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[Music clip: From Haydn's Derbyshire Marches, organ version]
01 — Intro. And Radio Derb is on the air! Good day, ladies and gentlemen. This is your periodically genial host John Derbyshire with highlights, and one or two lowlights, from the week's news.
Political news this week was of course dominated by the GOP candidates debate on Wednesday. Let's begin by taking a look at how that went.
02 — The debate: No-one wished it longer. The first thing to be said about Wednesday night's debate is that it was way too long. It went on for more than three hours. The transcript published by Time magazine runs to 34,857 words, including stage directions. That's longer than Hamlet or the Book of Genesis.
Comparisons with literary productions in fact bring to mind Dr Johnson's remark about Paradise Lost, quote: "None ever wished it longer than it is."
Does America really want that much politics? It's over a year to the Presidential election, for crying out loud. Three hours?
I guess I should make allowance here for the fact of my being a geezer, from a different time; and indeed from a different place, under a parliamentary government whose leader could call an election at a time that seemed opportune to him, and then run an election campaign lasting two weeks.
The U.S.A. has in past times had a similar measure of good sense, though. I quote historian Paul Johnson on the great President Warren Harding, quote:
Harding won the election [of 1920] on his fifty-fifth birthday, which, characteristically, he celebrated by playing a round of golf. He did not believe that politics were very important or that people should get excited about them or allow them to penetrate too far into their everyday lives. In short, he was the exact opposite of Lenin, Mussolini, and Hitler, and the professional Social Democratic politicians of Europe.
End quote. Ah, Harding, thou shouldst be living at this hour!
Well, here were eleven candidates for the Republican Presidential nomination on stage Wednesday night at the Reagan Library in Simi Valley, California. What did we learn?
In my case, to be perfectly honest with you, not very much, as I didn't watch the thing. One of my dinner clubs was meeting. Given the choice between a nice dinner in agreeable company, with a talk from an invited guest followed by spirited discussion, versus three hours slumped in the Barcalounger watching politicians pretending to like me, I went for the more civilized option.
I did read the transcript, though; or at any rate, I looked over it. I read some of the commentary, too.
From what I can gather thence, Donald Trump's attitude to the event was closely in line with my own. By the two-hour mark he was, people say, as bored with the whole show as I would have been if I'd watched it. Good for him. We could have another Warren Harding here. America should be so blessed!
For a positive, the immigration issue got good coverage, as these events go. I add that qualifier because, if you've been reading and writing about immigration for twenty years, as I have, and actually been through the U.S. immigration process all the way from tourist to citizen, as I have, most of the public commentary sounds wearyingly jejune. The actual level of understanding of the issue among these characters seeking to be Chief Executive is dismally low.
That's improving, though. While most of those on stage Wednesday spoke in the threadbare platitudes that drive us immigration wonks to the liquor bottle, we did hear some sense on the Fourteenth Amendment from Donald Trump and Rand Paul, both of whom have taken the trouble to inform themselves on the topic.
Legal immigration didn't get much coverage. What little it did get, surprising to me, came from Marco Rubio, who called for an end to chain migration. Quote from him:
Step two would be to modernize our legal immigration system so you come to America on the basis of what you can contribute economically, not whether or not simply you have a relative living here.
That's good sense. There are signs of some light dawning here among GOP candidates. Even Carly Fiorina, although clueless on birthright citizenship, made a sensible remark, quote:
Immigration did not come up in 2016 because Mr. Trump brought it up. We talked about it in 2012, we talked about it in 2008. We talked about it in 2004 … We have been talking about it for 25 years. This is why people are tired of politicians.
End quote. Well, it sure is one big reason. That's why Donald Trump is riding high.
Whether a straight-ticket "invade the world, invite the world" neocon like Carly Fiorina would do anything more than continue to talk about immigration, is of course an open question.
I can't think of much else to say about the damn debate. The Donald, down in the high-boredom zone at the end of the show, let slip his fondness for minor-level nuttiness, in this case on the subject of whether promiscuous vaccination of children raises levels of autism. Ben Carson and Rand Paul dealt with this, I thought, in a very gentlemanly and informative way, for which I offer them my thanks. I doubt there are more than 25 Presidential votes nationwide in this issue, but I'm glad to see some adult collegiality in a political event. Water in the desert.
What else? There were some silly exchanges about Trump's prior remarks about Carly Fiorina's looks. Well, none of us can help our looks. God knows, no model agency ever called me up offering a contract. Net-net, though, I think this kind of thing plays into the Golden Bough factor, to Trump's advantage as the badboy alpha male. I doubt any harm was done.
Now I'm really out of opinions about Wednesday night's event. Although, if I may set aside a commentator's proper modesty for a moment, I think this segment was pretty good opinionating for a guy who didn't even watch the wretched debate.
03 — Ann vs. the panderers. A side story from Wednesday night's debate was the fuss about Ann Coulter getting exasperated with all the candidates' asseverations of solidarity with Israel and tweeting, quote, "How many f---ing Jews do these people think there are in the United States?" End quote. That beep, by the way, is Ann's, not mine. Her actual tweet said "f-hyphen-hyphen-hyphen-i-n-g."
That caused a lot of shrieking and swooning, especially of course from ethnocentric Jews. Actor Seth Rogen told Ann that, quote, "You are a horrible f---ing idiot." John Podhoretz harrumphed back on Twitter. Novelist and former British Member of Parliament Louise Mensch, who is Jewish by marriage, predicted that the offending tweet would end Ann's career.
I seriously doubt that. Those of us who love Ann — and to judge by her book sales, our numbers are legion — love her for the same reason people love Donald Trump: she breaks the mold of conventional political rhetoric. Trump does the same. The more he does it, and the more the establishment pundits say, "That'll finish him for sure!," the higher his poll numbers go. I predict the same for Ann's book sales.
The mold of conventional political rhetoric has needed breaking. For more than a generation now — for thirty or forty years — politicians have observed the PC proprieties, walking on eggshells around anything that might give offense to anyone, pandering to favored groups and influential donors. The result has been that important issues don't get discussed in the political arena, immigration policy being the outstanding example.
From the point of view of those of us who are fed up with that style of political diction —half mealy-mouthed schoolmarm prissiness, half unctuous fawning — Ann's Wednesday tweet was a scream of protest against the latter: against unctuous fawning on what GOP candidates seem to think is a key voting segment.
Why do they think that? Estimates of the proportion of self-identifying Jews in the U.S.A. range from two to four percent, depending on whom you ask; and not all of them are fans of Israel. Why so many shout-outs from GOP candidates to such a tiny demographic? That's a politer form of Ann's question.
What's the answer to Ann's question? The answer is of course that Ashkenazi Jews punch way above their demographic weight in media and intellectual circles, and in big-money political donations, because their high average intelligence brings them success in the relevant fields.
That's a fact of life in the U.S.A. I don't myself think it's a particularly deplorable one. Whether it is or not, it surely doesn't justify the shameless and blatant pandering that Ann was targeting.
That pandering just fortifies the impression that our candidates, when they speak, are speaking to wealthy donors and influential commentators, not to us dull-witted, no-account proles: precisely the impression that is driving Donald Trump's success.
Ann's tweet was of course well-received by antisemites, opening her up to charges of guilt by association. Is she herself an antisemite?
A good place to go seeking an answer to that question would be Ann's recent book, ¡Adíos, America!
The book has 12 index references to Israel. Some are duplicates, references to the same passage under different headings. Here is a very brief summary of the eight referenced passages.
That's all Ann has to say about Israel in her book — not exactly a catalog of frothing Jew-hatred. The main impression you get about Ann's attitude to Israel is that she admires their politicians for doing what ours will not do: defending their national sovereignty and keeping their ethnic balance intact.
And as Ann has been pointing out in response to the fuss over her tweet, mass Hispanic immigration, which GOP candidates like Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio have also been pandering to, is simply terrible for the Jews. Hispanics have high levels of antisemitism. Where do you think all the old Nazis retired to?
That's not even to mention the mass immigration of Muslims into the U.S.A., which is giving antisemitism the kind of boost that mass immigration of rabbits would give to sales of lettuce.
Ann lays into that in her book very vigorously, under headings like Muslim Rape Culture and Muslim Terrorist Farmworkers. If Ann's down on the Jews, why isn't she welcoming all these Jew-haters we're bringing in?
Bottom line here: I call this a storm in a teacup based on a wilful misrepresentation of a shout of frustration. I note that Ann's tweet came near the end of Wednesday's three-hour, Hamlet-length debate-a-thon. Any intelligent patriot has a right to be frustrated at such a time. If I had watched the wretched thing, the wise Mrs Derbyshire would have known to hide the key to my gun safe at around the one-hour mark.
And no, I don't believe for a minute this will hurt Ann's career; although I doubt we'll be seeing her byline in future issues of Commentary magazine.
04 — Enriching America. I mentioned mass immigration of Muslims back there. Of all the stupidities of our immigration system, this has been the stupidest.
The two groups who assimilate least well into white-European nations are blacks and Muslims. If you were starting such a nation from scratch, those are the two groups you would not permit to settle in large numbers.
Nations very rarely get started from scratch, of course. The U.S.A. got started with a large founding sub-population of blacks, brought here against their will, and that's a settled aspect of our nation that we have to cope with as best we can, in a spirit of common citizenship and civilized tolerance.
Muslims were a very tiny minority in our founding population, though, and it would have been best if we'd kept things that way. It would, for example, have been best for the preservation of our personal liberties, which are now restrained and often invaded by government agencies charged with defending us against Muslim terrorism.
None of this was necessary. It has, as I said, been the fruit of stupid policies, rooted in utopian fantasies about the unity of mankind.
Sensible restrictions on Muslim immigration would also have spared us the story that has had Social Justice Warriors banging swords on shields this week.
The story comes out of Irving, Texas. Fourteen-year-old Ahmed Mohamed, who likes to tinker, took the insides out of a digital clock, put them in a pencil case, put the pencil case into his school backpack, and took it to class with him. Well, the clock's alarm went off, the class teacher investigated, young Ahmed was sent to the Principal, the cops were called, and Ahmed was cuffed and taken away. The cops kept him locked up until his parents arrived to take him home. He was then suspended from school for three days.
The cry that went up from the Social Justice Warriors was of course "profiling!" Given that Ahmed's family are Muslims from Sudan, and that it is by no means unknown for Muslims to let off bombs in public places, while it is proportionally much rarer for infidels to do so, it seems to me that profiling would have been sensible and proper under the circumstances.
Local police denied the profiling charge anyway; and given the zero-tolerance polices now common in our schools, with kids being suspended for pointing fingers at each other and saying "bang!," the denial is plausible.
The victimology promoters weren't going to be cheated of their opportunity, though — an opportunity to publicize the persecution of a harmless dark-skinned Muslim child by snarling white racists.
The Muslim-supremacist group CAIR, that's the Council on American Islamic Relations, took Ahmed under their wing and are getting him lawyered up. Hillary Clinton tweeted her condolences and encouragement. The Social Justice Warrior-in-Chief, Barack Obama, invited young Ahmed to the White House. Open Borders Fanatic-in-Chief and Number One Enemy of working Americans Mark Zuckerberg offered Ahmed a job.
Pretty nice; but why is this kid living in our country? That's not a rhetorical question; I'd really like to know.
The best I've been able to come up with, digging around, is that Ahmed's father, who not only has "Mohamed" as a last name but also as a first name, came here as an immigrant thirty years ago. I haven't been able to find out what category of visa he was admitted on. The sources describe him as, quote, "a former customs worker at Khartoum International Airport [who] earned a degree in philosophy from Cairo University in Khartoum," end quote.
I doubt the university in Khartoum taught any kind of philosophy but the Muslim kind, which I actually know something about. The underlying metaphysic is the one technically known as occasionalism. It teaches that God can do whatever he wants to do, and that everything that happens, happens because God willed it to happen. There is not much point carrying out empirical enquiries to seek natural laws, because even if you found such laws, God could violate them at his whim.
As I pointed out when writing about occasionalism a couple of years ago, quote from myself, quote:
Hence the near-invisibility of Muslims in the lists of Nobel prize-winners for the sciences. (Chemistry 1 out of 166; Physics 1 out of 196; Medicine 0 out of 204.) Luxembourg, population 500,000, has as many science Nobels as Islamia, population 1.6 billion.
End quote. Not very surprisingly, Mohamed Mohamed's degree was not accepted by U.S. institutions. That notwithstanding, he was allowed to remain in the U.S.A., where, we are told, he sold hot dogs, candy, and newspapers in Manhattan. I guess the U.S.A. was suffering from a dire shortage of hot-dog vendors that year. You know the narrative: jobs Americans won't do, hot dogs rotting in the pushcarts, et cetera.
And having mentioned chain migration back there, I may as well give you the following, from the Dallas Morning News, September 15th. The reporter has come to Mohamed Mohamed's home with young Ahmed and his minder from CAIR. Then Ahmed and the minder leave to do some lawyering. Quote:
After they left, Ahmed's grandmother, Aisha Musa, lay on a bed in the dining room, resting her feet. She had immigrated from Sudan with the rest of the family years ago.
End quote. Well, there are a few things we can say.
We can say, for example, that Mrs Musa, or Mrs Mohamed, whatever the hell her surname is, might be happier back in Sudan, where at least she speaks the fricking language. We can express curiosity about how many other people are encompassed by that phrase "the rest of the family," and how many of them share young Ahmed's interest in electronic tinkering.
We can speculate aloud about how much Grandma has cost the working taxpayers of America in Medicaid and/or Medicare.
We can wonder whether it is acceptable for white, non-Muslim Americans to want their son's sons to grow old and have a good job, perhaps a job not given to the likes of Ahmed under some Justice Department Affirmative Action ukase or some Supreme Court "disparate impact" ruling.
If we said any of those things, though, we'd probably be cuffed and hauled off to the bridewell ourselves. And not be sent friendly tweets by Mrs Clinton or invited to the White House by President Obama.
05 — The rectification of names. Here's my letter of the week. No, it's not a letter to me, it's one from the "Letters to the Editor" feature in the New York Post.
The letter is responding to George Will's September 5th syndicated column, which appeared in the New York Post a day or so later. Will's column in turn was responding to some events in the news; so I have to go through some preamble here to explain all that. Let me go through it, then I'll give you the letter.
The news event that triggered this chain of commentary was the decision by the Connecticut Democratic Party back on July 22nd to change the name of their annual fundraising dinner. The dinner had for 67 years been called the Jefferson-Jackson Dinner, in honor, of course, of Presidents Jefferson and Jackson.
What are they changing the name of the event to? So far as I know there hasn't yet been a decision on that.
Why did they want to change it? Why, because Jefferson and Jackson were both slave owners. I'll take the Jefferson case on trust; but I have actually been inside a couple of Andy Jackson's slave cabins. Yep, he was a slave owner. In this age of hair-trigger racial sensitivity it just won't do to have a fundraising dinner named after slaveowners, even if they were fine and effective Presidents of their time.
In his September 5th column George Will took this story and ran with it. He went through a whole catalog of names of places, institutions, and events that have names at least as closely associated with slaveholding, or with suppression of the Indians, as the Jefferson-Jackson Dinner. It's one of Will's better columns. Sample, quote:
[Professor Joseph Knippenberg] suggests that, in order to spare everyone discomfort, cities, buildings and other things should be given names that are inoffensive because they have no meaning whatsoever. Give things perfectly vacuous names like those given to car models — Acura, Elantra and Sentra.
End quote. That nicely catches the absurdity of what Will calls our, quote, "new national passion for moral and historical hygiene," end quote.
My personal contribution to this debate would be that we cut to the chase, go straight to the place where we're obviously destined to end up, and just give everything a number. For places we could use zip codes. So the state of Oklahoma, for instance, whose name, George Will tells us, is disgracefully made from two words in the Choctaw language meaning "red" and "people," the state of Oklahoma contains zip codes beginning 73 and 74; so we could just change the name of the state to "73" … or perhaps "73½," to catch the 74 too.
For smaller localities, like streets or schools, you could go to the full 9-digit zip code. So Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia, would get the new name 24450-2161. My method has the advantage that you would no longer need to remember the zip code that goes with the name of a place: the zip code is the name.
Institutions could be name-changed based on geography, again by zip code. So the Washington Post newspaper would become the 20071 Post. See? It all works out. In the public-sprited ardor for which Radio Derb is well-known, I offer this to the decision-makers in 20.
That's by the bye. So George Will published this column mocking the whole silly business of taking offense at names with historical connections we now disapprove of. And here's a New York Post reader, one Jack Treacy of Yonkers, with a letter in the September 13th edition of that majestic newspaper. Here's the letter, longish quote:
I enjoyed George Will's satire of the Democratic Party silliness in ending the Jefferson-Jackson Days in Connecticut, Maine, and New Hampshire.
I second that, and I'll buy Jack Treacy of Yonkers a drink any time he's in my neck of the woods.
06 — The Fortress West Time magazine has a Man of the Year — actually, at this point in our cultural evolution, most likely a Person of the Year, I really haven't been keeping up. Well, Radio Derb has a Country of the Week. The country we honor this week is — drum roll, please … [drum roll] … … all right, all right, don't drag it out — our Country of the Week this week is: Hungary!
I'm a Hungarophile from way back: from 1964, when I visited the place and received much kindness. Hungary was at that time a Soviet satellite, still under lock-down from the anti-Soviet uprising eight years previously, which the free nations of the West had declined to get involved with. The Hungarians could have been excused for not showing much kindness to a scruffy English hitchhiker. I came away with fond memories, though; and nothing has occurred in the subsequent fifty years to take the shine off them. Talpra Magyar!
This week the Hungarians at last got fed up with young Muslim toughs demanding to be let into their country. On Wednesday a mob tried to storm through Hungary's border fence from Serbia. Hungarian police responded with tear gas and water cannon. The migrants responded back by throwing rocks and chanting "Allahu Akbar!" — "God is Great," the Muslim war-cry.
So Europe is not a gonad-free zone after all. As predicted by Radio Derb, the Eastern European nations like Hungary, with their recent memories of Soviet subjugation, and their remoter folk memories of Muslim rule, are taking the lead in pushing back the invaders.
All the Great and the Good of the globalist project were of course outraged. Honked U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, quote: "I was shocked to see how these refugees and migrants were treated. It's not acceptable … since they are the people who are fleeing the violence and persecution, we must ensure our compassionate leadership."
So these people are fleeing violence and persecution in Serbia? Whither they fled from violence and persecution in Turkey? Shouldn't the SecGen be mad at Serbia and Turkey if this is the case? What's any of it got to do with Hungary?
The answer is of course that the migrants want to get to the prosperous, comfortable, welfare-padded sucker nations of Northern Europe, and think they have a right to pass through Hungary on the way. They don't, of course, neither in international law nor under EU rules. Neither Serbia nor Turkey is a member of the EU.
Croatia is an EU member state, though. Frustrated at not being able to cross into Hungary from Serbia, the Muslim mob — a flash mob, some wits are calling it — turned to its left and hiked across Serbia to the Croatian border.
That doesn't get them into the EU. Although an EU member state, Croatia does not belong to the Schengen Agreement group of EU countries with open borders. However, once the migrants are in Croatia, they will at least have a toe-hold in the EU, which is not the case in Serbia.
Also they can, from Croatia, turn back north towards Hungary, which has an un-fenced border with Croatia as well as the fenced one with Serbia. This would be fine with the Croatians, who have no more use for half a million young Muslim hoodlums than Hungary has. It is so fine, in fact, that Croatia is hustling the migrants into buses as they arrive and driving them to the Hungarian border.
The Hungarians, anticipating this, have begun building a new fence along their border with Croatia. Oh, I love those Hungarians. I have the urge to go right out and buy some paprika.
Where is all this going to end? With a Fortress West, that's where. The poor old Greeks and Italians, with their long vulnerable coastlines, are going to have to mightily beef up their coastguards and navies, or else just lie back and enjoy the jihad. The rest of Europe will follow Hungary's lead and build fences.
The theme song of the civilized world this next decade or two may in fact be: "Please fence me in." Israel's already there. So is Saudi Arabia, if you consider that to be part of the civilized world — I pass. Hungary's setting the example for Europe; and once President Trump is in office, North America should soon follow. Japan, Australia, and New Zealand have enough water round them to not need fences — just navies, which they all have.
The Fortress West. Get ready for it. You might, for example, seek investment opportunities with firms making fencing, surveillance equipment, motion sensors, and the like. Hey, Radio Derb's looking out for you here.
07 — Miscellany. And now, our closing miscellany of brief items.
Imprimis: Strange political things are happening in the world beyond our shores. In Britain, for instance, the Labour Party, which ran the country for thirteen years until 2010, has slid off the edge of political sanity into the void of Trotskyite utopia.
Chief Trot Jeremy Corbyn was elected leader of his party by party members at large last weekend. Corbyn is an unreconstructed lefty of the old school. In his imagination he sees himself like that lady with the bare bristols in Delacroix's famous picture, striding forward over the fallen bodies of counter-revolutionary reactionaries, holding aloft the flag of liberty. Corbyn wouldn't actually look as inspiring as that, being somewhat less impressive in the thoracic zone that Delacroix's model, but I'm sure that's how he sees himself.
Sixty-six years old, Corbyn has never had any kind of job outside left-wing politics and the labor movement. To judge from his paper trail, and his appointments to his shadow cabinet, he will aim for a full socialist program centered on public ownership of the means of production, distribution, and exchange.
I wish him the very best of luck. Now I shall take a short break here to go and caress my U.S. naturalization certificate.
Item: The Fleet Street journalist and wit Claud Cockburn claimed that when he was working as a sub-editor at the London Times in the 1930s, some staff member set up a competition, with a small prize for the winner, to see who could write the most boring headline. (Sub-editors were the people who did headlines and photograph captions.) Cockburn claimed to have won the competition with a headline, actually printed in the newspaper, reading: Small Earthquake in Chile. Not many dead.
In that spirit I offer you this week's main news item from Africa: Small Coup in Burkina Faso: Not Many Dead.
Yes, that landlocked West African nation has undergone an abrupt change of government. There was to be a presidential election in three weeks time and the nation's military feared that the wrong people would win it, so they took the initiative.
Rioters protesting in the capital city, Ouagadougou, were fired on by soldiers Thursday, and at least three people were killed.
Why should you care about this? You shouldn't. I just like saying "Ouagadougou." Ouagadougou, Ouagadougou, Ouagadougou, …
Burkina Faso was formerly know as Upper Volta. The name was changed some years ago to Burkina Faso, which is an abbreviated way of saying, in the local language: "What time does the next boat leave Libya for Italy?"
Item: Finally, news from the art world: Artist Sara Levy of Portland, Oregon, was so upset over Donald Trump's remarks about Megyn Kelly "bleeding from her whatever" that she decided to retaliate.
The form her retaliation took was … a portrait of The Donald painted with her own menstrual blood.
The news story tells us that Ms Levy executed the art work with a paintbrush and a used tampon. The work is titled "Whatever."
Oh, and there's an immigration angle. Quote:
She intends for the portrait to send a message to 69-year-old Trump, and the rest of the world, that sexism is unacceptable, and also plans to auction off the piece to benefit U.S. immigrants.
Well, as an immigrant myself, married to another immigrant, I'm definitely cool with that. Just tell the auctioneer to send our shares of the sales check to me care of VDARE.com, Sara. Thanks!
08 — Signoff. And that's it, ladies and gents. Thank you for listening.
I'm sorry if that last item disturbed you. I just thought it would be neat to end this week's Radio Derb the way you end a sentence: with a period.
Now, to see us out, here's Bing Crosby, singing for the whole Western world.
There will be more from Radio Derb next week.
[Music clip: Bing Crosby, slightly altered: "Please Fence Me In."]