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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 radically genial host John Derbyshire, reporting to you from the bosky environs of Long Island North Shore.
Lots of stuff to cover this week, so I shall plunge right in. [Splash sound.] What the hell was that?
02 — The weirdness of it all. I'm going to start by piggy-backing on another commentator. Sometimes, browsing the blogs, I come across something that expresses in a clear form something I've been thinking and/or feeling myself in a muddy, un-clear kind of way.
The blogger I'm going to crib from here is the Z-man. Yes, I know, I've quoted Z before; and yes, I know, he's often wrong on facts. Any time I mention him I get frowning emails from listeners telling me of some blunder he's committed. OK, point taken. For a guy who blogs as much as Z does, there are bound to be lapses. I'll still say that the proportion of clarifying insights in Z's blogs are extraordinarily high, up there with our own Steve Sailer's.
Here was Z hitting nails right on the head Thursday this week.
His theme is the strangeness of our current situation. Whole regions of our normal cultural landscape have been swept away, as if by some flash flood, yet we barely seem to be noticing. Sample quote:
No new movies or television have come out since the panic and no one seems to care very much. Sports entertainment has been shuttered and no one seems to care. All of the spring and summer youth sports have been cancelled. This time of year, kids into baseball, lacrosse, soccer and big-time football would normally be in summer leagues. Their parents would be toting them around the country. None of that is happening.
It's weird. Kids aren't going to school; sports aren't being played; churches and restaurants are just barely functioning; theaters and movie houses aren't functioning.
Perhaps weirdest of all, as Z points out, is the economics of our situation. If your government recklessly prints great scads of paper money and drops them from helicopters on the populace at large, you get hyperinflation, don't you? So we have always supposed. Yet our government is doing helicopter economics to the tune, currently, of 23 trillion dollars, and nobody thinks it worth talking about.
Strange times. Are we like the Road Runner over the cliff edge, legs working away in thin air, waiting for gravity to kick in? Or can we coast on indefinitely like this, absorbed in our smartphones, without jobs or travel, without sports or schools, tapping away happily at our little screens as the national debt soars up through thirty, forty, fifty trillion?
The failure of leadership at all levels — municipal, state, federal — to do anything much about the recent riots and vandalism reinforces the impression that we are without direction or control. Z says we're like people who have been dumped out of their canoe in the rapids and are now being swept downriver. Yes, that's how it feels.
Strange times. Not the least strange thing about them is the Presidential election we're headed into, less than four months away now. Somehow the ordinary processes of constitutional democracy have brought us the choice between two septuagenarian gents, neither of whom inspires much hope for the future.
The incumbent, while patriotic and well-intentioned, is dismally incompetent at managing the machinery of federal government — at getting the bureaucracy, the legislature, and the judiciary to do the things his voters want done. The challenger, meanwhile, is a senile babbler, glove puppet for an army of totalitarian nation-wreckers.
Strange times, strange times.
03 — Republicans for a Democratic Congress. The deepest depths of strangeness in our country's political life are being plumbed by the Republican Party.
Cast your mind back to the 2016 campaign, listener. How many Republicans were running for President in 2016? I know at one point it was seventeen. It may have gone above that, I don't recall; but seventeen will do for my argument.
Sixteen of those seventeen were orthodox Republicans chanting the Chamber of Commerce talking points in chorus and keeping well clear of any faint hint of political incorrectness. Number seventeen was Donald Trump; and Republican primary voters chose him as their candidate.
In the weeks after the election result Peggy Noonan wondered aloud whether the Republican establishment had learned anything from seeing that entire boatload of orthodox Republicans sink beneath the waves while Trump, the outsider, floated to victory. She concluded that they hadn't.
They still haven't. One major cohort of the Republican Party, in fact, after seething for three years in resentment, is now throwing its weight behind Joe Biden's campaign. You've probably heard of the Lincoln Project, a group of B-list GOP functionaries who are actively campaigning for Biden.
It gets crazier. McClatchy reports that these insurgents now have their eyes on the U.S. Senate. That is, not only are they campaigning for Joe Biden to be President, they want to flip the Senate Democratic, too.
They have even targeted — can you believe this — Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, current Senate majority leader. You and I may think of McConnell as an ineffectual RINO, a useless sack of monkey poop who has spent three years doing nothing at all to advance the agenda that won the Presidency for his party in 2016. To the Lincoln Project crowd, though, McConnell is a limb of Satan for having, quote, "enabled" Trump.
Crazy enough for you? Wait, it gets crazier. Over in Kansas, the senior Senator for that state, Pat Roberts, is retiring. Kris Kobach is running in the Republican primary for the vacant seat. Kris is a smart and capable man, and a true patriot. He's for limited immigration, though, so the establishment GOP hates him. They are running attack ads against him on Kansas TV stations, financed — according to Kris — by a group under the control of … wait for it … Mitch McConnell.
Are you getting this? A genuine, smart, patriotic Republican is running for a Senate seat on the program that got Trump elected four years ago. Mitch McConnell and, no doubt, other establishment Republicans — the types who lined up with the sixteen failed GOP primary candidates in '16 — are trying to sabotage him. Meanwhile, yet another group of Republicans, or ex-Republicans, are trying to sabotage McConnell and flip the Senate to the Democrats.
Has politics ever been this crazy before?
Here's one of the Lincoln Project people explaining himself. This is Steve Schmidt, billed by McClatchy as a Republican-turned-independent political strategist who now works for The Lincoln Project. Quote, referring to GOP Senators:
The analogy would be in the same way that fire purifies the forest, it needs to be burned to the ground and fundamentally repudiated. Every one of them should be voted out of office, with the exception of Mitt Romney.
So for these folk it's a case of "the worse, the better." Sometimes, they are arguing, you just have to call down fire on your own position.
Looking at the glittery-eyed totalitarians lined up behind poor old Joe Biden, my own guess would be: the worse, the worse.
And … Mitt Romney?
Mitt Romney is the beau ideal of anti-Trump Republicans? Good grief!
There was nothing at all surprising about it. An end to immigration enforcement; amnesty and citizenship for ten million, twenty million — however many it is — illegal aliens; 125,000 so-called "refugees" a year, … the works.
This all emerged from a task force the Democrats set up to reconcile Biden's position with those of Bernie Sanders. You may have forgotten by now, but Bernie was running strong in the primaries earlier this year, and one of the fears of the Biden people is that those Bernie voters won't turn out for Joe in November.
That's particularly a fear in California, Colorado, and Nevada, which Bernie Sanders won in the primaries with heavy support from Latinos. Other states like Arizona and Florida with a lot of Latinos are also worrisome to the Democrats. Hence the need for a Sanders-Biden patch-up pitched especially at Latinos.
The task force report, which came out on Wednesday, had almost nothing to say about legal immigration. No, I didn't read all 110 pages of the filthy thing; but I did Ctrl-F on things like "guest worker" and "H-1B," with zero results.
That means I can't frame these proposals in the larger context of a Joe Biden population policy. As I keep telling you: You can't not have a population policy. You have a population policy whether or not you know you do, and whether or not you're comfortable talking about it.
I'm sure Joe Biden isn't comfortable talking about it. I'm sure, in fact, he would be outraged at the suggestion that he has a population policy. Once again, though: You can't not have a population policy; you can only have a good one or a bad one. To judge from this task force report, Joe Biden has a really, really bad one.
05 — Importing all the world's problems. Speaking of immigration again, here's an interesting aspect of our current population policy as it relates to legal immigration. The topic here is anti-Dalit discrimination.
Anti-what? Dalit, D-A-L-I-T.
India, as I think everyone knows, has a complex social system based on inherited, mostly-endogamous castes. There are four main castes, with the highest being the one foreigners have all heard of: the Brahmins, the priestly caste. The other three main castes are a bit less prestigious; but all four stand way above the Dalits, or Untouchables.
In modern times the caste lines have softened to some degree, with Indian governments practicing and encouraging affirmative action for the low-caste Dalits. Still, even today, marriage is mostly within caste, and a parent in one of the four high castes would be horrified to hear that his son or daughter was dating an Untouchable, a Dalit.
What's any of that got to do with us in the USA? A lot, thanks to our policy of importing great numbers of computer programmers from India on guest-worker visas. They work cheaper than American programmers; and on the terms of the guest-worker visa, they are tied to the company that sponsored them — they are indentured labor — which employers are of course all in favor of.
What, you may ask, even the woke progressive companies of Silicon Valley? Are the Social Justice Warrior chieftains of Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon, … are these enlightened champions of the downtrodden masses really into indentured labor? Sorry to burst your bubble, listener, but yes they are, big time.
And this has been the case for so long now that whole cohorts of Indian programmers have risen into middle- and upper-management slots, advanced from guest-worker to Green Card and thence to citizenship, and are now hiring and firing younger cohorts of Indians.
That's the background to the lawsuit just filed by the State of California against Silicon Valley megacorporation Cisco, for unlawful employment practices. You can read full details of the case over at an Indian website called The Wire. Just put "thewire.in" in the URL box ("thewire" all one word, "in" for "India) then click on the search symbol at top right, then put "cisco" into the search box.
The main point of the story is is that ninety percent of Indian programmers and software managers are high-caste, and liable to discriminate against the occasional Dalit employee. A Dalit working at Cisco for a high-caste boss claims to have been thus discriminated against, and that's the basis of the California lawsuit.
So now caste discrimination is an issue in the USA. When you import the world in such quantities, you import the world's problems.
This lawsuit surely belongs in the file headed POPULATION POLICY. What would Joe Biden have to say about it if asked?
That's a rhetorical question. Joe would have no clue what you were talking about.
06 — Denying the woke mob's most cherished myth. You may think, after listening to this segment, that it's all about a storm in an academic teacup. Possibly so: but I think it tells us something about the country we've been living in since May 25th this year, when the Holy Blessed Martyr George Floyd went to join the Choir Invisible.
It's a tangled tale, with a cast of several. I'll do my best to step through it in such a way you can keep track.
OK, here's a name for you: Joe Cesario, associate professor of psychology at Michigan State University. I hope I'm pronouncing his name right: It's C-E-S-A-R-I-O, so it might start with a se-, not a che, I'm just guessing.
Last August Prof. Cesario and four other researchers published a paper at PNAS, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, as prestigious as an outlet for scientific work can be. Title of the paper: Officer characteristics and racial disparities in fatal officer-involved shootings.
The word "officer" there means "police officer." Prof. Cesario and his co-authors aimed to find out, by rigorous quantitative analysis, whether fatal shootings by cops reflect racial discrimination on the part of white cops. The answer, they concluded, is no.
Here's another name at Michigan State University: Steve Hsu, who rejoices in the titles Professor of Theoretical Physics and Professor of Computational Mathematics, Science, and Engineering. That's a lot of high-level STEM fields to be a professor of, and Steve Hsu is, as you'd expect, a very smart guy.
His name is familiar name to me from long custom. Prof. Hsu runs a blog titled "Information Processing," motto: "Pessimism of the Intellect, Optimism of the Will." I've been following that blog for years. It's mainly about scientific topics, as you'd expect, but it touches on politics now and then in a generally pro-Trumpish, or at any rate not anti-Trumpish, way.
Prof. Hsu also, until three weeks ago, held a post in the administration at the university, title: Senior Vice President for Research and Innovation. In that capacity, he had authorized some of the funding for Prof. Cesario's paper on police shootings. Prof. Hsu tells us that, quote:
The request for funding [that is, for Prof. Cesario's project] was strongly endorsed by the Associate Dean for Research in the College of Social Science at MSU, and the College of Social Science matched the contribution from my office. The project was interdisciplinary, in collaboration with researchers in our School of Criminal Justice. Professor Cesario has also received National Science Foundation grants to study this topic.
So this is solid, quantitative social-science research by fully-credentialed academics, the funding properly approved, with not the faintest shadow of a hint of anything untoward.
Unfortunately the conclusions of this paper by Prof. Cesario et al. crash right up against the most cherished myth of the screeching woke mobs who now control so much of our culture, including our academic culture: the myth of evil white cops seeking out and murdering innocent black bodies.
One more name, this one you likely know: Heather Mac Donald of the Manhattan Institute. Heather has been covering police work for years — for decades, actually — and has written a book titled Are Cops Racist?, published ten years ago. In September last year she cited Prof. Cesario's study when giving testimony to the House Judiciary Committee.
You still with me here? Prof. Hsu at Michigan State, in his capacity as VP for Research, authorized funds for Prof. Cesario to head up this study on fatal cop shootings. The study came out last August. It found no evidence of racial discrimination by cops. Heather Mac Donald cited it to the House committee in September.
Heather also referred to the Cesario study in an article she wrote for City Journal. In that article she noted that two Princeton political scientists had challenged the study's design. Prof. Cesario and his co-authors stood by their findings, and wrote that even when you allow for the methodological criticisms made by the Princeton guys, there was still, quote, "no significant evidence of anti-black disparity in the likelihood of being fatally shot by the police," end quote.
Forward now to June 3rd this year, when the nationwide hysteria about the death of George Floyd was burning at full heat. Heather Mac Donald wrote an Op-Ed for the Wall Street Journal on that date, title: The Myth of Systemic Police Racism. She debunked the stuff about police racism yet again, drawing on her own many years of research, and again citing the conclusion of the Cesario paper.
All hell broke loose at Michigan State, with a grisly display of the spinelessness we have come to expect from university administrators in the face of woke mobs. Mid-June, Steve Hsu was stripped of his position as VP for Research, just because he had approved funding for the study. Having tenure, he remains on the faculty at MSU.
You have to visualize quote marks around the word "explained" there. I have read through the retraction statement a couple of times, and I can't figure out any real need for a retraction.
Nor can Steve Hsu. Edited quote from him:
My understanding from communication with Cesario is that he and his co-authors stand by the data and statistical analysis used in their paper
I've mentioned all the principals here, but there's more going on than I have so far covered. To state it very briefly: Steve Hsu is not woke.
Wokeness, like all totalitarian ideologies, allows no middle ground. If you're not with them — totally on board with all the tenets of their ideology — you are an evil bigot, an Enemy of the People.
After several years of reading Steve Hsu's blog, and one brief personal encounter when I saw him address a group in New York City, I could not swear that he's a race realist in the frank, unapologetic sense I am. He is respectful of, and very well-informed about, genetics, and doesn't rule out genetic influences on human behavior and society. Still, he doesn't assert any certainty about such influences, just leaves it all as open questions to be decided by further research.
That easy-going open-mindedness doesn't wash with the Social Justice mob. Along with his shamelessly non-hostile attitude to the Trump administration, in fact, it makes him Literally Hitler.
He does have tenure; but as Amy Wax discovered at U. Penn., cowardly administrators have ways to make your life uncomfortable once the witch-hunters have tagged you.
Joe Cesario seems also to still be on faculty at Michigan State. Perhaps he has tenure, too, I don't know. Or perhaps that weird hair-splitting retraction was a condition for him not being fired.
This is the state of affairs at our institutions of higher education. The mob rules; administrators pander to the mob; honest researchers live on their nerves.
07 — Where will Hong Kongers go? One more on population policy.
As predicted in my 2001 China Diary — although somewhat sooner than I anticipated — the ChiComs have made their move on Hong Kong. That city is now under the same deadening political conformity and state terror as mainland China. Arrests of dissidents have already been carried out.
Some Hong Kongers have vowed to stay and continue fighting for their freedoms. My admiration for their courage knows no bounds, but I am not hopeful about their career and life prospects. Many more are looking to emigrate. But to where?
The British government has offered an open door to as many as three million Hong Kongers. The city was a British colony until 1997. When the city was handed over to China that year as a Special Administrative Zone, with basic liberties guaranteed for fifty years, the residents were given a limited right to visa-free travel to Britain.
Now, with this latest ChiCom-demanded security law in place, those liberties are disappearing fast. The Brits are doing what seems like the decent thing, offering citizenship under easy terms to any that want it.
Other Anglosphere countries likewise. Australia, which has ticked off the ChiComs to such a degree on issues of trade and the coronavirus that they have nothing left to lose, has offered limited sanctuary. Canada, which for decades has had a big Hong Kong-émigré population, is looking to take in more, although nothing's been made firm yet. New Zealand is, quote, "reviewing its relationship" with Hong Kong, according to the Kiwi Foreign Affairs Minister.
It's not just the Anglosphere, either. Taiwan has expressed willingness to take in Hong Kongers, although there is some wariness on both sides.
On the Taiwan side, authorities there worry that a flood of incoming Hong Kongers would include a fair cohort of ChiCom agents, which it undoubtedly would. There is also a more generalized reluctance to do anything proactively to tick off the ChiComs, whose noises about returning Taiwan to the warm bosom of the Motherland have been getting louder under current ChiCom Godfather Xi Jinping.
On the Hong Kongers' part, given those noises from the mainland,there's the suspicion that fleeing to Taiwan would be going from frying pan to fire, or at least to something fire-adjacent. If the ChiComs are moving on Hong Kong today, how long will it be before they make their move on Taiwan?
Under these circumstances I was a bit surprised to see this poll from Foreign Policy magazine. The week before the ChiCom-demanded security law went into effect on June 30th, Foreign Policy commissioned a poll of Hong Kongers asking whether they were planning to flee Hong Kong and, if so, what would be their first choice of destination and what would be their last choice.
First choice? Taiwan, by an easy margin — thirty percent chose Taiwan. Next choice was Canada at around fifteen percent, then Australia, Mainland China, and Britain. The USA was eighth choice, around three percent. I'm not sure what that tells us.
W-a-a-ay out ahead of the pack for last choice was Mainland China, around seventy percent. The USA polled well here, too, though, placing joint second with Australia at ten percent.
That's preferences on the sending side. This being VDARE.com, you know I'm going to point out that the receiving nation should have something to say about it, too.
As the author of a couple of full-length articles on the perils of importing an overclass, I've made my own sympathies plain. Importing an overclass of people who are on average smarter than your own people, is foolish and short-sighted. It's double foolish if the incoming overclass is racially distinctive. You're just storing up trouble for the future.
For more on what I think about that, by all means read my articles from December 2017 on this theme.
And, in the matter of that cohort of ChiCom agents in among a mass of imported Hong Kongers, any other nation that takes them in should share Taiwan's apprehensions. In fact, we should be more apprehensive than the Taiwanese, whose more-or-less common culture and heritage with the Hong Kongers would make it easier for them to spot the spooks.
Bottom line here: If floods of people do leave Hong Kong for a freer life elsewhere, I hope the majority will choose Taiwan. That keys neatly to the fact of Taiwan being their first choice in that Foreign Policy poll. Hey, problem solved!
08 — Miscellany. And now, our closing miscellany of brief items.
Imprimis: The people of Finland are famously shy. I guess we all know the joke about what the difference is between a Finnish extrovert and a Finnish introvert. The extrovert looks at your shoes when he's talking to you; the introvert looks at his shoes …
Estonians are close ethnic cousins to the Finns. Up to now I have known only one Estonian joke, a dark one from the time of the Soviet occupation. Q: Why is Estonia the world's biggest country? A: Our coastline's on the Baltic, our capital is Moscow, and our population's in Siberia.
Well, now I know another one. Who says reading Twitter is a waste of time?
This tweet is from someone called Stephen Fidler, not otherwise known to me. I think he's lifted it from a Wall Street Journal article about the coronavirus; but not having a Journal subscription, I can't be sure. Anyway, tweet:
Estonians, like Finns, are looking forward to the day when they no longer need to observe a two-metre distance from each other in public places. [Inner quote.] "We can go back to our usual five metres."
End inner quote, end tweet.
Item: New York City's communist Mayor Bill De Blasio, confronted with a fast-rising casualty toll from gunfire in the city's ghettos, has leapt into action.
The precise action he has leapt into is, he has allowed, paid for from the city's very depleted funds, and actually participated in, the painting of the words BLACK LIVES MATTER along Fifth Avenue in front of Trump Tower. Those words are, of course, the leading slogan of the anti-white, anti-cop Marxist-Leninist movement bearing the same name.
Similar disfigurements of public thoroughfares have been carried out in big cities elsewhere, against some courageous resistance from normal Americans, who will of course be persecuted for their impertinence. In this current lunacy, communist graffiti are better protected than our national historic monuments.
Compared to the size of the outrage, mere linguistic objections may seem petty, but I'm going to make one anyway. Here it is: Why do all the news sources I've seen refer to these roadway graffiti as "murals"?
The English word "mural" comes from Latin murus, "a wall." When these ugly great yellow slogans are painted not on a wall but on a roadway, they are not murals.
What are they? Well, a solid paved area is called pavimentum in Latin, so "pavimental" would be better. Or there is Latin iter, meaning "a way, a road" — root of the English word "itinerary" — so "iteral." might work. Better than "mural," anyway.
Doesn't anything get edited any more?
Item: Finally, and also on the linguistic beat: As a Scrabble player of old, my attention was arrested by this story in the Daily Mail, July 5th, headline: Scrabble community discusses banning racial slurs from the game as part of crackdown on hate speech.
The Blessed Martyr George Floyd — peace be upon him! — shows up in the third paragraph of the story. Quote:
Following worldwide anti-racism protests in the wake of the death of American George Floyd, officials who govern Scrabble tournaments in Britain are reportedly discussing whether to ban offensive terms from their competitions.
I rarely get the chance to play Scrabble nowadays. I do recall, though, that certain particularly deft moves in the game will get you bonus points. Using all seven of the letters in your rack on one move will get you a 50-point bonus, for example.
Should I ever again be invited to play Scrabble, I shall accept only on condition that 25 bonus points be awarded for any words that are racially or sexually taboo.
09 — Signoff. That's it, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you for listening, and note please that this week's podcast was number 748. We are preparing the bunting and goodie bags for number 750, due of course two weeks from now, God willing an' the Creek don't rise.
Back last August, in Radio Derb number 704, I introduced you to an ingenious friend, one of whose dimensions of ingenuity — one of many, I should say — consists in expertise with musical software. Back then my friend gifted me, and I thereupon gifted you all, with Pachelbel's Derbyshire Canonical and Britannical March, to mixed reviews.
Well, here he is again. This time he has turned my traditional intro music, which is of course Haydn's Derbyshire March Number Two into a fugue. At least, that was his intention. He quickly realized that a full-length fugue would be too much for a Radio Derb podcast, so he limited himself to a fughetta, title "The Derbyshire Fughetta in Three Voices."
Having gifted me with this fughetta — which I rather like — and having thus described it to me, my friend tells me he has placed a modest wager with a respectable bookmaker that I shall not be able to resist making a "Fugghettaboutit" joke. In the immortal words of Calvin Coolidge, dear friend: You lose.
There will be more from Radio Derb next week.
[Music clip: "The Derbyshire Fughetta in Three Voices."]