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[Music clip: From Haydn's Derbyshire Marches, piano'n'kazoo version]
01 — Intro. And Radio Derb is on the air! Greetings, listeners, from your ebulliently genial host John Derbyshire, here with VDARE.com's weekly news roundup.
On this week's menu we have an interview with our President, although unfortunately only one side of the interview so far; a political report from La Belle France; some observations on last weekend's Marches for Science; a plea to worriers to turn from worrying about climatology to worrying about demography; and sundry small items concerning immigration and arithmetic.
Before proceeding, I should note that some listeners took exception to the rampant Turkophilia I expressed in last week's podcast.
Kemal Atatürk, these listeners said, was no Jeffersonian democrat. The system he created was authoritarian. A government shouldn't tell people what to wear; the Kemalist Turks were beastly to the Kurds; … and so on.
All of that is true. Kemalist Turkey was, as I wrote in 1989, only a fair approximation to republican liberty. It certainly wasn't anything that Murray Rothbard or Ayn Rand would have signed off on.
It was still a vast improvement on what went before. To get that country from medieval theocratic despotism to even the rough'n'ready, authoritarian modernism of Kemalist Turkey, was a tremendous achievement. Atatürk made a far better job of it than, for example, Chiang Kai-shek did with China.
So yes, I'll agree that Atatürk didn't turn Ottoman Turkey into Denmark. He did, though, make a modern country out of it. That was a great achievement, and he was one of the great men of the 20th century.
OK, on to this weeks' show. First, the continuing Cuck-o-rama from the White House.
Our new President, I scowled, had attacked Syria, which had done nothing to us, and was rattling sabers at North Korea, which likewise. He had re-dedicated us to NATO, a Cold War relic. He is set fair to admit 60,000 bogus "refugees" this year, more than the annual average for open-borders fanatic George W. Bush. He's cucked on border protection, cucked on work permits for so-called "Dreamer" illegals, cucked on China, cucked on trade.
Looking back two weeks, I think I understated my case. This isn't just a Big Cuck; this is a Cuck-o-rama. Trump hasn't just betrayed us for another woman; according to Fred Reed Trump has, in the spirit of the times, actually transgendered into another woman, and Fred knows which woman he's transgendered into. [Hillary cackle.]
Well, that was all just 84 days into the Trump Presidency. This Saturday, April 29th, marks Trump's hundredth day in office, traditionally — or at any rate since FDR's first term — considered a milestone at which the shape of administration policies and the energy that will be put into implementing them start to become clear.
So on this 99th day, I'll go into numerical mode, too. Here are ten questions I'd like to ask President Trump. He can respond to me via the VDARE.com office.
Thank you, Mr. President.
03 — Boiling frogs. They had a presidential election in France, and nationalist Marine Le Pen polled second in a field of eleven candidates. Zut alors!
That was sufficiently striking; but the real headliner was that neither of the two frontrunners belongs to one of the big old established parties. Emmanuel Macron, who placed first in the polling, ran under the banner of a party — I don't think it's even a party, just a movement — that he himself created out of whole cloth last year.
Marine Le Pen's National Front party has been around way longer than that — for 45 years, in fact — but until recently dwelt on the electoral fringes, polling in single digits or teens.
It's as if voters in a U.S. presidential election were to say "No" to both the Republican and the Democrat candidates. Although, come to think of it, it's not too much of a stretch to construe last November's U.S. election in terms somewhat like that.
If that was the headline, it came with a human-interest sidebar. Emmanuel Macron is 39 years old. His wife just turned 64. She was his high-school teacher of French literature. They were an item back then, when he was 17 and she was 42. She has three kids by a previous marriage.
Radio Derb's position on this is: Jolly good luck to both of them. My view, heartfelt and frequently stated, is that love is a precious gift, to be cherished and celebrated wherever it may be found.
In my study there hang portraits of my two literary heroes. One of them, Samuel Johnson, at age 25 married a woman twenty years his senior — a widow who, like Mrs. Macron, brought three children to the marriage. Johnson loved his wife dearly, to the bafflement of his friends. After she died seventeen years later, he mourned her for the rest of his own life.
My other literary hero, George Orwell, lost his wife Eileen after nine years of marriage, then remarried on his death bed to the prettiest girl in the office.
So don't look to me to second-guess Mr. Macron's choice of wife — nor anyone else's. I say again: Good luck to them both!
There were, as I said, eleven candidates. Conventional wisdom says that people who voted for the other nine will mostly swing behind Mr. Macron in the runoff election May 7th, leaving Ms. Le Pen out of luck. That sounds plausible to me; although after last November, conventional wisdom has lost some of its sheen.
If you're not actually French, or obsessive about other people's marriages, this election is all a bit distant and academic. In fact there are penetrating things to say about it, things of direct relevance to the United States, and to the Western World as a whole.
I know this because I read Christopher Caldwell's brilliant article in the Spring issue of City Journal.
The article's title is: "The French, Coming Apart." It's a rumination on the ideas of French sociologist and real-estate expert Christophe Guilluy, who has written three books about French society, none of them yet translated into English.
By Christopher Caldwell's account, they really should be. Guilluy is, as Caldwell's title hints, a sort of French Charles Murray. He writes about the great social separation of our time, the "coming apart" in the titles both of Caldwell's piece and Charles Murray's last book.
The urban elites in France's dozen or so big cities, says Guilluy, have pulled away from the native French working- and middle-classes. Gentry and native proles are now far apart, with nothing much to say to each other.
The big urban housing projects built by socialist governments in the mid-20th century for native French workers are now full of Muslims. Native proles have pretty much been purged from these successful, globalized cities, leaving them to educated gentry symbol-manipulators, media and finance types, restaurateurs, and underclass Arabs.
Caldwell is terrifically quotable. I'm going to yield to the temptation to just hand over to him here. I feel a twinge of guilt at offering you so many of another guy's words; but these are so much to the point, re-phrasing would just weaken them.
Guilluy describes twenty-first-century France as [inner quote] "an 'American' society like any other, unequal and multicultural," [end inner quote]. It's a controversial premise — that inequality and racial diversity are linked as part of the same (American-type) system and that they progress or decline together. Though this premise has been confirmed in much of the West for half a century, the assertion will shock many Americans, conditioned to place "inequality" (bad) and "diversity" (good) at opposite poles of a Manichean moral order.
End first quote. Second quote:
As Paris has become not just the richest city in France but the richest city in the history of France, its residents have come to describe their politics as "on the left" — a judgment that tomorrow's historians might dispute. Most often, Parisians mean what Guilluy calls la gauche hashtag, or what we might call the "glass-ceiling Left," preoccupied with redistribution among, not from, elites: we may have done nothing for the poor, but we did appoint the first disabled lesbian parking commissioner.
End second quote. Third quote:
In France, political correctness is more than a ridiculous set of opinions; it's also — and primarily — a tool of government coercion … It determines the current polarity in French politics. Where you stand depends largely on whether you believe that antiracism is a sincere response to a genuine upsurge of public hatred or an opportunistic posture for elites seeking to justify their rule.
End third quote. Last quote:
As the prospect of rising in the world is hampered or extinguished, the inducements to ideological conformism weaken. Dissent appears. Political correctness grows more draconian. Finally the ruling class reaches a dangerous stage, in which it begins to lose not only its legitimacy but also a sense of what its legitimacy rested on in the first place.
End last quote.
I don't think I need to point out how relevant all that is to us here in the U.S.A. Like the French and the British, our society has separated out into two big classes — gentry and proles, Eloi and Morlocks — who dislike each other and talk past each other. The gentry control the culture, on which they impose a rigid ideological conformism; although our constitutional guarantees of freedom of speech and assembly are still, just barely, operative, which is not the case in France.
The gentry also control the economy. This allows them to further marginalize the despised native proles by replacing them with cheaper immigrants.
The populist surge we've been seeing in America and France is a reaction to all this. There are similarities and differences between the two countries, though.
What is the same is that, as Charles Murray has so thoroughly chronicled, the gentry are above all a cognitive elite. They are smarter than proles. That makes it easier for them to maintain control. They can bamboozle and outfox the proles. It's an unequal contest.
What is different is, first, those constitutional constraints. Although now under severe stress, those constraints have held up better here than in France, where, Caldwell tells us, laws criminalizing heretical speech were passed as long ago as 1972.
And then there is America's long experience of having a big subpopulation of blacks.
Gentry ideologues insist, very strenuously, that there are no group differences between blacks and nonblacks that can't be erased by this social program or that one.
However, decades of such programs with little to show by way of results leave more and more American proles wondering whether, perhaps, to re-quote Christopher Caldwell: "antiracism is a sincere response to a genuine upsurge of public hatred or an opportunistic posture for elites seeking to justify their rule."
The ideological grip of the gentry is much firmer in France than here. Possibly also the old medieval spirit of feudal deference somehow survived the best efforts of Danton and Robespierre. My guess is that these factors will be sufficient to make Mr. Macron the next President of France.
That's good news for him, but bad news for France, and for Western civilization. It means the present malign trends will continue. Those globalized cities will become more glittering and expensive. Their inner suburbs will become more solidly Muslim. Native French proles will simmer impotently in what Guilluy calls "the periphery," easing their psychic pain with opiates. And the frog will continue to boil; or, as they say over there, la grenouille continue à bouillir.
04 — March for the Standard Social Science Model. The political perversion of science upsets me more that it does the average reactionary.
I got hooked on science very young. I remember some physics book for kiddies in my local library, explaining what would happen if you drilled a hole right through the Earth and dropped a penny down it. It made perfect sense to me at age around five or six. By fourth grade I could name all the planets in order, and most of their satellites. (I especially liked the satellites of Saturn, with those lovely mellifluous names: Mimas, Enceladus, Tethys, Dione, Rhea, …)
Planets, stars, dinosaurs, atoms, gadgets, absolute zero, the speed of light, … I took it all in, the random way a curious child will. Someone bought me Andrade and Huxley's science books for kids: I pretty near memorized them. It seemed to me the coolest thing, that people could figure out how the material world worked, how it all fits together. Most of the rest of what my schoolteachers tried to impart — history, literature, music, art, religion — seemed insipid by comparison.
When I got older I of course acquired a more rounded view of things. I also learned at some point that the crystalline, impersonal beauty of scientific truth has only a very narrow appeal to human beings. We science geeks are an eccentric minority.
In my sci-fi-reading adolescence I soon encountered Walter Miller's novel A Canticle for Leibowitz, which takes place after civilization has been destroyed by a nuclear holocaust. The survivors hunt down scientists and kill them. Yes, I thought, that sounds about right.
May I quote myself, please? We Are Doomed, Chapter Seven:
The ordinary modes of human thinking are magical, religious, social, and personal. We want our wishes to come true; we want the universe to care about us; we want the approval of those around us; we want to get even with that s.o.b. who insulted us at the last tribal council. For most people, wanting to know the cold truth about the world is way, way down the list.
Coming to science with that kind of very early emotional and esthetic attachment, it's horrible to see science twisted and paraded for ideological purposes. My reaction to last weekend's "March for Science" in Washington, D.C. and elsewhere, was therefore one of mingled anger, nausea, and disgust.
In case you missed it: The March for Science on April 22nd was meant to publicize the case for public funding of scientific research, and for, to quote precisely from the website, "science-based policies."
In practice, what the March for Science really publicized was Conquest's Second Law, as aired last week here on Radio Derb, quote: "Any organization not explicitly and constitutionally right-wing will sooner or later become left-wing." That's what's happened to science, or at any rate to science promotion: It's become just another lefty racket.
The leftward slant of the thing was already apparent in the weeks before the march. Science websites were a-buzz with stories about disputes among the organizers.
Here's one such from the medical website Stat, dated March 22nd, a full month before the march. Headline: Science march on Washington, billed as historic, plagued by organizational turmoil.
You know pretty much where you are by the fourth paragraph of the piece, when you are introduced to, quote, "Rachel Holloway, a clinical psychologist who chairs the event's Diversity and Inclusion Committee," end quote.
What would a March for Science be — what would any event be nowadays — without a Diversity and Inclusion Committee?
The organizational turmoil they are writing about turns out, in fact, to be disputes about whether the March for Science should be moderately CultMarx-compliant, or extremely CultMarx-compliant.
In the event it looks like the Moderatelies won. Among the signs and placards on display were many that Andrade and Huxley would not have been baffled by: In Peer Review We Trust, said one. Got Plague? asked another sign rhetorically. Me neither. Thank a scientist! Nothing wrong with that.
There was a lot of politicking, though; and every single little nanoscale bit of it was CultMarx-compliant. Global Warming was of course a big point of focus, I suppose because it can be blamed on white people.
And then there was plenty of straight-out politicking, all of it Progressive and anti-Trump. There were signs on behalf of women, blacks, and open borders.
Here's a couple of marchers, older-demographic gentry types, one male, one female, if it's not disgracefully gender-normative of me so to classify them. The male's placard reads: Hey Trump, think you can stifle science? Ask Galileo how that worked out! The female's placard reads: Empirical data trumps imperial alt-facts, with a picture of President Trump wearing a royal crown.
Galileo, hm? Wasn't he the chap who insisted that the data he'd carefully gathered told him one thing about the Earth, while the political authorities he lived under demanded adherence to a different thing as state dogma? Some parallels in our own time come to mind, but I don't think they are ones these gentry marchers had in mind. The name James Watson mean anything?
As for empirical data trumping alt-facts: Well, that's OK, just so long as the empirical data doesn't contradict articles of ideological faith. You could ask Charles Murray about that.
So the Diversity and Inclusion Committee got at least some of what they wanted. Their approach was further boosted by the prominent presence of the hard-left Obama groupie — and, to my mind, very seriously creepy — Bill Nye the Science Guy. Mr. Nye's main function at the march, other than to make my flesh crawl, was to confirm the event as basically a CultMarx Carnival.
How did science get this way? A truly sciency March for Science would have signs demanding higher resolution space telescopes, broader-based genome-wide association studies, and faster progress in quantum computing. If there were any political placards, they would be asking for an end to government programs — in education, for example — that are premised on Blank Slate theories of human nature, theories that have failed every empirical test they have ever been put to.
Tech writer Allum Bokhari made similar points on Breitbart.com, reporting on the march. He actually listed five scientific truths that, he said correctly, a genuine March for Science could have promoted, to the general public enlightenment. Here are his five.
If you'd put those on a placard and marched with it last Saturday, you'd have been torn to pieces by a screeching mob from the Diversity and Inclusion Committee.
So how did science get CultMarxified like this? You want my opinion? It's the women.
No, they haven't taken over the sciences, certainly not the hard sciences; although, as Allum Bokhari notes, the wetter sciences — zoology, psychology, veterinary science, and biology in general — are now majority-female at the Masters and Doctorate levels.
The interface between science and the general culture, though, has been thoroughly feminized. I actually logged this once in a VDARE.com article. I had been reading the New York Times Tuesday Science section, and I listed the topics covered that week: online dating, apps to help you sleep and exercise, kids' hockey helmets, diets, and so on. I listed the names of the contributors: Albert, Tara, Abby, Claire, Anahad, Albert again, Nick, Catherine, Perri, Meghan, Amy, and Gretchen. The pages were practically dripping estrogen.
When you let women crash the gates like this, a Diversity and Inclusion Committee won't be far behind.
05 — Sell climatology, buy demographics. I confess I can't summon up much interest in climatology. I'm an exact-sciences guy, and climatology is just about the least exact science.
Persons whose opinions I trust tell me that yes, global warming's happening, and yes, human activity likely has something to do with it. I'll take that on authority, but it doesn't seem like something to lose sleep over. If it's happening, it's happening very gradually. I mean, I can't say I've noticed any year-on-year, or even decade-on-decade effect, and I've clocked up a few decades. The civilized world will cope somehow, I'm sure.
Here's a thing we should lose sleep over: what Steve Sailer calls the World's Most Important Graph. This is the graph Steve made up from the U.N.'s 2012 population projections. It shows the population of Europe flatlining at around half a billion while the population of Africa, which overtook Europe's in the mid-1990s, rockets up to over four billion by the end of the century.
Africa's a mighty big place but … four billion? Given the very low civilizational level there, it's hard to see how this can end well.
The beginning of the end may in fact be here. The April 1st edition of The Economist has an article on current famines, title "The Third Horseman Returns." Subtitle: "Twenty million people are at risk of starvation in Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, and Yemen." All right, Yemen isn't in Africa; but it might as well be.
The Economist mostly blames Africa's various wars, in which famine is used as a weapon, for example against the Boko Haram insurgents in Nigeria. That's plausible; but you have to think that the wars and the famines are both consequences of the general hopelessness of black Africa. And even The Economist allows that the current famine in Somalia is caused by the weather.
It's hard to read anything about Africa without getting depressed. The April issue of Literary Review has a review of a book about South Sudan, the world's newest country. You may remember that Sudan broke in two six years ago, the mostly Christian and animist south winning independence from the mostly Muslim North after decades of tribal fighting.
You'd think that with a clean new start like that, and all the world's aid and development bureaucracies piling in to help, South Sudan would by now, six years later, be starting to look like Singapore.
Uh-uh. South Sudan has, says the reviewer, quote, "pretty much cornered the market in dismal statistics."
He reads off some of the statistics prevailing at independence in 2011. They are dismal indeed: literacy less than 27 percent, half the population malnourished, fourteen-year-old girls more likely to die in childbirth than graduate from high school, and so on.
It is what has happened since 2011, however, that is really shocking. Independence might have ended the war with the north, but since then the southerners have turned on each other, plunging their new country into an even deeper crisis. If anything, most of the above statistics are now worse than before.
End quote. Famine, tribal war, corruption, incompetence, … I had to stop reading the review halfway through, it was too depressing. The author of the book being reviewed, by the way, is himself South Sudanese.
So you avert your eyes. Then you look again at Steve's graph — the World's Most Important Graph — and you have to avert your eyes from that, too. It's awfully hard to be optimistic about Africa.
You sometimes hear people say that since Africa doesn't have enough smart people to manage their affairs rationally, some kind of re-colonization is the answer — by Europe or China.
That just ignores the numerical factor, though. In the era of colonization, European populations were much bigger than African ones. In 1922, the British Isles had over twice the population of what was then British West Africa. Today, the nations that were British West Africa have over three times the population of the British Isles, a complete turnaround. Forget about re-colonization.
Trying to look on the bright side, we might science our way out of this. Four billion people at century's end sure is a lot — three times the current population of China. But then, Africa is three times the size of China. Some revolution in agricultural technology might save the day, if African societies can become sufficiently orderly to host it.
The alternative is Lifeboat Ethics: The civilized world fencing Africa off and averting its eyes as the place sinks into a Hell of famine and desperation — those regions, I mean, that are not already, like South Sudan, in that Hell.
Sorry, I didn't mean to depress you. Demography is not an exact science, either. Possibly something will turn up to save the day.
Demography is a lot closer to being an exact science than climatology is, though. If you want some big, world-scale thing to worry about in the coming decades, I'd say that Global Warming is a bagatelle. The real nightmare is there in The Economist, and Literary Review, and The World's Most Important Graph.
If you're looking for something to worry about, worry about that. Sell climatology, buy demographics. And if you're looking for something to worry about without transgressing Political Correctness, figure out some way to blame African demographics on white people.
06 — Miscellany. And now, our closing miscellany of brief items.
Imprimis: Following from that Africa segment, I note this news snippet from the BBC. Headline: Italy migrant crisis: Charities 'colluding' with smugglers.
The story is just that: The NGOs — that's Non-Governmental Organizations, charities like Doctors Without Borders — are in cahoots with the people smugglers in Libya, so they can intercept boats full of illegals from Africa and shunt them on into Europe. Phone conversations have been intercepted, says the Beeb.
The organizations say their intentions are humanitarian. Their only interest, they say, is to save lives.
Quote from the Beeb report: "Chris Catrambone, who co-founded the Migrant Offshore Aid Station NGO to rescue migrants, told Reuters news agency [quote from him] 'more would die if we weren't there'." End quote, end quote.
Numbers of illegals making the Mediterranean crossing are up forty percent from last year.
This is a slow-motion disaster, Europe dying by its own humanitarian hand.
Not to worry, though. Mr Macron has promised that once he's been elected President of France next month, he'll get the economy booming and create jobs for all. And British Prime Minister Theresa May has promised that after she's won her election in June, Britain's spending on foreign aid will remain at the present high levels.
So the really important things are being taken care of over there, no need to worry.
Item: We're not quite at that level of insanity over here, but we're trying hard to get there.
Case in point: Los Angeles Times editorial, April 25th, title: Offering lawyers to immigrants facing deportation is a worthwhile way to spend public money.
Yes, the LA Times editorial board thinks it's a spiffy idea to spend taxpayer money providing illegals with lawyers to argue their cases in immigration court. They note in scandalized tones that, quote:
The federal government, which is responsible for immigration enforcement, doesn't have the resources or the inclination to provide lawyers for the people it's trying to deport.
End quote. I should hope not. These are no-brainer cases. The defendant has no proof of lawful residence — no visa, no birth or naturalization certificate, no valid Social Security number — put 'em on a plane back home. What need is there for lawyering? He's illegal. What good will a lawyer do? What's the defense? The dog ate his visa?
Like I said, we're not yet as insanely suicidal as the Europeans, but we're getting there.
Item: Finally, an erratum, one I really should be ashamed of. Speaking of Queen Elizabeth's 91st birthday last week, I observed the Her Majesty has two birthdays every year: an actual one in April, and an official one in June when the weather's better. If you count both birthdays, I said, last week's was therefore her 181st.
An observant listener emailed in to point out my arithmetical error. Mrs Windsor has only been on the throne since February 1952, so she's only had 65 official birthdays. Add that to the 91 actual birthdays, the true total is 156.
Groveling, sniveling aopologies for such an egregious error. I can only hope Her Majesty did not get wind of it; otherwise the Palace Guard might turn up in my driveway and drag me off to the Tower of London. Spare me, please! I've been in the Tower of London: it's draughty.
07 — Signoff. That's all for this week, ladies and gents. Thank you for listening, and thanks to all who have emailed in.
One of my emailers had something to say about last week's signoff, in which I apologized for having missed Chuck Berry's passing, and for being about to miss the centenary of Ella Fitzgerald's birth, which occurred this past Tuesday, April 25th. My emailer said that before saying anything apologetic about Chuck Berry I should read Kathy Shaidle's take on him at Taki's Magazine, April 11th. In case you didn't know, Chuck was a seriously obnoxious jerk.
I actually did know. That in fact was the point of my little joke — too little, perhaps — when I said that, quote: "Chuck and Ella are going to have to wait, which I doubt will be very distressing to them in their present location, or locations." My idea was, if obnoxious Chuck and shy, pleasant Ella were to end up in the same place post mortem, that would be a serious breach of cosmic justice.
Whatever: This week I shall honor Ella. Here she is with what for my money is one of the half-dozen best pop song recordings of the last century.
There will be more from Radio Derb next week.
[Music clip: Ella Firzgerald, "Ev'ry Time We Say Goodbye."]