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[Music clip: From Haydn's Derbyshire Marches, piano version]
01 — Intro. And Radio Derb is on the air. Welcome, listeners, to this July 12th podcast from VDARE.com. If you'll excuse a slight personal note, today is my Dad's birthday; he'd be 120 years old if he were still among us. Rest in peace, Dad; I think of you often.
Yes, this is your filially genial host John Derbyshire with news and commentary on the passing scene.
Heavy on commentary this week — actually, more like reflection. This week's podcast will contain more than the usual portion of what opinion journalists call "thumb-sucking." The particular topic here is one I raised in my monthly diary for June: the difference in attitudes and preferences between the metropolitan and the provincial.
Before I get on to that, though, let me clear up a point I left hanging last week.
02 — Origin of "The Cold Civil War." I am very much obliged to a listener who offered an early sighting of the phrase "the Cold Civil War."
In last week's podcast I noted that a lot of people give me credit for having coined that phrase. I said that while I was flattered by their common assumption, I doubted the phrase was original with me. I don't have any track record as a coiner of phrases, and "Cold Civil War" strikes me as an obvious idea anyone might have come up with.
Sure enough, my listener turned up the phrase in a column by Mark Steyn in Maclean's magazine dated October 2007, around seven years before I started using it.
Mark in turn credits it to someone named April Gavaza at the Hyacinth Girl website. That website is now defunct and a Google search for the past year shows nothing for April Gavaza. I don't know what happened there and I hope Ms Gavaza is OK, not languishing in the dungeons of the Ministry of Love. She can fairly be credited with coining the phrase "Cold Civil War" in its current sense. (Archive of Ms Gavaza's blog post found by James Fulford here.)
That said, I'm going to claim some slight secondary credit for having emphasized the parallel between today's Cold Civil War and the North American unpleasantness of 1861-65. This is not a race war, any more than that one was. It is a white-on-white affair. As I noted in one of my columns on the subject it is a, quote:
conflict between whites who see things like this and whites who see things like that, with colored auxiliaries recruited by one of the sides to groom the horses and dig field latrines.
It's true of course that those colored auxiliaries are increasingly being brought in from abroad, in such numbers that after a generation or two they may outnumber all the whites combined, Goodwhites and Badwhites together.
Then perhaps there will be a genuine race war; or perhaps the barbarians will just take over the empire without much fuss while the youth of America tremble at the sound of the trumpet. At present, however, the Cold Civil War, like our other Civil War, is white on white.
03 — Pathological metropolitanism. And then there is the matter of the conflict of outlooks, provincial versus metropolitan, that I wrote about in my June Diary when comparing Montreal to Toronto. That got a surprising amount of interest.
One reader tells me he's been using the word "provincial" to describe the cloistered world-view of modern urbanites, like the New Yorkers who gave us Mayor de Blasio. In other words he's been using it as a synonym for narrow-mindedness of any stripe. Is this wrong, he wonders?
I wouldn't say so. Lots of words have more or less precise meanings depending on the zone of discussion. The word "field" has a precise technical meaning in higher algebra, nothing to do with open stretches of land. If I tell you I've just had a fevered discussion, you won't hand me a clinical thermometer. If I tell you, "That's crazy talk!" you won't necessarily take it to mean that I think you need psychiatric intervention … though I may …
Yes, metropolitan types can be as narrow-minded as any small-town boy; having lived several years in London and Manhattan, I don't need telling; but we need a word for the distinctively small-town or rural outlook, and "provincial" fills the bill, from long usage.
Another reader suggested that current Goodwhite ideology — political correctness, "Diversity is our strength," "no such thing as race," and all the rest — is actually a pathological form of metropolitanism. It is intolerant of provincialism and seeks total power, the utter elimination of the provincial outlook.
That sounds right to me. It then occurred to me that provincialism, too, can manifest in pathological forms. Think of North Korea, for example, or Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge. The deep suspicion of anything foreign; the intense ethnic identification; the romanticization of the countryside, and the corresponding disdain for city life (the Khmer Rouge, on coming to power, evacuated their metropolis and trashed the place), … "Pathological provincialism" sounds right.
Every aspect of the human personality has its dark side. Does this really need saying? Apparently it does. Yoram Hazony, author of the book The Virtue of Nationalism (and sparring partner of our boss Peter Brimelow) felt obliged to go on Twitter the other day to note that, quote:
There's a "dark and dangerous side" to nationalism. But there's also a "dark and dangerous side" to internationalism. Why are we expected to constantly mention the first, but not the second? It's like having the surgeon general's warning on chewing tobacco, but not on cigarettes.
If you want instances of internationalism's "dark and dangerous side" you could begin your googling with the word "imperialism."
Our nature is Janus-faced. All that we can turn to good, we can likewise turn to bad. I myself am a big fan of romantic love, "the torment and delight of the heart" according to a famous opera aria. Love can lead people to cruelty and even murder, though; there are operas about that, too — or just open your newspaper any day of the week. Loyalty to one's family members is likewise a fine and praiseworthy thing. It's also the basis of the Mafia and of much political corruption.
These simple truths have been lost in the infantilized, emotionalized atmosphere of our current social orthodoxy.
I sigh inwardly every time I hear some talking head on TV tell me that racism is the worst — the very, very worst! — thing that human beings are capable of. Well, no, it isn't. Racism — the preference for your own race — is a normal and widespread human emotion. My Dad, who I am thinking about today, was a racist. He was also a good and loving father, a faithful husband, and a responsible and law-abiding citizen. How could that be, if racism is such an unspeakably evil thing?
Have wicked things been done in the name of racism? Yes, undoubtedly they have. Racism has, to borrow from Mr Hazony, a "dark and dangerous side." Do you think fanatical anti-racism has no "dark and dangerous side"? Stick around.
Social harmony, social stability depend on finding points of balance between conflicting outlooks, points as far as possible from the dark and dangerous.
The commanding heights of our culture, however, are in the hands of fanatical ideologues who are not interested in finding points of balance. They are interested in power; they are interested in conquest; they are interested in victory — total victory in the Cold Civil War.
04 — It's Tommy this, an' Tommy that. For a look at what we have in store as the ideologues tighten their grip, glance across the Atlantic and consider the case of Tommy Robinson.
Tommy is an Englishman, 36 years old, from the town of Luton, thirty miles north of London. I remember Luton from my London days; it's on the main road from London to my home town of Northampton, and I passed through it often. Back then, in the sixties and seventies, it was a nondescript light-industrial town, the population white working-class English and Irish.
Later in the last century, when Tommy Robinson was in his teens, Luton was afflicted with mass immigration of Muslims from Pakistan and Bangladesh. Today the town is close to one-third Muslim.
So it's not very surprising that Tommy, in his twenties, became a nationalist. Tommy's a working-class lad with not much education, and he's a keen supporter of his town soccer team, so it's also not surprising that he came in at the rough, street-fighting end of nationalism.
He's cleaned up his act considerably the past few years, though, and focused his activism, sometimes a bit erratically, against the efforts by Britain's political and cultural establishment to suppress all criticism of multiculturalism, of Islam, of anti-white policies, of mass immigration, of the European Union.
For this the establishment and their Goodwhite stooges have targeted Tommy as an Enemy of the People. This week he got a prison sentence on a patently trumped-up charge of contempt of court. You can read the details in excellent reporting by Jack Montgomery and James Delingpole at Breitbart.com, or Ezra Levant at The Rebel Media.
You can fault Tommy for all kinds of mis-steps. You can even suspect he's a bit of a publicity hound. I don't care: speaking as a working-class English boy myself, I say his heart's in the right place, and offer him my best wishes for surviving incarceration in a prison system run by homicidal Muslim gangs the British authorities are too cowardly to deal with.
TV reporter Katie Hopkins, bless her, feels the same way I do. And then some: here she was telling us about going with Tommy to the courthouse for his sentencing.
[Clip: Just for one moment in time I suddenly felt like Britain was alive again. Britain was surrounded … I was surrounded by people who thought like me, who missed the old country we used to know, who know right from wrong, who want to keep our daughters safe.
All right, it's a little over-wrought. Lower the volume a bit on the Christian imagery there, Katie.
It touched my old English heart, though; and that warning to America at the end should touch yours. The nation-wreckers are arrogant and mighty, and they won't stop with England.
Since I've brought my Dad into the show, I may as well bring Mum too. I know I've told this story before, but it bears telling again. I can't forget it, and I don't want it forgotten.
This was twenty years ago, when Mum was bedridden and near death. It was one of the last times I was with her, perhaps the very last time — I'm not sure. She was drifting in and out of awareness, sometimes just saying things out loud — random things, clear and coherent but not connected to each other.
So I was sitting there by the bed and heard her say: "I don't mind dying. At least I knew England when she was England."
Tell us again, Katie:
[Clip: Just, all of the faces, just faces of people desperate to have something to believe in, in a country that they don't really believe in any more …]
05 — Small countries with obscure languages. Our main beat here at VDARE.com is of course immigration, and the National Question in its larger aspect. That larger aspect includes the opposite of immigration, which is of course e-migration.
I got to thinking about this recently in the context of my musings on provincialism vs. metropolitanism — the quiet, mono-ethnic town or country district vs. the World City.
What triggered my thinking was lunch I had with a young friend from Croatia. Croatia is one of the bits the old country of Yugoslavia broke up into thirty years ago. It's white, Christian, Slavic, with a very nice climate there on the shores of the Adriatic. On the Corruption Perceptions Index it ranks 60, between Saudi Arabia and Cuba, so there's room for improvement there, but altogether not a bad place.
I always find it encouraging to meet people like this, especially young people, from small countries with obscure languages nobody else much wants to learn. The point of balance between the provincial and the metropolitan can be a real major personal issue if you're raised in a country like that.
On the one hand, the pull of provincialism is strong. You have this language — the language of your parents and classmates, of your ancestors and folk-tales — that, if you wander off a hundred miles or two in any direction, nobody can speak. There probably isn't a World City on your territory; even your capital city is no more metropolitan than a provincial town in one of the big countries — than Lyon, or Stuttgart, or Nottingham, or Boise.
And because your country's little-known, not rich, and has that odd language, you probably haven't been cursed by mass immigration from places utterly different. So metropolitan multiculturalism is not much of an issue. It helps that being a small population in a small area, you are much more acutely aware than an American, an Australian, or a German of the possibility of your people just being swamped, overwhelmed by incoming foreigners.
On the other hand, you can't help being curious about the rest of the world. Even if you could help it, the world forces itself on your attention to some degree: imported movies and TV shows, tourists, your cousin who moved to Canada and skypes you regularly, the high-paying jobs in World Cities beckoning to you.
And, unless you were a total failure at school, you mastered some major language. How else are you going to talk to anyone from the rest of the world? Nobody is interested in learning your language: Croatian, Estonian, Hungarian. I like to boast that one of my books has been translated into Finnish, but I have no idea why. Every educated Finnish person I ever met spoke perfect English. Why do they need a translation?
For people in countries like that, the point of balance is a real, personal issue in their lives. In the case of Eastern European countries, it's made more real and personal by e-migration. The Quillette website ran an article on this June 29th. Sample quote:
According to one study, between 2013 and 2016, approximately 230,000 people left Croatia — a country with a population of only four million — for the 11 "core EU countries" of Western Europe … Since Latvia joined the EU, it has lost one-fifth of its population. Romania … has seen over three million leave the country since it joined the EU in 2007. It lost half of its doctors between 2009 and 2015, the vast majority to better-paid employ in the richer hospitals and surgeries of Western Europe, leaving its health service poorly staffed and on the brink of collapse.
It sounds bad, but I wouldn't panic. Pro-natalist and pro-family policies can help, and they're being tried. Last month I mentioned Hungary's success at raising its birth rate. Here's a news story from Poland. July 4th that country's parliament passed a law scrapping income tax for workers under the age of 26.
And then I remember Taiwan. I landed there in July 1971 and fell in with a crowd of college students on their summer vacation. Pretty much all of them planned to leave Taiwan after graduating — in the case of the guys, after then doing their compulsory military service. It didn't help that just a few days before I arrived, Richard Nixon had announced he'd visit mainland China the next year, 1972. Everyone in Taiwan assumed the jig was up. Best get out to America or Canada while you can.
Twenty years later I met one of those guys in New York. Yes, he'd left Taiwan. Ninety percent of his college class had — and he was an engineering graduate. I asked him how Taiwan had coped, losing all that talent. He shrugged and laughed. "I guess ten percent was enough."
I guess it was. When I was in Taiwan three years ago it was a darn nice place. A lot of the emigrants had in fact moved back.
So I'm not worried that Croatia, Latvia, and Romania will go extinct, or fill up with Muslims and Africans. I do, though, think they should follow Hungary's example and get to work making babies.
06 — Jeffrey Epstein, man of mystery. Had you ever heard of Jeffrey Epstein before he was arrested for sex trafficking July 6th? I hadn't.
Epstein is very seriously rich. Unfortunately I don't have much insight into the world of very seriously rich people, for sure nothing like as much as I wish I had. A friend of mine is much better-informed, and much of what follows is plagiarized from him, with his permission. I shall call my friend Sal, although that isn't even approximately his name.
So how rich is Epstein? Well, he has a private island in the Caribbean, a private Boeing 727, and he owns the largest private residence in Manhattan, worth at least 50 million dollars.
That's a lot of maintenance. Consider just the plane. With a flight crew, ground storage, maintenance and insurance and assuming a "normal" hundred hours a year of flight, it's going to be something like fifty or sixty thousand dollars per flight hour. The fuel alone will be twelve thousand dollars an hour. Every flight he takes to Florida is half a million round trip. You need a lot of assets to keep up that burn rate.
So he has a lot of assets. How did he get them? He didn't inherit them, for sure; his family was New York outer-borough lower-middle-class. He got a job as a Wall Street trader, was successful, founded his own firm, made a bundle … but not the size of bundle he obviously has, nothing close.
My friend Sal knows that whole world very well: the hedge funds, the big investment banks & brokerages, all the major counterparties and floor traders. It's not that big a world. Quote from Sal:
I don't know Jeffrey Epstein. No one I know knows him. I don't know anyone who has ever worked for him. I asked around a little and no one I spoke to knows anyone who did either.
Our own Steve Sailer ran through the commonest speculations. Was he running some kind of Ponzi scheme, like Bernie Madoff? Nope: Madoff was in plain sight, lots of people knew him. To generate the kind of wealth Epstein has, he'd need to be bigger — and so in even plainer sight — than Madoff. He wasn't. He wasn't in sight at all.
Blackmail? He was pimping underage girls for rich guys. Probably he has some really interesting video recordings.
As Steve points out, though, there are laws against blackmail and it's easy to get caught, as Bill Cosby's and David Letterman's blackmailers were. And again, there's a question of scale. Hundreds of millions of dollars? In blackmail? Nah.
Then the conspiracy theories really get going. The U.S. Attorney who accepted a plea deal from Epstein on a sex-crimes rap in Florida twelve years ago was told Epstein "belonged to intelligence" and should be left alone. That was most likely just a cover for the fact that Epstein had bought the local prosecutor and politicians, though.
And again, what could Epstein have that is worth so much, so colossally much, to Saudi princes or Israeli bigshots? Cheaper for them just to take whatever he'd got, then arrange an "accident" for him.
That just leaves financial shenanigans of some kind. Money laundering? Offshore tax avoidance?
Sal thinks there might be a charity angle. Says he: "There are a ton of links out there about Epstein donating money from this charity to that charity, or giving money to other 'charitable' tax-deductible organizations like Harvard University. He was moving a ton of money around in this way." End quote.
By doing that skilfully enough and playing the offshore angles, with just a single client as obsessed with secrecy as himself, Epstein could be that one client's "tax guy," saving him a fortune in taxes. If the client was really, seriously wealthy, with the charities covering expenses, commissions on all the dodging and juggling might come up to the of level of wealth we know Epstein has.
So who's the single client? Vox.com headline, July 10th: What we know — and what we don't — about retail mogul Les Wexner's connection to Jeffrey Epstein. Sub-head: "The man behind Victoria's Secret and The Limited is the disgraced financier and accused sex trafficker's only known client."
Wexner's net worth is close to five billion dollars. He hasn't been charged with anything, though, and claims to have had no dealings with Epstein for more than ten years.
Is your head spinning, listener? Yeah, mine too. Isn't there something wrong with the tax code, though, if you can get as rich as Epstein has by jiggling it?
Well, perhaps Sal's suspicions are unfounded. Perhaps there really is some foreign connection. There are a lot of seriously rich despots out there in the Third World, and you have to believe some portion of them have unorthodox tastes in home entertainment.
Trying to get a handle on that, I put a call through to my dear old friend President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov over in Turkmenistan to ask him for an opinion. As we go to tape here at Radio Derb, President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov has not yet favored me with a reply.
[Clip: Turkmen national anthem.]
07 — Miscellany. Just a couple of very brief items to see us out.
Imprimis: In last week's show I jeered at Peter Buttigieg's statement that, quote from him: "a black person is four times as likely as a white person to be incarcerated for the exact same crime," end quote. Can I back up my jeer? a couple of readers asked.
Well, I can direct you to PolitiFact.com, July 10th. They do their best to justify the "systemic racism" flapdoodle — cutting way too much slack to the flapdoodlers, in my opinion — but even after all that, they conclude with, quote:
We rate the statement Mostly False.
Item: Andy Warhol famously foresaw that in the world of his future, which is the world of our present, everyone would be world-famous for fifteen minutes.
It came true this week right here on Long Island for 45-year-old small businessman Chris Morgan. That's actually small small businessman; Mr Morgan is only five feet tall. Believing that staff at a local bagel store had mocked him on that account, Mr Morgan flew into a rage that ended with fisticuffs.
He expressed his rage by ranting, complaining that women rejected him for his stature and that he is, quote, "a modern day Martin Luther King for short men."
I don't think that's a very good analogy, Mr Morgan. If memory serves, the Reverend Dr Martin Luther King, Jr didn't have too many difficulties in the dating department.
Item: Finally, shed a tear for 57-year-old Freddie Mack of Venus, Texas, who was eaten by his dogs.
Very comprehensively eaten. Mr Mack was a dog-lover who took in strays. He shared his trailer home in a 2½-acre fenced enclosure with eighteen of man's best friend. Then he went missing. After three months of him missing, sheriff's deputies went to check. There was no sign of Mr Mack; but a close inspection of the property revealed human bone fragments and scraps of clothing in the dog poop.
A sad story, but not surprising to us realists of the Cold Eye. I have loved both my dogs very dearly; but I never forgot they were dogs, and kept a wary eye on them when small children or smaller pets were around.
08 — Signoff. That's it, ladies and gents. Thank you for listening, and thanks as always for your helpful emails and contributions.
I hope you caught my passing reference there to the opera Carmen. To sing us out this week, here's Plácido Domingo with everyone's favorite from that opera: the Flower song, "La Fleur Que Tu M'avais Jetée." I think that's Elena Obraztsova whimpering in the background.
Aaron Green records the following sad particulars, quote:
To many people, this aria is a highlight of the opera. The poetic lyricism of these five strains marked by unique changes in key speak to Bizet's talent. Sadly, Bizet's Carmen was not well received by French opera lovers at the time. The upper society that attended operas did not want to see stories with peasants and gypsies, much less one in which women fight in a cigarette factory.
Sometimes, all you creative types, sometimes recognition comes way too late.
There will be more from Radio Derb next week.
[Music clip: Plácido Domingo, the Flower Song from Carmen.]