01 — Intro. And Radio Derb is on the air! This is your nostalgically
genial host John Derbyshire with the Christmas-weekend broadcast … which begins, of course, with the hope that you all enjoyed a holiday
full of warmth, affection, good cheer, and plentiful nutritive refreshment.
The news is as usual rather depressing all over. It is not to be ignored, of course, and I shall return to it in future broadcasts. This
week, however, rather than cast a pall of gloom over your festivities, I shall take you on a trip down Memory Lane.
This past year, 2014, we marked the tenth anniversary of Radio Derb. I thought it would be fun, and perhaps instructive, to glance back
over the first ten Christmas broadcasts, from Christmas 2004 to Christmas 2013.
So that's what we shall do this week. I'll proceed backwards through time, beginning with last year's Christmas broadcast, then stepping
back year by year to 2004.
The historic extracts will be prefaced with little pips, like this [Pips] to avoid confusion between my 2014 voice and my past
Brace yourselves, then, listeners, to encounter, yes, the ghosts of Radio Derb Christmas past.
02 — Christmas 2013. In last
year's broadcast I naturally came down with scorn on Barbara Walters' answer, when asked on CNN why Barack Obama was having such a struggle meeting
the expectations of him when he assumed office. Replied Barbara:
[CNN clip: Walters — … We thought that he was going to be — I shouldn't say this at
Christmastime, but — the next messiah.]
I had some fun with that.
[Radio Derb clip: Notice that "we." We — Me and people like me, because, you know, who else
matters? We — All right-thinking people. We — the Inner Party. We — Everyone but
hillbillies and rednecks.
Barbara Walters' "we" thought that Obama was going to be the next messiah. What were their evidentiary grounds for thinking this? Obama's
lackluster seven years in the Illinois state legislature? His undistinguished two years in the U.S. Senate? (I'm not going to count the following two
years, which he mainly spent running for President.) His gassy, narcissistic, and partly fictional autobiography — really, just an extended
college-application essay? His ineffectual "community organizing" in Chicago, when he rode from the tony university neighborhood where he
lived to strike poses for an hour or two with church ladies in the ghetto? His editorship of the Harvard Law Review, which left no trace on
that periodical? His short and deeply average career as a lawyer?
[Inner clip: Walters — We thought that he was going to be … the next messiah. End inner
Why? Why did you — I mean, you-plural, youse, you-all — why did you think he was going to be the next messiah? If it wasn't his
track record, what was it?
I don't think there can be any doubt about the answer. What suggested messiah-hood to these gaping, gullible liberals was Obama's wonderful,
ineffable, incomparable blackness. Larry Auster was right. To the Barbara Walters of the world, well-behaved blacks are
03 — Christmas 2012. Our
Christmas 2012 broadcast went out on the 22nd, a week after the Sandy Hook shooting, when a lunatic murdered twenty children and six adults at an
elementary school in Connecticut.
I tried to cover all bases on the shooting: Second Amendment issues, treatment of the mentally ill, fatherless kids, … and
[Radio Derb clip: Just in case my segment on gun control there left you in any doubt about the connection with liberty,
here is the opinion of the Chinese Communist Party,
as relayed through their official propaganda network the so-called Xinhua News Agency. Quote:
"Obama said of the latest tragedy the country had "been through this too many times," and it was time to put aside political
differences and "take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this." … Action speaks louder than words. If Obama wants
to take practical measures to control guns, he has to make preparation for a protracted war and considerable political cost."
Once again, that was the opinion of the Chinese Communist Party, which not only prohibits its citizens from owning guns, but prohibits them from
owning anything with any security of possession, since the Party reserves to itself the right to confiscate property, including land, from
anyone, any time.
This Party, which crushed an unarmed student demonstration with tanks and machine-gun fire in 1989; and which twenty years before that plunged China
into a decade of disorder, madness, and murder; and whose policies, ten years before that, caused upwards of thirty million Chinese citizens
to starve to death; this
Party is now shedding crocodile tears — or perhaps dragon tears — at, quote from Xinhua, "the … heartbreaking
deaths of … 20 schoolchildren." The Chinese word for chutzpah, in case you're wondering, is 厚顏無恥
Hold on to your guns, citizens.]
04 — Christmas 2011. On Christmas
2011 I reported a minor engagement in the War on Christmas. This skirmish took place in the Massachusetts town of Saugus, where the the custom has
been, the week before Christmas, for one of the town's fire-fighting vehicles with Santa aboard to swing by the town's elementary schools passing out
coloring books to the students.
A pretty nice custom, right? Well, the Saugus Superintendent of schools, name of Langlois, did not think so. He made a phone call to the
town fire chief, name of Blanchard. Radio Derb took up the story, then passed an opinion.
[Radio Derb clip: Well, first thing this last Monday morning, Chief Blanchard got a call from Superintendent
Langlois — who, from his picture in the Saugus Advertiser, looks to have the pale cold blood of Increase Mather and Tribulation
Wholesome coursing through his veins. There would be no fire-truck-riding Santa this year, the superintendent told the chief, because the town
authorities should refrain from favoring one religious holiday, that is Christmas, over others; and should more strictly observe separation between
Church and State.
Things were then said and done behind the scenes. We don't know what the things were, but the Advertiser tells us that the super called the
chief again around noon with permission for the Santa tour to go ahead after all: just as well, since 400 coloring books had already been ordered from
Bob's Discount in Revere.
For a conservative, that's a kind of double-edged story. On the one hand we have a stone-faced joyless ideologue depriving little kids of a harmless
treat. On the other hand, one of the very oldest and earliest of American traditions, the tradition of, well, stone-faced joyless ideology, is being
kept alive by Superintendent Langlois. How conservative is that?
My personal opinion is that the good townspeople of Saugus should apply another fine old Massachusetts tradition and strap Superintendent Langlois to
a ducking stool.]
05 — Christmas 2010. At Christmas
2010, moved by the idea — a perfectly sound and humane idea in itself — that the Christmas season is a time for reflecting on
the lot of those less fortunate than ourselves, I got to thinking about our government welfare programs.
That led off into a rant about the fraud, bloat, and waste that now seem to be permanent features of the programs SSI, that's Supplemental
Security Income, and SSDI, Social Security Disability Insurance. Here was Radio Derb's take on the latter.
[Radio Derb clip: Created in 1956, the idea of SSDI was to give income support to people aged 50 to 64 who were disabled
and couldn't work. As with SSI, the program has swollen beyond anything imagined by those who conceived it.
The Cato Institute did a report on SSDI, published November 30th this year. As the Cato people point out, there should be much less need for
SSDI now than in 1956. Quote: "Five decades of advances in medical treatments and rehabilitative technologies, combined with a secular trend away
from physically exertive work … should have reduced the incidence of disabling medical conditions and hence lowered the relative size of
the SSDI program. This has not occurred."
It sure hasn't. Payments under SSDI have more than doubled in just the last fifteen years, even after factoring in inflation. Welfare programs, once
you start them, have a life of their own. There is a whole legal sub-industry dedicated to helping you game these Social Security welfare
systems — they advertise on TV.
The whole welfare system is rotten, and getting rottener real fast.]
06 — Christmas 2009. In the
giving spirit of the Christmas season, I'm going to give Barack Obama and Congress a little bit of credit for getting the federal deficit
The deficit is what the federal government spends minus that it takes in. The deficit for the last fiscal year, the one that ended
September 30th, was a tad less than half a trillion
dollars. That's far too much — because the feds spend too much — but it's two hundred million dollars less than the
previous year, and nine hundred million less than the number for recession-struck 2009.
It never hurts to chide them for their spending extravagance, though, and I did so in the 2009 Christmas broadcast.
[Radio Derb clip: See if you can guess who said the following words this week. Quote:
"In the long run we can't continue to spend as if deficits don't have consequences, as if waste doesn't matter, as if the hard earned tax dollars
of the American people can be treated like monopoly money, that's what we've seen time and time again … Washington has put off hard
choices spending bill after spending bill, budget after budget."
OK, who said it? Grover Norquist? National Review? Ron Paul? Nope, that was Barack Obama. [Laughter.]
Does this guy have a line of patter, or what? Did we ever have a President so adept at talking out of both sides of his mouth? Did you ever know a
guy so agile at ducking out from the Temperance meeting to take a quick swig of Jack Daniels in the men's room?
Oh, but the administration's going to stop all this extravagant spending real soon now. It's just for the duration of the present emergency,
you see. Far-left radicals like Barack Obama aren't actually keen on big government spend-a-thons. Why on earth would you think that?
Our President is a fiscal conservative! And I am Marie of Romania.]
07 — Christmas 2008. At Christmas
2008 I was of course looking forward to the inauguration of President Obama … although perhaps "looking forward" doesn't quite
catch the spirit of my commentary.
[Radio Derb clip: The Inauguration of our new President is taking shape.
Some mini-controversies have broken out over the arrangements, notably over the choice of Pastor Rick Warren to give the invocation. Pastor Warren
would like to conserve the idea of marriage as a privileged contractual union between one man and one woman. As a conservative, I agree with him. So,
as a matter of fact, does Barack Obama, who said he was against gay marriage, at least when he was trying to get elected; so I don't really see what
the fuss is about.
With Billy Graham slipping away, we need a new guy to preside over the "ceremonial deism" that is traditional in our public life, and that
only the crankiest and most obnoxious kinds of atheists object to — certainly not me. Pastor Rick is a fine-looking man who I think will do
the job well.
Who else are we getting at the inaugural bash? "Musical selections from Aretha Franklin," it says here. I guess Pete Seeger wasn't
And — oh no! — we're going to get a poem from Elizabeth Alexander, who is to Maya Angelou as Ms Angelou is to Elizabeth Barrett
Browning. As a poetry lover, I'm going to need to know exactly where in the program this lady shows up, so I can hit the mute button on my
I can tell you what her poem will be like anyway. It won't rhyme, scan, or make much sense, and it will contain lots of keening about oppression and
injustice along with gassy stuff about striving and uplifting and the soulful wisdom of Apaches. She's that kind of poet.
Anyway, this inauguration will be a huge event. They're expecting two to four million people. What an extravaganza!
I'm trying to imagine what the inauguration of my man Ron Paul would have been like. A quick swearing-in at a notary's office somewhere, a buffet
lunch, and a 300-word address to the nation posted on Ron's Facebook page. That'd be it.
That's how things should be in a commercial republic. As I have already pointed out, though, our days as a commercial republic are far behind
us. If living in a commercial republic under limited federal government is what you want, move to Switzerland. This is America, headquarters of a
grandiose, bloated, world-wide empire of righteousness.
Never mind that the economy's in the tank, the border's undefended, and the whole world hates us: The Emperor must have his day of
08 — Christmas 2007. In 2007,
when my son was twelve years old, I noted the need for relentless pressure to get kids doing what they should be doing: homework, chores,
personal hygiene, … anything. That was by way of setting up an analogy with our federal legislators.
[Radio Derb clip: The United States Congress is kind of like that. The only sure way to get them doing what they
ought to be doing is to be tirelessly vigilant and keep the pressure on.
Case in point: the border fence. Last year's Secure Fence Act specified, quote, "two layers of reinforced fencing." It also specified five
stretches of the border, totalling over seven hundred miles, where the fence should be built.
Well: Congress has just passed a monster spending bill — over half a trillion dollars, containing nine thousand earmarks, and in
there among the countless other clauses of this humongous bill are a couple that (a) remove the requirement for two layers of fence, and (b)
leave the locations of the fence segments to the discretion of border enforcement.
The elites in this country are absolutely, unshakably determined that illegal immigration shall not be controlled, let alone stopped. It is their top
priority — the most important thing in the world to them.
The business lobbies, the gated community crowd, the educrats, the mainline churches, the unions, the tort lawyers, the liberal bleeding
hearts … they love illegal immigration more than they love their lives. If it's up to them, that fence will never be built.
Fortunately it's not just up to them. As the defeat of this year's amnesty bill proved, we have voices too. The trouble is, we have to keep using
them. If we relax for a minute, they slip some atrocity like this through Congress.
Keep shouting! Keep calling! Don't let up!]
09 — Christmas 2006. The
Christmas 2006 broadcast also had an item on illegal immigration.
In mid-December that year six plants of the meatpacking company Swift & Co. were raided by federal agents. One thousand three hundred
illegal immigrants working at the plants were arrested. Said Radio Derb:
[Radio Derb clip: Good. Now ex-employees of Swift and Co. are suing the firm for conspiring to depress wages by hiring
those aliens. Double good. Since we can't get rid of the trial lawyers, let's enlist them in the fight against illegal labor.
Meat packing is not work that Americans won't do. We used to do it at decent wages. These firms hiring in illegals are insulting American
citizens and legal residents. I hope Swift and Co. get taken to the cleaners in this civil suit, with some hefty punitive damages; and I hope we see
more of these lawsuits by people who've lost their jobs to illegals.
This is the key to the illegal immigration problem: no jobs, no problem.]
Just a follow-up on that. The lawsuit seems to have come to naught, or perhaps was settled out of court. I underestimated the cunning and
treachery of the meatpackers, though.
Resolutely unwilling to offer wages and working conditions that Americans would accept, but now shy of employing illegals, the meatpackers
hooked up with the refugee-resettlement industry. They now use refugee workers, at the same substandard pay and the same appalling conditions they
formerly offered to the illegals. I refer you to the excellent website
Refugee Resettlement Watch for the depressing details.
10 — Christmas 2005. You might
grumble that commentary in support of the death penalty isn't really very Christmassy, but the subject was in my mind at Christmas 2005 owing to the
execution of Tookie Williams at San Quentin prison on the 13th of the month.
Williams was a savage and heartless murderer, a cold psychopath who staged redemption in prison and became the darling of various
"community activist" and bleeding-heart liberal groups. They could have executed him on Christmas Day wearing a Santa hat and holding a plum
pudding and a glass of egg nog for all I could have cared.
In my Christmas broadcast, I mainly took issue with the method of execution, thus.
[Radio Derb clip: After 24 years on Death Row, Tookie Williams, founder of the Crips street gang, and convicted multiple
murderer, finally got his ticket punched in San Quentin prison.
Personally I have no problem with capital punishment and I'm glad Williams got his just deserts at last. I do, however, deplore the spreading use of
lethal injection as a means of dispatch. I don't see why we should hide from ourselves the fact that we are doing an act of violence to one of
It has always seemed to me that the firing squad is an ideal way to kill these people. It gets ordinary citizens involved; and it has a Second
Amendment cachet that should appeal to all conservatives.
Lethal injection is just an insult to the medical profession. I think it was George Carlin who wondered aloud whether they swab the injection site
with antiseptic before inserting the needle.
Tookie, according to news reports, actually had to help them find a vein.
This lethal injection business is just prettying up something that not only can't be made pretty, but shouldn't be.]
11 — Christmas 2004. The
Christmas 2004 broadcast was unusual in that I sang most of it. I don't think I ever repeated the experiment, and … you'd better
hope I didn't.
The songs I sang were topical spoofs on Christmas songs. Here for example, is one on the Democratic candidate in that year's Presidential
election. He lost, but hold back those tears: He later got a gig as Secretary of State in the Obama administration. Ech, they just won't lie down.
[Radio Derb clip: Frosty the candidate
Was a chilly kind of soul.
With his lantern jaw
And his pompadour,
And his icy self-control.
Frosty the candidate
Was a decorated vet.
With a Senate seat
Where he couldn't be beat,
He just looked like a safe bet.
There must have been some magic
In the way that he campaigned;
For when it came convention time,
Nomination he'd attained!
Frosty the candidate
Came on strong in the debates;
And out on the trail
Seemed he couldn't fail
To swing some crucial states.
But then his wartime comrades,
Feeling cheated and betrayed,
Showed us how he'd lied,
Slandered men who'd died,
In that long-ago decade.
Frosty the candidate
Started slipping in the polls.
By election night
He'd slipped out of sight,
With his story full of holes.
Thumpety thump thump,
Thumpety thump thump,
Look at Frosty go.
Thumpety thump thump,
Thumpety thump thump,
12 — Signoff. That's it, folks. I hope you enjoyed that little visit
from the ghost of Christmas past.
It only remains to thank you for listening to and supporting Radio Derb, and to wish you everything you hope for in the coming year. Merry