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[Music clip: From Haydn's Derbyshire March No. 2, fife'n'drum version]
01 — Intro. And Radio Derb is on the air! Greetings, ladies and gentlemen, from our studio here on snowbound Long Island. This is of course your certifiably genial host John Derbyshire with Radio Derb's weekly ration of inspissated gloom.
Let's see what's on the menu this week. We have White Privilege, black wisdom, space travel, forestalled glacial inceptions, errata, rumors of war, crime and punishment, a clueless lefty, and of course the ineffable Mr Trump.
Let us begin.
02 — A tale of two conferences. You can now sign up for the 2016 White Privilege Conference, to be held at the downtown Marriott Hotel in Philadelphia, Wednesday April 13th to Sunday April 17th. Save the date! (I'm reading from the website here.) Conference title: Re-Imagining Equity and Justice in the United States.
What happens at a White Privilege Conference? A whole lot of workshops, mostly. I'm just looking through the list here.
We have a workshop titled "A History of White Supremacy and Resistance." The facilitators are listed as Z! Haukeness and Laura McNeill. That first one's Christian name is spelled "Z!," that's uppercase "Z" and an exclamation mark: "Z!" How d'you get a name like that? I googled it to find out.
Here he is, being interviewed by the Capital Times of Madison, Wisconsin: a twentysomething white guy with a long braided pigtail and big Gypsy Rose Lee earrings. Madison, Wisconsin is where he's from, apparently. Extract from the interview, quote:
Interviewer: How did someone who grew up in small-town Wisconsin become committed to working for racial justice?
Seventh grade: so little Z! was, what? — twelve, thirteen. We're not told whether this was a public or a private school. If it was a public school, I urge the taxpaying citizens of Madison to march on the city education offices with pitchforks and flaming brands.
What's up with that name, though? "Z!"? The interviewer asks him. Further quote:
Interviewer: You call yourself Z! — where did that name come from?
I can't say I blame you, pal.
D'you ever get the feeling that one night, while you were sleeping, some substantial portion of the human race was spirited away and replaced by Pod People from Alpha Centauri?
What else have we got in these workshops?
And so on, and so on. It's all rather silly, and you have to wonder that so many people have nothing better to do with their time than sit listening to gender queer guys from Wisconsin talk about intersectionality.
Isn't it all pretty harmless, though, like a convention of jugglers or bird-watchers? If it's not your thing, don't go — right? Is there really anything to get bothered about here?
Well, personally, I think that advising people on how to get first-graders to hate their parents and their ancestors is something the world could do without.
And then there's this, from the Campus Reform website, quote:
Major universities across the country are offering course credit … for students to attend an annual national event known as "The White Privilege Conference" … Some universities are offering to front the cost and cover hotel and transportation fees.
That strikes me as something to object to. Haverford College is private, OK. Miami U. is public, though, and there are surely other public colleges subsidizing their students to attend the White Privilege Conference. Z! and his pals are promoting their poisonous gibberish, and avoiding productive work, at my expense and yours. That's objectionable.
As it happens I just yesterday registered for the American Renaissance conference in May, to be held once again at the very pleasant Montgomery Bell state park in Tennessee — an infinitely more pleasant location than downtown Philly. American Renaissance is the main organization pushing back against anti-white racism, demographic displacement, and the de-legitimization of Western civilization.
Those are worthy causes, aren't they? Is there a college or university in this whole wide country, is there just one, that will subsidize students to attend our conference, or award academic credits for attending? If not, why not?
03 — Repent, miserable sinners! What is actually going on with the "white privilege" stuff? What's driving it? Most baffling to me, what's driving it in the case of white people like Z!? If they truly believe they have white privilege, wouldn't the natural thing be to want to preserve it?
Privilege is great. Why would anyone want to give up a privilege they have? If some airline decided to gift me with first-class travel for life, and I were to respond by saying: "Nah, thanks all the same. I'd prefer to travel coach," wouldn't the general opinion be that this was a bit odd of me?
Black scholar John McWhorter had some good insights into this in a column he wrote titled Antiracism, Our Flawed New Religion. The column actually dates from last July, but someone just brought it to my attention.
McWhorter argues that antiracism is a religion. Sample quotes, rather long:
Of course, most consider antiracism a position, or evidence of morality. However, in 2015, among educated Americans especially, Antiracism … is now what any naïve, unbiased anthropologist would describe as a new and increasingly dominant religion. It is what we worship, as sincerely and fervently as many worship God and Jesus and, among most Blue State Americans, more so …
McWhorter develops the analogy much further, with antiracist versions of proselytizing the heathen, a Rapture, and a Day of Judgment. It's a clever essay; he's a clever guy. I think he's on to something, too. I have sat among religious Christians listening to them apologizing to God for being such contemptible worms loaded down with sin; the White Privilege Conference does sound uncannily similar.
I really have to get right with McWhorter. He's addressing one of my dinner clubs in March, so I'll be chowing down on rubber chicken across the table from him. A couple of years ago I reviewed one of his books in a way that displeased him somehow; a mutual acquaintance told me he was grumbling about it. I forget the grounds of his complaint, but I'll try to get right with him.
In a different column, also last year, McWhorter offered four policy prescriptions to help black Americans in the absence — he assumes there will be an absence — of some transformation in white attitudes. The four prescriptions were, executive summary:
That's not a bad program; more sane and sensible, anyway, than whacking us over the head with "white privilege." I don't precisely agree with it. Personally I'd fight the war on drugs like a war, rounding up dealers, shooting them in batches, and feeding their corpses to wild dogs. McWhorter's program is at least rational, though; and that's more than you can say for the antiracist holy rollers weeping and wailing about how sinful they are.
04 — Hungry for the rule of law. Speaking of the War on Drugs, Mexico's Citizens' Council for Public Security and Criminal Justice has just released its annual list of the world's 50 most dangerous cities, based on homicide rates. Forty-one of the 50 are in Latin America.
Of the nine that are not in Latin America, four are in South Africa, one is in Jamaica, and four are in the U.S.A.: St Louis, Baltimore, Detroit, and New Orleans.
Of the 41 cities that are in Latin America, the breakdown by nation is: Brazil way out in the lead with 21, Venezuela 8, Mexico 5, Colombia 3, Honduras 2, Guatemala and El Salvador one each. We're counting cities here, so national size matters — Brazil has way more cities than Guatemala.
Still there's a clear racial pattern, with blacks and indios over-represented. It's obvious in the case of St Louis, Baltimore, Detroit, and New Orleans. In Latin America, the white countries of the Southern "cone" — Argentina, Chile, and Uruguay — are totally absent.
Elsewhere you might quibble about the absence of any sub-Saharan African countries outside South Africa; but Africa doesn't have a whole lot of cities. More to the point, probably, it doesn't have a whole lot of numeracy, the kind you need to keep reliable government statistics. Who knows what the homicide rate is in Ouagadougou or Kinshasa? Nobody, would be my guess.
If you subtract out the racial factor, the other big contributor to these statistics is the drugs trade. It's a huge business down through Central America and into that northern tier of South America.
There are two answers to that: the libertarian answer and the Radio Derb answer. Libertarians say just legalize everything, let people put whatever they want into their bodies, because liberty is good! Radio Derb replies that liberty at that level — total liberty — is an unqualified good only for citizens with an IQ above room temperature, no crippling personality issues, and some respect for bourgeois norms. We'd like to see the War on Drugs fought as a war, with lots of killing, on the Sherman principle: the swifter and harsher you are, the sooner it'll be over and we can rest back on civilized values.
I'm getting the rather strong impression, in fact, that civilized nations are increasingly under siege by international criminal networks; and not just in the matter of drugs.
The truth is that much of our immigration policy is now dictated by criminal trafficking gangs who make a fortune smuggling people into Britain — not our elected leaders and certainly not voters and taxpayers.
The same thing could of course be said about the U.S.A. Who is dictating our immigration policy? Where unskilled labor is concerned, it is surely the Latin American and Asian traffickers. For technical workers it's the big firms like Disney and Facebook seeking cheap labor and bending the laws to get it, as described in detail in the book Sold Out by Michelle Malkin and John Miano — "not our elected leaders and certainly not voters and taxpayers."
What about those elected leaders? What about those voters and taxpayers?
Our elected leaders are mostly bought and sold. The big-money donors — the Sheldon Adelsons, the Zuckerbergs, the Koch brothers — want globalization and cheap labor, and they'll pay to get it. Congressmen and judges aren't that expensive.
The voters and taxpayers are not oblivious, though. Tens of millions of patriotic middle-class Americans are wide awake to the fact that the country we love is being turned into just another Latin American gangster-state, where the rich are in league with the criminal rackets, and the rule of law has gone by the board.
The greatest turn-around the U.S.A. could perform right now, to save this beautiful country for our children and grandchildren, would be to become a nation in which the rule of law is rigidly and impartially enforced. You think we're locking up too many drug dealers? We're not locking up anything like enough. You think we're deporting too many illegals? We should deport a hundred times as many.
Americans are sick of lawlessness, hungry for a firm rule of law. A politician who promises that, and sounds as though he means it, will have the country behind him, whatever he has to say about taxes, healthcare, or ISIS.
05 — In which I succumb to the Pathetic Fallacy. Thursday this week marked the 30th anniversary of the Challenger disaster, when the space shuttle of that name exploded shortly after takeoff.
This is one of those who-will-ever-forget-where-he-was-and-what-he-was-doing episodes. I was on the 40th floor of Tower 49 in midtown Manhattan, a carefree bachelor writing code for the First Boston Corporation in a language named REXX. For some reason I remember the day as being a Monday, although checking just now I see that it was in fact a Tuesday. Never trust your memory on these minor points.
REXX is still around, I'm pleased to see — it was a neat language. Everything else is long gone, though: First Boston, swallowed up by Credit Suisse; my bachelorhood — I got married later that year; and of course the Space Shuttle — not just Challenger, the whole program.
Looking back on our country's space program, it seems incredible. Not that it was done, but that government did it. A hundred and fifty years into the existence of our Republic, we still had a federal government with enough vitality and capability to organize an effort like that.
You couldn't imagine it nowadays. If my own neighborhood is representative, the government has trouble delivering the mail.
The dark thought here is that the U.S.A. has arrived at senility. We look a while to get there, with a long and vigorous youth and a protracted middle age, but now finally the arteries are clogged with cholesterol and the joints seized up with arthritis.
I may just be indulging the Pathetic Fallacy here. I've reached an age where I'm increasingly conscious of how little I get done compared with ten or twenty years ago. I mastered that REXX language, and how to make SQL calls from it, in a few spare hours of intensive study. Nowadays I'm putting off the upgrade to Windows 10 because I can't face the learning curve. I should write another book but I can't summon the will. I have home-improvement projects that have been left half-finished for, in one case, five years.
Where is that first fine careless rapture — the ability to spot something that needs doing and just do it? Back comes the answer, melancholy and low: Si jeunesse savait, si vieillesse pouvait — "If Youth only knew, if Age only could."
At this point I turn on myself and say, "For crying out loud, buck up, Derb. There are plenty of positives out there; you're just choosing not to see them."
Well, maybe. In the matter of space exploration, for example, the feds may have given up on it, but private entrepreneurs are coming forward: Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Richard Branson, … It may be that space exploration evolves like the Internet: starting as a clunky big-government project, then getting taken over by we, the people in a glorious entrepreneurial flourishing.
I'm going to be upbeat and go with that. The engineers had their day; then the lawyers, accountants, and bureaucrats took charge, like weeds choking up a garden. It may be, though, that the the lawyers, the accountants, and the bureaucrats will come to their twilight, too. Perhaps the engineers, the makers, and the adventurers are staging a comeback.
Let's hope for that. Onward and upward! Excelsior!
06 — Let's hear it for Global Warming! As regular listeners know, I keep the whole Global Warming business at arm's length. It's a zone of political hysteria, and I just don't like hysteria.
I don't have any interest in the topic and consequently can't be bothered to acquire any expertise. Friends who do have expertise tell me yes, it's happening and we're helping it happen, although how much it's happening and what, if anything, we should do about it, are open questions.
All right, I've said that all before, and no doubt shall say it again. This week, though, a friend — one of those who actually knows something about the topic, and is as allergic to hysteria as I am — directed my attention to a paper in Nature, which is the main general-circulation quality science magazine in the U.K. This paper offers an original perspective: basically, that yes, we're making global warming happen, and that's a jolly good thing.
The title of the paper is Critical insolation-CO2 relation for diagnosing past and future glacial inception. That's pretty clear, right? Right. The authors are named Ganopolski, Winkelmann, and Schellnhuber. How can you not give credence to names like that?
First, some background. Well-informed readers know that our planet is normally ice-free, even up at the poles. This changes during Ice Ages, of which there have been five or six, depending on whom you ask. An Ice Age lasts for millions of years, usually in fact tens of millions. We are currently in an Ice Age; it started around two and a half million years ago.
Within an Ice Age there are cooler and warmer spells. The cooler spells are called glaciations; the warmer spells are interglacials. We are right now about ten thousand years into an interglacial. Before that was a glaciation, with ice sheets all over, lasting twelve thousand years or so.
So when are we due for another glaciation? A lot of climate theorists think we are overdue for one. According to their models, the ice sheets should have started advancing a couple of hundred years ago.
Why didn't they? Over to Messrs Ganopolski, Winkelmann, and Schellnhuber. They think that, quote from the abstract, "glacial inception was narrowly missed before the beginning of the Industrial Revolution." Translation: We'd be back under the ice sheets if our great-great-grandfathers hadn't started pumping CO2 into the atmosphere.
What's more, these authors tell us, quote again:
Moderate anthropogenic cumulative CO2 emissions of 1,000 to 1,500 gigatonnes of carbon will postpone the next glacial inception by at least 100,000 years.
In other words, we may have put off the next glaciation for a very long time.
Bottom line, a final quote from the abstract:
Our simulations demonstrate that under natural conditions alone the Earth system would be expected to remain in the present delicately balanced interglacial climate state, steering clear of both large-scale glaciation of the Northern Hemisphere and its complete deglaciation, for an unusually long time.
If these guys are right, we've been doing some highly beneficial climate engineering this past two hundred years, without even knowing we were doing it.
So, hey, maybe there really is a God, and He likes us.
07 — Still unclear on Making America Great Again. I have some follow-ups on last week's podcast.
First, an erratum. I claimed last week to have coined the word "andro-American." In fact a learned legal friend tells me that both "andro-American" and "gyno-American" were coined years ago by Yale University legal scholar Carol Rose. I can't find confirmation of that on the Internet, but I know better than to argue with legal eagles, so I'm going to offer an erratum there.
The next point is not really an erratum, only an answer to a question I posed on a topic that I wasn't, as it turned out, sufficiently well-informed about, being a person who would rather have my eyeballs removed with salad tongs than read a politician's campaign book.
The question I posed was: What does Donald Trump think about us having 50,000 soldiers, sailors, and airmen stationed in Japan; 38,000 in Germany; 28,000 in South Korea; 12,000 in Italy, and so on?
Several listeners emailed in to tell me, and the blogger who calls himself Audacious Epigone pointed out, that Trump had things to say about those deployments in his book Crippled America: How to Make America Great Again. Here is the relevant passage, as retailed by Audacious Epigone. Quotes from The Donald:
We defend Germany. We defend Japan. We defend South Korea. These are powerful and wealthy countries. We get nothing from them.
OK, so Trump has addressed the issue. He didn't really address it in the way I want it addressed, though. He seems to leave open the possibility that he wants to keep up our worldwide commitments, but lean on the countries we're defending to help defray the costs.
He seemed to take that line when speaking in New York last September. Quote from the website of Foreign Policy magazine, quote:
I'm also going to renegotiate some of our military costs because we protect South Korea. We protect Germany. We protect some of the wealthiest countries in the world, Saudi Arabia. We protect everybody. We protect everybody and we don't get reimbursement. We lose on everything. We lose on everything, so we're going to negotiate and renegotiate trade deals, military deals, many other deals that's going to get the cost down for running our country very significantly.
The viewpoint there is merely fiscal, not geostrategic. My question isn't really answered. Should we be defending those countries? Why? To keep trade routes open? China, the main geostrategic opponent I was talking about, depends on international trade far more than we do. To support democracy? In Saudi Arabia? Do Americans actually want to go to war to preserve democracy even in Japan and Taiwan?
Suppose we maintain these commitments and China decides to assert itself. What would we be in for?
I'm going to hand that one off to David Archibald. Who he? Well, he's an energy analyst by trade and a pessimist by temperament: a real pessimist, not a mere half-hearted dabbler in pessimism like myself. A couple of years ago I reviewed a book he'd written, whose title will give you the flavor of Archibald's approach: Twilight of Abundance: Why Life in the 21st Century Will Be Nasty, Brutish, and Short.
What does this über-pessimist have to say? Next segment.
Archibald belongs to the group of geostrategists — it's not a small one — who believe that the current Chinese President, Xi Jinping, is dangerous. For a couple of decades, these analysts tell us, the ChiComs clove to former leader Deng Xiaoping's doctrine of "hide and bide." That is, hide your intentions and your military build-up as well as you can while biding your time.
President Xi thinks the time is now; or at any rate, that's what Archibald thinks he thinks. Quote from Archibald:
From Xi's perspective, the planets could be aligned for war as early as the second quarter of 2016. China would announce that its forbearance of foreigners occupying its sacred lands and seas in the South China Sea has reached its limit and it would then attack the bases of all the other countries in the Spratlys.
The Spratlys are those reefs and rocks in the South China Sea that the ChiComs have been building up into bases and airfields.
Second quarter of 2016, eh? I'm actually going to be in the Far East in early June. Maybe I should take out travel insurance.
Archibald is very quotable. Permit me just one more, quote:
If Japan hadn't got into race-based aggression against its neighbours first, China would have been on the warpath years ago. These days the Japanese are very polite about not flaunting their racial superiority. China has yet to learn that lesson, which can only be learnt from harsh experience. Unfortunately it seems that it is the lot of this generation to provide that harsh experience. Things might settle down afterwards.
As you can see there, Archibald is not altogether pessimistic about the outcome. He actually thinks the U.S.A. and our allies in the region — Japan, the Philippines, Australia, Taiwan — will win, if our military strategists are smart. The result might even be really good following a Chinese defeat, with the Chinese people stringing up the communists from lamp-posts at last and getting themselves a Taiwan-style democracy.
Well, that would be nice. Victory is by no means certain, though. It never is. And the commies might hold on to the mainland even after a defeat.
I still have the same question I had last week: If the ChiComs really are ready to establish their Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere, and don't do anything seriously dumb like a sneak attack on Pearl Harbor, what is the downside for us? Loss of prestige?
Perhaps we should seek prestige not as a meddler in all the world's territorial disputes, but instead as a prosperous nation under rational government, with well-defended borders and a firm rule of law.
How would you feel about that, Mr Trump?
09 — Miscellany. And now, here she comes: Miss Ellany. How's it going, Miss Ellany? [Bimbo voice: "Whatever."] Right. OK, let's see what she's brought.
Imprimis: I mentioned the Koch brothers up there. If you mingle much with liberals you'll know that the Koch brothers, billionaire industrialists, are hate figures to the political Left.
Lefty writer Jane Mayer is particularly obsessed with them as servants of the Powers of Darkness. Five years ago she wrote a breathless piece for New Yorker magazine blaming the Koches for the rise of the Tea Party movement.
Now Ms Mayer has written a book about, yes, the Koch brothers. Title: Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right. Doesn't that make your flesh creep?
The joke here, which of course a dimwitted lefty like Ms Mayer is never, in a million years, ever going to get, is that the Koch brothers are open-borders libertarians. That is, they belong to the suicide wing of American conservatism. If their policies were enacted, the U.S.A. would rapidly fill up with people utterly and permanently hostile to limited government, regulatory restraint, property rights, and our traditional common culture. The Koch brothers are, in other words, unwitting accomplices of the radical Left.
If I could think of something to do to thwart the Koch brothers, I would do it … and then the Kochs, with all their stupendous wealth, would crush me like a bug.
Oh well; at least I can promote Jane Mayer's book telling the world how evil they are. Good luck with the sales, Ma'am.
Item: Donald Trump caused some harrumphing from commentators by refusing to show up at the latest GOP candidates debate this Thursday. He objected to Megyn Kelly as moderator on the grounds that there was too much bad blood (so to speak) between him and her for her to deal with him impartially, as a moderator should
Some commentators thought Trump had shot himself in the foot there, making himself look petulant and childish. I think these commentators underestimate Trump's grasp of mass psychology, which I'm finding more and more impressive.
What he actually did there was show control of the situation. Translated into words, his actions said: "You don't tell me which debates I'll show up at; I tell you. If you don't like it, you can go boil your heads."
Blowing off the media like that goes down well with people who are inclined to vote for Trump, and with a great many others, too. Media folk don't realise how widely they are disliked. I'm looking for this little spat to generate yet another upward bump in Trump's poll numbers.
This lethal injection business … is deplorable. It's cowardly and dishonest. I'm happy for the state to kill criminals in my name, but I'd prefer it were done swiftly, decisively, and in a way that leaves no illusions about what's being done: an act of gross violence against an enemy of the civic order.
In that podcast I came out in favor of the guillotine.
Well, I'm glad to say that lethal injection is in trouble. Pharmaceutical companies, and the European nations that host some of them, are now so wary of being outed as suppliers of the drugs used, supplies are drying up.
Last year Utah brought back the firing squad for executions, and Oklahoma approved nitrogen gas as an alternate method when drugs weren't available.
This week the state of Mississippi joined the club. Jim Hood, the state's Attorney General, asked state lawmakers to approve not only firing squads and nitrogen gas, but also electrocution, when lethal-injection drugs aren't available.
I'm glad to hear it. I'd be still gladder, though, if someone would see the wisdom of my arguments in favor of the guillotine. Come on, guys: It's a good clean cut, and once that head's in the basket, you know the job's been done. [Guillotine sound.]
10 — Signoff. That's all for this week, ladies and gents. Thank you for listening.
A lot of listeners liked my novelty song the other week. All right: You want novelty songs, I got novelty songs.
Here's one for all you narcissists out there: Mel Blanc singing "I Love Me (I'm Wild about Myself.)" Absolutely no reference intended to any Presidential candidate, nor — heaven forbid! — any sitting President.
More from Radio Derb next week!
[Music clip: Mel Blanc, "I Love Me."]