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[Music clip: From Haydn's Derbyshire Marches, organ version]
01 — Intro. And Radio Derb is on the air! This is your numerically genial host John Derbyshire with all the news you need to know, brought to you from our sound studio here on Taki's private island in the wine-dark Aegean Sea.
Just an advance notice here before we get going. We have heard that our esteemed proprietor and Dear Leader Taki Theodoracopulos is currently cruising the Aegean and may very well drop by at the studio next week. With a man of Taki's innumerable interests and business adventures, one cannot of course guarantee his whereabouts: He might at the last minute be called away to a business meeting in Brussels, Basle, or Bangkok. We do hope he'll be able to join us, though, and will speak to you directly in next week's podcast.
I am thinking of the old joke, which I am sure many of you know, about the Pope sitting in his office at the Vatican when two cardinals rush in, in a state of great excitement. "Holy Father," gasps the first cardinal, "The most amazing thing has happened!"
"What?" says the Pope. "What is it?"
"It's Our Lord!" replies the first cardinal. "Jesus Christ himself come back to Earth! He is riding through the streets of Rome on a donkey! The people are throwing palm leaves under his feet!"
"Goodness me," says the Pope. "That is amazing."
"But Holy Father," says the second cardinal, "What should we do? What should we do?"
The Pope meditates for a moment. Then he says: "Look busy!"
Regular listeners will know that nothing is random at Radio Derb. There will be more Papal allusions as we go along. First, though, how are things in Glocca Morra?
02 — The news from Ireland. The Republic of Ireland had a referendum on homosexual marriage. A big majority of voters, 62 percent, voted to legalize homosexual marriage.
Before proceeding with this story, let me just assure Radio Derb listeners that I shall not be stooping to low humor about Irish homosexuals. I shall not be telling you what language Irish lesbians speak; nor will there be any mention of Irish airline stewardesses with first name Connie, nor of Irish best friends whose last names both begin with "Fitz-." No, Radio Derb will remain a class operation, ever attentive to the strictest requirements of good taste.
So, what about this referendum? First off, at least it was a referendum. The mass of the Irish people were asked, and they gave an answer. I don't like the answer, but I'll respect it as an expression of the popular will.
In the U.S.A. homosexual marriage, and a great many other things, are imposed on us by judges, graduates of law schools that are themselves infused with radical ideology. To American liberals who are cheering this result I'd say: OK, how about we here in the U.S.A. have a referendum on, say, amnesty for illegal aliens, or a strict low limit on legal immigration? I would gladly trade homosexual marriage for that.
The crowds in Dublin applauding the result were holding up signs that just said "equal." There you see the spirit of our age: that in the human sphere, everything is equal to everything else.
That's just defiance of reality, though. Homosexual unions can't be equal to heterosexual ones, because homosexuality runs against the biological grain while heterosexuality runs with it. Mother Nature will not be mocked — didn't we learn that from the AIDS epidemic? Which, by the way, is still very much with us. The Centers for Disease Control reports rates of new infections running steady at about 50,000 a year, with around ten thousand deaths. It's not a big secret, although goodness knows the homosex lobbies tried very hard to make it one, that AIDS is spread by promiscuous homosexual buggery.
Male homosexuality is in fact a deeply unhealthy lifestyle. Even before AIDS came up there were diseases characteristic of male homosexuals. Injuries, too: If you have a strong stomach, you might check out W.H. Auden's poem on this topic.
By far the most offensive thing about the Irish campaign, though — and this applies to lesbians as much as to male homosexuals — was the jeering triumphalism and self-righteousness of the Yes faction. This whole issue stinks of totalitarianism.
I am old enough to remember when homosexual acts were illegal in Britain. In practice it was rare for anyone to be prosecuted unless they made a public nuisance of themselves — pestering men in public toilets, that kind of thing. Homosexuals and lesbians who lived quietly and inoffensively were tolerated and left alone. People made jokes about them behind their backs, but nobody bothered them. Read Noel Coward's short story Me and the Girls, published in 1964.
Do you get the impression that the homosex activists and their liberal followers are capable of that kind of tolerance towards those who take a traditional view of marriage? I sure don't. These are absolutists, who won't rest until the last dissenter has been publicly shamed, scorned, prosecuted, and driven from his job or lost his business.
There is no tolerance here, none of the easy-going acceptance that I grew up with. This is a victory for fascism, for totalitarianism, a net loss for liberty, especially for liberty of conscience.
I'll close with a quote from myself, if you don't mind. When you've been in this business as long as I have, you've said a lot of things already; but some of them bear repeating. This is from a piece I wrote back in 2001. Quote, with an inner quote:
Though perhaps it is not very polite to talk about it, there is a fascist strain in the Irish character to which Sinn Féin appeals. Nobody could possibly be more Irish than Donall MacAmhlaigh, author of the 1960s Irish-language classic Dialann Deorai, which Valentin Iremonger translated into English under the title An Irish Navvy. Reflecting on his experiences among the English, of whom he was not over-fond, MacAmhlaigh none the less allowed that [quote from him]: "The average Englishman has a deep-rooted opposition to any dictatorship whatsoever — communism, fascism, or the kind of thing you get in Spain or Portugal; and my own opinion is that, although we are Catholics, we would accept a dictatorship quicker provided only that it came from within our own country."
03 — No god in this fight. I have a question to pose here. Before I pose it, let me post a disclaimer, a declaration of disinterest.
And preceding that, a reminder for people — I know you are legion — who can never remember which is which of "disinterested" and "uninterested."
You're dis-interested when you have no personal stake in the dispute, no dog in the fight; you're un-interested when you find a topic boring, of no interest.
This is not empty pedantry. Those are two distinct meanings, and it's right and proper to have two different words for them, even if the words aren't different enough to avoid confusion. You can be disinterested without being uninterested: I might, on a whim, be interested in which horse wins the race without having any money on it. Contrariwise, I could have a financial stake in the race without finding it interesting: I might be in a coma while it takes place. You can't be interested in anything when you're comatose; but you might still be up to win or lose some money, you might still have an interest, which means you're not dis-interested even while you're lying there obliviously un-interested. See?
OK, so here's my declaration of disinterest: I'm not a follower of any religion. Once or twice a year I attend an Anglican service if I can find one, but merely for sentimental and esthetic reasons. I don't believe any of the doctrines. I approve of religion in a general way, as a social binding force and a consolation for the afflicted; and as a traditionalist, I'm rather particularly fond of Christianity, as the traditional religion of my ancestors and my culture, the culture of the West, the culture of my own early education.
Aside from that lukewarm tribal loyalty, no strong feelings. I certainly don't have the team spirit a lot of my religious friends have — the attitude that my religion is beautiful, fragrant, and true, but yours stinks. Sorry, just don't have that.
OK, that's the declaration of disinterest. Being of that kidney, obviously I wouldn't intentionally give offense to anyone just on account of their religious confession — no, not even to Moslems, whose religion I'm fine with, so long as they keep it in their forty-something countries and out of mine. And I especially wouldn't give offense to Christians, with whom I feel a vague cultural kinship.
That of course won't stop some people taking offense anyway, but I can't do anything about that. If people take offense when plainly none is intended, they're just unnecessarily adding trouble and discord to a world that already has enough of both. Those people need to work on their issues, perhaps with the help of a priest, rabbi, imam, or bonze.
Wow, that was some declaration of disinterest! It's taken up a whole segment right there! So … what was the question I wanted to pose, the question to which all that is preface?
04 — Quo vadis? The question is: What's up with Roman Catholicism?
Here's a story from this week's news. It concerns St. Louis University, which I'll refer to from now on as SLU, a Roman Catholic college run by Jesuits in, of course, St. Louis, Missouri.
Until this week the university campus was graced by a statue of Pierre-Jean De Smet, a 19th-century Jesuit who did missionary work among Indians in the Midwest. The statue, which had been in place for over 50 years, showed the priest holding aloft a crucifix as he blessed two Indians. The Indians were looking up at the priest respectfully.
The news from this week is that that statue has been removed. College authorities — these are Jesuits, remember — decided that it was unacceptably white-supremacist.
Don't worry, though, the campus at SLU won't be statue-free for long. College authorities are pressing ahead with plans to erect a new statue. This new statue will commemorate a protest held last October against the police shooting of thief, bully, and scofflaw Michael Brown in nearby Ferguson, Missouri.
That's just a small, local instance of what's going on; which seems to be, that the Roman Catholic church is nowadays a vehicle for Cultural Marxism and white-European ethnomasochism — hatred of our own race and culture, disdain for our ancestors and their accomplishments.
This is a remarkable development. Roman Catholicism used to be a great reactionary force, standing athwart History crying "Stop!" Sure, there were radical elements in the Church, at least from the 1960s on. There was Liberation Theology, there were the Berrigan Brothers, there were John L'Heureux's fictional priests making bombs in their basement. The hierarchy, though, and the mass of the laity, were conservative down to the 1990s.
Now it seems the radicalism has seeped up and outwards. The Pope told us back in January, for example, that he would like to cross into the U.S.A. from Mexico as, quote, "a beautiful gesture of brotherhood and support for immigrants," by which he plainly means illegal immigrants. Similarly, we get regular pronouncements from the Vatican calling for more welfare socialism, apparently confusing private charity, which is a Christian virtue, with state policy.
Among the Roman Catholic laity, conservatism has melted away. These were traditionally philoprogenitive populations; but now Catholic countries of Southern Europe have lower fertility than those of the Protestant North.
As Radio Derb reported last week, the first nation to have a male-homosexual First Couple — a male Prime Minister married to another male — is Luxembourg, a Catholic nation. And now here come the Irish, the most Catholic nation of all, cheering on a complete reversal of moral values.
There is some division here between the shepherds and the flock. The Vatican seems not to have been pleased by the Irish result. Here's a quote from Cardinal Parolin, the Vatican's Secretary of State, number two to the Pope, quote: "I think that you cannot just talk of a defeat for Christian principles, but of a defeat for humanity." End quote. The Vatican seems to smile at economic Marxism, but not yet at Cultural Marxism.
As I said, I don't have a god in this fight. As a traditionalist, though, I like to see traditionalists maintain themselves with their principles intact. The Church of Rome seems not to be doing very well on that score; and that, to echo Cardinal Parolin, is a loss for humanity.
05 — Another GOP hopeful. Here's another Republican running for his party's presidential nomination: former Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, who announced on Wednesday this week.
That gets us up to eight significant Republicans so far officially declared. (I'm not counting no-hoper vanity candidates.) In case you're losing track, they are: Ben Carson, Ted Cruz, Carly Fiorina, Mike Huckabee, George Pataki, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, and now Rick Santorum.
My first cut on politicians is to mentally divide them into three broad categories: hot, cool, and frozen.
Santorum's in the cool category. I'd vote for Santorum faute de mieux, but Derb-wise he has a lot of negatives.
He's a missionary neocon, for example, who wants to send our armies crusading abroad to convert the heathen to Jeffersonian democracy. That's not only a dumb idea in itself, it's also a major vote-loser. After the debacles of the George W. Bush administration, Americans at large understand that either the neocon project is not doable, or it's doable only by methods we are not nowadays willing to employ, like turning the enemy's cities into fields of rubble.
Santorum is also a devout and obedient Roman Catholic, at a time when, as I've just been pointing out, his Church is morphing into a vehicle for Cultural Marxism and guilty white-European ethnomasochism.
So yeah, some negatives there. On the other side, Santorum in his declaration speech, came out strong for American workers and against the cheap-labor cartels who are seeking to impoverish and disinherit them. Sample quotes:
From Day One, we will work to bring back America and put Americans back to work.
End quote. All right, Santorum's a politician. A grain of salt is appropriate. Possibly — I don't think so, given his background, but possibly — he'll be saying the opposite thing next week, if the consultants tell him that's what the focus groups want.
He's also a Republican politician; so it's further possible that the big donors who finance that party will find a way to kidnap him and implant the chip in his brain — the chip that makes a candidate squawk Diversity is our strength! and Nation of immigrants! when they beam the prompt rays at him.
Maybe. Still, the one big issue facing our country is demographic replacement, and the crushing of the citizen middle class that goes with it. If we have a candidate willing to stand up to that, I'll vote for him.
06 — Buy Ann's book! Ann Coulter has a new book coming out on Monday, title: Adios, America! The Left's Plan to Turn Our Country into a Third World Hellhole.
Ann has done a very clever and wonderful thing. By selling millions of books — this is I think her eleventh — and building up a big following, she has got herself up to a status where she can't be ignored. She also has positions — to the best of my judgment, sincerely-held positions — that make her palatable to neocon outlets like Fox News.
Thus positioned, Ann can say things in the mass media that no-one else is saying and that, if any other person were saying them, that person would be banned for life from all major outlets.
She can say, for example, and does say in this new book, that:
Those are useful things to know when contemplating our nation's immigration policy; yet nobody of any prominence in our public debates, other than Ann, is saying them. For darn sure, no politician is saying them, squirming yellow cowards that our politicians are.
Well, Ann's saying them, and she's gotten herself into a position where they can't shut her up.
Help to keep her in that position. Buy her book. Buy two copies and give one to a friend. No, wait: Buy three copies, give one to a friend, and leave one lying around in your local diner.
07 — Institutional amnesia. Do you ever find youself thinking that human beings in the generality are kind of dumb?
No, that's not quite right. Of course some people in any big population are dumb; but then, some are smart, and most of us are just middling intelligent. I think what I mean is that people are, on a large social scale, mighty forgetful. We have good memories for our own personal lives — for our health and financial crises, out interactions with colleagues, lovers, family members, and so on. We just don't seem good at remembering what society at large was like five, ten, fifteen years ago.
Consider New York City's communist Mayor Bill de Blasio, for example. He took up the mayoralty at the beginning of 2014. That was after 20 years of more conservative mayor-ing. Yeah, yeah, I know: you listeners out in middle America don't consider Rudy Giuliani and Michael Bloomberg to be very conservative, but by New York City standards they were.
And why did Giuliani and Michael Bloomberg get elected in such a heavily left-liberal, Democratic city? Public safety. Giuliani was elected in 1993 after a huge crime wave following the crack epidemic of the late 80s and early 90s. There were more than 2200 murders in New York in 1990. That was a peak, but in 1993 there were still nearly 2000. In Giuliani's last year, 2001, there were 649, not counting the 9/11 terrorism deaths; in Bloomberg's last year, 2013, there were 335.
So, great. The daffy liberals of New York City for twenty years elected relatively conservative, no-nonsense Mayors, and crime rates dived. Terrific! said the liberals. We live in a low-crime city! Then, totally forgetting what the city had been like twenty years previously, in 2013 they elected a Mayor way out at the far left tail of the daffy-liberal bell curve. And now, guess what? Crime rates are going up.
If you join some well-established department in a big organization, there's always someone around who your new colleagues tell you is the "institutional memory" of the place. Usually an older guy or lady, this is the person who remembers how things used to be done before the department changed its procedures, and also — much more important — remembers why the procedures were changed.
In society at large there doesn't seem to be much "institutional memory." Nobody in New York City remembers how bad things used to be, or why New Yorkers shucked off their liberalism and voted for businesslike Mayors with stern ideas about social order. All they know is that crime is low. So, hey, we don't need those stern businesslike Mayors any more! Let's vote in a guy with a head full of fuzzy leftist flapdoodle — a guy who gets out of bed mid-morning, puts in a couple of hours at the gym, then strolls over to City Hall to see what's up.
(I've over-simplified some there. What most voters actually said in the 2013 mayoral election was: "Hey, things are fine, no need to bother with voting any more!" Turnout was 23 percent.)
It's institutional amnesia. Five years down the road the city will be having another crime wave and the pendulum will swing. We'll get another no-nonsense Mayor with strict ideas about policing.
Meanwhile hundreds of people will have been robbed, assaulted, and killed, who otherwise wouldn't have been. Surely it would have been better to spare citizens all that pain by just exercising a little institutional memory. Wouldn't it?
08 — Miscellany. And now, our closing miscellany of brief items.
Imprimis: I mentioned up there, in regard to the Irish referendum, that this modern fantasy about everything in the human sphere being equal to everything else is in defiance of biology. Well, here's another example.
The subject here is air traffic controllers, the people who guide planes through the skies. It's an extremely challenging and high-pressure job. Quote: "It takes several years of study to acquire the complex skills necessary to become an air traffic controller, or ATC," end quote. That's from a May 20th report out of Fox Business.
The Federal Aviation Administration, the FAA, has been changing the way it selects applicants for jobs in air traffic control. They want more diversity, you see. Some races do way better on the qualifying tests than others. Since the equalist ideology says that all races are equal in their ability profiles, there must be something wrong with the tests.
As with entrance qualifications for police and firefighters, as with women in the armed forces, the only way anyone can think of to make the minorities look equal is to lower the standards.
That's what the FAA has been doing, according to the Fox Business Network, who have done a 6-month investigation into the hiring and training of air traffic controllers. In place of the college courses and complex examinations you used to need to qualify as a controller, there is now something called the Biographical Questionnaire. If you fill it out to the FAA's satisfaction, you can be hired.
Sample question from the Biographical Questionnaire:
The number of different high school sports I participated in was
It would of course be regrettable if these new lower standards for air traffic controllers led to mid-air collisions between loaded airliners; but as horrific as such a tragedy would be, if our diversity becomes a casualty, I think that's worse.
Item: While browsing the news from Ireland — and please note my choice of verb there: hold it in you mind for a moment — while browsing the news from Ireland I came across this item, which has nothing whatever to do with homosexual marriage. I just include it as a public service announcement for younger listeners contemplating a career in agriculture.
In County Monaghan in north-central Ireland, 63-year-old Teresa McNally was killed by a cow. The unfortunate Ms McNally passed away in Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda as a result of serious injuries inflicted by a cow some days previously.
Radio Derb's condolences go out to the relatives of Ms McNally. I have no information on the fate of the cow.
This is not as unusual as you might think. Around twenty people are killed by cows every year in the U.S.A. Old Buttercup may look pretty harmless, standing there in the field chewing her cud; but remember that to milk a cow, or even to attach the milking machine, you have to get down there among the hind quarters. A cow with an attitude — or, as you might say, a beef — perhaps as a result of suffering from two or three upset stomachs, a disgruntled cow can deliver a mighty kick to your head. And that's no bull. [Mooo!]
Item: A couple of weeks ago I rode my hobby-horse about the importance of numbers — of having some notion of quantities in your mind when discussing social issues. In support I cited the great 19th-century British physicist Lord Kelvin, quote: "When you can measure what you are speaking about, and express it in numbers, you know something about it; but when you cannot express it in numbers, your knowledge is of a meagre and unsatisfactory kind …" et cetera.
A listener emailed in to remind me of this passage from Boswell's Life of Johnson, where Johnson expresses a similar sentiment. The date here is Friday, April 18th, 1783. Boswell and Johnson are sitting in Johnson's garden, chatting idly. Quote:
Boswell. "Sir Alexander Dick tells me, that he remembers having a thousand people in a year to dine at his house: that is, reckoning each person as one, each time that he dined there."
End quote. Numbers, numbers, numbers: Numbers are of the essence.
09 — Signoff. That's the news for this week, listeners, as refracted through the Radio Derb prism.
Next week I shall be on the road again, visiting some Civil War battlefields. I've been meaning to do this for a while, and next week is my birthday, so as a birthday treat off I go to the Eastern Theater of that great conflict.
Among the states I'll be visiting is the Old Dominion, the beautiful state of Virginia. I am reliably informed that Virginia is being converted into a suburb of Mexico City as fast as the Obama administration can do the job, so I want to see those historic places before they disappear under mounds of litter.
In an anticipatory tribute to the Old Dominion, here is one of those wonderful atmospheric 19th-century American songs, "Carry Me Back to Old Virginny." The song has a somewhat controversial history that I'll leave you to read up for yourselves. It's been recorded by innumerable artists, including some fine concert singers. For me, though, the rendering by the late Ray Charles is definitive.
Back in 1960, when we bought popular music on 45 r.p.m. vinyl disks, Charles had a huge hit with "Georgia on My Mind." My sister, who was two years older than me and more au courant with pop culture, owned that record. "Carry Me Back to Old Virginny" was on the B side.
A natural contrarian even at that tender age, I liked that B side much better than the hit side — absolutely no offense to the fine people of Georgia or their noble state.
I still like it; it's a very beautiful song, and Ray Charles did it justice.
There will be more from Radio Derb next week.
[Music clip: Ray Charles, "Carry Me Back to Old Virginny."]