of servants to look after them, keep their homes and gardens looking nice. So the local Hispanic population has been growing by leaps and bounds. The New York Times reports that the Hispanic population of East Hampton went from a mere five percent in 1990 to 15 percent in 2000, to over 26 percent in 2010.
This is causing lots of problems at the local high school, the Times tells us. Kids disappear for weeks at a time in visits back home to Mexico and points south. Parents can't understand what's going on at school meetings. They've had to start up English as a second language classes and hire three Spanish-speaking social workers. Most upsetting of all, there have been three student suicides in the last three years, all of them Hispanics — this is in a student body of 900.
"An uncomfortable ethnic integration problem," the Times report calls it. I guess so. East Hampton has a modest-sized middle class, in addition to all the rich folk. Even in the Hamptons you need dentists, schoolteachers, realtors, and cops. I guess it's their kids whose school is being disrupted by this Hispanic influence; I'm assuming the tycoons and celebrities all send their kids to private schools.
So this is classic class conflict: the top and the bottom against the middle.
File under the heading: "There Goes the Neighborhood."
Item: I keep trying to think of something coherent to say about Syria, and I keep failing. The latest news there is that the U.S.A. is now definitely going to ship military supplies to the rebels fighting against Bashar Assad. Since the most energetic of the rebels are al Qaeda, or allied thereto, this doesn't make a lot of sense.
I asked a friend who knows his way round the intelligence community. He gave me a long string of prose about how it's all a game of chicken with the Russians, who've been supporting Assad because they have a naval base there and a big market for their weapons and military supplies. OK, but it still doesn't make sense. What's in it for us, to play chicken with the Russians? And if Assad looks like he's losing, won't the Russians just switch sides, to keep their base and their market with the post-Assad government? They're not exactly known for sentimentality in their foreign-affairs dealings.
Bottom line here, it seems to me: This is a real geostrategic chess game. You have to hope our administration knows what it's doing. The record in Egypt and Libya does not inspire confidence, but let's hope.
Meanwhile the State Department is making noises about settling Syrian refugees in the U.S.A. This will be on top of the tens of thousands of Iraqis we're still bringing in — 12,400 just in the last eight months. Of Iraqi refugees in general, 67 percent are unemployed and 95 percent are on food stamps. Two Iraqi refugees in Kentucky have already been convicted of trying to send arms to al Qaeda.
Why on earth are we planning to import more such problems for ourselves? Tens of thousands upon tens of thousands of semi-literate Third Worlders, a high proportion Muslims, who will be welfare burdens for decades to come … Why would we do this?
Oh, did I mention? The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees has announced its intention to refer up to 50,000 Congolese for resettlement over the next five years. Most of them, we are told, will come to the U.S.A. Good grief.
08 — Signoff. That's it, ladies and gents. I admit, I'm a little dispirited this week — weighed down by so much folly and frivolity.
Casting around for a nice light-hearted novelty number to see us out with, I came up with this, which I offer to you in honor of 44-year-old Ana Lilia Trujillo of Houston, Texas. Last Sunday Ms. Trujillo stabbed her 59-year-old lover to death with a stiletto heel. Now that's one hard-hearted lady; and since "Ana" is close enough to "Hannah," there's my opening.
More from Radio Derb next week.
[Music clip: Margaret Young, "Hard-Hearted Hannah."]