• Play the sound file
[Music clip: From Haydn's Derbyshire March No. 2, organ version]
01 — Intro. And Radio Derb is on the air! Greetings, listeners, from your precociously genial host John Derbyshire this last day of 2021.
Yes, yes, I know: most of you tune in on Saturday morning, which in this case will be the first day of 2022. However, the Mrs and I have booked to spend New Year's Eve taking in dinner and a show at a local comedy club, so I'll be filing early this week.
New Year has always been an occasion of temptation for hired opinionators. Our job is to provide commentary about what's going on currently, or what's been going on the past few days; but it's often the case that nothing much has been going on, or just nothing much we can be bothered to summon up an opinion about.
When that happens at New Year, we are tempted to just fling the scope of our view wide open and take the entire year as food for commentary. If we run out of material from the past year, we can offer prognostications about the year to come. That's the bloviator's temptation.
The only way to get rid of a temptation, said Oscar Wilde, is to yield to it. I shall therefore begin with some ruminations on the year that has gone. Then I shall turn and speculate about the year that is arriving. As Robert Burns told the mouse:
Och! I backward cast my e'e,
02 — Looking back on prospects drear. "Prospects drear" is right, although you have to allow for some slight language change. When we hear the word "prospect" nowadays, we associate it with looking forward: "The prospects are good for GOP victories in the midterms," for instance. However, Robert Burns' lifespan overlapped considerably with that of the great lexicographer Samuel Johnson, who, in his Dictionary of the English Language, gives five different meanings for the word "prospect." In order:
It's that fifth meaning that has survived most robustly into our time; but that's not Robert Burns' fault.
The year 2021 certainly provided prospects drear for us to gaze upon. All too many, in fact. I'll pick a handful.
Prospect drear: Covid. As I've made abundantly clear in my podcasts, I am in an advanced state of covid fatigue. I'm sick of hearing about the damn thing. Let's make proper provision for those most vulnerable — elderly citizens, mainly — and get on with our lives.
There's a special place in Hell for those who have used covid to destroy the structure of our children's lives by shutting down schools. Children need that structure for proper socialization. Parents need it, too, to give them time to do adult things while professionals mind their kids.
No offense intended to home-schoolers, who I know pay attention to socialization with playgroups, sport teams and such. They have way more free time than the average, though, if they're doing the job properly. Looking back at my own kids' childhood, I don't see how we could have managed it.
And maximum offense intended to the teachers' unions, whose leaders should be tossed into pits of boiling oil for pushing this scam.
Prospect drear: Afghanistan. What a fiasco! After dithering about futilely for twenty years — twenty years! — and spending north of two trillion dollars, we just dumped all our stuff — tens of billions of dollars' worth — and left.
I don't hold any exaggerated opinion of my own geostrategic insight; but even I could see what a monstrous waste of lives and money that always was. I've been saying so here at Radio Derb for most of those twenty years.
Who's to blame for this catastrophe? Our military chiefs, mostly. Sure, I know, they're under civilian command. And yes, I know: the George W. Bush administration was full of neocon war hawks who thought they could make the world a nice place by dropping bombs all over.
The chiefs were fine with it, though. If you're senior military, war is good for your career prospects. W was too dumb to resist. Then we had Obama and Trump, neither of whom is dumb. The problem was, both of them are sufficiently self-aware to realise that they don't know diddly about military stuff, so they deferred to the generals.
It's now plain to all of us, I think, that our most senior military people are all fools and lunatics. There are two things we could do about this. One, we could cashier the lot of them; or two, we could wait for our next confrontation with a serious military power, and the disaster that will surely follow. I'd vote for option one myself, but I feel sure we shall in fact go through door two.
Prospect drear: Critical Race Theory. Yes, this was the year that we all found out about Critical Race Theory, and about how elites have been quietly enforcing it on our schools, colleges, corporations, and government departments.
What actually is Critical Race Theory? What it actually is, is the terminus of the race denialism bus.
Race differences in social outcomes are plain to the naked eye. Your local college Computer Science department is full of East Asians; your local jail is full of blacks, and so on. What explains this?
Until about sixty years ago everyone assumed it was just biology, of the kind that shows up when you breed dogs or farm animals. Then our elites declared biology out of bounds. That meant they had to come up with an alternative explanation for group differences. They came up with culturism: It was nothing to do with biology, it was culture. We're all the same! Just get the culture right, anyone can be Einstein!
That was halfway plausible for a while; but as decades passed, the plausibility drained away. The statistics were stubborn. Black kids from stable middle-class homes continued to perform less well than white and Asian kids from same. (That even has a name: the Shaker Heights Effect.) Affluent young blacks went on being incarcerated at higher rates than poor white kids. And while every social reform anyone could think of was failing to shift the differences, news was seeping in from advances in the human sciences, especially genetics, and the news was all race realist.
So culturism got a makeover. It got Marx-ified. It wasn't culture; it wasn't that differences in outcome arose from people over here living like this because of history and tradition, while people over there, of equal moral standing, lived like that. It was one group of people — bad, bad people — maliciously oppressing another group of good, good people, moral inferiors oppressing their moral superiors. Good old 1980s culturism will get you canceled nowadays; you could ask Professor Larry Mead about that.
Prospect drear: Politicized justice. 2021 was a great year for show trials — a pretty clear milestone in the politicization of our justice system. Verdicts in our criminal courts nowadays arise less from what you did, more from who you are, who you did it to, and whether you have bad thoughts. We are well on the way to Leninist jurisprudence: Who? Whom?
So Derek Chauvin, who restrained a juiced-up career criminal twice his size while waiting for medical assistance, got decades in prison after guys with thick necks from the state Attorney General's office called on the county Medical Examiner and told him he had a nice little career there, be a shame if anything happened to it.
Later in the year we got the show trial in Georgia, where an attempted citizens' arrest of a highly suspicious lowlife turned fatal when the arrestee tried to wrestle one citizen's gun away.
Then at year's end came the show trial and conviction of that lady cop in Minnesota who pulled her pistol thinking it was her taser.
All this on top of the apparently indefinite detention without trial of the January 6th protestors and the new turn-'em-loose rules for shoplifters and muggers.
I don't know that America's justice system was ever the envy of the world, but today it's just a political instrument. We could save on salaries by firing all the DAs, prosecutors and judges and replacing them with guest workers from North Korea.
03 — Looking forward, I guess and fear. "An' forward tho' I canna see, I guess an' fear!" What are my guesses for 2022, and what do I fear?
Guess and fear: November midterms. Along with everyone else. I'm guessing that the Republican Party will do well in the November 2022 midterms, even in the teeth of all-out support for Democrats from the media and manipulation of voting systems.
And along with all other National Conservatives, I fear that, having done well, the elected Republicans will relax back into their donors' soft, warm embraces and do nothing much of what so badly needs doing: an immigration moratorium, nationwide compulsory E-verify with serious penalties for offending employers, proper border defenses, an end to birthright citizenship, repatriation of key industries, withdrawal from NATO and the U.N., much stricter voting rules for federal elections, an end to federal support for the higher-education rackets, no confirmation for communist federal judges, and so on.
What will they do instead? Just what they did the first two years of the Trump presidency: tweaks of the tax system, empty noise about defunding Obamacare, pressure for more foreign wars, and … [snoring sounds]. That's my fear.
Guess and fear: Long covid hysteria. Can the ruling class keep up the covid hysteria for another year? My guess — and also my fear — is, they can.
Viral infections come with this nifty feature that every few months there's a new variant. Where human suffering is concerned, it may not amount to much, as we've seen with the omicron thing; but with the media, the CDC, and Big Pharma all screeching in the public ear, the hysteria has another year of life in it yet, I'm sure.
Pushback is building, but too slowly to win the game in 2022. I spotted an encouraging example this week on Twitter: a letter to parents from a school only identified on the tweet as CCCA. I believe the school is in Alexandria, Virginia. Wherever it is, the school authorities are bucking the hysteria. Money quote from the letter, quote:
Maximalist measures intended to prevent transmission of COVID may or may not have been effective toward their stated end, but they have unquestionably wreaked havoc across our society.
Guess and fear: The culture wars. In the previous segment I said that Critical Race Theory is "the terminus of the race denialism bus." I think that's true and I hope it's true. The parent revolts against school boards pushing this poison on kids was one of the most encouraging things to happen in 2021.
My fear is that this may be wrong; that just promoting CRT as the smart and cool ideology may not be the endpoint, that we may advance to legalizing Jim Snow.
This has already happened to a degree. The justice system is quite brazenly antiwhite, as last year's show trials illustrate, as also does the absence of any kind of trial for Ashli Babbitt's black killer. Likewise the media: they won't let us forget Emmett Till from 66 years ago, but they have memory-holed the Waukesha massacre from six weeks ago.
Formal antiwhite discrimination, a.k.a. "affirmative action," has been the law of the land for half a century. Earlier this year Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion covid stimulus bill set aside $4 billion in debt relief explicitly and exclusively for black farmers. Academic testing is under attack all over because whites and Asians score too well.
So how far away are we from formal, legalized Jim Snow — separate drinking fountains for example? I guess, and fear.
Guess and fear: Actual wars. Setting aside cultural wars, what about actual wars?
Ernest Hemingway, writing in 1935, edited quote:
Not this August, nor this September; you have this year to do in what you like. Not next August, nor next September; that is still too soon … But the year after that or the year after that they fight.
China, Russia … will it be next year? Like you, and him, and her, and everyone else, I can only guess. My guess is no. Nukes have made it a very serious business indeed to start a great-power shooting war, much more serious than it was in 1935. The leaders of today's great powers seem to know that.
On the other hand, as a great Englishman said: War and gardening are the normal occupations of mankind. And, as the Latin proverb said: Dulce bellum inexpertis — War is sweet to those who have not tried it.
So my guess is: not next August, nor next September; not 2022. My fear is that the year after that or the year after that they fight.
04 — No happy ending for Ghislaine. The trial of Ghislaine Maxwell concluded. She was found guilty on five of the six charges. Ms Maxwell, who turned sixty on Christmas Day, could get 65 years in a high-security lockup. (High security because she is technically a sex offender.)
I'm not clear why there were six charges, since they all sound like more or less the same charge. Count 3 for example was, quote:
Conspiracy to transport individuals under the age of 17 to travel in interstate commerce with intent to engage in illegal sexual activity.
Count 5 was, quote:
Conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of individuals under the age of 18.
Does this really justify two charges? And why was Maxwell found guilty on count 5 but not guilty on count 3? I guess it all makes work for the lawyers.
I don't think this really came under the heading of a show trial, but the general atmosphere of hysteria that colors all our public affairs nowadays was on plain display. We've been given the impression that these girls, aged 14, 16, 17, were tied down and forcibly raped, screaming and struggling, by Jeffrey Epstein and his pals.
From the evidence presented, the girls were taken on first-class tickets to really nice places where they were instructed in the art of what is known in the commercial sex business as "relief massage." When not providing these services to Epstein's guests, they were at liberty to hang out by the pool, watch TV, or hold impromptu parties.
This is supposed to have blighted their lives? Fiddlesticks. On the photographic evidence they seem to have been having a jolly good time. There's no appeal to public hysteria in that, though; and whipping up public hysteria is today a prime function of the justice system.
Reporting on the trial three weeks ago, I noted the common opinion among observers that the prosecution wasn't trying very hard, and that perhaps this was because powerful people wanted an acquittal for fear that if convicted, Ms Maxwell might retaliate by naming their names.
Well, she was convicted, and is looking at a double-digit sentence. So now we'll find out if their fears are justified. Unless, that is, there is another one of those mysterious suicides, like the ones that saw off Jeffrey Epstein and Ms Maxwell's Dad.
If the prosecutors weren't going to try hard, though, why did the prosecution go ahead? Pressure from the Trial Lawyers' Association, would be my guess. Ms Maxwell is still stonking rich, and there's gold in them thar civil lawsuits.
Put a young woman in a room with four or five friendly, persuasive attorneys, and by the time they're through educating her she'll say whatever they want her to say. [Ker-ching.]
For the trial lawyers, that's a happy ending.
05 — Miscellany. With that comedy club beckoning and Mrs Derbyshire putting her face on, I'm going to cut it short this week, listeners. Or, as they say around the White House: I'm going to put a lid on it … but not, of course, until I have delivered our traditional miscellany of brief items.
Imprimis: I have mentioned before my grandfather's 1922 world atlas, still in my possession, although very battered after 99 years of wear and travel.
If I open it to pages 4 and 5, I see a double-page spread showing the whole world on Mollweide's equal area projection. Hand-drawn across that picture in blue ball-point pen is a line going from London, down through Europe and the Red Sea, across the Arabian Sea and India, down to the equator, up to Hong Kong and Japan, across the Pacific to San Francisco, then across the U.S.A. and the Atlantic back to London.
Whose path is that line marking? Why, it's the itinerary of Phileas Fogg, hero of Jules Verne's 1872 novel Around the World in Eighty Days. Who so disfigured grandad Derbyshire's atlas? I did, aged ten or eleven. Around the World in Eighty Days was one of my favorite books.
So imagine the depths of my disgust when I read this story at DailyMail.com about a new, woke BBC TV adaptation of the book. Phileas Fogg's French valet Passepartout is played by a black actor — and no, he's not in whiteface, although he is at least French. Detective Fix from Scotland Yard is transformed into a, quote, "aspiring female journalist and full-time feminist," end quote, played by a butch-looking actress, also French.
I haven't watched this filthy travesty and shall do my best to avoid it; but I assume that the Indian widow Aouda, whom Fogg rescues from being incinerated on her husband's funeral pyre, and whom he subsequently marries, is played by an Australian aborigine actress, or possibly an Eskimo … perhaps even an act-or. This is 2021, after all. You can never be multicultural enough.
Item: The student body at Council Rock Primary School up there in Rochester, New York, is 67 percent white, 12 percent Asian, six percent each black and Hispanic. On that basis I'd assume that the school staff and the local school board are likewise majority white.
And on the basis of this story from wnd.com I'd assume they hate themselves for it. These, I'm guessing, are goodwhites with a deep interest in belittling, insulting, and disavowing their own ancestors, their culture, and their nation.
What have the authorities at Council Rock Primary School done to make me assume that? They've banned "Jingle Bells," that's what the cringing swine have done.
Why? It depends who you ask. School Principal Matt Tappon told the Rochester Beacon he'd banned the song as "controversial or offensive" after learning that it may first have been sung in an 1857 minstrel show. [Scream.]
However, a different wokesperson … Sorry, I mean spokesperson, a different spokesperson for the school district told the Beacon she'd heard that the song's origin may have had something to do with the custom of putting collars on slaves with bells on the collars to alert people if the slave tried to run away.
Is there anything so fanciful and dumb that guilty liberal goodwhites won't believe it, so long as it reflects badly on their race and their nation?
Item: I've really got to stay off Twitter. Talk about a timewaster!
Here's a specimen from December 29th. The tweeter is science writer Richard Dawkins. His topic is the way we write our dates.
Dawkins is British, and over there they customarily write day-month-year; so today is 31/12/2021. Here in the U.S.A. we write month-day-year, making today 12/31/2021. In a lot of technical work we write year-month-day because it makes dates easier to sort in correct order.
Dawkins' point is that our American custom, quote from him, "makes no sense at all, is indefensible, and should be abandoned," end quote.
As several readers pointed out, the U.S. system is so defensible. We generally know what year we are dealing with. In looking up a day in that year, the first thing we need is the month, so that we know which sheet of the wall calendar to turn up. Only then can we stick a finger on the day.
Of course you will hear vigorous arguments in defense of Dawkins' position. This is one of those issues, like whether you should have the toilet-paper roll with the loose leaf hanging at the front or the back, that divides the human race into two fiercely partisan camps neither of whom will ever persuade the other.
I can't believe I just spent two full minutes talking about that.
Item: Finally: the ChiComs have developed an Artificial Intelligence prosecutor. It can, they claim, charge people with crimes with more than 97 per cent accuracy. Better yet, it can identify "dissent" against the state and suggest sentences for supposed criminals, removing human beings from the prosecution process.
That news item is from December 27th. I understand a planeload of FBI administrators is over there already negotiating a price.
06 — Signoff. With that, ladies and gentlemen, I wish goodnight to you and to the year 2021. Enjoy some kind of revelry with others, if only to vex the covid schoolmarms.
Now let's turn our minds away from 2021 and those prospects drear, and look forward to the new year with hope and courage. For my family the new year will bring new life, God willing. There is no greater joy than that.
Here is Peter Dawson to sing us out. Happy New Year!
[Music clip: Peter Dawson, "Auld Lang Syne."]