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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 fundamentally genial host John Derbyshire, here to bring you VDARE.com's roundup of the week's news.
I have lots of news this week, from a stunning array of locales: tony colleges, royal palaces, governor's mansions, South America, congressional committee rooms, Ireland, Wales, Japan, China, and the Khyber Pass. Let's go spanning the world!
02 — Money privilege. The news this past couple of weeks has featured several cases of people behaving badly. I don't mean violence, vandalism, and venality, although there has of course been plenty of that. I mean people behaving with gross lack of respect towards other people.
This keys in to the class issue that is more and more prominent in American society: the widening rift between, on the one hand, working-class and lower-middle-class people — manual workers, clerks, small business owners, low-level government staff — and on the other hand, their social superiors in the managerial and opinion-forming classes: billionaires, celebrities, politicians, college professors, media talking heads, Human Resources directors, federal power-holders, and so on.
The gross lack of respect I mentioned has all been, as the French say, de haut en bas, "from the high to the low."
First case study: The flap at Smith College about a black student's complaint that she was harassed for "eating while black." This is actually an old story from July of 2018. It's come into the news again because a low-level white employee at Smith College resigned on February 19th complaining of an anti-white work environment.
Smith College, in case you don't know, is a tony liberal-arts college for women in Northampton, Massachusetts. A year at Smith will cost your parents a tad over $78,000. The only other thing I've heard about Smith is that is the world, if not Solar system, if not galactic, headquarters of lesbianism … but that's just hearsay.
The 2018 story, in short: A cafeteria and attached lounge were closed to students for the summer, so high-schoolers on a summer camp program could use them. A black student, raised in the U.S.A. by immigrant parents from Mali, ignored this and took her lunch there anyway, disregarding a reminder from one of the cafeteria workers, a white female.
While she was eating her lunch, a 60-year-old white male janitor — let's call him janitor-1 — saw her there and told campus security. A different janitor, 58 years old, call him janitor-2, accompanied a campus cop back to the lounge to tell the student she wasn't supposed to be there. This janitor was also white, as was the cop. There are a lot of those durn white people in Western Massachusetts. When are we going to fix that?
The student made a fuss on social media, the college authorities groveled and flagellated themselves, janitor-1 was put on paid leave, and a law firm was hired to investigate the incident. They found nothing, of course; but the college went on groveling regardless. They offered no apologies for their behavior: no apology to the cafeteria lady, the janitors, or the cop, all of whom had been denounced all over social media — and even in some legacy media — for their cruel, arrogant white supremacy.
So the correlation of forces here is: In the blue corner, a young black woman from a wealthy family attending a tony college with a huge endowment and $78,000 annual fees. In the red corner, four white working-class Americans making minimum wage, or not much above it.
Last I heard, the cafeteria lady got furloughed last fall on account of the pandemic. She's having trouble getting a new job because when prospective employers look her up she's flagged as RACIST.
Janitor-1 who called security is back from paid leave but declines to be interviewed. Janitor-2 left the college soon after the incident, fed up with all the compulsory training sessions in race and intersectionality.
Quote from him, which I think captures the deep truth of the incident, quote: "I don't know if I believe in white privilege. I believe in money privilege." End quote. I have no news of the cop.
03 — Renegade royals. The second case study concerns a couple of renegade royals: Harry Windsor and his wife Meghan Markle.
Harry, formally the Duke of Sussex, is the younger son of Prince Charles, heir to the British throne. Harry himself is sixth in line to the throne, behind Charles, Charles' older son William, and William's three kids. I don't know what number in line your genial host here is; but while wishing no harm at all to those ranked above me, I live in hope.
Harry married Meghan in 2018, and they had a son the following year. We were told a couple of weeks ago that Meghan is again enceinte. She is three years older than Harry, and a divorcee. She's American and identifies as mixed-race. I'd judge her an octoroon by appearance.
Harry and Meghan's relations with Harry's grandparents in Buck House — which is to say, the Queen and Prince Philip — are famously fraught. Meghan is plainly unsuited to the life of a royal. That life consists of touring around the country performing ceremonial chores, making small talk with unimportant people, always smiling for the press, and keeping your opinions very strictly to yourself. To be fair to the lady, it does need a particular kind of personality to do the thing well, and not many of us could manage it.
It's worse for Meghan because her sister-in-law Kate, William's wife, is superbly good at it. And then, it's double worse because Meghan's head is stuffed up to the nose-holes with all the fashionable cant of racism, feminism, globalism, Trump Derangement Syndrome, and all the dreary rest, which to persons of Grandma and Grandad's generation — or even to mine, the following generation — just seems weird and silly. For all anyone knows, Kate's head might be similarly stuffed; but Kate is way too much the professional royal to let it show.
Harry himself is a dim bulb, and doggedly loyal to his wife. Again, to be fair, the first quality there is something he can't help, and the second one is admirable. One of the ground rules of marriage is loyalty. Husband and wife can criticize each other in private; but to the world beyond your living-room you present a united front. That's how the Derbs do it, anyway. Mrs Derb even tells little white lies on her husband's behalf. My spoken Chinese is terrible; but when people ask, she says it's fine.
So as you can see, I'm not totally out of sympathy with the Sussexes … Sussices, whatever. Even from that disinterestedly benign standpoint, though, I've been wincing at these latest revelations about the way Meghan treated her royal servants through 2018 and 2019, when she was trying to be a working royal.
Tuesday this week the London Times, a venerable and respectable broadsheet, reported that one of Meghan's staffers in the Royal Household had lodged a bullying complaint against her. That brought out a chorus of similar stories from present and former royal servants, and the London tabloids are having a field day.
All this is leading up, perhaps not coincidentally, to the TV airing of a 90-minute interview Harry and Meghan have recorded with Oprah Winfrey, to be aired here in the U.S.A. on Sunday night, in Britain on Monday night. It's reported, how truthfully I don't know, that in the interview Meghan says some unkind things about Grandma and Granddad.
In a further wrinkle to the story, causing extra outrage over there, Granddad, whose hundredth birthday is coming up this June, has been hospitalized with heart trouble. Why, people are asking, can't the TV networks hold off showing the Harry-Meghan-Oprah interview until Prince Philip is back in health? The answer of course is [ker-CHING].
This would be just a tiff among rich people living sheltered lives, except for the details about Meghan being beastly to the help. How seriously should we take the lady's talk about lifting up the wretched of the earth and fighting against white privilege and toxic masculinity when, on the facing page, there's testimony about her bullying her staff?
Answer: Just about as seriously as we should take that Smith College gal's tale about being harassed for "eating while black."
You have to concede the advantages of constitutional monarchy, though. Under that system, we peasants can enjoy all the fun of jeering at the narcissism and hypocrisy of rich people without it having anything to do with power, either cultural or political.
04 — Cuomo the Charmer. Political power, yes. So here's my third case study of people behaving badly: Andrew Cuomo, Governor of my state.
When the coronavirus panic got seriously under way a year ago, hospitals in New York State panicked that they didn't have enough beds to cope. They panicked to the State Department of Health, and on March 25th Governor Cuomo ordered nursing homes to admit covid-positive patients, to free up beds in the hospitals.
That wasn't totally crazy on the face of it — yes, I'm having one of my let's-be-fair fire sales this week — since after all nursing homes are kind-of like hospitals, just without the resident doctors and fully-trained nurses, without the ORs and radiology units, without the bedside monitoring equipment, the ventilators and masks, without …
Oh, all right, all right: Nursing homes are not actually much like hospitals. You can see, though, that a person of wealth and privilege — a state governor, for example, whose Dad was also a state governor — you can see how someone like that, having no acquaintance with how ordinary people live and what ordinary people's nursing homes are like, you can see how, in the press of business, he might scribble his signature on something like that March 25th order on his way out the door to some celebrity dinner.
That order precipitated a disaster, and a scandal. The disaster was, and I quote here from a report that came out last month from a public-policy think tank in Albany, the New York State capital, the disaster was, quote:
COVID-positive new admissions between late March and early May, which numbered 6,327, were associated with several hundred and possibly more than 1,000 additional resident deaths.
That was the disaster. The scandal was Cuomo's efforts to cover up the truth of the matter, all through the latter half of last year. That was exploded by a different report, issued at the end of January by the state Attorney General that Cuomo's office had undercounted the number of coronavirus-related deaths in nursing homes by as much as fifty percent.
I should say here, dropping the let's-be-fair routine now, I should say, as a longtime resident of New York State whose circle of acquaintance has included several people well-connected in the state government, I should say that I have been hearing for years what a coarse, arrogant bully Andrew Cuomo is. The state motto is Excelsior, which is Latin for "higher." Andrew Cuomo's personal motto seems to be Oderint dum Metuant: "Let them hate, so long as they fear."
Just last month the local press was reporting that state assemblyman Ron Kim, a Democrat like Cuomo, had taken a phone call from the Governor after he'd criticized Cuomo's cover-up of the nursing-home death numbers. Cuomo growled down the phone that, quote: "You have not seen my wrath … You will be destroyed." End quote.
Am I going to mention at this point that the Governor's maternal grandparents came from Sicily? No, absolutely not. The thought never crossed my mind.
Well, this past few days the local press has been full of stories about Andrew Cuomo making clumsy advances on young women. The pièce de résistance — yes, I'm have a fire sale on Gallicisms, too — the pièce de résistance is a great photograph of Cuomo at a wedding reception two years ago with his two hands on the cheeks of a comely young lady, name of Anna Ruch, whose facial expression suggests she is inwardly screaming "FOR GOD'S SAKE SOMEONE HELP ME PLEASE!" The New York Post likes this picture so much, they put it on their front page twice, March 2nd and March 4th.
Ms Ruch, as it happens, was not an employee of the Governor's office, but other young women who were have been telling tales of Cuomo coming on at them, and Cuomo is now the quarry in a full-scale #MeToo hunt.
Radio Derb is not a fan of these #MeToo hysterias. Yes, I guess I should feel some sympathy for young female staffers who fear losing their jobs if they offend the Governor; but there is a form of words to make it plain politely that the gentleman's attentions are unwanted. I know there are … Why didn't the mothers of these young women teach them that form of words?
And what about Ms Ruch, who wasn't one of Cuomo's employees? Couldn't she have given Cuomo a brief introduction to the Nutcracker Suite, or at least a slap in the face?
The real outrage here is that news coverage of Cuomo's boorishness has been far more copious than what was given to those hundreds of nursing-home deaths. That says something about our scale of values nowadays.
05 — Lessons learned. So, people behaving badly. What do we learn from this, comrades?
Nothing that we didn't already know.
So, nothing actually very new. As the sage remarked, though: "Men more frequently require to be reminded than informed."
06 — The great immigration distraction? I'm developing a theory about the new administration's immigration policy. It's still half-baked, but let me try it out on you.
I'm sure you have seen the stories about our Southern border. The news has gone out that it's open for business, and the customers are pouring in at the rate of three or four thousand a day.
It's not just Central Americans, either. That news has gone out to the four corners of the Earth. Police and military forces have been struggling to repel a caravan of 400 aspiring illegal aliens from Ivory Coast, Sierra Leone, and Senegal, all in West Africa, Haiti in the Caribbean, and Pakistan, India, and Bangladesh, all of course in South Asia. That's a real United Nations there struggling to cross the border.
Oh,I forgot to tell you which border. This is the border between Peru and Brazil. This assortment of Africans, Caribbeans, and South Asians got themselves to Peru somehow — just by flying there, I'd guess — and are trying to get into Brazil so they can get into Colombia and thence to Central America and up to the U.S.A.
Why didn't they just fly into Brazil, or Colombia, or one of the Central American countries? I guess because Peru has the easiest visas … but wait through a few more weeks of Biden administration border controls, and you'll be able to ask them in person.
Biden's people are insouciant. Asked at a White House briefing on Monday, Homeland Security Secretary Mayorkas told us there is no crisis at the border. Actual quote:
I think there is a challenge at the border that we are managing, and we have our resources dedicated to managing it.
Plainly, though, it's chaos down there on the border, and getting worse. Are Biden's people really so dumb they can't see what a disaster this is? Not just for the U.S.A., of course, as if they gave a flying Senegali about that, but for their party's own political future?
Perhaps not. Perhaps this is not stupidity, but four-dimensional chess.
So here's my theory. What the managerial class wants is of course to crush the American worker and replace him with a cheaper foreigner. The real money to be made there, though, is not with fruit-pickers, meat-packers, and children's nannies. The real money is with big tech corporations and their skilled employees.
Translation to immigration-speak: The real money is in legal immigration.
Remember those stories about IT programmers at Disney, AT&T, and other companies being forced to train their cheaper foreign replacements under threat of losing their severance packages? You were probably outraged when you heard about that — as was Donald Trump, until Jared explained to him that it was all jolly good for the economy.
Our ruling classes weren't outraged. On the contrary, their mouths were watering. That's the way to stick it to those damn spoiled Deplorables, they were saying to each other. Let's have some more of this!
How to get more of it, though? The lobbyists and immigration lawyers have done their best with bogus "training schemes" and expansion of guest-worker visa programs. Propagandists have ramped up their "nation of immigrants" rhetoric. More needs to be done, though.
While they figure out what more, and how, why not set up a major diversion? Since they don't want people thinking about legal immigration, why not flood the airwaves with panicky stories about illegal immigration? A middle-class voter can only give so much attention to the immigration issue. Better he should be thinking about the Southern border than about the young guy from Bangalore with a forged college degree coming to take his job.
It's a big distraction, see? Something to fret about and argue about while the elites pick our pockets.
That's my theory. Mull over it, please. Then mull over it again the next time some politician or talking head tells you how of course he has no problem with legal immigration, but this mess at the Southern border, well, …
07 — Miscellany. And now, our closing miscellany of brief items.
The problem of domestic terrorism has been metastasizing across the country for a long time now, and it's not going away anytime soon.
Uh-huh. "Domestic terrorism," eh? Ctrl-F "antifa." Whoa, three hits. Surprised.
Now I'm going to break your heart, make you weep. You Ready? Got your hanky out? Here goes: Christopher Wray was appointed FBI Director by President Donald Trump.
Item: While the FBI is locked in battle with domestic terrorism from guys with face paint and Viking headdresses, how about foreign terror. The War on Terror, remember that?
Don't worry, our new administration is on the case. February 26th we hit Syria with an air strike, killing either one person or 22, depending on whether you believe the Pentagon or a British human rights monitoring group actually in Syria. The motivation was something to do with Iranian-backed paramilitaries making trouble in Iraq; or it may have been Iraqi-backed paramilitaries making trouble in Iran, or Senegal-backed paramilitaries making trouble in Upper Volta, who the hell knows?
It was totally justified in any case, and an important advance in the War on Terror, which the Biden administration will bring to a victorious conclusion real soon now.
In related news, the Afghanistan Study Group has issued a final report, title A Pathway for Peace in Afghanistan. I'll confess I haven't yet read all 88 pages of the report, but I do note the great gains that have been made in female equality. The literacy rate for Afghan women is up from 13 percent when we went in there to 30 percent in 2018.
That's cost us a mere $822 billion up to February last year, not counting operations in Pakistan. That's along with 2,400 military fatalities.
But hey, what's more important than female literacy … in Afghanistan?
I wouldn't bring it up again except for the opportunity to direct a few eyeballs to my personal website — click on "Reviews" and then "China" — where you'll find archived one of my first book reviews for National Review, August 3rd 1998. The book under review was Eric Liu's The Accidental Asian, a long whine about racism and the author's search for an Asian-American identity.
Liu was studying law at Yale when he wrote the book. I closed out my review with the following, quote:
We live in an age when the sterner virtues are not much called for, and hedonism and narcissism, and the stirring up of rancor over imagined grievances, and the parading of manufactured emotions and try-it-out "lifestyles," and all the vapid babble of fashion and celebrity and "cool" and "identity" are what fill the marketplace. This is depressing for those of us who think that life is a serious business, that words have meanings and ideas matter, but it is bonanza time for people like Eric Liu. He will be a very successful lawyer.
Was my prediction correct? Did Eric Liu become a successful lawyer? Well, to judge from his Wikipedia page he has indeed become successful, but more as a political entrepreneur than as a lawyer. Hey, we all find our true calling at last … I guess
Item: So we have emerged unscathed — well, except for those Asian-Americans who got mugged in the street by white supremacists — we have emerged from Black History Month straight into Irish-American Heritage Month.
Yes, that's what we have emerged into. I know this because President Biden proclaimed it, in an actual proclamation from the White House, March 1st.
Before getting to the "I do hereby proclaim" part, Joe gives us a heart-warming account of his Irish grandparents Ambrose Finnegan and Geraldine Blewitt, who migrated from the Emerald Isle to the U.S.A. around 1900 — legally, I hope.
I guess I'm OK with this, except I think it's getting out of hand. I note that March is also Women's History Month and that next Monday, March 8th, is International Women's Day. So I guess if you're an Irish-American girl, you are twice blessed.
There are more than 150 sovereign nations in the world, though, and way more ethnicities — Catalan, Uighur, Hmong, and so on. If you're up-to-date with identitarian ideology, there are also seventy-something genders. They can't all — every nation, every ethny, every gender — they can't all have a month.
What if Kamala Harris becomes President, one way or another, and is overcome by a fit of filial piety. Shall we then have proclaimed an Indian-American Heritage Month and a Jamaican-American Heritage Month in honor of her antecedents? And then, if she decides to transition to one of the other genders, shall we get a Stone Butch Appreciation Month proclaimed? The imagination reels.
Not that I'm bothered, mind. My own forebears are all English as far back as I know. So long as these White House proclamations are published in the English language, I'm going to rest content knowing that every month is English-American Heritage Month.
[Clip: Flanders & Swann, "The English, the English, the English, are best …"]
Item: While we are in the British Isles I'll notice a little-known fact about Wales: It has a gold mine. Not a figurative gold mine, an actual gold mine, at Clogau in Gwynedd County, North Wales. There was actually a gold rush into Wales back in 1862.
I knew about this because I inherited my paternal grandfather's pocket watch and fob. The fob, which is dated 1908, is made of Welsh gold.
Well, there's news here. The news is, a new vein of gold has been found near the old workings, which shut down in 1998.
So I'm loading up my wagon with shovels, pans, sieves, and sluice boxes, and heading for Wales. It's high time I got a new fob for Grandad's watch.
Item: And just one more from across the pond, related to my remarks back there about the motives behind legal immigration.
Britain, as you probably know, has a National Health Service, which is chronically short of money to pay the doctors and nurses, and the fifty-five administrators, bureaucrats, and paper-shufflers needed to support each one of them.
Solution: Import those doctors and nurses. They work for less, and you save the cost of training them. What's not to like?
A March 3rd report from Migration Watch, an immigration-restrictionist think tank over there, tells us that since year 2010 more than half of British applicants for nurse training were not accepted, while tens of thousands of foreign nurses were hired. For the year 2018, quote:
Nearly 21,000 UK-based nursing applicants were rejected … even as 5,100 work permits were granted to nurses from abroad that year.
A lot of the countries supplying Britain with nurses — the report names South Africa, Jamaica and Zimbabwe — are seriously short of healthcare staff.
But hey, immigration's a blessing, right? On the long perspective, we're all immigrants, aren't we? Amirite, amirite?
Item: March 11th, next Thursday, marks the tenth anniversary of one of the worst natural catastrophes of recent decades, the Fukushima earthquake in Japan. More than 18,000 people died, and whole towns were wiped off the map.
The Daily Mail Online has a selection of before-and-after pictures, showing the devastation right after the earthquake and then the same location today. The Japanese have done an impressive job of cleaning up and rebuilding.
It was a catastrophe none the less. Sympathies from Radio Derb to those who lost homes and loved ones.
Item: Finally, bringing up the rear: A friend has alerted me to this story from the London Times, March 3rd. Headline: China makes anal swab Covid tests compulsory for foreign arrivals. Opening graf, quote:
China has made anal swab tests for the coronavirus mandatory for almost all international arrivals, deepening a row with other countries over a practice many have described as humiliating.
My friend added a comment about how that's what the ChiComs want the rest of the world to do: bend over and spread 'em. He urged me to add some wit of my own, but I think he himself got to the bottom of it right there, so I shall refrain.
08 — Signoff. That's it, ladies and gents. Thank you for your time and attention, and if you're planning a trip to China, be sure to pack lots of clean underwear.
OK, some signoff music. Just in case you thought I'd gotten the Muppets out of my system last week, let me tell you, it ain't so easy. Here they are again with an old classic silly song from my childhood.
If you're younger than a certain age, it needs some explanation. There used to be travelling fairs that would come around — we used to get a couple every year in my home town — with sideshows and booths and games where you could win prizes. One game was the coconut shy. Several coconuts were balanced on little platforms at the far end of the booth. For a small sum of cash you could rent wooden balls to throw at the coconuts. If you knocked one off its platform, you won it. This was how we used to have fun before World of Warcraft came up.
So here are the Muppets with the coconut song. And this is personal: It's for Auntie. Thanks, Auntie.
There will be more from Radio Derb next week.
[Music clip: The Muppets, "I've Got a Lovely Bunch of Coconuts."]