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[Music clip: From Haydn's Derbyshire Marches, organ version]
01 — Intro. And yes, ladies and gents, this is Radio Derb on the air once again. That was one of Franz Joseph Haydn's Derbyshire Marches and this is your provincially genial host John Derbyshire with some commentary on the week's events.
Nothing on the bulletin board this week, so let's go straight to the news.
02 — Media for gentry liberals. Derb Mansion is in New York's Suffolk County, which embraces the eastern two-thirds of Long Island. This is the outer-outer suburbs of New York City, an hour or so by train from Manhattan. Just a tad further east from my house there are working farms. If you then keep heading east you come to a belt that's quite Appalachian — pickup trucks, bait'n'tackle stores, skeet ranges, meth labs.
Then, further east still, you reach the habitations of the rich and famous out in the Hamptons. Not just the rich and famous, but also the multitudes of poor and anonymous who work as servants to the rich and famous: mowing their lawns, cleaning their toilets, waiting in their restaurants, minding their kids.
It's quite a mix here in Suffolk County.
If you go west from Derb Mansion, towards the city, you're in Nassau County, which is denser and more classically suburban. West of that are the city boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens, which are only geographically part of the island. Psychologically they're somewhere else.
When Long Islanders say "Long Island" they mean Nassau and Suffolk: the suburbs, the sub-suburbs, Little Appalachia, and the Hamptons. Brooklyn and Queens don't count.
The population mix here includes a lot of gentry liberals. There's an upper crust of types who commute into New York to work in Wall Street, the big legal and consulting firms, and the media. Then there's a lower gentry class of teachers and edbiz administrators, middle managers, public sector bureaucrats, and small business owners. Most of my neighbors are lower-crust gentry liberals of that sort.
And there is of course a big working class that keeps everything going: contractors of every kind, maintenance workers, bartenders, retail workers, cops, and so on.
There's also a non-working class, everything from retirees, disabled people, and single mothers down to welfare moochers and petty criminals. Leaving aside retirees, a big component here is now Latino — Indios from Central America, a high proportion of them illegal aliens.
Serving this entire, varied population is a daily newspaper, Long Island Newsday. The target audience for Newsday seems to be that lower-gentry class. Upper-gentry liberals are taking the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times; the proles and the underclass get their news from TV.
So it's not surprising that Newsday's editorial line is solidly gentry-liberal. I was going to say "woke," but that's not quite right. Print newspapers, as they fade into oblivion, maintain some traces of the older liberalism — the liberalism of the 1970s and 1980s, a liberalism that hadn't altogether lost its mind yet, that was still tethered to reality at one or two points, that was willing grudgingly to allow that someone who disagreed with it might perhaps not necessarily be a cross-burning Nazi.
Bearing all that in mind, let me bring forward the cover story in last Sunday's Long Island Newsday.
03 — Towards the Beggars' Democracy. It's a huge feature story: 4300 words, around four times the length of a major broadsheet newspaper op-ed. As I told you, Newsday's kind of quaint that way, still doing old-style journalism. The reporters are billed as Will Van Sant and Víctor Manuel Ramos. Headline: In Trump era, LI immigrants cope with tougher ICE actions, "climate of fear".
That headline raised my hackles right away. I am a Long Island immigrant, married to another Long Island immigrant. We're supposed to be "coping" with something that ICE is doing? Living in a "climate of fear"? The Derbs have no interactions with ICE at all, and our fears are in the standard late-middle-aged suburban homeowner range: crabgrass, tax audits, atrial fibrillation.
But of course the headline is phrased in CultMarx double-speak. The word "immigrant" is code for what our federal statutes refer to as an "illegal alien."
As I keep wearily pointing out, not only is an illegal alien not an immigrant, he is positively a non-immigrant. So are most legal aliens. Before I got my green card in 1994 I entered the U.S.A. on permits stamped into my passport with the plain words NONIMMIGRANT VISA.
An immigrant is a foreigner who has been accepted by the authorities for indefinite settlement in the U.S. All other aliens, surely including illegal ones, are nonimmigrants.
So we are in the bizarro world of CultMarx polemics, where words are used in the opposite of their correct meaning — War Is Peace, Freedom Is Slavery, and Nonimmigrants are Immigrants. Got it.
So what's this 4300-word story about?
Fearing deportation, a Guatemalan cleaning woman in the country illegally has taught her children to go quiet when they hear a knock on the door at their Hempstead apartment. Under a policy enacted by President Donald Trump, federal agents looking for immigrants wanted for serious crimes could arrest and deport her, too.
More doublespeak there. The phrase, "Under a policy enacted by President Donald Trump" should actually read: "Under laws passed by Congress duly elected and assembled, according to the Constitution." But of course you won't get two sentences into a piece of CultMarx propaganda nowadays without encountering the President's name in some negative context.
The story continues in much the same vein for all 4300 of its words. You don't have to have a heart of stone to find its efforts at tear-jerking strained and unconvincing. Quote:
Many legal immigrants are afraid to register for benefits they are entitled to such as food stamps and health insurance because they live in households that include those without legal status …
Why are legal immigrants entitled to food stamps? Put it another way, why are we admitting for permanent settlement people who can't support themselves? We never used to. For an immigrant visa — permission to settle indefinitely in the U.S.A. — you used to have to show you could support yourself and your dependents, and provide the name of a citizen guarantor to back you up. What was wrong with that arrangement?
Likewise, if ten percent of the illegal aliens at our Community College are forgoing financial aid, ninety percent aren't. Shouldn't college financial aid be for Americans?
That story ran in the print edition of Newsday last Sunday, June 9th. Browsing Newsday at the town library through the week — I refuse to pay money for the lying rag — I've been gratified to see that the "Letters" columns contain some scathing critiques of that story. A great many of my neighbors here in Suffolk County are glad to know that the people's laws on entry and settlement are being enforced.
As I said, though; Newsday, like the rest of the legacy print media, still holds on to some old-fashioned notions about fair play and letting dissenting voices be heard, even if the dissenting voices only get a couple of column inches on page A24 while the front several pages of the paper are wall-to-wall ruling-class propaganda.
When the final paper edition of Newsday rolls off the press, around five years from now, the last of the old-line liberals will have died or been pensioned off, and the legions of the Woke will be totally in charge. There will then be no more equivocation, no more of this mealy-mouthed petit-bourgeois "on the one hand … on the other …," no more readers' letters. You will be told what to think in no uncertain terms; and if you dissent, your dissent will have no public outlet.
Social media are leading the way here; and soon there will be no outlets for opinion but social media. We shall then be living in a society of the type Karl Wittfogel called a "beggar's democracy"; a society in which citizens may hold what opinions they please, and express them freely to family members across the dinner table or to friends at the bar, but in which only one point of view is permitted in public forums.
04 — More from the provincial press. What I have described there is of course not peculiar to New York's Suffolk County. Provincial newspapers are like this all over. Staffed as they are by second-raters and recent college graduates, provincial newspapers are even stupider and more rigidly ideological than the metropolitan broadsheets, where occasional flickers of old-style reportorial talent and imagination can still be glimpsed and dissent is not strictly fenced off in the Letters columns.
(Discussing this theme with the boss here, he told me that the word "provincial" in this context is a Britishism that American listeners may not understand. I think it translates to "state and local.")
Here, at risk of trying your patience, is another example from the provincial press. This is the Portland Press-Herald out of Portland, Maine.
Portland has gotten itself a reputation for hospitality to "asylum seekers," which is to say, border-jumpers and visa-overstayers who have memorized enough of a hard-luck story to get them past the perfunctory screening they're given by the authorities.
We've been reporting on Portland for some years. Our own Patrick Cleburne noted back in 2014 that the state of Maine in general, and Portland in particular, are especially attractive to people from non-English-speaking African countries because of their exceptionally lush benefits. Quote from that 2014 post:
More than 90 percent of asylum seekers receiving assistance in Portland last year arrived from four turbulent African nations: Burundi, Angola, Congo and Rwanda.
Those four named countries have nine official languages between them: French, Portuguese, English, Swahili, Kituba, Lingala, Kirundi, Tshiluba, and Kinyarwanda. That was five years ago, though; Portland is probably even more multilingual today.
Well, here's a story from the Portland Press-Herald, June 12th, the reporter here Rob Wolfe. Headline: Asylum seekers from Africa describe difficult journeys to Maine.
The story is a collection of anecdotes targeted to tug at gentry-liberal heartstrings, anecdotes about the hardships endured by Africans making their way up through South and Central America to cross our southern border into the U.S.A., from whence they get transported up to the promised land of Portland, Maine.
Our treatment of these people, the story implies, is shamefully harsh. Quote:
Once the migrants apply for asylum, they must wait months to receive their work permits.
Months! Oh, the humanity!
What kind of work will they do, once they get those work permits? Quote:
Mafumba [a political science professor back in the Congo] is weighing hospitality and tourism work, and also plans to go back to school. Nduluyele was a taxi driver in the Congo, and now hopes to make a living driving trucks. In the meantime, state and local social services will help to fill the gap.
Can't we hurry up those work permits? Surely the authorities know about America's critical shortage of French-speaking political science professors and truck drivers?
I have no access to the print edition of the Press-Herald. The online edition has only one reader's letter on the so-called "asylum seekers," a letter urging, quote, "acceptance and compassion" for them by a reader who says she is, quote, "feeling saddened, helpless and fearful because of the state of the world," end quote.
I did notice, however, the weaselly little footnote to the online version of the story, added in italics at the end. Quote:
Comments are disabled on some stories about sensitive topics.
You see that, or something like it, rather a lot now where elite opinion is at odds with the views of the Great Unwashed. I predict you'll see it more and more.
Then, one day soon, there'll be no need for it, because everyone will have forgotten there was ever such a thing as a comment thread or a "Letters to the Editor" column.
The Beggars' Democracy will have arrived.
05 — Trump gets rolled on tariffs. Here is a horror story from Mexico that has stuck in my mind. It's from ten years ago; but I have no reason to think Mexico is any different today.
Mexico's president at the time, Felipe Calderón, was trying vigorously to suppress the criminal cartels that hold effective power over much of Mexican society. In one very successful operation, drug boss Arturo Beltrán Leyva and six of his associates were killed in a raid by special forces from the Mexican Navy.
Unfortunately one of the sailors was also killed. He was the only fatality on the government side, and so the only one of the Navy men to have his name made public. Calderón in fact decided to declare him a national hero. The sailor was buried in his home town with public honors; the Secretary of the Navy presented his grieving mother with the flag that had covered her son's coffin.
Just hours after the funeral, cartel gunmen burst into the family's house and killed the sailor's mother, aunt, sister, and brother.
That's Mexico. That's what the place is like. It's a narco-state where criminals literally call the shots — probably more so now than ten years ago, given the huge profits being generated smuggling people up from Central America and fentanyl from China.
That's the nation our President threatened with tariffs on May 29th if they didn't do something to stop the flow of Central Americans crossing Mexico to our southern border. Responding to the threat, Mexico said they'd take care of the issue; whereupon, on June 7th, just nine days after making the threat of tariffs, Trump withdrew it. There'll be no tariffs after all.
Seven days on from that, it's still not clear from news reports whether Mexico will, or even can, control the flow of Central Americans coming northwards across Mexico's own southern border. There's been some positive reporting from the MSM, but skepticism from border-enforcement veterans like Todd Bensman. Quote from Todd, June 13th, quote:
I don't think they're interested in stopping the traffic. They're in too close with smugglers.
As best I can figure as Radio Derb goes to tape here, Trump got rolled: not only by the Mexicans, but also by the congressional GOP, who — acting of course on behalf of the business lobbies who stuff their pockets — who were angrily opposed to the tariff threat.
There is a naïvety here, a gullibility, rooted in the notion that we are dealing with reasonable actors who think as we do, hold laws and regulations and treaties in the same regard that we hold them, whose agreements and promises can be taken at face value.
Mexico's not actually much like that. The ethos of the place is more in tune with the story I opened this segment with: that story of cold murderous revenge by people who want it clearly understood that they are the real power-holders, the real decision-makers.
And as bad as Mexico is, plenty of places are worse. The Central American nations themselves — Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras — are way worse. They make Mexico look like Switzerland. The so-called governments of these places are just crime syndicates. Likewise with the African countries now shipping their surplus populations to Portland, Maine.
Our President knows this at some level, though he is oddly incapable of acting resolutely on his knowledge. He it was who, back in January last year, characterized black-African nations with a term I euphemized as "outhouse countries."
Trump was right; it was nothing but plain speaking; and outhouse countries — in this larger sense of countries where the language of law, agreements, rules, and treaties means nothing, is just a mask for naked power — these outhouse countries where words mean nothing and brute power means everything are by no means all squalid inconsequential rat-holes like Mexico, Guatemala, and Congo.
Consider for example China.
06 — ChiCom lawlessness. I started the last segment with a horror story about Mexico. Well, here's one about China.
Sunday last, June 9th, a Philippine fishing boat with a crew of 22 on board was anchored on Reed Bank in the South China Sea, four hundred miles southwest of Manila, about the same distance from the coast of southern Vietnam, about seven hundred miles from the nearest point of China's coast.
Around midnight local time, the crew all asleep, the ship was rammed by an unknown vessel without any warning. It sank; but fortunately the crew survived and were rescued by a passing Vietnamese vessel some hours later.
This was in an area that China claims for its own, in defiance of a ruling in international law handed down in 2016, and where Chinese ships, both military and commercial, have been harassing Philippine and Vietnamese vessels for years.
As I go to tape here we have no official confirmation that the offending vessel was Chinese, but nobody in the Philippines seems to doubt it, and the country has filed a formal diplomatic protest against China. Even if the ramming was accidental, the failure to stop and pick up survivors violated maritime law.
It's a typical act of Chinese lawlessness, and keys nicely to the really big story out of China this week: the mass demonstrations in Hong Kong against a proposed new ChiCom-friendly extradition law.
You'll recall that Hong Kong was a British colony under British law until 1997, when it was handed back to China. Terms for the handover had been negotiated some years previously and enshrined in a Joint Declaration — joint, that is, between Britain and China. In that declaration the ChiComs pledged that, edited quote:
The current social and economic systems in Hong Kong will remain unchanged … Rights and freedoms, including those of the person, of speech, of the press, of assembly, of association, of travel, of movement, of correspondence, of strike, of choice of occupation, of academic research and of religious belief will be ensured by law …
Well, this new law being pushed by ChiCom puppets in the Hong Kong legislature will give China the right to extradite Hong Kong people to face justice in the mainland. The problem here, as everyone in Hong Kong knows, is that there is no justice in the mainland.
Mainland courts are simply enforcers of government power. Their verdicts are not based on legal principles and rules of evidence, they are just dictated by the ChiCom party bosses.
The late dissident Liu Xiaobo, for example, who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010, quote "for his long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights in China," end quote, Liu Xiaobo was certainly considered a criminal by the ChiCom authorities — he spent the last nine years of his life in jail. If he were alive today and resident in Hong Kong, he would have come under the scope of this new law.
Hong Kongers like the liberties guaranteed to them under the Joint Declaration. They like the idea of impartial courts that are not just instruments of political power. That's what brought them out in the streets this week: hundreds of thousands of them, by some estimates a million — one in seven of the entire population.
Considering that the ChiCom government is a Leninist despotism that has no intention of abiding by any form of words inconvenient to it — as illustrated by its attitude to the 2016 ruling on its claims to the South China Sea, and also by its multiple violations of the WTO rules, as documented in a 2018 congressional inquiry — it's amazing that Hong Kong has managed to hold on to any autonomy at all.
That it has, is testimony to the fact that next to power, the ChiComs love money, and Hong Kong has been a reliable source of inward investment and financial expertise.
Other parts of China have pretty much caught up in those areas now, though; so the downside for the ChiComs of crushing Hong Kong like a bug gets less every year.
Under those fifty years mentioned in the Joint Declaration, Hong Kong should keep its freedoms until the year 2047, twenty-eight years from now. Twenty-eight years? I shall be astounded if Hong Kong's autonomy lasts another eight years.
07 — Miscellany. Wait: Who's this coming up the driveway? Why, it's that great Southern lady Miss Ellany, with our traditional handful of brief items.
Imprimis: I was remiss in not reporting last month's election result in India. Hindu nationalist Narendra Modi was the clear victor, increasing his party's representation in the country's parliament.
India's a populous and important nation, and we don't pay as much attention to it as we should. Radio Derb will try to do better. In the meantime, on the demographic issue, here's a little social experiment you can carry out for yourself. It was recommended to me by a Chinese friend, and I've field-tested it a couple of times with a positive result both times.
Any time you find yourself in the company of a well-educated young person from India, casually slip the following question into your conversation.
"I have seen, somewhere or other, an estimate for the year when India's population will surpass China's. I can't remember what that year was, though. Do you by chance happen to know it?"
That's the question you ask. The answer comes back faster than a speeding bullet, and loaded with pride: 2024! They all know it, and they're all pleased about it.
Try it for yourself next time you're in company with an Indian.
Item: In the annals of military history, the Soccer War of July 1969, fought between El Salvador and Honduras, has to rank high on the weirdness quotient. The war, which left several thousand dead, was triggered by qualifying games for the 1970 soccer World Cup.
History may be about to repeat itself. Get ready for the upcoming war between Turkey and … Iceland.
This conflict has also arisen from soccer rivalry. Qualifying rounds are being played for the 2020 European Championship. June 11th Turkey was scheduled to play Iceland in Reykjavik, Iceland's capital.
When the Turkish team arrived on Sunday evening, however, they were kept waiting over three hours in passport control and subjected to various indignities. The worst was, that an Icelandic official confronted Turkish team captain Emre Belözoğlu with a toilet brush, pretending it was a microphone.
The government of Turkey was so outraged they issued a diplomatic protest note to Iceland. Troop mobilizations can't be far away.
I'm glad to report that the game went ahead Tuesday evening regardless. Iceland beat Turkey 2-1. Center back Ragnar Sigurðsson scored both of Iceland's winning goals. Congratulations to him, and admiration to Iceland for their hitherto-unsuspected prowess at psychological warfare. Let's hope it's not too late to prevent actual warfare.
Item: In yet more negative news on the international-relations front, a friendship sapling presented to the U.S.A. by French President Emmanuel Macron on his state visit last year and planted on the White House lawn with appropriate ceremony by Macron and our own President Trump, has apparently died.
What seems to have happened is that shortly after the ceremonial planting, this friendship sapling was uprooted and placed in quarantine, as is required by customs regulations for all living organisms imported into the U.S.A. The quarantine was too harsh somehow, and the poor sapling perished.
As a multitude of readers noted on the comment threads attached to this news story, it seems odd that presidential saplings are treated so strictly while hundreds of people from Ebola-afflicted African countries are waved in across our borders and given free plane tickets to Portland, Maine. Perhaps someone should ask our President about this at his next news conference.
Item: Finally, hearty congratulations to the Gibson family of Oberlin, Ohio, proprietors of Gibson's Bakery in that town. The Gibsons won their libel case against Oberlin liberal-arts College, a seething nest of fanatical Social Justice Warrior administrators, faculty, and students.
Three years ago one of the Gibson family, who are all white, tried to remonstrate with a black Oberlin student who'd stolen a bottle of wine from the store. Two of the black student's black friends came to his aid, and there were fisticuffs. Campus protests followed, with loud claims by students and faculty that the Gibsons were racist. The Gibsons brought a suit for libel, and they have now won it handsomely.
Damages so far awarded add up to $44 million dollars, plus attorney fees not yet determined. The numbers will certainly be reduced before we hear the last of this, but it's highly probable Oberlin College will end up paying several million to the Gibsons. Sadly this won't be enough to bankrupt the filthy place, but it may have some salutary effect.
One of two things should now happen. Either Netflix should produce a miniseries portraying this case as a ghastly miscarriage of justice, or Linda Fairstein, who prosecuted the Central Park Five rapists, should get on the phone to the Gibson family attorneys and arrange a consultation.
08 — Signoff. That's it, listeners. Thank you for your time and attention, and the usual apologies for being behind with email. As always, everything non-abusive gets carefully read and pondered; and, where suitable, plagiarized, always preserving your anonymity.
I'm still feeling a bit light-headed after the Whitsuntide revels, so here is something silly to play us out: Graeme Garden on the irredeemably silly British radio show I'm Sorry, I Haven't a Clue singing the words of the 1970s Roberta Flack classic "Killing Me Softly With His Song" to the tune of "The Can-Can."
There will be more from Radio Derb next week.
[Music clip: Graeme Garden, lyrics of "Killing Me Softly With His Song" to the tune of "The Can-Can."]