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[Music clip: Haydn's Derbyshire Marches.]
01 — Intro. A melancholy and slightly hungover John Derbyshire here, bringing you this week's edition of Radio Derb. I apologize for the somewhat reduced quality of my voice — I spent yesterday evening arguing conservatism with a roomful of folk in New York's Chinatown. Nice crowd, thanks to everyone for showing up. And on the subject of my voice, someone told me I speak too slowly. Well, I am what I am, Sir, and this is how I speak. For that reader, though, and anyone of a like mind, here is everything I just said, but at JFK speed. [Repeat, speeded up.]
02 — The three trillion dollar budget. OK, whadda we do now? And what the heck happened? Twenty years ago, as Ronald Reagan's presidency was winding down, things seemed so hopeful. It really looked as though conservatives had accomplished a revolution — that our ideas had prevailed. It all curdled in the idea-free administration of Poppy Bush, but in 1994 it seemed there might be a rebirth, when, repelled by the first two years of Clintonism, the people elected a Republican congress. That soon fizzled out, the conservatives quickly outwitted, and then co-opted, by the government people and lobbyists. There was some faint hope in 2000 that W would remember that the phrase "compassionate conservatism" includes the word "conservatism," and to be fair to the guy, he did give us modest tax cuts and a forthright response to Middle East troublemakers. Then that all seeped away in welfare programs to shovel our money at kiddies and the old folk, crazy schemes of imperial nation-building, and open-borders fanaticism devaluing our citizenship and our sovereignty, while government regulators forced political correctness on our banks and mortgage lenders, leading to a very predictable financial crisis. Now here comes old George with a $3.1 trillion dollar budget. $3.1 trillion. [Gracie Fields: "It's the biggest aspidistra in the world …"] Is there any hope for conservatism? Anyone willing to step forward and pick up the soiled, tattered banners of national sovereignty, monoculturalism, American exceptionalism, traditional values, pride in citizenship, restraint in government, frugality, prudence, skepticism towards federal power, international realism, liberty, the Constitution, self-support, localism, patriotism, and vigorous defense of American interests? The banners of conservatism? Well, Ron Paul's giving it a try, but nobody is much interested. People don't even seem to understand what he's saying. No, folks, conservatism is dead. You can hear it talked about for a while longer, on outlets like this one, till the federal enforcers show up to haul us off to the booby hatch to play checkers with Britney, but basically it's over. The lights are going out. We are doomed, doomed.
03 — The Nabucco pipeline. It only remains to extract as many smiles as we can from the world's follies and misdemeanors. Here's one that tickled my fancy. The European Union is planning to build a 2,000-mile pipeline to bring natural gas from the Caspian Sea region, across the Caucasus, the Black Sea, Turkey, the Balkans, and into central Europe. The aim is to reduce the EU's dependence on Russian gas … At least for as long as the Caucasus nations can stay out of the Bear's embrace. Now, some critics pointed out that for this project to make any money for the investors, the pipeline will need to take gas from Iran, which holds the world's second largest reserves. They asked Iran, and Iran said sure, we'll be glad to come in on the deal. Now here comes the smile. The name chosen for this Euro-Iranian pipeline is Nabucco. If you're not an opera fan, I forgive you for not knowing that Nabucco is the title of Giuseppe Verdi's fine opera about the captivity of the Jews in Babylon — "Nabucco" is the Italian way to say "Nebuchadnezzar." The opera is totaly sympathetic to the Jews. In fact, in the third act we get the beautiful and famous Hebrews' Chorus, which is frankly Zionist. "Fly, thought, on wings of gold," sing the Jews. "Greet the banks of the Jordan, and Zion's toppled towers … Oh, my country so lovely and lost! …" and so on. Want to hear a bit of it? Of course you do. [Verdi clip] How did that get by the mullahs? In fact, come to think of it, never mind the mullahs, since when have EU bureaucrats displayed any sympathy for Zionism? Did someone put one over on them here? I sure hope so!
04 — Juan Hernandez. No, I don't have McCain derangement syndrome — I don't, I don't. I seriously doubt I'll get invited to the White House Easter egg roll if there's a McCain administration, but I am not deranged about it. No Sir. I do, though, have Big Issues with Big John, as do a lot of other conservatives. Biggest of the lot on my scorecard is his promotion of mass illegal immigration from Mexico. Now there are actually lots of reasonable issues to be raised about large-scale legal immigration from Mexico, spelled out in a fine book by Samuel Huntington, the "clash of civilizations" man. Mexico's a next-door country with a commercial and political culture radically different from ours. The Mexican educational system indoctrinates its citizens with beliefs like (a) they are a new race — La raza — made of a unique blend of American Indian and European peoples, and (b) big swathes of the U.S.A. were stolen from Mexico in unjust wars. Put all those things together, and the prospects for real assimilation of a big Mexican population are problematic. At the very least, we should put the brakes on legal Mexican immigration till we see how assimilation is working out. In fact, in my opinion, we should put a brake on all immigration. The last big wave of immigrants from Europe, 100 years ago, got assimilated thanks to a 40-year shutoff, from 1924 to 1965, and probably also thanks to the fact that Europe is a long way away. It's time for a similar shutoff of immigration, so we can get assimilation going. John McCain isn't anywhere close to such a position. He isn't even in sight of it. Far from having helpful thoughts about restricting legal immigration, he's keenly promoting illegal immigration, especially from Mexico. To help promote it, he's hired this guy Juan Hernandez, a former Mexican government official, and as extreme an ethnocentric multiculturalist as you will meet in a month of Sundays. Sample Hernandez quote: "I want the third generation [of Mexican-Americans], the seventh generation, I want them all to think 'Mexico first.'" Sr. Hernandez denies there are any criminals among our Mexican-immigrant population. He has excused or denied the stealing of social security numbers by illegal immigrants. He told Tom Tancredo that the U.S.A. and Mexico are, quote, "not two countries … just a region." That this scoffer at U.S. laws and enemy of U.S. sovereignty enjoys McCain's favor tells us all we need to know about the candidate's intentions. Can I see voting for McCain in November? No, I can't; and if you want to know why, there are many video clips of Juan Hernandez on the web, that you can check out. Try watching a few: then remind yourself that this flagrant, brazen, outspoken enemy of U.S. sovereignty and law is the man John McCain chose to represent him among Hispanic voters. No way I will vote for John McCain.
05 — Archbishop wants Sharia. The Archbishop of Canterbury, head of the world's Anglo-Catholics, including American Episcopalians, thinks that Britain should have some Sharia law. Quote from the Archbishop: "An approach to law which simply said 'there's one law for everybody and that's all there is to be said, and anything else that commands your loyalty or allegiance is completely irrelevant in the processes of the courts' — I think that's a bit of a danger." End quote. Dr Williams went on to draw parallels with the Orthodox-Jewish Beth Din, private courts that rule on certain kinds of trade disputes and the religious nullification of divorces. He also mentioned concessions already made or being discussed in British law to conservative Christians, for example so that a Christian-run adoption agency would not have to accept homosexual clients. These arguments would be a bit more compelling if Orthodox Jews were blowing up London Buses, or conservative Christians were threatening death to cartoonists. Actually, there is a case for some small accommodations to religious minorities of the kind Dr Williams suggests; and in fact such accommodatrions have always been made in sensible societies — remember the divorce scene in the movie Hester Street. The problems with trying to apply this to Britain's Muslims is, first, their sheer numbers — 1.6 million, one in 35 of the population, and second their attitude. The numbers are so great that entire districts of British towns, districts I myself remember as being solidly English, now echo to the call of the Muezzin, with not an English face to be seen on the streets. The attitude I think we all know about. If you give organized Muslims an inch, they will take a yard. They will shut down freedom of speech, intimidate all critics into silence, threaten death to anyone who scoffs at their beliefs, and demand group privileges and group rights that have never been part of Anglo-Saxon law. There are fifty majority Muslim nations in the world, covering a fifth of the world's land area. Muslims have plenty of places to live, with national laws and customs that suit them. There is no reason for them to migrate en masse into western countries, and no reason for western countries to let them. Britain is one of the most crowded countries in the world — population density twice China's or Nigeria's. The British are fools to permit mass Muslim immigration. They should stop it completely, and start trying to persuade resident Muslims to go home, bribing them to do so if necessary. Of course, Britain will do no such thing. The national death wish has got a firm grip, and the people who actually are leaving Britain in droves are the native British. Are they leaving to immigrate in hundred of thousands into Muslim nations? No, of course not — and if they tried to, the Muslim nations wouldn't let them. They are not such damn fools as to let their nations, their customs, and their laws be overwhelmed by foreigners. Only western countries are that suicidally stupid.
06 — Romney quits. As my secretary's secretary was typing up the transcript for this broadcast, we got word that Mitt Romney has ended his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination. Romney is an interesting study. Terrifically nice by all accounts, clean as a whistle, smart and accomplished, would probably have made a better than average president, but just couldn't get anyone much interested in him. These matters of chemistry and charisma are hard to fathom. Contrariwise, why do so many people vote for McCain? Policy positions aside, he doesn't seem the least bit likeable. We're plainly heading into a recession, so you'd think people would prefer the guy who's turned big organizations around financially, to the guy who admits he knows squat about economics. It's all a mystery. One of the key discoveries in the human sciences in the modern age, popularized by psychologist Richard Nisbett, is that we have much less clue about why we do the things we do, than we like to believe. Not only can you not read other people's minds, gentle listener, according to Professor Nisbett, you can't even read your own mind, at least nothing like as well as you fondly imagine you can. Quote from the Professor: "The idea that we have little access to the workings of our minds is a dangerous one. The theories of Copernicus and Darwin were dangerous because they threatened, respectively, religious conceptions of the centrality of humans in the cosmos and the divinity of humans. Social psychologists are threatening a core conviction of the Enlightenment — that humans are perfectible through the exercise of reason. If reason cannot be counted on to reveal the causes of our beliefs, behavior and preferences, then the idea of human perfectibility is to that degree diminished." End quote. So, I guess is the idea of getting a decent president.
07 — Eye color. [Dean Martin clip] As well as laughing at the world, we can also find pleasure, those of us with enquiring minds, in learning new things about it, and especially about ourselves — about our species, homo sap. Well, here's an interesting story from genetics. A team at the University of Copenhagen has proved that all the blue-eyed people in the world are descended from a single mutant living several thousand years ago. One person back in the Paleolithic showed up with blue eyes. That person enjoyed reproductive success, so the mutation survived and spread through the population of Paleolithic north Europe. The trick here, of course, is to explain why that individual, and succeeding generations of blue-eyed people, were so successful at reproducing. Until we get deeper into the genome, we won't know for sure, but it's the job of scientists to come up with theories we can test, and they have obliged. One theory I've heard goes something like this. First, notice that Europeans are rather peculiar. It's not just the blue eyes, although that's pretty peculiar by itself. All the other big old human populations have dark eyes. So do our nearest cousins on the evolutionary tree, the chimps. But it's not just that: there's hair color, skin tones, and other less visible features where you get much more variety in Europeans than in other old populations. Well, the theory that got my eye, so to speak, is this one. Peculiar results must have peculiar causes. So what was peculiar about Paleolithic Europe? Well, if you look at maps of the last Ice Age, one peculiar thing is that the northern ice sheet came unusually far south over Europe, its edge down around southern Britain, northern Germany and Poland. It didn't come anything like that far south over in Asia. So you got this arctic tundra just next to the ice sheet, with appropriate flora and fauna, but with high summer sunlight, and warm breezes wafting over from the Gulf Stream, which was already in operation. If you work out the consequences of all that for the human hunting populations of the area, you get high male mortality and an over-abundance of females. That gets you intense sexual selection. Now, every advertising executive knows that in a very competitive market, a splash of color helps to sell your product, so the gals with blue eyes, or blond hair, or freckles, got the reproductive edge, just by standing out from the crowd. As I said, it's only a guess — a theory that might be falsified or verified by hard facts. Nice to know, though, that even back in the Paleolithic, sex was making stuff happen. [More Dino]
08 — Suharto dies. The Indonesian dictator Suharto died on January 27, aged 86. Like most Javanese, and a lot of other peoples too — Burmese, Tibetans, and the old Anglo-Saxons, for example — he only had the one name, Suharto — no first and last name, just the one. That name flickered in the background of international news for decades, rarely reaching the front pages because Indonesia is just not a very important nation. It's very big — the fourth biggest country in the world — and it's very Muslim, with more Muslims than any other country, and it's very strategic, spread across the space between the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It's poor and backward, though, and militarily insignificant, and uncreative. Suharto ruled his country as an authoritarian dictator for 31 years, until the Asian financial crisis of 1997-8. He was, as Lyndon Johnson would have said, an s.o.b., but our s.o.b. — a sort of south-Asian Chiang Kai-Shek, though much more successful at dealing with his nation's communists. Like Chiang, he was terrifically corrupt, handing out chunks of the national economy to his relatives. After the Cold War ended, making his anticommunism no longer marketable, he permitted some economic reform, but he still left office one of the world's richest men. Suharto was a U.S. ally, if not one we should really be thrilled to acknowledge. He snuffed out communism and kept Islamic extremism under tight control; and the occasional massacres for which he held various degrees of responsibility, happened in remote places out of sight. It is a pity Indonesia did not do better; but it might have done much worse.
09 — Miscellany A miscellany of short items.
Item: We finally got to find out why Hillary Clinton opposes driver licenses for illegal aliens. Quote: "I do not think it is appropriate to give a driver's license to someone who is here undocumented — putting them frankly at risk, because that is clear evidence that they are not here legally." End quote. To put it more plainly: Mrs. Clinton opposes driver's licenses for illegals because that might help law enforcement. Nice to have that cleared up.
Item: I'm sure most of my listeners know that the Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia during the late 1970s was one of the most murderous in history, seeing off about a million of Cambodia's people. Pol Pot, the leader of the regime, died in his bed in 1998, in a hideout in the jungle. Now some of the other Khmer Rouge leaders have been brought to trial. It was amusing, in a macabre kind of way, to hear that one of them, name of Nuon Chea, asking for bail, on the grounds that he's not a flight risk. I dunno, it's just odd to see humdrum court procedures applied in cases like this. Perhaps he'll go for a plea bargain — you know, plead guilty if they reduce the charges from complicity in a million murders to complicity in half a million.
Item: Did you know — I didn't, but some of my friends say they did — that "Canadian" is a code word for black Americans? This came to light when a district attorney down in Houston sent an email to a subordinate, congratulating him on having won a difficult case, and especially on having been able to sway the, quote, "Canadians" on the jury. I am sorry to tell you, gentle listener, that there were no persons of Canadian origin on that jury. The email came to light and now that assistant D.A. is in deep doo-doo with the political correctness enforcers. Last I heard, he's thinking of emigrating to Canada.
Item: The weather catastrophe in China that I reported on last week is letting up, though too late for a lot of people who've lost the chance to be with their families for the Lunar New Year, which started February 7. It's the year of the rat, and it must have started out great for the rats of south China, with hundreds of thousands of people still camped out in railroad stations and bus depts. generating heaps of garbage and waste. Considering the number of people involved, which totaled in the millions, it was all amazingly orderly, though a woman was trampled to death at one of the stations. There was no law-breaking and people seem to have helped each other as much as they could. No doubt part of the orderliness was due to the army and police having been drafted in for crowd control some places, but it was still pretty amazing. If some big weather calamity like that were to happen in the U.S.A., with a general breakdown of services and hundreds of thousands of people stranded, I hope we'd be just as civilized.
Item: Mardi Gras came and went in New Orleans, with four people killed and another 12 injured in shootings over the five days. That's getting to be pretty routine for the Big Easy, which has had 21 murders so far this year. Wikipedia lists New Orleans as third in the nation for murders capita, behind Detroit and Baltimore. Their estimate for the city's population looks high to me though, and I think claims that it was the nation's murder capital in both 2006 and 2007 are pretty plausible. Maybe they should rename Fat Tuesday to Whack Tuesday.
Item: There's a technology being tried out in Sweden that might have extracted some useful energy from those hundreds of thousands of stranded Chinese travelers. The idea is, you use the body heat from rush-hour travelers to heat an office building. It's being tried out at Stockholm's central station, where heat from the crowds of passengers will be passed on to a 13-storey office building next door. I'm all for it, if you can get the heat without the, you know, aroma.
Item: Yet another item from Sweden — this is Swedish week on Radio Derb, pass out the meatballs. This item is on the multicultural front Two Muslim women have won $3,000 each in an appeal they brought against a public swimming pool. The rules of the pool require people in the pool area to wear shorts and tee-shirts, even if they don't plan to swim. Well, these Muslim women were in burkas and veils, which they refused to remove, so they weren't let in. The women were accompanying their small children, who did plan to swim. The pool authorities argued that the mothers' cumbersome clothing would have prevented them from coming to the rescue of their children if necessary. I suppose it would — though it would also have opened up the opportunity for a wet burka contest.
10 — Signoff. That's it, boys and girls. A pretty grim week all around for conservatives, full of mayhem, destruction, and John McCain. The guy who said all is for the best in this, the best of all possible worlds, must have been smoking something. Let's make the best of things, though. I'll be hosting some friends over the weekend for Chinese New Year celebrations, with plenty of good food and good fellowship. More from Radio Derb next week as we embark on the year of the rat. Oh boy.
[Music clip: More Haydn.]