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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 influentially genial host John Derbyshire, with VDARE.com's weekly survey of the passing charivari.
First this week: intelligence. No, not that business about some people being smarter than others. That's just a social construct, as we all know. Radio Derb will have no truck with that.
No, this is intelligence as in "intelligence agencies" — the brave folk who keep our national secrets safe from prying eyes and who stand guard over our nation against foreign assaults.
I have things to say about intelligence.
02 — Intelligence incompetence. Tuesday, September 11th, 2001: We all remember that day. After spending the whole morning in front of the TV, watching the horrors in Manhattan thirty miles away, I took a break to walk my dog.
My neighbor Jim Finley was in his front yard as I passed, and I stopped to chat. Jim was retired, a lot older than me — born 1927, as I recall. He died a few years ago in his eighties. Jim was a good solid mid-20th-century American: a veteran, sometime upstate farmer, sometime schoolteacher, loyal husband and devoted father, patriotic, hard-working, and opinionated, with a nice line in sarcasm.
The first words out of his mouth as I stopped to chat were something like these, quote: "Hey, John. Aren't you grateful for all those national security agencies we have, to watch our enemies and keep us safe? The CIA, the FBI, the NSA, … Don't they do a great job? And for only a few billion dollars a year!"
A concurrence of two events brought that to mind this week.
First event: The news, reported in London's Financial Times last Saturday, then picked up all over, that in August the ChiComs tested a nuclear-capable hypersonic missile that circled the entire planet in a low orbit then descended on its target. It missed that target by twenty-something miles, but our defense analysts were impressed anyway.
So, at any rate, says the Financial Times. I don't have a Financial Times account so I'm going on second-hand reports here. I picked up the news from Breitbart on Sunday. According to them, quote, with some inner quotes:
"We have no idea how they did this," said one of the Financial Times' U.S. intelligence sources. Others described China's progress as "astounding" and "far more advanced than U.S. officials realized."
The New York Times, reporting two days later, was more skeptical. The Financial Times story was alarmist stuff, said the Times guy. Sample quote:
The United States began investigating that technology more than a half century ago.
The Pentagon had no comment. The State Department only said they are deeply concerned about the rapid expansion of China's nuclear capabilities. "Deeply concerned" is government-speak for: "We don't like it but we don't intend to do anything about it."
So was there a test of this new technology or not? Is it actually new? Were our intelligence people caught by surprise, or not? It's all up in the air … kind of like that hypersonic missile.
But then, event number two. I've been reading Victor Davis Hanson's new book, The Dying Citizen. Quote from that book, page 182, quote:
Sometimes furor arises over the incompetence of the military-industrial complex. For example, it had little inkling of the Yom Kippur War, the Iranian revolution of 1979, the Pakistani detonation of a nuclear bomb, the sudden collapse of the Soviet Union, the planned attacks on 9/11, the status of Saddam Hussein's weapons-of-mass-destruction arsenal, the threat of the postwar insurrection in Iraq, the turmoil in Libya, or the rise of the ISIS caliphate.
That's a lot of really important things to have little inkling about. Prof. Hanson's observation carries all the more force because it comes halfway through a long chapter — 89 pages — packed with detail about the relentless and very unscrupulous efforts to destroy Donald Trump's presidency, efforts in which the intelligence agencies were keen and busy participants.
My neighbor old Jim Finley, God bless his memory, only got the half of it. Our intelligence agencies are not just incompetent: They are malicious, ruthless partisans for America's radical elites and for their primary political instrument, the Democratic Party. On their list of priorities, Chinese missile tests are way down at the bottom of the page, down below building cases against the January 6th protestors and beating up parents at school board meetings.
03 — Missile basics. Just a technical note on that missile, supposing it exists.
A missile is some kind of unmanned object you send into your enemy's territory to destroy something there: a city, an industrial installation, a military unit, and so on. There are two big families of missiles currently operational: ballistic missiles and cruise missiles. Both had their origins in WW2 Germany.
The word "ballistic" derives ultimately from the Greek word meaning "to throw." That's the idea of a ballistic missile. Just like throwing a ball, where you give it some starting speed with the strength of your arm and then release it and let gravity take over; with a ballistic missile you get it up to speed with rockets, aiming it up in the air at an angle, then let gravity pull it on a long arc down onto your enemy.
Modern ballistic missiles are a lot more complicated than that. Some of them carry multiple warheads whose trajectories can be adjusted in-flight to strike several different targets, … and so on. The basic idea looks the same from the enemy end, though: Something drops down at very high speed out of a clear blue sky and blows him up. The prototype was the V-2 rocket of WW2.
Cruise missiles are a modern descendant of the V-1 missile of that same war, which my parents' generation, who were at the receiving end, called the "doodlebug."
The V-1 was not properly ballistic. It was like an unmanned plane with its fuel supply carefully calibrated so that when the fuel keeping it airborne ran out, it just dropped onto its target. The older generation used to tell us that when you heard the drone of a doodlebug, you held your breath until it had gone right over you. If the sound cut out just before that, you dived under the table.
Modern cruise missiles are way more sophisticated than that. They can hug the terrain, flying at just a few hundred feet; they can change direction, using satellite navigation like your car's GPS; they can target one window in one office building in one city. It's the same non-ballistic deal, though.
Pretty much any nation with advanced military technology, including some non-nuclear nations, has a stock of basic cruise missiles with a maximum range of a few hundred miles and a maximum speed five or six hundred miles an hour. That makes them subsonic, having a speed below Mach One — the speed of sound at sea level, which is 760 miles an hour. Up above that are the de luxe models, with ranges in the thousands of miles and/or speeds faster than Mach One, exclusive property of Russia and the U.S.A. until recently.
The word "hypersonic" means "Mach Five or more," so that's upwards of 3,800 miles an hour. Going through the atmosphere at those speeds your missile gets seriously hot from friction with the air, so you need advanced materials technology as well as all the guidance and propulsion stuff.
The prize here is a cruise missile whose speed makes it as near as possible unkillable and its range unlimited, with "unlimited" defined to mean it can be launched from any point on the earth's surface to arrive at any other point. That's the claim being made for this new Chinese missile: the speed and range of a ballistic missile with the maneuverability and pinpoint accuracy of a cruise missile.
Is that what the ChiComs have got? I don't think we really know at this point. If they have, did they catch our intelligence agencies by surprise? With proper respect to the "if" that started that question, I'll reply with a confident "yes."
04 — Defund the spooks! As I said back there, it's not just that our intel people are incompetent, they are also malevolent. The enemy, in their eyes, is not Russia, China, or North Korea: it's us, Badwhite Americans — Deplorables, with guns and Bibles and fond admiration for what our ancestors built.
If you are opposed to the dispossession of the middle class, and to the politicization of justice, and to the rewriting of our nation's history, and to the corruption of our voting system, and to the monolithic progressivism of the media, social media, the colleges, school boards, business corporations, … If you are opposed to all those and to all the rest of the ruling-class project, then the intel people have a file on you. I'm sure they have one on me.
What's to be done? It's hard to be optimistic and I don't hold out much hope; but it is not inconceivable that we might, at some point in the future, find ourselves with a national leadership that does not regard half of their fellow-countrymen with contemptuous loathing.
If we were to have leadership like that, one of their first tasks would be to close down, swiftly and finally, all our intelligence agencies, foreign and domestic.
Strict border control, firm monitoring of entry and exit at our air and sea ports, and full enforcement of our immigration laws would do more to keep us safe from foreign assaults than anything the intelligence agencies have proved capable of — 9/11 illustrates that sufficiently well.
To the degree that we need to know what unfriendly nations are up to, I'd leave it to the military. No, I don't think they'd have a much better record of accuracy than our current agencies, but at least their focus would be outwards. We would be better equipped to fight foreign enemies if we were less intent on fighting each other, as seems to be the main concern of our government agencies today.
Never mind "Defund the Police"; let's defund these big intel agencies, and all their lesser imitators in the departments of Justice, State, and Homeland Security — probably in all the federal departments.
I don't want to be vindictive about it, and I don't want to give the spooks incentive to go over to our nation's foreign competitors, as I'm sure many of them happily would. Give them generous pensions, and nice trophies they can put in their cocktail cabinets.
Let's be good-natured about it: Thank you for your service! It'll be worth a few billion dollars and a few forced smiles to get these malignant parasites off our nation's back.
05 — Buttigieg plays hooky. I had just worked myself up into that happy little fantasy of defunding the intelligence rackets when I read this fun piece at Revolver News, October 19th. I don't know who wrote it — Revolver doesn't always give a byline — but whoever it is, I'd like to buy him a drink.
The topic here is Transportation Secretary Peter Buttigieg taking three months off to deal with he and his same-sex partner having acquired two babies, I don't know whence.
Yes, yes, you've heard all the jokes; and if you read posts on Twitter or the "Letters to the Editor" column in your print newspaper, you've heard the disgruntlement of citizens wondering why, with supply chain disruptions, chaos at the seaports, and infrastructure issues to be decided, the supreme federal official in charge of transportation should be allowed to go absent for twelve weeks.
I'll put my two cents worth in on the paternity leave point. I was working full-time, with an hour and a half commute each way, when I acquired my own kids — by the natural method, which was much more painful, exhausting and hazardous for Mrs Derbyshire, and more psychologically stressful to both of us, than anything Buttigieg and his partner underwent. I took a week off work each time.
That's how we live, Mr Secretary, we peasants. For you ruling-class grandees with fashionably eccentric lifestyles, things are of course different.
OK, that's my two cents worth. Back to this un-bylined Revolver article. Here is the main premise, quote from the article:
The truth is this: Buttigieg could step away from his job permanently and it likely wouldn't make any difference. In fact, so could the rest of the Cabinet, pretty much all of Congress, and the president too …
The writer goes on to argue that:
And what applies to Secretary Buttigieg applies equally well to the other federal departments. Take the State Department, for example. The latest news I have on them is this item, from the Daily Caller, October 20th, headline: State Department Celebrates "International Pronoun Day". The State Department explains itself in a tweet, tweet:
Today on International Pronouns [sic] Day, we share why many people list pronouns on their email and social media profiles.
So that's what Antony Blinken's State Department is busy with this week: advertising to the world what woke narcissistic ninnies Americans have become. Is there any doubt — is it even possible to doubt — that having no State Department at all would be better than having this one?
This logic applies all the way up to the White House. Would it make any difference to the nation's affairs if the President himself took three months off, or three years, or four years?
We know that it wouldn't. Mumblin' Joe is effectively absent most of the time, mentally if not physically; although the writer of the Revolver article generously allows that with Joe totally absent, quote, "the foreign policy deep state might have succeeded in perpetuating the Afghan permanent war through another presidential term," end quote.
And contrariwise to all that, of course, while the Secretaries of federal departments in a Democratic administration can stay home playing Disco Elysium without it making a damn bit of difference to the nation's course, their counterparts in a Republican administration must be ever-present and ever-watchful, as the bureaucrats will thwart them and undermine their programs every chance they get By Any Means Necessary.
That is exactly what happened under Donald Trump. The entire federal bureaucracy swung into Resistance mode. It was so obvious, the media were gloating about it. Our Revolver columnist gives examples.
So stay home, Mr Secretary. Those babies need you much more than your department does. The bureaucrats are totally on board with your party and its priorities. They can implement its programs without your having to do anything, other than perhaps sign something now and then.
We're still waiting for those self-driving cars; but so long as Washington, D.C. is in the hands of the Democrats, self-driving government works just fine.
Why stop with just dismissing the intelligence racketeers? Why not fire the entire civilian federal workforce? What objections could be raised?
Well, someone might say that the whole country would shut down. Would it, though? Forty years ago Ronald Reagan fired eleven thousand air traffic controllers, with lifetime bans on them being re-hired. He also de-certified their so-called "union."
Air traffic control is about as critical a function as any that federal civilian employees perform. Americans were warned at the time, when it became clear that Reagan might actually carry out his threat, that planes would be colliding in mid-air all over and corpses raining down from the sky.
Then Reagan did carry out his threat. There was some disruption of schedules and widespread inconvenience, but the Republic did not collapse. After a few months everything was back to normal. It wasn't raining corpses anywhere.
What other objections could be raised?
You might ask where we'd get replacements for all the people we fired. OK, let's see. There are 2.1 million civilian federal employees and 205 million working-age Americans. So civilian federal employment is a tad more than one percent of the workforce. We could replace them 99 times over. And that's assuming we'd want to replace the high proportions who either (a) do nothing useful or (b) actively work against the national interest.
So let's fire the entire civilian federal workforce, with lifetime bans on re-hiring into federal jobs, and de-certification of their bogus "unions." As when Reagan fired the air traffic controllers, there'd be a short period of dislocation, a few months perhaps, but then things would sort themselves out. Americans are a resourceful people, we can get things done.
So let's do it, citizens! Let's shut down the whole rotten, corrupt, dysfunctional show. How is this not a good idea?
Trying this out on friends, however, I did hear one objection that gave me pause, and that may mean the whole scheme needs some re-thinking. Here's what one friend said, quote:
All these fed-bots you're firing, what do you think they'll do? I'll tell you what they'll do. They'll go looking for government work in the states, counties, and cities, taking their crazy woke ideology with them. You may have turned the federal goverment red, but you'll have turned countless localities blue."
Now that's an objection.
07 — The Arbery show trial. The gentle, soulful, indigenous people who inhabited the Americas before Christopher Columbus arrived had very demanding gods. What their gods most particularly demanded were human hearts and human blood.
These sensitive, colorful indigenous peoples would therefore conduct periodic rituals of human sacrifice. On high platforms in view of the crowds below, sacrificial victims would have their hearts ripped out with sharp stone knives. Then their lifeless bodies would be thrown down the steps to be gathered up by merchants, who chopped them up and sold the flesh in the marketplace.
In appeasing our gods, the Holy Trinity of Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity, we are more cruel than those aborigines. Having your heart ripped out with a stone knife hurts like a bitch, to be sure, but only for a minute or two if done with proper professional skill.
When we offer up our sacrifices, we take a member of the lowest, most despised class in our society — a working-class white male — and parade him before the mob. We tell them he has committed some grave offense against our gods, even though he has done nothing that would be thought wrong if a member of some more privileged class did it.
We stage a show trial modeled on the actual trials that used to be conducted before our justice system was taken over by ideological fanatics. The verdict is of course a foregone conclusion. Then we lock up our sacrificial victim for decades in a place of humiliation and despair, parted for ever from his home, his family, and his work.
This is far more cruel than anything the Aztecs would have contemplated.
We offered up one of these sacrifices a few months ago: Derek Chauvin, former Minneapolis police officer. Now the high priests have determined it is time for another.
This is a big one, with three victims being led up the temple steps. Their names are Greg McMichael, Travis McMichael, and William Bryan. The show trial phase of the sacrifice commenced on Monday this week at the Glynn County courthouse in the town of Brunswick, Georgia. If you have the stomach for it you can follow the courtroom proceedings in detail from Andrew Branca's daily reports at the website legalinsurrection.com.
Under the pretense that this is a real trial, not just a show trial, the three defendants are accused of various degrees of murder and other felony charges in the death of Ahmaud Arbery in February last year. Everyone, including Andrew Branca, is calling it "the Arbery trial," on the sensible grounds that that is easier to say than "the McMichael, McMichael, and Bryan trial."
The McMichaels, father and son, and Bryan, their neighbor, were attempting a citizens' arrest — legal in Georgia at the time — of Arbery, a young black man with felony convictions who was on probation at the time.
That's not all he was on. Post mortem toxicology reports indicate he was stoned at the time of the encounter. And as well as being on something, he was also off something different: the drug Zyprexa, a psychiatric medication to control violent and aggressive behavior.
Arbery had been prescribed Zyprexa after his probation officer had recommended psychiatric evaluation. However, the toxicology report showed no trace of Zyprexa in his system. He was literally off his meds.
The first two District Attorneys to investigate the case concluded it was a killing in self-defense, which indeed is what it looks like. Gregory McMichael, however, was retired from law enforcement and knew these DAs, so they recused themselves.
By that time the incident had been slotted in to the Narrative of tobacco-chewing underclass whites being beastly to innocent blacks minding their own business. Celebrities were all over it; Trayvon Martin-style winsome pictures of Arbery the "jogger" clogged the internet; LeBron James, whoever the hell that is, tweeted that, tweet:
We're literally hunted EVERYDAY/EVERYTIME we step foot outside the comfort of our homes! Can't even go for a damn jog man!
The authorities in Georgia quickly folded of course. That third DA was replaced, on what grounds I don't know, by one pliant enough, and black enough, to press murder charges and organize a show trial.
A new race hysteria was under way … to end, undoubtedly, with three new human sacrifices. This week has been given over to juror selection; but that's just part of the show. The jurors of course all know that failure to return a guilty verdict will result in them being fired from their jobs, their kids being beaten up at school, and Antifa and BLM showing up to torch their houses while the police, with Derek Chauvin's fate in mind, stand by and watch.
This is the U.S.A. today. I dunno; I really think it would be less cruel just to rip out the defendants' beating hearts. I do, however, think we should skip the part about chopping up the corpses and selling the flesh for dinner meat.
08 — Miscellany. And now, our closing miscellany of brief items.
Imprimis: A British Member of Parliament, Sir David Amess, was stabbed to death by a Somali fanatic while holding one of his weekly open-door sessions for his constituents.
That got a roll of the eyes from me. Ten years ago at Taki's Magazine I published the definitive column on Somalis, with examples from all over the Anglosphere showing what a simply terrible idea it is to admit them into our countries in any but very small numbers. Why don't people listen?
Sample from that column, quote:
Any population has a lot of variation, and I have no doubt there are many law-abiding and industrious Somalis. When you take in 4,000, or 16,000, or 100,000, though, the law of averages is going to kick in — as of course it kicks in unmistakeably in Somalia itself. Human-capital-wise, the Somali averages are simply terrible.
There was a touch of irony to this story. It's probably bad taste to notice it, but hey, you don't come to Radio Derb for flawless good taste, so I'll share this with you: Sir David, of the so-called Conservative Party over there, was an enthusiastic supporter of Black Lives Matter.
What's that? You want more bad taste commentary? I got more.
Over there in Britain, a Member of Parliament's weekly open-door sessions for constituents are called "surgeries," by analogy with the early years of Britain's National Health Service, when you could walk into a doctor's office and usually get attended to right away.
Those days — which I remember from my childhood over there — are long gone. In today's National Health Service you have to join an eight-month waiting list to see a doctor, and you're lucky if, when you finally get an appointment, he can speak English; but the analogy has stuck anyway.
So Sir David was holding one of his weekly surgeries. Could it be that the Somali guy, whose English was perhaps not very good, looked up the word "surgery" in his English-Somali dictionary, saw that it related to people being cut open with knives, and reacted correspondingly? I only speculate.
Item: Related to the previous, in a way I'll leave you to figure out for yourselves. Headline from Breitbart.com, October 17th, headline: Demographic Collapse: British Fertility Rate Lowest in History, But Number of Foreign Mothers at Record High.
Edited quotes from text, quote:
The fertility rate in England and Wales has fallen to the lowest level in recorded history amid the Chinese coronavirus pandemic, at 1.58 children per woman last year …
Poor Britain, poor old Britain. Stick a fork in it, it's done.
I have to confess utter ignorance. It is true that I read very little but science fiction all through my teen years, and I read everything. The novel Dune, however, came out in 1965, which was not one of my teen years. I was at university, being kept busy reading books about functional analysis and algebraic projective geometry. No time for sci-fi; and the passion had anyway cooled.
So I have never read Dune. I'll probably pass on the movie, too. Most movies nowadays are crap.
Item: Ah, the power of Radio Derb!
I have been telling you about NSBA, the National School Boards Association, which I described two weeks ago as, quote, "a far-left globalist, anti-American activist outfit with funding connections to George Soros," end quote.
Then last week I told you how I had learned, with the help of a Radio Derb listener, that every state in the Union has its own school boards association, and that every single one of the state-level outfits was affiliated with NSBA.
Well, notice that word "was." Following my exposé, the Pennsylvania School Board Association has voted unanimously to withdraw from NSBA.
Nobody is crediting Radio Derb with having inspired the decision, of course; but I can read the tea-leaves and I'm happy. Radio Derb does not seek glory, just results.
Item: I love Steve Sailer as a man and a brother, so I was happy to get further confirmation this week that Steve's heart and mine beat as one.
The subject here is a project by Britain's Royal Ballet to make a ballet out of Dante's Divine Comedy. In line with the woke-ification of all the high arts, they want to make this new ballet relevant by keying it to the COVID pandemic.
Quote from the head choreographer, quote:
It's fascinating to me that the horrific things inflicted on the body in "Inferno" have in many ways happened to people who had Covid.
Over to Steve, tweeting on Tuesday, tweet:
There's nothing duller than listening to serious artists spin why the projects they've been working on for many years, such as this ballet interpretation of Dante, are relevant to covid.
Let's get a round of applause for that. [Applause.]
I'll even truncate Steve's remark down some, thus: There's nothing duller than COVID. COVID is boring.
09 — Signoff. That's all I have, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you for listening; and incidental thanks to Dr Dagum of Stony Brook University, who just did a marvellous job of reconstructing my nose. More on that in my monthly diary; for now, just "Thanks, Doc!"
We haven't heard Gracie for a while — since October last year, in fact; so here she is to sing us out.
There will be more from Radio Derb next week.
[Music clip: Gracie Fields, "Sing As We Go."]