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[Music clip: From Haydn's Derbyshire March No. 2, fife'n'drum version]
01 — Intro. And Radio Derb is on the air! Greetings, listeners, from your nocturnally genial host John Derbyshire, here with VDARE.com's weekly opinion podcast.
Today, as I record this, is April 1st, All Fools' Day. I had the idea to start off this week with a spoof segment — something that might have you wondering, at least for a minute or two, whether what you were hearing was real or fake. However:
I shall therefore eschew jollity and proceed straight to the serious business of commentary: in this case, follow-up commentary on a topic I aired three weeks ago.
A trilemma is like a dilemma but more so. If you're faced with a dilemma, you have two options, but you can't choose both. In a trilemma you have three options, but you can't choose to take all three. You may only be able to choose one of the three; or you may be able to choose two; but not all three.
British demographer Paul Morland, who has a new book just out, argues that under today's conditions of economic and cultural modernity every nation is faced with a trilemma. There are three options, but a nation has to pick two and leave the other one un-picked.
The three options are:
Notice that option three there implies low fertility. If citizens want that comfortable low-stress lifestyle, you're heading for population decline.
For examples, Morland offers Japan, which has chosen Options One and Three: ethnic continuity and that comfortable low-fertility lifestyle at the cost of a lackluster economy. Britain, on the other hand, has chosen Options Two and Three: the thriving economy and the comfortable low-fertility lifestyle, at the sacrifice of ethnic continuity.
And then, Israel, the only advanced modern nation with Total Fertility Rate well above replacement level. So Israel has chosen Options One and Two: ethnic continuity and a thriving economy, at the sacrifice of an easygoing, low-fertility lifestyle.
That was what I offered you in the March 11th podcast. Well, I've had some follow-up on that.
I was discussing it a few days later with an old friend who knows more about Israel than I do. He told me that while Morland was not completely wrong there, the Israelis cheat a bit by hiring in a lot of contract labor from places like the Philippines. That reduces some of the stress on working parents; so the downside of rejecting option three is minimized, or at any rate reduced.
I thought I'd cross-check with a regular correspondent who actually lives in Israel. What were the entry conditions for these contract workers? Is the Israeli visa system open to abuses, like our own H-1B visas?
My correspondent was most helpful. The guest-worker visas, he told me, are strictly time-limited. They have no chance of becoming permanent residency and certainly not citizenship. A lot of foreign workers — Thailand, Romania, and China are common source countries — work in agriculture and construction. The Palestinian Authority is a source, too; counted as a foreign country for visa purposes.
And yes, Filipinos, concentrated in elder care and child care, especially elder care. Quote from my correspondent:
In Israel, "Filipino" is a noun meaning "elder care worker," as in "She came with her Filipina," even if the person in question is, say, Thai or something.
Speaking directly to Morland's point, he says, further quote:
The overall numbers are small … barely anyone stays for life, and many are sort of isolated. Do they help the economy? Well, at least the construction workers do, sure. Do they relieve the stress of raising kids? As you said, the stress is definitely there. (My whole office's schedule basically revolves around people having to pick up their little kids from daycare or school.) And childcare is almost entirely in the hands of locals, although you occasionally see a Filipino or other Asian babysitter.
All in all, I think Israel's case supports Morland's Trilemma pretty well. It surely doesn't refute it; although there is, as always with complex social issues, more to be said.
03 — For the children. I mentioned the stresses of child-raising back there. From a coldly anthropological point of view, it's amazing the number of different systems human beings have come up with to alleviate those stresses, from widespread infanticide to modern modes of education.
I won't dispute that modern modes of education are preferable to infanticide. That said, I can't think of anything else about them that is clearly positive.
At one end of the ed business, state legislators are having to pass laws to prevent little tots in elementary school being indoctrinated with crackpot theories about sex and race. Those theories teach the tots that sex is just an illusion, that you are whatever sex you think you are today.
Race, they teach, is likewise an illusion, except — somehow — that white people carry a sort of virus called "whiteness," which is evil and oppressive of nonwhite people. In last week's podcast I quoted you the abstract of an article in a journal for professional educators. The abstract concluded with the statement that, quote:
We hope our work contributes to Critical Whiteness Studies' goal of dismantling whiteness.
That particular journal is for teachers of physics, which I guess is probably not on the elementary-school curriculum, except perhaps in China. There is not much doubt, though, that our five-, six-, seven-, and eight-year-olds are in the daily care of people who take this gibberish to be Holy Writ.
That's one end of the ed-biz spectrum. At the other end, that same crackpot ideology is supreme. Credentialed, tenured professors at universities of the highest repute propagate its dogmas with all the earnest intensity of medieval theologians teaching about Transsubstantiation. Dissidents from it are howled down and assaulted at our most prestigious, most expensive colleges.
And those colleges don't just preach anti-white dogma, they practice it. Almost all of them discriminate flagrantly against white people in their admissions processes. They also discriminate against Asian applicants, although that at least is being litigated.
And the connection between those two ends of the spectrum is a direct one. Our universities inspire, and very often actually contain, the Schools of Education to which young adults who have failed to distinguish themselves as undergraduates direct their steps.
Some of these young adults, I am sure, are idealistic in their keenness to shape children's minds by filling them with the ideology hammered into their own heads by college teachers with impressive credentials. Others are opportunists, attracted to a line of work that offers long summer vacations and the protection of our most powerful labor unions, before whom state legislatures grovel and beg.
Scanning the entire educational spectrum, it's hard to avoid the conclusion that our system of education is rotten from kindergarten up through to graduate school. Given a choice, you wouldn't want anything to do with it.
Here we get back to Morland's Trilemma. You are, in fact, given a choice. The choice is to accept or reject Option Three in the trilemma.
You can hand off your kids to the education system; or — unless you are talented in some very remunerative way, or the heir to a large inheritance — you can forget about you and your spouse both enjoying well-paid careers and resign yourselves to comparative poverty while you give over your time and energy to raising your kids in a way that does not fill their heads with poisonous nonsense.
04 — Mickey, Minnie, and Mixie. I may in fact have overstated your choice there. Yes: you can, if you're willing to make the sacrifices, shield your kids from the educational system.
The ruling class who promote this sinister ideology are ahead of you, though. They haven't just taken over the schools, they also have the corporate world firmly in their grasp, including that subset of the corporate world that produces entertainment for children.
The Walt Disney Company, for example. Not merely "for example," in fact, as Disney owns or part-owns a huge slab of the corporate world offering entertainment and instruction to our children, from Marvel Comics to National Geographic.
Longtime readers of VDARE.com have known for years that Disney is a ruthless enemy of America's middle class. At least as far back as April 2015 we were reporting on the cold-blooded way Disney was laying off IT employees en masse so that they could replace them with cheaper foreigners on guest-worker visas. Sample quote from that report of seven years ago, lest we forget. Quote:
From the perspective of five laid-off Disney IT workers, all of whom agreed to speak on the condition of anonymity, Disney cut well-paid and longtime staff members, some who had been previously singled out for excellence, as it shifted work to contractors. These contractors used foreign labor, mostly from India. The laid-off workers believe the primary motivation behind Disney's action was cost-cutting. [Inner quote.] "Some of these folks were literally flown in the day before to take over the exact same job I was doing," [end inner quote] said one of the IT workers who lost his job. He trained his replacement and is angry over the fact he had to train someone from India [inner quote] "on site, in our country." [End inner quote.]
"Our country" … yeah, right. The way these corporate hegemons see it, it's not our country, Bub, it's their country.
No surprise then that Disney is out at the head of the wolf pack seeking to destroy our children's innocence and replace it with a bogus and godless pseudo-religion.
Just listen to this. It's rather long, I'm afraid, but I have to give you the whole thing to put across the mentality of the speaker. Here we go.
[Clip.] I'm, I'm sheer [sic] as a mother of, of two queer children, actually, um, ah, one transgender child, um, um, and one pansexual child, um, and also as a leader. Um, and that was the thing that really got me because I have heard so much from so many of my colleagues over the course of the last couple weeks, um, in open forums, through emails and phone conversations, and … um, I feel a responsibility to speak, not just for myself but for them. Er, to all of us …
Who was that speaking, do you think? Some midwit kindergarten teacher straight out of ed school? No; that was Karey Burke, 55 years old, longtime producer and executive in entertainment media, former president of 20th Century Fox Television Inc., currently president of Disney General Entertainment Content.
In the world of producing entertainment for kids, the speaker there is a very big playah. She, and a lot of people like her at Disney, are shaping the minds of rising generations.
I'm assuming there that she and they are actual people, not space aliens planted among us to soften up the human race for eventual colonization and slavery.
05 — An apology for my lack of foresight. When planning out this podcast I had intended to proceed from there to the allied topic of whether all this lunacy is just going to continue getting worse for years and years to come, or whether there will soon be a large, societal-scale return to reason and reality.
My inspiration was going to be N.S. Lyons' much-discussed article on Substack, January 18th, which gave twenty reasons for believing that the Woke Revolution is not over, as optimists like Scott McConnell and Andrew Sullivan have been arguing. Not so, said Lyons. Wokeness has legs, and it's only just begun to walk. Title of his article: "No, the Revolution Isn't Over."
I am a pessimist by temperament, author of a great, a definitive book with the title We Are Doomed, so Lyons' article naturally returned an echo from my bosom. Pondering it in odd moments over the past few weeks, however, I thought there were things Lyons had left unsaid. I planned to say them in this week's podcast.
Here, however, the Fickle Finger of Fate intervened. Last night the learnéd and indefatigable Ed Dutton posted a column right here at VDARE.com taking on Lyons' article and refuting it.
This piece of Ed Dutton's at VDARE.com is not an optimistic counter to Lyons' pessimism. Ed is pessimistic too, just in a different way. A backlash against Wokeness is, says Ed, quote: "extremely likely, though it will be a backlash in a context of societal collapse, due to collapsing average IQ." End quote.
So yes, says Ed, there will soon be an end to this horrid plague of Wokeness … but only as the side-effect of a civilizational catastrophe.
Eh, I'll take it, if it will mean that we are not for ever doomed to seeing adult Americans, with all their faculties apparently intact, saying "LGBTQIA" with a straight face. I'll seek for consolation where I can find it.
Anyway, if I were to offer my take on Lyons' January article the day after Ed Dutton had given you his, I would have been over-egging the pudding. Yes, yes: When planning out my podcast I should have checked with HQ to see if they have some other contributor about to discuss the same theme at length. Shoulda, coulda, woulda …
Having failed to do so, I shall postpone to another time the rest of my cultural musings on the future of the woke revolution and proceed directly to …
06 — Miscellany. … our closing miscellany of brief items.
Imprimis: In my March 18th podcast I mentioned Josef Stalin's amazing post-WW2 achievement of moving the entire nation of Poland 150 miles west. That drew the following response from a listener, quote:
Mr. Derbyshire: Can we do with the U.S.A. what Stalin did with Poland, but north instead of west? Then we'd be 150 miles further from Mexico!
I'm not sure my listener has really thought his proposal through, but I am always willing to entertain constructive suggestions.
Mr. Derbyshire: There has been much speculation in the media about Vladmir Putin's mental state. Is he a deep and subtle chess player, or is he nuts? Perhaps you have hit on the answer. Perhaps he is neither thing, only juiced. He does, after all, enjoy all the other perks of a billionaire lifestyle.
Thank you, Sir. Just today, however, I saw this story at the Daily Mail Online, April 1st, headline: Putin "is constantly followed by thyroid cancer doctor": Specialist has "spent 282 days" with Russian President amid claims he is seriously ill and suffering "steroid rage" from treatment. End headline.
So perhaps there you have the explanation for Putin's invasion of Ukraine. It was not anger at a possible further expansion of NATO, nor a move to secure a land route to the Crimea, nor an attempt to recreate the empire of the Tsars: it was 'roid rage.
Hey, that's no less plausible than the stuff coming out of our think tanks.
Item: When giving my thumbnail definition of a dilemma in my opening segment back there, I could not help recalling 1990s TV sitcom bimbo Kelly Bundy describing herself as being, quote, "on the horns of an enema."
For younger listeners: That was twenty-odd years ago, when TV sitcoms were funny.
Item: And returning for a moment to the subject of schoolteachers and what they teach: One of the more depressing video clips of the week was a young male kindergarten teacher in Florida, a homosexual, telling MSNBC how distressed he was by this new law the state just passed.
I won't play the full clip for you, but here's a fifty-second sample:
[Clip.] Interviewer: Do you worry that you won't be able to talk about your own … Look at me: I have a child in kindergarten right now. I know exactly that my child has two teachers, one of which has a daughter at home, um, and is single, the other is married and has four children. I know everything about their lives because my kid tells me.
This is one of those things that makes me wonder if I was born and raised in a different Solar System. I never knew anything about my teachers' private lives. I wouldn't have wanted to, and my parents wouldn't have wanted me to.
Sure, I understand: There is more to education that just reading, writing, and arithmetic. Kids are being socialized. They're being socialized to accept and co-operate with each other, though, not to stick their noses into adult matters. To the degree that children need to know about adult matters, it's for their parents to guide them, not state employees.
What I am seeing when I watch clips like that is, I am seeing an effort to abolish childhood — to tear down the walls of that secret garden that is childhood.
I remember that secret garden. I cherish the memory of it, and I thank with all my heart the shades of those schoolteachers who let me play in it for so many years, undisturbed.
Item: This weekend, April 2nd to be exact, marks the fortieth anniversary of Argentine forces occupying the Falkland Islands, a British territory in the South Atlantic.
That triggered the Falklands War, which lasted 74 days and cost over 900 lives — more than 300 of them on the Argentinian navy's cruiser General Belgrano, which the Brits torpedoed.
I don't have anything original to say about the war itself, only a personal reminiscence from shortly after it.
The Falklands War made Margaret Thatcher known all over the world, even in some quite surprising places. That summer I left England to spend an academic year in northeast China. It was a provincial posting: a small town up there, surrounded by villages.
My college supplied me with a bicycle. In my spare time I liked to ride out into the countryside and practice my very low-level Chinese on the peasants.
One day I was cycling along on the narrow raised path between some fields when I saw a peasant riding towards me. There wasn't room for us to cycle past each other, so we both dismounted. Conversation was unavoidable. What country was I from? this old peasant asked. "England," I replied.
That got me a big, sunny, snaggle-toothed grin. "Aaah," he said. "Tie furen!" Which, being translated, means "The Iron Lady."
Now that is fame.
Item: Just one more.
Belgium — the nation that did not invade Germany in 1914 — Belgium has in its government an Animal Welfare Minister. There's glory for you. This functionary's name is Bernard Clerfayt.
What does an Animal Welfare Minister do for his salary? Well, the latest thing M. Clerfayt wants to do is, he wants to ban goldfish bowls. Bowls are, says M. Cleyfart, too stressful for the fish.
That's not much of a news story but it is enough of one for me to embellish with the Goldfish Song, which I learned from other kids in the secret garden many years ago. Just a couple of verses. There are many more, but you can easily make them up yourself.
You Ready? Here we go.
07 — Signoff. That's it, ladies and gents. Thank you for your time, attention, and contributions.
Special thanks to the listener who sent in this suggestion for signout music. It goes very well with some of the themes I was talking about back there. The Hiberno-Scandinavian performance ensemble is in fact named Secret Garden, and this lovely piece of theirs, Nocturne, won the Eurovision Song Contest for Norway in 1995.
There will be more from Radio Derb next week.
[Music clip: Secret Garden, Nocturne.]