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[Music clip: From Haydn's Derbyshire March No. 2, blues guitar version]
01 — Intro. And Radio Derb is on the air! Greetings, listeners, from your credentially genial host John Derbyshire, Esquire.
Wait a minute; I think I can claim more than that. When I graduated university I was the first person in my family to have done so. My mother, a coal-miner's daughter, was deeply impressed. When she sent me letters thereafter she would write my name on the envelope thus: "Mr John Derbyshire, B.Sc."
Some years later I acquired a Postgraduate Diploma in Chinese. So I think I should most properly be addressed as Mr John Derbyshire, Esq., B.Sc., P.G.Dip.Chin. Please make a note of this for purposes of future correspondence.
With those formalities out of the way, let's take a glance at the news.
02 — Congress versus American white-collar workers (cont.) In my December 4th podcast I railed against the U.S. Senate passing on December 2nd, by unanimous consent — no debate, no vote — the horrible and anti-American bill called S.386. The bill means, as I said then, quote: "a massive loosening of the rules for foreign workers to take up white-collar jobs in the U.S.A." End quote.
Along with the unspeakable awfulness of the bill itself, the Senate's action revealed once again, if further revelation were needed, the utter uselessness of the Republican Party. A single Republican dissenter could have stopped this monstrosity; but nobody spoke up. They are all bought and paid for by the cheap-labor lobbies.
Well, how are the congresscritters doing at getting that bill to the President's desk for signing? I wish I could tell you. The reason I can't tell you is that the bill has gotten all tangled up in the weeds of congressional procedure.
For one thing, there is another house in Congress, the House of Representatives. They have their own version of a cheap-labor bill to prevent U.S. citizens getting access to good middle-class jobs. Their bill is called H.R. 1044, the Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act, proposed by Democratic Representative Zoe Lofgren of California, and passed by the House way back in July last year.
There are of course differences between the two bills, the House bill and the Senate bill; and those differences have to be reconciled. The latest news I have, from Wednesday this week, is that they haven't yet been.
That's a problem for the cheap-labor lobbies because the hope has been to slip this legislation into an omnibus spending bill. Current funding for government operations runs out tonight, Friday midnight, so Congress needs to pass a bill before then. As at midday on Friday, it doesn't look as though they will.
Don't panic, though, citizens! Your elected legislators are working hard to get the job done. If they can't meet tonight's deadline, they'll pass a Continuing Resolution to plug the gap, and do the omnibus thing later.
And please don't worry that this Continuing Resolution will be some kind of extraordinary emergency measure. Congress passes 'em all the time: matter of fact, government operations are being funded right now by a Continuing Resolution signed by the President last Friday, December 11th. And before that, funding was via an earlier Continuing Resolution passed October 1st, the first day of fiscal year 2021, because Congress, as usual, hadn't been able to pass any proper appropriations bills in time for the new fiscal year.
As I said: your legislators hard at work.
What's holding them up now? Bickering over the cost of the omnibus bill, mainly, with some side bickering about the amount of COVID relief, the powers of the Federal Reserve, and other stuff too arcane to surmount my threshold of tolerance for procedural minutiae.
All those minutiae and all that bickering are of course catnip for the cheap-labor crowd. They can settle their own differences, then slip their legislation into the omnibus funding bill when at last it emerges, without anyone paying much attention.
Concerning those differences between the House cheap-labor bill and the Senate cheap-labor bill, I should note that, this being 2020 U.S.A., there is or course a race angle.
The Senate bill — S.386, the one I started with here — has a clause, insisted on by Senator Rick Scott of Florida, that denies permanent residence to any Chinese national who's participated in training by the Chinese Communist Party. Since pretty much any Chinese citizen — yes, including Mrs Derbyshire — has had some such training, it's hard to see how any of them could get a green card under the terms of the Senate bill.
That of course has gotten the Chinese and Chinese-American lobbies howling, including Representative Judy Chu, also of California. "It's a new Chinese Exclusion Act!" they're screeching.
If only. The main motive for the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act — not the only one, I'll grant, but the main one — was to protect American workers from cheaper foreign labor. Even Woke-ipedia grudgingly allows that, quote:
Although widespread dislike for the Chinese persisted well after the law itself was passed, of note is that some capitalists and entrepreneurs resisted their exclusion because they accepted lower wages.
Indians want the China clause dropped from the Senate bill too. They couldn't care less about the Chinese, but Indians will be far and away the main beneficiaries of the bill if passed, so they don't want anything to impede its passage.
With Charles Koch, George Soros, all the big software firms, all the Indian body shops, the Chamber of Commerce, and all their countless allies, enablers, and funders pushing hard, I'm sure the differences will be resolved and the omnibus funding bill will end up on President Trump's desk with the cheap-labor poison pill tucked away in its folds and convolutions.
The thing for President Trump to then do, if all his expressions of support for American white-collar workers are worth a damn, the thing for him to do would be to veto the omnibus spending bill.
If he does veto it, Congress could overturn his veto. Given the lockstep support for mass white-collar immigration in both parties, likely they would.
If Trump vetoes and Congress does not overturn his veto, we're back in Continuing Resolution territory, and the issue might drag on into the new administration, with all the variables there of a diminished Democrat majority in the House and uncertainty about the Senate.
I used to think higher math was hard, but it ain't nothing compared with trying to figure out what Congress will do.
What if Trump does not veto the omnibus spending bill? What if he signs the filthy thing, with the cheap-labor poison pill included? Neil Munro addressed this very pointedly over at Breitbart.com, December 17th, quote from Neil:
If the legislation is included in the year-end omnibus spending legislation, the Silicon Valley giveaway will end up being the only immigration law that Congress allowed [Trump] to sign, despite steep GOP losses among college graduates during the 2020 election.
Today, I can categorically state that H.R. 1044 / S.386 is dead in the water. It will not be signed into law by being sent to the President's desk nor will it be placed in an omnibus or other appropriations bill. It appears the amendments attached to it were too big a pill to swallow for Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren and her immigration attorney pals, as well as Congresswoman Judy Chu and her Chinese Communist Party interests. So, the bill will languish until the 116th Congress ends in a few short days.
That's great news. As the post says, though, this only heralds a lull in the war. Battle will resume in the next Congress.
[Clip: The Eton Boating Song.]
That, listeners, was a snippet of The Eton Boating Song. If you didn't catch the words, they go like this:
Jolly boating weather
Now I have to explain about Eton. Be patient, please.
Eton, properly Eton College, is a school in England, twenty miles west of London, near Windsor Castle. It's a private boarding school for boys, very expensive but offering scholarships to worthy cases. It's what in England is called a "public school."
That may seem odd, given that I just said it's private, but that's what the toniest, oldest, most expensive, most prestigious private schools are called in England: "public schools." In pre-modern times, you see, the children of the highest classes were educated by private tutors at home; actual schools, where a lot of unrelated kids were taught together, were for the upper-middle stratum of society — the "public." For the strata below that — hoi polloi — there was no regular system of education at all.
These grand old pricey boys' boarding schools have played a big part in the history and the imagination of the English, none more so than Eton. They taught their boys an ethos of manliness, sportsmanship, and patriotism.
"The battle of Waterloo was won on the playing fields of Eton," the Duke of Wellington is supposed to have said. It's not likely he actually did say it. Jonathan Gathorne-Hardy's 1977 book The Public School Phenomenon, the go-to source for everything to do with the public schools, tells us that the Duke was a lonely and withdrawn boy. Quote:
He loathed his two and a half years at Eton and left in 1783. He did not go back for thirty-four years.
Besides, there were no organized games at the schools until well into the 19th century; and the first recorded notice of the famous quotation was by a Frenchman, writing in French. You're not going to believe one of them, are you?
So that's Eton, alma mater of innumerable famous Englishmen, including George Orwell, Ian Fleming, and the current Prime Minister.
It would be hard to name any institution more thoroughly, immutably English than Eton. It is therefore what stock-market analysts call a "leading indicator" of England's decay that Eton has gone woke.
In November a teacher of English at Eton, name of Will Knowland, was scheduled to give a talk to senior boys there titled "The Patriarchy Paradox." The entire talk is posted at YouTube. Here are the opening words.
[Clip: Patriarchy is a theory that says the differences between the sexes and their social roles are not the result of biology. Instead they are socially constructed and they have resulted in the pervasiveness of male domination in women's lives.
Well, you get the idea. It's really pretty dry stuff. Further along in the lecture Knowland suggests that, quote: "saying 'smash the patriarchy' amounts to saying smash human nature and biological reality," end quote. That's about as controversial as it gets.
Dry it may be, but it was too moist for Eton. A teacher who got a preview of the lecture complained, and the headmaster ordered the lecture canceled. When Mr Knowland posted the lecture to his own private YouTube channel anyway, the school fired him.
It's like this all over at these fine old public schools, according to an article in the December 12th issue of The Economist. Another school, Dulwich College, offers pupils unconscious bias training and a history curriculum which aims, quote from that article, "to amplify the voices of the colonised as much as the coloniser." End quote.
Marlborough College, which educated the poet John Betjeman, movie actor James Mason, and an infinite number of famous cricketers, focuses on black history, filling its curriculum with, quote, "as many diverse texts, guests and experiences as possible." End quote.
Harrow School, whose most famous alumnus is Sir Winston Churchill, has a summer reading list that includes Robin DiAngelo's best-seller White Fragility. I have tried without success to imagine what Sir Winston would have thought about that.
So nations die; so civilizations die. I see no hope for England, but cling to the belief that we here in the U.S.A. may yet save a remnant.
04 — Worst casting decision of 2020. Some race news here. A British TV channel is producing a costume drama about Anne Boleyn, who was the second wife of King Henry VIII of England back in the 16th century. Henry's first wife, Catherine, had not been able to give him a male heir, so he had his marriage to her annulled in 1533 and married Anne. The issue of the annulment was what drove Henry to break with the Pope.
When Anne likewise failed to produce a male heir after three years of marriage, Henry had her charged with adultery and executed. The charges were most likely bogus, but that was the end of Anne; although, in a nice instance of generational revenge, her daughter later became Queen Elizabeth the First, a much better monarch than Henry.
Well, this TV channel is producing a drama about Anne, to be aired at some future date not specified. The actress playing Anne will be Jodie Turner-Smith, a full-blood negress. And no, they're not making her put on white-face makeup.
This is of course historically preposterous. Anne Boleyn was a white English lady — we have contemporary portraits of her.
The producers of historical dramas — including this one, I'm guessing — go to great pains and expense to make everything look authentic: costumes, furnishings, weapons, transportation, … We want the illusion of reality. No producer would have the Duke of Norfolk drive up to Henry VIII's hunting lodge in a Lamborghini and carrying an AR-15.
The classic Henry VIII TV biopic was an earlier British production: The Six Wives of Henry VIII, aired in 1971. Keith Mitchell played the part of Henry, and he played him with red hair. Why? Because Henry VIII had red hair, duh. That was fifty years ago, though, when we still had some common sense.
So what's the point of this gross, glaring anachronism — a negress playing Anne Boleyn? Let the producers tell us, quote from the news story:
Producers Fable Pictures say the drama [inner quote] "challenges all the conventions of who we think Anne Boleyn was and shines a feminist light on her story." [End inner quote.]
They're challenging conventions, see? Down with conventions!
What they are actually challenging, of course, is historical truth. So: Down with historical truth!
"Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past." If you're in any doubt about who controls the present, try starting an online protest movement against this casting decision. Then watch your PayPal account close down, and your Twitter account, your Facebook account, your bank account, your credit-card accounts, …
"Hold on there, Derb," I hear you cry. "Didn't you cover a similar story back in November, about a black actress playing Agent 007 in the new James Bond movie? And didn't you say you were fine with it?"
Yes and yes. However, number one, that's fiction, where you can make stuff up. In historical dramas you should cleave to the historical truth as closely as you can. Number two, there is nothing implausible about a present-day intelligence agency having a black female operative; and if, as seems to be the case, James Bond is retired in this movie, or dead, or otherwise indisposed, there's nothing implausible about giving the lady his agent number. So yes, I'm fine with it.
What I am not fine with is halfwit producers committing gross historical falsehoods in order to signal that they are faithful congregants of the Most Holy and Blessed Church of Negritude. I am not fine with lies and hypocrisy.
(To be perfectly fair, the charge of hypocrisy there is presumptive. I'm presuming that these producers, in their private lives — in their residential and educational decisions — stay as far away from big concentrations of black people as everyone else does that can afford to. If it can be proven to me that this is not the case, I shall make a modest donation to The United Negro College Fund.)
05 — Back to the garret. A related item, although it may take me a while to get around to the relatedness.
Back in August I passed a comment on the technology of facial recognition. To what degree are facial-recognition programs foiled by the wearing of anti-virus face masks? I reported on what I had heard from people working in the field: that facial recognition can work with people wearing masks, but only in small populations. Quote from self:
So if you have, say, a company workforce of five thousand people, all wearing masks, the software can tell you which employee you're looking at. With populations bigger than a few thousand, though, a given image of one masked individual can return multiple matches.
Well, here's something that might really fox the facial-recognition software. Reuters reports that a Japanese company is about to market full face-covering masks that are very precise 3-D-printed images of someone else's face. The masks will go on sale early next year in Japan for 98,000 yen each. That's $950, which is pricey: but the quality of these masks is really excellent. They look just like human faces.
If you're wearing one of these masks, the software will take you to be the person the mask is modeled on — they're that realistic.
Now bear in mind that we also have software that can create hyper-realistic images of faces that don't actually exist. These images are generic faces, not actual faces of actual people. Again, though, the quality is excellent. Check it out: There is actually a website called thispersondoesnotexist.com.
Put these two technologies together — the hyper-realistic full-face masks and the hyper-realistic images of people who don't exist — and facial-recognition software could really be up against a challenge here.
OK, I promised you some relation to the previous segment. Here it is.
The age of the movie star may be over. Totally realistic computer-generated images will be way cheaper than human beings, and we'll be spared the most emetic parts of the Oscars ceremony.
Will this mean that "casting director" becomes an obsolete profession? I don't know; but if a lot of casting directors are as bat-poop crazy as the one on that Anne Boleyn movie, I hope so.
And if all this technology really does put movie actors on the dole queue, it may be fulfilling another of Ed West's predictions in his review of Joel Kotkin's book The Coming of Neo-Feudalism, which I wrote about in my November Diary. Quote from Ed:
Patronage has made a comeback, especially among artists, who have largely returned to their pre-modern financial norm: desperate poverty. Whereas musicians and writers have always struggled, the combination of housing costs, reduced government support and the internet has ended what was until then an unappreciated golden age; instead they turn once again to patrons, although today it is digital patronage rather than aristocratic benevolence.
Until the modern age, intellectual work, especially any kind of creative work, never supported any but a tiny number of superstars in financial security. Think of Dr Johnson's lines:
There mark what Ills the Scholar's Life assail,
(In regard to aristocratic patrons, I should note that after he got stiffed by the Earl of Chesterfield, Johnson revised that second line for later editions of the poem to: "Toil, Envy, Want, the Patron, and the Jail.")
That's how things were before mass entertainment became big business. The actors who first performed Shakespeare's plays did not have the 16th-century equivalent of Malibu beach houses. They were, as the saying of the time went, "vagabonds and strumpets." The poet Thomas Chatterton, Dr Johnson's younger contemporary, committed suicide while on the verge of starvation, having been unable to find a patron.
I'm thinking now of a friend whose son was a member of a rock group: not a famous one, but they made a living. Then the living dried up. Nobody bought vinyl disks, tapes, or CDs any more: they just download their music. The only way to make serious money was to perform concerts. Then COVID came along and knocked that on the head. Last I heard, the young man is selling insurance.
I'm also thinking of a sad little story from Tuesday's Daily Mail.
London's theaters are of course all closed, leaving the vagabonds and strumpets with time on their hands. Sunday evening, on a street in Hampstead, north London, a small group of them gave an impromptu concert of songs from Les Miserables, followed up with Christmas carols.
The concert was well-received by passers-by. Quote from one such:
They were obviously professionals … They were working from a backing tape and able to project without using microphones.
I said this struck me as a sad story. I know Hampstead well — I used to live just off Platt's Lane. It was a tony area back then, and my information is it's gotten even tonier since. Still, this was a dark evening with rain drizzling down; and even in tony neighborhoods, London's residential streets are not very prepossessing, even in daylight and sunshine.
I hope those passers-by threw the players some coins.
06 — Miscellany. And now, our closing miscellany of brief items.
Imprimis: There are some deaths to be recorded this week.
First in our minds here at VDARE.com was the passing of historian Ray Wolters. James Fulford posted a full tribute on Thursday, which I can't improve on. It includes links to both of the pieces I have posted relevant to Ray and his work: my April 2015 review of Ray's book The Long Crusade: Profiles in Education Reform, 1967-2014 and my April 2017 account of a cowardly academic journal retracting one of Ray's reviews at the command of CultMarx shriekers.
I'll only add that I met Ray and his loyal and charming wife on several occasions, always finding him a thoughtful, witty, and exceptionally well-read American gentleman. Condolences to his loved ones.
Item: And then, psychometrician James Flynn, standard-bearer for the "nurture" side of the "nature/nurture" argument. Flynn gave his name to the Flynn Effect: the phenomenon of rising average scores on standardized IQ tests through the 20th century.
I have much more to say about Flynn, his Effect, and my one personal encounter with him; but I shall reserve that all for my December Diary.
Item: Third, John Le Carré, British writer of spy thrillers. I read three or four of them back in the day — which is to say, the 1970s — but retained not much memory of them other than that they kept my attention with clever plotting.
There's a connection with an earlier segment here: Le Carré taught for a couple of years at Eton in the mid-1950s. His own public school was Sherborne, which is almost as tony as Eton, and way older — the school not long ago celebrated its thirteenth centenary.
Reading Le Carré's obituaries, and recalling his fictional character George Smiley, I'd guess that Le Carré was one of those many, many public-school-educated Brits, like the Duke of Wellington, who hated his schooldays and never psychologically recovered from them. Whatever: I hope he rests in peace now.
Item: Here's one more thing to worry about: a rogue iceberg.
This one has a name: A-68A. It's ninety miles long and twenty wide, roughly the same shape as Jamaica but only sixty percent the size. It broke off from the Antarctic ice shelves three years ago and has been drifting down there in the southern ocean ever since.
The people who should worry most about A-68A would be the inhabitants of South Georgia island, a speck of land down there in the southern Atlantic that's about the same size as the rogue iceberg. As I go to tape here, iceberg is just about to collide with island. That will be one heck of a collision, ninety-mile-long iceberg grinding up against hundred-mile-long island.
Fortunately South Georgia has no permanent inhabitants. The imminent collision will be a catastrophe only for the penguins and seals who call South Georgia home. Still, it's a reminder of the variety of things Mother Nature can throw at us when she's in the mood. Earthquakes, volcanos, tsunamis, solar flares, … rogue icebergs.
Item: Here's a headline from The Hill that caught my eye. Headline:
The story tells us that a third of federal civilian employees are eligible for retirement in the next five years, and fewer than six percent of employees are under the age of thirty.
That's one more data point in support of a part-baked theory I'm working up, that I shall deliver to you coherently when it's fully baked. At the heart of it is the idea that relations between the old and the young in our society — economic relations, political relations, affections and hostility — have undergone, or are undergoing, some radical change.
Smart, capable young people don't want jobs in the federal government? Perhaps because they know it's an arena of slovenly incompetence and racial favoritism ever since Jimmy Carter abolished qualifying exams for the federal Civil Service.
There's more going on than that, though. Look at the congresscritters: Chuck Grassley, 87 years old; Maxine Waters, 82; Nancy Pelosi, 80; Mitch McConnell, 78; Dianne Feinstein, 125; … And look at this recent Presidential election: Bernie Sanders, 79; Joe Biden, 78; Donald Trump, 74; …
Do young Americans really want to be governed by these creaking old geezers? I sure don't, and I'm no spring chicken myself. Whatever happened to the Term Limits movement?
There's a fuss going on as I speak over a December 15th article in the New York Times about distribution of the COVID vaccine. Who should have priority: geezers, who are more likely to die from the virus, or essential workers, who are younger and more, you know, essential?
The article quotes one member of a committee of medical experts advising the CDC on the issue. Quote:
To me the issue of ethics is very significant, very important for this country, and clearly favors the essential worker group because of the high proportion of minority, low-income and low-education workers among essential workers.
We get the point: Die, white geezers! But then, why do we let so many of them cement themselves in at the highest positions of political power?
There is definitely something going on here. When I get to the bottom of it, I shall report back … if I'm still among the living.
Item: Finally: In my daily browse of the news outlets in search of interesting and informative items to bring you, it sometimes happens that I come across a headline that makes me pause to savor it, without any strong desire to read the story it's attached to.
Here is one such, my Headline of the Week. This is from the Daily Mail, December 15th. Headline: Woman who sparked outcry by decapitating an owl on social media video is shot dead in drive-by shooting in Colombia.
By way of journalistic due diligence, I did read far enough into this story to learn that the deceased — the woman, not the owl — was named Mileydis Aldana, 21 years old. Her assassination does seem to have been inspired by outrage at her having killed the owl.
I bear no ill will whatsoever to the strigine community, but I must say, the killing of Ms Aldana strikes me as an over-reaction on the part of their supporters. I hope she will rest in peace, and find forgiveness in the Afterlife for her one regrettable act of strigicide.
07 — Signoff. That's all I have, ladies and gents. Thank you for listening; and, since you won't be hearing next week's podcast until some time on Boxing Day, allow me to wish you all a very Merry Christmas.
Thursday this week, December 17th, marked the 250th anniversary of the birth of Ludwig van Beethoven, so I must of course play you out with a snippet from that composer's amazing oeuvre.
Now, my last two podcasts both signed off with violin music, although in very different modes. December 4th I treated you to some real West Virginia fiddling; last week I offered the extremely gifted Jenny O'Connor playing some movie music. So for the sake of continuity, let's see what Beethoven gave us violinwise.
What he most notably gave us was the sixteen string quartets: long pieces for two violins, a viola, and a cello, composed from 1801 to 1826.
I'll put in a promotional plug here for Professor Greenberg's course on these string quartets at thegreatcourses.com. The good professor covers all of them in 24 brilliant lectures, with detailed analyses of ten of the sixteen.
Here is some of the seventh: properly Opus 59 Number One, composed on a commission from the Russian ambassador in Vienna, Count Razumovsky. The players here are students at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston. If there is any fault to be found with their performance, I can't find it.
There will be more from Radio Derb next week.
[Music clip: New England Conservatory students, Beethoven's string quartet Op. 59 No. 1.]