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[Music clip: From Haydn's Derbyshire Marches, organ version]
01 — Intro. And Radio Derb is on the air! This is your nostalgically genial host John Derbyshire with a reactionary look at the week's news.
I'll get to the nostalgia at the end. First, the invasion of Europe.
02 — Refugees, illegals, and bad actors. Top news story this week was the chaos in the Old World as hundreds of thousands of people from Muslim countries and black Africa try to get to the prosperous, comfortable nations in the north and west of Europe.
There are three kinds of people in the flood.
In the nature of things it's not possible to know which category any given person falls into. Even with women and children it's not possible. Some of them may be genuine refugees. Some others are there in the flood because their menfolk know immigration and asylum officials will deal more sympathetically with women and kids. Illegal immigrants into the U.S.A. from Mexico and Central America work on the same assumption.
Ideally you'd want to sort them out and deal appropriately with each category.
You'd want to make some provision for the true refugees, not necessarily involving permanent settlement. Wars eventually end, even in the Middle East. When they end, people should go home.
The non-refugees, including whatever unknown proportion are bad actors, should of course be interned and then sent back to their place of origin ASAP. The question of who gets to settle in my country belongs rightly and properly to the people of my country, not to foreigners — certainly not to foreigners who flagrantly disrespect my country's laws.
That's all the ideal, though. The European situation is inaccessibly far from that ideal. Even when numbers are manageable, which current European numbers absolutely are not, there is usually no way to assess the veracity of refugee stories.
As Ann Coulter writes in her splendid book ¡Adíos America!, Chapter 15, quote:
The biggest scams in immigration law are the humanitarian cases. One hundred percent of refugee and asylum claims are either obvious frauds or frauds that haven't been proved yet. The only result of our asylum policies is that we get good liars.
End quote. That might very well be true for the U.S.A., but the swarms heading for Europe likely include some genuine refugees among the fakes.
Let's take a closer look at that.
03 — The Oprahfication of asylum laws. It's no small thing to be driven from your home and forced to live on the mercy of strangers. We should not of course be heartless towards genuine refugees. Provision needs to be made, by orderly agreement among receiving nations, always with a due regard for the interests of their own citizens.
That's the kind of thing we pay our politicians and government bureaucrats to deal with. It shouldn't be difficult, surely not as hard as putting men on the Moon.
Two problems arise, though. One: The question of who's a genuine refugee needs some careful parsing. Two: Because human distress is involved, the refugee issue lends itself to Oprahfication — known to British listeners as Dianafication — in which rational policy is swept away by a hot syrupy tsunami of collective emoting.
First let's do the parsing on that word "genuine" as applied to refugees.
The crowds you've been seeing in news pictures the past few days, in Greece, Macedonia, and Hungary, almost all come from Turkey. Turkey's a peaceful, stable, modern country, and has been accommodating to the refugees, settling two million of them in camps.
A common point of departure for the boats heading to Greece is Bodrum, on the coast of Western Turkey. I was in Bodrum four years ago. I wrote at the time that the most dangerous thing about the town was teenagers riding motor scooters at high speed with one hand while talking into their smartphones.
Bodrum's a nice place; just … not as nice as Germany, Sweden, or Britain.
Or Canada, which Abdullah Kurdi was hoping to reach when he left Bodrum Tuesday night with his wife and two kids on a small rubber dinghy headed for the Greek islands.
Here we get to the mass hysteria, the Oprahfication.
Mr Kurdi's boat sank; the wife and children drowned; one child's body was washed up on a Turkish beach; the Western media frontpaged a photograph of the little corpse.
We are now, as I speak, in the midst of a public frenzy of emoting about the event, with celebrities weeping on camera and politicians vying to accuse each other, and sometimes also their voters and even themselves, of responsibility for the child's death. You did it! We all did it! Guilty, guilty, we are all guilty! Ayeee!
David Cameron, Britain's weak and shallow Prime Minister, has actually changed his nation's asylum policies in response to all the keening and sobbing.
Yet Mr Kurdi, the child's father, had been living in Turkey for a year. He looks clean, healthy, and well-fed. So do his wife and kids in the pre-embarkation photographs. It's true that he's a Kurd, and that Turkey's government does not celebrate Kurdishness in the full multicultural spirit, having their own long-running Kurdish problem; but if that was intolerable to Mr Kurdi, he could have gone as a refugee to Iraqi Kurdistan, a de facto independent country that is hosting ten thousand Syrian Kurdish refugees.
He had options. Staying in Turkey just wasn't the best option.
As I said, the word "genuine" in the phrase "genuine refugees" needs parsing. You can imagine cases of genuine refugees. Suppose for example you were the Mayor of some town in a rebel area of Syria. The Syrian government bombs your town; you flee to a refugee camp in Turkey; a rumor goes round the camp that Syrian government agents are snooping in the camp; a couple of people disappear … You honestly fear for your life, so you make a run for Europe. I'd call that a genuine refugee.
How many people are in that kind of situation, though? And how do you check their stories?
There's a lot of parsing of words that needs to be done here, in fact. What, for example, do we call these people pouring into Europe — all three categories in all generality: refugees, illegal immigrants, and bad actors? How do we refer to them collectively?
The elite media prefer "refugees" as a blanket term, even though only some minor portion of the horde are true refugees; and, as I just showed, the genuineness of even their refugeehood can reasonably be questioned.
Sterner spirits prefer "illegal aliens" or even "criminal invaders." If there are true refugees in the mix, though — which I think likely — that's unfair to them.
I'm going to say "migrants." It's not totally neutral and a lot of people dislike it, as masking the illegality going on. I don't see an alternative that isn't unfair to someone, though, so that's my word; sorry if it bothers you.
It's all an awful mess, and it's roiling European politics. How did we get here? Next segment.
04 — Preventable evils. The first thing to be said about the current crisis is that it was perfectly predictable. Not only was it predictable, it was predicted: by French author Jean Raspail in his 1973 novel The Camp of the Saints.
(I note in passing that hardcover first editions of Raspail's book are now available only from private sources for ten thousand dollars and up. The second-hand book site Abebooks will, however, sell you a used hardback in good condition for $100. Amazon sales rank for Camp of the Saints is number 270 in Contemporary Fiction, which on Amazon's criterion qualifies it as a current bestseller.)
Not only was this situation predictable, it was preventable. In connection to which, permit me to quote from a famous speech by British immigration patriot Enoch Powell back in 1968 — five years before Camp of the Saints was first published. Quote from Powell:
The supreme function of statesmanship is to provide against preventable evils. In seeking to do so, it encounters obstacles which are deeply rooted in human nature.
Powell went on to warn his fellow-countrymen against mass immigration from poor countries of the former British Empire. For this he was denounced as a racist and excluded from government positions.
Powell was of course right. As I noted last week, a big pull factor for these incoming hordes is the settled communities of fellow-countrymen and co-religionists in the West.
To judge from interviews with migrants, some sizeable proportion seem to be from Pakistan, headed for Britain. There's no war in Pakistan, but there is a huge Pakistani community well-established in Britain. If Enoch Powell's advice had been heeded this would not be the case, and that pull factor wouldn't be present.
There are of course other pull factors, but these were also predictable, and their consequences for Europe preventable.
Demography, for example. Regular listeners know that at this point I reach for my grandfather's 1922 atlas, which includes population numbers. Back then the British Isles had a population of 47.31 million. British West Africa, for contrast, had a population of 22.48 million. So the British Isles had over twice the population of British West Africa 93 years ago.
Forward to today. The British Isles are still here, now the U.K plus Ireland: total population 68.97 million. British West Africa is nowadays the independent nations of Nigeria, Ghana, Sierra Leone, and Gambia: total population 215.74 million. That's over three times Britain's number.
Once again: 1922, British Isles had over twice the population of British West Africa. 2015, British West Africa has over three times the population of the British Isles.
Birthrate differentials will do that. They've been doing it for decades, though. It shouldn't have come as a surprise to anyone. The science of demography does not have many surprises. If you know how many 15-year-olds you have today, you have a pretty good idea how many 25-year-olds you'll have ten years from now, barring civilizational-scale catastrophes.
Oh: I called demography a pull factor. I guess it's really a push factor.
Here at any rate is another pull factor: widespread video technology advertising the security and prosperity of the West to Third Worlders living in huts. That too was predictable. Movies and TV have been around for a while.
If Enoch Powell was right that, quote, "The supreme function of statesmanship is to provide against preventable evils," then what we are seeing in Europe is a massive failure of statesmanship.
05 — The wretched of the Earth. Something else has been at work, too, bringing us to this dismal point: a kind of … despair. Let me try to explain.
Here's a news story from Thursday's New York Post. It concerns Melissa Mark-Viverito, Speaker of the New York City Council. The story is, that Ms Mark-Viverito has endorsed Hillary Clinton.
Why? Well, see, Hillary Clinton is in Puerto Rico this Friday campaigning. Mrs Clinton has made it known that she supports Puerto Rico's desire to declare bankruptcy and restructure its debt. Ms. Mark-Viverito likes that, so she's endorsed Hillary.
Now, Melissa Mark-Viverito is Puerto-Rico-born, and is a communist gringo-hating Latino troublemaker from Central Casting — a fan of Castro, the Sandinistas, and so on.
Forty years ago this lady would have been ardent for Puerto Rican independence. Now, though, in 2015, her ardor is all directed to … Puerto Rico having its debts forgiven by the gringo politicians and bankers.
I mention this tiny local news item because it's a small illustration of a large truth about the world this past few decades.
When the age of Imperialism came to an end in the 1950s, it was reasonable to expect that the Third World nations, newly independent, would soon get themselves up to European standards of modernity and prosperity.
Some did. Singapore today has a higher standard of living than Europe. South Korea and Taiwan, formerly colonies of Japan, have both done well. Even India hasn't done too badly. One or two of the Caribbean nations are at least livable, if you don't mind high crime rates.
Most ex-colonial nations have floundered, though. Even when they've avoided war and political turmoil, their people have remained poor. If you were living in, say, Sierra Leone, or, say, Pakistan, or, say, Laos fifty years ago, hope was reasonable. Your nation had control of its own destiny at last. Onward and upward! Work hard, perform your civic duties, and watch your kids climb into prosperous modernity.
That hope is not reasonable today. If today you live in Sierra Leone or Pakistan or Laos and you want your kids to enjoy a good life, the sensible thing is to get the hell out of there. Find some way to get into Europe, or North America, Australia, or New Zealand — white countries.
If you hope for your kids to live well, you want them living under white supremacy — in a country built by and governed by whites, preferably by northwest Europeans, most preferably by the British.
And that's what people are doing. Everyone's dream worldwide is to live in a country built by and governed by northwest-European whites. You can curl your lip all you like when you say "white supremacy," but the truth is, white supremacy's awfully popular with the wretched of the earth.
You even see something similar within the borders of the U.S.A. Remember Black Separatism? It was alive and well as late as the 1980s. Louis Farrakhan urged American blacks to start their own companies, build their own factories, stop depending on the white man for stuff. Independence! Self-support! Turn your back on the white devil and his works — look to your black brothers and sisters!
That didn't work out any better than independence for European colonies did. Black Americans today are more dependent on whites than ever.
Black American revolutionary Stokely Carmichael settled in the West African nation of Guinea in 1968 and lived there until he died thirty years later. Can you imagine a black American leader doing that nowadays? Jesse? Al? Ta-nehisi? It's unthinkable. Why uproot yourself and move to some trashcan country when you can live in ease and luxury milking white guilt right here in the U.S.A.? Why go to the trouble of building your own factory, when Whitey will build one for you, if you scare him enough and guilt-trip him enough?
I started out calling it, this decades-long trend I'm describing, I started out calling it despair — the death of hope. I do believe there is that side to it; but there's also a sort of cynical throwing-up of hands, saying something like: "Ah, screw it, my people are never going to make any decent showing by ourselves. Let's settle for living off the white man's bounty."
The wretched of the earth — Muslims, blacks, American Indians, Pacific Islanders — have settled into dependency — or, if you don't mind really plain speaking: parasitism.
They've tried independence and self-support, and it didn't work out. So, live off the white man's benevolence. If you don't have the good fortune to live in a white country, just break into one.
That's what's happening in Europe.
06 — It's not your fault. Here are some things you'll hear said about the migrant crisis in Europe.
Thing One. It serves the Europeans right. They went out into Africa, Asia, and the Middle East uninvited. They colonized and exploited these countries. Now here are the chickens coming home to roost.
People who say this seem to think Europeans have no agency. They have no choice but to sit helpless while vengeful Fate works out her purposes on them.
That's nonsense. Europeans control their own countries. They can run them for what they perceive to be the interests of their own people. They don't have to yield passively to fate. Yes, I know: they are kind of doing that, but they don't have to. They could kick out the invaders and barricade their borders, as Israel has done. They could turn back the boats, as Australia has done. They're not doing those things, but they could do them. Sooner or later they probably will.
In any case, the premise there — that colonialism was a cruel imposition on the colonized people — is false. There were cruelties and snobberies, to be sure; but the colonized peoples had endured worse under their own rulers. On balance, European colonialism was a great civilizing force.
Thing Two. It is all our fault — the U.S.A., Britain, and other countries that went along — for disturbing the Middle East equilibrium. Saddam Hussein and Gaddafy were no choirboys for sure; but they kept their countries stable and minded their own business, until we went and bombed them. This migrant crisis is the result of our own stupid policies.
I'm not impressed by this argument. That our Iraq and Libya polices were stupid, I don't deny. I've been pointing out the stupidity of them here on Radio Derb for years.
The mess in Syria isn't our fault, though. The Arab Spring got going in North Africa; reformers in Syria picked up the spirit; the government tried to crush them; a civil war got going.
And while, yes, we stupidly helped bring down Gaddafy in Libya, the same dynamic was at work there. Gaddafy was anyway 69 or 70 when he fell off the bike, and losing his grip. He would have been gone soon in any case, leaving a mess behind. Same with Saddam.
These Third World dictatorships are stable until they're not. There are fundamental in-stabilities that assert themselves sooner or later. There is no civic culture in these places, no history of rational government. They are all cursed with the most dreadful of all curses, the horrid blight of diversity, ethnic and religious. Arabs, Kurds, Persians, and Druze; Shi'as, Sunnis, Christians, and Bahais; Alawites, Yazidis, Nabataeans, Zoroastrians, Mandaeans, Kalashas …
I refer you to Gerard Russell's book Heirs to Forgotten Kingdoms for the more esoteric minorities. Did you know that Yazidis refuse to eat lettuce or wear blue? That drives their Muslim neighbors crazy, so here comes another batch of refugees.
These aren't real countries and you can't make real countries out of them. The departing colonial administrators tried their best, but I'll allow their best wasn't very good — perhaps couldn't have been. There are two natural conditions for these places: chaos or despotism. Jeffersonian democracy is not an option.
So let's not beat ourselves up that we made this happen. It would have happened anyway. With more intelligent policies we might have postponed the inevitable for five years or so, that's all.
Thing Three. Why don't Muslim nations take the Muslim refugees from Syria? Wouldn't the refugees anyway be happier among their fellow Muslims?
This one I'm much more sympathetic to. I'd point out, though, that some Muslim nations have stepped up. I've already mentioned Turkey. Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, and Egypt have each taken tens of thousands of refugees from Syria.
The defaulters here are the five rich Gulf states: Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates. Why don't they send home their Filipino and Sri Lankan housemaids and busboys and give the jobs to their Muslim brothers and sisters from Syria?
What happened to Muslim fellowship? You'd think the Saudis et cetera would be embarrassed about this. These are rich Arabs we're talking about, though. They don't embarrass easy.
07 — Doubling down on ethnomasochism. Given all these things I've been speaking about, and the knowledge seeping out, against the best efforts of the official media, about things like Muslim rape culture in Britain and Sweden — you might think that people in the First World would be looking to their defenses and tightening up their settlement policies.
Well, some people are. Resistance to the open borders is rising all over Europe, and condensing out into political parties like the Front National in France, the AfD in Germany, Geert Wilders' Party For Freedom in Holland, and others.
The way human nature works, though, some other people are just doubling down on their ethnomasochism. The most sensational case in the present crisis has been Iceland.
Iceland's official cap on annual settlement of refugees is fifty. Fifty a year. You might think that's stingy, but bear in mind that Iceland's entire population is only 300,000. Fifty people is to Iceland what fifty thousand would be to the U.S.A.
Well, someone named Bryndis Bjorgvinsdottir, described here as an "author and professor," put out a call on Facebook last Sunday asking for Icelanders to sign an open letter to Iceland's government urging more help for Syrian refugees. Said the letter, quote:
Refugees are our future spouses, best friends, or soulmates, the drummer for the band of our children, our next colleague, Miss Iceland in 2022, the carpenter who finally finished the bathroom, the cook in the cafeteria, the fireman, the computer genius, or the television host.
More than 12,000 Icelanders have signed the letter. That's five percent of the adult population. Many of the responders — I can't find a reliable number for how many — offered to take Syrian refugees into their own homes.
Boy, you can't beat the Scandinavians for ethnomasochism. I guess it gets really boring up there in Iceland, just looking at blonde, blue-eyed people all the time, never having anyone decapitate one of your soldiers in the street or let off a bomb on a bus.
The Germans are almost as bad. I'm looking at a German website called Flüchtlinge Willkommen, that's "Refugees Welcome." Quote from the home page:
Warum können geflüchtete Menschen in Deutschland nicht einfach in WGs wohnen statt in Massenunterkünften?
End quote. Translation: "Why shouldn't refugees in Germany just be able to live in shared apartments instead of mass accommodation?" End translation. The website goes on to urge Germans to open their apartments to refugees.
We're not immune, either. Our own homegrown ethnomasochist Glenn Beck picked up the Iceland story and enthused about it on his radio show. Quote:
Out of a country of 300,000 people, 10,000 people in 24 hours said, "I'll offer up my home. I'll offer up my money." I'm asking you to do the same thing today … What people will take one person? Will you offer up your home?
End quote. Talk about ethnomasochism! Beck deserves a Darwin Award for eagerness to remove himself from the gene pool.
People are signing up, though. I await the first news stories about rapes and murders. Oh wait, it's already happened — with boat people, anyway, if not precisely Syrian refugees. Daily Telegraph, August 31st, headline: Murder of elderly couple in Sicily fuels Italy's growing anti-immigrant sentiment. Story, quote:
Mamadou Kamara, an 18-year-old from the Ivory Coast, allegedly slit the throat of Vincenzo Solano, 68, and then attacked his Spanish-born wife, Mercedes Ibanez, 70.
End quote. I guess Signor Solano and his wife, him with his throat slit and she with her neck broken, I guess they weren't as photogenic as the little drowned Syrian child.
They are just as dead, though.
08 — Miscellany. And now, our closing miscellany of brief items.
Imprimis: The Obama administration, in the person of Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, has changed the name of the U.S.A.'s highest mountain from Mount McKinley to Denali. We are told that Denali was the original Eskimo name — the mountain's in Alaska — in, quote from every news source I've consulted, quote: "the Athabaskan language."
First off, there is no such thing as "the Athabaskan language." According to my Cambridge Encyclopedia of Language, Athabaskan is the name of a language family containing many different languages, as different from each other as French and Russian, both members of the Indo-European family.
On the general point of renaming things for political reasons, I wrote about this phenomenon fifteen years ago in The Weekly Standard, and suggested a name for it: the onomastic cringe.
Onomastics is the science of names; the cringe is the posture you adopt when confronted with your moral superiors — anyone not white-European, for example, like the Eskimos of Alaska.
Having already written about the onomastic cringe, I can just quote myself. Whaddya want, original copy? Ha!
In my column I had just gotten through noting that Gypsies were now Roma, Peking was Beijing, Lapps were Saami, Bombay was Mumbai, and Hottentots were San. OK, quote from myself back in a.d. 2000, quote:
Damn whatever committee of the U.N. is foisting this gibberish on us! To hell with them and all their works! GYPSIES! PEKING! LAPPS! BOMBAY! HOTTENTOTS! Come and get me, you bastards!
Item: A county clerk in Kentucky, Kim Davis, is in federal custody after refusing to issue marriage licenses to homosexual couples. Republican Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee has called this an attack on religious freedom.
Much as I dislike the normalization of homosexuality, I think that's overstating the matter. If your religion tells you you can have four wives, or you shouldn't pay taxes, or it's OK to practice human sacrifice, expect the authorities to take an interest. Religious freedom is not unbounded.
Whether or not the boundary here is a reasonable one, the arrogance and spite of the homosexualists seem to know no bounds. I don't wish homosexuals any harm, but I can't see why they couldn't have been given everything they want without debasing the ancient institution of marriage. Now they're on a totalitarian rampage, putting bakers out of business and getting government clerks put in jail.
This is rampant minoritarianism: deliberately jeering at the sensibilities of harmless normal people in order to aggrandize your own abnormal behavior. The homosexualists forcing these issues should be ashamed of themselves.
Item: Finally, congratulations — I hope — to Queen Elizabeth of England, who next Wednesday will become the longest-reigning English monarch ever, surpassing the previous record, held by Queen Victoria, of 63 years, seven months and two days on the throne.
I'm not actually a big fan of monarchy as a general principle. If a country wants to have constitutional monarchy, though, I don't think it can be disputed that Elizabeth has done it superbly well.
Inevitably there are people who do dispute it. The breaking of Victoria's record by Elizabeth has in fact ignited a very very English controversy about which of them was more boring.
Renegade historian David Starkey sneered in the BBC magazine Radio Times that Elizabeth has, quote, "done and said nothing that anybody will remember." Leftist harpie Polly Toynbee piled on in the Guardian, scoffing at Elizabeth as a, quote, "past-mistress of nothingness."
Robert Hardman in the Daily Mail grabbed his lance and mounted his charger to riposte that Victoria was, quote, "a workshy recluse."
And so on. If this kind of thing stirs your inner monarchist, I leave you to pursue it in the British papers, all of which have links at the Drudge Report. My personal preference is for Elizabeth on the trivial and irrational grounds that as a young woman she was way better looking than Victoria.
The first public event I ever participated in was Elizabeth's coronation in 1953, the day before my eighth birthday. I'm using "participate" here in the loosest possible sense: We had a street party. That was a year and something after she technically ascended the throne, when her father died.
Now here we both are, a lifetime further on. I think I can be allowed a sentimental sniffle. Congratulations, Ma'am.
09 — Signoff. That's it, ladies and gents. Thank you for listening, and a very happy Labor Day to all.
To see us out, I'm going to continue the theme of 1950s Brit nostalgia.
Last Sunday we lost Joy Beverley, eldest of the singing Beverley Sisters, who added much to the public stock of harmless pleasure during my English childhood. Also to my personal small stock of municipal pride: the Beverley Sisters were from my home town of Northampton.
Well, actually they were London Cockneys; but when London was being bombed in WW2, they were evacuated with a lot of other kids to no-account places like Northampton, which not even the Luftwaffe thought was worth bombing.
Joy married soccer star Billy Wright. Billy was a West Midlands boy, like my own Dad, and played for a West Midlands team, Wolverhampton Wanderers. This was back in the days when sports stars commonly had some connection to the towns they played for. It all seems very quaint nowadays. If you bump into an English First Division soccer player today, he probably comes from Burundi.
The marriage was also quaint in its own way: It was cloudlessly happy and lasted for forty years, until Billy died in 1998.
I'd better sign off here, my nostalgia's getting out of control. Here are Joy, Teddie, and Babs with that old Irving Berlin number, "Sisters."
More from Radio Derb next week.
[Music clip: The Beverley Sisters, "Sisters."]