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[Music clip: From Haydn's Derbyshire March No. 2, traditional instruments version]
01 — Intro. And Radio Derb is on the air! Greetings, listeners, from your stereotypically genial host John Derbyshire, here with another feast of the foolish, the fallacious, and the fantastic from this week's news.
Let's seat ourselves round the table, grab our cutlery, and dig right in.
It's true; and one neat thing about this line of work is that our fool politicians make the same blunders over and over again; so sometimes all you need to do for political commentary is cut'n'paste what you said the last time they went sniffing back to the barf puddle.
So here was Radio Derb on April 7th last year, quote:
The whole world now knows that if A is fighting B, and B is losing badly, and B figures that it would help for Uncle Sam to drop a few bombs on A, then a little staged atrocity theater will do the trick.
Works every time.
The Syrian civil war looks set fair to go on for ever. I'd better bookmark that quote so I can use it again next year.
The situation over there isn't hard to figure out. On the one side there are Iran and Russia, with Syria's Bashar al-Assad as their tool. Russia likes having that big naval base on the Mediterranean; Iran wants regional hegemony; al-Assad wants to keep his job.
On the other side are the Saudis, the Israelis, and a passel of resentful Sunni Muslims all over who feel that everyone else has been dumping on them for way too long. The Saudis, under an energetic young ruler, wouldn't mind being regional hegemon themselves, though they'll probably settle for Iran not being it. The Israelis would like to stay alive. The non-Saudi Sunnis want everyone to know how ticked off they are.
So: some good old-fashioned history being played out there in the sand pit. We're coming up to the three [sic, sorry] hundredth anniversary of the Defenestration of Prague, generally taken as the start point of the Thirty Years War, a power struggle among nations with much religious coloring that roiled Europe for … how long? I forget.
Those Muslim heartlands are three hundred years behind Europe in national and political development, so don't be looking for an end to their troubles any time soon.
What you should be looking for is someone with executive power in your government who can explain why the war in Syria should be any concern of America's. May I quote myself again, please? Thank you. Quote:
Ghastly things happened in our own Civil War, God knows; but I never heard that the guy in charge of Syria at the time, Sultan Abdulaziz the Unfortunate, thought it was any of his business.
03 — Meddlers, drawn to scale. Oh, you want some intersectionality? Here you go.
I'll admit I'm not too clear about what the word "intersectionality" means — something about trannies helping organize Black Lives Matter riots is as near as I can get — but the name suggests an intersection or overlap between different zones of interest, so I'll work with that assumption.
So there's this grisly stuff going on in the Middle East; and then there are these endless accusations and investigations into foreign powers meddling in our elections. What's the intersection?
Since, every time we drop a bomb on Syria, it's to the disadvantage — I mean, it's intended to be to the disadvantage, our rulers hope it's to the disadvantage — of the Russia-Iran-Assad team, and correspondingly to the benefit of the Saudi-Israeli-disgruntled Sunnis team, a naïve observer would conclude that if there's any outside influence driving our policy, it's that latter team.
Then the naïve observer would turn to the domestic news and read about some other front opening up, some new hundred million dollars being spent from the public fisc, in the metastasizing investigation into Russian meddling on Donald Trump's behalf in our 2016 election.
"Boy," says the naïve observer, "I really must be naïve. This doesn't make any sense to me at all. But hey, I guess all those high-powered government types with their Ivy League degrees and teams of researchers and advisors, I guess they know what they're doing. After all, they've done such a good job in Afghanistan and Iraq."
If the naïve observer has a name that approximately rhymes with "Ron Spergyshire," he then heads to the liquor cabinet.
I mean, come on, really. Just try, as a mental exercise, try listing foreign countries in order of their influence on our politics.
Way, way out in front has to be Mexico. The majority shareholder in our country's leading broadsheet newspaper is Carlos Slim, a big Mexican power player. Mexican consulates in all our main cities are passing fat brown envelopes out to local Democratic Party ward operatives all day long. More than thirty million Mexicans live here. Their community leaders tell them, actual quote:
It doesn't matter how much time you have been in this country, you are Mexicans.
If each foreign nation meddling in our politics is a road vehicle, then Mexico is the 18-wheeler behemoth whose shock wave near blew you off the road when he passed you. The next biggest meddler, on the same scale, would be your plumber's pickup truck.
Who, in fact, would that next one be? I don't know precisely, but it has to be one of China, Israel, Saudi Arabia. The latter two there have been hosing money around in Washington, D.C. for ever. The ChiComs were late starters, but they caught on fast. ChiCom meddling on behalf of Bill Clinton in the 1996 election campaign was a huge story, though of course the media did their best to smother it and it has now been completely forgotten.
Russian meddling in our politics? On my vehicular analogy, I doubt it amounts to much more than a sub-compact. Of course, Robert Mueller may prove me wrong …
04 — Imperial insanity. Thinking about the kind of follies I was talking about there, I wonder for the umpteenth time what is the dynamic that keeps us staggering forward from one imperial blunder to another?
Why don't we go back to being what our founders intended us to be, and what we still were as late as the 1920s, occasional aberrations under Teddy Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson notwithstanding: a busy commercial republic with a minimal standing military to defend our territory and patrol our coasts and no ambition to put the world to rights other than by example?
I keep looking at our worldwide commitments, and the more I look the more insane it all seems. I was just watching a Black Pigeon video, the one where he argues that Japan, not China, will be East Asia's dominant power. One point in his argument is Japan's naval prowess. Officially Japan doesn't have military forces; yet somehow they have acquired 114 up-to-date warships, including 46 destroyers and frigates — more than Britain and France combined.
It sure looks as though Japan can take care of itself. So why do we have 40,000 troops stationed in Japan? What is the threat they face? North Korea? Japan has five times the population of North Korea and 120 times the GDP. Threat? Excuse me?
It's like that all over — imperial lunacy. What's the dynamic that keeps it like that? Is being a worldwide empire just a thing you can't stop being, on account of some deep physical laws — like if a bicycle stops moving, it falls over?
That can't be right. The Brits gave up their empire without much fuss. True, today's Britain is a sorry place, but I don't see a direct connection with the giving up of imperialism.
The Z-man thinks it's just short-termism among our rulers, with side orders of inertia and fear of instability. Quote from him:
People can think about how their actions will impact their descendants a century from now, but it will never have the same emotional tug as how their contemporaries think of them in the moment. That's just human nature. Most men will prefer the applause of today over being remembered long after he is dead.
Aside from the stupendous cost of keeping up our role as world hegemon — trillions of dollars and a trickle of military casualties, now and then surging into a flood — there is the prospect that we'll miscalculate and suffer a humiliating defeat, as we did in Vietnam, with all the domestic discord that will generate.
The U.S.A. is wonderfully safe from foreign conquest. We have no existential military threat on our borders, and two vast oceans separating us from possible competitor nations. ICBMs? We have plenty of our own to deter aggressors.
So I'm looking at headlines like this one from today's Daily Mail, headline: Trump's armada: Huge task force of 12 warships sets sail for Syria in one of the biggest concentrations of US naval power since the 2003 Iraq invasion. And I'm thinking: Oh yeah, the Iraq invasion — how'd that work out?
As a former Brit, I'm also letting my eye linger on that word "armada." What does that bring to mind? "Armada" … "Armada" … Something from school history lessons … Oh, right.
And then I'm thinking: Either my government is cuckoo or I am.
As a patriot, I hope it's me, not them.
05 — The Internet breeds monopolies. I don't have any strong feelings about Facebook one way or the other. I'm not a Facebook user.
I do have a Facebook account. A friend visiting one day told me I should have one, and he set one up for me. I looked at it, thought: "That's nice," and then never looked at it again. That was several years ago. I've never been able to think of anything to do with my Facebook account, and in fact don't know what people do do with theirs.
That's not a sneer, nothing against Facebook. My lack of interest is probably just generational. I was past middle age and set in my ways when Facebook came up, so I couldn't be bothered to adopt it. It seems pretty harmless, though. If people want to tell their 200 Facebook friends what they had for breakfast this morning, I can't see any reason why they shouldn't.
That generation gap was on display this week in Mark Zuckerberg's testimony to Congress. Watching the to and fro of question and response, I got the definite impression that the congresscritters are in the same relation to Facebook as I am. Their campaign managers told them they ought to have a page; they hired someone to put the page up; interns in the campaign office post whatever it is you post at Facebook, and the congresscritters get on with their lives as they did before Mark Zuckerberg came bursting out of Harvard with his creation.
Zuckerberg himself seems like a nice young man. He's a lefty, of course, like all the other Silicon Valley types, Peter Thiel excepted. I'd guess, though, watching his performance, that it's not from any burning conviction, just the default for any 33-year-old who was raised in a liberal Jewish household, attended an Ivy League college, and isn't much interested in politics.
You can l-o-v-e the sun-tanned look, buy yourself a tanning bed and some lotions, and tan like crazy. Or you can just live in a sunny climate among people who don't wear much, and get tanned without thinking about it or really having an opinion about it. It's not deliberate, just environmental.
CultMarx is like that, environmental. It's just the default ideology for Zuck's generation. If you challenge them on it, they don't react angry, just baffled. Why would you say that? Doesn't everybody know? …
So he used the phrase "hate speech" un-ironically: as just a normal noun phrase identifying something in the world, like "tree house" or "good manners." When Senator Ben Sasse asked him to define the term, Zuck mumbled that, quote:
There are certain definitions that — that we — that we have around, you know, calling for violence or …
"Calling for violence," eh? So I guess when Thomas Jefferson told William Smith that, quote, "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants," end quote, he was engaging in hate speech. I guess when Winston Churchill told his fellow-countrymen that, quote: "We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills," end quote, old Winnie was hate-speeching, too. Good to know.
I wouldn't rule out that there are things you might legitimately call "hate speech." If a white guy says, "I hate blacks," or a black guy says, "I hate whites" — yeah, that's hate speech on the dictionary definition.
Cultural Marxism isn't concerned with dictionary definitions, though. Under the CultMarx dispensation, the first of those utterances counts as hate speech, but the second doesn't. Furthermore, CultMarx tags as hate speech a great many things that lie way, way outside the dictionary definition.
I myself have for example argued that it is bad national policy, storing up trouble for the future, to settle large numbers of Muslims in non-Muslim countries. I have not the slightest doubt that Mark Zuckerberg would count that as hate speech, although I can't see a whisker of hate in it myself, and I am happy for Muslims to live and prosper in their own countries, if they'll let me alone in mine.
Likewise, saying that you want to see U.S. immigration laws fairly but firmly enforced definitely comes under the heading "hate speech" in Zuck's mind, though again there is no necessary element of hatred in it.
Further, the zone of "hate speech" is always expanding. Thirty-two years ago, when Mark Zuckerberg was one year old, the Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court could say that recognizing a fundamental right to engage in homosexual sodomy would, quote, "cast aside millennia of moral teaching." Hate speech! Again, though, Burger wasn't venting hate of anyone or any class of persons. He just didn't think there was anything in the Constitution to prevent states passing laws against sodomy if their voters wanted such laws.
As for the business of Facebook harvesting data about users — well, how did you think Zuckerberg made so much money? Big data is big business. Advertisers don't want to waste their substance promoting prawn crackers to orthodox Jews or conservative Republican candidates to lesbian sociology professors, and Facebook helps them out with that.
Yes, there are things to be concerned about there. That business of "shadow profiles" — Facebook collecting data on people who are not Facebook users — that's pretty creepy.
Big Data is headed in some unsettling directions altogether: mainly, in the direction of a Panopticon State, in which all our movements, all our readings and writings and phone calls and spendings, are all recorded in the data banks.
Facebook's data gathering is a big step towards that Panopticon State. Another big step in the same direction will come with widespread facial recognition technology, just now looming up over the horizon. Then there will come the really big step, five or ten years away: the cashless society. Yes, the ship of liberty is sailing into some rough waters.
All that needs addressing. The most pressing problem right now, though, one that came up in the Zuckerberg hearings, is that of monopoly. Why do these big internet firms — Amazon, Google, Facebook, PayPal, YouTube, Twitter — why do they all seem to be natural monopolies?
Sure, I know there are alternatives. There's Gab in place of Twitter, and Colin Flaherty's found some other outlet for his videos since YouTube dropped him. These are tadpoles going up against whales, though. There's nothing like the market equiponderance you see with Ford, Chrysler, and GM. Those alternatives aren't even like Fox News going up against CNN, MSNBC, and the legacy networks. That's out of balance, but Fox does pretty well anyway. How's Gab doing?
Why is this? Why are these CultMarx Internet outlets so utterly dominant, such natural monopolies?
That needs for something to be done about it. I don't mind Facebook, and Mark Zuckerberg doesn't seem like a bad guy. I don't even mind lefties: Everyone's entitled to an opinion.
In the world of information, though — corporate or governmental — monopolies are bad. Something needs doing.
06 — IWSBs and black power. In my infamous column "The Talk, Nonblack Version" at Taki's Magazine, six years ago this month, I introduced the ad hoc abbreviation IWSB for "intelligent and well-socialized blacks." I then advised the nonblack youth of America as follows, quote:
You should consciously seek opportunities to make friends with IWSBs. In addition to the ordinary pleasures of friendship, you will gain an amulet against potentially career-destroying accusations of prejudice.
I can't really claim to have been very energetic about taking my own advice here, but there is a tiny handful of IWSBs whose acquaintance I appreciate and whose company I enjoy. There are others I've never met who I feel sure I'd get on well with, based on their writings and things I've heard about them.
Here are three IWSBs: Jason Riley, John McWhorter, and Glenn Loury.
Jason Riley writes for the Wall Street Journal, often very sensibly but sometimes not: ten years ago he published a book titled Let Them In: The Case for Open Borders.
Hey, it's the Wall Street Journal Riley works for. Like I said, everyone's entitled to an opinion; and Riley's book is not explicitly anti-white like some others in the genre.
So far as I can gather from the reviews, it's just the old economists' flapdoodle about human beings being featureless units of production and consumption; and the more people you have, the bigger your GDP … Which of course is true: As I always mention at this point, Bangladesh has a way bigger GDP than Luxembourg.
John McWhorter teaches linguistics at Columbia University. He also does lecture series for the Great Courses company, one of which I've mentioned with approval. This guy I do have some slight personal acquaintance with: I joined him and a mutual friend for lunch once, and found him very agreeable company.
Glenn Loury I don't know much about, but he's riding high in my esteem right now. He's a Professor of Economics at Brown University. It was he with whom Professor Amy Wax from the University of Pennsylvania was doing a Bloggingheads interview last year, when Prof. Wax passed the remark about how she couldn't recall there having been a black in the top quarter of the class she'd taught for years at U. Penn., and had only, quote, "rarely, rarely," end quote, seen one in the top half.
That got Prof. Wax a Two Minutes Hate, as reported here on Radio Derb two weeks ago. It also got her slandered and insulted by her Dean, a creature named Ruger, who took away some of Prof. Wax's classes.
To Glenn Loury's great credit, he stood up for Prof. Wax against the bullies; and that's why he's high in my esteem.
Sample quote from Prof. Glenn Loury, quote:
So, here's my bottom line: I believe that Dean Ruger's actions against Amy Wax at Penn Law — responding to public pressure no less — were reprehensible, and deserve to be condemned.
So there's my trinity of IWSBs: Riley, McWhorter, and Loury. Why am I telling you about them, other than (you may reasonably suspect) to do a spot of sly virtue signaling? Because I just noticed a book they published last year, that's why.
Actually Jason Riley published the book. He's listed on the book's Amazon page as "Author." McWhorter and Loury are listed alongside him, though, as "Contributors." Apparently they offer critiques of Riley's arguments, one critique each at the end of the book.
Title of the book: False Black Power? Quote from the Amazon blurb:
Recent decades have witnessed a proliferation of black elected officials, culminating in the historic presidency of Barack Obama. However, racial gaps in employment, income, homeownership, academic achievement, and other measures not only continue but in some cases have even widened. While other racial and ethnic groups in America have made economic advancement a priority, the focus on political capital for blacks has been a disadvantage, blocking them from the fiscal capital that helped power upward mobility among other groups.
Of course it's unfair to pass comment on a book I haven't read, but judging from the rest of that blurb and the posted reviews, Riley's book is pure Blank Slate Culturism. There are no innate biological differences between human races causing those gaps — none, I tell you, none!
I wonder if Jason Riley has read the new book on ancient DNA by geneticist David Reich, which our own Steve Sailer has been posting comments on here at VDARE.com.
Reich's book I have just read, and shall be posting a review. Reich ties himself in knots trying to keep himself right with the Thought Police, but it's plain from his research that the Blank Slate is in deepening trouble.
Listen up, IWSBs: There's an opening here for some brave soul among you to embrace race realism, also known as the bleedin' obvious. Who will be the first IWSB to step up?
07 — Miscellany. And now, our closing miscellany of brief items.
Imprimis: How could I resist this one? Headline, from the New York Post, April 7th: Chinese sperm bank only wants donors who are loyal to Communism.
This is the sperm bank at Peking University Hospital Number Three. They have been seeking contributions from men with a, quote, "good political mindset" and, quote, "a love for socialism and the motherland," who must further be, quote, "supportive of the leadership of the Party."
It's a pity this story is from Peking, not Nanking. If it had been from Nanking I could have got a neat limerick out of it.
I enjoyed the story immensely none the less. I'd go so far as to say that my cup runneth over. [Boo, hiss.]
Item: Congratulations to Viktor Orbán on winning last Sunday's election. He will now serve a third term as Prime Minister of Hungary, further fortifying the cluster of nations in Central Europe defying the EU on mass immigration; Poland, Austria, Czechia, and — although more cautiously — Slovakia.
With absolutely no offense to the late Zsa Zsa Gabor, there are two names that come first to mind for anyone acquainted with today's Hungary. The first is Mr Orbán, one of Europe's most successful current politicians. The other is George Soros, the billionaire bankroller of every crazy progressive anti-white and open-borders activist group in the West.
I did not know until reading Mark Almond's piece in the April 9th Daily Mail that Orbán and Soros are old acquaintances. Soros, the older of the two men by 33 years, was in fact patron to the young Orbán.
Quote from Mark, who's reminiscing about his early acquaintance with Orbán, quote:
The next time I met Orbán was at Oxford later in 1989 when he arrived as a post-graduate student sponsored by the American-Hungarian billionaire George Soros.
Nice to know that even George Soros makes lousy investments.
Item: Next Friday, April 20th, will mark the 50th anniversary of Enoch Powell's so-called "Rivers of Blood" speech calling for an end to mass Third World immigration into Britain. I don't know why the speech is called that. In the relevant quote from Book VI of the Aeneid — which Powell delivered in his flawless Latin, then put into English for the benefit of newspaper editors — only one river is mentioned, the Tiber … but that's what the speech is called.
BBC Radio is planning a special program about the speech, to be broadcast this weekend.
There's a lot of opposition to the program, though. One lefty politician has called Powell's speech, quote, "an incitement to racial hatred and violence which should not be broadcast," end quote. He added that, quote:
If a contemporary politician made such a speech they would almost certainly be arrested and charged with serious offences.
Which is probably true. Freedom of speech is a fading memory over there. That is, in fact, just the kind of consequence of mass immigration that Enoch Powell tried to warn his countrymen about fifty years ago.
Item: Just one more on the Old Country. I reported last week on the 78-year-old Londoner who killed a burglar that had broken into his house and threatened him and his Alzheimer's-afflicted wife. The police of course arrested the homeowner.
He has since been freed. He can't return home, though. It turns out the burglar he killed was a gypsy, and this gypsy's tribe, whose males seem all to have long criminal records, has threatened to get even with the homeowner.
Female members of the tribe have been fixing floral tributes to the fence outside the now-empty house. Angry neighbors tear down the flowers and stomp on them, then next day more slatternly females from what I guess I have to call "the gypsy community" show up with more.
The police are of course taking the side of the gypsies. That's what you'd expect in today's United Cuckdom, formerly the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
I just note before leaving this dismal story that while any socially distinct group of people get stereotypes attached to them, the gypsies have acquired a second order stereotype — a meta-stereotype, a stereotype about their stereotypes. Here it is, adapted somewhat from its formulation by our own James Fulford, stereotype:
All stereotypes about gypsies are true.
08 — Signoff. That's all I have, ladies and gents; thank you for listening.
Regular listeners will know my fondness for comic songs, and my occasional lamentations about how the writing and performing of comic songs is a lost art. Where is the 21st century's Alan Sherman? Where are our Flanders and Swann?
Well, at least one of these masters is still among us, although he hasn't performed for decades. This past Monday, April 9th, was the 90th birthday of Tom Lehrer.
For me, Tom Lehrer has two pluses and a minus. The pluses are, he wrote and performed funny songs, and he is a mathematician. The minus is that he is a lefty.
I'll forgive him the minus. As I keep howling into the gale: Politics isn't everything. Anybody can be wrong: very few people can make you laugh while playing the piano and solving differential equations in his head. Happy birthday, Tom.
There will be more from Radio Derb next week.
[Music clip: Tom Lehrer, "The Masochism Tango."]