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[Music clip: From Haydn's Derbyshire Marches]
01 — Intro. Greetings, ladies and gentlemen: Or as we say here in Turkey, hoşgeldiniz. Yes, Radio Derb is coming to you this week from Bodrum, on the shores of the Ionian** Sea, whither I have flown to address the sixth annual meeting of the Property and Freedom Society.
I regret to say that Radio Derb will be considerably truncated this week, as I am far from our state-of-the-art recording facility at Buckley Towers in Manhattan. Without the support of my superb staff of sound technicians and the invaluable contributions of my ever-willing research assistants Mandy, Candy, and Brandy, I am perforce obliged to fall back on my own meager resources.
Those resources have, furthermore, suffered some depletion from the presence here of many old friends and acquaintances, including a few past and present National Review contributors: most prominently John O'Sullivan, Peter Brimelow, and Tony Daniels (a/k/a "Theodore Dalrymple"). The hotel staff are courteous and efficient, the climate is idyllic, and the wine flows freely here on these balmy shores as it has since ancient times.
So imagine, in your mind's eye, three or four of us veteran conservative warriors sitting around a well-stocked table on a leafy veranda overlooking the wine-dark sea, trading anecdotes and battle stories in a spirit of collegial affection and remembrance. Then imagine the difficulty your host experienced in tearing himself away from that convivial scene to retire to his room and his computer, to pass melancholy commentary on the miseries of the world, with naught for comfort but a microscopic bottle of inferior whisky from the minibar.
The spirit of Radio Derb however, is the spirit of that great American gentleman Robert E. Lee, who once observed, that, quote, "'Duty' is the most sublime word in our language." Indeed, duty calls: so here am I, your bibulously genial host John Derbyshire, with a ration of the week's news hardly more substantial in quantity than this 50 milliliter serving of Chivas Regal, which, to tell the truth, I am already halfway through.
** I meant of course Aegean. Bonus dormitat Homerus, especially in this part of the world.
02 — Property and Freedom Society. Just a word at the start here about the Property and Freedom Society, hosts of this conference.
Professor Hoppe, the moving spirit of the society, is a follower of Austrian Economics, sympathetic to libertarianism in many matters but with an appreciation of the contrarieties and conundrums of human nature and human biodiversity.
The U.S. Constitution, as has famously been said, is not a suicide pact. Neither should the love of property and freedom lead us into suicidal policies — such as, for example, disregard for national borders and national sovereignty.
Professor Hoppe also casts his net wide for these conferences, bringing in many European libertarians, a distinctly different species from the American variety. The Europeans have, for example, a disconcerting way of speaking well of anarchism. They in fact often refer to themselves as "anarcho-capitalists." In the Anglosphere, in which I was raised, anarchism occupies the extreme left-most point of the political spectrum, so it's somewhat difficult for an American conservative to see the point of view of these self-styled "anarcho-capitalists."
That's why you have conferences like this, though: to expand everyone's horizons, to exchange ideas, to clarify misconceptions, and in general to fertilize the intellectual soil. I am obliged to Professor Hoppe for organizing this one, and am flattered to have been invited to speak.
03 — Tornadoes strike. Now to the news. It has been a difficult week for us news commentators, as Mother Nature has been the big news-maker in the U.S.A., with these dreadful destructive tornadoes in the Southeast and Midwest.
Since Mother Nature is not really a mother, or even a sentient creature at all, but only a collection of mindless physical forces, there is no point in criticizing her, mocking her, berating her, or debating her. There is in fact nothing the observer can do but offer his own feeble condolences to the afflicted and to urge those who read him or listen to him to do what they can to help relieve the distress of their fellow-countrymen.
I will just add this, though some may find it controversial or inappropriate.
I am content to let individual human sympathies fall where they may. Where governmental action is concerned, however, a conservative should always speak out for the fundamental conservative principle that government should practice parsimony and restraint in all its actions, spending only when it must, acting only when it must; but, when it must act, acting swiftly and decisively.
I am, unlike some of the conferees here in Bodrum, not an anarchist. Government has necessary and important functions to perform. Relief of distress among citizens due to acts of nature is certainly one of those functions. I hope the U.S. government will act with dispatch and generosity in helping those of its citizens whose lives have been upended by these terrible storms.
For the past few months our newspapers have been filled with pictures of people suffering oppression in North Africa, in Syria, in Yemen, and in other places. One feels a natural sympathy for those people, and as I have already said, I applaud the good intentions of private citizens who act to help these foreigners.
Relief of their sufferings is, however, no business of the United States government, unless it can be proved — which it has not, certainly not to my satisfaction — that our country's interests will be advanced by such relief.
The Balkans, said Otto von Bismarck, are not worth the bones of a single Pomeranian grenadier. I don't believe Libya or Tunisia or Yemen are collectively worth the bones of a single U.S. Army Ranger.
It may be correct to believe that in the spiritual sphere, the misery of one Yemeni shepherd weighs precisely as much as the misery of one Missouri homeowner. In the political sphere, however, the Missourian's misery is of pressing concern to the U.S. government; the Yemeni shepherd's misery is of no concern at all.
To believe otherwise is to commit the grossest kind of category error, to surrender oneself to sentimental fantasies of universal benevolence and omnipotence while one's proper domestic business is left unattended, and to waste the nation's substance in futile interventions on foreign soil while our own people cry out for assistance.
04 — Democrats' victory in NY 26th. In last weeks' broadcast I raised the topic of Newt Gingrich having bad-mouthed Paul Ryan's plan to voucherize Medicare. I pointed out that a very great many citizens, including a great many conservative Republicans, do not wish to spend their old age negotiating with smart young fellows from insurance companies offering health-insurance plans you can't understand without a Ph.D. in mathematics.
I also brought up Steve Sailer's point: That at present, and for the foreseeable future, Medicare recipients are old-stock, mostly white Americans, while the workers paying the bills are, and increasingly will be, newer and darker, so that these disputes about entitlements for the old will have a racially-divisive aspect. Then I asked rhetorically which side of that ethnic division offers better fishing for the Republican Party in search of votes.
We got an answer this week in the special election for New York's 26th Congressional District.
Congressional Districts don't come much redder than New York's 26th. The 26th has been voting Republican by big majorities for ever. It went for John McCain 52-46 in 2008. In last November's elections the GOP House candidate got 74 percent of the vote. And the political environment should be even better for the GOP today. The economy's sucking for air, the shine has gone off the Obama presidency, and Republicans should still be riding high on that wave of enthusiasm we saw in last November's general. Ethnically the 26th is 93 percent white old-stock Americans.
And yet, Democrat Kathy Hochul won the election by 48 percent to Republican Jane Corwin's 42 percent, with a Tea Party candidate taking eight percent. The Democrats had hammered the Medicare issue. Establishment Republicans blamed the Tea Party guy Jack Davis, whose campaigning concentrated on his support for trade protectionism. The GOP-bots claimed this made him a phony, as no respectable Republican, certainly not a Tea Partier, could possibly favor trade protectionism. In fact a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll last September found that 61 percent of Tea Partiers favor trade protectionism: but that's establishment Republicanism for you. They never let a mere fact get in between their shotgun and their foot.
This is something Republicans really have to figure out. Of course present entitlement payments are unsustainable. Of course Medicare is the biggest single budget-busting item. Of course something has to be done.
However, You can only do what has to be done in a conservative way if you first get conservatives back in power. Alas, the only way to do that is through the electoral process.
And older Americans — both retired Americans and middle-aged Americans with retirement in sight — are not going to vote for Grandpa to spend his twilight years dickering with spreadsheets. Nor will they vote for curtailment of benefits for citizens who've worked hard and obeyed the law all their life, while illegal immigrants get free kidney dialysis and reduced rates on college tuition.
If Republicans can't square this circle somehow, we may never again win an election anywhere.
05 — Tucson apologizes to lunatics. You'll recall a couple of weeks ago how two board meetings of the Tucson Unified School District were broken up by screaming mobs of Mexican radicals.
The occasion of their anger was a Mexican-American Studies course taught to all children in the district as a mandatory part of the school curriculum in Tucson. The course is naturally packed with readings from Mexican nationalists who hate the U.S.A. and seek to advance the interests of their race here, with a view to taking back territories they consider rightfully theirs. One reading, for example, calls for the killing of all white males over the age of 16.
Well, the Tucson school board had a motion in front of them to downgrade this course from mandatory to elective. That's what had made the Mexicans mad. They want the course to stay mandatory. They want all the schoolchildren in Tucson to learn that the mass murder of adult white males is the way forward for our Republic.
At one of the board meetings the riot police had to be called in. At the other, the demonstrators chained themselves to the desks. In neither case could the school board's business proceed.
OK, here's the latest news. Tucson schools superintendent John Pedicone has written letters to the organizations that staged the protests. In his letters he apologizes for, quote, "my role in the situation." He also thanks the demonstrators for their, quote, "valuable input." He assured a local TV station covering the story that he has instructed the school board to, quote, "not consider the resolution to make Mexican American Studies an elective."
Having issued all these soothing declarations, Superintendent Pedicone then dropped his pants, fell to his knees, and squealed like a pig.
06 — Miscellany. A very quick canter through our closing miscellany of brief items. Sorry, but there's nothing left in the minibar, unless you count soda, which at this point in the small hours I don't.
Item: Oprah Winfrey wound up her TV career with a teary, gushy finale that left molasses dripping from TV screens on to carpets all over the U.S.A. Radio Derb's verdict: America's long nightmare is over.
Item: Remember Mookie? That's Moqtada al-Sadr, the Shi-ite leader in Iraq who led the Shi'ites in the sectarian fighting there. Mookie withdrew to Iran for a while; but his Iraqi allies did well in last year's elections, and now he's back. On Thursday some tens of thousands of his followers held a huge demo in Baghdad, marching in military formation, their boots trampling on the flags of the U.S., Britain, and Israel. So after eight years of war and five thousand American dead, Iraq's transition into an Iranian puppet state is wellnigh complete. Mission accomplished!
Item: Evangelical broadcaster Harold Camping had predicted that at six p.m. last Saturday the world would end and the righteous would be raptured up into Heaven. The prediction came true. The world as it was prior to last Saturday evening was utterly annihilated, and the righteous swept up into Heaven. Then the former world was instantaneously replaced by a replica identical in every respect. Camping himself was replaced by the Prince of Darkness in a Harold Camping-replica body. The righteous were so few that unless you happened to know one personally, their rapturing was not perceptible. Now, with Satan firmly in charge of the prediction business, the End Times have begun. The demon masquerading as Harold Camping has given a new date of October 21 for the apocalypse. Do not believe him! The event has come and gone as foretold! We are sliding into the abyss! To put the matter somewhat differently: We are doomed! Alia jacta est. You are welcome.
Item: Least surprising news item of the week comes from the world of science. Researchers at London's Imperial College have been studying the shape of the electron. They have come to the conclusion that it is spherical, confounding other schools of thought who had argued that the electron is shaped like an egg, like a football, like a doughnut, like a kielbasa sausage, or like a great stellated icosahedron. My own theory, that it is in fact shaped like a frisbee, seems never to have gained wide currency, but is laid out with impeccable logic in an 800-word paper I can make available to interested listeners on request. Inquiries please to me care of National Review along with a check for $200 to cover preparation and mailing.
07 — Signoff. That, ladies and gentlemen, I'm afraid is all Radio Derb can offer this week under the constraints of exile, jet lag, and an empty minibar. Our normal cornucopia of vituperation and despair will resume next week.
Until then, from provincial Turkey in the wee hours of the morning, awaiting the first call to prayer from a nearby mosque, we wish you all iyi günler; and please, do whatever you can do to help our fellow citizens down there in the tornado-struck regions.
[Music clip: From Haydn's Derbyshire Marches]