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[Music clip: From Haydn's Derbyshire Marches, organ version]
01 — Intro. And Radio Derb is on the air! That was one of Haydn's Derbyshire Marches and this is your stoically genial host John Derbyshire, reporting in with VDARE.com's weekly podcast summary of significant events — "significant" as defined by me. Hey, it's my podcast.
Top of the list this week are three setbacks for the Dissident Right. These setbacks are significant in themselves, for what they tell us about our political culture at the highest levels, but they are particularly comment-worthy for us here at VDARE because the boss here, Peter Brimelow, figures in them at first or second hand.
I shall take the three setbacks in turn.
02 — Trump punishes friends, rewards enemies. First setback: The firing of White House speechwriter Darren Beattie last week.
Beattie held the title "Speechwriter and Policy Development Aide" at an annual salary of $84,600. Prior to working in the White House he was an academic, a professor of Political Science.
Beattie was fired for having addressed the H.L. Mencken Club conference in 2016.
Who they? And why would a White House staffer be fired for addressing them? That needs some background.
The H.L. Mencken Club is a Dissident Right discussion group founded by another political scientist, Professor Emeritus Paul Gottfried. The club is named in honor of journalist and gadfly H.L. Mencken, floruit the second, third, and fourth decades of the last century.
Mencken is hard to fit into any of our current political pigeon-holes. The main things that commend him to the attention of Dissident Right types are his love of liberty and his loathing of politicians. Mencken especially loathed politicans of what he called the "world-saver" tendency: FDR, for example, whom Mencken mocked as "the Führer."
From the quantity of professors I've mentioned at the Mencken Club — two out of two, so far — you can deduce that this is quite an intellectually high-powered gathering.
For further confirmation of that, by all means read Darren Beattie's address to the 2016 conference. Sample sentence, quote:
Indeed, though Nietzschean explanations are often contrasted with Marxist ones as the psychological to the material, yet in this case the Nietzschean psychological diagnosis of slave morality, masochism, whatever you want to call it actually operates in conjunction with the emerging class dynamic insofar as it serves to pacify or neutralize what would otherwise be an increasingly problematic class for the elite.
Yes, that was all one sentence.
So there is some heavy-duty intellection going on here, by people who've read lots of books (and in Paul Gottfried's case, written lots of books) and who have complex arguments to present about the condition of our society and its prospects.
Now it might, of course, be the case that all the ideas presented in addresses to the H.L. Mencken Club, including those presented by Darren Beattie, are wrong. They are ideas, though: the fruit of prolonged lucubration by highly intelligent persons with impressive academic credentials.
This was not a gathering of the Klan or the Antifa. There was no chanting of slogans, no profanities or obscenities uttered from the podium, no hoods or face masks or bike locks in evidence, no discussion of whose lawn we should burn a cross on this weekend or whose windows we should break or which Confederate statue we should vandalize.
And yes, I did say "we." I was present at the 2016 conference, and participated in one of the panel discussions and the closing debate, though my remarks seem not to have survived in any text form. I have spoken at several Mencken Club conferences, and shall be speaking at this year's, in November. I consider it an honor to be asked; though I confess I feel out of my depth among so many serious scholars of history, philosophy, law, and political science.
It might, as I said a minute ago, it might be the case that the ideas presented in addresses to the H.L. Mencken Club are all wrong. Our best hope of determining whether or not they are all wrong is to listen carefully to them, then listen carefully to rebuttals of them by equally well-credentialed thinkers of a different point of view, then judge which set of ideas best accords with reason and with known facts about the world.
Of course, nothing could be more at odds with the spirit of our age, which is rigidly ideological. The commanding heights of our society and culture — the academy, the media, corporations, churches — have been captured by an ideology, a Narrative. Ideas presented to the public are either in accord with that Narrative, in which case they are acceptable and the presenters are Good People, or they contradict the Narrative, in which case they are vile, shameful heresies and the presenters are Bad People.
That's what got Darren Beattie fired by the White House. It was not for his address — which we can assume, to a very high probability, no-one in the White House bothered to read, or would have understood if they had read it — but for associating with Bad People.
With me, for example; I got a mention in the CNN report on Beattie's firing for, quote, "espousing racist views," which means, for mentioning true facts about the world that contradict the Narrative of the ideologues.
And yes, with our boss, Peter Brimelow, whom the CNN hack described as a "white nationalist." I'm not sure what that means, and don't see much point in asking. It's not intended to be taken as having a lexicographical meaning; it's intended as an ideological cuss-word, like "heretic," or "counter-revolutionary," or "thought criminal." It's just abuse. Its purpose is to humiliate a person and mark him for destruction by ideological enforcers.
When the term "white nationalist" is deployed, we are not in the realm of lexicography: we are in the realm of ideological power display. The same of course applies to similar cuss-words: "white supremacist," "bigot," "racist," and so on. You are not supposed to go to a dictionary and look up precise meanings for these terms; you are supposed to point and hiss to show the Good People you are one of them.
That was the first setback for the Dissident Right this week: Darren Beattie getting fired from his job at the White House because two years ago he associated with Bad People like me and my boss.
The truly depressing thing here is that it was the Donald Trump White House that Beattie got fired from. Whether the President himself initiated the firing, or signed off on it, or was even aware of it, we do not know. We must hope he knew nothing about it, and that is probably the case. Beattie's name is one of 374 listed as employees in the Executive Office of the President. A President has a great many things to think about, and has perforce to delegate most personnel matters.
Still, it's been news this week and the President's done nothing to reverse it. That's a lousy way for Trump to treat a loyal supporter who brought real intellectual heft along with his support.
Beattie was fired by a person who supports the CultMarx narrative, either from conviction or from lazy ignorance. He was fired by a person who thinks those Progressive cuss-words have actual dictionary meanings, who does not know that they are mere empty terms of ideological abuse. He was fired by a person who thinks that the judgments of the Southern Poverty Law Center are true and righteous altogether — who does not know what the dogs in the street know in Montgomery, Alabama: that the SPLC is a cynical money racket hotly opposed to everything Donald Trump stands for.
Mr President, it is that person who needs firing, not Darren Beattie. Find out who fired Beattie, then fire him: he is an enemy of you and your program, a saboteur in your White House. Then reinstate Darren Beattie, apologize to him, and give him a raise.
03 — Guilt by association … with us! Second setback: Further down that list of personnel employed in the Executive Office of the President is one Lawrence A. Kudlow, job title "Assistant to the President for Economic Policy," salary $179,700.
I know Larry Kudlow slightly. We used to sit at the National Review editorial table together. He recognizes me by face, or at any rate did the last time our paths crossed, at The New Criterion Easter party six years ago. He's witty, urbane, and quite seriously rich, but thoughtful and well-read. Our acquaintance was slight, but I never found anything to dislike about Larry, and up to this week would have recommended him as a dinner guest to anyone with an empty chair to fill.
My boss Peter Brimelow knows Larry much better than I do. He's known him for nigh on forty years. They've been work colleagues in financial journalism; and Peter, like me (although before my time) sat around the National Review editorial table with Larry many, many times. Peter and Larry live not far from each other in Connecticut.
It is therefore less than astounding to learn that Peter attended Kudlow's birthday party last weekend at Kudlow's Connecticut home. This was by no means a first. Kudlow told the Washington Post that Peter has been, quote, "coming to my dinner parties for years."
Ah, but that was before Kudlow went to work at the White House — before the President's enemies organized squads of vigilantes to report on any contact whatever between any White House employee and Bad People.
Someone at Kudlow's birthday party snitched to the Washington Post and the Post made a story of it on Tuesday, headline: Trump adviser Larry Kudlow hosted publisher of white nationalists at his home.
Kudlow appears to have thrown Peter off the sled, telling the Post that Peter's views on immigration and race are, quote, "a side of Peter that I don't know, and I totally, utterly disagree with that point of view and have my whole life," end quote.
The last part of that is true. I recall Kudlow from our National Review days as an open-borders immigration enthusiast. I jousted with him about that a time or two.
The first part, though — where he says he didn't know Peter's views — raised my eyebrows. Really, Larry? After all those dinner parties? After being with Peter at National Review in 1992 when they published Peter's cover story on immigration — the story Peter then expanded into his book Alien Nation? And come to think of it, being with Peter at National Review a couple of years later when the magazine ran a cover story about Charles Murray's book The Bell Curve? Really, Larry? Really?
I'm reluctant to say any more than that, however. For one thing, the boss knows Kudlow way better than I do, and so can pass comments much more perceptive than any I can offer, if he feels like doing so.
Also in play here is geezer solidarity. That birthday last weekend was Kudlow's 71st. He hasn't been very well recently — suffered a mild heart attack in June. If he's feeling that he really doesn't need one more thing to stress about right now, I'm sympathetic.
In my ideal world Larry Kudlow would have told the Washington Post hack to go boil his head; and if he had then been fired from the White House, like Darren Beattie, merely for being friends with a guy the CultMarx racketeers at the Southern Poverty Law Center have tagged a thought criminal, he would have walked out of the White House with his own head held high and a sneer of contempt on his lips for an administration so anxious to please its enemies and punish its friends.
This is not an ideal world, though, and I have never supposed it was. There are, as the trial lawyers say, mitigating circumstances. I shall leave Peter to take up the thread, if he feels inclined.
04 — CultMarx hacks determine White House staffing. Third setback: the cuck-o-rama at the Claremont Institute.
Some background on them. Claremont — no affiliation with the colleges bearing that name — is a conservative think tank over on the left coast. They publish the excellent Claremont Review of Books to which — full disclosure — your humble podcaster here has contributed many reviews across many years, most recently to the Spring 2017 issue.
Claremont has been pro-Trump since way back in the 2016 campaign. It was the Claremont Review of Books, in fact, that published Michael Anton's splendid pro-Trump essay "The Flight 93 Election" in September 2016, perhaps the most consequential piece of political journalism in the last twenty years.
So that's the Claremont Institute: a nest of pro-Trump conservative intellectuals, super-smart people — so smart they've published my stuff! That's the Institute; what's the cuck?
Well, the cuckee is a chap named Charles Johnson, hereinafter Chuck. No, this is not the football player: this Charles Johnson is a conservative writer. The Claremont Institute actually describes him as one of their alumni, because he had a fellowship there at some point. Perhaps he still has it: I'm not sure how fellowships work, although if anyone wants to offer me one, I can be reached via VDARE.com.
I know Chuck very slightly — even more slightly than I know Larry Kudlow. Our entire acquaintance consists of some emails and a lunch date. The occasion of the lunch date was that six years ago Chuck embarked on writing a book about U.S. President Calvin Cooldge. I had put Coolidge in a novel some years previously and done prodigies of research to make sure I got him right, even interviewing John Coolidge, the President's son, by telephone. Chuck wanted to pick my brains, so he bought me lunch. I found him smart, witty, and well-read.
That's all background. OK, now back to the first setback I described, the firing of Darren Beattie from his White House job for having once addressed a group that Peter Brimelow also addressed.
Now Darren Beattie belongs to an email discussion group — a Listserv — run by the Claremont Institute. A lot of other conservative intellectuals also belong to this email group, including some heavy hitters in the administration, the judiciary, big law firms, and other influential zones of the national life.
After his firing, Beattie broadcast a plea to the group, urging those members with media contacts to speak up on his behalf. Chuck Johnson, who also belongs to the group, was one of the first to respond. Quote from him, to the email group, quote:
Beattie's offense is that he spoke at an event where — gasp! — there were white nationalists afoot! … Heaven forbid that some thinkers — like the American founders who favored our country be majority-white — think that the U.S. of A should stay majority-white! Perish the thought. Can't have that.
That had some members of the email group clutching their pearls and reaching for the smelling salts. Some of them asked to be removed from the group. Ryan Williams, the president of Claremont Institute, responded on Tuesday by shutting the group down altogether. He explained his action with some weasel words, accusing Chuck of espousing views that, quote, "are incompatible with the principles of the Founding Fathers and Claremont's mission," end quote.
In the matter of Claremont's mission, I yield to Ryan Williams, but I'm pret-ty sure I know where the Founding Fathers stood on the matter of keeping the U.S.A. majority-white.
Chuck, to his credit, refused to back down, and spoke eloquently in his own and Darren Beattie's defense, edited quote:
I think it's rather ridiculous and outrageous that the media is picking and choosing which of our people serve in government, and if Trump doesn't get right on this, there are going to be repercussions … I am disappointed that Claremont …doesn't do its best to protect its members who are serving in the administration and throughout the country.
I'll second Chuck on that. CNN reported that Darren Beattie had been in the same room with Peter Brimelow: Beattie was fired from his White House job. The Washington Post reported that Larry Kudlow had Peter Brimelow as a house guest for his birthday party: Kudlow plainly feared he'd lose his White House job, so he threw Peter off the sled.
So … White House staffing decisions are being made by CultMarx hacks at CNN and the Washington Post? Why do we bother having elections, Mr President, if these people are just going to run the country anyway, whoever we vote for? Who elected them?
05 — In praise of old lefties. I have had an occasional thread running in my monthly diaries about small out-of-the-way countries which are never in the news because nothing interesting happens there: New Zealand, Finland, Taiwan, places like that. My suspicion is that those places are pretty happy in their obscurity and would like to go on not generating any news, if History allows them to — which in some cases, Taiwan for instance, it may not.
I once put Uruguay in that happy category. Whether it truly belongs there, I don't want to argue, not actually knowing much about the place; it just seems like it's happy in obscurity.
Whether it is or not, it's produced a very interesting character: José Mujica, president of that country from 2010 to 2015. Mujica is an old lefty — an old lefty, of the tough fighting variety, not one of the whining limp-wrist lefties who infest the present-day U.S.A. Born in 1935, he's had an extraordinarily eventful life, which you can read about on the internet.
Now 83 and retired from the public arena, Mujica has been in the news most recently for turning down his pension. After he stepped down from the presidency in 2015 he went on being a senator; but last month he resigned that position too, saying he was tired. This entitles him to a pension, but he says he doesn't want it.
That's entirely in character. All through his public career Mujica has lived very frugally. Elected president, he would not move to the presidential palace, preferring to stay on the small farm he runs with his wife, who he seems to have lived with for ever. As president, he continued driving his beaten-up 1987 Volkswagen beetle, and donated most of his salary to left-wing charities.
You don't have to be a fan of Castroite politics — I'm certainly not — to give ex-president Mujica credit for integrity. It's hard not to notice the contrast with our own politicians — including of course the leftists — who retire from what they are pleased to call "public service" to take up highly-paid positions at foundations or on boards of directors, and go on lecture tours charging $200,000 per engagement.
I've said it before, and I'll say it again: These old lefties weren't all bad. Sure, they were wrong, and destructive, and often cruel. They weren't always contemptible, though. Some of them, like José Mujica, lived their ideals.
If, at the point of a gun, I had to choose between living in a country run by José Mujica or living in one run by Hillary Clinton, I think I'd probably choose Mujica. Mujica or Maxine Waters? No contest — Mujica, absolutely!
I really should pay Uruguay a visit. Perhaps I could cop an invite to José Mujica's place. Señor Mujica, you're-a-guy I'd really like to meet. [Groan, hiss.]
06 — London's Carnival of mayhem. Across the pond the Brits are coming up to an unhappy anniversary. Let me explain.
This Monday, August 27th, is the last Monday in August. That is what the Brits call a Bank Holiday — a three-day weekend. One feature of this particular Bank Holiday is the Notting Hill Carnival, advertised as a celebration of Caribbean culture. Notting Hill, you see, is a district in west-central London that was one of the first to be colonized by blacks from the West Indies in the earliest wave of Third World immigration after WW2.
The Carnival started in 1966, but it was prompted in part by some earlier events. One of those earlier events was a race riot, which took place at the end of August 1958, in, yes, Notting Hill. It wasn't Britain's first race riot; but because it happened in the capital, it got everyone's attention in a way previous ructions hadn't.
That's the anniversary I mentioned. The Notting Hill race riots took place sixty years ago this weekend. The Carnival started up eight years later as part of a medley of efforts to get race relations on a happier, more constructive track.
Things haven't exactly worked out as hoped for, though as always with race issues, you have to read carefully to learn this.
However, as you'd expect for a black event, the Notting Hill Carnival is a disorderly affair with a lot of violence. There are hundreds of arrests every year. The actual number last year was 313: lower than usual, but there had been a big police sweep in the weeks leading up to the event, with more than six hundred arrests.
The level of apprehension this year is high because of the crime wave that London is currently experiencing. The homicide numbers for London have just passed a hundred, with shootings and stabbings leading the stats; and of course, for every homicide there are dozens of woundings, maimings, and disfigurings. Most recently a fashion for throwing acid at people has come up. Practically all of this crime is black on black, though you have to read the news reports with careful attention to notice that.
So nonblack residents of Notting Hill have triple-locked their apartments and left town for the weekend. Acres of wooden boards are going up around stores and private houses. Police and hospital emergency room staff are rubbing their hands with glee, anticipating lots of overtime. The phrase "knife arches" has suddenly appeared in news outlets: metal detectors, basically, being set up at entry points to the Carnival to deter people bringing in knives.
I was thirteen when the Notting Hill riots happened back in 1958. I can remember hearing the adults — working-class white English people — talking about it. The commonest opinion was that it was foolish of the authorities to let so many blacks settle in the country. It was just storing up trouble for the future, people said. Blacks and whites will never get along together, people said. Look at America, people said.
How ignorant and reactionary people were back then! And how wrong! Thank goodness we live now in a more enlightened time!
07 — Illegal immigration: a comprehensive story. The murder of Mollie Tibbetts in Iowa is an unusually comprehensive story, in that it puts on display a remarkably large number of the components of our immigration-policy lunacy.
Ms Tibbetts, just to remind you, was a 20-year-old white girl, a sophomore at the University of Iowa, majoring in psychology. She went jogging on July 18th and was not seen alive again. Cristhian Bahena-Rivera, an illegal alien from Mexico, has been charged with her murder. A preliminary autopsy has indicated that Ms Tibbetts was stabbed to death.
Let me tick off those components for you.
I've probably missed a couple, but ten is a nice round number. Sufficient to say, from those ten points alone, that getting from where we currently are to a sane, strict immigration policy that benefits Americans, is going to be a long, hard climb.
08 — Signoff. And that's it, ladies and gents. Once again I have run out of time before getting to my miscellany of brief items. Once again I promise that I shall, one week soon, do a podcast entirely composed of brief items.
It hasn't been a very happy week: but I don't make the news, I just report it. Thank you for listening; and if any of you are planning a visit to London this weekend, I strongly advise you stay the hell away from the Notting Hill Carnival.
OK, some signoff music. I had a curious email from a friend the other day. He had just discovered that the song "Scarborough Fair" was around long before Simon and Garfunkel recorded it.
Well, duh. It's an old English folk song. That Simon and Garfunkel recording was 1965, some years into the British folk revival. Traditional British folk songs were inspiring a lot of recording artists in the early 1960s. Bob Dylan was particularly inspired: his 1962 song "A Hard Rain's a-Gonna Fall" is modeled on the old ballad "Lord Randall."
For Brits of my generation, acquaintance with the folk songs of our ancestors goes back even further than that. Our elementary-school music lessons consisted mainly of learning and singing folk songs. I don't recall "Scarborough Fair" being among them, but it may well have been.
I definitely do remember singing this one. I can still sing it. It resonates rather particularly with me: doubly so in the case of this YouTube version, in which a white guy is singing to an Asian lady. Hoo boy …
There will be more from Radio Derb next week.
[Music clip: Ray Crooke and a lady from Brunei: "Oh, No, John."]