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[Music clip: From Haydn's Derbyshire March No. 1, organ version]
01 — Intro. And Radio Derb is on the air! Greetings, listeners, from your soberly genial host John Derbyshire, welcoming you to another edition of Radio Derb.
This was one of those weeks dominated by a single event. This podcast will therefore be similarly dominated.
To be frank, I don't think this particular event justifies the hysteria it has generated. We live in a hysterical age, though; and when it can be used to justify insulting and defaming President Trump, the hysteria waxes especially hot.
In any case, there are points to be made and lessons to be learned, so let's take a look.
02 — Reform or revolution. I'm going to open with a confession here. Try to be open-minded, please, and let him that is without sin cast the first stone.
The thing is: Watching those protestors rampaging through the halls of Congress on Wednesday afternoon, there was a part of me that was cheering them on.
I hasten to add that it was only a part. My very strong preference is for orderly government, carried on by dignified procedures long tried at settling differences and producing widely-acceptable conclusions — the kinds of procedures we saw earlier in the day in the House chamber, when the certification of the Electoral College results got under way. That, I repeat, is my very strong preference.
I have a secondary preference for seeing those solemnities conducted in grand old buildings like the Capitol, in spacious high-ceilinged rooms with lots of polished wooden panelling, decorated with oil paintings in gilt frames and elegant statues of historical worthies, all hushed but for the voices of soberly-dressed adults uttering grammatical sentences in moderate tones.
Yet still, even with those preferences, I confess that as I watched those protestors clambering over Nancy Pelosi's office furniture, traipsing their muddy boots along the carefully-polished floors, shrieking gleefully, and taking selfies posed in ridiculous costumes by those gilt-framed oil paintings, a part of me was smiling.
The word in my mind when I caught myself smiling, the word was of course "turbulence."
Dedicated followers will recall my September 2012 column titled "Losing Our Turbulence." I keyed that column off a remark of George Orwell's back in the 1930s, when England's coal-miners were suffering badly during the Depression. After attending large gatherings of miners, Orwell described them as "sheeplike," and concluded that, quote: "There is no turbulence left in England." End quote.
Orwell's point was that when those solemn, dignified processes of orderly government lead large portions of the population to a place where they are hungry, cold, and idle, and see no hope of improvement in their condition, then some turbulence is called for: some public protesting, some shouting and waving of banners, some breaking of ruling-class windows.
That comes of course with a sheaf of qualifications. Turbulence can veer off into revolution; and revolutions can turn out badly, including for the revolutionaries. Nobody should wish for that.
Also, turbulence draws in a lot of idiots and clowns, as we saw on Wednesday. I am as far from being a fan of Chuck Schumer as it is possible to be without drifting into homicidal fantasies; but I would rather look at Schumer's smug, sneering face than look at a guy standing in Schumer's senate office wearing a Viking horned hat, face paint, and body tattoos.
Yes: I laughed involuntarily when I first saw the Viking, and perhaps you did too. He's funny. As Ed West just commented, though, quote from Ed:
It's also the case that frustrated, unfulfilled men are both the funniest and the most dangerous members of society.
And once thoughtful reflection settled in, my sympathies fled from the clowns and misfits being turbulent in the Capitol to the multitude of ordinary people protesting outside, the great majority of whom were neither funny nor dangerous.
These people — I know some of them personally — were there to protest peacefully, non-destructively, with moderate, measured turbulence, against a ruling class which they believe despises them and has no interest in hearing their grievances; and which has, furthermore, recently rigged a national election in order to thwart their political choice.
They have a case. November's election was an appalling mess. The people who work in the Capitol — the senators and congressmen — have never paid the slightest attention to the concerns of citizens like those protesting on Wednesday: to the exporting of jobs to cheaper factories abroad, to the mass im-porting of cheap foreign working-class labor through open borders and ditto of cheap foreign middle-class labor through extravagant guest-worker programs, to the endless pointless wars maiming and killing young Americans, to the poisoning of our legal and educational systems by crackpot ideologues.
When orderly, rational government leaves half the population disgruntled and mistrustful, it needs work, it needs reform. If there isn't reform, there will be revolution. That is an eternal political truth.
03 — The collapse of trust. OK, so according to me, we need reform. What kind of reform do we need?
First and most important, we need an electoral system we can trust. We sure can't trust the system we have.
Was this election stolen? I don't know, but I don't think it probable. If it was rigged against Trump, why did the Republican Party do so well, actually gaining seats in the House, while Trump lagged? It's the same ballot paper. If vote-fixers were changing Trump votes to Biden votes, why didn't they change the House votes from R to D?
If you ask this, people say: "Ah, but the vote-fixers are anti-Trump Republicans!" Uh-huh. It's possible, I guess. I wouldn't put anything past the treacherous crapweasels of institutional Republicanism. This strikes me as a stretch, though.
Whether the election was stolen or not, the authorities sure made it as easy as they could to have people believe it was stolen. The scattering of lawsuits by Trump's people were hastily dismissed or ruled against, with minimal coverage in the media.
And this comes after four years of official lies out of our corrupt security agencies — the FBI, the CIA — about our President having colluded with Russia to steal the 2016 election from Mrs Clinton. Lies, lies, and lies, pumped up and repeated over and over by our Trump-hating media.
Contrariwise, clear and plain evidence of corruption by Joe Biden's family for their own enrichment, with cash payouts from the Chinese Communist Party, were stifled by the media and high-tech social media.
Is it any wonder that millions of Americans — make that tens of millions — believe that the nation's entire political system is rigged against Trump, with the eager co-operation of the media?
[A] contempt for legal niceties dates back to the Obama administration and its attempts through the national security apparatus to damage the Trump candidacy. It is also all of a piece with the Democrats' refusal to enforce immigration law or, more recently, laws against riot and affray.
That's what was needed: not scattershot state-level lawsuits, but a single thorough, open, national investigation, well-covered by the media — as well-covered as all those fairy tales about Russian collusion we were fed for four damn years.
It's not too late; such a thing could still be done, even with the election conceded and Biden installed. It could be done, but I fear it won't be.
The other thing that needs doing, the other great reform, is a thorough-going overhaul of our electoral system. It's a mess: millions of us have little faith it's delivering accurate results.
Does any of that violate the Constitution, as SCOTUS ruled last month in regard to the Kansas voter-ID law? Then amend the damn Constitution. It's not cast in stone: We've amended it 27 times.
Election integrity, confidence in election integrity, is vital to a functioning democracy. If citizens don't trust the election results, our system falls apart. They don't; tens of millions of us don't. That needs fixing.
Reform, or revolution.
04 — A skirmish in the Cold Civil War. One thing the disturbances of these past few months illustrates is the overall correctness of my working model of early 21st-century American society.
That's the model I call the Cold Civil War: two big groups of white people who can't stand the sight of each other locked in permanent conflict: Goodwhites and Badwhites. Black Americans are sometimes hired in by Goodwhites as auxiliaries, to mind the horses and dig latrine trenches; but their only participation otherwise is to hang around at the edge of the battlefield, dodging in to rob the corpses as opportunity permits.
This was all plain in the riots of last summer. The point of the spear there, the people burning police stations and pulling down statues, was mainly white — Goodwhite, of course: whites with all the correct opinions, Antifa and BLM supporters. Then, when disorder rose to the point where you could break into the Target store and loot it with impunity, it was mostly blacks doing that.
This Wednesday it was the turn of Badwhites to make trouble. True to my model, there was hardly a black person in sight. This was a skirmish in the Cold Civil War.
Badwhites took the offensive. Since we Badwhites have no black auxiliaries, and there were no sneakers, bling, or widescreen TVs to be looted, only boring stuff like a Speaker's podium, this was almost entirely a white affair.
The only black American to play any significant role, so far as I could see, was the Capitol Hill cop who shot and killed protestor Ashli Babbitt. I should say "may have been," not "was": we are not certain of the cop's race as I go to tape here. More on that in just a moment.
This is our country today: this is the Cold Civil War. It's not really an even contest, any more than the actual Civil War was.
Back there in 1861, the Union had a five-to-two advantage in manpower over the Confederacy and massive superiority in factories, railroads, ships, draft animals, … all the material stuff you needed to fight a war. The South had some advantages too, to be sure: the biggest one being that they were fighting defense, on their home ground, with interior lines and a largely supportive population.
What makes today's Cold Civil War an uneven contest is the total Goodwhite domination of politics, commerce, academia, the media, high tech, the churches … all the commanding heights of our national culture. Badwhite opinions can be heard only in fringe sources like, well, VDARE.com; and the ruling Goodwhite elites, with their stranglehold on high tech, can easily move to shut down even these scattered small outlets. Under a Biden-Harris administration, they probably will.
Demographically, however, the two sides are more evenly balanced than they were 160 years ago. Donald Trump has not performed very well as a Badwhite champion; yet even on his feeble, disappointing record in office the November election returns broke close to 50-50, half the country voting for him.
There are a lot of us Badwhites out here. With a real champion, one worthy of our trust — someone smart, industrious, politically savvy and rhetorically gifted — we Badwhites could keep and hold the White House for two full Presidential terms: perhaps, inspired by that guy's example, four or six or eight terms.
Goodwhites have been relaxed about the demographics, confident that with continuing mass immigration and intensive indoctrination in schools and colleges, even at the pre-K level, older Badwhites will die off without anyone replacing them at the other end of the demographic chart.
It's not clear they have really thought this through, though. If, for example, you encourage mass illegal immigration of low-skilled workers in order to demoralize and destroy your native Badwhite working class, the new working class you end up with may turn Badwhite on you in a generation or two, as seems to have happened in November with Hispanics in Texas border counties.
Something similar may happen further up the socioeconomic scale, where middle-class Americans have been pushed out of well-paying jobs in favor of cheaper guest workers from India and elsewhere.
Here there is a double effect. The laid-off workers might have been co-operative Goodwhites if left to prosper. Dispossessed, however, they will turn Badwhite. And the guest workers will stay and get citizenship, then marry and have kids, who will themselves want good middle-class jobs at decent wages, but will in turn be displaced by cheaper foreigners … It's a Ponzi scheme.
Badwhites have other advantages, too, some of which it's not polite to talk about too much. We are, for example, much better armed than the Goodwhites. Better trained, too: According to my son, who recently served four years in the U.S. Army, the enlisted ranks in combat units are majority Badwhite by a big margin. If push were really to come to shove … well, let's not think about that.
05 — The body count. Wednesday's ructions at the Capitol produced five fatalities. Four of them were Badwhite protestors, the fifth a Capitol Police officer who was hurt somehow — there are no details as at Friday midday — while engaging with protestors on Wednesday. He went back to his office, suffered some kind of collapse, was rushed to hospital, and died there Thursday evening.
That officer was Brian Sicknick, 42 years old, originally of New Jersey: ex-military and a Trump supporter — a Badwhite, in other words. With no disrespect intended to the memory of Officer Sicknick, on my Cold Civil War model this counts as friendly fire.
Officer Sicknick's death in fact touches on the matter, not much explored so far in the commentary I've been reading, the matter of pro-Badwhite sympathy in the ranks of law enforcement, presumably including the Capitol Hill police. I've known a few cops in my time, and currently count two ex-cops among my friends. If my sample is representative, cops tend rather strongly Badwhite.
I'm not saying the Capitol Hill cops helped the protestors break in to the Capitol. I seriously doubt that. The other impression I've gotten from acquaintance with cops is that they do their duty even when it goes against their sympathies. Some people might say that's just from fear of losing their gold-plated pensions, but I am not going to encourage that kind of base cynicism …
Yet still, if the cops thought the protestors had valid grievances, they might not have resisted them as sternly as they otherwise would have. Not a big thing, but something I'd like to hear discussed … although I doubt I shall.
Of the other four fatalities, one, 50-year-old Benjamin Phillips of Pennsylvania, died of a stroke. Another, 55-year-old Kevin Greeson of Alabama, suffered a heart attack. The lesson there, I guess, is that demonstrating violently, or even just energetically, is not a thing middle-aged people should do.
A third of the four protestor fatalities, 34-year-old Roseanne Boyland of Georgia, was trampled to death in the early clashes between protestors and cops. I'm not clear of the details here; but given the numbers on both sides, cops and protestors, this may well have been another friendly-fire fatality.
That's four of the five deaths. The fifth was 35-year-old protestor Ashli Babbitt of San Diego, shot by a Capitol Hill cop. This was at a barricaded interior door leading to a corridor that goes to the House of Representatives chamber. The door had glass panels in it; one of them was all broken away; Ms Babbitt was trying to climb through that; a cop stationed in the corridor on the other side shot her.
Ms Babbitt was unarmed, and the stretch of corridor she was trying to get into had cops in it who could have restrained her — as indeed did the stretch of corridor she was trying to leave.
Ms Babbitt was not pounding anyone's head on the sidewalk like Trayvon Martin, or trying to flee after scuffling with a cop and stealing the cop's taser like Walter Scott, or trying to wrestle a cop's gun away like Michael Brown, or standing next to her drug-dealer boyfriend when he opened fire on police like Breonna Taylor, or giving an extremely lifelike impression of reaching for a gun like Jacob Blake, or persistently resisting arrest while his lungs were full of fluid from a narcotics overdose, like George Floyd, …
Since Ms Babbitt's behavior bore no resemblance to any of these, and given the number of cops on the scene, at least some of whom might have been capable of restraining an unarmed, slightly-built woman, it's hard to think of an excuse for her shooting.
She was white, though; and not just white, but Badwhite. The cop who shot her may have been black. From the video it looks likely, but not certain. If he was black you will hear no more about this in the mass media. If you try to mention it on social media, you will be canceled.
In fact it's been wrong of me to have mentioned it, and proof of my ineradicable racism. I am sorry! Forgive me, Saint Trayvon and Saint George, for I have sinned. Forgive me, Mother Breonna, for my sin, my most grievous sin …
06 — Nothing wrong with Kansas. Wednesday's events came with some sidebar stories worth noting.
There were for example the rumors about the invasion of the Capitol being an Antifa false flag operation. All sorts of things were cited in evidence. One of the Viking guy's companions had a hammer-and-sickle tattoo visible on his hand! Er, no: It was a computer-game symbol. Various protestors were said to match off with known Antifa … but when checked, none of them panned out.
I personally stopped believing the Antifa stories when I saw journalist Andy Ngo's comments in the Washington Examiner. Nobody knows Antifa like Andy. He's infiltrated their operations up in the Northwest, been chased and beaten up by them, had his life threatened by them. Quote from Andy:
The people occupying the Capitol building do not look like antifa people dressed in Trump gear or Trump costumes … I have seen no evidence that they are able to coordinate a mass infiltration on this scale before, so I'm really skeptical that they would have been able to do it here without any of that information leaking out.
And then, second sidebar story, Trump. Every news outlet I've seen, my own New York Post an honorable exception, has a story about the President having incited the crowd to invade the Capitol. Well, you can watch all one hour and thirteen minutes of Trump's speech, and also read a full transcript, at Rev.com/blog/transcripts.
It's all there. Read it or watch it and make up your own mind. Nearest quotes — nearest to anything like incitement, I mean. First quote, 18 minutes in:
We're going to walk down to the Capitol, and we're going to cheer on our brave senators, and congressmen and women.
End quote. Second quote, shortly after that one, quote:
I know that everyone here will soon be marching over to the Capitol building to peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard.
If either of those is "inciting insurrection," just remind me, please, when I'm staffing up for my insurrection, not to invite Donald Trump.
Third sidebar story: It wasn't just Washington, D.C. There's been turbulence all over, from sea to shining sea.
The Daily Mail headline tells the tale: 9 a.m. January 7th, headline: Trump mob storms Democrat Washington Gov. Jay Inslee's mansion as protesters surround Texas, California, Michigan, Georgia, Oregon AND Kansas state capitols.
There was a pandemic angle to some of these state protests, at a rally around the Kansas state capitol, for example. Quote from the story:
The crowd chanted "stop the steal," "four more years" and "no more masks," a reference to many Trump supporters' opposition to coronavirus restrictions such as requiring people to wear masks in public ….
You may think that's misguided, and you may have a point: but the way it falls on my ears is, the spirit of liberty — the ornery spirit that founded this nation and sustained it through many trials — is not yet dead. Not in Kansas, at least.
07 — Miscellany. And now, our closing miscellany of brief items.
Imprimis: I can't let that mention of coronavirus pass without a follow-up. I don't do half as much COVID commentary as I should, so permit me to make amends.
With all the delays over getting COVID vaccines distributed, there is still an urgent need for some more easily-available remedy — something herbal, perhaps.
Who better to advise on that than the author of a book on herbal remedies. Book title: Herbal Remedies Of Turkmenistan. Author: Yes, Radio Derb's gifted, polymathic friend and patron, President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov of Turkmenistan.
President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov has not let us down. Radio Liberty tells us, December 31st, that in a TV appearance shortly before, he suggested to his countrymen that they take licorice root to ward off the virus.
Since, according to the official Turkmen news agency, there are no cases of COVID-19 in the republic, some people have wondered why President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov has any interest in the subject. That I can easily answer: because he wishes to be a benefactor of all mankind.
All hail President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov! All hail the noble republic of Turkmenistan!
[Clip: Turkmen national anthem.]
Item: Last Sunday it fell to Representative Emanuel Cleaver (Democrat from Missouri) to offer the first daily congressional prayer of the new session. Rep. Cleaver did so, but he concluded the prayer with the words "amen and awoman."
That caused some puzzlement and much mirth. Rep. Cleaver is a Methodist pastor with a Master of Divinity degree from a theological college. Does he really not know, people were asking, that "amen" is a word meaning "certainly" or "let it be so," brought to English from Latin, which got it from Greek, which got it from either Aramaic or Hebrew, depending which dictionary you consult? It has nothing to do with the English word "men." Is this trained man of the cloth really so ignorant?
Answer: Almost certainly not. John McWhorter, who teaches linguistics at Columbia University, and whose lectures on that subject at The Great Courses I have recommended, John McWhorter offered some clarifying information on Twitter. Tweet:
"Amen and A-woman" is a long-lived Southern/black preacher signature. Rep. Cleaver meant it as a kind of witticism. He doesn't think AMEN actually has the word MEN in it.
John McWhorter's word is good enough for me. I guess one thing they don't teach you at theology school is the proper way to deliver a joke. It's all in the timing, Congressman. You can say "amen" to that.
Item: You may recall that the joint session of Congress on Wednesday, the one interrupted by protestors breaking into the Capitol, was called to certify the votes of the Electoral College. According to law, that joint session can be held up if one senator and one representative object to any state's vote count. The congresscritters then have to go to their separate chambers, House and Senate, debate the issue, and take a vote before the joint session can resume.
That's the law. Sounds reasonable to me. Well, Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri decided he'd object to the Philadelphia vote count, about which all sorts of questions have been raised, some not convincingly answered. Six other senators joined him, and a mighty host of congressmen. Their objection was of course voted down.
Josh Hawley has written a book, title: "The Tyranny of Big Tech." He got a contract with heavyweight publishing house Simon & Schuster to publish it. Thursday we heard that Simon & Schuster have canceled the contract on the grounds that Senator Hawley was to blame for Wednesday's disturbances.
The publisher's statement honked that, honk:
We take seriously our larger public responsibility as citizens, and cannot support Senator Hawley after his role in what became a dangerous threat to our democracy and freedom.
Short form: "We are the goodest of the Goodwhites."
Senator Hawley's role was only to do what law and senatorial procedure entitle him to do, and he had the support of many colleagues.
He has said he will take Simon & Schuster to court. I hope he does so, and I hope he wins a big fat settlement from the smug, honking swine.
08 — Signoff. That's all I can offer you, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you for your time and attention, and I hope the New Year has started well for you.
New Year, yes. In my tribute to Hank Williams eighteen years ago I began by observing that he died in either 1952 or 1953, we don't know which. The reason we don't know is, that he was in the back seat of a car, late on New Year's Eve, being driven from Montgomery, Alabama to Charleston, West Virginia, by a young student hired for the purpose. When the student checked before midnight, Hank was still alive. The next time he checked, after midnight, Hank was dead.
That sad death always comes to mind at New Years. To counter it, I play a few tracks of Hank Williams. Here's one of my favorites: "I heard that lonesome whistle blow."
I have actually stood in Hank's room at his boyhood home in Georgiana, which is within sound of the railroad tracks. I have stood there wondering if, when Hank wrote or performed the song, he was thinking of his childhood self, lying in bed at night hearing the train whistle.
There will be more from Radio Derb next week. Take it away, Hank.
[Music clip: Hank Williams, "Lonesome Whistle."]