• Play the sound file
[Music clip: From Haydn's Derbyshire March No. 2, electronic piano version]
01 — Intro. And Radio Derb is on the air! Greetings, listeners, from your meritocratically genial host John Derbyshire, here with highlights from the week's news.
Five weeks next Tuesday to election day; although it looks as though this election will be smeared out across several weeks while mail-in ballots are accepted, counted, forged, trashed, mutilated, duplicated, and litigated over. With luck we should have some kind of result by midsummer 2021.
Also next Tuesday, the first debate between President Trump and challenger Joe Biden. I can't shake off the suspicion that Joe has been playing a deep, long game: faking cognitive decline all these months so he can come out on Tuesday all pepped up with Adderall and cut Trump to pieces. We shall see.
OK, to the past week's news.
The news cycle is not always fair to us weekly commentators. The item that's generated most headlines this past seven days was the death of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, which came just too late for last week's podcast. By now, a week later, everything that can be said about the lady has been said. The best I can do is to pass comment on the commentary, so let's have a go at that.
02 — RBG RIP. Looking for RBG commentary, my first port of call was the Z-man's blog. I didn't know what Z would say about Mrs Ginsburg's passing, but I was confident it would be unrestrainedly vituperative.
The Z-man did not disappoint. Headline: Do Goblins Go To Hell? Opening sentence: "After years of false promises, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg [sic] has finally made the world a better place by exiting from it."
I love you, brother.
Z makes all the points I would have made, and that other Dissident Right observers have made. Justice Ginsburg did her country no good at all by remaining on the court for years when she was in seriously ill health, under medication regimes we do not know in detail, but surely unable to function mentally at anything like full capacity. She was too much of a narcissist to remove herself.
Congress could have removed her, but that is to laugh. Congress is no more interested in the good of the nation than Ginsburg was. What Congress is interested in is:
And the utter worthlessness of Congress is the reason for the exaggerated importance of critters like Ruth Ginsburg. Somebody has to make big decisions about contentious social issues. Since the congressweasels are too cowardly to do so, it falls to judges. Z has words to say about this that are worth quoting. Quote:
Rule by robed masters with lifetime appointments is not only un-American, it is anti-Western. Rule by wise man or holy man is an oriental import that no occidental people should embrace. Judges and courts are for administering the laws that are written by the people's rulers. Whether it is a representative body or a monarch, the laws are written by the sovereign, not the courts.
Runner-up in my list of commentators on Ginsburg's passing was my old smoking buddy at National Review, Kevin Williamson. Another pithy headline, headline: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Didn't Understand Her Job.
Kevin quotes one of Ginsburg's admirers to the effect that the late Justice wanted, quote: "To make America fairer, to make justice bigger," end quote. People who want to do that, says Kevin correctly, should run for Congress. If Americans want unrestricted abortion rights, or homosexual marriage, or open borders, they should vote for congressional candidates who promise to enact those things. It's not for unelected judges to enact them, or to enact anything.
Money quote from Kevin:
Justice Ginsburg's using her position to try to impose a feminist vision on federal policy ought to be recognized for what it was: an abuse of power. If you want to rewrite the law along feminist lines, that's a perfectly honorable project — run for Congress.
As I pointed out above, though, the Ginsburgs in the judiciary get away with their abuse of power because Congress, which could restrain them, won't. Life is much easier for congressfolk if all the contentious stuff is decided by judges; and who doesn't want an easy life? The feeding trough's over there, guys. Soo-ee! [Pig noises.]
03 — The ninth justice. Radio Derb goes on the air around Friday midnight. President Trump has told us he'll announce his nominee to replace Justice Ginsburg on Saturday, so that whoever he picks, Radio Derb will be commenting on it a week late again. Sorry about that.
The President has told us that his nominee will, quote, "most likely" be a woman. I don't know why he felt impelled to say that. I guess even Presidents of a nationalist inclination are vulnerable to identitarian fever.
It would have been more interesting if he'd gone the whole identitarian hog and said "a non-Hispanic white woman." But then of course the Earth would have stopped in its orbit and fallen into the Sun and we'd all have been incinerated.
The names we've mostly been hearing as being at the head of his list are Amy Coney Barrett and Barbara Lagoa. Age-wise, both ladies are in the right zone: Barrett 48, Lagoa 52. We could get fifteen or twenty good years of service from either lady before Congress instructed her to step down, if Congress could raise its snout from the trough for long enough to do so.
Also in their favor, both women are pleasantly philoprogenitive: Barrett seven kids, Lagoa three. So, not cat ladies. (Neither, to be perfectly fair here, was Justice Ginsburg, mother of two.)
Both are quite serious Roman Catholics. What's up with that? Prior to Mrs Ginsburg's death the Supreme Court had three Jews and six Catholics. So either a Justice Barrett or a Justice Lagoa would give us two Jews and seven Catholics. What are we Protestants, chopped communion wafers?
And yes, I know: Neil Gorsuch attends Episcopalian services. That's Catholic, too, though; just not Roman Catholic. As any good Anglican will confirm for you, when Episcopalians recite the Nicene Creed in their Sunday services, they aver that, quote:
We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.
The Derbs, just for the record here, belong to a Baptist congregation. There hasn't been a Baptist Supreme since Hugo Black, who retired in 1971. There are around fifty million of us in the U.S.A., according to Wikipedia, almost one in six of the population. That's around three times the number of Jews, depending on how you do the counting. Supreme-Court-wise, we are an under-represented minority!
I'm a bit wary of both these ladies. There's a whiff of Conservatism, Inc. about them — a whiff of yesterday's conservatism, the conservatism of Reagan and the Bushes, of invade-the-world, invite-the-world conservatism. Out here on the Dissident Right we don't want to invade the world, we don't want to invite the world, and we don't think abortion is the most pressing issue facing the republic.
The VDARE.com correspondent who calls himself "Washington Watcher" is of the same mind. Barbara Lagoa, who comes from an immigrant Cuban family, is, he says, all too probably a squish on immigration. Judge Barrett is probably better; but her apparently intense attachment to the Roman Catholic Church in all its present cuckery does not bode well.
Washington Watcher boosts Judge Bridget Bade of Arizona. She is, he says, solid on immigration, law and order, and gun rights. I haven't been able to discover what religious denomination she belongs to, if any.
We can hope. By the time you're hearing this, we shall probably know.
04 — A riot, a robbery. Here's a couple of stories — one really awful, one only somewhat suspect — that got me thinking about a phrase that ought to be in our news vocabulary but isn't.
First story: the suicide of Jake Gardner in Omaha, Nebraska. Ann Coulter gave full details in her September 23rd column here at VDARE.com. In very brief: Thirty-eight-year-old Gardner, an Iraq War veteran, owned two bars in Omaha. May 30th, following the death of George Floyd, anarchists rioted and looted in Omaha. One of Gardner's bars was attacked and his 69-year-old father knocked down by the mob.
Defending his dad, Jake Gardner was himself knocked down by the mob. One looter, 22-year-old James Scurlock, a black man with a long rap sheet, got him in a choke hold. Firing a handgun over his shoulder, Gardner killed Scurlock. An autopsy showed Scurlock was high on meth and coke.
A full investigation by the DA and police found that Gardner had acted in self-defense. That fired up a new mob, who marched on the DA's neighborhood. The DA reversed himself. He called a grand jury and a special prosecutor — black, of course — who promptly indicted Gardner on spurious charges.
The landlord of Gardner's bars canceled his leases, leaving Gardner with no income. Friends tried to set up a legal defense fund at GoFundMe, but GoFundMe wouldn't let them, although there's a big fat GoFundMe account for the black junkie rioter that Gardner shot. With no income and facing a rigged trial, Gardner shot himself September 20th.
Second story: The principal here is 20-year-old Amir Shedyak, an employee of the Hannaford supermarket in Essex, Vermont. He seems to have been a good reliable worker. He was employed at the supermarket for four years, and this March was named Employee of the Month.
One day in August, just after Shedyak had started his shift, a customer told him that an old woman had just been robbed — had her purse stolen. Shedyak ran outside, spotted the thief running with the purse in his hand, and took after him. He caught up, grabbed the thief from behind and held him down before calling the police. The suspect struggled free and got away, but Shedyak was able to return the purse.
For this he was fired. His employer says they feared liability lawsuits, but I wonder. Shedyak, an Arab-American, looks white. What color was the thief? A white guy tackling a black thief, bringing him down and recovering the stolen item, would obviously be an act of racial bigotry.
The thief was later apprehended. His name is Adrian Moore, 29 years old. I can't discover his race. "Adrian" is not a noticeably black name, and the Vermont township where this happened is only 1.5 percent black, so perhaps I'm being over-suspicious, but I can't help wondering. It seems awfully severe to fire a good employee for apprehending a robber. Liability issues? Eh, maybe.
Well, I started off this segment saying that these stories got me thinking about a phrase that ought to be in our news vocabulary but isn't. So what's the phrase? Next segment.
05 — Below the law. The phrase I have in mind is: "below the law." Let me explain what I mean.
You've certainly heard the phrase "above the law." It's a great favorite with Progressives. Whenever some new allegation comes up of President Trump having violated some petty regulation in his past business dealings, out comes Nancy Pelosi or Chuck Schumer to honk that, "Nobody's above the law!"
Yet of course all sorts of people are above the law, well-nigh all of them pets of the Progressive establishment. Illegal aliens are above the law, to name the most obvious case. So are the people and firms that harbor and employ them. Antifa and BLM are above the law, as we've been seeing all too plainly this past few weeks in our cities and towns.
Complementary to these multitudes of people who plainly are above the law, there is a category of people who are below the law.
The textbook case here is the rumble in New York City two years ago between an Antifa gang and Gavin McInnes's Proud Boys. Antifa were of course looking for trouble, and the Proud Boys gave it them in what sounds like an even match. No serious injuries resulted and Antifa refused to co-operate with law enforcement. Two of the Proud Boys got four years jail each; no Antifa were charged with anything.
See? Antifa: above the law. Proud Boys: below the law.
It's the same with the Jake Gardner story. The rioting, looting, drug-crazed thug who attacked Gardner was black, so he was above the law. Gardner himself was white, and so below the law.
In the Vermont case the law seems not to have gotten much involved; but Amir Shedyak is white enough to be below the law. If the robber he brought down was black, he would be above the law, like the black muggers in New York City who only actually get locked up after their 175th arrest.
It's all too easy to come up with instances of people, usually white, treated harshly by the courts because they were found to be below the law. Five years ago Charleston police officer Michael Slager, who is white, shot dead fleeing prisoner Walter Scott — no, not the author of Waverley but a lowlife petty criminal, who was black.
Officer Slager was given to understand that if he pleaded guilty to a federal charge the state charges would be dropped and his case would be dealt with more professionally, so he did that. Nyah nyah, fooled ya! The feds gave him twenty years. His earliest release date: August 2033. Officer Slager was below the law, you see.
James Fields, currently serving sentences of more than four hundred years for indirectly causing the death of an anarchist rioter in Charlottesville three years ago, James Fields is seriously below the law. Not only is he white and male, he has wrong opinions. That puts him way below the law: hence the absurdly extravagant sentences.
Who thinks that if James Fields had been black and Heather Heyer a Unite the Right marcher, there would have been any criminal conviction at all? Not me. Fields would then have been above the law, Heyer below it. Who, whom.
You'll hear people grumble that we live in a lawless society. I take their point, but "lawless" is not exactly right. The law applies all right, often with great severity, but only to those who are below the law. If you belong to a group that's above the law — you belong to a designated victim group, or just hold all the right opinions — chances are you'll skate. Who, whom.
If you're below the law, the law will crush you like a bug. Ask those Proud Boys; ask Michael Slager; ask James Fields; I'd say to ask Jake Gardner, but of course you can't — he's dead. If you're above the law: Party on!
06 — The corruption of American science. Back in my September 4th podcast I had things to say about wokeness at the fine old magazine Scientific American. Their September issue had run a long article headlined Reckoning with Our Mistakes in which the editors groveled, rent their garments, heaped ashes on their heads, and flagellated themselves with guilt over shamefully un-woke things the magazine had published back in the 19th century.
All that was bad enough — distressing enough, I should say, for an old science geek who, in his youth, looked to Scientific American for instruction and amusement on science and math topics, delivered in a spirit of objective enquiry.
Now here came the October issue. For the first time ever in the magazine's 175-year history the editors have endorsed a Presidential candidate. Can you guess which one? Of course you can! Quote:
The evidence and the science show that Donald Trump has badly damaged the U.S. and its people — because he rejects evidence and science.
There follow several hundred words about how ineptly the administration has coped with the COVID-19 pandemic, with some supplementary remarks on healthcare in general and environmental issues. Then this concluding paragraph, quote:
Although Trump and his allies have tried to create obstacles that prevent people from casting ballots safely in November, either by mail or in person, it is crucial that we surmount them and vote. It's time to move Trump out and elect Biden, who has a record of following the data and being guided by science.
What exactly are those obstacles to voting that Trump has tried to create? The online version of this Scientific American editorial has a link there to a Chicago Tribune story headlined Cook County GOP Sues to Block State's Enhanced Vote-by-Mail Efforts. Back in June, you see, the Governor of Illinois signed a law to expand mail-in voting, which of course means expanding opportunities to corrupt November's election. A conservative legal group has tried to block the law.
The Scientific American editorial is, in short, just cut'n'pasted from Biden campaign talking points.
For more on the ongoing corruption of American science by ideology, see Heather Mac Donald's article titled Conformity to a lie in the summer issue of City Journal.
Heather quotes the revolting statements of self-abasement issuing from college presidents and faculty heads about how they must strive harder to purge their institutions of "systemic racism" and "white privilege."
Some science-relevant extracts from Heather's article. There are a lot of inner quotes here that I really should mark as I speak, but for once I'll skip that and just read right through Heather's text. Quotes:
To my mind, nothing is worse than this corruption of science. Objective, reasoned scientific inquiry is the crowning glory of Western civilization. These solemn declarations of guilt and repentance are a regression to what came before: superstition and witch-doctoring. These so-called academics might as well put bones through their noses.
07 — Miscellany. And now, our closing miscellany of brief items.
If [George] Soros' dollars are being shoveled into District Attorney campaigns, that would be foreign interference in our elections, wouldn't it? Which, according to Establishment propaganda, is absolutely the worst thing in the world, isn't it?
A reader tells me, and Wikipedia confirms, that Soros holds dual citizenship, U.S.A. and Hungary, so Soros spending money to get DAs elected is not foreign interference.
I confess my error, with the rider that, while I understand that dual citizenship is legal, I can't see why the hell it should be.
In that piece by Heather Mac Donald that I mentioned, one of the college presidents confessing his institution's sinful racism is Christopher Eisgruber, President of Princeton University. President Eisgruber has, Heather tells us, quote:
ordered the school's top faculty and administrators to submit plans on how they will [inner quote] "combat systemic racism within and beyond the University." [end inner quote]. Every aspect of Princeton will be reexamined with a [inner quote] "bias toward action," [end inner quote] Eisgruber said.
So Princeton University is, according to its president, addled with "systemic racism." That caught the eye of Betsy DeVos, or one of her underlings.
The Department of Education has sent a letter to Eisgruber reminding him that Princeton has received more than $75 million in federal aid during his seven years as president on the understanding, repeatedly confirmed by Princeton, that Princeton complies with the 1964 Civil Rights Act by being scrupulously non-discriminatory.
How, the Department wants to know, can that square with those confessions of "systemic racism within … the University"? They have opened an investigation.
Yesssss! The weasel is caught in its own trap! Here's a toast to Secretary DeVos! And please, let's see more of this.
Item: Here's another along the same lines — a federal government department going head to head with the wokesters.
This time it's the Department of Justice. Sunday last the DoJ announced it has designated Seattle, New York City, and Portland, Oregon, as "anarchist jurisdictions" for failing to control riots while simultaneously defunding their police departments. These cities will, the Department says, lose federal funding.
So let's raise another toast, this one to our Attorney General Bill Barr. Although in this case I think it's fair to ask the A-G, four months into the George Floyd riots: What took you so long?
Item: As, I am pretty sure, the only VDARE.com contributor who's actually met His Holiness the Dalai Lama, I can never pass up a Tibet news item. This one is also a New York City news item, as it happens.
There is a little nest of Tibetan exiles in south-central Manhattan. I had some intercourse with them when I myself lived there in the 1980s. There was — and, I see, still is — a restaurant, Tibetan Kitchen, down there on Third Avenue at 31st Street, and the exiles had an office nearby that put out newsletters and such.
I'm not the only one who noticed that. The ChiComs noticed, too. Their army has been occupying Tibet for the past sixty years, with the same ferocious intolerance you've read about in regard to the Uighurs of Xinjiang, with the aim of annihilating Tibet's language, religion, and culture.
Thirty-three-year-old Baimadajie Angwang, a naturalized U.S. citizen of Tibetan origins, was hired by the New York Police Department in 2016. He has since spent his time, both on- and off-duty, gathering intelligence on Tibetan exile activities in the city and passing them on to a handler in the Chinese Consulate here.
It's been a nice little earner for Officer Angwang. He has, according to the New York Post, been getting regular five-digit money transfers wired over from China. For reasons not clear to me, he holds a "secret"-level security clearance from the Defense Department, which surely helped.
Now the rat is under arrest, charged with illegally acting as an agent of a foreign government, making false statements, wire fraud and obstruction of an official proceeding. Maximum possible tariff here: 55 years in prison.
I hope he gets every one of the 55, although it's more likely he'll end up at one end of a spy swap after a nominal year or two of jail time.
Item: Back in my January 31st podcast I had a sad item about the decline of SOAS, the School of Oriental and African Studies in London, whose marvellous library I frequented back around 1980. Back then SOAS was, I said, quote, "multicultural in a genuine and positive way, full of young English people curious to learn about cultures very different from their own." End quote.
Nowadays, as I reported, the place is being wrecked by woke agitators. The very word "oriental" in the school's name is indicative of thoughtcrime — patronizing, privileged, and … oh, I don't know, probably hurtful. SOAS is in financial difficulties, with falling student enrolments.
Well, the news just gets sadder. Mark Weeden, who lectures at SOAS, has just told us that the Hittite language will no longer be taught there. There have been classes in Hittite at SOAS since 1965. No longer. SOAS is shutting down almost all its cuneiform-related courses, although there will be some classes in Akkadian and Sumerian for a year or two longer.
The Hittites were a mighty civilized power in the second millennium B.C., located in present-day Turkey and Syria. They get numerous mentions in the Old Testament. They were swept away in the great Bronze Age collapse around 1200 B.C. In the preceding four hundred years or so, millions of Hittites lived and loved, debated and fought, wrote and read — in cuneiform script, of course — carved and painted, fished and farmed. Now, if you want to engage with their words, there is one less place where you can do so.
Well, well: Civilizations rise and fall. Reading about the decline of SOAS, and the follies and self-abasements at our own universities recorded by Heather Mac Donald, I think I know which part of the cycle Western civilization is in.
Item: That's too gloomy a note to end on, so let me offer some uplift.
Yes, there is resistance to the decline. Yes, there are citizens struggling to uphold civilized standards. We are not altogether bereft of hope.
In a meeting on Wednesday this week, the board of New York City's Metropolitan Transportation Authority voted to ban defecation on buses and subway trains. Or, as the New York Post reported in its own inimitable style, quote:
The only No. 2 allowed on the MTA is the train line.
Let's be thankful for small mercies.
08 — Signoff. With that, ladies and gentlemen, I take my leave. Thank you for your time and attention; and, if you live in a district as bosky as mine, get ready to start raking those leaves.
There is so much shrieking lunacy all around, I thought something soothing would be good to sign out with — a lullaby. What is more soothing than a lullaby? Here is the most beautiful of them all: Brahms' Wiegenlied, sung here by Ernestine Schumann-Heink. Thanks to the listener who sent me this.
There will be more from Radio Derb next week.
[Music clip: Ernestine Schumann-Heink, Brahms' Wiegenlied.]