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[Music clip: From Haydn's Derbyshire March No. 2, organ version]
01 — Intro. And Radio Derb is on the air! This is your serenely genial host John Derbyshire with our weekend roundup of news from far and wide.
Some listeners have emailed in anxious to know whether the great European horsemeat scandal has reached us here in the Aegean.
I'm glad to say it has not. The island produces sufficient meat for all of us in the form of pork, chicken, fish, and of course goatburgers from Nikki Nicolaides' fast-food outlet.
There are in any case no horses on the island. There used to be a few donkeys, but I haven't seen them around since the feast of the True Cross last September. Probably they are hibernating. So please, set your minds at rest.
Since it's in the news, though, let's take that as our lead story.
02 — Horseburgers. Our American listeners are probably aware that there's been a scandal going on over here about horsemeat showing up in burgers and processed foods.
From the grand cosmic point of view, it's not clear why there should be a scandal. There is something arbitrary about which animals a culture thinks are OK to eat and which not. Hindus won't eat cows; Moslems won't eat pigs; Europeans mostly don't eat horses (there are actually a few exceptions).
When you bring this up, people say: "Oh, but horses are so intelligent!" Well, I've been around horses a fair bit, and I dispute that. The best I'd say about horses is, they are not as dumb as sheep. Trust me: any animal that needs a kick to get it moving is not that smart.
Further east people are less finicky. One place I lived in China was just down the road from a restaurant with a big sign outside saying "香狗肉," which means "fragrant dog meat."
Browsing in a store in Thailand once I spotted a can whose label bore a picture of a creature I couldn't place at all, sort of cross between a squirrel and a bush baby. I pulled out my Thai dictionary and looked up the words: "FIELD RABBIT" was the translation. What the heck did that mean? I asked a Thai friend. "Field rabbit"? What other kind of rabbit is there? Town rabbit? Mall rabbit? Parking lot rabbit?
My friend explained that "field rabbit" is a euphemism for "rat." The can contained rat meat. He then hastened to assure me that these are countryside rats who feed on dropped grain, not city rats who feed on sewage. Good to know, but I passed up on the "field rabbit" anyway.
So the horror about horsemeat is pretty arbitrary. I'm sure it's distressing to see horses being slaughtered for meat; but then, people who've seen it have told me it's distressing to see any large animals slaughtered. Paying a visit to an abattoir is probably a pretty good way to turn yourself to vegetarianism.
If civilization lasts another century, which I wouldn't bet on, people will probably look back on industrial-scale slaughtering of livestock the way we look back on public hanging and children harnessed to pull coal trucks.
As you can see, I don't have a whole lot to say about this. One of my listeners does, though. His name's Michael, and he sent me an email which I shall read to you in full. Long quote:
Mr Derbyshire: Please comment in your ineffable manner on the nay-sayers in your country of origin who object to the way certain processed foods have been horsed around with. I think it behooves you to do so, even though I am filly aware you've long since left those stamping grounds. So please bridle your reluctance to return to the foal and put yourself in their shoes. As you may discern, I am champing at the bit to make hay of this topic but I lack your soapbox. Very equinely yours … etc.
Obviously Michael thinks he can saddle me with the responsibility to pony up a few double entendres. He seems not to know that I have reined in that tendency because I got tired of getting emails from listeners who nag me about it.
If I were feeling my oats I might none the less be spurred to respond. As things are, I decline to stirrup trouble with listeners by jockeying for advantage like some hack politician running for mare.
No, I shall leave the double entendre situation as it currently is: stable.
[Clip: Roy Rogers, "Four-Legged Friend."]
03 — Sequester this! Not much going on on the political front, just a few dribs and drabs. The looming sequester, for example.
It's February 23rd as we go on the air, six days to the sequester. That's when automatic federal spending cuts kick in, as per the Budget Control Act of 2011.
Our Spender-in-Chief has been trying to make our flesh creep with warnings about the dire consequences of letting the sequester happen; or, to put it slightly differently, the dire consequences of not kicking the fiscal can another few yards down the road.
What are those dire consequences? The President aired some of them at a White House event on Tuesday. Half the cuts would hit the Pentagon, Obama told us. Excellent! Perhaps at last we shall bring home the tens of thousands of troops we have based overseas in places like Germany where there is not the remotest possibility we'll have to fight anybody, or places like South Korea where the locals have big, well-equipped conscript military establishments of their own.
Who knows? — we may even get an overhaul of the military procurement rackets. Billions are wasted in procurement.
Random story from the military press: Cadet 1st Class Chris Kirk at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs has figured out how to save the service four billion dollars over five years by tweaking the way they purchase missiles.
That's a cadet, researching the problem part time, and just talking about missiles, a minor inventory item. If you look at procurement costs for planes and ships, compare them to costs thirty years ago, scaled to constant dollars, the numbers are shocking. This is common knowledge in the military.
So yeah, let's put the military on a strict diet. This is not exactly 1944. Why are we spending as if it was? Sequester away there! What else you got, Mr President?
FBI agents will be furloughed. Federal prosecutors will have to close cases and let criminals go.
Well boo, hoo, freakin' hoo. So no more Fast and Furious, eh? No more federal lawsuits against states that try to defend their citizens from illegal alien drunk drivers. No more federal efforts to ensure voters need not identify themselves at polling stations. We're supposed to be unhappy about this?
Or perhaps the President means: No more workplace raids to round up illegal aliens taking American jobs? Oh wait: we don't do that any more. No more prosecutions of uniformed thugs with nightsticks intimidating voters at polling places? No, that can't be it: federal prosecutors were told not to pursue that.
Perhaps he means no more federal "hate crimes" prosecution when black thugs seek out white and Asian victims for the "knock-out game." Uh-huh, the feds never brought any such prosecutions.
I read somewhere that when this republic was founded there were only three federal crimes on the books: treason, arson on federal facilities, and piracy on the high seas. The states dealt with everything else. If that's right, it sounds like a pretty good arrangement to me.
Anything else, Mr President?
Air traffic controllers and airport security will see cutbacks … Thousands of teachers and educators will be laid off. Tens of thousands of parents will have to scramble to find child care for their kids.
End quote. Hmm. Well, we survived the crisis in 1981 without lasting harm, when Ronald Reagan fired eleven thousand air traffic controllers. I guess we'll survive this time.
Airport security is just pointless political theater and a jobs program for low-IQ unemployables; we'd be better off without it. "Teachers and educators"? How many of those are federal employees? I believe the answer is: none.
So sequester away, Mr President. And let's be honest here: What you are really scared of is not societal collapse when big parts of the federal government shut down. What you're really scared of is that the American public might find out how pointless much of federal spending is, and how perfectly well we shall get on without it.
Sequester away, pal.
04 — Biden gets his gun. I'll admit to being in two minds about our nation's Vice President, Joe Biden. For one thing, I don't believe Biden is as stupid as he appears. I just don't see how any functioning human being could be that stupid.
For another, I've heard Washington insiders, people whose opinions I respect, say that Joe's a decent sort who's just a bit too easy-going to buck his party's Zeitgeist — which nowadays of course means far-left 1980s campus radicalism — even when it doesn't accord with his own views.
And for another, Joe's from my generation and something close to my social class — born 1942, his Dad was a used-car salesman. I was born 1945, my Dad was a repo man. See? It's always hard to believe that someone from your own background is a slimy, lying, corrupt, dim-witted, scum-sucking, bottom-feeding, backstabbing creep with his nose in the public trough and his pockets bulging with lobbyist cash, even when he tries his best to look and behave like one.
I have to admit, though, that Joe was trying harder than usual this week. He was on some TV show talking about guns, specifically guns for self-protection. Here is what he said.
[Clip: "If you wanna protect yourself, get a double-barrel shotgun. Have the shells, a 12-gauge shotgun … And I promise you, as I told my wife, we live in an area that's wooded, and it's somewhat secluded. Said, 'Jill, if there's ever a problem, just walk out on the balcony here, walk out, put that double-barrel shotgun and fire two blasts outside the house. I promise you, whoever's coming in is not gonna …' You don't need an AR-15."]
I hardly know where to start with that. First off, a double-barreled 12-gauge is a heavy cumbersome thing for a lady to handle. A 20-gauge would make more sense in this context. There's some trade-off there, I'll allow: other things equal, a 20-gauge isn't as lethal as a 12-gauge. Your gun won't be very lethal if you can't handle it, though.
And then, with a double barrel you only get two shots off before you need to reload. For home defense, a pump-action shotgun is better. My Mossberg will fire five shells before I need to reload.
And with a pump-action, working that action emits that marvelous [Clip: shotgun action] that just has to be the sound a home intruder least wants to hear. Again, there's some trade-off to think about. A pump-action has more moving parts than a double-barrel, so there's a higher chance it'll jam on you.
I'd still go with a pump action. Hell, if it jams, you can always whack the intruder over the head with it.
Firing off two shotgun blasts into the woods from your balcony is, however, seriously illegal in most jurisdictions. Outside a gun range or designated hunting area, you may discharge a firearm only in circumstances where a reasonable person would believe himself to be in immediate and life-threatening danger. Taking Joe Biden's advice would get you on the fast track to a felony rap.
Finally, about you not needing an AR-15. You don't need a cellphone, either, but it could be handy in a sticky situation. Let my pal Tom over at the Radio Free New Jersey blog explain. Quote from Tom:
The AR-15 is a weapon specifically designed for the common man. That's what all military weapons are. Its small fast projectile is designed for minimum recoil, and is therefore more likely to be shot well — even by the relatively inexperienced. Its pistol grip (one of the features which makes it evil, according to the gun controllers) is a boon to target acquisition and stable shooting. I doubt we'll ever see a new production rifle design that doesn't have one, ever again.
So: really lousy, ill-informed, dangerous advice there from Joe Biden.
Nice tie, though, Mr Vice President.
05 — News from Airstrip One. A few words about the Mother Country, if I may.
I've been a U.S. citizen for eleven years now, but I was born and raised English. As English as it is possible to be, in fact. My ancestors are all English for as far back as I know, which is the early 19th century. If I showed you a map of England and asked you to stick a pin in the precise geometric center of it, your pin would land not far from the town I was born and raised in. My surname is actually the name of an English county.
So color me English, English, and English.
The England I grew up in was an ethnostate, monoracial and monocultural. The England of sixty years ago was a nation in the old style: like a big extended family, with its own private jokes and customs, its own way of doing things, its own historical memory, its own ceremonies of remembrance, its own characteristic strengths and weaknesses.
There were quarrels in the family, of course, some of them longstanding and bitter; and there were black sheep, spongers, reprobates, and prodigal sons. The thing held together pretty well, though.
That England is now as dead as the Assyrian Empire. Today's England is a multicultural slum presided over by a globalist elite loyal to no-one but their own class, infested with all the sweepings of the Third World, and inhabited on the lower floors by a white English underclass who, seeing that nobody of importance gives a damn about them, give no damn in return, and just milk the corrupt system for what they can get.
Three stories illustrating all that.
First: Numbers from the 2011 census show massive white flight, especially out of London. White British people are now a minority in the nation's capital: 45 percent in 2011, compared with 58 percent ten years previously. Thirty-seven percent of Londoners now are foreign-born.
It is hard to understand how this happened. It's unusual to meet any English person who wanted it to happen. Apparently the English just didn't care enough to stop it.
A prime mover in the later stages of the transformation was Prime Minister Tony Blair, one of the extremely small number of people that I positively hate with a passion. This loathsome creature, from whose every foul pore oozes moralistic self-righteousness, presided over the great immigration surge across the first half of the last decade, somehow finding the time to do so in between spells of removing George W. Bush's shoe polish with his tongue.
Yet Tony Blair was elected three times to the post of Prime Minister.
Blair of course was keen to encourage multiculturalism. Are we not all God's children? And so every kind of un-English pathology took root and flourished.
Case in point: Anjem Choudary, 46 years old, an English-born Muslim with a long trail of jihadist connections. Choudary lives off the state welfare system, which is astoundingly generous. Although he appears perfectly healthy and able-bodied, he lives entirely on welfare benefits of $40,000 a year, in a well-appointed house valued at $500,000 in a middle-class London suburb.
It helps — I mean, it helps him to game the welfare system — that he has four kids and once trained as a lawyer.
Well, here was Mr. Choudary the other day, secretly filmed giving a speech to a crowd of co-religionists. In his speech he told them to emulate his lifestyle. Some revered Islamic holy men had only ever worked one or two days a year, he said. Then, quote:
The rest of the year they were busy with jihad and things like that. People will say, "Ah, but you are not working." But the normal situation is for you to take money from the infidel.
In another place he scoffed at the poor infidel drudges whose taxes feed him. Quote:
You find people are busy working the whole of their life. They wake up at 7 o'clock. They go to work at 9 o'clock. They work for eight, nine hours a day. They come home at 7 o'clock, watch TV, sleep, and they do that for 40 years of their life. That is called slavery.
Finally, meet 37-year-old Heather Frost of Gloucestershire. Ms Frost has 11 children by three different men, though she seems never to have been married, nor employed.
She's in the news over there because her town has decided to build her a new house. She currently lives with her brood, entirely on welfare of course, in two adjacent town-owned houses, but she says she's not happy with the arrangement, so the town is building her something more suitable. Cost to local taxpayers: around $650,000.
Although never married, Ms Frost does have a partner, name of Jake. We know she does because she paid for him to take flying lessons at around $200 an hour. British newspapers have also dug up the fact that Ms Frost's 16-year-old daughter owns a horse, maintenance for which costs her $300 a month. All on the taxpayer.
That's the state of affairs in England, a place that once, within living memory, was inhabited almost entirely by English people who married and raised families, worked for their living, and at least paid lip service to Christianity. Now it's a wretched multicultural slum, rapidly separating out into different cultural and racial enclaves that want nothing to do with each other.
I have relatives in England that I'd hate to see come to harm. That aside, if England were to be wiped out by a stray asteroid tomorrow, I wouldn't shed a tear.
06 — B-list murder. It was actually a thin week for news, listeners. I have been hard put to find stories suitable to the elevated sensibilities of Radio Derb listeners. I hate to think of the hungry sheep looking up and not being fed. (A little Miltonian allusion there, to flatter all you Eng. Lit. grads.)
Faute de mieux, I can only offer you a celebrity murder. Sort of, anyway. I mean, it's not really a celebrity — at any rate, I had never heard of the guy until last week — and we don't yet know if it was an actual murder.
Furthermore, even to the degree the murderer, if he is a murderer, was a celebrity, he's a celebrity only in athletics, which 99 percent of us only think about for a couple of weeks every four years, when the Summer Olympics is going on.
Further-further-more-more, the murder, if it was a murder, happened in Africa, which at any given time has a couple of tribal wars going on with six- or seven-figure body counts, making it hard to get excited about a single corpse over there.
I'll do what I can with the story, regardless. Here we go.
The principal here is Oscar Pistorius, 26 years old, a white South African, whole legs stop just below the knee because of a congenital deformity, and who gets around on a couple of carbon-fiber prosthetics. He gets around so well, in fact, he made it to the semifinals of the 400 meters race in last year's Summer Olympics. That's why he's famous, prior to this recent bit of unpleasantness, I mean.
The unpleasantness occurred in the small hours on St. Valentine's Day, i.e. a week last Wednesday. Pistorius shot his live-in girlfriend. She was in the bathroom at his house; he shot her through the bathroom door.
He says he heard a noise in the bathroom, thought it was an intruder, got out of bed and walked over to the bathroom door and fired away. Local prosecutors aren't buying it, and have charged him with murder. The girlfriend was a beautiful model, which adds another dimension of human interest to the story.
I of course have no idea whether this semi-celebrity living on a benighted continent wilfully killed his gal or mistook her for an intruder. The latter is not improbable. South Africa has a stupendous crime rate, even worse than Haiti, or Detroit, or Somalia, or Baltimore, or Jamaica [klaxon] …
Ooops, sorry, I set off the PC alarm there: or, uh, Singapore, or, ah, Finland. [Klaxon stops.] That's better. Sorry about that.
Anyway, the crime rate's high, and anyone living in a halfway decent house is loaded for bear.
On the other hand Pistorius has geometry working against him, which as any mathematician will tell you is never good. The layout of the bedroom means that he would have had to walk right past the bed to get to the bathroom, and so would surely have noticed the girlfriend wasn't in it.
Furthermore, the bullets went through the bathroom door at an angle suggesting Pistorius stopped to put his prosthetics on — a procedure needing several minutes — before going to the bathroom, though Pistorius says he can move around on his stumps and did.
As celebrity murders go, it ain't much — definitely not Sharon Tate or O.J. Simpson on the Richter scale. Even the merest sprinkle of rain is welcome in a dry season, though, so the news outlets are making much of it.
The New York Post, which my good friend Rupert Murdoch has delivered to me by special courier every day, has been giving over an average three or four pages a day to the progress of the investigation.
The case has been going through bail hearings this week. It turns out the lead police detective on the case had some outstanding charges of attempted murder against him; he's been removed. It also turned out that Pistorius has been juicing, as athletes will, so now the possibility of 'roid rage is an issue.
There are unresolved evidentiary issues, too, that could turn the case around. Was the enbathroomed girlfriend sitting on the throne or cowering in the corner? From there, things get a bit macabre for a family radio show.
Radio Derb will follow the case, though, and report significant developments. Unless we forget to.
07 — Miscellany. And now, our closing miscellany of brief items.
Imprimis: Let's talk about liquor. Talking about it isn't half as good as drinking it, of course, but it's the best we can do over the airwaves.
I was a promiscuous liquor drinker until I settled in the U.S.A., with no particular preference. Then someone introduced me to bourbon whiskey, and I knew I'd found my true home. I'm still not enough of a bourbon drinker to distinguish reliably between brands, so I've settled on Old Crow, just because (a) it's not very expensive, and (b) it was Barry Goldwater's choice, according to Bill Buckley.
I have noticed, though, that when American friends buy me a bottle of bourbon to mark some special occasion, it's always Maker's Mark. It's a very nice bourbon, though as I said I'm not yet discriminating enough to want to pay the premium it costs. The bottle sure looks classy, too, with that red wax seal over the cap.
Well, Maker's Mark has a problem: Too many people like it. Quality bourbon is tough to make, and comes with a barrel-to-bottle lead time for aging. The Maker's Mark makers can't keep up.
One solution right out of classical economics would be to just raise prices. Maker's Mark is going a different way: They are reducing the alcohol content in their product, from 90 proof to 84 proof.
This seems to be a thing liquor producers can do and get away with: Jack Daniels did it twice, 1987 and 2002, from 90 proof to 86 to 80. Jack Daniels sales have held up OK, in spite of grumbling from purists, so likely Maker's Mark will get away with it.
This story comes with a conspiracy theory, as the best stories usually do. The theory is that Maker's Mark are eying the China market, which of course is huge and apparently infatuated with high-end Western liquor products. The Chinese, however, don't take their drink well, so a lower proof might make it more acceptable to them.
That's the theory. Anyone who believes it has no acquaintance at all with native Chinese white liquor. I have a bottle of 盧州老窖 here that's 104 proof, and some of the local provincial liquors they don't export are higher than that.
So like most conspiracy theories, this one is crap. Maker's Mark are just trying to keep shipping the product. Good luck to them!
Item: If you've read your Suetonius you'll remember that the Emperor Claudius was famous for breaking wind in public. When the novelist Robert Graves fictionalized Claudius, he explained that Claudius was following the advice of a physician who had told him it was unhealthy to hold in flatulence — the principle sometimes metaphorized as: "Better an empty house than a bad guest."
Well, the spirit of Claudius lives on. In a study published in the New Zealand Medical Journal, a team of gastroenterologists recommend that airline passengers break wind freely no matter the close proximity to other passengers. High altitude air pressure, they tell us, quote, "dramatically adds to the build-up of bodily gases which could prove harmful," end quote. In the pilot's case the ensuing discomfort could affect his abilities to control the airplane.
There is actually only one reasonable solution … just let it go.
So: the advice is out there in the newspapers, and presumably in this health-conscious age people will follow it. Something to look forward to on your next plane trip.
Item: Finally, a word about Larry Auster.
Larry is one of those people whose influence is out of all proportion to his literary or professional accomplishments. I don't believe he has ever published a book. His 1990 essay "The Path to National Suicide," which was first a pamphlet and then a blog post, and which is now permanently online, is a foundational document in the immigration restrictionist movement.
Larry's website, View from the Right, has for years been one of the most eloquent and passionate voices against multiculturalism, xenophilia, and the trashing of traditional values.
Larry has been suffering from cancer for some time and appears now to be at death's door. I've had my differences with him in the past; but that is no kind of distinction. Larry is famous for falling out with people; that's the flip side of a prickly, fearless, argumentative character with fixed strong opinions. A real dissident, in other words, unwilling — perhaps constitutionally unable — to moderate or compromise on what he believes, even when it's the opposite of what all good, obedient, well-socialized citizens are supposed to believe. [Baa-aaa …]
I admire that; I admire Larry; I'm a daily reader of View from the Right; I'm sorry for what he's going through, and I wish him whatever consolation he can find in his faith, and in the company of friends who I know are gathered round him.
I have one of Larry's pamphlets on my desk here right now: "Erasing America," is the title, dated 2003, full of sound good sense about the slow catastrophe our nation is going through as a result of mass immigration, multiculturalism, and the dogma of utopian egalitarianism.
Do yourself a favor: Honor this fine dissident by buying, or at least reading, some of his landmark works. You can find links to them at View from the Right.
Good luck, Larry. I'm sorry for our differences, which were probably my fault.
08 — Signoff. And that's it, ladies and gents. As I said, a rather thin week news-wise, but I hope there is enough there for you to ruminate on.
To see us out, nothing very topical, just an exceptionally lovely song by one of the great voices of the last century: a performer I once, fifty years ago, saw perform in person in the English city of Leicester, when she was doing a British tour. Unforgettable.
There'll be more from Radio Derb next week.
[Music clip: Ella Fitzgerald, "Someone To Watch Over Me"]