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[Music clip: From Haydn's Derbyshire March No. 2, organ version]
01 — Intro. And Radio Derb is on the air! Yes, listeners worldwide, this is your analeptically genial host John Derbyshire with highlights from the week's news.
First off this week we have a PSA. That's the Radio and TV world abbreviation for "Public Service Announcement." As an organ of news broadcasting to the U.S.A., you see, we are obliged by federal law to carry occasional items written for us by government agencies, for the public good. So herewith a PSA from the United States Department of Health and Social Security.
In view of the dire situation caused by the ebola epidemic in West Africa, the federal government has determined that all normal restrictions on immigration from the afflicted countries will herewith be suspended on humanitarian grounds.
OK, that's the end of the PSA. I must say, it left me deeply touched. Could I have a Kleenex there please, Mandy? … Thank you, my dear …
02 — Ebola tourism? So you're a citizen of some trashcan country that hasn't been able to get any kind of stable government or commercial economy going in 200 years of trying. Unemployment's at 85 percent, median age is 18, total fertility rate is five babies per woman, and per capita GDP is thirteen dollars a week.
Now there's a deadly epidemic going on, and the rat-infested tarpaper shack that passes for a hospital in your town can't cope. You aren't feeling too well; you think you've got the virus. Whaddaya gonna do?
Why, get on a plane and go to America! America has huge gleaming hospitals with state-of-the-art medications and procedures. It also has a welfare state, so if you can't afford any of that — which of course you can't — Americans will be only too glad to pony up a million or two for your treatment out of their taxes and insurance contributions.
And it's right that they should. After all, the reason America's so rich and your country is so poor is that Americans oppressed and exploited your ancestors and sucked away the wealth of your country. America and other white-ruled nations have committed all the greatest crimes of history, and it's only fair that they should make recompense.
I am of course speaking facetiously. I'll guarantee though, in all sober reality, that you could play back the preceding part of this segment to an average American white liberal, and he'd be nodding along in agreement. It wouldn't sound facetious to him, nor of course to any nonwhite American — probably not to our President.
It's the Narrative. It's what all right-thinking people believe. It's what your kids are having pounded into their heads at their schools and colleges, and hearing from all the TV talking heads and lefty politicians. It's what Rachel Maddow and Chris Hayes and Rosie O'Donnell and Chris Matthews all believe. It's what Hillary Clinton and Corey Booker and Luis Gutiérrez and Nancy Pelosi believe.
Hence our federal government's response to America's first ebola death, although "response" is not really the right word. "Response" sounds too deliberate and orderly. "Reaction"? That's better.
A rational response to the outbreak of a deadly incurable disease in a remote part of the world with which we have only very low levels of commercial contact would be to ban entry of people from that zone and ban travel to that zone by our own citizens.
At least one nation has indeed reacted in that rational way. That would be Israel, which has banned entry of people from the ebola zone and is refusing requests by the U.S.A. and the United Nations to send field hospitals and medical personnel there.
Our own government is far too enthralled by the narrative of guilt and moral universalism to behave in such a rational way. Exclude people from West Africa? But they're black, so that would be racism. [Scream.] Not send medical teams to help them deal with the outbreak? But that would be leaving them to take care of it themselves, thereby laying aside the White Man's Burden! Which would also be racist … or something.
Yes, it's incoherent. Our thinking about race, the way we're supposed to think about it, is all incoherent. Political correctness has rotted our senses. We are incapable of acting rationally, like the Israelis.
Hence our government's reaction to ebola — a reaction that displays all the coherence, all the organizational efficiency, of the proverbial monkey trying to get intimate with the proverbial football.
03 — Cluelessness and chaos. Yes, last week we reported to you on America's first ebola case, 42-year-old Thomas Duncan of Liberia, who arrived here September 20th on a non-immigrant visa, having told the visa clerk in West Africa he wanted to visit his sister.
This week Thomas Duncan became America's first ebola death, passing away Wednesday morning in Dallas. May he rest in peace.
We've learned more about Mr Duncan these last few days. We've learned, for example, that he likely knew he had ebola when he boarded the plane for America. At least, his former boss in Liberia and a co-worker have told the Liberian Observer newspaper that Duncan knew he was infected. The co-worker, according to this newspaper, said that Duncan, quote: "knew he was suffering from the disease and that his best chance of survival was reaching the United States," end quote.
If true, that would make Thomas Duncan the first case of ebola tourism. Whether or not he was the first instance of "ebola tourism," I'm pretty sure he won't be the last.
Thomas Duncan's story, as it's now being revealed to us, has all the qualities we associate with black Africa and blacks in general: all the cluelessness and chaos, the dependency and the entitlement, the female-run households teeming with kids, male relatives and boyfriends drifting randomly in and out.
Are those features really characteristically African? Well, don't take my word for it. There's a good first-hand description in a book I happen to own. Here the author of that book is visiting Africa. Longish quote:
I went with Auma to see the rest of the apartment, which consisted of two bedrooms, both jammed from one end to the other with old mattresses.
That's from Chapter 15 of a book titled Dreams from My Father by some chap named Bay … Bar … Ba-rack Obay … Obamm … O-ba-ama. The author is describing a visit to his Aunt Jane's apartment in Nairobi, Kenya. Auma is his half-sister. Altgeld is the black district in Chicago where he did his community organizing.
Thomas Duncan's brief stay in Dallas had that same chaotic quality. Whatever he told the visa clerk in Africa, his actual intention seems to have been to marry Louise Troh. "He wanted to marry that girl in Dallas," according to a longtime friend in Liberia.
Duncan and Troh had met when both were living in a refugee camp in the Ivory Coast during Liberia's civil war back in the 1990s. They didn't marry but they did have a son, whom Ms Troh brought with her when she came to the U.S.A. fifteen years ago, apparently under a refugee resettlement program.
According to the London Guardian, quote:
For the nine days before he was taken to a hospital in an ambulance, Duncan shared the apartment with several people including Troh; her other son, Timothy; Duncan's nephew, Oliver Smallwood; and a family friend, according to Troh's daughter, Youngor Jallah.
Sounds a lot like Obama's Aunt Jane's apartment in Nairobi.
We're not told whether the other son and the daughter, Ms Jallah, were also sired by Thomas Duncan. We are told that Ms Jallah — that's Ms Troh's daughter, paternity unspecified: try to keep track, please — Ms Jallah has four children by a chap named Aaron Yah, another Liberian living in Dallas. That's Y-A-H, Yah. These kids apparently sleep over at Ms Troh's apartment some of the time — or perhaps all of the time, who knows? You see what I mean about the chaos of these mating and parenting arrangements.
How do people live like that? Well, they do. More to the point in this case: How do they fund their medical care? That needs a segment to itself.
04 — Dependency and entitlement. The Los Angeles Times ran a story October 8th, headline: Family, friends question medical care given Texas Ebola patient.
I mentioned the dependency and the entitlement of Africa and Africans. Well, here it is.
Just to answer the question I closed the last segment with: The L.A. Times tells us that, quote:
Yah has insurance, and his children are covered by Medicaid, but Jallah does not have insurance and is worried what might happen if she falls ill.
I know, it's hard to keep track. Jallah is the daughter of Louise Troh, Thomas Duncan's baby momma. Yah is the father of Jallah's four children. Presumably they're not married, or else the insurance we're told he has would cover her and the kids, too. The kids are covered by Medicaid, which means they're covered by you and me, sucker. A little further down the story we're told that, quote:
Jallah lives near her mother and usually takes her children to Texas Health Presbyterian's emergency room for treatment.
So if you have a medical emergency in that neck of the Dallas woods, get in line and wait behind this uninsured Liberian woman and her four uninsured kids. And of course it's only right that you should, considering what your ancestors, or people who looked like them, did to the Liberians.
Thomas Duncan himself had no insurance, naturally, so like his step-daughter and step-grandkids, he got his hospital care on the public fisc.
His family aren't happy about this. I don't mean they're unhappy about being such a burden on the American public. That seems not to bother them unduly. No, they're unhappy because they don't think Duncan got the treatment he should have got. The L.A. Times quotes Ms Jallah — that's the stepdaughter — as follows:
The hospital didn't treat him right … One, he's from Africa. Two, he didn't have insurance.
Mr Yah, the father of Ms Jallah's four children, chimed in with, quote: "That's what everybody thinks."
I don't know if that's what everybody thinks, but it's certainly what John Wiley Price, the Dallas County Commissioner, thinks. Quote from him:
The real elephant in the room is, the man was black, he had no insurance, and therefore he was basically turned away.
Commissioner Price is himself black.
With all proper respect to the Commissioner, I don't think he's identified the real elephant in the room. I'd say that the real elephant in the room is our insane immigration policy, which admits for permanent settlement unproductive people with chaotic lives who will never be anything but a burden to the rest of us.
Here is Radio Derb's suggestion to Ms Jallah. Go the hell back to Liberia where you came from, take your kids with you, and enjoy Liberia's standards of health care.
Come to think of it, you can take Commissioner Price with you, too. That's what Liberia is supposed to be, after all: a refuge for American blacks from the cruelty and racism of white America.
With Commissioner Price back there busy commissioning, I bet they'd have the ebola epidemic licked before Christmas … Sorry, I mean Kwanzaa.
05 — What, me, worry? (cont.) Just a couple of questions about ebola before I leave the topic.
On the first question, we had an opinion from someone whose opinion should be worth something, our exciting new Secretary of Health and Human Services Sylvia Burwell. Quote from her on Thursday, quote:
We had one case and I think there may be other cases, and I think we have to recognize that as a nation.
As I've already observed, if you are a West African who'd like to get away from the ebola zone, your best bet is to get a visitor's visa for the U.S.A., which doesn't seem too insuperably difficult, to judge from Thomas Duncan's experience. My guess would be that we're in for some serious ebola tourism.
On the second question — how worried should we be? — I'd give a qualified "not very." I'm not an epidemiologist so that's not authoritative, but the handful of people I know who do have some relevant expertise tell me I shouldn't be losing sleep.
For one thing ebola doesn't seem easy to catch. For another, it's fast and lethal, which is bad strategy for a pathogen. If you're killing off your host real fast, he doesn't have time to infect many other people. A better strategy for a pathogen is to lurk there for a long time while the host spreads you around among his family and friends, then go for the kill.
So no, I'm not losing sleep over ebola. What I am losing sleep over is the sight of our public health authorities showing us how breathtakingly incompetent they are at dealing with a threat.
With this pathogen, their incompetence likely won't kill many of us. What if the next pathogen has a better strategy, though? Shall we just get lucky with ebola? But then be less lucky with the next threat? I guess we'll find out.
06 — The romance of American blackness. If, as Dallas County Commissioner Price believes, if Thomas Duncan really was a victim of white racism, then perhaps we should start referring to him as Tom Duncan. That's the conclusion I draw from the transformation of Michael Brown into Mike Brown.
Mr Brown, you'll no doubt recall, was the 18-year-old black man who was shot by a white cop, Darren Wilson, August 9th in Ferguson, Missouri. The exact circumstances of the shooting are unclear. A grand jury is pondering the case, and may or may not return an indictment of Officer Wilson.
The cultural and psychological interest of the case, whatever the facts turn out to be, is that it exemplifies what I once, in a column, called "The Romance of American Blackness."
A great many black Americans — no, of course not all, but a great many — along with a great number, probably a greater number, of white liberals are absorbed in a romance, an imaginative fiction populated by idealized villains and heroes. The villains are snarling malevolent whites: the heroes are helpless innocent blacks.
To make the romance work, the black person in any encounter with white authority must be infantilized to pump up the innocence factor, as with those press photographs of a baby-faced Trayvon Martin, which turned out to be several years old.
That apparently is what's being done with Michael Brown. Brown was in person pretty forbidding: 6 foot 4 inches, 292 pounds, and, on videotaped evidence, not averse to throwing his weight around when a convenience store clerk caught him shoplifting.
To keep the romance intact, that hulking, aggressive reality needs some cosmetic work. That's why the Ferguson protesters now call him Mike Brown. Thus, for example, a performance by the St Louis Symphony Orchestra on the evening of October 4th was disturbed by protestors chanting "Justice for Mike Brown is justice for us all" and unfurling banners reading "Mike Brown 1996-2014."
To judge from the footage on CNN the protestors were all young white people. Apparently they were all close friends of Brown, close enough at any rate to call him "Mike" instead of "Michael."
If the Ferguson protests go on much longer, I predict that Brown will be further infantilized down to "Mikey" or "Micky," to make him really unthreatening, a really plausible victim. Perhaps we shall begin to hear that it wasn't after all a box of cigarillos he stole from that convenience store, it was a bag of Skittles.
And if ebola patient Thomas Duncan gets taken up as a victim of white racism for the next spasm of anti-white hysteria, I bet the protesters will be calling him "Tom." Or perhaps they'll go direct to "Tommy."
07 — Being mean to MENA. Here's another thing to worry about, if you're the type to worry about barbarians slaughtering each other: Yemen.
Yemen is a wee country, about twice the size of Wyoming, down there on the southwestern tip of the Arabian peninsula. Land borders with Saudi Arabia and Oman, looks across the Red Sea to Somalia and Eritrea. Nice neighborhood.
I looked up the place in my grandad's 1922 atlas. Population estimated at one million, it said. "Agriculture and the production of cereals and coffee are the leading occupations." Fast forward 92 years to today: population 26 million, "highly dependent on declining oil resources for revenue," according to the CIA World Factbook.
From the same source, quote:
Yemen continues to face difficult long-term challenges, including declining water resources, high unemployment, severe food scarcity, and a high population growth rate.
It's not clear what happened to the cereals and the coffee. Oh wait … quote:
Most people are employed in agriculture and herding.
So I guess that's still going on.
Well, the news from Yemen is that the conflict between Sunni Islam and Shia Islam seems to be particularly acute there. Sunnis are two-thirds of the population, Shias one-third. The Shias feel discriminated against, and they've thrown up a fierce rebel movement, the Houthis. The Sunni majority has enlisted al Qaeda to help put down the rebels; and of course neighboring powers are stirring the pot — Iran on the side of the Shia Houthis, Saudi Arabia on the side of al Qaeda and the Sunnis.
This week there was an atrocity in the capital city. Houthis had gathered for a demonstration in the main square; a suicide bomber, presumably al Qaeda, detonated himself, and 47 people were killed.
Why should we care about this? I'm not sure that we should. Yemen's an insignificant place, and obviously a total no-hoper so far as any kind of national harmony or success is concerned. Just another Islamic hell-hole, in other words. Total fertility rate is over 4 children per woman, so the present 26 million should get up to around two hundred million in another 92 years; except that of course it won't, as there isn't enough food, water, fertile land, or work for the current population.
And that's just one little corner of the hopeless mess that is the Muslim Middle East — or MENA, as it is now fashonable to say: Middle East and North Africa.
The key word there is "hopeless." I'm nursing some guilt there, as I once did have hope we could do something to improve the place. That was why I supported the Iraq War. Now, eleven years on, I admit I'm sadder and wiser.
There's a school of thought that says the Muslims were OK under dictators. Saddam kept the lid on things in Iraq, Hafez al-Assad in Syria, Mubarak in Egypt, Gaddafy in Libya — and, yes, Saleh in Yemen, who had a walk-on part in my magisterial best-seller We Are Doomed: Reclaiming Conservative Pessimism. If we'd just left the dictators in place, says this school of thought, things would have stayed pretty stable.
Well, maybe. For sure, things could hardly be worse than they are. Syria's still a dictatorship, though, and that isn't working out too well. Neither is Yemen.
Over at the neocon school of thought, Victor Davis Hanson recently wrote a column saying things would be better in Iraq at least if we'd kept a big force there instead of pulling out in 2011. Hey, says Hanson, it worked for Germany and Japan after WW2.
Sure it did: but Germany and Japan weren't Muslim peasant societies, and we didn't turn Iraq's cities into heaps of smouldering rubble.
There's another school of thought you find on comment threads to news stories about MENA. This one says that in each conflict in the region we should always funnel arms to the weaker side. That way the violence will keep going until populations in the region are back down to what they were in my grandad's atlas.
That is of course a shamefully cynical point of view. Shameful, shameful. There has to be some other, more humane approach. I'm sure someone will come up with one soon. Real soon.
08 — Miscellany. And now, our closing miscellany of brief items.
Imprimis: Goddard College is a private liberal arts college in Vermont, and now also in Washington State, billing itself as "low residency" and "experimental," which apparently means students don't have to show up much, they design their own curriculums, don't get graded, and graduate in subjects like Community Education, Sexual Orientation, and Transformative Language Arts.
Pretty nice, if you can afford to spend four years contemplating your navel and aren't worried about getting an actual job.
This year's commencement speaker at Goddard was Mumia Abu-Jamal, who is currently serving a life sentence without parole for the 1981 murder of police officer Daniel Faulkner in Philadelphia. Abu-Jamal is another romanticized black victim of white racism. There is no doubt that he murdered officer Faulkner, but he's played the white guilt game very skilfully and is the darling of halfwit white liberals all over the world.
Goddard says that its graduates chose Abu-Jamal as a way to, quote, "engage and think radically and critically." Well, if they'd like to hear some radical, critical thoughts about American society from a viewpoint that does not approve the killing of law-enforcement officers, I am available for speaking engagements. I can be contacted through Taki's Magazine.
Item: Where is Kim Jong Un? The pudgy dictator of North Korea hasn't been seen in public since September 3rd.
I went to the website of the North Korean News Agency to see what they have to say. Lead story for October 9th, quote: "Greetings to Kim Jong Un from General Secretary of Democratic Party of Equatorial Guinea." Second lead, quote: "Greetings to Kim Jong Un from National Leader of Workers' Party of Mexico."
Not much of a clue there, then, though at least they're still mentioning him.
The professional North Korea watchers are all over the place. Kim's in hospital with a condition arising from his weight problem. No, he's been put under house arrest while his generals engage in a power struggle. No, he himself is consolidating his power and purging his enemies. No, he and his generals are planning some really major piece of intimidation to get the aid flowing again. Who knows?
It seems to me improbable that Kim has the managerial talents of his father and grandfather. From what we know of his personality and abilities, it seems even less likely that the stone-faced survivors at the top of North Korea's power structure take him seriously. If there's any one of them with ambition, the temptation to make a move against Fat Boy must have been getting irresistible. If there's more than one, there'll be some serious bloodletting going on in the corridors of Pyongyang.
Item: Finally, congratulations to the U.K. Independence Party, UKIP, over there on the other side of the pond, for their win in Thursday's special election. UKIP now has their first seat in the British parliament. UKIP stands for withdrawal from the European superstate, a return to parliamentary sovereignty, and strong border controls.
As a matter of fact, referring back to an earlier item on this broadcast, the UKIP leader Nigel Farage has caused a fuss over there by saying that HIV-positive people should not be admitted to Britain. It sounds like Immigration Common Sense 101 to me, but of course the homosexual lobbies are screaming and fainting at the suggestion.
One of their spokescritters said, quote:
The idea that having HIV should be used as a black mark against someone's name is ridiculous, and shows an outrageous lack of understanding of the issue.
How about the idea that a nation with a socialized health service should not make its taxpayers fund expensive treatments for foreign moochers?
Anyway, congratulations to Nigel and his party. Not only did they take that parliamentary seat from the Tory Party by a landslide, they came within a few hundred votes of taking a seat from the Labour Party in another by-election held on Thursday. Plenty of British people both left and right want their national sovereignty back and the nation's borders controlled.
There's a national election coming up in Britain next spring. It'll be interesting to see how the vote for UKIP goes.
09 — Signoff. There you have it, listeners.
For our closing music this week, I'd like to have another try at reviving the tradition of comic songs, which seems to have died around thirty years ago.
Comic songs used to be a nice minor feature of popular culture in both Britain and America. Over there they had Stanley Holloway and Flanders and Swann; here there were Victor Borge, Stan Freberg, and Tom Lehrer … and this guy, Allan Sherman.
Here's an Allan Sherman song I'm going to dedicate to Kim Jong Un, wherever he may be: war room, office, hospital, or shark tank.
More from Radio Derb next week.
[Music clip: Allan Sherman, "Somewhere Overweight People"]