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[Music clip: From Haydn's Derbyshire Marches, piano version]
01 — Intro. And Radio Derb is on the air! Greetings, listeners, from your unfailingly genial host John Derbyshire.
Lots of news stories this week from all around the world: France, Holland, Mexico, Sweden, New Zealand of course, and … Maharlika.
Maha-what? You'll find out. First, though: Montgomery, Alabama.
The word "stone" there just means "mineral," or more generally "substance." The Philosopher's Stone was a substance that, via a chemical reaction — actually I guess an al-chemical reaction — would turn cheap, commonplace metals like copper and iron into valuable, rare metals like gold and silver.
Alchemists didn't get very far with that. They were concentrating their efforts on the wrong branch of science. If you want to transmute cheap, commonplace stuff into silver and gold, it's not materials science that's going to do it for you, it's social science.
That's by way of an introduction to Morris Dees, the mail-order genius who co-founded the Southern Poverty Law Center. What Dees did was, he monetized American sectionalism. Put it another way, he worked out how to turn Goodwhite loathing and contempt for Badwhites into hard cash.
"Sectionalism" is not quite the right word here. For sure sectionalism is still a thing. I can testify, as a foreigner settling here in New York as an adult, that I was often surprised to hear really negative comments about the South from acquaintances and neighbors.
I'm not talking about college-indoctrinated intellectuals, either; I had a contractor working on my house once — a local working-class white guy — who wouldn't stop talking about how beastly those tobacco-chewing Southern rednecks are. Presumably there's some corresponding negativity towards the North down there in the old Confederate states.
Still, the Cold Civil War is no longer entirely regional. Goodwhites are hating Badwhites all over, and Morris Dees figured out how to turn all that hatred into dollars — a sort of Goodwhite Philosopher's Stone.
And we're talking a lot of dollars. I don't know what Morris Dees' share of the loot is, but the SPLC altogether has assets of close to half a billion dollars that we know of, and very likely a lot more we don't know of.
Well, March 14th we got the news that the Southern Poverty Law Center has fired Morris Dees. As I go to tape here we still don't know why. Everybody's best guess is that the waters of the sexual-harassment hysteria have risen over the threshold of the SPLC's extremely ugly headquarters building down there in Montgomery, Alabama.
It's only a guess; but given what we know about Dees' lifestyle, it would not be astounding to learn that in breaks from exposing the hate-filled agendas of organizations like Center for Immigration Studies, the Family Research Council, and, yes, VDARE.com, ol' Morris may have been exposing … Well, it's impertinent to speculate. Let's wait and see what the news wires bring.
There are two main reasons for the thinness of my commentary. One: The shooting happened Thursday evening New York time, so by midday Friday when I'm preparing my podcast, there wasn't much to report but the event itself, which was already over-reported. Two: I'm temperamentally averse to looking for significance in the acts of lunatics.
I'm an Enlightenment guy. I like reason, logic, facts, truth, science, all buffered around with normal human emotions and sympathies. Sure, I know there are crazy people in the world who will now and then do sensationally crazy things. And sure, those things can be very consequential, like the assassination that lit the fuse for WW1.
My reticence is, as I said, temperamental: insanity just repels me. I mentally categorize crazy people doing crazy things in the same compartment commentary-wise as lightning strikes and volcanic eruptions.
Thinking on what I just said, I'm not even sure it's fair to compare what Brenton Tarrant did to a political assassination. It would be a fair comparison if the guy had shot up a gathering of open-borders politicians or lobbyists, or some George Soros-financed activist group — the people pushing for mass Third World immigration into First World countries.
No, I don't advocate shooting politicians and lobbyists; I still hope, in my quaint, naive, 18th-century way, that reason and calm argumentation can stop the processes that are eroding our civilization.
I'm only saying that shooting up a Chamber of Commerce gathering, or a Davos conference, or a meeting of whichever New Zealand legislators created the conditions for two crowded mosques in a city named — hel-lo? — Christchurch, would be a tad less crazy than what Brenton Tarrant did. What he did was, he murdered fifty unarmed men, women, and children — people who'd taken advantage of dumb, stupid laws that you or I would likewise have taken advantage of in their situation.
At Cousin Peter's urging, I did have a go at reading Tarrant's manifesto. I got through about the first twenty pages.
A lot of what Tarrant says is sensible. A lot of it, in fact, sounds like me. He doesn't, for example, hate Muslims; he just doesn't want them imported en masse into non-Muslim countries. He's fine with Islam in its settled homelands. That is a sensible point of view, and I agree with it.
The fact remains that Brenton Tarrant is crazy and I'm not. Crazy people can make a lot of sense. G.K. Chesterton nailed this one, quote from him:
If you argue with a madman, it is extremely probable that you will get the worst of it; for in many ways his mind moves all the quicker for not being delayed by the things that go with good judgment. He is not hampered by a sense of humour or by charity, or by the dumb certainties of experience. He is the more logical for losing certain sane affections. Indeed, the common phrase for insanity is in this respect a misleading one. The madman is not the man who has lost his reason. The madman is the man who has lost everything except his reason.
I say again: I think reason is the bee's knees, but it needs to be buffered by the gentler kind of social emotions.
For example: In a prolonged spell of personal unhappiness, of the kind that anyone who reaches middle age has probably passed through, the rational thing is to commit suicide. It can be done so it doesn't hurt, and there's no more misery to put up with.
Some people answer the call of unrestrained reason. They pull the trigger or take the jump. The great majority of us don't, though. We are deterred — some by the kinds of doubts and fears that Hamlet expressed in his famous soliloquy, others just by thoughts of the distress that we'd cause to those who care about us.
Those are what I meant by the buffers that reason comes up against, if we are sane; or if not, as in Brenton Tarrant's case, not.
All that said, there have been some aftermath developments we should deplore, and I'll go ahead and deplore them. Next segment.
04 — Law of the Excluded Middle. The main thing to be deplored in the reactions to the Christchurch shootings is of course the opportunity they have given to totalitarian leftists to further restrict our liberties.
This further erosion of our liberties is deplorable enough in itself; but the dishonest and hypocritical manner of their doing it makes it doubly deplorable.
What I mean is, that the actions taken by totalitarian progressives in reaction to events like this are not targeted at lunatics and criminals. Restrictions on the sale of firearms, for example, are aimed at ordinary law-abiding citizens. I'm sure the progressives know this at some level. I'm sure they understand that a crazy person or a criminal who wants an AR-15 will still be able to get one somehow; it's just Joe Citizen who won't.
The silliest example to date of the retaliatory assault on normal people is the decision by Whitcoulls, a chain of bookstores in New Zealand — a sort of antipodean Barnes & Noble — to stop selling copies of Jordan Peterson's bestseller 12 Rules for Life.
Peterson is a professor of Clinical Psychology at a Canadian university. His book is a rather anodyne collection of guidance for the perplexed in the traditional manner, spiced up with some findings from the modern behavioral sciences.
Peterson got himself in the news a couple of years ago by protesting against a Canadian law that, he claimed, makes it a criminal offense to speak about a transgender person using a pronoun they object to.
What does that, or his book, have to do with a lunatic shooting up a mosque in New Zealand? Nothing at all. What did VDARE.com's advocating for immigration restriction have to do with the shenanigans in Charlottesville, Virginia in 2017? Likewise nothing at all; but PayPal dropped us anyway, because they can, and the Southern Poverty Law Center told them they should.
There is a principle in classical logic called the Law of the Excluded Middle. It declares that any proposition not grammatically absurd must be either true or false.
Totalitarian progressives have their own Law of the Excluded Middle. This one is outside the realm of logic but it's a principle none the less — the principle that guides the actions I've just described.
This Law of the Excluded Middle declares that there is nothing, no permissible position at all, between total adherence to progressive orthodoxy on all points, and utter dark depravity.
If you think it's OK to refer to a muscular, bearded guy with a full set of junk as "he" when he'd rather you said "she," you are no better than a Nazi concentration-camp guard. If you favor strict limits on immigration to preserve the nation's demographic stability, you are morally indistinguishable from the guys who lynched Emmett Till. There is no middle way, only extremes.
When our progressive elites tighten down the screws on our liberties like this, they don't crush dissent out of existence; they only squeeze it out into dark places where it festers.
Here's a relevant quote:
President John F. Kennedy famously said, "Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable." But Kennedy … has … been pushed aside by America's Emerging Totalitarian Left.
End quote. Here's another relevant quote:
Any society that crushes opposing viewpoints is treating dissent as a crime. The entire West is rushing towards tyranny, and as we saw in Christchurch, tyranny has consequences. When even the most moderate views are outlawed, extremism — and worse — will flourish.
The first of those quotes is from Peter Brimelow's column about the Christchurch murders, posted here on VDARE.com, March 17th. The second is from Jared Taylor's article at American Renaissance the following day.
Peter and Jared are thoughtful, well-read, well-educated patriots. Their words deserve to be heard. If our rulers heeded them, we might be spared much misery in the future, and more horrors like the one in Christchurch.
Our rulers don't heed them, though. They heed only their own lust for power, and the narcissistic desire to advertise their own virtue.
05 — Thank you, Mr President. President Trump on Thursday signed an executive order to withhold federal funding from public universities that deny platforms to controversial ideas. The word "controversial" here of course means "any idea that progressive fanatics object to."
I'm not going to complain about that. I'll even thank the President for his good intentions … although now he has located his Executive Order Signing Pen, how about fulfilling his promise to outlaw birthright citizenship?
I do, though, doubt this order will have much effect. In between our not-very-attentive President and the administrators of Prairie State University there are many, many, warm thick padded layers of bureaucrats and lawyers — many enough that an attempt to pull federal dollars from the place for not letting Peter Brimelow or Jared Taylor speak there can easily be dragged out into the Gavin Newsom Presidency, one of whose first priorities will of course be to rescind the Order.
College campuses are pretty open places. Take for example the February 19th attack that apparently prompted this Executive Order. That was when a software engineer named Zachary Greenberg punched Hayden Williams, who'd been invited on campus to recruit for The Leadership Institute, a milquetoast-conservative outfit. Neither of the two parties there, neither Greenberg nor Williams, was a student or an employee of the college. Both were outsiders.
So even if a college can exert enough control over its students, faculty, and administrators to allow a controversial speaker to make himself heard, it would be a major security operation to keep outside agitators away.
I'm at the point, though, where I am yearning desperately for something positive to say about President Trump, who I guess I shall have to vote for next fall faute de mieux; so here's a thanks from me to him for this Executive Order.
06 — Arguing with the limbic system. On the topic of immigration, here — in a minute or two, be patient, please — here comes a quote from veteran opinion journalist David Frum.
David is not Dissident Right. He's an old-line Buckleyite conservative who wouldn't be seen dead posting at VDARE.com or American Renaissance. He is, though, very smart and unusually honest for a guy at his pay scale; and he has for some years been traveling up a long slow learning curve on the immigration issue.
Well, in the current issue of Atlantic magazine David has a piece under the title, in the print edition of the magazine, "How Much Immigration is Too Much?" For reasons not known to me, the piece was posted online under a different title: "If Liberals Won't Enforce Borders, Fascists Will."
The piece expresses middle-of-the-road good sense on immigration, chewing thoughtfully over the economic and social factors. Nothing in it would strike a VDARE.com reader or a Radio Derb listener as controversial, other than for being too cucky and accommodating. For example, it falls far short of proposing an immigration moratorium, or even of bringing back the restricted, orderly, demographically conservative immigration system that our country was flourishing under sixty and seventy years ago.
And the piece is conventionally anti-Trump, speaking about the administration's good-faith efforts to enforce federal laws as, quote: "the gratuitous brutalities of the Trump administration." There is, in short, plenty of space between David Frum's position and ours.
This mild, carefully inoffensive approach notwithstanding, Frum has come in for some blistering attacks from the open-borders people. Thursday this week Frum published a follow-up piece on the Atlantic website answering back to some of those attacks.
I'll leave you to read that whole follow-up piece for yourself. It's titled: "Faith, Reason, and Immigration." I'm just going to pull out a quote that I think gets to the heart of the matter. Here's David Frum in this latter piece, quote, slightly edited:
The responses to my article express a sense of shock, offense, and outrage that you would not usually expect to see in a debate over public policy. The emotional intensity of the replies makes clear that for many of those reading my article, immigration on the largest feasible scale is a fundamental moral commitment. The arguments given in favor … are so wan that they invite the suspicion that the real arguments are not being articulated. What you're hearing is faith, not reason.
That's exactly right, and wearily familiar to those of us who work the immigration beat. Time and again, when trying to argue our case, we realise that we're up against not the other party's cerebral cortex, but against his limbic system — those parts of the brain that manage emotions, instincts, and moods.
I made the same point ten years ago in Chapter 10 of my intergalactic bestseller We Are Doomed, quotes from self:
Immigration is a difficult topic to discuss … The reason it is so difficult is that it has, more I think than any other aspect of U.S. policy, been moralized, in fact hyper-moralized …
I congratulate David Frum on learning what we here in the trenches found out long ago and have been voicing for a decade or two. Who knows? — perhaps, after another ten years' enlightenment, David may be writing for us here at VDARE.com.
07 — Kill the "The"! Radio Derb has a new ally in our campaign against the "The."
Radio Derb has declared war on that "The." Far as we're concerned these countries are Czechia, Holland, Ukraine, and America.
Well, as I said, important people have been listening, and we've gained an ally. Our ally is no less a personage than Rodrigo Duterte, the colorful President of The Philippines. President Duterte wants to change the name of his country from "The Philippines" to "Maharlika."
I have no doubt that Radio Derb has been the inspiration for President Duterte here, but he is a skilful enough politician to dress up the proposed name change in some progressive, anticolonial language to get all the guilty white liberals on board. "The Philippines" is a reminder of the colonial past, you see, deriving as it does from Philip II, who ruled Spain through the later 16th century and was briefly the royal consort of an English Queen, Mary Tudor. "Maharlika" means something like "noble" in Tagalog.
Pettifogging legislators in the Philippines are complaining that a name change would involve rewriting the country's constitution. That doesn't seem to me a very cogent objection. How long could it take to do a find-replace on a few dozen pages of text?
I suspect the truth of the matter is that defenders of the "The" control key choke-points of international law and commerce, and will fight in the last ditch to defend their beloved definite article.
We can fight back, though! If President Duterte would please get in touch with me via VDARE.com, I'll give him a special price on bulk shipments of T-shirts and coffee mugs from the Radio Derb store bearing the message Kill the "The"!
08 — Miscellany. And now, our closing miscellany of brief items.
Those associations mostly arise in an Anglo-Saxon mind because of Brigitte Bardot, great sex symbol of the late 1950s. Well, Mlle Bardot is still with us, aged 84. She is a keen animal-rights activist, with five convictions for saying rude things about Islamic slaughterhouse practices.
Now Brigitte — no disrespect intended: I can remember the late 1950s: to me, she will always be Brigitte — now she is in trouble again — is actually being prosecuted — this time for referring to the inhabitants of a small French colonial possession in the Indian Ocean as, quote, "degenerate savages."
This is the island of Réunion whose natives, a mixed lot of Africans, Indians, and Europeans, sacrifice goats and chickens at certain festivals. It's those sacrifices that have enraged Brigitte.
For referring to the inhabitants of remote islands as "degenerate savages" you can be prosecuted in France, apparently.
I wonder whether a French person would be allowed to quote our Declaration of Independence — the bit that accuses King George of endeavoring to, quote, "bring on the Inhabitants of our Frontiers the merciless Indian Savages."
Item: That's just one of my Brigitte stories. While I have the name "Brigitte" to fondle, I'm going to make the most of it.
So here's another Brigitte: Brigitte Macron, First Lady of France. This Brigitte, too, is in trouble, though not so far under threat of prosecution. This Brigitte had her picture taken with a chap named Marcel Campion, proprietor of a big annual street fair in central Paris.
Monsieur Campion scandalized polite French opinion a few months ago when he got into a fight with the Paris municipal government. In the course of the to-ing and fro-ing over whatever it was that ignited the fight, Campion, in a televised interview, referred to key members of the city government as "homosexual perverts." What he actually said, if you want the French, was that "les homos" were "un peu pervers."
That wasn't even the juciest bit of the interview. Monsieur Campion has a … salty style of expression. If you watch the whole thing in French, a minute or so earlier, referring to Christmas decorations in Paris, M. Campion opined that, quote: "L'arbre de Noël il représentait un plug anal." End quote. I think I'd better not translate that. Radio Derb is a family show, and I don't want to get Mme Macron in any more trouble than she's already in.
Well, the First Lady of France had a picture taken with this notorious homophobe, and now she's in trouble for that.
My suggestion to this Brigitte would be: Take a leave of absence for a while until the fuss dies down. In the world of news, people soon find something else to get agitated about. I know just the right place you could withdraw to: a lovely island spot in the Indian Ocean …
Item: I keep warning you: Gaia is angry! This week Popocatépetl has been restless, hurling boulders and hot ash up into the air. Concerning the boulders, Mexican authorities have declared a prohibited zone of seven miles from the crater, that being the distance you could experience a red-hot five-hundred-pound boulder coming down on your head, a thing to be avoided if at all possible.
Popocatépetl is a big old active volcano just forty miles from Mexico City. It was relatively quiet for several hundred years, but started fizzing again in 1994, and has been particularly active since I started paying attention to it back in December.
As always when reading stories like this, it's hard to suppress the thought that a really major geo-catastrophe down there in the isthmus south of our border would unleash a flood of refugees that would make these recent caravans look like picnic parties. Fingers crossed that Popocatépetl doesn't really pop.
Item: Somewhat encouraging news from the homelands in northwest Europe. In provincial elections in Holland this week — which means elections for the 75-seat Senate, the upper house of the Dutch parliament — in this week's elections a completely new nationalist party, the FvD, did sensationally well, going from zero seats to thirteen.
The FvD is immigration-restrictionist and anti-EU, though I don't know whether they have formally added Hexit to their party program.
Although encouraging for nationalists, the news isn't all good. Geert Wilders' party, the PVV, lost four seats, presumably to FvD. The total nationalist vote seems to be about 21 percent of votes cast, which is depressingly similar to the 20-to-25 percent that nationalist parties get stuck at elsewhere in Europe. The real occasion for popping champagne corks will be when some nationalist party breaks through that 20-to-25-percent ceiling.
Still, it's heartening. I shall say no more about it because (a) I know squat about Dutch politics, and (b) James Kirkpatrick, who is a lot better-informed, has a long piece on this subject posting, I think, this evening, Friday.
Item: Here's a companion item to that one, this item from Sweden. That country's center-right party, the Christian Democrats, has apparently developed a nationalist faction. And that seems to be changing Swedish politics.
Up to now the Christian Democrats have primly kept their distance from those horrid hate-filled neo-Nazi immigration restrictionists in the newish Sweden Democrats party. The Sweden Democrats got eighteen percent of the vote in last year's general election in spite of uniform hostility from Sweden's media and other elites. Still the Christian Democrats wouldn't touch them with a barge pole.
This week the Christian Democrats announced that they are, after all, willing to, quote, "have political talks with all other parties."
That means an end to the isolation of the nationalist Sweden Democrats. Not quite a coalition offer yet, but a welcome recognition of political reality none the less.
09 — Signoff. There you are, ladies and gents. I call that a good varied ration of news and opinion, nutritious and filling. You're welcome! … and of course, thank you for listening.
After my March 1st signoff with a silly novelty song, I actually got a complaint — not by email, but in person — from a friend who grumbled that my silly novelty signoff songs aren't silly enough. We then engaged in a brief conversational competition to see who could identify the silliest song ever. Being both Brits of a certain vintage, we soon landed in the same place.
Here it is, all the way from 1956; although Wikipedia says there was a re-issue in 1973. Both versions made the U.K. Hit Parade — the first one got to Number Three. Truly, the past is another country.
There will be more from Radio Derb next week.
[Music clip: The Goons, "The Ying Tong Song."]