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[Music clip: From Haydn's Derbyshire March No. 2, organ version]
01 — Intro. And Radio Derb is on the air! Greetings, listeners, from your unabashedly genial host John Derbyshire, here with some news and commentary.
It's amazing the things you pick up following the news. Just from one small region of this week's news, the region where congressgals misbehave, I have learned two new words.
First there was "brusband." Brusband: that's your husband when he's also your brother. He's your brusband. I learned this one from reading about Rep. Ilhan Omar, who some believe to have married her brother to get him a U.S. residence visa. This theory could be disproved by reference to the official records of registered births in Somalia. [Laughter.]
Then I picked up the word "throuple," a romantic relationship involving three people. This used to be called a ménage à trois," but "throuple" is shorter and crisper — and, best of all, not French. That one showed up when I was reading about California representative Katie Hill, exposed as having made the beast with three backs in coordination with her husband and a female campaign aide.
So what do you call it if a lady is in a throuple with her brusband and another female? A thrusband? A brouple? I'm sure the ladies of congress will soon give us the answer.
02 — Offing al-Baghdadi. Abubakr al-Baghdadi, some kind of leader of some faction of the crazy towel-heads over there in Crazy-towel-head-land, got his ticket punched by U.S. Special Forces last weekend. Al-Baghdadi was chased into a dead-end tunnel with two children he was using as shields, both said to be under twelve years old. Perceiving that the number of his options had gone into a steep decline, he detonated his suicide belt, killing himself and the two kids.
I am deeply sorry to have to report that the Twittersphere quickly filled up with jokes in extremely bad taste. Al-Baghdadi rests in pieces, I read. Al-Baghdadi has stopped smoking. One of his associates is reported as saying, quote: "That's al-Baghdadi all over." And so on. Shameful, shameful. Journalistic duty obliges me to report these distasteful things, but I take no pleasure in it. [Muffled snicker.]
Where the deed itself is concerned, I'm in two minds.
My very strong preference is for my country to have nothing to do with these barbarian sand-pits. If they have anything we need, or want anything we have for sale, by all means let our merchants trade with them. We should not concern ourselves with their tribal squabbles, though. Let them sort that stuff out for themselves.
On the other hand, they may sometimes produce a gang that makes itself obnoxious to us in some way, perhaps by attacks on our mercantile activities. In such cases, I'm happy to see our special forces go in there and do the necessary.
Posting at National Review Online right after the World Trade Center attacks of 9/11, I wrote, quote:
This is not an easy enemy to confront. This will not be a matter of great troop movements, of trenches and fleets and squadrons and massed charges. This will be small teams of inconceivably brave men and women, working in strange places, unknown and unacknowledged.
In fact it did become a matter of great troop movements, trenches, fleets, et cetera, to our everlasting vexation; but my instinctive response there on 9/11 was the right one. It was one of those small teams of inconceivably brave men and women that did for al-Baghdadi. I am in awe of their courage and I congratulate them on their success.
So I don't mind this guy getting offed by our special forces. He was obviously a nasty piece of work. I do, though, nurse lingering doubts about whether his business was any of our business.
Those doubts are much magnified by the killing of al-Baghdadi, which involved U.S. troops, having happened in Syria just a few days after our President told us that all U.S. troops were to be pulled out of Syria. Well: Are we going to be done with Syria or not?
The answer of course is, not. We have an immense multi-trillion dollar diplomatic and military establishment dedicated to the proposition that the Middle East is a very, very important place where our armies, navies, and air forces must be deployed for ever. That's a lot of iron rice bowls. They're not going to be broken by occasional blasts of hot air from our lazy, inattentive President emitted in the brief intervals when he's not watching TV.
If you asked me to rank the nations of the world in order of importance to America, my ranking would go something like this, from most to least important.
All right, I lost concentration there. My point is, Syria would be way down around bullet point number 87 on that list. The place is of near-zero importance to us. Let them sort out their own problems and assassinate their own troublemakers.
[Clip: Scourby, "Behold now behemoth …"]
That's the fine sonorous voice of Alexander Scourby reading the King James Bible, Book of Job, Chapter 40, verse 15. I just wanted to be sure I got the right pronunciation of "behemoth." It's not a word I use very often.
What's this in aid of? Let me proceed with this segment. All will be revealed.
It's a curious thing that the two big Anglo-Saxon cousin nations, America and Britain, are both facing very similar political crises.
In both nations there is a huge entrenched political behemoth — in the U.S.A., that "immense multi-trillion dollar diplomatic and military establishment" that I mentioned in the last segment. In both nations there is a widespread public dissatisfaction with this monstrous beast and its preferences — especially its preferences for unlimited immigration and everlasting missionary wars. In both nations this dissatisfaction has tried to express itself through proper democratic channels. In both nations it has been thwarted.
I have been unable to find the origin of the saying that, quote, "If voting made any difference they wouldn't let us do it." The usual attribution is to Mark Twain. You can actually buy a coffee mug with him saying it. Any kind of smart-alecky witticism gets attributed to Twain, though, unless it's already had Winston Churchill's name stuck on it. The fact-checkers tell us Twain never said it, but they don't tell us who did.
It's surely appropriate to our times, though. "If voting made any difference they wouldn't let us do it." I think those words return an echo from the bosom of any Trump voter in America or any Brexit voter in Britain.
We voted for secure borders and an end to the stupid wars and defunct Cold War alliances; Brits voted to get out of the European superstate. The underlying impulse in both cases was for a restoration of national sovereignty: a wish that our national affairs be conducted in a way that puts our own citizens ahead of foreigners.
Yet here we are three, three and a half years after those votes. Foreigners are pouring across our borders in numbers unseen since New Year's Eve of a.d. 406, when barbarian hordes crossed the frozen river Rhine into the Roman Empire. The United Nations continues to settle tens of thousands of bogus "refugees" in our towns. Our corporations, eagerly assisted by bought-and-sold politicians, favor cheap computer programmers from India over our own college graduates. The war in Afghanistan enters its nineteenth year.
Across the pond, Brexit has just been postponed for the umpety-umpth time, to January 31st next year. Meanwhile, trucks full of illegal aliens pour in across the English Channel because the British government thinks it's too much trouble to check their contents.
The failure of conventional democratic processes to make any difference, to penetrate the hide of behemoth, to move his mighty bulk even one inch from where it squats, suffocating our liberties and our sovereignty, the failure has causes both similar and different on the two sides of the Atlantic.
The similarity of causes is in the close to fifty-fifty splits in each of our populations between blues and reds, or whatever more sophisticated vocabulary you want to use to distinguish the two sides: globalists and nationalists, cosmopolitans and communitarians, metropolitans and provincials — between the feeders and supporters of behemoth on one side, and on the other, those of us who seek to slay it — or at least, put it on a very serious and intensive weight-loss program.
Voting in the 2016 Brexit referendum split 52-48 in favor of leaving Europe. In the American Presidential election that same year the popular vote was actually 51-49 in favor of Mrs Clinton over Trump. Trump is President because of careful safeguards built in to our Constitution to give some regional equity to our national decisions.
This is the Cold Civil War I keep telling you about: one half — on those numbers it's almost precisely half — of us fiercely, dogmatically opposed to the other half. It works fine for behemoth; one half of the population is defending him. Not just that, either: our nations' centers of wealth, power, and cultural influence are massively over-represented in the half that is defending him.
I said there are differences as well as similarities in the failure of our democracies. The differences are mainly in matters of leadership. It's harder for outsiders to get to the top of the greasy pole in Britain's parliamentary system. That's why the Brexit effort has had to be led by insiders — people whose most natural sympathies are, paradoxically, with globalist liberalism.
Theresa May and Boris Johnson are both of this type. It's hard to believe they really have their hearts in a full restoration of British sovereignty. The deals they have worked out with the EU bureaucrats are soft compromises, leaving the Eurocrats still in charge over quite significant parts of British life.
Here in America we did get a real outsider into power. Unfortunately the outsider we got was a political babe in the woods. He has been easily buffaloed by the guardians of behemoth, as we saw in those disastrous televised White House events in January and February 2018 — you know, those events where we came away with the rather strong impression that Trump, in a room full of political professionals, agrees with the last person who spoke.
So the restoration of national sovereignty is in the hands of, in Britain, a globalist opportunist of doubtful reliability, and in America, a guy with some genuinely nationalist instincts but zero political skills.
One more time, quote: "If voting made any difference they wouldn't let us do it." Print it on a T-shirt, embroider it on a throw cushion. It perfectly encapsulates the state of our democracies.
04 — Brexit news. So what, actually, is up with Brexit?
Well, as I said, the drop-dead date has been moved forward yet again to January 31st. In the meantime, there is to be a general election on December 12th.
Trying to call the probable results of this election has seasoned British pollsters slitting their wrists and leaping from high windows. There are too many unknowns.
Nationwide there are four main parties in play.
The thing that's hard to call is how much strategic voting there will be. Since both Boris Johnson's Tories and Nigel Farage's Brexit Party want to get the country out of the EU, if they both put up candidates everywhere, the "leave" vote could be split, letting in an alliance of Labour and the Lib Dems, which would be a victory for "remain."
Some kind of alliance or understanding between Johnson and Farage seems to be called for. Farage won't hear of it, though. He thinks the deal Johnson has negotiated with the EU, the deal Johnson is going to the electorate with, is simply terrible — just BINO, Brexit In Name Only.
Confusing the matter even further are regional issues. Scotland and Northern Ireland are both part of the U.K., with members in the London parliament. The Scottish National Party, which is heavily anti-Brexit, is polling well.
Northern Ireland is a really hard circle to square. The biggest party there, the DUP, has as its biggest issue the union with Britain. Boris Johnson's deal with the EU weakens that union, keeping Northern Ireland under some EU rules that won't apply to Britain. On the other hand, a Farage-type No Deal Brexit would mean border checks between the North and the Irish Republic, nullifying the 1998 agreement that ended the Troubles.
So the North's Unionist majority can't support either Johnson or Farage. So they should go with Labour, right? — assuming they can figure out what kind of "sensible relationship with Europe" Jeremy Corbyn has in mind.
Going with Labour, though, would be a complete repudiation of Unionist history. Boris Johnson's Tory Party is actually, officially the Conservative and Unionist Party, and has been for over a hundred years. Jeremy Corbyn is an old friend of Gerry Adams, former leader of Sinn Féin and sworn enemy of Unionism.
What a mess! As I said, seasoned pollsters are committing hari-kari over this one, so I am certainly not going to attempt any prediction.
In my sweetest dreams the leavers vote strategically en masse for Nigel Farage's Brexit Party, killing off the Tory Party for good. That might encourage Americans to do the same to the Republican Party, which likewise needs euthanizing.
Do I think that's likely to happen? No, but I can dream.
05 — Adventures in anti-white prejudice. Here in the States, whiteness has been in the news.
Not so much in the news, actually, as in the commentary. In the New York Times opinion pages, a black writer named Nell Irvin Painter, a retired academic historian, opened up whole new territories of anti-white prejudice with a column about two Indian teenage boys — Indians from India — harassing four black teenage girls at a high-school football game in New Jersey. These Indian lads were, said Ms Painter, quote, "enacting American whiteness."
How were they doing that, with their dark brown skin and all? Well, you see, they had learned the essentials of whiteness from being in America, where whiteness is a sort of toxic gas or miasma that poisons everyone who breathes it in — except, of course, black people.
Something like that, anyway. I'm always willing to concentrate on understanding a mathematical theorem, or a coherent chain of logic leading from reasonable premises to some interesting conclusion, or some new finding out of the rigorous sciences; but engaging with the kind of blackety-blackety-black flapdoodle extruded by the likes of Ms Painter seems like a mis-use of my god-given mental faculties.
Instead, my mind wandered to an old Jewish joke.
Two Jews are in a Vienna café in the 1930s. One of them is reading a Yiddish newspaper; the other one's reading a Nazi paper. The first Jew asks the second: "Why are you reading Nazi propaganda?" Replies the other: "I used to read the Yiddish newspaper, and all it talked about was how Jews are suffering helpless under pogroms and discrimination. In the Nazi newspaper I read about how we control the world. I prefer the good news!"
In the same spirit, maybe I should give Ms Painter's productions another try. It might cheer me up to read about how whiteness is such a tremendous force, it even warps the personalities of Indian kids. Hey, we whites make everything happen! Other races have no agency at all. We are masters of the universe!
Also in the Whiteness Studies zone, here was former First Lady Michelle Obama speaking at an event in Chicago on Tuesday, complaining that in her childhood white people left the neighborhood when blacks moved in. And it's still happening! Edited quote:
As families like ours — upstanding families like ours who were doing everything we were supposed to do and better — as we moved in, white folks moved out because they were afraid of what our families represented … I want to remind white folks that y'all were running from us … This family, with all the values that you read about, you were running from us. And you're still running …
Let me see if I can explain White Flight to Mrs Obama, who I assume is by now settled comfortably back at her estates in some lily-white jurisdiction like Martha's Vineyard. It's really not that difficult to understand.
Of course working-class white people know that lots of working-class blacks are, like Mrs Obama's parents, law-abiding and industrious. They also know that lots of working-class white people are unruly and lazy. It's a question of numbers and proportions.
In a number N of working-class black families there will be a number X who are dysfunctional or dangerous. In the same number N of working-class white families there will be a number Y who are dysfunctional or dangerous. It is invariably the case that X is much bigger than Y. Common observation tells us this, and all statistics and sociological studies confirm it.
We should by all means argue about the reasons for this major difference in proportions. I myself am convinced it is a race difference, like the behavioral differences between breeds of dogs.
Possibly I'm wrong: but working-class white Joe and Suzy have lives to get on with and children to raise. They're not much interested in bandying hypotheses or reading up on population genetics. When a black family settles in the street, then another, then another, they figure that the neighborhood is beginning to trend in the direction of more trouble and dysfunction. On a statistical basis, they're right. So they move out.
I don't see why any of this is hard to understand. It's normal human behavior. It's statistical common sense. Joe and Suzy are just going with the percentages, as we all do all the time.
To not understand this, you have to be trying really hard to not understand it … it seems to me.
06 — What's the matter with Utah? Fifteen years ago liberal journalist Thomas Frank published a book titled "What's the Matter with Kansas?, lamenting that the working people of that state had been bambozzled into voting Republican against their own economic interests. The book was a bestseller.
I think we need a book titled What's the matter with Utah?
That thought was prompted by reading about the Beehive State's two senators, Mike Lee and Mitt Romney, both energetically pushing for Senate Bill 386, full title the Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act. Lee is a sponsor of the bill, Romney the sole co-sponsor.
What does this bill do? Well, first you need to have clear in your mind the meaning of the word "immigrant" in U.S. federal law.
An immigrant is a person given the right of permanent residence here — the famous green card. That's an immigrant visa.
You're then a resident alien. You can do pretty much anything a U.S. citizen can do, the main exception being voting. You can't vote. You can get a job, though; and if you decide you don't like your job, you can quit and get a different job.
You're a resident alien with an immigrant visa — a green card. After five years as a resident alien, you can apply for naturalization and become a full citizen, with the right to vote.
Every other kind of visa is a non-immigrant visa. So you've heard, I'm sure, about the H-1B visa, the one corporations use to bring in IT workers from India, displacing American workers, who in some cases have had to train their Indian replacements at pain of losing their severance packages. That H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa. It's a guest-worker visa, not an immigrant visa.
An H-1B is tied to one employer — the firm that sponsored him for the visa. He can't quit and go work somewhere else. The visa is only for three years, although you can extend it to six pretty easily, and sometimes further.
So: you're here on a guest-worker non-immigrant visa, like the H-1B, with all those restrictions. Of course what you'd like would be to upgrade to an immigrant visa, a green card. Then you'll be a resident alien, and in five years or so, a citizen. Hey!
Can you do that? Upgrade from non-immigrant to immigrant, from H-1B to green card? Yes you can, but there's a snag. Issuance of Green Cards is controlled by provisions in our immigration laws designed to prevent some countries being favored over others. The main provision is the per-country caps.
The relevant law — if you want to look it up, it's U.S. Code §1152, paragraph (a), part 2 — to simplify somewhat, it says that of all the green cards issued in any year, no more than seven percent can go to natives of any one country.
What this bill, this pet project of Mike Lee and Mitt Romney, what it does is remove the per-country caps.
Why would they want to do that? Because the Indian body shops have been terrifically successful at getting non-immigrant visas, mainly H-1Bs, for Indian tech workers. [Note added when archiving: About 70 percent of all H-1B visas go to Indian nationals. See for example here.] So there has built up this huge pool of Indian guest workers hungry to upgrade to green cards; but the per-country caps severely limit how many can get the upgrade in any year.
Mike Lee and Mitt Romney are distressed by the unhappiness of these foreign guest workers, and by their claims they are being discriminated against. The senators from Utah are also distressed by grumbling from their corporate donors that if congress doesn't do something about this, the supply of cheap foreign tech labor may dry up. Hence this bill, S386.
Are the noble senators distressed by the thought of American college graduates loaded down with student debt who can't find tech jobs because the jobs are all going to cheap foreign guest workers? Not that I can see.
What's the matter with these guys? What's the matter with Utah, that elected them? Are there a lot of Mormons in India? First I've heard of it.
07 — Miscellany. And now, our closing miscellany of brief items.
Imprimis: A friend writes in urging me to pass comment on the case of Billy Chemirmir, the black serial killer from Kenya, indicted earlier this year in twelve murders of elderly American women in Texas.
It's a horrible story all right; and if our immigration laws were properly enforced, Chemirmir would have been deported long since.
Item: If you think "Chemirmir" is hard to say, try this one: "Xyqwavius." I think I said it right. The spelling is X-Y-Q-W-A-V-I-U-S. This is the forename of a young man, Xyqwavius Brown, in Hybla Valley, Va. who died from multiple gunshot wounds last Saturday morning.
Hybla Valley is in Fairfax County, for which Fletch Daniels wrote a moving elegy the other day at American Thinker. That's an elegy for the county, not for Xyqwavius.
Item: Vladimir Bukovsky died on Sunday at the age of 76.
Forty years ago, when I was binge-reading my way through all the books I could find by dissidents in communist countries, I found Bukovsky's memoir To Build a Castle especially memorable. It's a lovely book, written with great feeling and some flashes of humor.
What got my attention about Bukovsky was that he had no religious or ideological axe to grind; he was just ornery. He would not assent to the official Soviet lies. He would not agree that two plus two equals five.
A lot of us on the Dissident Right are like that. We don't "hate" anybody; we don't want to transform society; we don't even have any very coherent program. We just don't like obvious lies like "diversity is our strength" and "there is no such thing as race" and "sex is a social construct." We don't like lies and we refuse to clap along with them. Like Vladimir Bukovsky, we're just ornery.
I think I would have gotten along well with Bukovsky. I'm sorry I never met him. An English translation of his book Judgment in Moscow was just published early this year after a thirty-year delay, apparently caused by various big-name Soviet stooges in America and Europe threatening libel actions against it.
Item: The point of women, we are all told at some time in our lives, is to civilize men. We men are coarse, brutish creatures, interested mainly in fighting, getting drunk, and solving nonlinear differential equations. It's the love of a good woman and the subsequent responsibilities of parenthood that turn us into sober, responsible citizens.
As with all truths about human nature, this one manifests itself in both normal and pathological forms. In the pathological form, the former bad boy doesn't merely turn into a solid citizen, he becomes a weeping, whining, sniveling, apologizing Social Justice Warrior.
Yes, I'm talking about you, Harry Windsor, sixth in line of succession to the British throne. Back in his army days ten years ago Harry had somewhat of a reputation as a daredevil, prankster, and ladies' man. Then in 2018 he married this American broad and now he's thoroughly woke, jetting off to Africa every other weekend to be photographed with little black kiddies.
A few days ago he teared up on nationwide TV talking about the challenges of parenting. Well, yes, it's rough when you have no-one to help out other than a staff of full-time nannies and household servants, and nowhere to park the kids aside from a couple of twelve-bedroom mansions. We feel for you, Harry.
08 — Signoff. And there you have it, ladies and gents: another week of atrocities inspired by white privilege, toxic masculinity, and nativist xenophobia. When, oh when, shall the world be cleansed of these evils, and justice and peace prevail?
Thank you for your time and attention. Your reward is, a snippet of the very finest bel canto. Here's Renée Fleming singing Bellini.
There will be more from Radio Derb next week.
[Music clip: Renée Fleming, "Col sorriso d'innocenza."]