»  Radio Derb — Transcript

        Friday, July 7th, 2023


•  Play the sound file


[Music clip: Haydn's Derbyshire March No. 2, piano version]

01 — Intro.     And Radio Derb is on the air! Greetings, listeners, from your seriously genial host John Derbyshire with some commentary on the passing scene.

I hope you all enjoyed the July 4th holiday. Ours was exceptionally enjoyable. We had friends over for a barbecue, three couples we've known for years. Both our kids came too, and our daughter brought with her the newest Derbyshire, little Michael Joseph, now aged almost a year and a half.

We sat out on the patio at back, chatting and laughing, feeding our faces, and watching Michael Joseph gamely tottering up and down the back lawn to bursts of applause from us each time he fell flat on his face in the grass, got back on his feet, and went right on toddling.

Family and friends; eating, drinking, and laughing together. I felt like James Boswell at a similar gathering, quote: "I believe this is as much as can be made of life." End quote.

God bless my family, and thanks to the friends who helped us enjoy the day.

That Boswell quote, by the way, was uttered just five years after the Declaration of Independence. Let's see what shape we're in 242 years further on.


02 — Ben & Jerry take on Mount Rushmore.     Nowadays, of course, when white-liberal guilt has gone from being an annoying nervous tic to being a full-blown mass psychosis, you don't get to celebrate the Declaration of Independence without legions of prune-faced schoolmarms stepping up to tell us our country is rooted in oppression and cruelty, white supremacy and slavery, duh duh duh duh duh …

Ben & Jerry's ice cream company was out there ahead of the pack. On their website — their actual corporate website benjerry.com — they posted a notice saying, quote:

The US Was Founded on Stolen Indigenous Land — This July 4, Let's Commit to Returning It

Ah, the Fourth of July. Who doesn't love a good parade, some tasty barbecue, and a stirring fireworks display? The only problem with all that, though, is that it can distract from an essential truth about this nation's birth: The US was founded on stolen Indigenous land.

This year, let's commit to returning it.

Here's why we need to start with Mount Rushmore.

End quote.

Just a note in parentheses here for that cohort of Radio Derb followers who, rather than listening to the podcast on Saturday, prefer to wait until the next Wednesday and just read the transcript. If you belong to that cohort you'll see that the transcript has a hyperlink to an image of the Ben & Jerry's page so you can read it for yourself and know I didn't just make it up.

In today's commercial environment of "Go woke, go broke," a surprising number of corporate statements of that kind disappear from the company's website after a few days. We savvy web warriors know that, so we copy a private image of the company's page to our own website for safekeeping.

So that link in my transcript doesn't actually point to benjerry.com, it points to johnderbyshire.com. So now how d'you know I didn't just make it up? Well, it was all over the mainstream media, that's how. Piers Morgan, for example, got a whole page out of it in the July 6th print edition of the New York Post.

End parenthesis.

What does Radio Derb think about all this guilt-mongering? Here is one of those happy occasions when I can cop out and just re-post something I posted elsewhere.

This is from my VDARE monthly Diary for July 2021, just two years ago, adjusted slightly to make it more podcast-suitable. It's rather long so I'll give it a segment of its own.


03 — So's your old man.     Every nation has historical skeletons in its closet. How should a healthy nationalism deal with the airing of these past misdeeds?

If the nation is under totalitarian control, there is no problem at all. The regime just prohibits any public mention of the misdeeds, any reference to them in educational or historical materials. Within a single generation, all knowledge of the misdeeds has disappeared down the memory hole. In communist China today there is no public recollection of the Land Reform massacres or the Mao Famine. Nobody under thirty knows anything about the reform movement of 1989 that ended with tanks rolling in to Tiananmen Square.

If a foreigner raises such issues, the front men for totalitarianism just lie; or else they counter with something the foreigner's nation did, supposedly of equal moral turpitude. Loyal Chinese citizens are expected not to make a fuss about the Cultural Revolution of fifty years ago, but to be seething with indignation at the burning of the Summer Palace a hundred years previously.

Even absent totalitarian control, East Asians seem not to bother much with collective guilt. I know plenty of overseas Chinese who are perfectly aware of the horrors of communism; but I have never heard any of them express remorse over, for example, the Dzungar genocide, twenty years before our own Declaration of Independence. The Dzungar genocide has a Wikipedia page, you can look it up: D-Z-U-N-G-A-R.

Likewise with the Japanese. Their nation perpetrated some gross atrocities within living memory, but Japanese people seem not to suffer anguished guilt about it. Their government has issued formal apologies when there has been some diplomatic or commercial advantage to be gained by doing so, but you have to wonder if there was any sincerity behind the words. (If there was, wouldn't the apologist, in the proper Japanese tradition, have closed the proceedings by committing public seppuku?)

And then, the Mongolians. Today's Mongolia is not at all totalitarian. On the scoring system used by Freedom House, Mongolia, with a score of 84, is in fact freer than the U.S.A. with 83.

You can make a case that, with due allowance for available population numbers and low levels of killing technology, the worst mass murderer of all time was 13th-century Mongolian warlord Genghis Khan. How do the free Mongolians of today feel about him?

They LOVE him! Mongolia's main international airport is named after him; so is the country's premier university; so is the capital city's main tourist hotel.

A must-see sight if you visit Mongolia is the colossal equestrian statue of the conqueror. Quote from the Amusing Planet website:

In 2008, a gigantic statue of Genghis Khan riding on horseback was erected on the bank of the Tuul River at Tsonjin Boldog, 54 km east of the Mongolian capital Ulaanbaatar, where according to legend, he found a golden whip. The statue is 40 meters [130 ft] tall and wrapped in 250 tons of gleaming stainless steel. It stands on top of the Genghis Khan Statue Complex, a visitor center that itself is 10 meters tall, with 36 columns representing the 36 khans from Genghis to Ligdan Khan. The statue is symbolically pointed east towards his birthplace. ["Enormous Statue of Genghis Khan in Mongolia" by Kaushik Patowary; Amusing Planet, September 10th 2013.]

End quote.

I must say, totalitarianism aside, when watching a snivelling worm like Antony Blinken writhe and rend his garments over our nation's faults and misdeeds, I find myself preferring the more robust East Asian attitude. Yeah, we did that. They would probably have done it to us if they could, though. In any case, we're not doing it any more, so what's the point of banging on about it?

Back in the day, when some schoolyard nuisance accused yourself or your family members of some fault or defect and you couldn't be bothered with a detailed rebuttal, you could shut down the topic by saying: "So's your old man."

Behind the smooth diplomacies of those Japanese apologies, or the shrugs of Chinese friends when I mention the wanton killing of missionary wives and children in the Boxer Rebellion, I'm pretty sure I hear some echo of that schoolyard rebuttal: "So's your old man."

I'm not a totalitarian and I don't want anything memory-holed. I would, though, stand up and cheer if, the next time one of those United Nations pests, ChiCom flunkies, race grifters, or corporate virtue signallers accused the U.S.A. of historical misdeeds, some appropriate official representative of this republic would respond publicly and loud with: "So's your old man."


04 — When freedoms collide.     Freedom of speech has been in the news.

  • Two Republican state Attorneys General, Jeff Landry of Louisiana and Eric Schmitt of Missouri (who is now a U.S. Senator) sued the Biden administration for multiple violations of the First Amendment. The White House, they alleged, has leaned on social media outlets to suppress reporting and commentary the administration doesn't like.

    This week a federal judge in Louisiana decided for the plaintiffs, placing a preliminary injunction on the White House to stop pushing for censorship.

  • Friday last the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that an evangelical Christian web designer, name of Lorie Smith, doesn't have to create websites celebrating same-sex marriage, and can state that she doesn't want to when advertising her business.

    This is the conclusion of a suit brought seven years ago by Ms Smith challenging a Colorado law that bans discrimination against homosexuals by businesses open to the public and also bans statements announcing such discrimination.

  • Justice Neil Gorsuch, writing for the majority, said that if you speak or write for pay on some topic, the government can't force you to accept commissions to express approval of things you don't approve of.

The conundrum settled in that latter case is an old one: what happens when freedom of speech collides with freedom of association?

Graybeards who were around in 1964 will remember the fictional Mrs Murphy, an elderly widow who wanted to let out one of the rooms in her house for a paying tenant. Should she be allowed to turn down an applicant for reasons of race? Should she be allowed to advertise that she would do so?

Mrs Murphy, even though she was only a figment in the imagination of Senator George Aiken of Vermont, generated a lot of debate and litigation. If you enrol in a course on real estate management you'll spend a good few hours learning about the Mrs Murphy Exemption.

The fine details differ from state to state; I'll leave you to look them up for yourself. The shortest possible answers are: No, she can't turn you down because of race, and no, she can't advertise a policy of doing so.

To that degree, even though the house is her private property, Civil Rights legislation has deprived Mrs Murphy of some of the freedom of association she seems to be guaranteed by the First Amendment.

These are in fact deep legal and constitutional waters.

I count myself a libertarian absolutist on both freedom of speech and freedom of association. I'd allow Mrs Murphy let to any one she wanted, and not to anyone she didn't, and advertise her preferences.

When commercial exchanges are in play, though, there are lines to be drawn. There is a fuss going on in Britain because political gadfly Nigel Farage — the one person more than any other responsible for the 2016 Brexit vote that took Britain out of the European Union — Farage's bank has closed his accounts, apparently because they don't like his opinions.

(The bank, name of Coutts, told us that Farage's current account fell below their threshold of a million pounds. Social media is now being flooded with Coutts customers denying there ever was such a threshold.)

Think of Coutts Bank here as Mrs Murphy. They're supplying banking services, just as she was supplying residential services. From an absolutist freedom-of-association point of view, shouldn't they be free to do, or not do, business with anyone they please?

But if they are so free, how are citizens supposed to live normal lives if they have no access to banks?

Again, these are deep waters. If you want to dip a toe in them, google the phrase "common carrier."

Bearing in mind the role that Nigel Farage played in Brexit, the punchline here is that the law allowing Coutts to close the accounts of political dissidents is a European law, imposed on the Brits when they were an EU member state. Brexit did not automatically annul that law. The British Parliament has to repeal it, and we're told they plan to do so.

Free speech is more straightforward than free association, but it too has knotty aspects — think of the laws against defamation.

It also has to be said that people who've worked in journalism, or had their name in the public prints a lot, tend to be somewhat jaundiced about freedom of speech.

Most expressions of speech on matters of general interest, aimed at a large public audience, are generated by a small proportion of the population; and of that small proportion who want to broadcast their opinions, a considerable sub-proportion — a majority, in my experience — are lunatics, or at least monomaniacs.

If everybody who wanted their speech to be heard was heard, it would be a shrieking bedlam out here. Ask anyone who's worked in a newspaper or magazine "Letters to the Editor" department, or been responsible for moderating an online comment thread, or who's published something controversial … That's why we have editors and moderators.

So yes, you have the freedom to say what you think; and the editor of your local newspaper — if you still have one — can exercise his freedom of association and choose not to publish you.

There are ins and outs, knots and tangles. The best libertarians can hope for is that our legislatures don't pass laws that make things knottier and more tangled than they need to be. And that is, of course, as Civil Rights legislation amply demonstrates, too much to hope for.


05 — Miscellany.     And now, our closing miscellany of brief items.

Imprimis:  France got her very own George Floyd riots this week — mostly last weekend, actually — following the police shooting on June 28th of a 17-year-old Muslim after a traffic stop. New York Times, July 3rd, quote

Protesters burned cars, set fire to buildings and vandalized police stations, lighting fireworks outside them. Thousands of people were arrested and hundreds of police officers were wounded. Tens of thousands of officers have been deployed across the country.

End quote.

I'd like to say something original and penetrating about this, but nothing comes to mind. It has of course been sensationally dumb of the French to permit mass settlement of Arab and African Muslims and to imagine that, with common schooling and some anti-discrimination laws, the immigrants would become indistinguishable from legacy French people in a generation or two.

Nope: While there surely has been some assimilation there has plainly also been a whole lot of ab-similation — not moving towards similarity but away from it.

I coined that word "absimilation" in my 2009 book We Are Doomed, hoping it might catch on. It didn't; and five years later I had a Diary segment lamenting the fact that it hadn't. That segment ended with the following, quote:

We live in an age of bad, stupid ideas. Mass immigration of Muslims into non-Muslim nations may be the baddest and stupidest.


Item:  I can't say I'm a Virginia Woolf fan. No, I'm not afraid of Virginia Woolf, I just find her novels — well, the two that I've tried over the decades — uninteresting. I didn't finish either, and have retained no memory of them.

That didn't prevent me experiencing a tremor of indignation on reading, in the July 2nd Daily Mail that her 1927 novel To the Lighthouse will henceforth, at any rate for American readers, come with a trigger warning.

Yes; this new edition has a preface containing the following disclaimer, quote:

This book was published in 1927 and reflects the attitudes of its time. The publisher's decision to present it as it was originally published is not intended as an endorsement of cultural representations or language contained herein.

End quote.

This is not a new thing. Last year Vintage published a new edition of Hemingway's 1926 novel The Sun Also Rises with a similar disclaimer.

It's part of a trend. Earlier this year we learned that the works of P.G. Wodehouse, author of the Jeeves & Wooster books, have not only had disclaimers attached but in some cases have been bowdlerized. From the June 11th Daily Mail, quote:

A note in the reissue of Thank You, Jeeves explained that publishers [inner quote] "sought to edit, minimally, words that we regard as unacceptable to present-day readers" [end inner quote].

End quote.

That word "bowdlerize," you may or may not know, commemorates Thomas Bowdler, an English gent whose dates are 1754 to 1825. In the early 19th century Bowdler published edited versions of Shakespeare's plays, versions in which, he promised, quote, "those words and expressions are omitted which cannot with propriety be read aloud in a family," end quote.

Please note the following.

  1. Bowdler had children in mind, not adult readers.

  2. At the time he bowdlerized them, the plays were over 200 years old; not, as is the case with Woolf and Hemingway, less than one hundred years old, or, as with some of Wodehouse, less than seventy years old.

  3. Nobody today reads Bowdler's versions. His entire enterprise is widely considered to have been … silly.


Item:  This item is related to the previous in ways I'll leave you to figure out. It needs an introduction for American listeners.

A hit movie in England during my childhood was The Dam Busters, which came out in 1955. I was in primary school at the time — fourth or fifth grade by American standards. My father came to the school and took me out of class early so I could go see it with him — the only time he ever did that.

The Dam Busters is the story of a heroic Royal Air Force Bomber Command mission flown in 1943 to destroy some dams in the German industrial heartland. The mission was led by Wing Commander Guy Gibson, played in the movie by Richard Todd. It was a qualified success and Gibson was awarded the Victoria Cross for leading it. Of the 19 aircraft dispatched only eleven returned.

Gibson had a dog that he loved, a black lab. He named it the way people named black dogs in the 1940s — and long after: One of my uncles had a dog with the same name. That name is unfortunately taboo today, except among black people. If I were to utter it on my podcast, the FBI would be breaking down my door within the hour. In what follows I shall substitute "Trigger" as the dog's name.

The dog up and died … Sorry: the dog died — hit by a car on a nearby road just as the squadron was taxiing for takeoff. The airmen weren't told because it was thought they might take it as a bad omen.

In the movie Gibson is told as he's heading back to his quarters after returning from the mission. The last words spoken in the movie are from the squaddie who gives Gibson the sad news: "Sir, Trigger's dead." Strangely they don't appear on the IMDb "quotes" page. I guess they've been bowdlerized.

Trigger was buried in a grave with an inscribed memorial stone at RAF Scampton in Lincolnshire, the base from where the Dam Busters raid was launched. That gravestone, with Trigger's name prominent on it, remained in place until 2020, when it was replaced with a stone that told his story but left him anonymous.

RAF Scampton was used for training, storage, and recreational flying until March this year, when it was closed.

Well, that's all preface to this news story, Daily Mail, July 6th. The spineless, clueless British government is desperate for places to house the thousands of illegal aliens … oh, I beg their pardon: "asylum seekers" coming ashore from France every week. What could be better than a disused air base?

However, the authorities fear that the tender sensibilities of the scofflaws … sorry, sorry: "asylum seekers" will be hurt if they find out the dog's true name. They figured it would be best to move grave and memorial to an active air base where it will be better looked after.

The local people have scotched that plan. Quote from one of them:

It is the last piece of heritage that we have left at Scampton. RAF Scampton is probably the most famous base in the whole of the UK, so to take that dog away would be an absolute disgrace.

End quote.

My guess is that the locals will be overruled. Who cares about some white supremacist, probably homophobic WW2 jerk with his toxic masculinity and his stupid dog, when there are Third World invaders … sorry, sorry: "asylum seekers" needing accommodation?


Item:  While idiots, neurotics, and poseurs mismanage our public affairs, working away quietly in labs out of sight are scientists doing work that will turn our world upside down, inside out, and … I don't know … front to back? … left to right?

Here's an instance. Sven Dorkenwald — I didn't make that up, it's his actual name — Sven Dorkenwald is a Ph.D. student in neuroscience at Princeton. He just announced June 30th that he and his team are about to release a full connectome, which is to say basically a wiring diagram, of the fruit fly brain.

I haven't read the paper and probably wouldn't understand much of it if I did, but a fellow researcher named Amjad Masad has. He tells us that, tweet:

Not only have they mapped out the fruit fly brain, but they actually boot it up in a computer and made it "eat" and "groom."

End tweet.

That's a pretty big deal. You probably know that the key components of the brain are neurons, which communicate with each other via synapses. A fruit fly's brain has around 135,000 neurons and 50 million synapses; so this is quite some wiring diagram.

How far are they from doing the same for a human brain? Far. A human brain, even Joe Biden's, has around 90 billion neurons and maybe 100 trillion synapses. So we have around 700 thousand times as many neurons and two million times as many synapses as your average fruit fly.

Still, it's happening. All my amateurish wonderings about the nature of consciousness and its relation to reality will be resolved one day, if we don't wipe ourselves out first.


Item:  Steve Sailer periodically reminds us that the Coalition of the Oppressed has some cracks in it, most obviously the one between Muslims and feminists.

That came to mind the other day when I read this story about London's Pride Parade, which took place last Saturday, July 1st.

The prouds were marching gaily through the capital, all dressed up in their best bondage leather and rainbow-themed dashikis when suddenly it all came to a juddering halt.

Anxious calls rippled forward from the rear end of the parade. What was the holdup? Was it a counter-demonstration by bigoted homophobic religious fanatics?

Not exactly. It was climate-change loonies from an outfit named Just Stop Oil sitting and lying in the street to obstruct the parade.

Why? What beef do the eco-zealots have with the prouds? Let one of their spokes-loonies explain. Quote from him, her, xim, zer, or them:

Pride was born from protest. It speaks to how far we've come as a community, that high polluting industries and the banks that fund them, now see Pride as a useful vehicle for sanitising their reputations, waving rainbow flags in one hand whilst accelerating social collapse with the other.

It is queer people, and particularly queer people of colour in the global south, who are suffering first in this accelerating social breakdown.

End quote.

I don't quite get that last bit. "Queer people of colour in the global south"? What: homosexual Maoris?

Whatever. Plainly it's the corporate sponsorship — the "pinkwashing" — that upsets the climate clowns. That's the main thrust of the dispute.

For some reason they took special exception to the Coca Cola float. After sitting down in front to stop it, they spray-painted the road surface a fabulous shade of pink.

"Things go better with Coke," was the jingle as I remember it. Not all things, apparently; not a Pride Parade when Just Stop Oil is out there trying to ban lubricants.


06 — Signoff.     That's it, ladies and gents. Short measure this week, I'm afraid. I'm going to blame it on the heat, and the lingering afterglow of Tuesday's festivities.

Some signoff music. If you're a regular Radio Derb listener you surely know by now that my own taste in music is middlebrow, with a strong preference for the vocal over the instrumental.

However, I have friends and followers who are much more musically sophisticated than I am. They urge me to broaden my horizons, to try some Bartók or Poulenc or Stockhausen. I try, for friendship's sake and in hopes of improving my understanding; but, like the old poet, always come out by the same door as in I went.

Here I am trying again, for a friend who gifted me a CD of piano pieces by the Brazilian composer Heitor Villa-Lobos, floruit the second quarter of the last century. Here is the closing minute of Villa-Lobos's long piano piece Rudepoêma, which means "savage poem."

There will be more from Radio Derb next week.


[Music clip: From Villa-Lobos's Rudepoêma.]