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[Music clip: From Haydn's Derbyshire Marches, organ version]
01 — Intro. And Radio Derb is on the air! Yes listeners, this is your languidly genial host John Derbyshire with a survey of the week's events.
Much to cover this week, so let's plunge right in.
02 — People shooting rockets. I should say something about the week's two big foreign news stories: Israel's incursion into the Gaza Strip, and the pro-Russian rebels in Ukraine shooting down a civilian airliner on its way from Amsterdam, Holland to Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia.
My commentary here will be brief and listless, though. On the Gaza thing, I can't see what else the Israelis are supposed to do when the elected government of Gaza is firing rockets at them.
My preferred solution for Gaza would be to give it back to Egypt, who had it up to 1967, but of course the Egyptians don't want the stinking place, any more than Jordan wants the West Bank back. Palestinian Arabs are just a damn nuisance, everyone's got that figured out.
So on we go with another round of rockets and retaliatory incursions. Anti-Israel friends tell me Israel could solve the problem by giving up occupied territory. Excuse me? They gave up all their occupied territory in Gaza nine years ago; much good it did them.
This Arab-Israel thing is a permanent feature of the world. It will just go on for ever, like the weather. What's the point of talking about it?
I'm no more engaged with the Ukraine and its troubles. What's going on there? I've totally lost track. Is it any of our business? I can't see it. Let 'em fight.
And since they are fighting, isn't it kind of dumb to route civilian planes over Ukrainian air space? With no offense to anyone, and proper sympathies for the bereaved, Malaysian Airlines isn't looking too good right now. Paraphrasing Oscar Wilde: To lose one plane might be misfortune, to lose two looks very much like carelessness.
There, I covered the week's major foreign news stories. I realize this wasn't high-grade, Thomas Friedman level commentary, but it's the best I can do with topics that make my eyes glaze over. Let's move hastily on to topics that don't.
03 — Upside to the border crisis. This latest invasion across our southern border has a modest upside.
Not that it isn't a terrible thing in itself. It is a terrible thing that our own elected leaders should be so heedless of the national interest, so indifferent to the welfare of their own citizens, so flagrant in their refusal to enforce the people's laws, as to tolerate and even facilitate the invasion by tens of thousands of unwanted foreigners.
In condemning our leaders you can actually go beyond "tolerate" and "facilitate": It's possible the whole thing was planned. We don't know this, so it's speculation at the moment; but we do know that Cultural Marxists are capable of such a thing. One of the advisers to British Prime Minister Tony Blair revealed five years ago that the great wave of mass immigration into Britain during the early 2000s had been deliberately engineered by Blair and his extreme-Left colleagues to, quote, "rub the Right's nose in diversity." That Obama and his people, who hate their nation as presently constituted even more than the Blairites hated traditional Britain, that these leftists would take up some similar strategy is by no means improbable.
The modest upside I mentioned is that in doing so, the extreme Left may have over-reached itself. They seem to have done a thing I once wrote could not be done: they have got great masses of ordinary Americans thinking and talking about immigration.
So now I'm reading headlines like this one in the Washington Times: Illegal immigration crisis poses quandary for Democrats, and this one from the Gallup Poll: One in Six Say Immigration Most Important U.S. Problem, and this one from a different polling outfit, Rasmussen: Most Voters Want to Send Latest Illegal Immigrants Home ASAP.
Even official conservatism is getting on board in its timid, hesitant, race-shy way. See for example Kevin Williamson's July 13th piece "How to think about immigration" at National Review Online.
That's encouraging. When I was working at National Review part of the four-year presidential election cycle was that aspiring Republican candidates would drop by at the office to give us some face time. We'd all sit around a table in the library with the candidate and ask him policy questions. Mitt Romney, Rand Paul, Newt Gingrich, even that black guy — I've forgotten his name — who used to run the pizza chain, but got caught with his shirt-tail hanging out, they all dropped by.
It was always the case at these meetings that I would be the one to ask about the candidate's position on immigration. Always: nobody else ever raised the topic. When I raised it, the other National Review staffers would roll their eyes or look embarrassed. It just wasn't a respectable subject. I was considered a bit of a bomb-thrower for even wanting to talk about it.
The responses I got from the candidates were of course ignorant — when not plain nonsensical, like Gingrich's scheme to outsource immigration enforcement to American Express, which I first heard from Gingrich's own fleshy lips across the library table at National Review.
It was eye-opening, just how little these supposed masters of policy knew about U.S. immigration and how obviously unwilling they were even to begin thinking about it. I might as well have been asking them about conjugation of verbs in ancient Sanskrit.
If you ever find yourself falling into the way of thinking that these people we trudge out to vote for every four years are philosopher kings, let me tell you: Just sit at a table with one of them and ask him about immigration policy. That'll cure you.
And before they started talking gibberish they would always lead off with some ritual incantation about how wonderful immigration is, how they totally support it and love immigrants, how we are a nation of immigrants, and so on. The most effusive in this regard, I remember, were Chris Christie and Mitt Romney. As an immigrant myself, I suppose I should have been flattered; but how in fact it used to affect me was, that a minute or so into the gibberish the little Charlie Brown inside my head woke up and started saying: "Good grief!"
I never saw any awareness from any of these political panjandrums that immigration is just a policy, like farm price supports or diplomatic relations with Cuba: just a topic where we need to figure out the best laws to have for the security and prosperity of our citizens, and then the best way to enforce those laws. Nope: Immigration wasn't policy: It was emotionally loaded, like private bodily functions. Nice people didn't talk about it.
Well, now Americans are talking about it, and the politicians are scurrying around trying to look as if they have ideas, which they mostly don't. It would be amusing to watch, if the demographic future of our country, and the principle of fair laws fairly administered, were not such desperately serious matters.
04 — Go, Bulgars! Continuing the immigration theme: Back in our June 21st broadcast we had an item on Bulgaria. The story was that the Bulgars were getting floods of illegal aliens from Africa and the Middle East coming in across their border from Turkey. The illegals were not Turks; Turkey was just waving them on through, as Mexico does with our illegals from Central America. Bulgaria was in trouble with the Human Rights busybodies for pushing the illegals back into Turkey.
Well, here's an update on that, from Reuters, July 17th, headline: Bulgaria's fence to stop migrants on Turkey border nears completion.
Yep: The Bulgars have built a fence along their border to stop unwanted foreigners coming in. How evil is that?
Quote from the Reuters story, quote:
Bulgaria has largely completed the construction of a 21-mile barbed wire fence at the border with its southeastern neighbor Turkey as it tries to cope with asylum seekers, its defense minister said on Thursday.
End quote. "Asylum seekers" is Euro-speak for "illegal aliens."
Now you may say that 21 miles is not a whole lot of border fence to build; that our southern border, at 1,940 miles, is 92 times as long. That is true. It is also the case, however, that Bulgaria is the poorest country in the European Union, with a GDP of just $105 billion. If our GDP were 92 times that, the expense would be a wash. In fact our GDP, at $16.7 trillion, is a hundred and fifty-nine times Bulgaria's. So the expense is not just a wash, it's a power wash. They just have better national leadership than we do.
Let me say that once again, slowly: Bulgaria has better national leadership than we do. Go, Bulgars!
By defending their country against invaders in this way, the Bulgars are of course getting themselves into trouble with the high priests of political correctness, in this case the United Nations. Another quote from the Reuters report, main quote:
The United Nations' refugee agency UNHCR has repeatedly appealed to the Balkan country to have an "open door policy" and has expressed concerns about pushbacks at the border with Turkey.
End inner quote, end main quote. Just a couple of points with that: First, these illegals are coming in from Turkey, where there is no war or persecution. In fact, with a GDP per capita of $15,300 as against Bulgaria's $14,400, Turkey is six percent more prosperous than Bulgaria, and thus better able to take care of these people, if they need taking care of.
Second, Turkey's a Muslim country, and most of these illegals are Muslims. Bulgaria is not a Muslim country, and in fact has very good historical reasons to not want Muslims settling on its territory. The phrase "Ottoman Empire" mean anything?
In the proper spirit of Islamic brotherhood, the Turks should take care of their brother Muslims. If the numbers are so great that this is a burden, they should appeal to their fellow Muslim nations, of which there are fifty-something, to help out. Looking up the tables for GDP per capita just there, I noticed that at the very top of the list is Qatar, GDP per capita $102,000 — almost twice the figure for the U.S.A. There you go, ask Qatar to take a few thousand.
All right, Qatar's a small place, but it's not that small — forty-five hundred square miles, almost as big as Connecticut. I bet Connecticut's slated to get a few thousand of these teenage gang-bangers — sorry! sorry! I mean "undocumented minors" — from our own border.
And then there's Saudi Arabia, which is as big as Alaska and Texas combined. You can't tell me they don't have room. Money, too: GDP per capita $31,000, more than twice Bulgaria's.
Come on, step up, guys!
05 — Leader of the scofflaws. As anyone will tell you, I am a gentle, mild-mannered soul who wishes no harm to any fellow mortal.
There are a small number of individuals, though, of whom I would have to say, if I were to see them doing the perp walk, or in some other posture of humiliation, the sight would bring a happy smile to my lips.
Here's one such: Jose Antonio Vargas. Mr. Vargas is a Philippine national present in our country illegally. That's bad enough: what's worse is, he's made a career out of his illegality, and made a point of thrusting it in our faces; and what's far worse than that is, the authorities have let him do it, in fact have collaborated with his open scoffing at our laws and constitution.
In a typical stunt, Vargas went down to the Texas border area where the teenage gangbangers are flooding in, in order to get arrested and thereby get some publicity for his cause — which is, to openly urinate on the rule of law.
Vargas duly got arrested by border control officers. Because of the situation down there, they are checking travelers' documents, and the only document Vargas has is his Philippine passport, with no U.S. visa stamped in it.
Disgracefully, Vargas was soon released. The Department of Homeland Security issued a statement saying they had released him because he had no prior immigration or criminal record. That is a lie, in fact two lies. Vargas's status as an illegal alien is very well known — he himself has made sure of that. As to criminal activity, as Michelle Malkin reported in one of her fine angry pieces last week, Vargas, quote from Michelle:
… knowingly broke multiple laws as an adult in order to stay in the country. After being supplied with a fake passport with a fake name, a fake green card and a bogus Social Security number, he committed perjury repeatedly on federal I-9 employment eligibility forms. In 2002, while pursuing his journalism career goals, an immigration lawyer told him he needed to accept the consequences of his law-breaking and return to his native Philippines. He ignored the counsel and instead used a friend's address to obtain an Oregon driver's license under false pretenses.
End quote. Have we really made such a fetish of immigration that hucksters like this can openly laugh at our laws? Have those laws themselves really become so convoluted that Vargas can go on playing this game for years while the courts deliberate the rights and wrongs of his case? Aren't the rights and wrongs pretty damn obvious?
The New York Times, in that word-twisting dishonest way they have, described Vargas on Wednesday as, quote, "the most high-profile leader of the immigrant rights movement." Well, I'm an immigrant, my wife's an immigrant, and several of the people we know are immigrants, and none of us is aware of being deprived of any rights.
As an illegal alien, Mr. Vargas has the right to a humane and speedy deportation back to his home country. It's long past time he was granted that right.
06 — All men are rapists! Yes, it's true: I have been reading the New York Times. It's filthy work, but someone has to do it.
Here's a story from last Saturday's edition. It's a big story, a major story — 5,300 words, seven big-spread pictures, three video clips in the online version totalling nearly four minutes of video. Headline: Reporting Rape, and Wishing She Hadn't: How One College Handled a Sexual Assault Complaint.
The college in question, in upstate New York, actually names itself in the plural as the Hobart and William Smith Colleges. It's a private liberal arts institution. The deal with the plural there is, that the place originally was two separate colleges, one for men and one for women. They seem to have pretty much merged now. According to the website, quote: "HWS now operates under a coordinate college system. All students share the same campus, faculty, administration and curriculum," end quote. So I guess it's one college that just sounds like two.
OK, so here's this New York Times story. What happened was that a freshman student, a female named Anna, age 18, after just two weeks on campus, attended a frat-house party. By her own account, Anna began the evening drinking rum in Gatorade, then switched to beer. At some point she met a senior football player. They started, quotes here from the New York Times, "grinding to the music, rubbing their bodies together," end quote.
Goodness me, where could that possibly lead? Didn't Tom Wolfe write a novel about this?
The Times tells us that, quote:
With so many students packed together in the basement, it became hot, and the football player escorted Anna upstairs, where smaller groups congregated in students' bedrooms. A friend tried to stop her, but she went anyway.
End quote. Is your sympathy for this young woman draining away as fast as mine is, listener?
Well, cut a long story short, sometime in the small hours the friend went looking for Anna and eventually found her, quote, "bent over a pool table as a football player appeared to be sexually assaulting her from behind … with six or seven people watching and laughing. Some had their cellphones out, apparently taking pictures … The student [that's Anna] said she could not recall the pool table encounter, but did remember being raped earlier in a fraternity-house bedroom."
Yep, you heard right: the young woman cried rape. The gist of the article is that she accused the original football player and two others of raping her, but the college didn't discipline the guys.
On her video clip Anna says the following thing, quote: "When I came forward I felt so good because I was told that people had my back, they believed me, and the right thing would be done," end quote. Let's pass over in decent silence the bit about people having her back … What does she mean by "the right thing would be done"?
I don't think there's much doubt what she means. She means that she, Anna, should be fussed over and sympathised with as a victim, and that the guys who helped themselves to her incontinently drunk body should be expelled from campus, or better yet sent down for five to ten in the state penitentiary.
What a crock. Does such a thing as rape happen? It certainly does: Men force sexual intercourse on women who do not want it. That's a serious crime, and of course it should be. Next question: Do foolish women get themselves into situations they later regret and try to salvage their reputations and seize a cherished victim status for themselves by blaming it on a man who was just following clear sexual signals? Yes, that also happens. Next question: Does doing grinding, body-rubbing dances with a guy, then agreeing to his suggestion that you go upstairs with him, shrugging off attempts by friends to restrain you, does that come under the heading "clear sexual signals"? I would say so.
It's in the nature of rape cases that we often don't know whether there was consent or not. Is it possible that at some point in her encounter with that first footballer Anna said: "No, no, I don't want that!" Yes, it's possible; although in a place as crowded as that frat house seems to have been, if she'd screamed it out loud, surely someone would have heard her.
But it's so easy for a vindictive woman to accuse a man of rape, and the penalties on the man are so severe, that we rightly have a very high evidentiary standard for this crime. Did Anna's claim of rape meet that standard? Are you kidding?
Young women of America: If you don't like this requirement for high evidentiary standards on a crime the conviction for which can destroy a man's life — if you don't like it, then don't go to frat-house parties, get blitzed on rum and beer, and go upstairs with football players. Listen to Uncle Derb here.
And as a social-slash-institutional matter, if all this so-called "sexual harassment" on campus is such a blight on our society, why don't we just go back to single-sex colleges? Hobart and William Smith Colleges originally were, as I said, two separate colleges, one for men and one for women. Why not go back to that arrangement, with the guys over here, the girls over there, and the two sexes meeting only at carefully-supervised social events arranged by the college authorities? Maybe it's time to admit that co-education just hasn't worked out very well.
This is the case brought by Abigail Fisher after she was denied admission to the Univerity of Texas at Austin back in 2008. Texas has a rule that the top ten percent of every public high school are guaranteed admission to the state college system. Other students go into a pool whose applications might or might not be accepted. Ms. Fisher's wasn't.
As I explained two years ago, that ten percent rule gets you a lot of minorities, but they mostly come from majority black or Hispanic high schools with low average student performance. A minority kid with well-off parents, who attended a good school — which of course means one with lots of white and Asian students — probably isn't in the top ten percent of that school.
So with this ten percent rule, minority kids from prosperous families are under-represented. How do you get their representation up? You rig the process of selecting from the non-guaranteed pool to favor minorities. Ms. Fisher was at the receiving end of that discrimination, and she's aggrieved about it.
Well, the Supreme Court punted on the case, sending it back down to the lower court of appeals for reconsideration. This week that lower court upheld the university's right to discriminate by race. Quote from them, quote:
We are persuaded that to deny U.T. Austin its limited use of race in its search for holistic diversity would hobble the richness of the educational experience.
End quote. Since there is, according to all the cultural authorities of our society, no such thing as race, it's hard to know what the justices are talking about; but the affirmative action business in general, and the Fisher case in particular, have long since descended so deep into metaphysical mumbo-jumbo it's pointless to try to make any sense of it.
Ms. Fisher, who has anyway since graduated from a different university, says that she will continue to press her lawsuit, even if it means another appeal to the Supreme Court. Lots of luck with that, Ma'am; though I would have thought that after all these decades of watching the Supremes balance dancing angels on the heads of constitutional pins, it should be obvious that the learned justices would rather have their eyeballs removed with red-hot oyster forks than be forced to a decision on whether racial discrimination in admissions to publicly-funded colleges does or does not violate the Constitutional guarantee of equality under the law.
But that's just my opinion. Other opinions are possible — an entire holistic diversity of opinions, I'm sure. Far be it from me to hobble the richness of Ms. Fisher's jurisprudential experience.
08 — Über alles. Germany won the soccer World Cup with a late goal in extra time.
I couldn't care less about soccer, but I'm always glad to see the Germans do well. It's a nation I admire, both for its tremendous historic achievements in mathematics, science, music, literature, and the humanities, and also for its present-day orderly, rational, peaceful, and reasonably free society. The German educational system, which gives proper scope to non-academic types who want to learn a useful trade, is particularly to be admired. It's far superior to our college-mad system in which vocational training is looked down on.
Yes, yes, I know: There was that spell of unpleasantness from 1933 to 1945. Nations, like people, can occasionally go off the rails, though; and you don't have to be a National Socialist to agree with British historian Max Hastings even about the world wars, quote:
What is extraordinary about both world wars is not that Germany lost them, but that this one nation — with marginal assistance from a few feeble allies — held most of the world at bay for four years between 1914 and 1918, then again for six between 1939 and 1945. I have scarcely met a man who fought against the Germans who did not emerge with a profound respect for their gifts as soldiers, sailors, airmen.
That's right. My Dad fought the Germans, and for the rest of his life admired them, which perhaps is where I got my Germanophilia from.
Back to the World Cup, though. Since I neither know nor care anything about soccer, what mainly got my attention in the news stories was the names. Any time there are Germans in the news you can get some mild amusement from scrutinizing their names. German is an intrinsically funny language, and a lot of the fun is in the names. I was just reading in Paul Johnson's History of the Jews about an 18th-century German rabbi named Katzenellenbogen, which means "cat's elbow." How great to have a name like that: John Catselbow!
Although I feel bound to note before proceeding that there never was in fact a composer named [Clip from Monty Python: "Johann Gambolputty de von Ausfern-schplendenschlitter-crasscrenbon-frieddiggerdingledangledongledungle-burstein von Knackerthrasher-appelbanger-horowitz-ticolensic- granderknottyspelltinkel-grandlichgrumblemeyerspelterwasser-kurstlich-himbleeisenbahnwagen-gutenabend-bitte-ein-nürnburger-bratwurstel-gernspurten- mitzweimache-luberhundsfut-gumberaberschönedanker-kalbsfleischmittelraucher von Hautkopft of Ulm."]
So on this German soccer team that won the world cup we have Mario Götze, the young fellow who scored the winning goal. Götze means "idol," and young Mario sure is getting idolized right now. I bet that's not all he's getting, either.
Bastian Schweinsteiger got everyone's attention. Schwein means "pig" and steigen is the verb "to mount," or "to climb up on something," so you have to wonder what young Bastian's ancestors were doing down on the farm to get a name like that. Then we've got defender Mats Hummels, Hummel meaning "a bumblebee."
Perhaps most remarkable is the goalkeeper, Ron-Robert Zieler, remarkable because Ziel is a German word for "goal." It's not actually used that way in soccer, but it gets translated as "goal," as in Nietzsche's observation that human will abhors a vacuum, it must have a goal, and it would rather will nothingness than not will: er braucht ein Ziel — und eher will er noch das Nichts wollen, als nicht wollen. Very subtle, Nietzsche; although as the great Jeeves remarked, "fundamentally unsound" …
What's that? … Oh right: Any time I start quoting Nietzsche the producer makes these throat-cutting gestures. OK, I got the message, let's move on.
09 — Miscellany. And now, our closing miscellany of brief items.
Imprimis: Quote from the New York Times — again — July 14th, quote: "After years of deadlock and division, the Church of England voted on Monday to allow women to become bishops, overturning centuries of tradition," end quote.
Well, I should think so. The last thing you want in a church, an institution dedicated to the preservation of eternal truths — the last thing you want is stuffy old traditions. Let's all be bright and modern!
I welcome this step, and I hope that the Church of England will now bring down the last barrier to a fully inclusive clergy, and start ordaining heterosexuals.
Item: The state of California of course has a legislature, the legislature has a lower house, the Assembly with 80 members, and the Assembly has a Latino Caucus, comprising 24 of those 80 members.
So far, so good. Well, Rocky Chavez was elected State Assemblyman for California's 76th District back in 2012. Shortly thereafter he applied to join the Latino Caucus, since he considers himself a Latino. They turned him down on the grounds that he's a Republican.
The Latino Caucus website tells us that they exist to, quote, "identify key issues affecting Latinos and develop avenues to empower the Latino community throughout California." Seems to me they're pretty well empowered already, what with driver licenses and cut-rate college tuition for Mexicans living in the U.S.A. illegally.
Rocky Chavez isn't very dark, no darker than a good tan. I bet he could get himself into the Assembly's White Caucus, to help empower the minority white community in California. Just a suggestion there, Rocky.
Item: And finally … what? Oh, this: A man in Connecticut has been arrested and charged with threatening and disorderly conduct after stabbing a watermelon. He'd been having some difference of opinion with his wife so he stabbed the watermelon in, she says, "a passive-aggressive manner," which she took as threatening.
This couple, I should say, is white. The media would never have dared report this story otherwise.
10 — Signoff. That's it, ladies and gents.
We'll have some ballet music to see us out this week. On Wednesday I ticked off a box in the Russia section of my personal bucket list: I saw the Bolshoi Ballet in action. I don't know how I got this far along in life without ever seeing them, but there you are.
Now I have seen them. They were dancing Swan Lake at Lincoln Center in New York; Taki very kindly flew me over in his private jet to attend the performance with Mrs. Derbyshire. It was of course exquisite. Who doesn't like Swan Lake? Here is the Bolshoi orchestra with the pas de deux from Act Three.
More from Radio Derb next week!
[Music clip: Swan Lake, Maria Alexandrova and Ruslan Skvortsov Black Swan pas de deux.]