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[Music clip: From Haydn's Derbyshire Marches]
01 — Intro. That was one of Haydn's Derbyshire Marches, and this is your imperiously genial host John Derbyshire with another edition of Radio Derb, brought to you from National Review's lavishly-equipped state-of-the-art sound studio here on the 95th floor of Buckley Towers in the heart of Manhattan. My ever-diligent research assistants Mandy, Candy, and Brandy have performed their lucubrations, the sound engineers are at their stations, and the producer is giving me hand signals through the glass wall here — I do wish he wouldn't, especially that one — so off we go with news from far and wide.
02 — Obama's Afghanistan speech. The President gave a short speech announcing a drawdown of our troops from Afghanistan: 10,000 by the end of the year, another 23,000 by next summer. That will still leave 68,000 in place going into the 2012 elections, as the number of troops we have in Afghanistan is over 100,000.
So we shall still be in Afghanistan in a very big way a year and more from now. Afghanistan already qualifies as the longest war in our nation's history. You can get an argument on this, as the definitions are fuzzy: but the Vietnam War, as an American war, is conventionally measured from the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution in August 1964 to the withdrawal of the last U.S. combat forces in April 1973 — 104 months. Our war in Afghanistan crossed that mark back in June last year. By next year's election it'll have been 133 months — longer than the Vietnam War even if you count it to the fall of Saigon. And we'll still have 68,000 troops there! This is truly the forever war.
There are some quibbles you can enter there. It wasn't much of a war until the Obama surge in 2009. Troop levels in the Bush years never exceeded 34,000, one-third today's number. Still, it's been a major national effort. Ten years; sixteen hundred American dead; close to half a trillion dollars — $3,000 for every working American.
In the beginning, Afghanistan was a punitive expedition — fully justified, since the government of the country had offered friendly hospitality to a group that planned the 9/11 attacks on us. With 10,000 troops we took down the government, chased them into the back country, killed a lot of them and broke their stuff. Mission accomplished. If we had left at that point the Taliban would soon have come back, but with a new attitude to harboring American enemies. Or if not, another six month campaign, another ten thousand guys, lather, rinse, repeat until they got the message.
Instead we got those ten years, those half trillion dollars, those sixteen hundred lives. What a stupid waste.
In Robert Southey's poem "The Battle of Blenheim" old Kaspar is telling his grandchildren, Wilhelmine and Peterkin, about that great engagement. Last two stanzas:
"Great praise the Duke of Marlboro' won,
03 — Presidential contenders: Huntsman, Perry, Christie. After last week's special on the New Hampshire Republican presidential hopefuls dog'n'pony show, listeners emailed in to grumble that I hadn't given enough coverage to Rick Perry, Jon Huntsman, and Chris Christie.
Well, because they weren't in New Hampshire, that's why. I was covering the debate, and they didn't show for the debate.
That simple matter aside, the no-show candidates lose points with me just by being no-shows. You've got to play the game, you've got to walk the long mile to next year's convention. Lurking around in the background, playing some long game, waiting until some strategic point to get yourself in the campaign — well, maybe it has a certain logic to it, and maybe it even sometimes works, but I have more respect for a candidate who's in there mixing it up with other candidates from the start. It shows guts, determination, and energy, and gives us a good look at the candidate.
Having said that, what's going on with these guys? Well, Jon Huntsman definitely declared this week. He immediately came under fire from conservatives for his positions on the stimulus, climate change, the DREAM Act, spending, and social issues. The immigration restrictionist group NumbersUSA scores Huntsman a D-minus on immigration. There's also of course the matter of his having taken an ambassadorial position from the Obama administration.
Just for once I'm going to join the pack here. Huntsman doesn't cut it. "John McCain without the heroism," quipped Byron York, and added the following killer observation, quote:
If Huntsman has one solid constituency, it's the press. McCain once semi-jokingly referred to reporters as his "base," and Huntsman seems to be moving into a similar spot, enjoying mostly positive treatment from publications like the New York Times and the New Yorker.
Well, every Republican field has to have a RINO candidate. It looks like Huntsman is the RINO for this election cycle. Not even his fellow Mormons are happy with him. Huntsman has in fact been called a MINO — Mormon In Name Only. "I can't say I'm overly religious," he told Fortune magazine last year. "I get satisfaction from many different types of religions and philosophies." In other words, just another mushy elite Unitarian. It's nothing to me — heck, I'm even less religious than that — but it's a double handicap with Republican voters, one subset of whom won't vote for a Mormon even if he's a MINO, and another subset who want someone with definite clear religious beliefs.
All in all, Huntsman looks like a no-hoper.
Rick Perry hasn't announced, but he's been showing a lot of ankle, and there's a general presumption that he'll run. He has a good sturdy conservative record, strong on the Tenth Amendment — very strong, to the point of having spoken favorably of secession — good on spending, good on guns, a real athlete with the veto pen, solid on social issues. He's shucked and jived somewhat on immigration, but this is Texas, and a governor can do only so much. I'll cut him slack there. Overall a strong and attractive candidate: but you gotta get in there, Governor. It's later than you think.
Chris Christie I love for his style — sort of Rudy Giuliani with attitude — but when the Republican base nationwide gets a look at his positions on guns and immigration, they'll be mailing their checks to Rick Perry instead. A decent guy and a good governor, but wrong for the presidency.
There now. With last week's coverage of the New Hampshire debate, I think I've encompassed all the GOP hopefuls, haven't I? Anyone left out? Sorry? Sarah who …? All right, no offense to the lady, whom I like and respect; but I don't believe she'll run, and nor does anyone else I know.
04 — SCOTUS Wal-Mart decision. The U.S. Supreme Court declined to allow a class action lawsuit against Wal-Mart stores by women employees claiming discrimination.
Six employees had originally sued ten years ago on their own behalf, then later moved for a class action suit on behalf of all women who'd worked for Wal-Mart in the U.S.A. since 1998, a group believed to number one and a half million. SCOTUS unanimously agreed the women did not meet the criterion for a class action, though the court divided on the usual conservative-liberal lines over whether there was evidence of discrimination.
I'm way over in the reactionary camp on all the issues here. First off, I can't understand why class action lawsuits are allowed. If someone's done you a wrong, sue for damages. What entitles you to claim you're representing 1.5 million people? Shouldn't the court have to cross-examine each of the 1.5 million individually?
The alternative is to rely on statistics. If you live by statistics, though, you'd better be ready to die by statistics.
Here's a fact, a statistical fact — with, of course, many exceptions, as is always the case with statistical facts. Here is is: Men are more aggressive, more driven, more ambitious, than women. We know this is so, and we even know why it's so: men have higher levels of testosterone.
It's true. It's a fact. A statistical fact, with numerous exceptions — but hey, who started with the statistics? As I said, you live by statistics, be ready to die by statistics.
Given that true fact, what should a commercial organization do if its business needs driven, aggressive, ambitious managers to push up its profits? It should seek out those kinds of people for promotion. If it does so, it will inevitably end up with more males than females in those positions.
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, in her dissenting opinion on the minor point, noted that women hold 70 percent of Wal-Mart's hourly jobs but only 33 percent of management jobs. Leaving aside the fact that this almost precisely mirrors the male-female ratio on the Supreme Court, so what? It's what you'd expect based on the statistics. Live by 'em, die by 'em.
Now, please explain to me again why we allow class action law suits, other than so lawyers can make great bundles of money. Does this safeguard some essential aspect of our liberties? In Switzerland class action lawsuits are against the country's constitution. Yeah, yeah, I know the arguments against invoking foreign laws — American exceptionalism and so on — but look: Are the Swiss lacking in some freedom or right we have? Which one? Perhaps this is one aspect of exceptionalism we'd be better off without.
05 — Somali refugees. Somalia, as I think is pretty well known, is a mess; and not even the political Left can claim that this particular mess is our fault. The place has an exceptionally high proportion of crazy homicidal people. If you were to import a lot of Somalis into your country, you would get a share of those lunatics.
That, of course, is just what the U.S.A. has done, for reasons utterly mysterious to me.
Here are the numbers. Prior to 1983 we took in no Somali refugees. In the next twenty years, up to 2003, we took in over 42 thousand. Then in 2004 alone almost 13,000. Then 2005, 2006, over ten thousand each year, and in 2007, seven thousand. After that numbers dropped way down, for a rather interesting reason.
Once in the U.S.A. a refugee can petition to bring in relatives: a spouse, minor children, parents and siblings. There was suspicion that Somalis and other Africans were cheating, though. Records are poor in these countries, and officials easily bribed. When a refugee said that Ali was his brother and produced an affidavit to that effect, we pretty much had to believe him, even though we've known for years that these affidavits can be bought on the streets of Nairobi for a few dollars.
Then in February 2008 the State Department decided to carry out DNA testing on refugees and their relatives. The results were staggering: the level of fraud was eighty percent. Only twenty percent of those claiming to be relatives really were. State was so upset they suspended family reunification programs for several African countries, Somalia the most affected.
These levels of fraudulent misrepresentation also cast some doubt on the claims that all the tens of thousands of Somali refugees we've taken in have been thoroughly vetted by Homeland Security. These doubts are reinforced by the steady trickle of Somali teenagers heading back to their homeland to make jihad.
What's our government doing about any of this? What do you think? They're trying to bring in more Somalis! In fact they are trying to get the family reunification program restarted. Yes, the one with 80 percent fraud levels. The State Department swears everyone will be DNA tested this time and compared with refugees already here. Given that the previous fraud gave us a huge base — around 36 thousand — of Somalis who shouldn't be here, and given that of course nobody is talking about identifying and deporting them, you've got to think the horse is out of the stable, though.
And this is not to mention the flow of Somalis coming in across the Mexican border. The going rate is about $10,000 to be smuggled from Somalia to Mexico. That's according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, which tells us that, quote: "One Los Angeles law office interviewed 200 Somalis smuggled into the United States in 2010 alone." End quote.
I'm sure a lot of Somalis are nice people. Given the level of craziness in that country, though, and the appalling record of fraud in the refugee resettlement programs, and the smuggling, and the constant reports of teen Somalis being recruited back into terrorist gangs, why would we permit any further settlement from Somalia?
Can we please stop being the suckers of the world?
06 — Debt limit talks break down. Reading the news stories about congressional negotiations on the debt limit, I see in my mind's eye the Road Runner** going off the cliff, running in place in midair till gravity kicks in.
The latest news here is the breakdown of the bipartisan talks on a deal, when Rep. Eric Cantor and Sen. Jon Kyl pulled out. The talks had been chaired by Vice President Joe Biden. The dynamic had been the familiar one where Democrats demand tax increases while Republicans demand spending reductions. To be fair, the Democrats, though they were certainly pushing hard for new taxes, did concede some spending cuts. Quote from the Wall Street Journal, quote: "Mr. Cantor said the group had identified more than $2 trillion in spending cuts over the next ten years. However, a Democratic official close to the talks said the total was only about $1.2 trillion." End quote.
That's a joke. Two trillion in ten years? That's one-fifth of a trillion a year, in an environment of debts and unfunded liabilities in the tens of trillions.
It's all so unreal. Mom and Dad are sitting at the kitchen table arguing about whether to buy new drapes for the bedroom or new light fixtures for the living-room, while the bailiffs are banging on the door to repossess the house.
When gravity kicks in at last it's going to be a long drop, with an almighty splatter at the end of it. I guess the interesting political question is whether the big splatter comes before November 2012 or after. If before, I hope Barack and Michelle have suitcases packed and plane tickets ready. If after, we have to hope that whoever wins next November's election has some serious experience with white-water rafting.
07 — A case of national suicide. Here's early-medieval English history the way I learned it in school. No guarantees of accuracy here and all allowances made for fading memory.
Once England was all British, which is to say Celtic. Then the Romans showed up. They defeated the British kings, and Queen Boadicea, and we were part of the Empire for four hundred years. Then the Empire crumbled, the legions withdrew, and the poor old British, who'd been so used to Roman protection they'd forgotten how to fight, fell prey to savage raiders from Ireland, which at that point was actually Scotland, and Scotland, at that point actually Pictland.
Just at that moment foolish King Vortigern recruited German warriors from north Europe as mercenaries, to help him deal with the filthy heathen Scots (who lived in Ireland) and Picts (who lived in Scotland). Two brothers, Hengist and Horsa, came over with three boatloads of bold lads. Once they saw the weakness of the British and the beauty of the land, however, they demanded an increase in their contracting fee. The inevitable ugly quarrel broke out, the Germans called for reinforcements from the tribes back home, who were called Angles, Saxons, and Jutes, and when the dust settled a hundred years later lowland Britain had become Angle-land and the poor old British had been chased off into the mountains, where they became the Welsh, which is just the old Germanic catchall word for "not Germanic."
The details have all been lost, though, as nobody much was bothering to write it down. We particularly didn't know much about the numbers of Germans who came over. There must have been quite a lot to defeat the British, who presumably had been multipying steadily across four hundred years of Pax Romana. But then, what ratio of ax-swinging heathen blond beasts to meek sedentary Romanized Christian peasants do you need for subjugation? And we know the British weren't all chased out. There was a lot of coexistence. There's a street in the city of London, just up there by the Bank of England, called Walbrook. That means "Welsh brook." There used to be a little stream there that divided the British part of London from the English part.
Well, nowadays we look to the geneticists for answers to this kind of question. This week they came up with a doozy. Quote: "Biologists at University College in London studied a segment of the Y chromosome that appears in almost all Danish and northern German men — and found it surprisingly common in Great Britain." End quote. Working from the other end, archeologists digging up old burial places have found an unexpected abundance of Germanic pots and trinkets.
Bottom line: The number of Germans who came over was much bigger than previously thought — perhaps a quarter million. Put it another way: the English are more German than they had supposed.
Well, great movements of people will do that. Here's a related news item: In the year to March 2011 the number of foreigners granted settlement rights in the U.K. was 586,000. That's more than twice as many, in just one year, as the entire number for the fifth century, the ones who replaced Celtic Britain with Germanic England. Base populations were lower then of course, but it's still one year versus several decades. Of the 400 thousand jobs created in Britain in that same one year, eighty percent went to foreigners.
And here is New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, an open borders fanatic, telling a symposium at the Council on Foreign Relations June 15th that restrictions on immigration amount to, quote, "national suicide," and that that is, quote, "no hyperbole."
Bloomberg's speech is worth reading in full as an exceptionally clear specimen of elite-class contempt for American citizens. Boy, how they hate us! Quote:
Immigrants and their children have been responsible for creating millions more jobs in all 50 states. The reason is simple: immigrants are dreamers and risk-takers who are driven to succeed, because they know that in America, hard work and talent are rewarded like nowhere else.
What about the hard work and talent of, you know, Americans, Mr Mayor? If immigrants are, quote, "dreamers and risk-takers who are driven to succeed," what are the rest of us? Chopped liver? Dull-witted couch potatoes driven to fail?
That is undoubtedly what Bloomberg believes. If the U.S.A. has nothing to work with but the slack habits and thin talent of her citizens, we're doomed — "national suicide," says the Mayor. And he's not being hyperbolic, he assures us.
With the Misery Index — that's unemployment and inflation — at its highest since 1983, what the country needs is more foreigners, says the Mayor. He doesn't quite suggest that U.S. citizens should all be killed off, or shipped to reservations, but you can see the thought lurking in his mind. Here is the xenophilia of our ruling classes on full display, brazen and unashamed.
As a matter of fact, Mister Mayor, history does offer a few examples of actual national suicide, literal and actual, no hyperbole. There was, for example, the national suicide of Romano-Celtic Britain fifteen centuries ago. A few other cases come to mind. Funny thing, though: in none of them does the refusal to open up the country to massive foreign settlement seem to have played much of a part. Rather the contrary.
08 — No more spanking. Here's a little snippet from the June 24 issue of Nordstjernan, which bills itself as "The Newspaper for Swedish America." (And note please my masterly self-restraint in not putting on the sing-song intonations that presenters customarily lapse into when introducing Swedish items. Radio Derb is a class act. You're welcome.)
Sweden is one nation in which corporal and also psychological punishment of children is prohibited by law … Of the 24 countries with corporal punishment bans, 19 are in Europe, including all of the Scandinavian and near Scandinavian countries (Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Iceland and Finland). Three others are in Central or South America, one in the Middle East and one in Oceania … Although 24 nations have banned corporal punishment, this is only 12 percent of the world's countries. There are no national bans on corporal punishment anywhere in Asia or North America.
End quote. If you're curious, the Middle East nation is Tunisia, the Oceania nation is New Zealand.
Sweden was the first nation to ban spanking in the home, back in 1979.
I bring up this topic in relation to a recent court decision in Corpus Christi, Texas. The court sentenced Rosina Gonzales to five months' probation for spanking her child.
A couple of things to be noted about this particular case before we proceed: One, the child was not quite two years old. Two: The spanking left red marks on the child's bottom. So this was a very young child, and it was some spanking.
My default position on all such cases is that of a parents'-rights near-absolutist. I'd like the civil powers to go to the extremes of caution in interfering between parents and kids. I'm not naïve about this: I know the things that sometimes happen. I once worked as a teacher in a school in one of England's worst slums. If the parent is stubbing our cigarettes in the kid's face, I want the parent locked up; and yes, stuff like that happens.
This side of cigarette burns and broken bones, though, pretty much the cruelest thing you can do to a small child is to take it away from the home and the parents it knows. I've seen that happen, too; and it was utterly heartbreaking, even though the parents in the case fell far short of middle-class child-raising standards.
Well, the judge in the Corpus Christi case told the mother, quote: "You don't spank children today. In the old days, maybe we got spanked, but there was a different quarrel. You don't spank children."
It seems to me that judge is out of line. It may indeed be that our standards have shifted so much that the generality of citizens would like spanking banned. If that's the case, let them press their representatives to pass appropriate legislation. The current situation in the U.S.A. is that spanking in the home is legal in every state; 19 states, Texas among them, also permit spanking in schools. This judge, name of José Longoria, is therefore legislating from the bench — a far more serious offense against public standards, in my opinion, than smacking a 2-year-old on the rear end.
Going back to the Nordstjernan article, though, here's the thing I'm curious about.
Looking forward at the future of the U.S.A. in the rest of this century — the U.S.A. my children and grandchildren will inherit — it seems to me that we shall slide from being an eccentric but still distinctively north-European outpost in the New World with a small African minority to being a much more Latin American kind of society: a small wealthy pale-skinned elite living in big houses on the tops of the hills, a huge multiracial lumpenproletariat living disorderly lives in smelly slums, the great American middle class a fading memory. That seems to me our likely future: a scaled-up version of Guatemala.
But then, in so many social matters we seem to be trending in the direction of Scandinavia, with rampant feminism and the general wussification that goes with it: the system you might call bossy egalitarianism.
So what do we want to be: Guatemala, or Sweden? Answers on a postcard, please. My own choice would have been to remain what we were fifty years ago: A strait-laced, mildly snobbish Anglo democracy with easy access for everyone to a comfortable middle-class lifestyle. That's lost and gone though, and won't come back. It's Guatemala or Sweden, take your pick.
09 — Miscellany. And now, our closing miscellany of brief items.
Item: If you want to know why our Republic is so deeply, hopelessly in debt, there are about ten thousand directions I could send you in for an answer. Here's just one: a column this week by Michael Barone. Michael's a thoughtful Beltway conservative, a bit wonkish for my taste but a decent, well-read guy with his heart mostly in the right place. Well, he wrote a column this week, topic: a federal crackdown on sex jokes on the nation's college campuses. No kidding. Tell a classmate that one about the flea in Omar Sharif's mustache and you'll be looking at two to five in Leavenworth. This comes from an initiative by the federal Department of Education Office of Civil Rights, in the form of a 19-page letter to all the colleges and universities in the country, demanding more energetic investigation of sexual harassment charges, including, quote, "humor and jokes about sex in general that make someone feel uncomfortable." So not only do we have a federal Derpartment of Education doing nothing useful at all, that department also has an Office of Civil Rights, as if anyone in the U.S.A. is suffering from a lack of civil rights. Although if our civil rights include the right to tell off-color jokes to coeds, as I should have thought they do, we shall henceforth be suffering a lack of that particular one. Your tax dollars at work: and I will guarantee you, with utter certainty, that in none of the cost-cutting measures being contemplated in Congress has anyone mentioned abolishing the Department of Education Office of Civil Rights, let alone the department itself. Our ruling classes would see us all eating grass before they'd abolish a federal department, even one that does nothing but mischief.
Item: Geert Wilders, the offputtingly blond Dutch politician, has been acquitted in his trial for inciting hatred of Muslims. Said the trial judge, quote from Reuters, quote: "The presiding judge said Wilders's remarks were sometimes 'hurtful,' 'shocking' or 'offensive,' but that they were made in the context of a public debate about multiculturalism, and therefore not a criminal act." End quote. That's a good result, and another encouraging sign that Europeans are turning against multiculturalism. I don't agree with Wilders about Islam, which he obviously detests. I don't detest it, or even mind it much; but I'll allow it's going through an ugly phase right now, as religions do from time to time, and doesn't play nicely with other cultural traditions. Let's keep Islam confined to its homelands, and stop mass immigration of Muslims into Western countries; not with the ill will that Geert Wilders displays, but just because multiculturalism is a crock. The Netherlands, Britain, France, Italy, the U.S.A. have all the cultures they need. We don't need any more, thanks all the same … and no offense.
Item: News here from the Middle East, everyone's favorite region. Let's see. Something or other transpired in Syria. Around the same time, stuff happened in Libya. And meanwhile some kind of unpleasantness was going down in Yemen, wherever the hell that is. It was all real interesting and terrifically important. So I'm told.
Item: Oh, just a follow-up on the Geert Wilders acquittal here. Following the court ruling, Muslims in the Netherlands have said they'll now take the case to the United Nations Human Rights Council. Here, just to refresh your memory, are a few of the members of the 47-nation council: Cameroon, China, Cuba, Guatemala, Kyrgyzstan, Mexico, Nigeria, Moldova, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Uganda. Well, let's hope the appeal is successful. Who knows, perhaps one day the people of the Netherlands, currently groaning under the iron heel of monoculturalist oppression, perhaps one day they will enjoy as full Human Rights as the blessed citizens of Cuba, Russia, and Saudi Arabia. We live in hope.
10 — Signoff. And there you have it, ladies and gentlemen. Please rest assured that the omission of a news item does not mean any lack of concern on the part of us here at Radio Derb. Our time is limited and we must be severely selective.
I was, for example, just as distressed as the rest of you on learning that Amina, the Syrian lesbian blogger, was in fact a 40-year-old married American named Tom MacMaster, while the deaf lesbian mom running another blog, Lez Get Real, is in fact Bill Graber, a 55-year-old retired construction worker in Ohio. It all goes to prove that we middle-aged heterosexual white guys make the world go round, the rest of you are just along for the ride.
And following on from that, I should add that my researchers have been able to find no substance to the rumors that gay blogger Andrew Sullivan is in fact a 62-year-old Amish with eight kids living in Lancaster, Pennsylvania — no evidence for that at all, sorry … though we'll keep digging …
[Music clip: From Haydn's Derbyshire Marches]