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[Music clip: From Haydn's Derbyshire March No. 2, piano version]
01 — Intro. And Radio Derb is on the air! Greetings here from your literally genial host John Derbyshire, with news from here, there, and elsewhere — including, this week, news from Derbyshire.
Listeners have grumbled to me that I don't say enough about the COVID pandemic. Sorry, but it's the fatalist in me, and I think in many of my g-g-g-generation.
Flu pandemics are, to those of our inclination, just part of the unavoidable background of life, like the weather. You don't take foolhardy chances with them, any more than you go out without an umbrella when it's raining, but you get on with your life and don't make a fuss about them.
However, as a concession to the grumblers, I'll start off this week with a good long segment on COVID. Enjoy!
Wade compares the two common theories: (a) the "wet market" theory, that the virus jumped from bats, or from bats via some intermediate host, to humans at a live-animal market in Wuhan, China, and (b) the "lab escape" theory, that the virus originated in a lab, also in Wuhan, doing research into viruses.
Wade allows that we can't say dispositively which theory is correct; but by a judicious and thoroughly-researched sifting of the facts we do know, he leaves his reader thinking that the lab escape theory is the more probable one.
I'll confess some partiality here. I'm a major Wade fan. I read his articles in the New York Times for years, and I've reviewed at least three of his books, including his 2014 race-realist book A Troublesome Inheritance. I have some slight personal acquaintance with him, too; and yes, like me he's an immigrant from Britain.
Well, this is a brilliant piece of science journalism; and I speak as a person who's been reading science journalism since the Eisenhower administration. Wade might be wrong on the balance of probabilities — and the article where I found it, at the website of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, has a good argumentative comment thread — but for the sifting of facts and the weighing of probabilities, this piece is a classic.
That sifting, that weighing, that arguing, is science at its best. It doesn't come easily to human beings. To quote myself, quote:
Scientific objectivity is a freakish, unnatural, and unpopular mode of thought, restricted to small cliques whom the generality of citizens regard with dislike and mistrust.
We of that freakish brotherhood just turn away wearily when we hear some fool politician or pundit with a degree in Media Studies tell us to "follow the science!" Politics and political punditry are the last places to go to for scientific understanding. You need a guide who understands how long and grueling the path to scientific certainty is.
Nicholas Wade quotes Francis Bacon, grandfather of the Scientific Revolution, quote: "Truth is the daughter not of authority but time." End quote. We don't believe that the Earth goes round the Sun because Copernicus said so, although he did, or because Galileo agreed with him, although he did. We believe it because we have been persuaded by thousands of pieces of evidence accumulated over hundreds of years by legions of observers sifting, weighing, and arguing.
I should say, however, that prior to Wade's article, the most striking piece I'd read on the origins of COVID was the one by Ron Unz at his own website in March this year, arguing a third possible origin for COVID. This is (c) the "American biowarfare" theory, that the virus was developed in our own labs then deliberately let loose in China by one of our intelligence agencies.
Ron's article is almost as long as Nicholas Wade's, and also comes with an argumentative comment thread — 975 comments when I looked just now. There are of course all sorts of objections you can raise against it, although it's highly probable your objection has already been posed in one of those 975.
What do I think of Ron's theory? I wouldn't rule it out, given the lawlessness and deep stupidity of our intelligence agencies. For sure, Ron makes as good a case for it as can be made.
And it is kind of … strange that other than China's immediate neighbors, the second country to be seriously hit by COVID was Iran, bête noire of the neocons who run those agencies. Several senior Iranian officials died of COVID. Hmm.
However, I'm temperamentally inclined to believe that, while conspiracies and plots are glamorous, dramatic, and exciting to contemplate, carelessness and error are much bigger factors in human affairs. On those grounds, and having seen up close how things are done in China, I favor the lab escape theory as most probable.
Will Francis Bacon's principle be vindicated? With the passing of enough time, shall we one day know the truth of the matter? I won't be holding my breath. To either verify or decisively eliminate the lab-escape hypothesis, for example, we'd need to have a good look at the records of the Wuhan lab in late 2019 and early 2020, and have unsupervised interviews with relevant employees.
In communist China, that won't happen. Those records have long since been reduced to their component molecules and the ashes dumped in the Mariana Trench; those employees, in the unlikely event they survived their interrogations by the secret police, are now employed at stone quarries on the Qinghai Plateau.
It's coming up to fifty years ago since Lin Biao, who had been Mao Tse-tung's right-hand man, disappeared from the scene and was declared to have been a counter-revolutionary traitor. Was he? Did he really die while trying to flee China? Why was he trying to flee? After fifty years, scholars are still arguing.
If the ChiCom regime collapses, we may get to learn something new about the origin of COVID. Unfortunately there are no signs of that happening. Right now, we just don't know.
This topic has, though, generated some good deep public debate: not from the clown show of our national politics, of course, which is not capable of engaging with anything deeper than a kiddie pool, but from smart, sane, thoughtful inquirers like Nicholas Wade and Ron Unz. Thanks to them both for their work.
03 — Crisis in the Middle East! Crisis in the Middle East! scream the headlines. After all these years — what am I saying? all these decades — subeditors everywhere must have the phrase "crisis in the Middle East" set up as a single-key macro.
It's this week's news, though; so with a sigh of weary resignation I hit the pause button on my fantasy about a mud-wrestling contest between Marjorie Taylor Greene and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and turn my attention to it.
So what's up over there? Well, last week there was some argy-bargy in Jerusalem over Arab families being evicted by Jews. That got Israeli Arabs out demonstrating; that culminated in major riots Monday and Tuesday on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. This is a holy place, especially to Muslims, as their ancient mosques and shrines have mostly survived there while Judaism's ancient temples haven't. Israeli police went into the holiest mosque to control the riot, which of course riled up the Arabs even more.
It hasn't helped that Tuesday this week saw the end of Ramadan, the Muslim holy month, immediately followed by the three-day festival of Eid al-Fitr. So for Muslims, religious passion was at its highest pitch this week — a sort of Muslim Easter.
Monday the Hamas party that rules the Gaza Strip decided to join in the ructions by firing missiles into Israel's towns and cities. This was terror-bombing, not strategic strikes. Israel naturally responded with air strikes on Gaza, strikes which were strategic, not just terroristic. So, once again, we were off to the races.
The results of those missile and air strikes were considerably mixed. Israel's Iron Dome system of missile interception seems to have done a good job, with less than ten percent of the Arab missiles getting through. Israeli air strikes, on the other hand, have offed several big-name Hamas leaders.
We are told, although evidence is hard to come by, that a lot of the Hamas missiles either blew up on launch or went up and then came down while still in Gaza, causing a lot of casualties. That aside, the official butcher's bill for the week seems to be Israeli deaths in single digits, Gaza deaths about ten times as many. Given the random nature of the missile strikes, some of the Israeli deaths might have been Israeli Arabs; I haven't seen any details on this.
There's been a lot of background stuff helping to heat things up. The Trump administration moving our embassy to Jerusalem, brokering a peace deal between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, and curtailing cash aid to the Arab rulers of Gaza and the West Bank have raised the level of frustration among Arab militants.
Contrariwise, the April 7th announcement by Biden's Secretary of State that we shall resume shovelling money into the Swiss bank accounts of the gangsters who run Gaza and the West Bank, has been taken as a encouraging signal that Uncle Sam is back in sucker mode.
There's politics, too, on both sides. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu has been in an unstable position for some time now, and could use a patriotic boost. Hamas likewise, tired of playing second fiddle in the diplomatic game to the Fatah party running the West Bank, which is supposed to be in political union with Gaza, but which hasn't allowed an election for fifteen years.
In still deeper background, there seems to have been slow-rising instability between Arabs and Jews in Israel itself. In the troubles of these last few days, synagogues have been burned by Arab mobs and Arabs dragged from their cars and beaten by Jewish mobs. More on that in the next segment.
Where is it all headed? Durned if I know. The politicians and diplomats are quacking and bleating, of course, with talk about "de-escalating the violence" and "outreach with the Palestinian leadership."
My guess is that the mini-war will go on for a couple of weeks, then the diplomats will come to some agreement on suitable bribes to be paid, and then everything will quiet down for a few years until the next "Crisis in the Middle East!" Lather, rinse, repeat.
If I don't sound terrifically engaged with this, that's because I'm not. I'd rather be back on the barcalounger with MTG and AOC. There are, however, things to be said that are pertinent to us, to civic-minded Americans, so I'll have a go at saying them.
04 — No escape from Diversity Hell. It's those strains between Israeli Arabs and Israeli Jews that got most of my attention. In this week's context the ill feeling isn't hard to understand, but it's been going on for a while, and apparently getting worse.
Sample headline from the Jerusalem Post, May 14th: Is Israel reaching a tipping point with internal clashes? Quote from the article:
In October 2015, after a terror attack in Beersheba, a crowd lynched a bystander named Haftom Zarhum from Eritrea, claiming they thought he was a terrorist. In 2015, a mob in Majdal Shams attacked an ambulance and lynched a Syrian man who was wounded in fighting across the border and who the IDF was taking to a hospital. Druze accused the man of being a Jihadist involved in attacks on Druze in Syria.
End quote. Druze are an Arab minority practicing a non-Muslim religion.
Several American observers have remarked on the similarity in news coverage between the disturbances in Israel's streets and those in our own — Antifa and Black Lives Matter goons smashing windows, beating up motorists, and so on.
Well, yes. This is the price of Diversity. Twenty percent of Israelis are Arabs; thirteen percent of Americans are black.
I'm sure most Israeli Arabs want a quiet life, just as most American blacks do. There is a fiercely activist inner core, though, that hates the majority population; and around that inner core there is a larger outer core that, while not chronically activist, can be whipped up into anger by incidents like those evictions in Jerusalem, or when black suspects die resisting arrest by white cops.
The parallel's not an exact one. Those Antifa and BLM mobs contain a high proportion of whites, while I doubt there are many Israeli Jews in among the Arab mobs.
(Although there may be some. A correspondent in Israel tells me that bleeding-heart Jewish liberalism is a big force in Israeli public life, so I wouldn't totally rule out there being some Jewish Social Justice Warriors involved in burning down that synagogue.)
Diversity is the common factor, though: imbedded minority populations of many millions — twenty or thirteen percent — separated from the majority population by, to borrow the words of Thomas Jefferson, indelible lines of distinction drawn by nature, habit, and opinion. In the Israeli case, also by language and religion.
Is there any way out of this — any escape from Diversity Hell, for them or for us? I don't think so. American blacks aren't going anywhere, neither are Israeli Arabs; and both our nations are too civilized to contemplate mass expulsions or genocide.
I personally would be content if our public figures could just speak honestly about it. Mass diversity — diversity above the level of salt in the stew — is a disaster, a catastrophe. It causes nothing but strife and discord. "Diversity is our strength" must be the biggest, most audacious lie ever forced on a nation of people who have eyes to see and brains to understand.
If our politicians, pundits, and educators could be honest about that in public, perhaps we could then take the key step in our national decision-making, for the benefit of those who come after us. Perhaps we could seize on a determination that, while we must struggle along with the miseries and conflicts of present diversity as best we can, we should not do anything to make it worse.
The Israelis are at least ahead of us there. Non-Jewish immigration is strictly limited, and refugees are told to go home when their countries are safe again. That won't get the Israelis out of Diversity Hell, but it will at least keep the temperature from rising.
05 — Localism vs. the refugee rackets. Having mentioned refugees there, I should note the Biden administration's May 3rd decision to raise the number for refugee admissions this fiscal year from the number Donald Trump left us with, which was 15,000, to 62,500.
It's not likely the 62,500 number will be reached. This fiscal year ends on September 30th, just 4½ months away. The machinery of refugee resettlement includes the United Nations, our State Department, the big refugee contractors, and HHS (the Department of Health and Human Services, which has its very own Office of Refugee Resettlement). A machine with that many moving parts, operated by bureaucrat seat-warmers, doesn't get moving easily. It takes a while.
Biden has promised 125,000 refugees for next year, and that number likely will be reached; so once it gets moving, the refugee resettlement machine will be a juggernaut rolling over the landscape, crushing all in its path.
It is no news to VDARE.com readers that refugee resettlement is a cynical money racket, in which resettlement agencies with reassuringly churchy or humanitarian-sounding names get tens of millions of taxpayer dollars by flooding unsuspecting small towns with permanent-welfare cases from countries like Somalia and Afghanistan.
If you want to read it up — and you should — it's covered very thoroughly in Chapter Four of Michelle Malkin's 2019 book Open Borders Inc. Michelle lists the names of the nine big resettlement agencies cashing in on the racket. They are:
If you live in a quiet small town and you hear the name of one of those agencies being bandied about in town business, start tackling your elected town officials right away.
Even if you haven't heard them mentioned, in fact, ask your elected officials proactively about refugee resettlement. Quote from Michelle's book, page 123, quote:
The Government Accountability Office warned in 2012 that the [agencies] were failing to consult with local communities, even though federal law requires them to do so.
I've been promoting the virtues of localism here at Radio Derb recently. With Washington, DC totally in enemy hands, we must do what we can in our states and municipalities. There have been some great victories at the local level, notably with the banning of Critical Race Theory from classrooms. Here's an opportunity for more victories.
There are already stirrings on the refugee issue. Winchester is the county seat of Frederick County, Virginia. May 4th county resident Dale Watten wrote a good spirited letter to the Winchester Star newspaper, objecting to the opening of a refugee resettlement office in the town. Sample paragraph, quote:
I don't think rural America should have to bear the burden of the Biden administration's misguided policies that most of us in rural America did not vote for. Might I point out what has happened to once lovely Minneapolis in large part due to refugee resettlement. Send the refugees to NYC, San Francisco or Biden's home state of Delaware. Don't send them to Winchester. I strongly urge Winchester City Council to reject the proposed refugee resettlement office.
That's the way to get things done, Mr Watten. Localism, yeah!
If we want to help refugees — genuine refugees, not just the losing side in some warlord squabble, like Ilhan Omar's family, or people who've paid a bribe to some United Nations clerk in Bongoland — there are ways to do it. We can help them in their own countries, or in neighboring countries with similar culture. If we must import them to our own country, let's make it clear, as Israel does, that they'll be repatriated when we judge that it's possible.
As a footnote to all that, here's an article from Breitbart on Tuesday that made me smile. Headline: Japan Processes Record Number of Chinese Refugees in 2020.
Yes, Japan has released its refugee numbers for last year. The Japan Broadcasting Corporation announced proudly that the number of Chinese nationals granted refugee status in Japan last year was, quote, "the highest figure since Japan began accepting refugees in 1982," end quote.
Wow, well done, Japan! But … what was the actual number?
Eleven. Eighty-eight applications for refugee status were filed by Chinese nationals in Japan. Seventy-seven were rejected, only eleven were granted.
Total number of foreigners recognized as refugees and permitted to remain in Japan last year? Forty-seven.
Someone should alert Church World Service, Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, and the rest as to how badly Japan is falling down on the job of taking in refugees. I'm sure Japan would give them a polite reception.
06 — Is the Church of England a terrorist organisation? Some Derbyshire news. No, nothing personal; this is Derbyshire the county, over in England. Actually this segment is one of those in which I moan, curse, and weep over the distressful state that the nation of my birth has fallen into. Indulge me, please.
So, Derbyshire. In the bottom right-hand corner of that noble county, hard by the river Trent, is the town of Long Eaton. In that town is a public school, which is what the English perversely call a fee-paying private boarding school, called Trent College.
Trent is not the very toniest of English public schools, but it's up there. Full boarding fees will cost you $16,000 per semester, but you can skip the boarding and just be a day student for around half that. It's co-educational, both boys and girls, ages eleven to eighteen, and there's a historic connection with the Church of England.
Via that connection, the school has a resident chaplain, charged with providing pastoral care to students and staff, sharing the Christian faith, and leading services in the school's chapel. In 2015 the Reverend Dr Bernard Randall, an ordained minister in that church, aged mid-forties, was appointed to be chaplain.
So far, so good. Moderately tony, moderately expensive, moderately churchy school in a rustic part of England.
Next up in the dramatis personæ here is Dr Elly Barnes, a female who I would judge to be early forties. Dr Barnes runs an outfit named Educate & Celebrate, which promises on its website home page that, quote:
We equip you and your communities with the knowledge, skills and confidence to embed gender, gender identity and sexual orientation into the fabric of your organisation.
Just before the beginning of the fall semester in 2018, Dr Elly Barnes was invited to address the staff of Trent College. The chaplain, Dr Randall, was present. He was uncomfortable with Dr Barnes' woke evangelizing, especially, quote from him, "the blurring of the biological distinctions between men and women," end quote.
He learned that the school was thinking of hiring in Dr Barnes' outfit to raise the students' consciousness about gender identity and such. However, they assured him he'd be consulted before any decision was made.
He wasn't, though. Four months later, January 2019, he heard that Educate & Celebrate had indeed been hired in. They'd be putting up an LGBT display in key areas of the school, including reception hall, theatre, corridors and library. "Why wasn't I consulted?" asked the chaplain. Because, they told him, we knew you'd object.
After a few months of this, and having had some students complain to him about the indoctrination, Dr Randall preached a sermon putting, clearly but mildly, a contrary point of view. He noted, for example, that it is, quote, "perfectly legitimate to think that marriage should only properly be understood as being a lifelong exclusive union of a man and a woman," end quote.
All hell broke loose of course. Dr Randall was subjected to Cultural Revolution-style struggle sessions where he was accused of hurting people's feelings and undermining the LGBT agenda.
One female colleague, without telling him, reported him to a British government anti-terrorism initiative called Prevent. The three key objectives of Prevent are listed on its website as:
At his next struggle session after learning this, Dr Randall asked, reasonably enough, whether the school authorities thought that the Church of England is a terrorist organisation. They told him the government had decided he didn't reach the threshold for action by Prevent.
It gets worse from there. In the end, Dr Randall was fired. He now has a lawsuit against the school. I wish him good luck with it.
That is life today, in what was once a free country. Thank God I'm out of that place.
07 — Miscellany. And now, our closing miscellany of brief items. Just a couple.
Imprimis: Just as everyone expected, anti-Trump neocon Liz Cheney was removed as chairman of the House GOP caucus on Wednesday. Representative Jim Jordan of Ohio pronounced sentence, quote: "You can't have a conference chair who recites Democrat talking points," end quote.
Some Republicans beg to differ. The New York Times reported on Tuesday that, quote:
More than 100 Republicans, including some former elected officials, are preparing to release a letter this week threatening to form a third party.
Wow. "Including some former elected officials," eh? Any, like, current elected officials? The Times couldn't name any. They did cite reports that two former governors, four former congresscritters, and — oh, hey, here come the big guns — a former Transportation Secretary will sign the letter.
Well, mighty oaks from little acorns grow; but if that's the nucleus of our new Third Party, I don't think the House GOP members who booted out Liz Cheney on Wednesday will be losing any sleep over it.
Item: The San Francisco Chronicle wondered last weekend, headline: Why is aggressively racist "Orientalist" opera still a thing?
The writer here is Miki Kaneda, who describes herself as an Asian American woman. She wonders why, in these enlightened times, opera companies are still allowed to stage operas like Madame Butterfly, Aida, and Carmen, which, quote, "glorify violence against, and profit from the objectification of, Asian women," end quote.
I was a bit baffled by her selection of operas there. The heroine of Aida is Ethiopian. Is Ethiopia in Asia? News to me. And Carmen is a gypsy. Do Gypsies count as Asians? I believe their remote origins are somewhere in present-day Pakistan, so I guess you could say so, but it seems like a stretch. And why no mention of Turandot, some of whose score is actually based on Chinese folk music?
That's our Cultural Revolution, though. They are killing off imagination. If you're a European male, you may only write operas — or, I guess, plays or novels — about European males. Flaubert wouldn't find a publisher for Madame Bovary nowadays, nor Tolstoy for Anna Karenina, nor, to complete the adultery set, Fontane for Effi Briest.
"Write about what you know," is the advice given to young writers — including, I suppose, opera librettists. The only thing you're supposed to know nowadays is your own precious self, your — what's the cant expression? oh, right — your "lived experience."
What a wilderness they are creating; what a dead, arid wilderness!
08 — Signoff. That's all I have, ladies and gents. Thank you for listening, and I hope you got your taxes done. I just signed off on mine today.
From my having placed that operatic item last, seasoned Radio Derb listeners can guess what I'll be signing out with. Yes, your predictably genial host is a fan of the middlebrow opera repertory. In fact, I once wrote a novel about it, with several pages of endnotes explaining all the operas and terms of art used in the main text of the novel.
Here, from those endnotes, is what I wrote about the opera Madame Butterfly. Quote from self:
The American Pinkerton, visiting Japan, light-heartedly contracts a marriage of convenience with a young Japanese girl, Butterfly. Her family disowns her. Pinkerton, after impregnating her, sails back to the U.S. Butterfly waits patiently for him to return; but when he does, it is with his American wife. Butterfly does the Japanese thing. Everybody's mother's favorite opera. But mothers know stuff: Butterfly is a masterpiece.
There will be more from Radio Derb next week.
[Music clip: Victoria de Los Angeles, "Un bel di vedremo."]