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[Music clip: From Haydn's Derbyshire March No. 2, traditional instruments version]
01 — Intro. And Radio Derb is on the air! Greetings, listeners, this St George's Day, from your irredeemably genial host John Derbyshire.
St George's Day, yes. This has actually been St George's week; not the chap who slew the dragon, but St George Floyd of Minneapolis, who was slain himself last year by something much more fearsome than any dragon — by systemic racism!
So the Narrative tells us, and so a jury ruled on Tuesday this week.
Why did they rule that way, and how did we get stuck with such a crazy Narrative? Let's explore.
02 — The Chauvin verdict: dust-pan, brush, and bucket. This week's headliner was of course Tuesday's jury verdict in the trial of police officer Derek Chauvin in Minneapolis.
For a weekly podcaster hitting the airwaves late Friday night, the fact of the verdict having come out on Tuesday has pluses and minuses.
The big minus is, that it's three full days from Tuesday evening to Friday evening, so that by the time I offer my own commentary, everyone else and his brother and his brother's urologist has opined on the verdict. That means that (a) there is nothing original left for me to say, and (b) everyone's thoroughly fed up with the subject anyway.
I'm left in the role of the guy who proverbially followed the Lord Mayor's parade with dust-pan, brush, and bucket, back in the days when parades featured horses.
That big minus comes with a corresponding plus, though. I can't do much about (b) there, so if you're afflicted with Chauvin Verdict Fatigue, by all means skip this and the next segment or two.
In regard to that big mass of Tuesday-to-Friday commentary, though, there is an opportunity there for the more shameless, more unscrupulous class of bloviator — me, for instance. We can sift through all that commentary, pick out a few choice morsels, and, well, plagiarize. I shall be doing some of that, but always with proper attribution. Hey: When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.
The jury verdict itself was absurd. Derek Chauvin did nothing wrong. The best case here was made by retired lawyer Harold Cameron over at Revolver News a week before the verdict came out. Edited quote from him, quote:
When Floyd continued resisting arrest after being placed in handcuffs, Chauvin didn't beat him with a baton. He didn't taze him. He didn't put in him a chokehold. He put one knee on what the prosecution is now optimistically calling Floyd's "neck area" and waited for the ambulance to come save Floyd's life … The worst that could be said is that he didn't simply let Floyd go because he was still complaining about being unable to breath, just as he had been since the beginning of the encounter. The state's case so far boils down to a collection of experts equating that to murder.
Hamilton also reminds us of the size discrepancy between Chauvin, who weighs a slight 140 lbs., and Floyd, 230 lbs. and all pepped up on chemical stimulants. If you have ever been involved in a close-quarters struggle for physical mastery with another adult, you're impressed that Chauvin managed to subdue Floyd. In the famous kneeling video, Chauvin has a look of being somewhat pleased with himself. I would have been, too.
Aside from that look of muted pride, I thought from the beginning, and still think, that Chauvin did not at all have the appearance of someone who was aware he was doing something wrong. Come on: If you are doing something grossly wrong, something that might end another person's life, you know you are, and it will show. Chauvin's entire affect in that video was of someone who's done an unpleasant job, and believes he's done it rather well.
How does that square with the charges as presented? Here I shall plagiarize again, this time from veteran white advocate Jared Taylor here at VDARE.com following the verdict.
Jared has just referred readers to Judge Cahill's instructions to the jury before they deliberated. He quotes several phrases taken from those instructions, which Judge Cahill in turn took from the statutes under which Chauvin was charged. I shall preface each phrase with "inner quote," but spare you the "end inner quotes." You can figure them out, I'm sure. Jared, quote:
Did the prosecution really prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Mr Chauvin [inner quote] "intentionally inflicted substantial bodily harm"? That he was [inner quote] "perpetrating an act eminently dangerous to others and evincing a depraved mind, without regard for human life"? That he [inner quote] "consciously [took] chances of causing death or great bodily harm"? Was this [inner quote] "[un]reasonable force in the line of duty in effecting a lawful arrest or preventing an escape from custody"?
Jared, ever the punctilious gentleman and scholar, adds, quote: "I wasn't in the courtroom, so I can't answer these questions …" He knows perfectly well, of course, that they answer themselves.
So: to plagiarize just once more, this time from Lady Ann, another virgin has been tossed into the volcano to appease the hungry god.
Who is that god, though? How did so many Americans come to worship him? I shall get to that. First, a segment on the jury's motives.
03 — Fear of the government-sanctioned mob. The most parsimonious explanation for the jury's verdict is fear. Given the hullabaloo surrounding the trial — of which Judge Cahill made sure they were well aware — the jurors voted to not have their homes burned and their family members lynched.
In a society under the rule of law, that would not have been something they would need to worry about. In such a society, the municipal, state, and federal authorities would have gone to any necessary trouble and expense to preserve the jurors' safety, up to and including giving them aliases and parking them in witness protection programs in Malibu on generous lifetime pensions.
Those authorities, in the interest of maintaining impartial justice, would also have hunted down and prosecuted any persons promoting, or even just suggesting, violent retribution against the jurors.
We don't live in that kind of society, and I'm sure the jurors know it. The mobs demanding guilty verdicts and threatening violence, arson, and looting if there was any other outcome, have the full support of the public authorities — municipal, state, and federal.
So yes: The jurors all knew that should they come up with anything short of a guilty-guilty-guilty verdict, not only would their identitities be quickly exposed to the vengeance of the mob, but that the authorities at every level would brand them Enemies of the State and not lift a finger to protect them.
Not a surprising result, then, under these circumstances. Fear ruled the day.
Is that the whole story, though? Fear must have been a big factor, but was it the only factor?
I don't think so. The god in charge of that volcano was hungry and had to be fed. The jurors rightly feared him. God-fearing people don't only fear their god, though; they love him, too. Is it likely that none of the jurors were faithful believers? Who is that god, anyway? Next segment.
That's seven females, five males; six white, six other.
Is there anything to be deduced from that? Not much, but I think there are one or two things worth saying, so I'll say them.
Our culture has lapsed into a very peculiar state. A majority of Americans identify as white: sixty percent at the last count, if you exclude white-identifying Latinos, almost eighty percent if you include them. Yet the dominant belief system in the U.S.A. — that Narrative — is frankly, openly anti-white.
Some of that anti-whiteness is in the minds of black Americans, who can put forward some rational, or semi-rational, explanations for it.
Fair enough. There aren't that many black Americans, though, and not all of them are so negative. The real major force of anti-whiteness comes from whites. "Ethnomasochism," I've called it.
Huge numbers of white Americans, tens of millions of us, hate our own race, our own ancestors. Best-selling books, eagerly bought and read by white people, tell us how irredeemably wicked we are. Expensive private prep schools with mostly-white enrolments set aside entire teaching periods to instil white guilt in their students. Ethnomasochism is very much a white thing.
To those of us not infected by ethnomasochism, it all seems deeply weird, and we struggle to find explanations for it.
Some portion of it, especially in the zone of employment, can be dismissed as lawsuit insurance. The bosses of your company may or may not be ethnomasochists, but they all want to avoid the trouble and expense of a race scandal. So: "Hey, look, we make all our employees take Diversity Training! No racism here!"
That surely explains some of what's happening, but it leaves unexplained why a majority-white population would let its elected representatives pass the laws that make those lawsuits possible.
Just inattention, probably. A big problem with representative democracy is that normal people can't be bothered much with politics; so key political decisions, including even some elections, are decided by the minority who can. The current Mayor of New York City is, by common agreement — even among liberals — the worst mayor the city's ever had; yet he was elected to that position twice. Total voter turnout the first time: 13.4 percent. The second time: 18 percent. You get what you don't vote for.
It's actually worse than that. Even when normal people do show up to vote, the freaks and misfits who really care about politics have ways to keep control of things. Longish quote — I tell ya, I'm having a plagiarism special this week:
Let's say I vote Republican every two years, but otherwise go on with my life and rarely ever think about politics. You, on the other hand, not only vote Democrat, but give money to campaigns, write your Congressman when major legislation comes up, wear pink hats, and march in the streets or write emails to institutions when you're outraged about something.
That's from an April 21st post by blogger Richard Hanania, title: Why is Everything Liberal?
Other explanations for mass white ethnomasochism are available. Chicago pundit Dan Proft, over at the American Greatness website April 21st, blames a post-Soviet, refurbished style of Marxism. Following the all-too-obvious failure of Marxism as an economic program, he says, quote:
It is far more effective to zero in on an important aspect of how people identify themselves — that is, their race — and reduce them to nothing more than that race, followed by assigning "oppressor" and "victim" name tags accordingly.
Eh, maybe. That still doesn't explain the widespread acceptance of white ethnomasochism, with which, I suspect, some of the six white members of the Chauvin jury, those four white women and two white men, were likely infected.
Here is the bottom line, in plain sight these past few days.
Huge numbers of white Americans, perhaps a majority, get some kind of psychic reward, some kind of emotional charge, from thinking guiltily about white people being mean to black people. As the quip goes: They feel good about feeling bad about themselves.
"We enslaved them!" they cry: "We lynched them! We redlined them! We keep them out of our advanced academic programs! We lock up way too many of them! And look — we choke them to death with a knee on their neck!"
Some of that is true, some is half-true, the rest is just false. Yes, whites enslaved blacks. Lynching? Twenty-seven percent of those lynched were white. Redlining? The federal government practicing fiscal responsibility over the loans they guaranteed … and so on. The main point again is the emotional rush that tens of millions of white Americans get from believing it all and feeling terrible about it.
So yes: While I think fear was the main factor in the Chauvin jury's decision, I'll bet ethnomasochism was in there, too.
We are so steeped in the anti-white Narrative, so accustomed to it now, we forget how unnatural it is. Other races aren't like this at all. The Japanese have done some seriously wicked things within living memory. You'll never hear any of them express remorse about it, though, unless there is some immediate diplomatic or commercial advantage in doing so. China the same. India, Africa, Muslims, … The only people who get a pleasant collective thrill from feeling bad about themselves are whites.
It's weird. For the future of our civilization, I would like to see a task force — a Manhattan Project — of historians, psychiatrists, neurologists, behavioral geneticists, quantitative psychologists, sociologists, and anthropologists get to work explaining this strange, weird, suicidal phenomenon.
05 — The meritocracy conundrum (cont.) The dismantling of American meritocracy proceeds apace. Latest news there: The state of Virginia is moving to eliminate all accelerated math options prior to 11th grade.
What does that mean? It means that no matter how gifted at math you are, you'll study exactly the same math curriculum as all the other kids until you are 16 or 17 years old.
This is, of course, all in the name of "equity" — equal statistical group outcomes by race and sex.
I'm afraid these stories about striving for "equity" in education always bring to mind a proposal Steve Sailer made some years ago, to the same end. To get equal outcomes by race, Steve observed, would be easy. All we have to do is hit all the white and Asian kids on the head with a ball-peen hammer.
In the same general zone, I note with amused interest, or interested amusement, that Senator Ted Cruz pulled a clever trick yesterday during deliberations on the so-called COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act, which is supposed to ramp up federal action on anti-Asian hate crimes.
Ted Cruz's amendment had, as its Statement of Purpose, precise quote:
To prohibit Federal funding for any institution of higher education that discriminates against Asian Americans in recruitment, applicant review, or admissions.
It is of course a well-established fact that all the big universities strive to keep down the numbers of Asian Americans they admit. Ron Unz covered the ground very capably nine years ago, showing how, even as the number of college-age Asian Americans soared from 1990 on, the number of Asian American students enrolled in the Ivy League colleges, with the single exception of Caltech, stayed mysteriously trapped in a narrow band between fourteen and eighteen percent of total enrolments.
So what do you think happened to Ted Cruz's amendment banning discrimination against Asian Americans? It was voted down, 49 to 48. The 49, I should explain, was the Yeas, those voting for Ted's amendment. Unfortunately, on Senate rules, an amendment of this type needs a supermajority of 60 votes to pass.
Three senators, two Democrats and a Republican, didn't vote. That means that every single Democrat who voted, all 48 of them, was a Nay, voting to not prohibit federal funding to colleges that discriminate. Every single voting Democrat voted for racial discrimination!
I wouldn't have expected otherwise, but I can't help smiling.
On the larger topic of meritocracy in general, I have written quite a lot over the years. I find meritocracy very fascinating, mainly because it is so difficult to come down on either one side or the other of it.
Without thinking about it too much, we tend to assume that meritocracy is obviously a good thing. Don't we all want the best airline pilots, the best dentists, the best engineers? Of course we do — I do.
But then, what if a general meritocracy spawns a caste of exam-passing whiz-kids who mistake their genetic good luck for moral virtue and come to despise those less well-endowed — the Deplorables, they might say? That was the issue posed by Michael Young in his 1958 book The Rise of the Meritocracy. In the book, things don't end well.
For another anti-meritocracy tract, try Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four, which gets quoted a lot on our side of the social and political fence. So far as I can recall, though, I am the only person to have quoted this passage from Chapter IX, quote:
Admission to either branch of the Party is by examination, taken at the age of sixteen. Nor is there any racial discrimination … Jews, Negroes, South Americans of pure Indian blood are to be found in the highest ranks of the Party … If there were no other way of keeping the ablest people at the top, it would be perfectly prepared to recruit an entire new generation from the ranks of the proletariat.
Yes, the horrible totalitarian despotism of Orwell's imagination was a meritocracy.
So … Meritocracy good? Meritocracy bad? There's a case to be made either way. I'd be honestly interested to hear listeners' opinions on this. It seems to me the knottiest of all broad social problems; but perhaps someone can untie it for me.
06 — Miscellany. And now, our closing miscellany of brief items.
Imprimis: I see that the Justice Department has taken an interest in Minneapolis police practices. They are sending in officials from their Civil Rights Division to sniff around looking for violations. Says the Minneapolis Star Tribune, April 21st, quote:
If the Civil Rights Division can't reach an agreement with Minneapolis on how to reform the police department, the Justice Department has authority to file a lawsuit to force changes.
Heaven forbid I should want to put any government lawyers out of work, but why does the federal Department of Justice still have a Civil Rights Division? Is anyone in the U.S.A. today really being deprived of civil rights? Is there any jurisdiction today where the full range of civil rights is not protected by local laws? Can someone give me an example?
You can't escape the impression that some large part of our institutions and our population is mentally trapped in 1955. The president, for example, scolding the Georgia legislature for reinstating Jim Crow — something, in fact, if you can untangle the president's syntax, far worse than Jim Crow — Jim Eagle!
Or perhaps it's just institutional inertia. Once you've got a new government department staffed up and funded, you can never get rid of it.
Item: Speaking of funding the feds: Along with the Civil Rights Division of Justice, the thing I would most like to see de-funded is the FBI.
It's plain from the record of the past five years that the FBI is hopelessly corrupt — an arm of the anti-Trump, anti-white managerial state. Look at the pains they are going to to arrest and punish the January 6th protestors. USA Today has a full online gallery.
Here's a protestor at random, arrested April 15th: Duke Edward Wilson of Idaho, age 66. Quote:
According to authorities, Wilson entered the Lower West Terrace tunnel area of the U.S. Capitol building shortly before 3 p.m. where rioters were pushing against law enforcement officers to break in. Video posted to YouTube, as well as body worn camera and surveillance footage, shows Wilson assaulting one U.S. Capitol Police officer and one Metropolitan Police Department officer. He then forcibly pulled on Capitol doors and was sprayed with a chemical irritant by officers. He then picked up what appeared to be a several foot-long PVC pipe and began jabbing officers with it before throwing the pipe at officers.
Note that it took the FBI sleuths fourteen weeks to track down and apprehend this dangerous terrorist. I wonder what that is in man-hours? Meanwhile, the FBI seems to have no interest at all in hunting down the rioters, vandals, destroyers of businesses, burners of police stations that are Antifa and BLM.
Sleep easy, though, citizens! Duke Edward Wilson is in custody now, having his teeth knocked out by vengeful black federal corrections officers. That's assuming he has any teeth: the guy is sixty-six years old. And no, I didn't pick him because he's the oldest in the gallery; there are a dozen or so in their sixties, and a couple in their seventies.
Say what you like about the FBI, though: They keep up with the times. FBI Director Christopher Wray told us Tuesday that he has appointed the agency's first ever Chief Diversity Officer, a bloke named Scott McMillion. The FBI has had an Office of Diversity and Inclusion since 2012 — of course they have! — but apparently the office never had its own chief before. Now the FBI is fully woke.
Here's a funny thing, though. I naturally wanted to know what race this Scott McMillion is. The news stories were all decorated with pictures of Director Wray; or, in a surprising number of cases, the same stock picture of the FBI building in DC. I tried Google Images: nope. Odd.
Item: Finally, just a vent about the word "community," which I'm heartily sick of.
A lunatic in Indianapolis, a 19-year-old white guy, shot dead eight people, and then himself, at a FedEx installation there. It was awful, and sincere sympathy from me to all those bereaved.
What made my jaw clench when reading about it in Sunday's New York Post was not, I'm sorry to say, the horror of the event itself, but this sentence opener in the news report, quote:
Among the victims were four members of Indiana's Sikh community, …
Why does it have to be a "community"? Couldn't that information have been communicated more economically by just writing:
Among the victims were four Sikhs …
Is that too nit-picky? Am I turning into a cranky old geezer? Possibly. In any case, I see the Post has anticipated my grumble and made an end-run around it. When I looked up the online version to supply a link in the transcript, the sentence began, quote:
Among the victims were four members of Indiana's burgeoning Sikh community, …
I guess they couldn't write "four burgeoning Sikhs." The hell with it … Hey! Get off my lawn!
07 — Signoff. And that's all I have for you, ladies and gents. Thank you for your time and attention; and if you are the praying type, be sure to offer up a prayer of remembrance this weekend to the holy blessed martyr St George … the dragon-slayer, not the junkie hoodlum.
A thing I get asked is, how do I come up with the remarkably wide range of choices for my Radio Derb signout music? Opera, classical, pop, folk, novelty songs, lounge singers, blues, the occasional hymn, … Where does it all come from?
Well, most of it comes from my own peculiarly eclectic taste in music. The rest, though, is things that listeners have sent in as suggestions. Here to see us out is one of those, that came in last week.
I have to confess I had never heard of Tony Joe White, although this song was at number eight in the Top Forty, August 1969, when I was listening to a lot of pop music, albeit on the other side of the Atlantic.
The listener who sent it in said he thought it nicely illustrates what Greil Marcus called "the old, weird America." I can't disagree. In fact, I didn't understand more than about seventy percent of it. And for a white guy — from Louisiana, I see, looking him up — Tony Joe White has a seriously black voice.
Polk salad is a real thing, by the way. It's make with pokeweed. Be careful, though. As Lydia Brimelow pointed out just a few weeks ago, if it's not prepared correctly, pokeweed can kill you. So you might want to have a representative of the old, weird America by your side in the kitchen when preparing.
There will be more from Radio Derb next week, assuming we survive the polk salad.
[Music clip: Tony Joe White, "Polk Salad Annie."]