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[Music clip: From Haydn's Derbyshire Marches, Fife'n'drum version]
01 — Intro. And Radio Derb is on the air! Yes, ladies and gents, this is your ailurophilically genial host John Derbyshire with a survey of the week's news this second week of June.
I am at peace with the world, having just finished off one of Nikki Nicolaides' most excellent goatburgers, and washed it down with a couple of shots of ouzo. The sun is shining, the birds are singing … Could we get some birdsong, please? … [Clip: birdsong] … Thank you … and life is good!
There'll be another goat at the end of the broadcast. I'm going to make you wait for it. Before we get to the goat, let's have a gloat.
02 — Gloat of the week. Gloat of the week is of course over the defeat of House majority leader Eric Cantor in the Republican primary for Virginia's 7th Congressional district.
Yes, I know: Gloating is ill-mannered and low-class. So sue me.
Cantor is a Republican, and to be fair, not the very worst kind of Republican — I'll get to one of those in a moment. He's sound on Second Amendment rights and has made the right noises on affirmative action, though of course he'd fold like a lawn chair if anyone brought out the dreaded r-word against him.
He has stood up for free enterprise against big government, too, which is not nothing to this old Thatcherite. No, not one of the worst.
The trouble has been that Cantor has no grasp of the National Question, no appreciation of the importance of national sovereignty. He is, not to put too fine a point on it, an immigration romantic — your tired, your poor, your huddled masses, that whole deal. It didn't make a whole lot of sense a hundred years ago; it makes none at all now, when we have all the tired, poor, and huddled we can cope with, and fast-dwindling demand for unskilled labor.
Cantor's immigration romanticism made him an easy catch for the more unscrupulous players in our private economy, the cheap-labor and open-borders lobbies: U.S. Chambers of Commerce, Business Round Table, Big Agriculture, the hotel and casino lobbies, and so on — what some of my friends over at VDARE.com refer to unkindly as the Slave Power.
It also made him an easy target for his primary opponent, an intelligent and personable chap named David Brat, a lecturer in economics but — and if you mix much with economists you'll understand that "but" — but definitely not an immigration romantic. Brat ran ads showing Cantor cozying up to Slave Power principals like Mark Zuckerberg. The news cycle helped out with pictures of Guatemalan and Salvadoran peasants flooding across our undefended southern border, and Cantor lost his primary with only 44 percent of the vote against Brat's 55 percent.
This was in spite of Cantor's having outspent Brat by a factor of forty to one. I occasionally get emails from people who've tried running for office on a conservative platform. "We were outspent," they tell me. "In politics today, nothing matters but money." I intend no disrespect to these people, and I'm sure that what they say is all too often true. Tuesday's result shows that it's not always true, though; and that's a thing I am very glad to know.
A single non-crazy opponent with a clear, strong message; an open vulnerability in the incumbent on a topic that matters to working- and middle-class Americans; a little help from the news cycle; and the Slave Power can be beaten.
I wish I could also gloat over the South Carolina Republican Senatorial primary, but I can't. The loathsome, reptilian incumbent Lindsay Graham, an even more flagrant shill for the Slave Power than Eric Cantor, won that primary, though with a lackluster 56 percent of votes cast. The other 44 percent was split among six challengers, none of them as smart and focused as David Brat, although challengers Lee Bright and Richard Cash said sensible things about illegal immigration.
So we win one, we lose one; but we won a big one, knocking Cantor off his perch, and I'm gloating.
The Talibans will head back to join their comrades in the fight to take over Afghanistan, a thing they will likely accomplish about a week after our forces leave at the end of next year. Sgt. Bergdahl's future plans are not known. This week he was flown back to the U.S. for more rehabilitation at a military hospital in Texas.
This week's jihadi triumphalism, by one of those symmetries that make a commentator's life easier, was the sweeping victories in Iraq by ISIS, a jihadi outfit advertised as a meaner, less compromising faction than the timid milquetoasts of al Qaeda. ISIS stands for Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.
If you're not up on the geography here: Syria stretches eastward from he top right-hand corner of the Mediterranean, Iraq is the next country to the east, and the northern borders of the two countries form the southern land border of Turkey. Anyone controlling Syria and Iraq, or even just northern Syria and northern Iraq, is looking over at Turkey to the north, Iran to the east, and has a pretty nice collection of oilfields there in northern Iraq.
This being the Mideast, religion and ethnicity are in play. ISIS, like al Qaeda, is Arab and Sunni Moslem. Iran is non-Arab and Shia Muslim. The Syrian government ISIS is fighting is Arab and nominally secular, but leaning Shia. Northern Iraq is mainly Kurdish, which is non-Arab, but Sunni. The government of Iraq is Arab, but mainly Shia.
At least it is as we go to tape. The ISIS victories have been so swift and sweeping that as I speak they are on the doorstep of Baghdad, Iraq's capital. There's said to be widespread panic and there could be a tipping point here where everything suddenly falls apart. Or the Iraqi army might take a stand and stop the ISIS advance. I can't call this and I doubt anyone else can.
The symmetry is of course that Afghanistan and Iraq were the two countries we attacked after 9/11 and then got stuck in. I supported the attacks but, like a lot of other people — William F. Buckley and Henry Kissinger, to name two I can speak for personally — I assumed we'd go in there, break their stuff, kill their leaders, and then get out.
Instead that damn fool missionary impulse took over and we decided we were going to bring democracy and modernity to them. That was of course a fiasco. We left Iraq with nothing accomplished, and we'll be leaving Afghanistan with nothing accomplished. Thirteen years, two trillion dollars, seven thousand dead Americans, when all we needed to do was teach the bastards a short, terrible lesson.
Well, at least the American public's learned a lesson. What ever happens in Iraq the next few days, whatever Iran does, whatever Turkey does — there's something to keep an eye on — we won't be sending an expeditionary force over there to get involved. Any U.S. politician who voted for that would be tarred, feathered, and run out of town on a rail.
So let's watch what's happening over there with calm indifference. As Kissinger said of the Iran-Iraq war thirty years ago: It's a shame both sides can't lose.
04 — A brief introduction to Gaelic literature. The nation nowadays called the Republic of Ireland got its start in 1922 when the 26 southern counties of Ireland broke away from Britain and attained self-government.
For the first few decades of its existence this new Ireland had a most peculiar national ethos. The Irish government encouraged its people to take pride in their own poverty and backwardness, as if these were marks of virtue, or perhaps divine grace. The most extreme statement of this attitude was uttered by Ireland's Commerce Secretary Patrick McGilligan, quote: "People may have to die in the country, and die through starvation," end quote. When you consider that the great famine of the 1840s was still within living memory, just barely, that was a pretty shocking thing to say. Even Irish nationalists of the time thought it was a bit over the top.
And of course this pride in poverty held Ireland back while the rest of Europe moved ahead and Ireland's more energetic sons and daughters emigrated in droves. And, also of course, the professional revolutionaries and ideologues who were running Ireland were in no danger of starvation themselves, not at all.
The Irish writer Flann O'Brien wrote a satirical novel about this period. He wrote it in Gaelic, with the title An Béal Bocht, which means "the poor mouth." This is an idiom in Irish. "Putting on the poor mouth" means talking up your own poverty for moral or financial advantage.
It's a charming little book, if you don't mind satire. The narrator describes one character thus, quote: "He possessed the very best poverty, and hunger and distress also," end quote. If you like your books to have some uplift, though, I'd better emphasize that this is dark satire, of a very Irish type. Patrick Power, the translator, says in his preface to the English edition that, quote: "The key-words in this work are surely 'downpour,' 'eternity,' and 'potatoes' set against a background of squalor and poverty," end quote.
Well, that's probably more about modern Gaelic literature than you wanted to know. What brought it to mind was a news story this week about our own dear Hillary Clinton. Next segment.
05 — The Poor Mouth. Mrs. Clinton is on a book tour. One of her promotional stops was an interview with Diane Sawyer at ABC News. In the course of the interview, Mrs. Clinton extruded the following, quote:
We came out of the White House not only dead broke, but in debt. We had no money when we got there, and we struggled to, you know, piece together the resources for mortgages, for houses, for Chelsea's education. You know, it was not easy. Bill has worked really hard — and it's been amazing to me — he's worked very hard. First of all, we had to pay off all our debts, which was, you know, he had to make double the money because of obviously taxes and then pay off the debts and get us houses and take care of family members …
End quote. Talk about putting on the poor mouth for moral advantage! Where do I start with that?
First off, the reason they were in debt was legal fees occasioned by Bill Clinton's gross misbehavior — lying under oath, that kind of thing.
Second, those legal fees of about twelve million dollars were mostly covered by a Legal Defense Fund that the Clinton's rich pals set up for them. The fund had brought in more than eight million by early 2001, so Bill and Hill only had to find four million. Since Hillary had already secured an eight million book advance, this wasn't actually much of a problem. Oh, did I mention that Bill also got a nice big publisher's advance for his own book? — fifteen million dollars reportedly.
Third, notice that plural on "houses." Re-quote: "we struggled to, you know, piece together the resources for mortgages, for houses," end quote. One of those houses, in Washington's tony Georgetown, was worth nearly three million dollars at the time, and is worth twice that now.
Fourth, note the tribute to how hard Bill Clinton has worked. Re-quote: "It's been amazing to me — he's worked very hard," end quote. She is speaking of a man who has never in his life done anything that you or I would recognize as work, only skated and floated and schmoozed his way along on a set of, I'll grant, very superior social skills. Of Hillary you can't even say that much: the only reason anyone's even heard of her is, she's married to him.
Fifth, Hillary didn't exactly leave the White House not knowing where her next crust of bread would be coming from. She'd been elected a U.S. Senator, salary at that time $145,000 per annum, plus of course lavish benefits, expenses, and opportunities to grant favors to wealthy donors and corporations.
Finally, again according to the Washington Post, the Clintons have made — I refuse to say "earned" — they've made about $100 million this past fourteen years. Hillary charges $200,000 and up for a speech. And try listening to one of her speeches. I mean, try staying awake through one.
And here's Hillary putting on the poor mouth, so that the working stiffs of America — the waitresses and mechanics, the bookkeepers and nurses, the cops and cabin attendants — will feel she's one of us and vote her into the Presidency.
The astonishing thing is, we just might. A Gallup poll conducted in the first week of June showed 54 percent of Americans having a favorable opinion of the lady. That's down five points since February, but there's plenty of time for her to bounce back before 2016.
Democracy, gotta love it.
06 — The way we were. Not so very long ago things were quite different. I have seen it computed somewhere that the average 19th-century President was poorer four years after leaving office than he had been when he came in.
Here I shall fall back on a quote from my epochal best-seller We Are Doomed, Chapter 12, quote:
When Harry Truman left office in 1953, he had no income but his army pension of $112.56 a month. He had to take out a bank loan while negotiating a deal to write his memoirs. That was the way of things all over the Anglosphere. It was part of the tradition of modest Anglo-Saxon government. When Bob Menzies, Australia's longest-serving Prime Minister, left office in 1966 after 18 years in power, having given up a lucrative legal career for politics, he could not afford to buy a house in Melbourne. (Some wealthy supporters eventually put up funds for a house in a respectable suburb.) As late as 1980, I am told, the Prime Minister of New Zealand had his domestic telephone number listed in the phone book. Farmers used to call him up and grumble about the price of sheep dip.
End quote. Just savor that phrase: "the tradition of modest Anglo-Saxon government." Roll it around on your tongue a little. Then, weep for what we have lost.
07 — Human Nature 101. We live in a peculiar age, a span of history in which the most obvious and commonplace observations about human nature may not be spoken aloud.
Mao Tse-tung believed that human nature did not in fact exist, and that the people of China were, quote, "a clean white sheet of paper on which the most beautiful words can be written." In this regard the ruling elites of the Western world — the media, educational, business, and political elites — are all Maoists, and insist that we must be too.
The strongest taboo of all, as writer Nicholas Wade has been discovering this past few weeks, is against any notion that human nature might differ statistically between the different races — the big old inbred populations that have developed in different parts of the Earth's land surface this past fifty thousand years. It's obvious to anyone who moves around much in the world that there are such differences. They are slight and statistical with lots of overlap, but it's hard not to notice them.
Where differences in behavior, intelligence, and personality are concerned, one naturally wonders whether there is some underlying biological reason for them, or if they're just a matter of custom, upbringing, and education.
In fact there is no cause to wonder: We now have a mass of evidence that, yes, biology plays a part. Most of this evidence is from studies of heritability. You can eliminate custom and upbringing by comparative studies of twins raised together or apart, ordinary siblings raised together or apart, adoptees, and so on.
All that work's been done and the results are indisputable: wellnigh any trait of behavior, intelligence, and personality you can name is to some degree heritable, often to a high degree.
Since these traits are heritable, you'd expect that they'd show different profiles for different races, since races are after all just old, localized inbreeding groups.
Also since they're heritable, they are presumably genetic, since genes are the basic mechanism of inheritance. This is getting less "presumably" by the hour, as our understanding of the human genome improves.
I refer you, as a random example, to the May 10th issue of The Economist, page 77, headline The 3% solution, subheading: "A potent source of genetic variation in cognitive ability has just been discovered."
Yep, it's a gene, name of KL, located on the long arm of chromosome 13, from base pair 33,016,062 to base pair 33,066,144. What KL does is, it codes up a protein called alpha-klotho, which regulates phosphate levels in our cells. One particular flavor of the gene, KL-VS, promotes longevity. Other things equal, persons with that variant of the gene live longer.
Some researchers in California were looking at KL-VS to see if it might help ward off the slowing of our cognitive powers in old age. It sure might: in fact the researchers found that KL-VS boosts cognitive power at any age by about six IQ points.
I just mention that as one example. There are many others, and there will be lots more to come, you may be sure. Human nature is grounded in part on cold biology. You don't have to like that, but you do have to accept it as a fact in the world, like the orbit of the Moon.
It follows, as night follows day, that on any kind of test — physical, mental, behavioral, or social — on any kind of test you give to a multiracial population, the different races will show different statistics.
That's not too difficult to understand, is it? OK, over to New York City.
08 — Maoism in New York City. New York City has of course a public-school system. Within that system are nine elite specialized high schools, in which very able kids can get a supercharged education free of charge. By New York State law, the only way to get accepted in eight of the nine is by an open competitive standard examination. (The ninth school is for music and drama; it selects by audition.)
Guess what: students from different races pass that exam at different rates. Blacks and Hispanics make up seventy percent of the relevant age group in the city; in this year's exam they only got twelve percent of the seats in those eight schools. Non-Hispanic whites are only twelve percent of New York's student population, they got 26 percent of the seats. Asians are only fifteen percent of the student population: they got fifty-three percent of the seats.
If you know your statistics, you'll know that these discrepancies are going to be most prominent at the tails of the distribution. The best-known of the eight is Stuyvesant High School, and that's also the one with the highest cutoff for admission. Stuyvesant will take in 950 freshmen this fall. Only 21 will be Hispanic; only seven will be black. Percentagewise that's 2.2 and 0.7.
This is just what you'd expect from the plain biological facts I just laid out, and the rules of arithmetic. It's the world. It's reality.
To Bill de Blasio, New York City's communist Mayor, and his schools chancellor, and the teacher union bosses, it's a scandal. The tests are biased! It's unfair! That state law needs changing!
I'm not depressed, nor even surprised, to hear Bill de Blasio channeling Chairman Mao. What does depress me is that what passes for conservative commentary on the topic is just as Maoist. Of race realism in public commentary on this, I have seen not a trace. Is it really that hard to face reality?
Apparently it is. Just as an example, here's Michael Goodwin at the New York Post, a sensible fellow and a good writer with whom, more often than not, I find myself in agreement. Quote from Michael in the June 11th Post, quote:
The right way to improve the racial balance and lift student performance is to understand how Asians have succeeded so wildly and try to duplicate it among black and Hispanic students.
End quote. Goodwin urges the other races to copy what the Asians do.
As Nicholas Wade says in his book, human beings are highly imitative. If less-successful groups could raise themselves to parity with more-successful groups by copying them, it'd be happening all over. If I could raise my tennis game to the level of Andy Murray's by copying what he does, you'd be seeing me on the court at Wimbledon next week.
Can't we get just a little bit of race realism into he public discourse? Just a teeny bit? A jot? A tittle? An iota? The merest smidgeon?
It would save a ton of money on futile social programs trying to make everyone come out equal. In New York City, it would preserve the tradition that the smartest and most industrious kids can get a first-rate high-school education at public expense.
09 — Miscellany. And now, our closing miscellany of brief items.
Imprimis: Here's a microaggression for you. Over at the commie white-hating buggery-celebrating screechy-feminist website AlterNet, a delicate little flower named Lynn Stuart Parramore found herself microaggressed by a Trader Joe's store on Sixth Avenue in New York.
Ms. Parramore went into this store to buy whatever it is Trader Joe's sells — don't ask me — and while she was waiting on the checkout line she heard the store's Muzak system playing the old Rolling Stones classic "Under My Thumb." That's the one where Mick Jagger celebrates having tamed an unruly woman: She does what she's told, she talks when she's spoken to, and so on. [Clip: "Under my thumb / The squirmin' dog who's just had her day …"]
Ms. Parramore, who apparently has nothing better to do, went home, printed off the lyrics to the song, came back to the store, and confronted the manager. "Do you think those lyrics are offensive to women?" she asked him. The manager, displaying far more self-control than I would have under the circumstances, referred her to corporate HQ. Ms. Parramore tried the numbers he gave her, but alas, could get no satisfaction.
It's not often I feel nostalgic for the sixties, but that story got me there.
Item: Another front has been opened in the never-ending war against competence and fair hiring practices. This time it's the FAA, who are in charge of air traffic control.
It's come to the attention of the FAA suits that their air traffic control workforce is insufficiently diverse. They have set out to fix that.
Here's the path to become an air traffic controller. First you get something called a CTI degree from an approved college. Then you take an exam called the AT-SAT. If you get a good result on that exam, you're admitted for advanced training at the FAA academy.
That's how it used to be. Now all that boring and biased old exam stuff has been trashed. So how is the FAA academy selecting entrants? Quote from the ABC News story:
In February, the FAA ignored the pool of applicants waiting to be interviewed … who had already graduated from school and passed the AT-SAT exam … Instead, anyone interested in becoming an air traffic controller would be part of the same pool of applicants — a combination of "off the street hires" and those with specialized education or prior experience.
End quote. This biographical questionnaire contains such challenging quetions as: "What sports did you play in high school?" "What was your least favorite subject in high school?" Well, that should sort the wheat from the chaff.
"Off the street hires," eh? Why do I suspect that the name of that street is Martin Luther King Boulevard?
Item: Finally, just a roundup of super-brief items. Last week was the 50th anniversary of the premiere of the movie Zulu; a great favorite in Wales, not so much in Zululand. A 55-year-old Dutchman has tried to climb Mount Everest wearing only a pair of shorts. He made it to 24,000 feet, just 5,000 below the summit, which is pretty darned impressive. And Bournemouth, England, is mourning the death of Poppy, the world's oldest cat. Poppy purred her last on June 6th aged 24, equivalent to 114 in cat years. Requie-cat in pace.
10 — Signoff. And that's it, ladies and gents. Things are pretty bad all over; but never so bad we can't find some satisfaction and fulfillment in our familes, work, and hobbies.
I laid some Gaelic on you back there a few minutes ago, so let's pick up that theme to see us out. Here's a fine old Gaelic folk song, rendered in this case by the Clancy Brothers. The name of the song is "An poc ar buile," which means "the mad billy-goat." And no, buile is not the Irish word for "billy-goat": buile is the Irish word for "mad." By all means join in the chorus.
More from Radio Derb next week!
[Music clip: The Clancy Brothers, "An poc ar buile."]