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[Music clip: From Haydn's Derbyshire March No. 2, organ version]
01 — Intro. And Radio Derb is on the air! Welcome, listeners, from your loyally genial host John Derbyshire.
This is Holy Week for Christians, Passover for Jews. I shall have things to say about all that later. First, some commentary on the news.
02 — Globalization = Sinification. The last thirty years, following the end of the Cold War, has been an era of unrestrained globalization: of lowered tariffs, world-wide supply chains, and First World nations outsourcing their manufacturing to cheaper workers in the Third World. Also, in the Western part of the First World — the white part — of open borders and lax enforcement of immigration laws.
The hope has been expressed — for example by Greg Johnson, as I mentioned in last week's podcast — the hope has been expressed that our current travails will open the eyes of Western electorates to what a really bad idea this unrestrained, unquestioning globalization has been.
We all live on the same planet, to be sure, and we have common concerns in areas like, oh, public health; but making your nation dependent on a geopolitical rival for some high proportion of your medications, or key manufacturing processes, is seriously stupid.
Concerning that hope — the hope that our people will awaken from their opium dream of globalized plenty with no downsides and become sturdy nationalists — I remain skeptical. I do, though, see signs of a spreading awareness about one particular aspect of globalization: the fact that by far the biggest winner from globalization has been communist China.
This is easiest to see in the most thoroughly globalized organization of all, the United Nations. The most prominent UN agency in this current crisis has been the WHO, the World Health Organization. The Director-General of the WHO is an Ethiop named Tedros Something Something, or Something Something Tedros. Anyone who pays any attention at all to the news now knows that this Tedros bloke is a bought-and-paid-for shill for the Chinese Communist Party.
Since the WHO is just the currently most prominent UN agency, it's reasonable to suspect that the rest of the UN is similarly compromised. To be perfectly fair to the UN, there are some contrary indicators. Last year saw some to-ing and fro-ing in the General Assembly over China's treatment of Muslim Uighurs in ChiCom-occupied East Turkestan. Twenty-three nations issued a joint statement of concern.
Who were the 23 nations? The U.S.A., Canada, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, … and the other 18 were all European countries. The ChiComs easily countered with a much bigger list of nations saying they were just fine with whatever was being done to the Uighurs. That pro-China list included majority-Muslim countries like Pakistan, Egypt, Somalia, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates, along with Russia, Cuba, North Korea, the Philippines, and a bunch of rat-hole countries in Africa and Central Asia.
If you look at the lists of nations protesting China and nations supporting China, the fundamental difference isn't hard to figure. An outfit named Transparency International publishes an annual list of the world's nations ranked by how corrupt they are. The nations critical of China come from the bottom part of that list, the least corrupt; the nations supporting China are just the ones most easily bought.
Any globalized enterprise will display a similar pattern. Since most of the world's nations are Third World — which here I am using as a synonym for "poor and corrupt" — globalization means Third World-ification. And since China leads the Third World thus defined, with the most money to splash around and the least reluctance to just buy other countries' leaders with bags full of cash, globalization means Sinification.
03 — Sinification down under. The First World isn't altogether immune to this globalization-equals-Sinification phenomenon. Our own capitalist boss class is not at all keen to offend ChiCom sensibilities.
Imagine, if you can, a major Hollywood studio making an honest movie about the Land Reform terror in China around 1950, or the mass famines that followed the Great Leap Forward ten years later, or the Cultural Revolution of 1966-76, or the 1989 uprisings. You can't imagine it; no such movies could be made. The studios like their China market.
That's not corruption, at least I don't think it is. That's just economic pressure. In this context, the context of economic pressure, an interesting case study is Australia.
I mentioned Australia in the previous segment, in that list of nations criticizing China at the UN last year. Well, stick around. Five years from now, Australia may be on the other list, supporting China. Australia is well on her way to being a Chinese satellite.
That's not straightforward corruption, either. Australia's a high-trust Anglo-Saxon nation with low levels of corruption. The case study here is one of economic pressure. I'm going to use data here from a 12-minute YouTube clip out of Wendover Productions, which so far as I can tell is unbiased.
Australia is big, the same size as our 48 continental states. While those states have over 300 million people, though, Australia has fewer than 26 million. By comparison with the U.S.A., Australia is quite dramatically under-populated. All the more so when compared with China: there are 56 Chinese people for every one Australian.
Australia makes a big part of her national living by digging stuff out of the ground and selling it to other countries. She's the world's largest exporter of minerals: iron, lead, diamonds, gold, uranium. Coal, too, and liquified natural gas. She makes another big part selling agricultural products. Thirty percent of her exports go to China.
Australian colleges and universities, like ours, are also exceptionally hospitable to Chinese students, who pay full tuition. The number of Chinese students in Australia is variously reported as in the range from 150,000 to 250,000, so I'll say 200,000 for convenience. That's one per every 130 Australians, paying in about twelve billion Australian dollars a year to the Australian treasury, around seven and a half billion U.S.
(In parentheses here: Before I went to live in China in 1982, I had read somewhere that it takes four Chinese peasants to support one non-peasant. Strolling around in the countryside with Chinese friends, any time we saw a peasant I'd exclaim, in English: "Hey, I know that guy — he's one of my four!" I'm not quite sure why that came to mind …)
The consequences of all this are not hard to figure. As the video clip says, quote:
There is a very clear but unspoken threat by China to Australia: If you make things difficult for us politically, we'll make things difficult for you economically.
Hence the recurrent news stories about China meddling in Australian politics. The ChiComs also of course carefully monitor their students in Australian universities. If a student expresses open support for the Hong Kong demonstrators, for example, he will soon hear that his family back in China have been pulled in for interrogation by the secret police.
So, as I said, stick around: By 2025 or 2030, public criticism of China will be taboo in Australia. The Aussies will love Big Brother.
04 — Military justice. Captain Brett Crozier was skipper of the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier the U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt until April 1st, when he was relieved of his command.
After a port call in Vietnam in early March, there'd been an outbreak of coronavirus on the carrier. Captain Crozier sent out some kind of communication about this, variously described as either a letter, a memo, or an email, to Pacific Fleet leadership. The letter/memo/email is quite long, three and a half pages, and requests all kinds of actions and assistance.
What got the captain fired was, he sent the letter out through channels not sufficiently secure. The San Francisco Chronicle got a hold of it and published it March 31st.
This is one of those stories where you get a sharp difference of opinion, pro-Crozier or anti-Crozier. President Trump was anti, quote from him at an April 4th presser:
I thought it was terrible what he did, to write a letter. I mean, this isn't a class on literature. This is a captain of a massive ship that's nuclear powered, and he shouldn't be talking that way in a letter. He could call and ask and suggest.
Most of the commentariat was pro-Crozier. Sample, from a piece by Michael O'Hanlon at the Brookings Institute, quote:
Taking care of the crew mattered more than hewing slavishly to a preset ship deployment schedule.
Radio Derb's in the anti-Crozier camp. The captain was sloppy sending out his request through unsecured channels. A carrier is a very big, extremely expensive, military asset. The ChiComs have huge, intensive, 24/7 teams of engineers working on missiles that can sink a carrier, the crazy North Koreans probably likewise. Letting the whole world know that your carrier is combat-compromised is unforgivable.
"We are not at war," wrote Crozier in his letter. That's not for you to say, Captain. You can be not at war one minute, at war the next — ask the guys who were at Pearl Harbor in 1941, if any are left among us.
As for Michael O'Hanlon's snark about "hewing slavishly to a preset ship deployment schedule," it's properly called "obeying orders." Sure, you can question the orders, but not in any way that lets potential hostiles know you're doing so.
The praise for Captain Crozier's "caring" for his crew is misplaced. Of course he cares for his crew. Every officer cares for his men. That's no excuse for ignoring the proper chain of command and putting the entire crew at possible danger.
There is also somewhat of a girlish tone about much of the pro-Crozier commentary. Which reminds me: Can we get an update on pregnancies aboard our navy ships in general, and the U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt in particular?
The last time Radio Derb commented on this, three years ago, sixteen percent of women serving on military vessels were pregnant. I doubt that percentage has changed much these three years, and it seems to me a far greater impediment to military effectiveness than an outbreak of flu, even a flu as exceptionally nasty as COVID-19.
And if you still feel unhappy on Captain Crozier's behalf, let me remind you of an old adage: Military justice is to justice, as military music is to music.
05 — Monarchs in the news. Constitutional monarchs have been in the news recently.
Here's one: Betty Windsor, Queen of England and sundry other territories (including Australia). April 5th Her Majesty made a four-minute speech to the nation. You can watch it on YouTube, or read the transcript at the BBC website. She didn't say anything very consequential, and no-one expected her to: This was just a cheer-up message urging Brits to keep a stiff upper lip.
Along the way, Betty alluded to the first national broadcast she'd made back in 1940, when she was just fourteen. Whatever you think of her, or of monarchy in general, that's pretty darn impressive. Has anyone else made two broadcasts to a nation eighty years apart?
On the rare occasions I mention the Queen in these podcasts, I usually confess having a soft spot for her. She's been there all my life, the still center of a changing world, showing up on TV every Christmas to offer some pleasant platitudes in the same fruity 1930-ish upper-class accents that no-one but she speaks any more. Her coronation in 1953 was the first big public event to really impinge on my awareness. My sister Judith still has her coronation mug from that event; I forget what happened to mine. I probably threw it at Judith and missed.
In the circles I now move in, the circles of immigration patriots and white advocacy, if you bring up mention of the Queen, someone will snarl that she should be dethroned, or worse, for not having spoken up against the demographic catastrophe that's engulfed Britain these past few decades. In her capital city, only a minority of people are today legacy British, of deep British ancestry. Entire towns have been taken over by Muslims.
This is a dreadful thing, a crime committed by the British people against themselves. If the Queen had spoken out against it early on, it might have been prevented. Why didn't she?
There are a number of things in play. One, she is a constitutional monarch. Constitutional monarchs are supposed to keep out of politics. That's the point of them. You might read the job description differently; but that's the way she reads it, and she's not way out of line to do so.
And then, there's the general atmosphere of imperial paternalism she grew up amongst. The native peoples of the empire — African and Caribbean blacks, the Muslims and Hindus of the South Asian subcontinent, the Maoris and aborigines of New Zealand and Australia, and all the rest — these were simple-minded children who had to be lifted up to British standards of civilization. Why should we have any fear of children?
Plus, the Queen is not very numerate. I think she's a fairly intelligent woman — I'd put her IQ in the 100-110 range — but she doesn't think numerically.
I've quoted before from my grandad's 1922 world atlas, which gave the population of British West Africa as less than half the population of Britain. Today those same territories have over three times Britain's population.
The Queen was born in 1926, when that stupendous demographic transformation had barely gotten started. It has never registered with her. In her mind, the darkies of the Commonwealth are not only children to be patronized, they are also few in number. What's to be afraid of?
I don't think Betty hates ordinary white British people, the way so many of Britain's ruling class do — the way so many of our own ruling class hate ordinary white Americans. She probably regards them the way she regards the Maoris, Jamaicans, Kikuyu, and the rest: paternalistically … ma-ternalistically, whatever.
If I thought Betty hated me, I'd hate her back, as some of my friends do. I don't, though, so I can't.
And you have to admit: As constitutional monarchs go, she is at least way better than the current King of Thailand, Vajiralongkorn. That monarch reacted to the coronavirus panic by taking himself and twenty of his concubines off to Germany, where he rented a luxury hotel — yes, the entire hotel — in the Bavarian Alps. I see that he flew back to Thailand for a festival on Thursday; but I bet he'll be back in Bavaria before long.
That made an unhappy contrast with his dad, Bhumibol, who was king for over seventy years until he passed away four years ago at age 88. Bhumibol was from the same mould as Elizabeth, with a strong sense of duty. Whatever the coronavirus did to Thailand, Bhumibol would have suffered along with his subjects.
The Thais are Jungle Asians, not Fancy Asians, and their country is chronically unstable, with regular military coups and revolutions. They could use the steadying hand of a sober, dutiful monarch to damp down the instability some. Instead they have gotten a dimwitted playboy.
That's the problem with constitutional monarchy: it's a lottery. You might get a sober, dutiful monarch like Elizabeth or Bhumibol, or you might get a self-indulgent knuckle-head like Vajiralongkorn. It's a roll of the dice.
06 — Miscellany. And now, our closing miscellany of brief items.
Imprimis: I may be with President Trump on the business about Captain Crozier, assuming Trump hasn't changed his mind since last weekend, but I continue to seethe at the President's spiteful and unmanly persecution of Jeff Sessions.
March 31st the chief operating officer of Trump's current Presidential campaign, presumably with Trump's approval, sent a vicious and insulting letter to Sessions saying, amongst other low insults, that a campaign mailer the Sessions campaign had put out, quote, "makes the delusional assertion that you are President Trump's number one supporter," end quote.
That mailer Sessions had put out was of course in aid of his Republican primary campaign against Paul Ryan clone, Chamber of Commerce lacky, open-borders shill Tommy Tuberville. Further quote from Trump's campaign manager, quote:
We want to be absolutely clear about it: President Trump and the Trump Campaign unambiguously endorse Tommy Tuberville.
So much for Donald Trump as any kind of leader on the National Question. For shame, Mr President, for shame. Go, Jeff, go!
Item: Among sidebar stories about the coronavirus I note this one from the April 6th Chicago Tribune, headline: Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot defends getting a haircut amid coronavirus outbreak, says stylist wore 'a mask and gloves'.
The headline tells the story. It only got my attention because the other day I found myself in dire need of a haircut. The ever-resourceful Mrs Derbyshire stepped up to the challenge with scissors and comb. She did a splendid job of work.
And I didn't have to make small talk! I'm no good at small talk, and I feel the same way about barbering as the king of ancient Macedon who, when the barber asked him how he wanted his hair cut, replied: "In silence."
I think I may give up on barbers altogether and let the Mrs take over.
Item: Another sidebar on the virus panic: I note that among those who have tested positive is Marianne Faithfull. Latest I have is that the lady is in a London hospital responding well to treatment. She is 73 years old.
That's why her name caught my eye. Marianne is a Brit of my generation — a year and a half younger than me. She was a pop singer in her own right, but also a camp follower of the Rolling Stones. Says Wikipedia: "she had a highly publicised romantic relationship with Mick Jagger."
Unfortunately for her, she will for ever be associated in the minds of my, and her, generation with an urban legend concerning her, Mick, a surprise police drugs raid, and a popular item of British confectionary. You can look up the grisly details for yourself at Snopes.com, which thoroughly debunks the story, but it persists anyway.
That's a shame. I wish Marianne a swift and full recovery. Just for the nostalgia, here's a clip from her first big hit, which the Stones themselves later recorded much more vigorously.
[Clip: "As Tears Go By."]
Item: Returning to the demographic replacement going on in Britain, one of the craziest aspects of it has been the mass importation of Somalis. I've no doubt there are some pleasant, well-behaved Somalis; but as I've been writing for years, Somali averages are simply terrible. No sensible nation would permit settlement of Somalis in any quantity.
The week before last came news of the most sensationally horrible crime to come out of the mother country in many years. A pretty little English girl named Emily Jones, seven years old, was enjoying the spring sunshine — it was actually Mothers' Day over there — riding her scooter in a town park with her family, when a Somali woman attacked and attempted to decapitate her. The poor child died of her injuries.
There was no apparent motive for the attack; but it wasn't the first time a Muslim African had tried to decapitate a white British passer-by in a public place. It happened to British serviceman Lee Rigby seven years ago.
Following the early stories about Emily Jones' killing, the British mainstream media obediently grabbed their ankles and instituted a news blackout on the case. I check in on the British news stories most days; there's been nothing. The only commentary is from social media and dissident-right websites.
Which is where we also learn that the killer was Somali. Are those sources reliable? I'm betting they are. If the killer was not a Somali, the British mainstream media would be shrieking about the insult to a community of pitiful, harmless "refugees." Their silence tells us it's true.
Item: Finally, I mentioned last week the difficulty people in my state, New York, are having registering for unemploment benefit. The phone lines are hopelessly clogged, and the computer systems are old and crappy.
It's the same in other states, apparently. There's a silver lining, though, for us old mainframe-heads. The Daily Mail April 9th headline tells the story, headline: Obsolete 1950s computer code is causing unemployment chaos amid huge lines: Appeal for retired programmers who know obscure COBOL language to fix outdated computer system in states across US
Let me just unpack that for younger listeners. Before there were smartphones and tablets, before there were even laptops and desktop PCs, there were mainframe computers: great lumbering behemoths in rooms dedicated to them, with miles of cable under the floors and quarter-million-dollar specialty air-conditioning units.
Each mainframe computer was attended by a staff of drudges called "programmers," tasked with getting the machine to do whatever the organization wanted it to do — print out payroll checks, inventory pick lists, financial reports, and so on.
I was for many years one of those drudges. It was a nice middle-class living, being a programmer. That was before organizations discovered that by buying a few congressmen they could re-jig our immigration system to bring in cheaper programmers from abroad.
These drudges, these programmers, communicated with the beast via languages that have since sunk into oblivion; or at any rate are, as the headline says, now "obscure." The languages had weird names like BAL, RPG, PL/1, FORTRAN, REXX, APL, and, yes, COBOL.
Now, as these ancient unemployment-registration systems are collapsing under the strain, the states are looking for programmers to shore them up. They want COBOL programmers!
Hallelujah, I'm employable again!
07 — Signoff. That's my contribution for this week, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you for listening.
This week has been Easter Week for Christians, Passover for Jews. For those of us who've been staying home these past few days, the original Passover story has more than the usual weight of meaning. I haven't heard of anyone actually daubing lamb's blood on the door posts and lintels of their house to ward off the coronavirus; but walking my dog round the neighborhood I've seen one or two religious pictures newly taped to doors and windows, I suppose for protective purposes.
For Christians at Easter, the lamb and his blood have a somewhat different meaning. For the loveliest expression of this that I know, I'm going to play us out with the Treorchy Male Voice Choir singing the hymn "All in the April Evening." This comes with a preamble, though — please bear with me for a moment.
I've known this hymn since my childhood; but setting it up for the podcast, I found myself wondering about its origins. The choral music, I found, was composed by Sir Hugh Roberton, a Scotsman, some time in the early 20th century. The lyrics were originally just a poem by an Irish lady, Katharine Tynan, written around 1880.
Tynan was a very busy writer. She published over a hundred novels and story collections, many books of verse, three stage plays, and five volumes of autobiography. She was a nationalist and a radical, and featured in the Irish literary revival of the late 19th century. The poet W.B. Yeats was a close friend, and in 1890 he actually offered her a proposal of marriage, to which she reacted very Irishly, quote: "For Heaven's sake, you go to the devil!"
(Being proposed to by Yeats was, I should say, not a very remarkable distinction. Poor W.B. couldn't catch a break with the ladies. He turned his rejections into some very lovely verse, though, so there is that.)
Katharine Tynan's poem reads very well all by itself, if you don't mind religious verse. Tynan was a devout Roman Catholic; but you don't have to be of that confession, nor even I think a Christian, to appreciate it simply as a poem, as a window into another person's true soul. The lines are short and the diction exceptionally plain — I counted 104 one-syllable words, 27 two-syllable words, and no words at all longer than two syllables. If you think it's easy to produce something memorable with vocabulary as spare as that, try it.
Just indulge me a little further, please: Let me read the poem before I play the choral version. Thank you.
Sheep and Lambs
[Music clip: Treorchy Male Voice Choir, "All in the April Evening."]