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[Music clip: From Haydn's Derbyshire Marches, organ version]
01 — Intro. And Radio Derb is on the air! Greetings, listeners, from your guiltily genial host John Derbyshire.
Just a follow-up note on language before we start. In last week's podcast I admitted my fault in having mis-counted the number of syllables in "w." The right number is three; although, as a wily listener pointed out to me, it really shouldn't be, if you just ponder the name of the letter — "double 'u'." I'll leave you to think about that.
While confessing my error, though, I committed another that the language police found even more egregious. Said I: "baizuo has three less syllables than 'SJW,' not two less." [Police car siren.]
It says on my ticket here that "less" is for stuff; for things we say "fewer."
Quite right, and I won't contest the ticket. I am in fact a chronic repeat offender on this, been getting tickets since at least April 2002, according to my diary for that month. Is there some support group or twelve-step program I can sign up for?
02 — Mr West goes to Washington. I guess I should say something about Kanye West's visit to the White House Thursday.
That's me not having much to say. This is a zone where I am very seriously out of touch. Until this morning I had only the very faintest idea who Kanye West is.
In hopes of improving my understanding I looked him up on Wikipedia. He actually seems like an interesting guy. For starters, he climbed from pretty ordinary beginnings to great wealth and fame by his own energy and abilities, without — so far as I can tell — doing anything seriously illegal. That's always impressive.
There are some curiosities, too. West's mother was a college teacher of English. When Kanye was ten years old she took him with her to China, where she'd been hired on an exchange program. Says Wikipedia, quote:
According to his mother, West was the only foreigner in his class, but settled in well and quickly picked up the language, although he has since forgotten most of it.
End quote. Smart kid. Regarding Kanye's forgetting his Chinese, I sympathize. As the Chinese themselves say: 貴人多忘事 — an eminent person has so much to deal with, a lot gets forgotten.
The sphere in which West rose to fame, the world of hip-hop and rap music, is as far beyond my ken as the Ghost Dance of the Sioux. There's a clip of one of West's productions on the Wikipedia page and of course many more on YouTube. I sampled it and came away just as baffled as ever that anyone would want to listen to that stuff when there is real melodious music to be listened to.
That may be just me, though. I'm old and tastes change. My parents were baffled that I wanted to listen to Elvis and Buddy Holly. What was wrong with Bing Crosby and Doris Day?
Obviously a lot of people want to buy West's records and go to his live performances. I'm not going to argue with those people. It's as true now as when Jane Austen wrote it, quote: "One half of the world cannot understand the pleasures of the other." So it has always been; so it always will be.
With those researches under my belt, with respect for his success and with a baffled but open-minded tolerance towards what he does for a living, I came in a positive mood to Kanye West's White House visit, where he unbosomed himself of some general reflections on politics and society.
Well, I think that's what he did. It was all pretty incoherent. Quote: "Let's stop worrying about the future, all we have is today." No, let's not stop worrying about the future. Worrying about the future is the essence of responsibility — personal, social, and political.
And again with his objections to the Thirteenth Amendment, which seem to be based on its permitting prison labor. What does he want, for prisoners to sit in their cells all day long playing solitaire?
Reading that section again, West seems in fact, so far as one can make sense of his words, to be opposed to imprisonment per se. Quote, referring to the Constitution: "Would you build a trap door that if you mess up, and you accidentally — something happens, you fall and you end up next to the Unabomber?" End quote.
Eh? Not many people end up in jail "accidentally," Sir. And while it's a shame to deprive anyone of his liberty, nobody's come up with a better way to protect the mass of law-abiding citizens from the depredations of the non-law-abiding.
(Well, not quite nobody. I have put forward my own "one strike and you're dead" proposal — capital punishment for shoplifters and subway turnstile-jumpers — but I haven't been able to get much traction with it.)
There was an odd Nietzschean strain running through West's soliloquy, too. Quote: "All we really have is today. Over and over and over again." Quote: "Trump is on his hero's journey." Quote, referring to his MAGA hat: "There is something when I put this hat on, it made me feel like Superman." End quotes. What has the guy been reading?
The common stereotype about blacks — true, of course, like most stereotypes — is that when they're smart, they are most often smart in the verbal dimension — talking, writing, preaching, lawyering, politics, comedy — not the mathematical. Reading about Kanye West's White House performance I was starting to think he's an exception. This verbal production was a mess.
Then I got to the part where he revealed his cellphone password to the world. The password is 000000.
That puts the kibosh on West being a math whiz, I guess. So while the guy must be some kind of smart to have got where he's gotten, I'm at a loss to know what kind it is.
So, a mixed review here from Radio Derb. On the upside, though, where the topic of black guys visiting the White House is concerned, the Kanye West event was a great improvement over what went before.
Whatever his failings in eloquence and password generation, Kanye West is by any standards a far better citizen than Al Sharpton. By June 2016, according to the White House visitors' log, Al Sharpton had called on Barack Obama 57 times.
03 — Speaking up for the Uighurs. I just read another piece about the Uighurs. No, that's not white fans of Kanye West I was reading about; it's the Uighurs, a big Central Asian ethny.
Most Uighurs nowadays live under ChiCom rule. Their home territory in Central Asia was taken over by Mao Tse-tung when he came to power in China in 1949. Mao had the quite explicit goal of re-creating the old Manchu Empire; this was part of that project.
The reason the Uighurs have been in the news lately is that the ChiComs have been tightening their control of their region, hustling great numbers of Uighurs off to concentration camps and using state-of-the-art computer technology — stuff like facial-recognition software — to turn the region into a huge panopticon, where everyone is under surveillance all the time, or reasonably fears he may be.
That's got human-rights people complaining on the Uighurs' behalf. The piece I was just reading was along those lines: an editorial in the Washington Post, October 11th, headline: China finally admits it is building a new archipelago of concentration camps. Will the world respond?.
The Uighurs, I should say for one further bit of background, are racially a 50-50 mix of Europeans — or at any rate, West Asians — and East Asians. Like a lot of other Central Asians, they speak a Turkic language; and ditto ditto, they are mostly Muslims.
I haven't seen much comment about the persecution of the Uighurs on Dissident Right websites and blogs, but they've come up three or four times in private conversations I've had with Dissident Rightists. In all cases the other party's reaction was: "They're Muslims. Who cares what happens to them?"
Do I care? No, not much, though probably a tad more than the average. I got involved with the Uighurs thirty-plus years ago when I was palling around with Tibetan exiles in London, so there's a slight sentimental attachment. And I don't mind Islam, so long as it stays in its own countries; I just think it has been gross folly to settle big numbers of Muslims in Western nations where they don't fit.
The Uighurs' problem is of course that they don't have their own nation. Speaking as a nationalist, I think that's a shame. Ten million people with their own territory, language, history, literature, folkways, and religion should have a nation they can call their own.
There's not much prospect of that. The Uighurs have no friends; the ChiComs have lots of friends, or at any rate clients. You might think, for example, that the Uighurs' ethnic kin in Turkey would be some help to them, but the corrupt and cynical Turkish government is too busy cozying up to the ChiComs for financial favors.
And speaking as a sinophile — as someone who wants to see China stable and prosperous — I don't think either stability or prosperity are advanced by holding on to these resentful border colonies while China's population ages and shrinks, and other problems — corruption, pollution, political stagnation — just get worse.
Well, it's no skin off America's nose what happens to the Uighurs. These latest outrages against them do, though, point up the slow sea change that's been going on among the political right here for twenty years now.
Old conservatism: Communism is evil, peoples suffering under communist imperialism need sympathy and support. New conservatism: They're Muslims? Screw them. The ChiComs are beating up on them? Good!
On this topic, at least, put me down as old conservative. No, I don't want to go to war on the Uighurs' behalf, or on anyone's behalf but our own — America's. I do, though, think the nationalist, anti-imperialist right should speak up for them. Human rights is not a contemptible idea; and national rights is a vital one, for them and for us.
04 — U.N. Ambassador Haley resigns: good riddance! Nikki Haley, our country's ambassador to the United Nations, announced her resignation from that post on Tuesday, effective the end of this year.
This surprised everybody, and political pundits have been fishing around for reasons, without much success. Had she fallen out with the President? There seems no sign of that. Does she have higher political ambitions? Maybe, but she hasn't declared anything explicit. Does she want to cash out of politics into a nice cushy job with some lobbying firm or investment bank? Another maybe, but we didn't hear any details. The only thing Ambassador Haley vouchsafed to us was, that she does not intend to run for President in 2020. Uh-huh.
Ambassador Haley formally tendered her resignation at a meeting with the President in the White House on Tuesday. At that meeting she spoke in glowing terms of the administration's foreign policy accomplishments over her nearly two years on the job. Slightly edited quote:
If you look at just these two years at the U.N., we cut $1.3 billion in the U.N.'s budget. We've made it stronger. We've made it more efficient.
Me interrupting here. Stronger? At doing what? More efficient? [Laughter.] Sorry, continuing the Haley quote:
South Sudan — we got an arms embargo, which was a long time coming. Three North Korean sanctions packages, which were the largest in a generation, done in a way that we could really work towards denuclearizing North Korea. The Iran deal — bringing attention to the world that every country needs to understand you can't overlook all of the bad things they're doing … I think you look at the anti-Israel bias, and the strength and courage that the President showed in moving the embassy, and showing the rest of the world we will put our embassy where we want to put our embassy.
End quote. OK I guess, but that's not actually an impressive list. Who the hell cares what happens in South Sudan? It's the ultimate poop-hole country. America's only business with it is to prevent its people flooding into ours via bogus "refugee" programs, of which more in the next segment.
"Three North Korean sanctions packages"? Sanctions against North Korea aren't worth a damn unless the ChiComs co-operate in enforcing them. Which the ChiComs won't because we're ticking them off on trade, and anyway can't because they're too corrupt — sons, daughters, nephews and nieces of the ChiCom Party bosses are making too much money evading the sanctions.
Iran is a neocon fixation, of no importance to U.S. interests or the lives of Americans. Moving our embassy in Israel was a nice poke in the eye to the crazier kinds of Arabs; but there aren't as many of them as there used to be, and they're not very consequential.
And all the sweet talk at Tuesday's meeting obscures the fact that Ambassador Haley, who was a Never Trumper in the 2016 campaign, looks to be part of the Resistance movement against President Trump in his own State Department.
She is a passionate multiculturalist. Visiting India — her parents' home country — in July this year, she said the following thing, quote:
The one thing about America and what I have always loved is America is a country of immigrants. It's the fabric of America to have multiple cultures. Multiple populations. Multiple heritages that do come into America that make it what it is.
End quote. The U.N.'s Global Compact on Refugees, which is in total contradiction to the Trump administration's declared goals for U.S. immigration policy, has the full support of the State Department. It comes up for a vote soon — probably in December — in the U.N. General Assembly, and all current indications are that Ambassador Haley's last act as our U.N. Ambassador will be to vote Aye on this globalist monstrosity.
The perplexing thing here is that President Trump seems oblivious to the machinations of these people in his own administration working against his goals.
His own administration, and also his own family: His daughter Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner are clearly with the Resistance in spirit, although neither has enough authority to help advance Resistance goals other than by whispering in the President's ear. They got a shout-out from Ambassador Haley at Tuesday's meeting none the less, quote: "can't say enough good things about Jared and Ivanka."
Yet here was Trump on the White House lawn after that meeting telling us that Ivanka would be a great replacement for Ambassador Haley at the U.N. Quote from him: "I'm not sure there is anybody more competent in the world," end quote. However, he told us Ivanka had declined the job, so we dodged a bullet there.
I gave you Radio Derb policy on the U.N. two weeks ago: reduce the damn thing to rubble and sow the ground with salt, preferably — although not necessarily — after deporting all the inhabitants. It is an anti-American institution, globalist by its very definition. All the diplomatic triumphs Ambassador Haley boasted about, to the degree any of them actually were triumphs for U.S. interests, could have been accomplished by traditional diplomatic means, nation to nation. The U.N. played no part.
If we don't have the guts to dump the U.N., we might at least let them know what we think of them. With that in mind, here is my recommendation to replace Nikki Haley as our Ambassador to the U.N.: Kermit the Frog. [Muppets theme.]
05 — Trump signs check for the refugee racketeers. Thursday last week, October 4th, while were were all hyperventilating about the Brett Kavanaugh nomination, the President signed off on a final number for refugees to be admitted to the U.S.A. in this new fiscal year: 30,000.
The biggest single number by region is for Africa: 11,000, followed by the, quote, "Near East/South Asia": 9,000. I added a "quote" there because you don't often see the phrase "Near East" nowadays.
When I was doing school geography there was the Far East — China, Japan, and such — the Middle East — India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and the like — and the Near East — Iran and the Arabs. Then one day when I wasn't looking someone moved the whole thing westwards, so that Libya, for example, whose capital city is on the same meridian of longitude as Berlin and less than one degree east of Rome, frequently shows up in our news outlets as being in the Middle East.
I thought the Near East had disappeared. Perhaps, I surmised, the phrase had fallen into the odium of political incorrectness for some reason, like "oriental." Why would it? Don't ask me, I can never keep up with that stuff. Why would anybody want to? But now here I see the phrase "Near East" in a Presidential Memorandum — Halleluia!
Sorry, I'm rambling. So our President, no doubt with Ambassador Haley and a crew of State Department subversives, and perhaps Ivanka, standing behind him smirking in quiet triumph, opened wide our nation's doors to 30,000 persons who found the right U.N. official and paid the right bribe to settle permanently in the U.S.A.
Which, as the indispensable Ann Corcoran reminded us this week, is a total corruption of the meaning of the word "refugee." Quote from Ann:
The Leftists and No Borders activists around the world have done their best to make you think that anyone on the move around the world for any reason is a refugee deserving of special treatment. They are not. Most are economic migrants, some are getting away from civil wars at home, and some are criminals.
End quote. The right to permanent settlement in the U.S.A., garnished with special welfare benefits for food, housing, and education, is a huge prize, eagerly sought by people all over the world. They will do anything to get it — tell any tale, pay any bribe — and they do. Read Ann's reports.
There are of course genuine refugees from civil wars and such, but the best — and much the most cost-efficient — way to help them is by supporting them in neighboring countries until they can go home.
Those 11,000 we are admitting from Africa, for example. Africa's awfully big — three times the size of the U.S.A. — and has forty-odd countries in it. There isn't room in all that for 11,000 refugees? For Heaven's sake!
As Ann points out, there is congressional action needed here: precisely, repeal of the 1980 Refugee Act, pushed through Congress by Ted Kennedy and Joe Biden, signed into law by Jimmy Carter. Just the names there tell you all you need to know.
Let the call go out across this land: "Repeal the 1980 Refugee Act!"
06 — Miscellany. And now, our closing miscellany of brief items.
Imprimis: As I predicted in Chapter 11 of We Are Doomed, and have been reminding you I predicted it ever since, the nation best placed to weather the 21st century may very well be Japan. Culturally confident, demographically homogenous, with an industrious high-IQ population and surrounded by sea, Japan is spared from many of the problems plaguing other advanced countries.
The place has problems of its own, of course: declining birth rate, crazy work ethic, occasional devastating earthquakes and tsunamis. This world is a vale of tears, even in Japan, and nobody gets out alive. Still, I often find myself thinking I'd trade their problems for ours.
Now here's another tiny piece of evidence in support of my prediction. There is an annual report put out by something called the Henley Passport Index — who knew? — ranking all the nations of the world by the potency of their passports. Potency is defined as follows: If you hold a passport from country X, how many other countries will let you in without a visa, or will give you a visa at point of entry when you flash your country-X passport?
That's the Henley Passport Index. So which country has the most potent passport in this year's report, which just came out? Japan! If you hold a Japanese passport you can stroll in to 190 countries visa-free. Japan just pushed Singapore out of the top spot. For U.S. passport holders the number of countries is 186.
Bottom of the rankings are Afghanistan and Iraq. Nobody wants to let their passport holders in, not hard to figure out why. But who knows? Perhaps when we've finished putting Afghanistan to rights, after another seventeen years there, they'll be up at the top of the Henley Index with Japan and Singapore.
That's sad. Sure, I know: Capitalism's gotta churn and nostalgia doesn't pay the bills, or the shareholders. Still, Sears has been around long enough to count as Americana so it carries some emotional load.
I've been shopping at Sears since I first came to this country forty-five years ago. When I finally bought a house here in 1992, the house needed work. I bought a lot of tools, all at Sears. That was where you bought tools, everybody knew. Fixing up the house, I engaged with work the original builder had done back around 1930. I bet he bought his tools at Sears, too.
The dogs bark, the caravan moves on. I wonder how long Macy's will be with us?
Item: Today, October 12th, is the official release date of First Man, the movie about Neil Armstrong and the first manned landing on the Moon. As I noted in my August 31st podcast, the movie does not show Armstrong and Aldrin planting the Stars and Stripes on the lunar surface, an unforgivable omission in the opinion of many patriots, including me. Also President Trump, who has said he will not watch the movie.
I had a vague recollection that the actual planting of the flag did not go well. To refresh my memory I looked up the relevant passage in Pellegrino and Stoff's book Chariots for Apollo, which is about the making of the Lunar Module. Here, just for its historical interest, is that passage, page 179, quote:
The flagpole went into the ground with great difficulty. It penetrated less than six inches, and seemed unsteady. Armstrong and Aldrin were afraid that the Stars and Stripes would pitch forward into the dust as they saluted on global television … But the flag held out until lift-off, when Buzz Aldrin looked up from his instruments just long enough to see a shower of aluminum-covered mylar caught in the blast of the ascent engine. The flag was caught there, too, and he saw it fall.
Item: Finally, since we're up in the heavens here, and sort of immigration-related: Some astronomers over in Europe have made a study of the fastest stars.
Stars move through space relative to each other, and some move faster than others. These astronomers found twenty stars in our own galaxy, the Milky Way, that are moving fast enough to escape from the galaxy's gravitational pull. These stars are going to shoot right out of the galaxy.
Here's the thing, though. Only seven of those stars originated in the galaxy. The other thirteen are from outside, zipping into the galaxy from elsewhere — from some other galaxy, presumably.
See, I told you there is an immigration angle. I know, I have trouble staying on-topic; but see, here I am doing my best …
07 — Signoff. That's all for this week, ladies and gents. Thank you for your time and attention; and for those of you who had the misfortune to be in the path of Hurricane Michael down there, Radio Derb's heartfelt sympathies and all hopes for a speedy return to normal.
This week's signout music is a tribute to a lady.
As I mentioned Buddy Holly back there, a faint buzzer went off in my head, somehow related to something I'd read in the news recently. I spend a lot of time reading the news — it's my job! — so it took a while to dig it out, but I did at last.
The news story was: Peggy Sue died. Yes, there was an actual Peggy Sue, a high-school classmate of Buddy Holly's in Lubbock, Texas. I didn't even know that. She actually married Jerry Allison, drummer for Buddy Holly's backing group, The Crickets. And now she has died, October 1st, aged 78. She seems to have been a nice lady and led a blameless life. May she rest in peace.
So … no need to announce the signout music. There will be more from Radio Derb next week.
[Music clip: Buddy Holly, "Peggy Sue."]