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[Music clip: From Haydn's Derbyshire March No. 2, piano version]
01 — Intro. And Radio Derb is on the air! Greetings, listeners, from your unapologetically genial host John Derbyshire, podcasting to you from among the springtime daffodils and scented breezes of Long Island.
Before proceeding, I have a non-apology to deliver.
That's a non-apology, as opposed to an apology. I have nothing against apologies, when appropriate. "Never apologize, never explain" is not a bad slogan for the more aggressive kind of politician or CEO; but personally, I promise, if I borrow your car, then get drunk and drive it into a tree, I'll apologize. Coming up, however, is a non-apology.
Some listeners have grumbled that I have very little to say about the investigations and scandals that fill so much of the news space recently: Comey, McCabe, Mueller, Cohen, Stormy Daniels, and so on. Don't I have an opinion on this stuff?
Yes I do, and here it is.
In the branch of applied math called Information Theory there's a term you hear a lot: "signal-to-noise ratio." The term explains itself: You're transmitting some information, and what arrives at the receiver is the signal you sent mixed with some random noise it picked up along the way.
In current politics, according to me, the signal-to-noise ratio is low: not much signal, lotsa noise.
In my commentary I try to get at the signal: at big, important things that will change the shape of society and of the world at large. Demography is one of the biggest, then technology, then the ebb and flow of cultural change. That, it seems to me, is signal. What some FBI official said to some lawyer's mistress — that's noise.
What's that you say? The Miss Bum Bum pageant? Signal, definitely.
You may say that I've just given a rationalization of the fact that I don't find retail politics very interesting. Possibly you're right. I like my signal-to-noise ratio version, though, so I'm sticking to it.
That's my non-apology. Now down to business.
[Clip: Ethel Merman, "Let's go on with the show.".]
02 — Patriot's Day. A big week for the National Question, at any rate in commemorative terms.
Monday was Patriot's Day, commemorating the battles of Lexington and Concord, which opened our Revolutionary War 243 years ago. That's according to my pocket calculator: Since I placed the Thirty Years War in the wrong century last week, every date from now on gets double-checked.
I have issues with Patriot's Day. Not with the idea of the thing, which I heartily approve, but with the way it's been moved.
Lexington and Concord were fought on April 19th, and that was the original date for celebrating Patriot's Day. Then the capitalist bosses — you know, the ones with top hats and monocles and bags marked with big dollar signs — the capitalist bosses decided that giving workers a day off in mid-week was inconvenient to their bookkeeping, so they changed Patriot's Day to the third Monday in April to just make it a long weekend every year. Then they could lounge on their yachts an extra day without having to come in to town and then out again.
Why do I have issues with that? Because April 19th 2002 is the date on my Certificate of Naturalization. I wanted to boast that I officially became an American on Patriot's Day. They took that boast away from me. That's heartless capitalism for you.
I'd link you to a copy of my certificate, except that it says in red capital letters at the bottom, quote: IT IS PUNISHABLE BY U.S. LAW TO COPY, PRINT OR PHOTOGRAPH THIS CERTIFICATE, WITHOUT LAWFUL AUTHORITY, end quote. I really don't need to have the FBI kicking down my door, especially after what I've been hearing about them in the news recently, of which more in a later segment.
So, yes: Patriot's Day, 243 years old this week. My citizenship … hang on, where'd I put my calculator? … [click, click] … my citizenship, sixteen years old — sweet sixteen. God bless America!
03 — Enoch Powell's speech. Also this week — today, in fact, April 20th — falls the fiftieth anniversary of British politician Enoch Powell's Birmingham speech against mass Third World immigration into his country.
Our boss Peter Brimelow has an eloquent post about this on the main site. (Which, I should say by the way, is somewhat at sixes and sevens this weekend as our techies have migrated from one presentation technology to another, with the inevitable glitches. Be forgiving, please, while we sort them out.)
You can read Powell's speech in its entirety on the internet. There are YouTube clips of him actually delivering bits of it, although apparently the entire thing was not recorded.
Here are the opening two sentences, quote:
The supreme function of statesmanship is to provide against preventable evils. In seeking to do so, it encounters obstacles which are deeply rooted in human nature.
Powell's speech is commonly called "the Rivers of Blood speech," but that's a misnomer. There is only one river in it, the River Tiber on which Rome was built. Near the end of the speech Powell said, quote:
As I look ahead, I am filled with foreboding; like the Roman, I seem to see [inner quote] "the River Tiber foaming with much blood."
End inner quote, end quote.
That inner quote is from Book VI of the Aeneid. Aeneas, the hero of the epic, consults with the Cumaean sybil, asking her what the future holds. The sybil looks into her crystal ball and says the thing Powell famously quoted.
According to Powell's biographer he first gave the quote in Latin, et Thybrim multo spumantem sanguine cerno, then translated it into English for the benefit of audience members who'd forgotten their Virgil.
Embarrasingly for Powell, who had been a Professor of Classics before he went into politics, the Cumaean sybil was Greek, not Roman, so strictly speaking he should have said, "Like the Greek …" We Powell fans generally give him a pass on that. Virgil, who wrote the epic, was definitely a Roman, so the words Virgil put into the sybil's mouth were his words by copyright.
That snippet of Latin aside, Powell's classicism shows through at several points in the speech. Here, for example, where he's enlarging on those obstacles that hinder human nature from dealing with preventable evils, quote:
Above all, people are disposed to mistake predicting troubles for causing troubles and even for desiring troubles: "If only," they love to think, "if only people wouldn't talk about it, it probably wouldn't happen."
That last sentence there is straight out of Sir James Frazer's strange and fascinating book The Golden Bough, which a classicist of Powell's generation would certainly have read, and whose title is itself taken from an episode in the Aeneid.
For me, a math geek, the bit of Powell's speech I most often quote is, quote:
Numbers are of the essence: The significance and consequences of an alien element introduced into a country or population are profoundly different according to whether that element is one per cent or 10 per cent.
Powell's biographer tells us he doubled down on that in an interview he gave to the Daily Mail after the speech. Quote from the biography:
Asked whether he was a racialist, he answered [inner quote], "We are all racialists. Do I object to one coloured person in this country? No. To a hundred? No. To a thousand? No. To a million? A query. To five million? Definitely."
End inner quote, end quote.
There were two things at the front of Powell's mind when he prepared the "Rivers of Blood" speech. One of them was us, the Americans. Powell and his wife had spent three weeks in the U.S.A. the previous Fall. We were at that point still in the throes of the Civil Rights movement, and events over here had given Powell much food for thought. There is a reference at the end of the speech, quote:
That tragic and intractable phenomenon which we watch with horror on the other side of the Atlantic but which there is interwoven with the history and existence of the States itself, is coming upon us here by our own volition and our own neglect.
The other thing at the front of Powell's mind in April 1968 was the Race Relations Bill of that year, which was at that time making its way through Parliament, and which would ban racial discrimination in private exchanges like property rentals.
Quote from the speech:
There could be no grosser misconception of the realities than is entertained by those who vociferously demand legislation as they call it "against discrimination" … They have got it exactly and diametrically wrong.
Enoch Powell was a great man; a brilliant man, both literate and numerate, and a fine patriot. His speech isn't just for the Brits: Anyone of any nation can read it with profit. Nor was it just of its time: It is still pertinent today.
04 — The banality of Comey. Going back to my opening non-apology: I'm going to walk back my signal-to-noise metaphor a couple of steps.
There actually is information to be extracted from the FBI scandal. It just takes someone with a sharper eye than mine, and a way better acquaintance with the machinery of federal government than I have, to pick out these traces of signal — signal about our society, our culture, and our direction.
Someone like Tucker Carlson, for example. Here was Mr T on his show this Monday, passing comment on Jim Comey's just-published memoir.
[Clip: What have we learned about Jim Comey from his book and the interviews he's done about the book?
That's really penetrating. What should we make of the fact that our nation's top cop is a mediocrity, with only the shallowest grasp of what's going on in our society and culture?
You can make a case that it doesn't matter. We don't hire cops for their breadth of literary interest. It might be fun to have Dr Johnson or Oscar Wilde in the FBI Director's chair, but from the point of view of efficient law enforcement it would likely be sub-optimal. In Oscar Wilde's case, definitely sub-optimal …
Still I'd expect better than a gentry liberal from Central Casting, whose awareness of cultural and social matters ceased developing when he left his last high school English class.
To put it in the ever-useful language of Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four, gentry liberalism is an Outer Party thing. What Tucker Carlson called "sensitive guilt-ridden middle-aged suburban liberal" types are quintessentially Outer Party. They are the obedient, unquestioning enforcers of ideological orthodoxy: schoolteachers, college lecturers, local TV newsreaders, the Human Resources staff at big corporations, and so on.
Director of the FBI is Inner Party, though. For Inner Party I want people super-smart and canny — clued in and up-to-date with social and cultural issues. In Nineteen Eighty-Four terms, I want O'Briens, not Ampleforths. Even when the bastards aren't on my side, I'd like to think they have more on the ball than my kids' Social Studies teacher.
I don't mean to sound snobbish, and I'm sure Tucker Carlson didn't either. Teaching Social Studies is honest and useful work. Some of my friends and neighbors — lots of my neighbors — are gentry liberals; I wish long life and happiness to all of them.
For Inner Party jobs, though — senior unelected positions in the federal apparatus — I want the very best. Without trying hard I can think of half a dozen people smarter and more capable than Comey. Nationwide, there must be thousands.
Isn't there some better way we could make these appointments? Or are we stuck for ever with the rule so pithily expressed by the late Nikita Khrushchov, bowdlerized quote: "Gold sinks but poop floats"?
05 — Black privilege, white hypocrisy. The story about two black guys being arrested at a Philadelphia Starbucks earlier this month has generated much mirth and schadenfreude out here in the fever swamps of the Dissident Right.
The reason for all the mirth is, of course, that it is hard to think of any feature of the contemporary scene more Goodwhite, more CultMarx-compliant, than Starbucks. They might as well rename the chain SJW-bucks. If Birkenstocks, untucked shirts, and designer stubble are your thing and Rachel Maddow is your favorite commentator, you're a Starbucks patron.
This is the company that three years ago instructed its salespeople to conduct conversations with customers about the evil of racism, leading to much mockery from Badwhites and complaints from blacks that the campaign was patronizing.
This is also the company that, following our President's attempts to restrict immigration from some Muslim countries last year, promised to hire ten thousand Muslim "refugees".
Personally I think anyone who pays five dollars for a Salted Caramel Mocha Frappuccino needs his, her, or xer head examined. Come to think of it, I think anyone who knows what a Salted Caramel Mocha Frappuccino is must be badly in need of a life.
So what happened April 12th was, two young black men went into a Starbucks to meet a business contact. They asked to use the bathroom. An employee told them it was only for paying customers. When they then sat in the store without ordering anything, the manager called police, and the men were arrested for trespassing.
That caused a fuss, demonstrations and boycotts, and Starbucks is in full grovel mode. Latest is that the store will close all eight thousand of its company-owned stores on May 29th to educate employees about racial bias. Why they chose May 29th I don't know and can't be bothered to find out. To commemorate the … wait a minute … [click, click] … 565th anniversary of the Fall of Constantinople, perhaps?
The real joke here is, to say it again, that there is nothing in the world more Goodwhite than a Starbucks. I don't know where Christian Landers actually wrote the book Stuff White People Like, his 2008 spoof on Goodwhite culture, but if it wasn't at a table in Starbucks, it should have been.
As Gregory Hood noted over at American Renaissance, quote:
Starbucks mostly avoids the problem of a culture clash by not operating in black neighborhoods.
Nationwide, 83 percent of Starbucks stores serve predominantly white areas, mostly wealthy or middle class ones.
The exquisitely entertaining thing here is of course the way stories like this expose the hypocrisy and the stunning lack of self-awareness among Goodwhites. These Social Justice Warriors will do anything for blacks except live among them, or drink coffee with them. Jared Taylor is a far better exemplar of good-humored racial tolerance and openness than the average Starbucks customer.
I'm curious to see how far the groveling of Starbucks management will go. Will the CEO and his board of directors parade through the streets of Philadelphia flogging each other with whips, like the flagellants in The Seventh Seal? I sure hope so; I'd go down to Philly to see that.
It is of course pointless to argue the rights and wrongs of the actual arrests. From my somewhat sketchy knowledge of the law, I'd suppose that a private business establishment has every right to eject people who loiter there without buying anything.
The fact of its being two young black men in this case also added extra discomfort to the store's patrons, which the store's staff were entitled to respond to. Young black men exhibit antisocial and criminal behavior at levels sensationally higher than nonblacks. Nonblacks are naturally nervous around them. That is certainly unfortunate for well-socialized, noncriminal young blacks, but they ought to be able to understand it.
But, as I said, it's pointless to argue rights and wrongs here. Blacks are sacred objects. Any perceived offense to them is a style of blasphemy. Whites, including even Goodwhites like the Starbucks execs, are evil privileged oppressors and can never, never apologize enough for historic injustices.
Get out your whips, guys. Start flagellating!
06 — Miscellany. And now, our closing miscellany of brief items.
Imprimis: A footnote to that Starbucks story.
Stories like that always leave me thinking of opportunity cost. What I mean is, the things that don't get done because of the colossal amount of social energy we put into fretting about race issues.
Some days it seems that half or more of the news stories in my daily paper come from the friction zone where black meets nonblack, with an occasional one about Hispanics or Asians. Without all the endless Sturm und Drang over race, those newspaper pages would be filled with stuff of general interest to all citizens.
The sad thing is that we — people of my generation, the generation that cheered on the Civil Rights movement — we thought that when bad old laws had been struck down and bad old attitudes shamed out of polite society, racial friction would disappear, and we'd be like a big Japan, not bothering about race at all.
How naïve we were!
Item: I'm sure a listenership as well-educated as Radio Derb's knows all about the Flynn Effect in psychology. That is the strange slow rise in IQ test scores through the 20th century — on some tests, more than three points per decade in the developed world.
OK, but how many of you know that it is also called the Lynn-Flynn Effect? Richard Lynn, a Professor of Psychology at the University of Ulster in Northern Ireland, wrote about the phenomenon back in 1983, the year before James Flynn.
Richard Lynn is now 88 years old and retired to emeritus status years ago. Well, last week Ulster University withdrew his emeritus status — a highly unusual thing.
Why did they do that? Because the students' union told them to, and the university administration cucked, as university administrations always do for radical students.
Why did student radicals want Richard Lynn's head? Because, quote from the BBC News website, quote:
He has argued that people from East Asia have a higher average IQ than Europeans and that men have a higher average IQ than women.
Is either of those things true? I don't know; but either of them might be true. They're not gross impossibilities, like saying the Moon is made of bean curd.
If those are things Professor Lynn has argued and you don't think they're true, argue back at him. Counter his data and research results with data and results of your own.
Isn't that what's supposed to happen at universities? Isn't it a lot more constructive and collegial than stripping an 88-year-old scholar of his honors?
Isn't there one university somewhere in the Western world that is not administered entirely by invertebrates?
Isn't there one university president anywhere with enough of a spine to tell obstreperous student activists to get back to their books and leave harmless old professors emeritus the heck alone, or else get off his campus?
Item: I don't know what to make of our new DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen. She was a disaster in her confirmation hearings last November, as I reported at the time. Then, once confirmed and installed, she started saying sensibly Trumpish things about immigration.
I breathed a sigh of relief. That may have been premature.
Last week, April 11th, Secretary Nielsen told a House Appropriations Subcommittee that she intends to increase the limit on H-2B visas over the existing annual cap of 66,000.
H-2Bs are seasonal guest workers — hotels, resorts, landscapers, and so on. These are just the kinds of jobs American college students could do in vacations, to help pay down those student loans they're all stuck with. Remember the concept of working your way through college? Remember that? I worked construction.
What is Madame Secretary's reasoning? Sure, she allows, caps on guest-worker visas protect American workers. If businesses go out of business because they can't get workers, though, that's bad for American workers. See?
This is pure chicanery from the cheap labor lobbies. Businesses are supposed to certify they can't get American workers before they're allowed to hire guest workers. Businesses all know how to game the system, though. If they don't know, there are immigration attorneys lined up outside their doors and willing to show them.
So they game the process, then go whining to their congresscritters that they can't find American workers and will go out of business if they don't get relief. The congresscritters call Secretary Nielsen, and she folds like a fake passport.
Yo, Madame Secretary, Economics 101: There is no such thing as a shortage, there is only a clearing price. That applies just as much to labor as to goods.
Item: The current passion for iconoclasm, in the form of tearing down statues of white men, seems to know no limits.
One of London's great landmarks is Trafalgar Square, named for the 1805 Battle of Trafalgar, when a British fleet under Admiral Lord Nelson defeated a combined French and Spanish fleet in the Atlantic. It was Nelson's last battle. At the very end of it he was shot by a French sniper and died there on his flagship, HMS Victory.
At the center of Trafalgar Square is a huge stone column 145 feet high with a statue of Nelson on top. This is Nelson's Column.
(Nelson was rumored to have had an affair with Lady Hamilton, wife of a British diplomat. Hence the old schoolboy joke that Lady Hamilton inspired the erection of Nelson's column.)
And now, you guessed it, there's been a proposal to remove Nelson from his column. This seems to have been initiated by a mulatta named Afua Hirsch, former West Africa correspondent of the far-left CultMarx Guardian newspaper. Nelson, says this lady, was a white supremacist who vigorously defended slavery.
Incredibly, a government-funded body named Historic England, whose annual budget is $140 million dollars and which is charged with, quote from their website, "helping people care for, enjoy and celebrate England's spectacular historic environment," this outfit has said they are receptive to Ms Hirsch's suggestion.
I'm glad to report that the proposed toppling of Nelson from his column has stirred the Brits from their customary ethnomasochist torpor, at least to the degree they have been having a Twitterstorm over it.
I wouldn't be surprised if it happens anyway. Where news from the United Cuckdom is concerned, nothing surprises me any more.
Item: Well, not quite nothing, perhaps. This story got a raise of the eyebrows from your unflappable host.
It's a story from the Outer Hebrides. That's a scattering of islands way out in the Atlantic off the west coast of Scotland.
In the British Isles, you can't get much more remote than the Outer Hebrides. My English relatives consider western Scotland to be the sticks. Folk in western Scotland consider the Inner Hebrides to be the sticks; and Inner Hebrides people consider the Outer Hebrides to be the sticks.
So you're three layers deep in the sticks out there, among crofters and fishermen speaking Gaelic and hibernating through the winter months, which are pretty fierce up in the north Atlantic.
So what's the news from the Outer Hebrides? The news is, they're getting a mosque. From The Guardian, April 16th, quote:
Stornoway's Muslims — a few dozen people out of about 8,000 in the town — are hopeful that the mosque will be ready for the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, which begins in May.
I guess there's no reason why the Outer Hebrides shouldn't have a mosque if the folk there — I mean, the 8,000 minus a few dozen — if they want it. What I don't understand is, why do they want it?
Item: Finally, news from outer space. Two stories, actually.
First story. Allison McIntyre is a senior trainer of astronauts at the Johnson Space Flight Center in Houston, Texas. Ms McIntyre believes the first person on Mars should be a woman.
Here's what I believe. I believe Houston should draw up a list of necessary attributes and skills they want a Mars astronaut to have. They should test a pool of applicants and select those with the required qualities. From those selected, they should assign a crew by random blind lottery. What would be wrong with that?
But there, I guess that's my Toxic Masculinity on display.
I may as well note a curious coincidence here: McIntyre is a Hebrides name. Feminism, submission to Islam: What the heck is the matter with those people?
Item: Second story from outer space. This is way, way outer space — the Outer Hebrides of the Solar System, you might say.
We're talking about Pluto — or more precisely, Charon, the largest moon of Pluto. We got our first high-resolution pictures of Charon when the New Horizons spacecraft flew through the Pluto system three years ago.
Now the International Astronomical Union, the IAU, has just got around to finalizing names for the major features of Charon's surface: craters, mountains, depressions. Three of these features were given the names of science fiction greats.
Now, I'm a sci-fi buff from way back. All through my adolescence I read almost nothing but science fiction. I read all the greats: Asimov, Heinlein, Bradbury, Sturgeon, van Vogt, Wells, Clarke, Aldiss, Pohl, Kornbluth, Wyndham, Silverberg, … I read 'em all. That — the 1950s and 1960s — was the Golden Age of science fiction.
Some of these sci-fi greats have Solar System features named after them already. Asimov and Heinlein have a Mars crater each; Ray Bradbury has a Mars feature and an entire asteroid. Most don't, though. If it's names you're wanting, there's still plenty of sci-fi greatness to go round.
So I read this story about Charon with interest. What were these three features named after sci-fi greats?
Well, Arthur C. Clarke got a mountain range, Clarke Montes. No argument with that.
Then there's a mountain named Kubrick Mons, after Stanley Kubrick, who directed the sci-fi movie 2001: A Space Odyssey. Eh, okay; I'd have preferred they stuck to writers, but … okay.
The third is another mountain, Butler Mons, named after Octavia E. Butler. Er … who?
Ms Butler was a sci-fi writer. I just never heard of her before.
Why did she get a mountain named after her, when Pohl, Kornbluth, van Vogt, and those others got diddley-squat?
Why do you think? She was female and black.
07 — Signoff. That's the ration for this week, ladies and gents. Thank you for your time and attention.
Next Friday I shall be in Tennessee for the American Renaissance annual conference. I am very much looking forward to it; and to those of you who will be in attendance, I look forward to meeting you there.
Now for some sign-off music. In my March Diary a couple of weeks ago I mentioned the song that the prole woman sings in George Orwell's novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, as she's hanging out her washing while Winston Smith watches from the window of his love nest.
It was only an 'opeless fancy. / It passed like an Ipril dye, / But a look an' a word an' the dreams they stirred / They 'ave stolen my 'eart awye!
I ruminated on the possibility of making an actual pop song out of that. Of the handful of references on YouTube, none really impressed me.
Well, I missed one. This is actually not bad — the tune, I mean. A friend of mine brought it to my attention, and added a piano version of his own. I've pasted the two together here: the original, by a talented young lady identified on YouTube only as "Teabooksgirl", then my pal Barton on the piano. Not bad.
There will be more from Radio Derb next week.