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01 — Intro. Yes, my fellow Americans. Time once again for news of the day from Radio Derb, brought to you from the glittering towers of National Review world headquarters here in New York.
This is John Derbyshire. Let's see what's been happening in the world.
|02 — How sweet it is! George W. Bush in particular and Republicans in
general enjoyed victory in the November 2nd elections. How sweet it is!
It's especially sweet to hear the wailing and gnashing of teeth among all the Bush-haters and America-haters that the world seems to have filled up with this past couple of years.
George Soros was "distressed"; a London tabloid thinks that 59 million of us are imbeciles; Barbra Streisand, Whoopi Goldberg, and Bruce Springsteen have yet to be heard from.
Michael Moore is putting a brave face on it, and has in fact pointed out something that might take the edge off our joy a little: Over 55 million Americans voted for the Number One liberal in the Senate, Moore reminds us.
We won't think about that today though. We'll think about that tomorrow.
|03 — The un-diplomatic Colin Powell. There is speculation that Secretary of
State Colin Powell
might take the opportunity offered by a new presidential term to bow out of the administration. Among those who will not mind a bit if that happens
you can count the people of Taiwan.
Powell, who likes to promote himself as the most suave, subtle, exquisitely diplomatic of diplomats, kicked Taiwan in the teeth October 25th when, during a visit to China, he said that quote Taiwan does not, quote, "enjoy sovereignty as a nation. That remains our policy, our firm policy." End quote.
Now of course Taiwan does enjoy sovereignty in the dictionary definition of that word: "supreme power over a body politic," according to Merriam Webster's Third, and everybody knows it. It's not very polite for a U.S. diplomat to say this when visiting communist China; but the solution to that little dilemma has always been simply to say nothing.
If Secretary Powell doesn't know to hold his tongue on this of all issues, then the sooner he leaves Foggy Bottom and gets to work on his memoirs, the better for everyone.
|04 — Castro falls! … but gets up again. Fidel Castro, perhaps
having shaken his fist at Yankee imperialism a little more vigorously than is wise for a man of his 78 years, fell flat on his face at a public, event
fracturing his knee and his arm.
Nothing daunted the Lenin of the Latins promptly slapped restrictions on the use of U.S. dollars in his country. The law was introduced to Cuba as legal tender in 1993 as an emergency measure following the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of all those fraternal socialist subsidies.
Castro's move is part of a continuing squeeze on private enterprise — on private anything, in fact — in Cuba. Cubans will now be expected to swap their dollars for Castro's own utterly non-convertible — in fact utterly worthless — currency.
May I suggest some alternatives. Instead of exchanging dollars for pesos, Cubans could pulp those dollars and turn them into pâpier-maché models of the leader. Or they could burn them for fuel on those occasional chilly winter days. Or they could use them to restuaff the seat cushions in their 1957 Chevys. Or they could use them to paper over the cracks in the walls of their disintegrating shanties.
I'm just trying to be helpful here.
|05 — Bowdlerizing a progressive classic. I doubt many Americans outside the
world of professional educationists have heard of Summerhill. It is a so-called progressive school founded in England in 1924 by an eccentric Freudian
named A.S. Neill.
Neil's philosophy of education was liberal in the extreme. He felt that children should not be coerced into doing anything at all, certainly not into attending lessons. Aside from Freud Neill's other guiding star was the philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Like Rousseau, Neill believed that children were innately wise and realistic, and that their natures were only spoiled by adult intervention. Like Freud he believed that difficult children had been made difficult by the environment of the traditional family and school.
Neill's 1962 book whose title is Summerhill: A radical Approach to Education has for 40 years served as a ruling text for progressive educators. Well, a new edition of this book has just appeared … but with half of Neill's original text left out. The book has been bowdlerized.
Here's a sample of what has been cut: Neill's claim that, quote, "Summerhill has not turned out a single homosexual because Summerhill children do not suffer from a guilt complex about masturbation." End quote.
Oh dear. What was the height of progressive thinking back in 1962 is now the depth of political incorrectness.
It's not easy being progressive.
|06 — Olympic numerology. The Chinese have been described, not altogether
unfairly I think, as the least religious people in the world, but the most superstitious — a nation-sized illustration of G.K. Chesterton's
dictum that the most common alternative to belief in God is not belief in nothing but his belief in anything.
Confirmation of this national idiosyncrasy came this week with the announcement from Peking that the 2008 Olympics in that city will begin at 8:00 p.m. on the 8th of August in, of course, 2008.
See all those eights? It's a lucky number. Doubles are lucky in China, and eight is the double of a double doubled.
Well, here's another bit of numerology. Twice before when the Summer Olympics have been held in a one-party dictatorship the dictatorship fell just nine years later. That's Nazi Germany — Olympics 1936, collapsed 1945 — and the USSR — Olympics 1980, collapse 1989.
So perhaps we'll be waving goodbye to the Chinese Communist Party in 2017. Can't happen a day too soon for me nor for the long-suffering people of China.
|07 — The Guardian scores an own goal. Back in mid-October the
left-wing English daily newspaper The Guardian launched a campaign to get its readers writing to the voters of crucial Clark County, Ohio
explaining to these poor benighted rednecks why they should not vote for George W. Bush. More than 11,000 Guardian readers did write.
The good people of Clark County didn't take this intrusion into the electoral affairs in silence. Many of them wrote right back to the Guardian expressing themselves in no uncertain terms. The Guardian, to its credit, printed some of these responses.
First, quote: "Mind your own business. We don't need weeny-spined Limeys meddling in our presidential election. If it wasn't for America you'd all be speaking German."
Excuse me while I sip a little tea …
So what actually happened in Clark County on November 2nd? George W. Bush won it by 1,620 votes.
Back in 2000 Al Gore won it by 324 votes, and that was with Ralph Nader getting over 1300 votes. In fact of the sixteen Ohio counties won by Al Gore in 2000 John Kerry took every one on November 2nd … except for Clark County!
Kerry actually increased Gore's margin in twelve of those sixteen counties. Nowhere among those counties did more votes move from the blue to the red column than in Clark County.
Hey you guys at The Guardian. Thanks! Next time why not try to swing an entire state?
|08 — The answer to a bishop's prayers. Here I
am right before the election reading The Dominion, which is the newspaper of my Episcopal diocese here on Long Island.
The lead editorial is of course by my bishop, the Right Reverend Orris G. Walker Jr. "On behalf of all the diocese," says His Grace, I should, quote, "support the goal of total nuclear disarmament; address the issues of global warming and greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S.; support legislation to expand the temporary workers program to include all persons of the U.S. in meaningful labor as well as overseas workers offered employment in the U.S.; ensure that needy immigrants are not unfairly denied essential services and benefits; work to restore diplomatic relations with Cuba; work to develop and implement a poverty reduction strategy for Haiti; support a woman's freedom of choice regarding abortion; oppose the death penalty; etc. etc.
OK, Your Grace, I'm praying hard for all that. But tell me: Which party would you like me to support on November 2nd? Your prayer points don't seem to offer much guidance.
|09 — Degress of child cruelty. A bill to ban the disciplinary smacking of
children by their parents has failed to win approval by the British Parliament. In place of a total smacking ban the House of Commons supported a
compromise under which parents will still be able to administer a mild smack but could face prosecution for anything that caused bruising or a black
eye, or left a red mark for several hours.
David Hinchcliffe, the socialist member of parliament who had pushed for the original measure, said that a total ban, quote, "would criminalize hitting children to exactly the same extent as hitting adults. That is equality and children who are far more fragile and vulnerable than us deserve nothing less." End quote.
It was left to a newspaper columnist to point out that the same member of parliament had gone out of his way to condone a manner of treating children that far exceeds in cruelty and inhumanity the mere smacking of them. Back in 1990 when the Commons was debating whether to reduce the legal limit for abortion from 24 weeks of pregnancy to 18 weeks Mr Hinchcliffe argued strongly for the later limit.
At 24 weeks gestation the child has a well-developed brain, heart, and lungs, and if born has a chance of surviving to adulthood. Nonetheless Mr Hinchcliffe, whose exquisite sensibilities are so offended by a parental smack on a child's arm, argued that it is just fine to rip that child from its mother's womb at 24 weeks and toss it into a hospital garbage bag.
Funny People, socialists.
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