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[Music clip: From Haydn's Derbyshire Marches, organ version]
01 — Intro. Greetings, ladies and gentlemen! Radio Derb on the air once again, brought to you by your multiculturally genial host John Derbyshire.
Bit of a stressful week here at Buckley Towers, I'm afraid. Radio Derb was hit with a lawsuit by CAIR, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, charging us with discrimination because we don't have any Muslim employees.
We consulted our own counsel, the long-established white-shoe firm of Sue, Grabbit, & Runne. They advised us that this CAIR outfit is extraordinarily well-funded, though nobody knows from where. Donations from cab drivers, perhaps. They have legions of lawyers and are ruthless in seeking prosecutions.
So we did the only thing we could under the circumstances: We hired a Muslim employee, name of Ahmed. Nice enough chap, quiet and unobtrusive, though with a rather odd way of speaking sometimes. Here, I'll show you what I mean.
[Aside.] Ahmed, did you finish researching that news story?
[Ahmed.] Yes, I have it here, you feelthy infidel.
[Normal voice.] See what I mean? Well, I guess it's probably just some quaint cultural custom of his people. It would certainly be wrong of me — very wrong! — to mention it to Human Resources. That would be discrimination, and then we'd have the CAIR lawyers banging on the door again.
Yes, I'm sure Ahmed's peculiar mode of address is just some vibrant kind of Islamic humor; or perhaps a natural reaction to the centuries of cruel oppression Ahmed's people suffered under the jackboot of Western colonialism.
We must be open-minded, we must be tolerant! Where's Pete? Here he is.
[Clip: Pete Seeger, "Kumbaya" …]
02 — Khalid Sheikh Muhammed trial. "Some say the world will end in fire, / Some say in ice," according to the poet Robert Frost. I don't know about the world, but it is daily more clear that the United States will lawyer itself to death, and is well on the way to doing so.
When you have a hammer in your hand, everything looks like a nail; and when you have an administration stuffed up to the air-conditioner vents with leftist civil-rights lawyers, everything looks like the opportunity for a courtroom drama, the opportunity being especially juicy when courtroom proceedings will expose for criticism the activities of one's political enemies.
The policy of an administration is driven by the enthusiasms of the people at its highest levels. Their enthusiasms, like yours and mine, are narrow, and exclude a lot. What are the enthusiasms of Obama, Holder, and their pals? What do their enthusiasms exclude?
Well, look at their biographies. These are what Bob Tyrrell calls "suit-and-tie radicals" — leftist revolutionaries seeking to transform society by working within its institutions. All their enthusiasm is for that transformation, for casting down the mighty from their thrones and exalting the meek and humble.
Other aspects of national affairs don't interest them, any more than the fashion section of my daily newspaper interests me. National defense, national integrity, national interests — they are as uninterested in these things as I am in the fashion pages.
That's why Eric Holder went deer-in-the-headlights when Lindsey Graham asked him to name a precedent for trying enemy combatants in civilian courts. You could see Holder's mind working. "Enemy combatants"? Oh, that's one of those military things. Why would I know about that? Doesn't this Senator guy understand that the military is an instrument of imperialist patriarchial oppression? — That in the world of harmony, equality, and universal justice we are ushering in, there will be no need for such a brutish institution?"
Lindsey Graham might as well have asked me about the latest offering from Yves Saint-Laurent. Anything prefixed with the word "national" in fact is suspect to the suit-and-tie radicals. The nation-state is to them illegitimate, being a manifestation of cultural particularism, if not actual racism. [Shriek.]
The American nation-state is particularly to be despised, since, as they have believed from childhood — Barack Obama learned it from his mother — the United States became rich and strong by oppression and exploitation.
If national defense, national integrity, and national interests mean nothing to you, and your entire career has been devoted to using law as a weapon in the revolutionary social struggle, it will not even occur to you that there might be anything wrong with according the full protection of American liberal jurisprudence to foreign soldiers of Islam.
Khalid Sheikh Muhammed and his pals struck out at the mighty and the wealthy in their towers of privilege. I don't doubt that Obama, Holder, and Co. deplore their methods, preferring a law book to a suicide bomb; but are the ends really much different?
When Eric Holder looks at KSM, does he see a deadly enemy of the civilization that Holder treasures? Or does he see a brother revolutionary who is unfortunately committed to counter-productive methods?
What would Holder say to KSM if they were alone in a room together? Would he say: "I will pursue and fight and destroy you and your kind to the crack of doom"? Or would it be more like: "Hey, pal, why don't you get yourself a suit and tie and hit the law books? That's the way to destroy the oppressors. This terrorism business is so for losers."
03 — Lawyerization. It's going to get worse.
There is, you probably know, an exam called the LSAT, the Law School Admissions Test. Well, there's a collection of blogs about the LSAT at a site called "Most Strongly Supported." Turns out that a record number of students took the LSAT this September: nearly 61 thousand, up from 51 thousand last year, 50 thousand in '07, and 48 thousand in '06. In other words, the year-on-year increases from '06 go three percent, two percent, 20 percent.
The reason for the surge is not hard to fathom. Students with liberal-arts degrees have woken up to the fact that they are unemployable in a depressed economy, and are seeking the traditional refuge — a law degree. You can't go wrong with a law degree, right?
Well, maybe you can. One law that never gets repealed is the law of supply and demand. A different website, lawshucks.com, reports that from January '08 to November 15 this year, over 14,000 people have been laid off by major law firms: 5,511 lawyers and 8,583 staff. Just last week I heard from a friend of mine, a patent lawyer in a smallish firm, that his firm had just laid off six lawyers.
And here's an extra ten thousand people heading for law school. That means ten thousand extra law graduates entering the jobs market in 2013, dragging huge student-loan debts behind them.
I don't know what scares me more: An America even more infested with lawyers than we currently are, or an America with a surplus of ten thousand law-school graduates on the streets.
In the first case, citizens and companies will spend even more time dodging legal bullets than we do now, and the extra pressure of ten thousand pairs of legal thumbs on commercial windpipes will do nothing to help our economy recover.
In the second case the devil will make work for idle hands. Those unemployed law-school grads will become community organizers, diversity enforcers, and other kinds of antisocial parasites — perhaps even, heaven help us, politicians.
Well, maybe I'm worrying about nothing. It's only another ten thousand lawyers four years from now. Perhaps the trial of Khalid Sheikh Muhammed and his pals will sop them all up. By 2013 it should just about be through the pretrial-motion stage.
04 — Sarah Palin's book. Sarah Palin's book came out this week. No, haven't read it yet, only the bits we posted on National Review Online.
Nothing very surprising there. That the McCain campaign couldn't find its rear end with both hands, we already knew. Likewise that Joe Biden is an obnoxious twerp, that the mainstream media deliver news heavily rigged to the left, and that Katie Couric is a snake in the grass.
The little sidebar stories coming out around the book are fascinating, though. I especially liked the one about Associated Press putting eleven fact-checkers to work on Sarah's book.
Not only did no media organization or prominent pundit do a fact-check on Barack Obama's autobiography, Dreams From My Father, I have seen no signs that anyone actually read it.
Who, for example, is the mysterious white woman Obama claims to have dated for a year in his New York days, back in the early 1980s, the one he broke up with because, exact quote from page 211 of Obama's book, quote: "She couldn't be black"?
I personally would be quite interested to hear her side of that episode, and I bet a lot of other citizens would, too. How hard could it be for skilled reporters — perhaps a team of them … eleven, perhaps — to track down the lady?
Nobody is the least bit interested. Nobody in the mainstream media is the least bit interested in anything Barack Obama ever wrote. If they were to look closely at his writings, what they see might subtract something from Obama's incredible wonderfulness.
Walter Bagehot, making the argument for constitutional monarchy 140 years ago, said: "The monarchy's mystery is its life. We must not let in daylight upon magic." Just so. Obama's mystery is his life; we must not court the danger of subtracting from that mystery by inquiring too closely into what he has said about himself.
Palin is a different matter. As a dangerous reactionary who would undoubtedly bring back Jim Crow, tear up church-state separation, and chain America's housewives to their dishwashers, Palin must be destroyed, and if her own written words can be used to help destroy her, so much the better.
Then there was the Newsweek hatchet job, explaining, in words and pictures, that Palin is a populist bimbo who cannot govern because she, quote, "confuses honorable compromise with appeasement." Funny; she did pretty well at governing Alaska.
Newsweek further tells us that, quote:
The Republican right … aims to crush the last scattered remnants of the old moderate GOP establishment — or any Republican who will work with the opposition.
What, they mean people like John McCain, of those McCain-Feingold and McCain-Kennedy bills? But wasn't he the guy who picked Sarah as his running mate?
Newsweek's never been a conservative paper, but I can remember when it at least clung to some standards of objectivity. Watching Newsweek wander off into the left-field weeds has been one of the more depressing experiences of the past couple of years.
05 — Obama in the Far East. Having the kind of parochial leftist mindset that he has, Barack Obama is somewhat at sea in foreign affairs, seeing other places through the prism of his own narrowly American liberal obsessions. Those obsessions include the one about the U.S.A. being a nation with much to apologize for, a nation morally inferior to other nations, who for too long have had to bear the brunt of our imperialist bullying and crude capitalistic exploitation.
No doubt Obama would deny all that if interviewed, but his body language gives him away. There was, for instance, his exaggerated bow to the Japanese Emperor last week.
Mona Charen nailed it, writing in NRO, quote:
The President of the United States really did intend to show obeisance to the king of Saudi Arabia and to defer to the emperor of Japan. He appears to have done so not to flatter those nations, but only to diminish his own.
These bows were body-language apologies for America's sins.
At least the Japanese were polite to Obama, though. The Chinese Communists treated him with all but open contempt, arbitrarily cutting off broadcasts of his speeches, and saying aloud that from now on the U.S.A. should deal with the ChiComs as equals. The contempt isn't hard to understand, given the tens of trillions of dollars of American debt stretching away to the horizon, which Obama apparently expects the Chinese to finance.
There must be some nervousness in there too, though, given that the only alternative to China lending us money to cover our deficits is for us to inflate them down to manageable size, with correspondingly dire effects on the trillion or so dollars-worth of Treasury debt China already holds. There's also the problem that as our government mis-manages us down into national bankruptcy, we'll be able to afford less and less of those goods China manufactures, leading to unemployment and unrest in China.
It would be nice to think our President made some progress in thrashing out these tough problems. Given his priorities, though, it's more likely he lectured them on opening up their borders to undocumented workers, reforming their healthcare system, abolishing their nuclear weapons, and getting some serious community organizing under way in their inner cities.
06 — Obama lectures Israel. Here's another nation that doesn't much care what Obama thinks: Israel.
The Israeli government is pushing ahead with plans for new residential construction in Gilo, a suburb south of Jerusalem, territory captured in the Six-Day War. They have knocked down some Arab houses, which they say were illegally built.
Our administration is whining and wringing its hands over this. On Wednesday a White House spokesman said the administration is, quote, "dismayed" at the new construction. Obama himself said that the project could, quote, "embitter Palestinians."
Oh my goodness! Heaven forbid anything should happen to turn those sweet, forbearing Palestinian Arabs towards bitterness!
The administration persists in the fantasy that some day, some way, the Arabs will get half of Jerusalem handed to them. That's about as likely as the Lenape Indians getting Manhattan Island back. Israel's political classes are pretty much united behind the Gilo project, opposition leader Tzipi Livni supporting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in giving the finger to Obama.
A few years ago I wrote a column wondering aloud how long Israel could survive. I may have had things the wrong way round there. Israel's looking pretty good; the question is, how long we will survive.
The Israelis seem to know what they have to do to survive as a coherent nation. Six or seven years ago, when they had a problem with Arab infiltrators slipping into their country to commit atrocities, they quickly put up a fence along the border. That solved the problem.
The Israelis don't fuss much with rubbish like affirmative action, sensitivity training, or "diversity." That kind of flapdoodle may be all right for the soft-headed goyim, but the Israelis have a nation to preserve against three hundred million hostile Arabs and Iranians.
Pretty much all Israeli citizens go through the military, and the military assigns you to a unit based on strict tests, including IQ tests. If you want to hire an Israeli, ask which unit he served in, and you'll know all you need to know.
Steve Sailer recently observed that instead of bellyaching about how American Jews regard Israel as our 51st State, we should petition for the U.S.A. to become Israel's 7th Province, so we can implement some of those crunchy, cold-eyed policies they have over there.
Not much chance of that from the Obama crowd. On the scale that runs from crunchiness to sogginess, the Obamarrhoids are way over at the soggy end … except, of course, when it comes to domestic problems that demand vigorous action — too much free speech, not enough government spending, insufficient enthusiasm for diversity, problems like that.
07 — Immigration "reform" again. Last week Radio Derb reported on the phenomenon of non-Hispanic U.S. citizens showing up in Home Depot parking lots and other gathering places for day laborers, looking for a day's work. Well, don't worry, the federal government is on the case!
What, they're going to start deporting illegals at last, so that American citizens can get a shot at the dwindling number of jobs? Good heavens no — that would be wrong. No, what our government is going to do is — see if you can guess? — yes, they're going to have another try at "comprehensive immigration reform."
Now, you might think that in a deepening recession that could drag on for years, with the guy who was your bank manager last week showing up in front of Home Depot at seven in the morning wearing dungarees and work boots, you might think that this is an indelicate time to be cooking up another amnesty bill.
Our political masters beg to differ. Last Friday our Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, said that now the southern border is secure, and with numbers of illegals coming in now dropping because of the recession, this is the perfect time to go for an amnesty bill.
Oh, you didn't know the southern border is now secure? Sure it is — the feds have built 600 miles of fencing. True, the border is 2,000 miles long, and most of the fencing is pretty flimsy, but hey, they've gone through the motions. It would also be impertinent of you to ask why there are any incoming illegals at all if the border is secure.
As for the appeal of Los Estados Unidos having been reduced by the recession, well, I refer you to a front-page story in the New York Times, November 16, headline Money Trickles North as Mexicans Help Relatives. Quote:
Unemployment has hit migrant communities in the United States so hard that a startling new phenomenon has been detected: instead of receiving remittances from relatives in the richest country on earth, some down-and-out Mexican families are scraping together what they can to support their unemployed loved ones in the United States.
You may ask why these "migrants" don't go back home, since they can't find work here. Two answers for that.
One: It's better to be out of work in Arizona than to be farming dirt in Chihuahua.
Two: If you leave and go home, you might miss out on that amnesty Mrs Napolitano is cooking up and lose your shot at lifetime welfare benefits from Uncle Sam, with birthright citizenship for your kids thrown in.
Anyway, those of us who want a sane immigration policy had better gird up our loins for another fight: Mrs Napolitano says the White House expects Congress to begin moving to overhaul the nation's immigration laws early next year.
Yes, "overhaul" them. Not enforce them. No chance of that!
08 — We Are Doomed: sex. Here is the seventh in a series of readings from the New York Times number one best-seller … well, any day now … We Are Doomed: Reclaiming Conservative Pessimism.
This is from Chapter 5, whose topic is sex. After pointing out how men do badly in the modern meritocratic economy, how traditional expressions of masculinity have been marginalized, and how the outlook for men is altogether rather bleak, I say the following.
It sometimes seems that sexual intercourse itself is on the way out. Think of the much-remarked and sudden (historically speaking) ubiquity of fellatio among young people. This is a genuine social phenomenon of our times. Its significance in this context is that fellatio is an act of condescension by a woman towards a man. The subtext, as we say nowadays, is: "I am not willing to engage in full sexual congress with you. However, to maintain your affections, and pacify your beastly masculine nature, I will grant you this favor."
09 — Miscellany. Just a handful of brief items for our closing miscellany.
Item: A footnote here on the terrorist trials.
In an interview on NBC Wednesday, President Obama said that those offended by the legal privileges given to Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and friends won't find it offensive at all when, quote, "he's convicted and when the death penalty is applied to him," end quote.
That reminded me of something, but it took me a while to figure out what. Finally I dredged it up from the deepest depths of memory: That exchange through the jail cell bars between Marlon Brando and Karl Malden in One-Eyed Jacks. [Clip.] Funniest line in the movie. Never thought I'd hear its twin brother uttered by a President of the United States … but we live in strange times.
Item: Happy birthday to Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia, who is 92 years old today. It's a double celebration for Ol' Bob, as on Wednesday this week he became the longest serving congresscritter ever: 56 years, ten months, and 16 days, House and Senate.
The noble state of West Virginia has a population a tad below two million, virtually none of whom, for nigh on 57 years, has measured up to Bob in legislative ability. The great man made a rare appearance on the Senate floor to mark the occasion, and the world's greatest deliberative body passed a resolution to honor him.
We wish Senator Byrd many more years of shoveling federal funds to the Robert C. Byrd Expressway,the Robert C. Byrd Bridge, the Robert C. Byrd National Forest, the Robert C. Byrd building, the Robert C. Byrd Library, the Robert C. Byrd Learning Resource Center, the Robert C. Byrd Community Center, the Robert C. Byrd Telescope, the Robert C. Byrd Scholarship Fund, …
Item: How are things in Glockamorra? Not good. The Celtic Tiger has come down with a nasty case of mange.
The recession has hit Ireland hard. It's been especially hard on the Third World immigrants who poured into the Emerald Isle during the boom years. Now a lot of them are unemployed and on welfare.
The Irish government has come up with a solution: they will pay these unemployed immigrants to go home. Ireland's Department of Justice has confirmed that it is opening a project to persuade foreign workers and "asylum seekers" — that's Euro-speak for "illegal immigrants" — to return to their country of origin, offering around 900,000 dollars to assist with fares.
Funny old place, Ireland. Used to be famous for emigration. Then it got famous for im-migration. Now — repatriation.
Any chance our own politicians might follow Ireland's lead here? My guess would be: no chance whatsoever.
Item: The Senate has come out with its version of the healthcare bill, weighing in at 2,074 pages.
Why do these bills have to be so long? I asked a pal who knows this stuff. Well, he said, healthcare is real complicated. There are so many players: hospitals and clinics and nursing homes, doctors and patients and pharmacists, drug companies and medical equipment companies and home care companies, insurers and trial lawyers and Medicare/Medicaid/VA bureaucrats … it's a long list.
They're all interacting with each other all the time, like a tremendously complicated machine. You tweak one component, nobody can predict how the rest will react.
Well, I said, you're just saying it's like a sort of sub-economy. Why not let the parts interact, the way all the parts of the economy do, producing stuff people need or want on free market principles, like in Milton Friedman's famous story about the pencil?
My friend gave a hollow laugh. "That's the last thing this administration wants," he said.
I guess he's right. Healthcare's halfway socialized already. The feds have their eyes on the other half. That's the long and short of it.
And if the federal power grab kills off American innovation in drugs and medical equipment, which the whole world depends on — hey, that's too bad. Can't make an omelette without breaking eggs, you know.
Item: And now, the latest on the situation in Honduras. The guy … Oh, hello Ahmed. I'm pretty much through here except for the Honduras report. If you wouldn't mind just passing these transcripts to Mandy over there for filing.
[Ahmed.] Here, bitch slut infidel whore of Satan.
[JD, sotto voce] You see what I mean? Well, well, we must be tolerant, we must celebrate diversity. I guess Ahmed's strange way of speaking is just his own way of celebrating diversity.
Yes, that must be it. I must push these dark, disciminatory thoughts out of my mind. Isn't discrimination the greatest evil ever to stalk the face of the earth? Of course it is. Isn't diversity the highest of all values, trumping all others? You know it.
[Normal voice.] So … where was I? Oh yes, Honduras. It seems that … [Buzzer.] Darn it, we're out of time. I'll have to hold off the Honduras report till next week.
10 — Signoff. There we are, folks. All the news of the week, wrapped up for you in one trim little package. Not for nothing do they call us the newsmagazine of the airwaves.
Speaking of trim little packages, what's this one here on my desk? Very nicely done, with a pretty little bow. I see some writing on it, but it seems to be in Arabic. Ahmed must have left it for me just now. A Thanksgiving present, no doubt. How thoughtful!
Oh, it seems to be ticking. A clock, Ahmed bought me a clock for Thanksgiving. What a nice guy! How bigoted of me to have nursed those discriminatory thoughts about him! I really must get in touch with HR and schedule my diversity training refresher course …
Oh, now it's stopped ticking. Probably needs winding. I'll take it home with me and … [Boom!]
[Music clip: More Derbyshire Marches.]