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[Music clip: From Haydn's Derbyshire Marches, fife'n'drum version]
01 — Intro. [Cough] You might want to disinfect those ear buds after the show, ladies and gents. I have a shocking cold and am trembling on the edge of losing my voice, so this will be an unusually brief Radio Derb.
Radio Derb it is, though; and for as long as I can speak, this is your, er, phlegmatically genial host John Derbyshire with some snippets from the week's news.
02 — Ebola — What, me, worry? With sickness on my mind, perhaps I should say something about the ebola outbreak.
Let's get one thing clear right away: This is ebola we're talking about, a most unpleasant disease, not Julius Evola, the reactionary Italian political philosopher who has a modest following in certain precincts of the Alternative Right. That's "Evola" with a "v," not "ebola" with a "b."
I can't tell you anything about Julius Evola as I have never read any of his works; and even if I did they would most likely send me to sleep as I have a philosophy-proof head. I have heard his name bandied about at gatherings of fellow reactionaries, that's all, and leave you to explore his lucubrations for yourselves.
So, ebola: a disease transmitted by a virus, incurable as I believe all virus diseases are, with a very high mortality rate — 90 percent, according to the World Health Organization. There seems to be no effective vaccine for humans, although there have been hopeful results from vaccinating monkeys, who also get ebola. With no cure and no vaccine, the only way to deal with ebola is quarantine, though of course people supervising the quarantine will come into contact with sufferers.
On the upside, ebola is hard to catch, the virus quickly perishing outside the host animal. Transmission is by direct contact through body fluids.
The natural home of ebola seems to be in sub-Saharan Africa. We tend to forget now in this age of modern medicine, but that part of the world was once famous for its diseases and regarded as a white man's graveyard. Read about the early 19th-century explorations of the Niger River, several of which ended when everyone involved died from disease — in one case I recall, the entire crew of a steamship.
Known cases in this current outbreak seem to be in the low thousands, with Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea worst affected. The combined population of those three countries is somewhat over twenty million, so even in countries as poverty-stricken and ill-governed as these, the scale of the thing should be manageable. I'm not losing sleep over ebola.
However … Next segment.
03 — Telescopic philanthropy. We should of course ban entry to the U.S.A. for persons from Ebola-afflicted countries; but in the present insane state of U.S. immigration policy, our government would be more likely to give preferential admittance to ebola cases — an ebola visa.
The sensible 20th-century policy of keeping out of the country people who have dangerous communicable diseases has long since gone by the board: AIDS was removed from the disease list in 2010. Ebola is not yet as fashionable as AIDS, but there's no telling which way these things will turn if someone in Hollywood gets infected, so it's probably best to shut up about the immigration aspect and not give the government ideas.
The main cultural impact of Ebola so far has been Ann Coulter's August 6th column on Dr. Kent Brantly, who went to Liberia on funds from Christian charities, caught ebola, and had to be flown back and treated at huge expense to those same charities when, says Ann, he would have done far more good if he'd stayed in the U.S.A. and ministered to the needy here. Quote from Ann:
Right there in Texas, near where Dr. Brantly left his wife and children to fly to Liberia and get Ebola, is one of the poorest counties in the nation, Zavala County — where he wouldn't have risked making his wife a widow and his children fatherless.
End quote. Ann accuses the doctor of "Christian narcissism." Charles Dickens had a different phrase for it: "telescopic philanthropy" — scanning the far corners of the world with a telescope looking for suffering to relieve, when there's suffering right here at home.
Ann took a lot of flak for her column, but I'm with her, though on political, not theological, grounds. Our national policies are directed far too much towards the problems and sufferings of foreigners, who have governments of their own to take care of them, when our government should be putting our own people first.
Case in point: the damn stinking Middle East.
04 — Obama has a strategy! President Obama took a break from golfing on Wednesday to speak to the nation about the fighting currently going on in Syria and Iraq, where a group of militant Muslims called ISIS have seized territory and committed massacres.
Obama had been criticized for not having a strategy to deal with ISIS, which in the Wednesday speech the President referred to as "ISIL" for reasons I can't be bothered to learn.
Well, he told the nation, putting on his angry face, he does so have a strategy, a really nifty one. His strategy, he explained, has four parts.
That's the four-part strategy. Why should we do all that? Because, said the President, ISIS are terrorists who threaten our country, and we have to take the fight to them.
Am I the only one with a case of déjà vu here? That's the same rationale we were hearing thirteen years ago when the Twin Towers went down and al Qaeda was the enemy. Heck, I'll admit it: I made the rationale myself at the time.
Well, we screwed that up royally, didn't we? The end result of all our strategy and sacrifice, thirteen years on, is that the region is in a worse mess than it was when we started; and we still, according to Obama, face a dire terrorist threat.
And this four-part strategy the President announced looks deeply unimpressive to me. Air strikes? How's that worked out for the Israelis in Gaza? Didn't we do a whole whole lot of air strikes in Vietnam?
Helping local forces? Which local forces? The most effective local force in Syria is the national army of Bashir al-Assad, whom we regard as an enemy, and against whom Obama seemed willing to go to war a few months ago. The most effective local force in Iraq is the Shi'ite-dominated national army and their surrogate militias, who are hated by the Sunnis and whose actions drive young Sunnis into ISIS.
As for "mobilizing the international community," well … [laugh].
And "humanitarian assistance" — why isn't that the responsibility of Syria's and Iraq's brother Arabs, who are swilling in oil money? Why is it up to the U.S. taxpayer? Of course persons of feeling or religious sensibility should give what they can, but how is this government business?
Bottom line: I say it's spinach, Mr. President, and I say the hell with it. Stop giving visas to Muslims. Ask resident alien Muslims to leave. Track down illegals and visa overstayers. Leave the Middle East to sort out its own problems. Put down that telescope and deal with America and America's issues.
05 — Importing Africa. Just a further note on Africa.
The New York Times reported on September 1st that immigrants from sub-Saharan Africa have been flooding into the U.S.A. in recent years. Quote from the Times:
Between 2000 and 2010, the number of legal black African immigrants in the United States about doubled, to around one million. During that single decade, according to the most reliable estimates, more black Africans arrived in this country on their own than were imported directly to North America during the more than three centuries of the slave trade.
Leaving aside the fact that the slave trade into North America lasted two centuries, not three; and leaving aside the further fact that it's a bit odd for blacks to be pouring eagerly into a country dominated by white privilege, and in whose every street and alleyway there lurk white cops and vigilantes ever on the lookout for opportunities to gun down helpless blacks; leaving those aside, that's a pretty remarkable statistic. It's also a discomfiting one.
In case you didn't notice, we have a race problem in this country. It's probable that biology drives at least some of that problem — innate statistical differences in behavior, intelligence, and personality between sub-Saharan Africans and other races, rooted in our different evolutionary histories.
"Probable" isn't "certain"; but until we understand more about the biology of human social behavior, we'd be wise not to make the race problem worse than it already is. We couldn't of course selectively ban settlement by black Africans — think of the lawsuits! — but we could have a moratorium on all immigration, as we had from 1924 to 1965, and we should have.
There are some secondary issues, too. Ebola is one of them. Until those West African nations have got some kind of control over this recent outbreak, we certainly shouldn't be giving visas to their people.
And at the risk of being charged with telescopic philanthropy myself, we're not doing African nations any good by luring away the few smart people they've got. The Times tells us that, quote:
Thirty percent of African-born blacks in [New York] city had a college degree, compared with 22 percent of native-born blacks, 18 percent of Caribbean-born blacks and 19 percent of the nonblack foreign born.
I'd really like the authorities in Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia to get on top of their ebola outbreak. How are they going to do that if their medical-school graduates are coming here?
06 — Biology's a bitch. Finally, I'm afraid, as my voice disappears, finally there is this story from the invaluable Daily Mail Online. Headline: Are you a girl over 22? Then don't even bother with online dating: Hilarious graph shows men prefer young women — however old they are.
An online dating service called OKCupid, analyzing its database, has found that women are most attracted to men around their same age until they reach about 40. By contrast, men of all ages up to 50 are most attracted to women who are no older than 24.
I realize that this is not great news for women. Don't shoot the messenger, please; I just find these stories and report them. I'm an old married guy, I have no, er, skin in this game.
If you want to know more, there's a book you can buy. Quote from the Daily Mail:
OKCupid president and co-founder Christian Rudder presents these results in his forthcoming book Dataclysm: Who We Are When We Think No One's Looking, which hits stores on Wednesday. At an event in mid-August, Mr Rudder, 39, explained the results to a dumbfounded crowd.
End quote. Those results from Mr. Rudder's data are actually not as bad as some others I've heard on this topic.
There is a subset of the internet called the manosphere, in which men trade advice and speculation about the mating game from the cold perspective of evolutionary biology. One of those sites recently posed the following question:
Let's say you're going to die tomorrow. Your wife/girlfriend doesn't exist. You can have sex with one girl tonight as a grand finale to your life, but she will be random and the only thing you can choose about her is her age. How old do you want her to be?
The poser of the question tried it out on male friends, presumably with no females present. Quote from him: "Nobody picked an age higher than 19." That sounds authentic to me.
Race, sex: There's nothing like biology to make people angry. Maybe we should just ban the whole subject.
07 — Signoff. That's all I can manage, ladies and gents. Apologies for the short measure. Radio Derb will be broadcasting at full strength next week. Here's Franz Josef Haydn.
[Music clip: From Haydn's Derbyshire Marches, organ version.]