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—————————[Music clip: From Haydn's Derbyshire Marches, organ version]
01 — Intro. And Radio Derb is on the air! Welcome, listeners. This is your modestly genial host John Derbyshire, here with VDARE.com's weekly roundup from the news wires, lightly garnished with opinions from a Dissident Right viewpoint.
Before I proceed, please permit me to do a brief promotion.
A great looming issue of our time is the de-platforming and de-financing of Dissident Right outlets by social-media monopolies and financial institutions. The victims include websites like VDARE.com, who present facts and aguments in a thoughtful, well-informed way, without any support for civil violence or exclusion from the public sphere for those who disagree with us.
These de-platformings and de-financings are very shocking developments — long strides down the road to totalitarian thought control.
The push-back has started, though. Various lawsuits are under way. The Dissident Right will not go gentle into that good night.
We at VDARE.com are joining the battle: we are suing the city of Colorado Springs and its mayor for forcing the cancellation of our conference by withholding city services from the conference hotel.
These legal efforts are all Davids going up against Goliaths, though. We need the support of well-wishers. Please set aside just two minutes of your time to watch our appeal for funds to support our lawsuit. It's there on the VDARE.com site. Just click on the tab that says BLOG and perhaps scroll down one or two until you see Peter Brimelow's fine avuncular features. Thank you!
OK, on with the show.
02 — Amazon gets woke. In de-platforming news this week, Amazon is now no longer selling books that present a dissident perspective.
The de-platforming here is not total, though you have to think that "not" should probably be "not yet." As of this morning, March 1st, Paul Kersey's books are still available: the one titled Stuff Black People Don't Like, and the no-punches-pulled books about the decline of American cities like Detroit, Baltimore, Chicago, and Birmingham.
You can still buy Colin Flaherty's book White Girl Bleed a Lot on Amazon, but for some reason not his other book Don't Make the Black Kids Angry, which I think is Colin's best-seller. Jim Goad's book Whiteness: The Original Sin, a landmark in Anti-anti-white Studies, which I am currently reading with pleasure and instruction, is still for sale on Amazon.
Amazon's coverage of Jared Taylor's books is a bit peculiar. They actually have pages for only two of Jared's books: the one on Japan he published in 1983, and the 1992 book that first brought Jared to my attention, title: Paved With Good Intentions: The Failure of Race Relations in Contemporary America. The way it came to my attention was, I saw it reviewed in National Review, to which I was a subscriber. The reviewer was some guy named … let me see … Pe-ter Brim-e-low, I think that's right.
Jared's later books, including his latest, the 2017 title If We Do Nothing, have no Amazon pages. They've been scrubbed. And yet — here's the peculiar thing — if you go to Amazon's Jared Taylor page, it gives a potted biography of the author that includes a list of his books. The list also omits If We Do Nothing, but it in-cludes Jared's 2011 title White Identity: Racial Consciousness in the 21st Century — for which there is no Amazon page!
What a mess! The most parsimonious explanation here is that the Winston Smiths at Amazon — the guys in charge of stuffing politically-incorrect books down the memory hole — just aren't yet very good at their job. One has to assume they'll get better with practice, and that five or ten years from now Amazon will be perfectly cleansed of any books containing Bad Thoughts. Amazon will then be white as the driven snow … although that is of course not quite the right simile here.
It goes without saying that the anti-white rants of authors like Cornel West and Ta-Nehisi Coates are available for purchase on Amazon; not to mention, as Henry Wolff points out over at American Renaissance, The Anarchist Cookbook, Osama bin Laden's justification of terrorism, and black nationalist manifestos by the likes of Louis Farrakhan.
I predict things will get worse before they get better. Quote from a report at FIRE, F-I-R-E, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education. The report was published in January last year. Quote:
Nearly half of college students — 48 percent — think that hate speech should not be protected by the Constitution, whereas 37 percent of adults think hate speech should not be protected, an 11 percentage point difference.
End quote. I don't know which is more disturbing: that educated young people are less tolerant of hate speech than Americans at large, or that the bogus, dishonest, totalitarian concept of "hate speech" is now common currency.
That's where we are, though, and to judge by that difference between young college students and Americans at large, we're headed deeper into the darkness.
03 — Kim gets prestige boost, Trump gets nothing. President Trump went off to Vietnam to try negotiating with Kim Jong Un, the dictator of North Korea. The stated goal of the negotiations was for us to normalize trade relations with the Norks, getting the U.N. to drop all sanctions, in return for Kim giving up his nukes.
This was utterly unrealistic, and I'm baffled to know why we bothered. The only thing Kim cares about is regime survival. I can't judge what the internal threat to his regime is — palace coup? popular uprising? no idea — but the external threat is a U.S. or U.S.-led invasion, as happened to Saddam Hussein's Iraq, the Taliban's Afghanistan, and Gadaffy's Libya. Kim's only insurance against that is his nukes. He'd be a fool to give them up. He's not a fool.
Probably Kim thinks normal trade relations and an end to sanctions would be nice, but those things aren't that important to him. The ChiComs will make sure he gets enough fuel and food to keep his regime alive, sanctions or no sanctions.
So why did he go to Vietnam to meet Trump? The same reason he does everything else: regime survival. The prestige of the leader among his own people is a key component of that. If Kim can strike poses on the international stage, hob-nobbing as an equal with the President of the United States, that's impressive to ordinary North Koreans and to Kim's internal security apparatus. Thus impressed, they are less likely to stage a coup or a popular uprising.
None of this is hard to figure out. So why did Trump bother? Because he's been totally buffaloed by the Permanent Foreign Policy Establishment, that's why. These people haven't changed a bit, not a jot nor a tittle, since the fiascos in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya.
Thursday night I watched Trump's Secretary of State Mike Pompeo being interviewed by Martha MacCallum on Fox News, telling us how there are evil people, evil regimes, whose existence can't be tolerated. I thought I was listening to George W. Bush.
Once more, if you don't mind.
The South has twice the population of the North and fifty times the wealth. The South can take care of itself. They should nuke up, just as Trump said on the campaign trail, and we should bring our troops home.
North Korea is a pressing issue only for the nations in its neighborhood: Japan, China, Russia, and South Korea. It's not worth the bones of a single American infantryman. Let the neighbors deal with it.
04 — Never Trumpers and Ever Trumpers. You all know about the Never Trumpers — those neocons and Reaganites back in 2016 who told us Trump was utterly unsuited to be President by flaws of character and errors of policy.
A few of the Never Trumpers have stayed true to that original spirit of seamless hostility to all things Trump. Most, though, have swung round to grudging support for the President. Looking at the menagerie of candidates shuffling into position for the Democratic nomination next year, you have to be as hardened, as committed a neocon as Max Boot to not see Trump as the lesser of two evils.
What about those disqualifying character flaws? A conventional wisdom has settled in on that — I mean, among the Former-Never Trumpers. Approximately: If sixty-three million voters were willing to overlook those flaws, why shouldn't we? Do we have representative government, or what? Trump featured regularly in the tabloid press for twenty years before he ran for President. Nobody had any illusions about his character.
My old boss Rich Lowry illustrates the shift towards acceptance. Rich's latest column bears the title: Why the drive to primary Trump in 2020 is utterly pointless. Rich points out that significant primary challenges to sitting Republican Presidents come from the right: Reagan in '76, Buchanan in '92. Sample quote:
Trump is in a stronger position in the party now than he was then. He has been a rock on judges, abortion and religious liberty. Last time, many Republicans told themselves, "Well, at least compared to Hillary Clinton, we don't know what we're getting with Trump."
End quote. Call this the taming of the Never Trumpers. What we have gotten from Trump looks pretty meager to me; but yes, a great many voters are grateful for it none the less. I hear from those voters in my email bag every time I call the President lazy and incompetent. I categorize them in my mind as Ever Trumpers. They'll vote for him enthusiastically, no matter what.
Meanwhile, as Never Trumpers like Rich Lowry have been migrating over to the Trump side, however grudgingly, and Ever Trumpers are cheering the President on at rallies, a lot of us who were keen supporters of Trump in 2016 have drifted the other way, waving at Rich Lowry as we pass, headed in opposite directions.
It's too soon to call us Former Trumpers. I can't imagine voting Democrat in 2020; and I agree with Rich that a primary challenge is a box canyon … although I had to look up "box canyon." Go easy on the metaphors there, Rich, for the sake of us immigrants.
Here is the shift in a nutshell, as I see it.
05 — Trump Disappointment Syndrome, Series #891. What we see — we, the Not-Quite-Former Trumpers — what we see is the memory-holing of all the National Conservative positions Trump took in 2016.
A depressing news story this week was the destruction of those impressive wall prototypes that had been lined up near the Mexican border south of San Diego. You must have seen pictures of those things: Vertical slabs thirty feet high, slightly different designs stretching out in a line. They were put up in late 2017, officially for purposes of evaluation, more likely as advertising promotions for what were then Trump's policies.
This week they were all demolished, turned to rubble. From a cold utilitarian point of view, there is nothing much to mind about this.
For one thing, concrete slabs are a kind of dumb idea, because you can't see what's happening on the other side. An Israeli-style fence is better. I could never understand why we didn't just hire in the Israelis to do for our country what they have so effectively done for their own.
For another thing, to the degree these really were prototypes, the thing with prototypes is, you compare them to see what, if anything, works, then you scrap them. Nothing extraordinary about that.
For yet another thing, there really is some improved border fence-slash-wall going up in the San Diego zone — thirteen miles worth, including the stretch where those prototypes stood. That's nice; but it's still a two-thousand-mile border.
That's the utilitarian point of view, though. Image-wise, the destruction of the prototypes can't help but be depressing. Trump's signature campaign issue was a Wall. Two years and some on, there's no wall, nor any prospect of one, except the odd thirteen-mile stretch here and there; and the only thing the administration actually erected that actually looked like wall is now, as of this Wednesday, heaps of concrete rubble. Sad!
It's hard not to think that the Wall is being memory-holed. Symbols of it are to be destroyed, and we should all stop thinking about it.
It's double depressing that this is happening the same week Trump chose to remind us of the other big National Conservatism position he took in 2016: to rid us of those futile foreign entanglements that have cost us trillions of dollars and thousands of lives to no purpose at all, unless you count the increase of Iranian influence and the elevated share prices of defense contractors.
The Afghanistan War is in its eighteenth year; the Korean War — yes, we are technically still at war — is in its sixty-ninth year. There is no prospect of any progress in either war on current administration policy.
At some point when we weren't paying attention, Steve Sailer's immortal phrase "Invade the world, invite the world" was written into the Constitution. It's unalterable dogma now, for any administration, under any President. It's Who We Are.
06 — The Neocon equilibrium (1): CPAC. We don't have a good rigorous science of socio-political development, but there are quasi-scientific statements you can make, and I'm going to make one.
The current posture of the American ruling class, summed up in that same phrase "Invade the world, invite the world," is some kind of stable equilibrium state. Think of a ball-bearing in a hemispherical dish. It settles at the bottom. If you disturb it off to one side, it wobbles back and forth for a while on a diminishing trajectory before settling back at the bottom.
That's what's happened in our politics. The 2016 election was a huge disturbance, but not enough of a one to send the ball-bearing flying out of the bowl. Our political life ricocheted around for a while but is now settling at last in that stable equilibrium point: Invade, invite.
Two markers of that. One: CPAC. Two: Tulsi Gabbard, U.S. Representative for Hawaii's 2nd district.
CPAC, the Conservative Political Action Conference, is under way as I speak; it's running Wednesday to Saturday this week. Scanning down the agenda, I get the same impression I get when contemplating our foreign policy, or our immigration policy: the impression, that is, that very little has changed in the world of official conservatism since the first George W. Bush administration.
Matt Sussis at the Center for Immigration Studies went through the CPAC agenda on Thursday and logged:
Matt notes that the one on immigration is about illegal immigration. There's nothing on legal immigration, which, as Radio Derb listeners know, is wildly out of control and addled with fraud.
Matt didn't get that totally right. I saw Michelle Malkin was scheduled to speak at 12:45 today, Friday, and I doubted Michelle would pass up the opportunity to say withering things about legal immigration.
Sure enough, Michelle delivered a fine spirited twenty-minute address. You can watch it on YouTube — search "CPAC Michelle" — or read the transcript at michellemalkin.com. And yes, she lays into legal immigration, and doesn't hesitate to name names.
[Clip of Michelle: Remember when Congress promised that they were going to enact a nationwide visa entry-exit system to track legal short-term visa holders? Remember that? Nobody in Congress does. One has yet to be built — even in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, which were perpetrated in part by several illegal alien visa overstayers. E-verify has been stalled. Sanctuary cities metastasized. And both parties are to blame … (Applause.) And yes, I'm looking at you, retired Paul Ryan (applause, cheers). And yes, I'm looking at you, Mitch McConnell (more applause, cheers). And yes, I'm looking at you, Bush family; and yes, I'm looking at you, ghost of John McCain. (Standing ovation, prolonged applause.]
Bless you for that, Michelle. Still, scanning down the CPAC agenda again, Michelle's was the only name that caught my eye as that of someone willing to kick the ball bearing out of the bowl.
Just that one voice for National Conservatism was not enough to dispel my impression of a time warp.
The presence of Gordon Chang on one of the China panels doesn't help, seeing him billed as author of The Coming Collapse of China. Yeah, The Coming Collapse of China: I reviewed that book when it came out in … when was it? … oh yes: August 2001. How are things going, Gordon?
And Glenn Beck? What's he doing there? Or anywhere?
07 — The Neocon equilibrium (2): Tulsi Gabbard. That's CPAC. I said there are two markers of stasis, of the neocon equilibrium we're stuck in. Here's the second one: Tulsi Gabbard.
Rep. Gabbard is a Democrat. She was in fact a Bernie Sanders supporter in 2016. Ol' Bernie used to be anti-war like any other old-style lefty; but in his role as the modern Vicar of Bray, twisting and turning to catch the winds of political fashion, he seems recently to have shifted towards interventionism on Venezuela.
That would put Bernie in line with the Democratic Party, as the case of Tulsi Gabbard illustrates. She is a firm non-interventionist, strongly opposed to missionary wars for regime change. That has gotten her in trouble with her party.
Sample quote, this from progressive journalist Eoin Higgins, writing at New York magazine last October, quote:
A steady drumbeat of criticism from progressives claims that Gabbard also has sympathies with Steve Bannon-style nationalists on the hard right, whose foreign-policy view is also fundamentally anti-interventionist.
End quote. We knew that "invite the world" was Democratic Party orthodoxy; now apparently "invade the world" is likewise.
I tell you, invade-invite has the gravitational force of a black hole. Elect who you please: a George W. Bush, a Barack Obama, a Donald Trump, a Bernie Sanders. It will make no difference. Your man will get sucked in to the black hole, and you — I mean, your country — will end up at the same place, the same equilibrium point we've been stuck at since the end of the Cold War: blithely, blindly, endlessly invading and inviting.
Still we can hope. I'm going to let Michelle close out this segment.
[Clip of Michelle: Movement conservatives who have preached so comfortably, as I have, here in the Beltway or from our cubicles, about defending America while so many establishment Republicans preserved the status quo, need to help provide financial and moral support to the disrupters willing to fight fire with fire. (Applause.)]
On behalf of the disrupters: Thank you, Ma'am, thank you.
08 — Miscellany. And now, our closing miscellany of brief items.
Imprimis: Passing from the sublime to the ridiculous, here's my headline of the week, from Breitbart, February 24th: College Baseball Game Delayed by Fish Falling from the Sky. Explanatory quote:
An osprey flying over Jacksonville's John Sessions Stadium with a fish in its claws was harassed by a bald eagle, causing the osprey to drop its prey onto the grass in shallow right field.
End quote. Fans of the classics will be reminded of the fate of ancient Greek playwright Aeschylus. According to legend, an overflying eagle with a tortoise in its claws mistook the playwright's bald head for a rock. He thereupon dropped the tortoise on it to break the shell, as eagles apparently do so they can eat the tortoise's innards.
Moral of the story: It never hurts to glance upwards once in a while.
Item: From the ridiculous to the downright silly: and yes, I know it is silly — and childish, and ignorant, and rude — to make fun of other people's languages. Forgive me; I don't do it often.
The language here is Korean. Doing background reading for my comments on the Trump-Kim meeting, I came across this at 38north.org, which is an English-language North Korea-watching website. Headline: Manbang IPTV Service in Depth.
I had to look up "IPTV." It just means watching live TV via the Internet instead of fusty old rabbit ears, satellite, or cable. The Norks have established such a service, which gives them more social control over the citizenry. Central controllers can tell if you're watching Kim Jong Un's latest speech. Much more to the point, they can tell if you switched it off half-way through. [Gunshot sounds.]
That's North Korea's IPTV; and it's called Manbang. Manbang … I think I'll drop this item right here.
Item: Back to the sublime. In the spirit of Michelle, I'm going to log some hopeful developments on the National Question front. Whether anything will come of any of them, we'll have to wait and see: but at least someone's trying.
So there are people out there trying. It's not hopeless.
09 — Signoff. And there you have it, listeners: folly and futility, madness and mayhem — another week on planet Earth. Thank you for listening and welcome to March which, here on Long Island, is indeed coming in like a lion — snow, sleet, freezing rain.
The Mrs and I are heading down to Maryland to spend the weekend with friends down there on the East Shore. Lovely old house, beautiful location, and local oyster beds. The thing I've never figured out is, what do oysters do when they're not sleeping? Junior will be in charge of the family estate in our absence. We're guessing the party invitations have already gone out.
Here's a novelty song to see us out. This is one I remember from my childhood. I have no idea of its provenance — Vaudeville, I suppose. It's a bit macabre, should probably come with a trigger warning; but Radio Derb listeners are sturdy souls, and I'm guessing you can handle it. The singer is Martin Carthy, a veteran of the 1960s folk music boom in England, who I saw perform in person at folk clubs a couple of times.
There will be more from Radio Derb next week.
[Music clip: Martin Carthy, "Your Baby Has Gone Down the Plug-hole."]