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[Music clip: From Haydn's Derbyshire March No. 2, organ version]
01 — Intro. And Radio Derb is on the air! This is your truculently genial host John Derbyshire with some raisins plucked from this week's news buns.
I leave the boring dough for our mainstream media news organs. Here, tuned to my organ, supported as it is by the labors of my indefatigable assistants Mandy, Candy, and Brandy, you get the sweet, juicy raisins.
I shall resist the urge to extend my metaphor further for fear I may wander into some inappropriate allusion to buns, so let's just hasten forth and examine a few of those raisins.
02 — Welcome to New York City, twinned with Havana. There was a little flurry of off-off-year election results. I shall take them in turn, and then point a moral.
New York's mayoral election was won, to the surprise of no-one at all, by Bill de Blasio, 73 percent to 24. De Blasio is so flawlessly and spotlessly a Cultural Marxist that if Cultural Marxist was a dog breed, he'd win prizes at Crufts.
The exit polls did contain a few surprises. Joe Lhota, the opposition Republican candidate, who spent most of the campaign hotly denying that he had anything whatsoever to do with those unwashed, gap-toothed knuckle-dragging Tea Party bigots, managed to get 44 percent of the Jewish vote, smashing the old New York stereotype that Jews "earn like Episcopalians but vote like Puerto Ricans."
Lhota also did better the further up the educational scale you go, peaking at 29 percent of the postgraduate vote. All right; 29 percent's not a lot, but Lhota still bucked the trend of Republicans doing well in the educational middle but badly at the top and bottom.
Otherwise things were as you'd expect. De Blasio got the women's vote over the men's, the black vote over the white, the young vote over the old, and the homosexual vote over the normal.
The biggest margins were of course racial: Ninety percent for de Blasio among Hispanic women, 95 percent among black men, 97 percent among black women. At this point I would normally say "So much for Barack Obama's post-racial America," but frankly I'm tired of saying it.
I see no reason to think that de Blasio's mayoral career will deviate from the usual pattern of far-left governance, which is: a couple of years of wild spending on public services (translation: jobs for dull-witted paper-shuffling bureaucrats and well-connected seat-warmers), followed by a general collapse of revenues and public order.
As the late great Margaret Thatcher put it so incontrovertibly: Socialism works just fine until you run out of other people's money.
03 — A politician with a personality! Republican Chris Christie won an easy victory — 61 to 39 percent — in his bid for a second term as Governor of New Jersey. Of course, nobody cares about Christie's governorship, except I suppose the residents of the Garden State. What everyone's thinking about is a Christie run for President in 2016 as candidate of the Republican Party.
Presidentially, I think the GOP could do a lot better than Christie.
At the levels Christie's been working in so far, I'll give him some not-very-enthusiastic nods of approval.
There were a few soft brown spots on his record as a U.S. Attorney, but nothing I know of that doesn't fairly come under the heading "politics ain't beanbag." As Governor, Christie's been fiscally responsible, and that's not nothing. He's talked a good game against the voracious public-sector unions — although friends in the state tell me his bark's been worse than his bite with the unions.
On the other side, Christie has been clueless on the immigration issue, and worse than clueless on gun rights. When I asked him, face to face, about the gun issue, Christie said, quote:
I was in law enforcement. I understand the necessity of gun control.
How that "understanding" has translated into practice was described by my shooting buddy Tom over at Radio Free New Jersey back in August, quote:
Chris Christie signed the raft of new gun regs the legislature sent him that were designed to prohibit the legal ownership of firearms by law-abiding citizens. Most of them are just expansions of the already ridiculous NJ laws, but I think one in particular stands out.
On immigration, Christie is, as I said, clueless. Just this summer he traveled to Las Vegas to kiss the ring of hotel and casino billionaire and open-borders fanatic Sheldon Adelson, and no doubt received campaign funding in return.
Immigration restrictionist websites have been scathing about Christie's pandering to immigration romantics and cheap-labor business interests. Grading the Republican presidential candidates in the 2012 election cycle, NumbersUSA put Christie last with a grade F.
The Federation for American Immigration Reform, back in the mid-2000s, estimated the annual cost of illegal immigration to New Jersey as 1.6 billion dollars, a sum Christie did nothing to reduce even when, as U.S. Attorney, he had some power in immigration enforcement.
As Governor, he did less than nothing. All his much-touted early budgetary reforms just barely covered that loss due to welfare, medical, education, housing subsidies, and incarceration for illegal aliens, which of course has gotten much greater since the FAIR report.
So count me a definite "No" vote on Christie as Presidential candidate, and a lukewarm "maybe, I guess" on Christie as Governor.
I'll say this for the guy, though: He has a personality. And no, I don't mean that as a synonym for being fat. That abrasive quality, that firmness in sticking to his positions, that smash-mouth response to public-sector whiners, is bracing.
Not many of our coached, blow-dried, focus-group-tested, consultant-approved politicians have discernible or distinctive personality. I still have trouble telling the difference between Paul Ryan and Eric Cantor … or is it Paul Cantor and Eric Ryan? Whatever.
Christie has a personality for sure. Even discounting for the blubber, you wouldn't mistake him for anyone else. I just wish that candor and that firmness could be employed in the service of constitutional fidelity and patriotic concern for citizens over foreigners.
04 — Decline of the RINOcracy. The third noteworthy election result was in Virginia, where Democrat Terry McAuliffe won narrowly, 48 percent to 46, against Republican Ken Cuccinelli.
The mainstream media spin here is that Cuccinelli lost because he was too socially conservative. His opposition to abortion and homosexual "marriage," we are told, turned off the better class of GOP voters.
The exit polls support this to some degree. Voters in the 50 thousand to 100 thousand annual income range went 51 percent for Cuccinelli; in the 100 thousand plus range, he got only 43 percent, while McAuliffe got 49.
Same with the education breakdown. Cuccinelli dominated in the lower-middle part of the range — high school graduates and people with some college — but flopped badly with graduates and postgraduates.
If you look closer, though, Cuccinelli's failure was a replay of Mitt Romney's last year. One of the biggest numbers in the exit polls was the 13 percentage point drop in Republican support from white men. Even among white women the drop was nine percent.
All right, Virginia's a tough circle to square. In the north you have a lot of dormitory communities for government people from Washington, D.C. The south is more Robert E. Lee country. Of the last six governors, three were Democrats, three were Republicans.
With the failure of Obamacare all over the news, though, Cuccinelli really should have done better. So, of course, up against a lackluster administration with a growing rap sheet of scandals and incompetences, should Mitt Romney.
Time to point the moral. Republicans aren't going to win any elections on against, even when there's lots to be against. They need to be for something. Tax reduction, which no-one really believes in, and social issues like abortion and homosexuality, which are boutique issues, aren't going to do it. Even proven managerial competence against the absence of such isn't going to win, as Lhota's loss in New York City illustrates.
How about being for U.S. sovereignty over internationalism? How about being for Americans over foreigners? How about being for enforcing laws against ignoring them? How about being for American workers against cheap-labor lobbies? How about being for private citizens and private enterprise against organized race lobbies and public-sector unions?
Come to think of it, how about being for voters against donors?
Might be worth a try.
05 — Things to look at when traveling. The billboard is a fine American art form. Remember the old Burmah Shave billboards? Nobody Knows de Stubble I've Seen … Poet Ogden Nash, channeling earlier poet Joyce Kilmer, penned the following, quote:
I think that I shall never see
Well, I got billboard stories. Here we go.
Billboard story one advertises a product names SnoreStop, which believe it or not claims to stop you snoring. A billboard advertising SnoreStop was erected on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles. It shows a white European U.S. Army soldier with his arm affectionately around a woman in a black burka, just her eyes showing. The legend, quote: "SnoreStop — Keeping you Together," end quote.
There was some fringe reaction from Islamophobes and fundamentalist Muslims, but most Americans didn't know what to make of it. The most penetrating comment came from Reuben over at the JewAmongYou blog. I'll just quote him. Edited quote:
Muslims do not form a major power bloc in the Los Angeles area. At least they're not powerful enough to demand that infidels stay away from their women … This is not the case in much of Western Europe. It seems to me that such a billboard, if erected in a place like France, for example, would elicit immediate negative reactions … Various reasons for the outrage would be given, but few would come out and state the real reason: Underdogs contribute the females, while overlords contribute the males. European Muslims feel entitled to native women because they are allowed to be the overlords while the native population is subjugated. A billboard such as this implies the opposite. As such, it would be considered offensive. In fact, it would probably even be illegal.
I think Reuben's right.
Second billboard story: A person in or near the town of Harrison, Arkansas, paid for a billboard on a local highway with no pictures on it at all, only the words, visible from half a mile away, quote: Anti-Racist is a Code Word for Anti-White, which is of course quite true.
The billboard went up October 17th, and so far as I can discover it's still standing. Apparently the anonymous renter has signed a contract to have the sign up there for one year.
Town officials hastened to grab their ankles. The Mayor's office issued a statement saying, inter alia, edited quote:
The mayor's office considers the content inflammatory, distasteful and not in line with the truth on how Harrison is a city of welcoming and tolerant citizens … The owners of the signage … and the owners of the structure … should be ashamed to display such antiquated ideology and hatred that adversely affects Harrison as a whole.
I repeat: The message is a true one. If the truth is an "antiquated ideology," we're in worse trouble than I thought.
When was anyone other than a white person in trouble for being racist? I never heard of such a case. When did any nonwhite person ever lose a job, a contract, a government position, or an election, because of alleged racism? The only people whose lives or careers are blighted by action on the part of the anti-racist lobbies are white people. Ergo, anti-racist is a code word for anti-white.
I congratulate the billboard's sponsor for spending his own money to put the truth out there where people can see it. I am sorry, though entirely understanding, that under the soft totalitarianism of the modern West, he can only do so anonymously.
Third and final billboard story is not really about a billboard, though I think I can fairly include it here. It's yet another loan from Reuben at JewAmongYou. What can I tell you? The guy's on a roll, and the girls find stories where they can.
The mass transit system in Portland, Oregon, which is called MAX, is running an ad called Respect the Ride, urging riders to make sure they have valid tickets, give up their seats to seniors, and so on.
One of the ads admonishes MAX riders not to talk too loudly on their cell phones. It's illustrated with a cartoon picture of Rider A in the foreground yapping loudly on her cell phone, while Rider B in the background wears an expression of pained annoyance. Rider A, the yapper, is a white female; Rider B, the yappee with the pained expression, is a black male.
If you can tell me with a straight face that this corresponds to your experience of people talking too loud on their cell phones in your city's mass transit, I'll award you this week's Radio Derb belt buckle award for anti-racist goodthink, brand-new from the Mayor's office in Harrison, Arkansas.
06 — Driverless cars approaching … maybe. Always first with the news, Radio Derb alerted listeners to the advent of the self-driving car back in October 2010. Google, we noted, had already at that point clocked up 140,000 miles in their test vehicle, including street driving in San Francisco.
Three years on from that, the news stories and features on self-driving cars are coming thick and fast. All the big auto companies have test vehicles out, with the German company Daimler, which owns the Mercedes marque, said to be in the lead. Since ninety percent of traffic accidents involve human error, there is the prospect of much safer roads.
Or is there? Technology Review ran an article by Will Knight throwing a little cold water on the self-driving car hype. Sample quote:
[MIT Professor John] Leonard suggested that much of the technology that has helped autonomous cars deal with complex urban environments in research projects — some of which is used in Google's cars today — may never be cheap or compact enough to be employed in commercially available vehicles.
Hat tip there to Randall Parker at FuturePundit.
I reserve judgment. It's certainly the case that some technological dreams never become reality. Fifty years ago I was reading exciting articles in the science magazines about fusion power, which we were told would solve all our energy needs just as soon as a few minor glitches had been fixed. Fifty years ago: Today they're still working on those glitches.
I privately wonder if quantum computing isn't the fusion power of the present generation: always just over the horizon, but somehow never arriving — rather like post-racial America …
Be that as it may, we should hold out hope for, if not fully autonomous cars, at least the great improvements in steering, braking, and trouble-avoidance systems that we might get from the research.
Those of us — it has to be a very substantial minority, if not an actual majority — who have lost friends or relatives to traffic accidents know how wretchedly futile such deaths seem, what a pointless waste. Anything that reduces their numbers will be very welcome to Radio Derb.
07 — Chinese citizens hate their government. Articles about China being the next great world power have been filling up the newsprint for a lot longer than the ones about self-driving cars. Here there really is cause for skepticism.
The China of thirty years ago was very much poorer than a nation of that many people, with that much intellectual capital and that long a tradition of civilized government, had any right to be. That China would eventually get up to speed and back in the international swim of things, should not have surprised anybody. It really hasn't been a miracle. It was more of a miracle that Mao Tse-tung managed to keep his talented and industrious people in Third World economic backwardness for thirty years.
World leadership is a different matter. The Chinese state as presently constructed has very serious systemic problems, the most serious of them relating to governmental corruption, management of the environment, and China's determination to hold on to the old imperial territories of Tibet and Eastern Turkestan left over from the Manchu dynasty.
We got a glimpse of these stresses following an event on November 6th. The event was the detonation of several bombs outside the headquarters of the provincial government in Taiyuan, capital of Shanxi Province. Taking a Chinese province as equivalent to an American state, Shanxi isn't a really big player, but it also isn't a small one: an Ohio, approximately.
The real news story wasn't the explosions themselves, which only seem to have killed one person and broken a lot of windows, but the reaction to them on the Chinese internet. There was a surprising — and to the Chinese authorities undoubtedly alarming — level of support for the bombings, fueled by widespread hatred of corrupt government officials. Quote from a news report that itself is quoting from Weibo, the Chinese equivalent of Twitter. Outer quote:
One Weibo user wrote that under enough government pressure, quote, "common people … are all possible terrorists," end quote. Another wrote that "people explode" when the pressure is high enough.
Like fusion power, and possibly like quantum computing, the self-driving car, and a post-racial America, China's plan for world mastery has a few glitches to be worked out yet.
08 — Kill the golliwog! Microaggression of the week is turning out to be not so micro. The United Nations actually got involved in this one.
Here's the backstory. In the Netherlands — which when I was a kid in England we called "Holland," without that annoying "the," and which I think, just to be ornery, I shall call "Holland" for the rest of this broadcast — in Holland, as in other North-European countries, the character of Saint Nicholas features largely in the midwinter celebrations. In the Dutch language they call him Sinterklaas.
Saint Nicholas' name day is actually December 6th, as readers of War and Peace will remember. On the day before that, St. Nicholas Eve, there's a big traditional celebration centered around Sinterklaas and his helpers.
Therein lies the microaggression. In Holland, Santa's helpers are not elves, they are golliwogs. Well, that's what we used to call them in England.
Golliwog figures came up all over the Western world in the middle 19th century as a form of children's doll, a negro figure with all the negro features — black skin, woolly black hair, thick red lips — exaggerated for comic effect. No malice was intended; it was just a striking figure that would get a small child's attention. Folklorists have traced some deeper connections, for example to the dark-skinned Moors of North Africa defeated and ultimately expelled by Spanish monarchs in the late Middle Ages, but basically we're talking kids' entertainment here.
In Holland, then, Santa's helpers are golliwogs, known individually as Zwarte Piet — "Black Pete," plural Zwarte Pieten. Black Pete shows up with Santa and hands out candy to kids. These Black Petes are actually of course white people in blackface, lipstick, and wigs.
You can hear the PC alarms going off in government offices, school administrations, and police precinct houses all over the Western World. As the late Larry Auster pointed out, the Negro is a sacred object in the modern liberal imagination, so this traditional Dutch celebration is blasphemous.
The Inquisition has swung into action. The United Nations Human Rights Council has established a, quote, "working group," end quote, to, quote, "investigate," end quote, the Black Pete custom. Head of this working group is a lady named Verene Shepherd, formerly head of the Department of Making White People Feel Guilty at the University of Jamaica.
I'm glad to report that the people of Holland are putting up some resistance to the golliwog-slayers. Quote from a news report, October 30th, quote:
On Saturday hundreds of people demonstrated in The Hague and Nijmegen to "keep Black Pete black." In Nijmegen an attempt was made to break the record number of Zwarte Pieten pictured in one photograph.
A Facebook page in support of keeping Black Pete as he has traditionally been has gotten 2.1 million likes — that's one in three Dutch Facebook users. A page for people who want to clean up Black Pete has only 12,000 likes — one in five hundred users.
The protest is all very North European, of course, with many whimpering protestations that wij zijn niet racistisch, which is Dutch for "We're not racist!"
The explanation going around is that the Black Petes are only black from shinnying down the chimneys with the Christmas presents. Sounds bogus to me. Why wouldn't Santa himself be black on the same principle? Or if Santa just sends his helpers down the chimneys, why aren't his American elves all black too?
These are deep theological waters, though. Probably Professor Shepherd has a couple of experts in her working group who are competent to explore them. I'm not. I just long for the day when someone, somewhere, will stand up to these worthless, useless, busybody guilt-mongers, and respond to the accusation of racism by telling these parasites to go home and boil their heads, and get real jobs doing useful work, and leave white people alone, as they currently leave all other kinds of people, to enjoy their harmless traditions in peace.
09 — Signoff. I'm afraid, Ladies and Gentlemen, as sometimes happens I am over my time allowance, so we must forgo the miscellany of brief items this week and hasten directly to Franz Josef Haydn.
More from Radio Derb next week.
[Music clip: More Derbyshire Marches.]