• Play the sound file
[Music clip: From Haydn's Derbyshire March No. 2, organ version]
01 — Intro. And Radio Derb is on the air! I come to you a little dizzy this broadcast, I'm afraid, listeners, having pulled an all-nighter Thursday to listen to the Presidential debate. Here in the sun-washed Aegean, you see, we are nine hours ahead of Denver, so the wretched thing didn't start till four a.m.
So this is your depletedly genial host John Derbyshire heroically dragging himself to the microphone to bring you highlights from the week's news. Let's start with that debate.
02 — Romney defeats Obama on points. The news sources and blogs are all saying that first debate was a huge victory for Romney. I must say, that wasn't my impression. I watched it and reported on it for a different web magazine. I thought Romney won on points, but not so sensationally.
It's true that the President was somewhat reserved and affectless; but that's the man. He's mostly like that. He didn't lose his train of thought, retreat into mumbling, or say anything weird. Both these men are first-class political athletes. They both know the traps of the debate format. They've both been rehearsing for weeks, gaming out every possible combination of moderator question and opponent response.
So what I saw was two political pros sparring warily. Romney landed more punches than Obama, but this wasn't Ali-Foreman. It was in fact pretty dull. On a lot of the major issues there wasn't much daylight between the candidates. [Clip: "I suspect that on Social Security we've got a somewhat similar position …"]
Both guys lo-o-o-ove education. "The key to great schools is great teachers!" said Romney. Obama told us, twice, that he wants to hire a hundred thousand new math and science teachers.
This is all nonsense. Really gifted teachers are rather rare and nobody has any clue how to increase the supply. It's probably just an inborn character trait. The key to great schools is a smart, motivated student body and supportive parents. As to all those new math and science teachers, I refer you to an article by Derek Lowe in the October issue of Discover magazine, headline, quote, America Does Not Have a Scientist Shortage; abstract begins, quote:
The article discusses the number of scientists in the U.S. as of October 2012, focusing on debunking the myth that there is a shortage of young scientists and engineers, as well as concerns raised regarding the quality of the practicing scientists …
And in fact I know from my personal acquaintance that the U.S.A. is littered with unemployed engineers. Worldwide, the supply of scientists is ample and increasing. We're probably looking at a glut, with falling wages. So both these guys are blowing smoke here.
Same with other topics. Either we were deep in the wonkish weeds trying to nail down a definition of "small business," or we were listening to futile exchanges about "Your plan says this …," countered with, "No, that's not what my plan says…"
So all in all a bit of a snoozer. Where Romney won his points was mostly on style and presentation: looking at Obama while Obama looked at his belt buckle, smiling while Obama scowled, flashing his deep experience of how capitalism works, about which Obama plainly has no clue.
Of the two, in short, Romney was clearly dominant. He talked about how he'd gotten stuff done as Governor of Massachusetts with a legislature dominated by the other party. Obama could only whine in return that congressional Republicans wouldn't let him get things done, inevitably provoking the thought in one's head that, well, Mr President, you're plainly not as good at dealing with hostile opponents as the Governor is.
Leftist analysts, clutching at straws, made much of Obama's mocking Romney for the vagueness and generality of Romney's plans. Romney countered very sensibly that the job of a Presidential candidate is to lay out a broad philosophical approach, not to give details. "No battle plan survives contact with the enemy," goes the military adage, and a similar rule applies to governance.
Executive summary: a snoozer but a win on points for Romney. Not Ali-Foreman and definitely not Ali-Liston.
The real entertainment came after the debate, watching and reading the lefties wailing and gnashing their teeth. The video clip of Chris Matthews' head exploding is particularly enjoyable — it's on the Council of Conservative Citizens website.
Life has few greater pleasures than watching arrogant, overpaid media lefties squirm and holler.
03 — Single white women hate Romney. The most interesting talk about the election is taking place on those blogs where politics and culture are discussed from an HBD viewpoint.
HBD, in case you're not au courant with the term, stands for "human biodiversity." The HBD viewpoint looks at human nature in the context of biology, especially of evolutionary psychology.
In Chapter Seven of my worldwide bestseller We Are Doomed I identified two other viewpoints, the religious and the culturist. The religious sees human nature as a special creation of God, gifted with supernatural qualities and privileges. The culturist, or Marxist viewpoint sees human nature as entirely a product of the individual's surroundings — on the nature-nurture scale, it's extreme nurturism.
So, as I said, blogs that discuss human nature and human affairs from an HBD viewpoint have been saying some of the most interesting things about this election.
The grand guru of the HBD viewpoint, in the blogosphere at any rate, is Steve Sailer at isteve.blogspot.com. Steve has been arguing for years that Republicans need to take up what, in Steve's honor, is now called the Sailer Strategy.
As briefly as it can be stated, the Sailer Strategy says that since non-Hispanic whites are still a hefty majority of the nation — 63 percent — and an even heftier majority of the electorate — close to three-quarters — a smart Republican politician should strive to get as much as he can of the white vote.
With self-identified Hispanics at only 17 percent of the population, and less than ten percent of the electorate, increasing your Hispanic share by one-tenth will get you one percent of the electorate. Increasing your white share by one-tenth gets you more than seven percent. It's just arithmetic.
Last weekend, however, the blogger who calls himself Whiskey, blogging at whiskeysplace.wordpress.com, put up a post headlined Why The Sailer Strategy Doesn't Work.
Why, according to Whiskey, does the Sailer Strategy not work? In a word: women.
Sample quote from Whiskey:
Obama took single White women in 2008, on the order of 70 percent … Single White women exist in sizable numbers. Single White Women out-number married White Women by a considerable margin. Late marriage, with its inevitable high divorce rates, pretty much guarantees that …
In a comment thread on Steve Sailer's own blog Whiskey goes on to argue that, quote:
If Romney wants to win, he has to get more than McCain's 60 percent of the white vote. That means women. Since Obama took white single women by over 70 percent, and has an edge on abortion, contraception, paying for it, female preferences, culture wars, and the like, Romney can't win them but he can cut that percentage down by say 10 percent.
Now over to a different blogger, the one who calls himself Heartiste, H-E-A-R-T-I-S-T-E, blogging at heartiste.wordpress.com. Heartiste belongs to the sphere of bloggers who call themselves "PUAs." It stands for "pick-up artists." These are guys who fancy they have developed an art — or maybe it's a science, I'm not sure — of picking up women via techniques collectively known as "game."
The connection with HBD is that PUAs build their art, or science, on evolutionary psychology. Women have certain instincts shaped by evolution. They are, for example, attracted to high-status men as being better able to protect their young.
High-status men — "alphas," in PUA jargon — have a certain look, certain body language, certain ways of dealing with others. Even if you're not actually high-status, by perfecting these outward traits you can make yourself attractive to women. If you don't have alpha traits, you're a beta or a "herb," whom women will regard with contempt or actual hatred.
That's the rough idea.
Heartiste is the best of these PUA bloggers. He's literate, funny, scientifically well-informed, politically conservative, and utterly cynical. His language, unfortunately, doesn't lend itself to direct quotation on a family website, but I'll give you the gist.
So here is Heartiste posting on Thursday this week, headline: The Problem With Single Women Having The Vote. Edited quote:
When you don't have an alpha male in your personal life to admire and rely on for support (partly because you make your own money and don't feel a pressing need to have a middle class compliment-&-cuddle herb around for security), you turn to the next facsimile — the substitute alpha male who promises limitless resources for you and your future sprogling. This substitute alpha male is The State, and its emissary is Obama.
Heartiste goes on to quote a poll from earlier in the week that bears out his analysis. Here's the poll, numbers in percentages.
Married men: for Romney by 54-35, Romney's margin 19.
Did you spot the biggest margin there? That's the case.
Heartiste goes on to say that, edited quote:
Whiskey is onto something. I swim among single women — mostly white, mostly educated and/or intelligent, in their 20s and 30s — and I can assure you they [are intensely committed to] Obama and leftie policies in general. Romney may as well be the anti-Christ.
I leave this for you to mull over, listeners. Are single white women the assassins of conservatism? With single white women against him, does Mitt Romney have a chance of getting as much as he needs of the white vote? Was the 19th Amendment all a ghastly mistake?
I leave it with you. As an old married guy, I know little about young single women. There is precisely one of them in my household. If Nellie Derbyshire is representative, then Whiskey and Heartiste are correct, and Romney is doomed. But loth I am to extrapolate from a sample of one …
04 — Romney ♥ illegals. Whether with single white women in mind or not, I don't know, but on Tuesday this week, in an interview with the Denver Post, Romney declared that if elected he would honor the temporary work permits Barack Obama has issued to young illegal aliens.
Recall that Obama's executive order of a few weeks ago gives two-year work permits and immunity from deportation to any illegal alien who (a) is under thirty and (b) entered this country when less than 16 years old. These conditions are, as Senator Jeff Sessions said at the time, quote, "unenforceable and unverifiable."
The administration has admitted that aliens who are using stolen or fraudulent Social Security numbers in order to gain employment will not be charged with a crime. Obama's executive order is basically an amnesty for any illegal aliens who can pass themselves off as thirty and show a few bogus documents, even if they are career criminals.
Some legal experts — including Senator Sessions, who is himself a lawyer — have called Obama's action unconstitutional and an impeachable offense. Well, Mitt Romney told the Denver Post he's fine with it. He'll honor the two-year work permits; and during his first year, he said, he'll pass "comprehensive immigration reform," which of course means blanket amnesty.
So our next President, regardless of who wins in November, will be just as hostile to immigration law enforcement as the current one, the previous one, and the two before that. Anyone who can make his way across the border or overstay a visa is here for good. Those of us who ground our way through the years-long procedure for legal immigration are … what? Suckers, I guess.
The Social Contract, a conservative think tank, had a writer's workshop this week. They asked immigration author and blogger Peter Brimelow to give them a talk. Peter had a little fun quoting speeches he said Mitt Romney had made recently to outfits like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Here's a sample quote from Mitt, longish quote:
You will not like this, but we plan to legislate strict laws and enforce them with a firm hand against the illegal employment of infiltrators and foreign workers. We are flooded with a surge of immigrants who threaten to wash away our achievements and damage our existence … They are causing socio-economic and cultural damage and threaten to take us back down to the level of the Third World. They take the jobs of the weakest Americans.
Except of course, as Peter confessed to the puzzled audience, it wasn't Mitt Romney who said that and other quotes like it. They were said by senior Israeli politicians like Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Interior Minister Eli Yishai.
What, Peter asked rhetorically, accounts for the difference? Why do Israeli politicians speak so vigorously and forthrightly about illegal aliens, while our own pols just bend over and squeal like pigs? Because, Peter says, Israeli leaders care about their people, while American leaders do not.
05 — George Zimmerman sues NBC. Meanwhile the case of George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin simmers away in the background.
You'll recall that back in February Zimmerman, acting as a neighborhood watch coordinator for his gated community in Florida, shot dead Trayvon Martin, a young black man, in circumstances much disputed.
What cannot reasonably be disputed is that the leftist media — but I repeat myself: the media — piled on George Zimmerman with an outrageous campaign of supposition and distortion. They published the least flattering, most thuggish looking photographs of him they could find, juxtaposed with pictures of Martin taken years before, when he was a winsome early-teen.
The objective here was to "shape" the story to conform to leftist mythology about blacks living in constant fear of feral whites. Mythology it surely is: On Department of Justice statistics, five out of six interracial crimes of violence in the U.S. have a black offender and a nonblack victim.
Furthermore, George Zimmerman was a poor instance of a feral white. He is half-Hispanic, a registered Democrat, and had given up free time to mentor black kids.
None of that mattered. The mythology had to be sustained, and the media span and distorted to make sure it was.
The worst offenses concerned the tapes of Zimmerman's calls to police dispatchers. In one of them, Zimmerman said of Martin, quote, "This guy looks like he's up to no good. Or he's on drugs or something. It's raining and he's just walking around, looking about." The dispatcher then asked Zimmerman: "OK, and this guy, is he black, white or Hispanic?" Zimmerman answered, "He looks black."
NBC News doctored this up to sound like this: "This guy looks like he's up to no good. He looks black." So in the doctored version, Zimmerman goes straight to Martin's blackness. What had actually happened was, the dispatcher had asked him a question and he'd given an answer.
Well, this Thursday we heard that George Zimmerman's attorneys are about to file a formal complaint against NBC and its top executives, naming news president Steve Capus and correspondent Ron Allen, who was the reporter on the scene.
I hope Zimmerman wins the suit and gets a big fat settlement. Who knows? It might make the media reptiles more honest. Yeah, right.
So far as his own case is concerned, Zimmerman is out on bail while lawyers and judges in the case work through administrative wrangles. Don't hold your breath here. Legal opinion, at least that part of it known to me, remains pretty solid that Zimmerman will walk. When he does, he'll be entitled to ask, as a Reagan administration official did after being harassed and slandered by vindictive prosecutors: "Where do I go to get my life back?"
06 — One cheer for the Serbs. I took lunch last week with some friends from the Balkans. They told me how things have settled down there since the breakup of Yugoslavia, with the different fragments developing their own identities.
The story of how these conservative old peasant societies have emerged into the light of modernity is most interesting. It somewhat resembles the medieval transformation of the English, German and Slavic tribes into Christian kingdoms.
All the features that we in the West have had pushed on us this past fifty years — feminism, gay rights, multiculturalism, anti-smoking campaigns, environmentalism, secularism, and so on — together form a new Universal Faith, like medieval Christianity.
In place of monks like St. Cyril and St. Boniface, who took the Christian message out into the forests and marshes, there are European Union functionaries, Human Rights agitators, and George Soros-funded non-governmental organizations. Their mission is to spread the new Universal Faith and get the Balkans happily globalized, everyone thinking the same thoughts in perfect harmony.
Just as medieval tribal chieftains, once they'd taken up the cross, could go and meet the Pope and hobnob with Christian monarchs and lords in Western Europe, so now the petty politicians and bureaucrats of places like Bosnia and Macedonia can go give speeches at Harvard University and meet movie celebrities.
There have been some benefits, of course. The problem is, this new Universal Faith is founded on falsehoods. Gay is not just as good as straight: It is a pathway to disease and early death, and corrupting of institutions where it becomes established — ask an Episcopalian.
Multicultural societies are not stable — ask a Cypriot, a Sri Lankan, a Belgian, a Lebanese, a Fijian, a Northern Irelander, or the inhabitant of any region recently subject to large-scale Muslim immigration.
Even where the premises are not exactly false, there are downsides: Feminism leads to plunging birthrates and the devaluation of masculinity, secularism corrodes social capital, etc.
My Balkan friends told me that of all the countries in their region, the one putting up the most resistance to the new Universal Faith is Serbia. Scanning the week's news, I sort of see what they mean.
From BBC News, quote:
A top official at Europe's main human rights watchdog has voiced concern after Belgrade banned a gay pride event for the second year running … The European Commission warned that the decision went against fundamental human rights upheld by the EU. Serbia won EU candidate status earlier this year.
Now, I shall get in trouble with my friends (who are not Serbs) if I voice too much approval of the Serbs here, but I must say there is something uplifting in the spectacle of such dogged resistance to modernization and globalization.
I guess it's quixotic, and I guess the EU busybodies will get their way in the end, but in the meantime I'm going to raise one brief muted cheer for the reactionaries of Serbia.
07 — Miscellany. And now, our closing miscellany of brief items.
Imprimis: U.S. Border Patrol agent Nicholas Ivie was shot and killed near the Arizona border on Tuesday morning. Agent Ivie, who was 30 years old, and another agent, who was hurt in the shooting, were responding to a tripped ground sensor about five miles from the border. Thursday we heard that the Mexican military have arrested two suspects.
Five miles inside our own country, and foreign hoodlums rule the territory. All we have by way of defenses are ground sensors.
We should have a 60-foot fence all along that border, with continuous surveillance all along. If our federal government doesn't feel up to the task, let them contract it out to the Israelis, who know how to do this stuff.
Item: Out West there is a drought, the worst in decades. Ranchers are badly hit: The drought has dried up their pastures and they can't afford to buy in food for their herds. They have to sell them or slaughter them.
One by-product of this unhappy situation has been … grass theft. Yes, to stay in business, ranchers are stealing their neighbors' grass. If there's a stretch of pasture with some decent grass in it, they'll cut a gap in the fence and let their own livestock go in and graze.
There's also just plain theft. A rancher in Wellington, Colorado had $5,000 worth of hay taken from a field over the Labor Day weekend. He said the thieves knew what they were doing because they stole high quality alfalfa from storage and ruined lower quality to get it.
Grass theft. I like to throw in a story like this now and then just to remind all you city folk that there's a world of life going on out there in the countryside, with its own peculiar problems and concerns. Like grass theft.
Here on the island we enjoy plenty of rainfall, so there is no problem with grass stealing; though I'm told by the locals that some years ago there was an episode of goat rustling …
Item: Continuing the rustic theme, shed a tear for farmer Terry Vance Garner of Coos County, Oregon.
Sixty-nine-year-old Mr Garner was eaten by his own hogs. The poor fellow had gone out that morning to feed the hogs, and … well, he fed them, just not in the way he'd intended. Family members found his dentures and some fragmentary body parts around the hog enclosure, but he was pretty near all gone.
Quote from a local newspaper over there, quote: "A pathologist was unable to identify a cause or manner of death." Well, duh. Surely "eaten by hogs" covers it pretty comprehensively, doesn't it?
The thing I can't help being curious about is: What are they going to do with the hogs? Kill them, presumably; but then what? Cure the meat and sell it? How'd you like a few rashers of that with your breakfast eggs and beans?
08 — Signoff. With that rather somber thought, ladies and gentlemen, I leave you.
Over there in the States, you are just a month away from the election. I have already mailed in my postal vote. It would of course be impertinent of me to advise you which way to vote. Instead, I shall just read you a short passage from Claude M. Fuess's biography of Calvin Coolidge.
Here we are on page 29. It is the Presidential campaign of 1880, and Calvin is just eight years old. Quote:
It was during that campaign that I, a small boy, approached my father, who was a very good businessman, with the proposition that he should furnish me with a penny to buy some candy. He told me that we were in the midst of a political campaign, and there was a probability, a possibility at least, that we were going to elect a Democrat for President. Such an action, he said, would undoubtedly be followed by hard times, and therefore it was necessary to economize.
You may, if you wish, gainsay the advice of the senior Coolidge; but don't say that he, and I, didn't warn you.
To see us out, here's a ditty that's been jingling in my head all week, since seeing Matthew Polenzani and Anna Netrebko in L'Elisir d'Amore Monday night. (I flew over to New York especially for the performance, you understand.)
Poor lovestruck Nemorino believes he's finally gotten through to hard-to-get Adina. He sings "Una furtiva lagrima / negli occhi suoi spuntò …" — "A furtive tear / has welled up in her eyes." The voice here is José Carreras.
More from Radio Derb next week.
[Music clip: José Carreras, "Una furtiva lagrima."]