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[Music clip: From Haydn's Derbyshire March No. 2, organ version]
01 — Intro. And Radio Derb is on the air! Greetings, everyone. This is your joyfully genial host John Derbyshire with our last podcast of 2015.
In our present straitened circumstances, I'm afraid there is no Radio Derb Christmas party this year. The best I have been able to do is inveigle Sandy, my research assistant, into the studio to offer a Christmas greeting. Wish the listeners a merry Christmas, Sandy. [Sandy: Merry Christmas, whatever. You call that a Christmas bonus? …]
Thank you, Sandy. She is such a ray of sunshine.
On to the week's news. First, tidings of little comfort and not much joy from America's oldest ally.
02 — Not enough French people want their country back. Disappointment of the week for us Dissident Right types was the poor performance of Ms Le Pen's National Front Party in the French regional elections last Sunday.
First, some background. I'm not going to get too deep into the weeds on the French Constitution, I promise; I'll just say enough to make clear, I hope, what went on last Sunday. Here goes.
Napoleon famously said that a constitution should be short and vague. The current French Constitution is not in fact very short. The main body of it is over 12,000 words; the United States Constitution is less than 8,000, even if you include all the amendments.
So no, in defiance of Napoleon, the current French Constitution is not short. Whether or not it's vague I couldn't say, not having read it. The length suggests not. In any case, they change the damn thing so often, anything you might say about its contents is out of date before your words have crossed the room to strike a listener's ear.
To last Sunday's election: The main point is that France is divided into regions. Matters actually get complicated right there, as soon as you've said that.
Mainland France has 21 of these regions. You can forget about that, though, in the spirit of what I just said about how often they change their constitution, because they recently decided to reorganize the whole shebang, reducing that 21 to 12 as of next year; and last Sunday's elections were carried out on the new system, the 12-region system, even though it isn't officially in administrative force until next year.
OK, main result: Of the 12 regional presidencies, Sarkozy's center-right won seven, Hollande's center-left got five, leaving none for the National Front.
Popular-vote-wise, President Hollande's center-left got 41 percent of the vote overall; Nicolas Sarkozy's center-right got 32 percent; the National Front got 27 percent. The turnout was 60 percent of eligible voters.
In the grand political scheme of things this is not disastrous for Ms Le Pen. These regional councils don't have much power. France has traditionally been a highly centralized country. If something doesn't happen in Paris, it doesn't happen. The wee bit of power that isn't held by the center has traditionally been held by the Departments, of which there are 96 in mainland France … unless they reorganized them when I wasn't looking.
Then, forty years ago, there was a fad for decentralization, and the 96 Departments were grouped into these regions; but the Departments were naturally reluctant to yield up powers to the regions; and Paris was likewise not keen to give away powers from the center, so the regional councils and their presidents dwell in something of a political no-man's-land.
Still, an election's an election and we insurrectionaries on the Dissident Right hoped for something better.
The result wasn't totally negative. There was some satisfaction of a grim sort in the fact that in two key regions the establishment parties were so panicked by the possibility of a Le Pen victory the center-left candidates withdrew so that the anti-Le Pen vote wouldn't be split. The strategy worked: The center-right won both regions.
The names of those two regions are Nord, which includes the city of Calais, and Provence, which includes Marseille. Both those cities have been much vexed by multiculturalism: Calais by a huge camp of illegal aliens outside the city, hoping to be smuggled into Britain, and Marseille by mass Muslim immigration. Marseille is thirty to forty percent Muslim — the French don't ask religion in censuses, so it's hard to be sure — and by some estimates is the most dangerous city in Europe, a major center of drug trafficking.
A lot of French people in Nord and Provence want their country back. Hence the fear that the National Front might win one of those region's presidencies; hence also the fact that the National Front was running actual Le Pens in both regions: party boss Marine Le Pen in Nord, and her very photogenic niece Marion in Provence.
Our grim satisfaction centers on those tactical withdrawals in Nord and Provence to deny National Front victories. Those withdrawals play directly into what we — we on the Dissident Right — have been saying for years: That on National Question issues — immigration, multiculturalism, political correctness, demographic transformation — the big established parties are indistinguishable, their pretence at differences just a sham.
Permit me another segment to enlarge on that.
A lot of people still think of "left" and "right" as some kind of difference over economics. There are still some traces of that, but when we talk about "left" and "right" nowadays, the real divide is between nationalism and demographic stability on one side, globalism and multiculturalism on the other.
In other words, the big fissure in Western societies is not between classes, or attitudes about class, or matters of wealth redistribution or control of industries. That's all pretty much been settled. The great divide today is between nationalism and demographic stability on the one hand, globalism and mass immigration on the other.
It used to be, a hundred years ago, even fifty years ago, that you could take a person's political temperature, so to speak — I mean, you could get a quick rough gauge of how much you were likely to agree or disagree with him — by finding out how much he hated rich people. Note that the person whose temperature you were taking might himself be rich; the expression "limousine liberal" has been around for a while.
Nowadays if you want to take someone's political "temperature" you get a much more accurate reading by figuring out how much he hates white people. Again, there is no bar to he himself being white; the word "ethnomasochist" hasn't been around as long as "limousine liberal," but I did once trace it as far back as 1981.
As I said back in March, economic and class issues don't generate much heat any more. For heat — I'm sticking with my temperature analogy — it's National Question issues that matter.
A change of that magnitude in our way of thinking about politics happens very slowly, though, at both the top and the bottom. This particular change is being driven by huge deep currents: mainly by the slow but colossal worldwide demographic shift against the white race, a theme I've worked over many times here at Radio Derb.
To quote myself once again, from September 4th this year: [In] 1922, when my father was a young man, the British Isles had over twice the population of what was then called British West Africa. In 2015, that same West African territory has over three times the population of the British Isles. That's a stupendous demographic reversal.
Stupendous it may have been; but on topics as remote from their everyday lives as the relative populations of faraway places, people's thinking changes very slowly. As I said, it takes a couple of generations to sink in, at both top and bottom of the political scale.
To return to the French regional elections: The center-left withdrawal from those two French regions in order to shut out the Le Pen gals — that was a sign that the party bosses are getting it. With them, it is starting to sink in.
At this point they would not yet admit, even under torture, that their parties differ in very little except the personalities on offer; but at some level they understand that they — center-right and center-left — are together on one side of the great issue of our age, while the Le Pen ladies are on the other side.
This is the new political alignment, just emerging from the receding waters of industrial-era class conflict and economic ideology.
At the other end of the political scale, where the actual voters dwell, awakening to the new alignment has been partial and local. Voters don't care as much about politics as politicians do. It takes longer for them to grasp these tremendous changes, unless the changes are really thrust in their faces.
That's why the National Front nationwide polled only 27 percent. They did much better in Nord and Provence, where the National Question has been thrust in voters' faces: 42 and 45 percent, respectively.
You see similar differences in the U.S.A. Where anti-white or anti-Western feeling is most clearly on display, class and economic issues go out the window and people vote race and ethnicity: In 2012 Mitt Romney got 88 percent of the white vote in Mississippi but only 34 percent in Vermont.
It's customary at this point for the commentator to say that it will take a couple more 9/11s, or a couple more Paris-type attacks, or San Bernadinos, to wake up a real majority of the electorate.
Well, events like that are accelerants, but if mass immigration continues and multiculturalism spreads nationwide, Mississippi-ization will happen anyway. Unless Vermonters maintain their current lily-white demographics, they will eventually vote like Mississippians.
It's the Lee Kuan Yew rule. Famous quote from him:
In multiracial societies, you don't vote in accordance with your economic interests and social interests, you vote in accordance with race and religion.
A few months ago I attended a talk given by Nelson Hultberg, a principal of the very worthy organization Americans for a Free Republic, which seeks to get a Third Party going based on, quote from him, "libertarian politics and conservative values." Mr Hultberg told us he doesn't actually much care for the expression "Third Party," because right now we really only have one party. What he'd like to bring about, he said, is a second party.
That of course is what the big old parties dread: the rise of a genuine opposition. That's why the center-left withdrew their candidates from Nord and Provence. Yet the thing they dread, the thing that brings them together, united in hostility, is the very thing their policies are bound to bring about.
So much for France. How are these themes playing out over here in the U.S.A.? Let's take a look.
04 — Trumpitler. This year, I just have time to notice, this year — 2015 — marks the 25th birthday of Godwin's Law.
In case you don't know Godwin's Law, here's the background. The internet was the plaything of academics and government types until 1989, when the first dial-up access was made available to general users. Just one year later, in 1990, Mike Godwin formulated Godwin's Law, a universal principle describing the behavior of online discussion groups. That was 25 years ago.
Godwin's Law, in its original form, says the following thing, quote:
As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one.
A probability of one is of course certainty.
Well, the latest manifestation of Godwin's Law showed up this week in — would you believe it? — The New York Times. This was an Op-Ed column by Roger Cohen in the December 14th edition of the Gray Lady. Title of the column: "Trump's Weimar America."
"Weimar" here is short for the Weimar Republic, the constitutional order under which Germany was governed between 1919 and 1933, before the Nazi Party came to power. That's Roger Cohen's thesis: Today's U.S.A., he's saying, is the Weimar Republic. Donald Trump is Adolf Hitler. Just to remind you: This is The New York Times, America's premier broadsheet newspaper.
Here's a sample of Cohen's argument. Quote:
The Weimar Republic ended with a clown's ascent to power, a high-energy buffoon who shouted loudest, a bully from the beer halls, a racist and a bigot. He was an outsider given to theatrics and pageantry. He seduced the nation of Beethoven. He took the world down with him.
This is such low-grade stuff, it's wearisome to have to deal with it. Somebody has to, though, so here goes.
First off, to quote myself writing about this same tedious topic five years ago:
Hitler's Germany does not map into any large tendency in modern American politics. Some particular components of it map into localized phenomena; but even when this happens, it is usually to some similar feature of our political Left.
Take the universities, for example. In Weimar Germany they were bastions of Nazism. I'm going to quote myself again, this time from my book Prime Obsession, page 255. The subject here is the university town of Göttingen, a great center of mathematical excellence in the 19th and early 20th centuries, quote:
Göttingen at large was rather strong for Hitler. This was true of both "town" and "gown." In the 1930 elections, Göttingen had delivered twice as many votes to Hitler's party as the national average; and the Nazis had a majority in the university's student congress as far back as 1926.
The politicization of the Academy was a key part of Hitler's program, as it has been a key part of the modern American Left's program. In both cases it has been very successful.
So if it's parallels with the Weimar Republic that Roger Cohen seeks, perhaps he should visit our university campuses.
Again, the quasi-pagan nature worship characteristic of Nazi culture has resurfaced in far-Left environmental and animal-rights groups. Hitler would have been a great enthusiast for climate-change alarmism.
Antisemitism is more complicated. The biggest coherent groups of antisemites in the U.S.A. today are blacks and Muslims, two groups that are situated pretty solidly on the political Left.
There's antisemitism on the nationalist Right, too, though, of course. You don't need to tell me, I know all about it. As an anti-antisemite myself, with a long paper trail in evidence of that, I get emails sneering at me for cowardice because I stubbornly refuse to "name the Jew." Yes, there are antisemites in the Dissident Right, plenty of them.
There are plenty of us anti-antisemites too, though; not to mention a fair number of Jews. The last Dissident-Right function I attended was the annual conference of the H.L. Mencken Club in November. The speaker roster at that event included Bob Weissberg, Ed Rubenstein, Carl Horowitz, and the club's founder Paul Gottfried.
But, hey, don't take my word for it: The Mencken Club publishes online audio of conference speeches. American Renaissance publishes online video of their conferences. Check 'em out for yourself; and if you spot an antisemitic rant, let me know.
And by the way, none of the following is antisemitic in any way I understand the word.
What does any of that have to do with Donald Trump, anyway? The blogger who calls himself "Lion of the Blogosphere" had an interesting post about this the other day. Quote:
If Trump becomes president he will be the most culturally Jewish president in American history. His daughter is Jewish, and probably a plurality of his top employees are Jewish. His CFO Allen Weisselberg and his top lawyers Alan Garten and Jason Greenblatt (Yeshiva University graduate) are likely Jewish based on their last names. As well as his attorney and Executive Vice President Michael Cohen who often represents Trump on TV interviews and his previous general counsel Bernie Diamond. And Cathy Hoffman Glosser, his EVP of Global Licensing. And Eric Danziger, the CEO of the Trump Hotel Collection. And the old guy who worked for him on his TV Show, George Ross. And of course his own daughter who is his EVP of Development and Acquisitions.
There are a great many things you can say about all this; but if the thing you want to say is that Donald Trump maps onto Adolf Hitler and Trump's supporters map onto the Nazi Party of Weimar Germany, then I'm afraid I'm going to have to say: "You're nuts."
05 — Yes, Virginia, there are two political parties. There was another GOP candidates debate on Tuesday this week.
I'm sorry to say I had a glass of wine too many at dinner, so I fell asleep about half an hour in to the thing. I did peruse the debate transcript Wednesday morning, and I'll have things to say about it in a following segment. Here I just want to exercise commentator's privilege and shamelessly contradict myself, just a little.
I said or implied back there, speaking about the French regional elections, that we essentially have a one-party state, with Democrats and Republicans on the same side of major issues in our time.
That, it seems to me, is hard to deny. It got even harder to deny this week, when House Speaker Paul Ryan unveiled his omnibus spending bill. This bill was so bad, it caused Rush Limbaugh to call for the disbanding of the Republican Party. There are, to be sure, a few ickety-tick tax breaks in it for the Chambers of Commerce crowd; but on anything related to the National Question it is a total surrender to the Left. Sanctuary cities fully funded, refugee numbers increased, tax credits for illegal aliens, more visas for nationals of countries that won't accept back their illegals, visa numbers for foreign workers quadrupled, …
Senator Jeff Sessions, whom God preserve!, gave a fine angry speech about this horrible bill. It's on YouTube, a little over nine minutes long, and I urge you to watch it. Just search YouTube for "Sessions omnibus." Sample:
[Clip: This legislation represents a further disenfranchisement of the American voter. What does a vote mean in this country? At a time when hundreds of thousands of criminal aliens, who by law should be deported, are on our streets … We've had hearings on this. Criminal aliens are killing innocent Americans; numerous foreign-born individuals are implicated in terrorism; tens of thousands of aliens from Central America can continue to stream across our Southern border; countless Americans are being replaced by foreign workers and forced to train their replacements; and millions of other Americans just struggling to get by; so this Congress has chosen to make things worse.]
So yes, we have a one-party state, with both major parties firmly committed to continuing, in fact increasing, floods of immigrants, in numbers that make it impossible to do any serious security vetting.
OK, so in what regard do I want to contradict myself on that?
Well, watching Tuesday's GOP candidates debate, and then Senator Sessions' fine speech, I have to allow that there is at least some nominal diversity in the GOP. It never seems to be able to manifest itself in legislative action, but it's there in some potential form.
I actually quantified this a few months ago, in the March 7th Radio Derb broadcast I alluded to earlier. I went to the NumbersUSA website and looked up the immigration score cards for congresscritters from both parties. NumbersUSA gives every congressperson a grade, from A+ down to F-, on immigration issues.
Among Republican House members, 69 percent of GOP Representatives got graded A or A+, while 28 percent were F or F-. Got that? 69 percent firm immigration patriots, 28 percent total open borders. That's the House. Among Republican Senators, 59 percent were A or A+, eight percent were F or F-. There is actually some Diversity in the GOP.
Now the Democrats. Democratic House members: A or A+, zero percent; F or F-, 99 percent. For Democrat Senators the unity was even more solid: 100 percent, every single one, was graded F-.
As I said at the time, quote from myself:
Where congressional Democrats are concerned, we're not even in the U.S.A. any more: this might as well be the Supreme Soviet. The President doesn't have to work these guys; he just has to stroll into the House chamber once a year and bask in the applause.
So yes: As scornful as I am of party politics, there is that difference at least. There is among Democrat congresscritters no mirror image of Jeff Sessions or Steve King. I say again: That pleasing diversity of opinion among Republicans never seems to generate any worthwhile legislation, but at least it's there in potential.
This monolithic quality the Democrats present also accounts for their candidate debates being much less consequential than the GOP's. Only two candidates showed up for the last one, Bernie Sanders and Martin O'Malley, and nobody remembers anything either of them said.
There's another Democrat candidates debate scheduled for this Saturday, though it's gotten tangled up in a labor union dispute at the TV station hosting it, so perhaps it won't even happen. Nobody much cares either way, as it's assumed Mrs Clinton will get the nomination, if she can stay out of jail.
So yeah, there's that: signs of life in the GOP, while the Democrats are just an inert slab of gray stone.
06 — Nukes in the attic. Here is an exchange that happened in Tuesday's GOP candidate debate.
Donald Trump had just gotten through saying, quote:
The biggest problem we have is nuclear — nuclear proliferation and having some maniac … go out and get a nuclear weapon. That's in my opinion, that is the single biggest problem that our country faces right now.
Hugh Hewitt responded by asking Trump whether, of the three legs of the triad, Trump had a priority. That caught Trump on the hop. He plainly had no idea what Hewitt was talking about. He fielded it pretty well, though, quote:
I think, for me, nuclear is just the power, the devastation is very important to me.
Hewitt turned to Marco Rubio, who was glad to explain what the triad is.
A number of points here. In my opinion, Trump should darn well know what the triad is. I certainly agree that a wonkish mastery of policy detail does not a good President make. The most wonkish President we've had in recent decades was Jimmy Carter — I rest my case. There is a level of wonkishness, though — a thermometer reading, if you like — that, while I don't particularly want my candidate way, way above it, I also don't want him below it. Not knowing what the nuclear triad is puts Trump below my preferred thermometer reading there.
All right, it's a matter of opinion. Ann Coulter sets the thermometer reading lower than I do, and mocked Rubio for knowing what Trump didn't. OK, let's say "personal preference."
And in Trump's favor, he clearly has nukes in mind. This is an old Radio Derb theme. We all should have nukes in mind. They've been slumbering away there for seventy years, shoved away into some cobwebbed corner in the attic of our collective consciousness, never thought about from one year's end to the next.
Trump is right to remind us that there could be a very rude awakening in our future. Nukes are 1940s technology, like valve radios and vinyl disks. For all you or I know, we may be just a couple of breakthroughs in fundamental physics away from 13-year-old kids building nukes in Dad's garage.
Nukes have actually been in the news recently. I have two stories from the headlines.
First story. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, visiting a historical site last week, said that his country was, quote, "a powerful nuclear weapons state ready to detonate self-reliant A-bomb and H-bomb to reliably defend its sovereignty and the dignity of the nation," end quote.
We've known for two years that North Korea does have a fission bomb, what that news report calls an "A-bomb," but Kim seemed to be saying they are working towards a fusion weapon, an "H-bomb."
Might this be so? I went to the best-informed observer on these things, nuclear strategy and East Asia expert Jeffrey Lewis over at the 38North website. Jeffrey doesn't rule it out. Quote from him:
While a staged thermonuclear weapon is likely more than North Korea can, at the moment, achieve technically, it is a mistake to rule out the aspiration by Pyongyang.
I note in passing that if the Norks do develop an H-bomb, it is extremely unlikely they will give it the codename that the U.S. Air Force gave to the Nagasaki bomb back in 1945: Fat Man.
Second news story. In a televised interview December 9th Vladimir Putin praised the efficacy of the missiles his own air force is using against ISIS in Syria. These weapons, he said, can be equipped with either conventional or nuclear warheads. He then added, presumably in respect of the nuclear option, that, quote: "Naturally, we do not need that in fighting terrorists, and I hope we will never need it," end quote.
That's called "not ruling anything out." Vlad, a man very careful with his public utterances, is telling the world he isn't ruling out the use of nukes against ISIS.
Here are the two key facts about nuclear weapons.
Fact one: They are terrifically destructive. Donald Trump understands that, at least. The very biggest conventional bombs have yields in the range ten to twenty equivalent tons of TNT. That is the very utmost bottom of the range for nukes. The Fat Man bomb I just mentioned, that wiped out Nagasaki seventy years ago, had a yield of twenty thousand tons — a thousand times our biggest conventional bomb, ten thousand times the Oklahoma City bomb. We are speaking sheer destructive blast power here, never mind radiation and fallout. Trump is right at least to concentrate on that.
Fact two: There's an upper limit to how powerful a fission bomb can be. At some point the fissionable material blows itself apart before the remainder can fission. The upper limit is around half a megaton, five hundred thousand tons of TNT — 25 times a Fat Man. There are cheats you can do, ways to tweak the yield a bit higher, but there is a definite upper limit.
With fusion weapons, so far as I know there is no known upper limit. The Soviets actually built a hundred megaton fusion bomb, what Kim Jong Un calls an H-bomb, though they scaled it down to half that for the test. You could build a gigaton bomb, or a teraton bomb, with current technology.
There they sit, quietly, decade after decade, ticking away softly in that cobwebbed corner of the attic. A fifth-rate crackpot despotism like North Korea can manufacture them. Reason, common sense, even self-preservation are not always the dominant factors in human affairs.
You can buy 60 potassium iodide tablets on Amazon for fifteen dollars, and you should.
07 — Miscellany. And now, our closing miscellany of brief items.
Imprimis: I characterized myself up there as an anti-antisemite. So does that mean I'm, like, a philo-semite?
Sorry, but I don't think like that. The word "philosemite" falls on my ears as a bit creepy and patronizing. I couldn't positively swear that I've never used it of myself, but on mature reflection I'll now rule it out. I mean, really: "I love Jews! They're so great!" For goodness' sake!
I neither love nor hate any race of people for what nature made them. There are opinions I dislike, and by extension I'll tackle people who hold those opinions; and I'll acknowledge race differences, and smile at some and regret others. Love and hate I'll strive to keep at the personal level, though.
There are of course horrible Jews, just as there are horrible Englishmen, Turks, or Zoroastrians. Case in point from the week's news: Rabbi Mendel Epstein of Brooklyn, New York, known locally as The Prodfather.
The Prodfather won his epithet in the following manner. If an orthodox Jewish woman wants a religious divorce, she has to persuade her husband to give her one. It's called a get in Hebrew. If the husband can't be persuaded to present her with a get, she can't get divorced.
Enter Rabbi Epstein, The Prodfather. Rabbi Epstein ran a gang that would, for a price, kidnap reluctant husbands and torture them in various ways — with cattle prods, for example — to make them give a get. The Prodfather.
This week The Prodfather was sentence to ten years in the clink by a federal judge in New Jersey for conspiracy to commit kidnapping. His crimes had crossed state borders, so it was a federal case.
No argument from me on the sentence. What this news story actually brought to my mind was the get scene in that perfect little 1975 gem of a movie, Hester Street. The entire movie is on YouTube, though the sound quality's not very good. The get scene starts at 77 minutes 30 seconds in. If you ever need to get a get, that's how it's done, right there. No need for the Prodfather.
A well-informed reader offered some gentle corrections. Quote from him, slightly edited:
The Japanese have had a population policy for a lot longer than 76 years. Before WWII they deliberately pushed to create a population explosion [my reader supplies an academic reference here]. They succeeded, and created so much poverty that by the eve of WWII Japan was on the brink of collapse, and they only attacked the United States out of desperation, because they needed to colonize and invade the rest of Asia for resources …
Thank you, Sir. Radio Derb continues to wish the Japanese well in making their way through the demographic challenges of low fertility and aging population while remaining resolutely Japanese.
Item: Am I thrilled about the new Star Wars movie? No, not at all; not the least bit; not a jot nor a tittle, nor a microjot nor a nanotittle.
I did my adolescent reading in the Golden Age of science fiction — the 1950s and early 1960s. By the time I got to college I had read wellnigh every word that Robert Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, A.E. Van Vogt, Ray Bradbury, Cyril Kornbluth, Frederick Pohl, Henry Kuttner, Theodore Sturgeon, Brian Aldiss, John Wyndham, and Eric Frank Russell ever wrote, mostly in the original magazine format. I'm a science fiction snob.
I saw the first Star Wars movie when it came out, with the young son of a friend. I had to struggle to mask my contempt. It was what we sci-fi buffs called "space opera," by analogy with "horse opera," those cheesy Western B-movies you got as a second feature in those days.
Star Wars wasn't, and I'm guessing still isn't, just space opera, it was low-grade space opera. Ptui, I spit.
08 — Signoff. That's it, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you for listening, and a very Merry Christmas to all.
A Christmas carol to see us out, of course. Here is one of the oldest — five hundred years old, at least: Gaudete, sung here by the Chapter House Choir of York Minster.
Radio Derb will be on Christmas break next week; but there will, rest assured, be more from us the following Friday, January 1st.
[Music clip: York Minster Choir, "Gaudete."]