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[Music clip: From Haydn's Derbyshire Marches, organ version]
01 — Intro. And Radio Derb is on the air! That was one of Franz Joseph Haydn's Derbyshire Marches and this is your classically genial host John Derbyshire, podcasting to you from Taki's private island here in the sun-kissed Aegean Sea.
I have to report that this past week was a simply terrible one for patriots, constitutionalists, lovers of liberty and diversity, and Americans of good sense. It was, conversely, a simply wonderful week for people who hate our country, who seek to impose uniformity of thought, who want to nullify our founding ideals, and who wage war against the plain meaning of plain words.
Where does one start? Why not with the highest constitutional authority in our land, the U.S. Supreme Court?
02 — Supreme contradictions. The Supreme Court produced two rulings that boldly contradict each other.
In one of the cases, between the state of Texas and an ACORN-type "community activist" group, the central issue was the 45-year-old doctrine of "disparate impact." This is the doctrine that says when some procedure or policy results in different outcomes for different races, the policy must be overhauled or scrapped even if there is no evidence of intent to discriminate.
If I administer a written exam to people who want to be firefighters, and whites and Asians pass the exam at a higher rate than blacks and Hispanics, that's "disparate impact" and the test must be scrapped even if there is no evidence of malign intent by the people writing and administering the exam.
In this week's Texas case, the state housing authority ran a program of tax credits for low-income housing that had the effect of making it harder for poor people — disproportionately blacks and Hispanics — to get subsidized housing in pleasant suburbs. Again, there was no evidence of intent to discriminate against non-Asian minorities; the statistical outcome of a race-neutral policy was that the Sun People got fewer desirable goods than the Ice People. The Court upheld the stupid and pernicious principle of "disparate impact," saying that intent was irrelevant.
In the other case they declared intent to be so important as to override the plain meaning of words in federal legislation!
The legislation here was the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare. The Act says that we can claim tax credits only if we are enrolled in an insurance plan through, quote, "an Exchange established by the State."
Unfortunately the Act left it up to the individual states whether or not to establish these exchanges. Thirty-four of the states have not done so. In those states citizens must have recourse to the federal exchange.
So, do they get the tax credit? The plain wording of the Act says no. This week's Supreme Court majority, however, said yes. On what grounds? Chief Justice John Roberts explained on behalf of the majority, quote:
Congress passed the Affordable Care Act to improve health insurance markets, not to destroy them. If at all possible, we must interpret the Act in a way that is consistent with the former, and avoids the latter.
End quote. So the deciding factor here is the intent of those who wrote the law, not the words they used to write it nor the social consequences that flow from it.
Do you follow?
In the large scheme of things, both rulings affirm that feelings, wo wo wo feelings, are more important than facts, logic, numbers, and the meanings of words.
The first ruling sets a stamp of the highest judicial approval on the absurd and unscientific notion that there can be no innate, general differences between races in traits of behavior, intelligence, and personality, and that all race differences in the outcome of social policies are caused by bad policies.
That notion flies in the face of basic biological facts; indeed, it may soon be dispositively disproved by researches into the foundations of our human nature. It makes us feel good, though, and that's the important thing.
The second ruling defers to the probable intent of our legislators — to their feelings — regardless of the language they used to put that intent into law. So far as the Supreme Court is concerned, the Affordable Care Act might as well be written in Klingon. What matters is the congresscritters' intent — the intent that is of no importance whatever when we compile a firefighter exam or a housing tax credit program.
American civilization suffered two body blows there. We sank a little further into the giggling, fainting, emoting pit of feminized relativism. "If it feels good, do it," said the hippies fifty years ago. "If it feels good, we affirm it," said the Supreme Court this week.
03 — Hysteria of the week. The appalling and illiterate judgments just described were delivered while the nation was going through one of those spasms of mass hysteria that seem to occur with increasing frequency now, whipped up by the anarchists and fools who manage our mass media.
The spark for this hysteria was the church shooting in Charleston, South Carolina June 17th, reported by Radio Derb last week.
The Charleston shooter, 21-year-old Dylann Roof, was in the particularly American tradition of homicidal maniacs who hope, by their example, to ignite a war between the races.
John Brown was the first in this line, so far as I know. Brown directed the murder of five people in Kansas in 1856, three years before he took on the U.S. Army at Harper's Ferry. Charlie Manson, who organized the murder of seven harmless strangers in California in 1969, acted with the same intent, although this has been mostly forgotten nowadays.
Now here's Dylann Roof on the same mission. Murdering innocent people in hopes of starting a race war is a bloodstained thread running all through American history. If you will excuse me being flippant about it, with no disprespect intended to the dead, it's as American as apple pie.
As you'd expect when talking about crazy people, the contents of the murderers' minds here vary widely. John Brown was a religious zealot, an abolitionist fiercely angry about slavery. Charlie Manson drew his inspiration from the frivolous pop culture of the 1960s; if he was angry about something, other than just being a shabby loser, I can't figure out what it was. Dylann Roof is a race realist, who says he was made angry when he discovered how much black on white crime there is, and what pains the mass media take to downplay it while inflating and exaggerating the much less common instances of white on black crime.
The murderers' actions prove nothing about their beliefs, other than that lunatics can be inspired by any beliefs at all, true, false, or fantastic. Charlie Manson was actually inspired by a Beatles song. His actions tell us nothing about the Beatles or their music. Nor do John Brown's actions tell us anything about abolitionism; nor do Dylann Roof's tell us anything about race realism. Crazy people are crazy; their actions prove nothing.
That has not stopped the Cultural Marxists from leveraging the Charleston shootings to destroy more of our liberties and further advancing their project to de-legitimize America's past.
Their particular target, at the center of this current wave of hysteria, has been the Confederate flag, the Stars and Bars, which is still displayed both publicly and privately all over the South.
(It is also, I noted with interest while in Virginia earlier this month, sold in full-size versions at the Visitor Centers you find at Civil War battlefields run by the National Park Service, an agency within the Federal Department of the Interior. The current Secretary of the Interior in Barack Obama's cabinet is Sally Jewell, who is — like me — an immigrant from England. I wonder if she knows that her Department stocks and sells Confederate flags? Perhaps someone should ask her.)
What do the Charleston killings have to do with the Confederate flag? Nothing. We don't even know that Dylann Roof was a Confederate sympathizer. He had negative opinions about blacks, to be sure; but so did a great many of the people who fought for the Union in the Civil War, including some of Abraham Lincoln's top generals — not to mention Mrs Lincoln, and arguably the President himself.
We have been hearing from the Cultural Marxists that the Confederate flag is an emblem of slavery. As people have been pointing out for twenty years to my certain knowledge, and probably for a hundred and fifty, you could say the same of the Union flag. The Stars and Stripes was borne proudly aloft by slaveowners from the founding of this Republic through to almost the end of the Civil War.
If we are going to remove from the public sphere everything connected with slavery, there are innumerable statues to be pulled down and innumerable streets, buildings, parks, schools, and municipalities to be renamed, and one entire state. This is preposterous. The past was what it was. Let's learn from it, celebrate the good that was done, deplore the bad, and move to the future.
Does some aspect of the past hurt your precious feelings? Too bad; there is nothing you can do about it, until someone invents a time machine.
My VDARE colleague Thomas Meehan quoted blogger Glenn Reynolds the other day on the infantile psychology of the Cultural Marxists. Reynolds was commenting on a different topic, but his words are apt, quote:
(1) Something bad happened; (2) I hate you; so (3) It's your fault. This sort of reasoning has played out in all sorts of places over the past century, with poor results.
04 — Woe to the vanquished! Back there in our April 11th podcast I noted the 150th anniversary of Robert E. Lee's surrender to Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Courthouse that ended the American Civil War. Quote from myself:
Both commanders behaved with grace and professionalism at the surrender. I find it very moving to read about.
End quote. I followed that with a brief reading from Shelby Foote's narrative of the surrender.
A few weeks later — earlier this month, in fact — I stood in Wilmer McLean's parlor, where the surrender ceremony actually took place, complete with replicas of the tables where Lee and Grant sat.
The day before that, travelling around Virginia, my wife and I had visited Monument Avenue in Richmond, a beautiful broad boulevard decorated at intervals with fine statues. The statues are, in order from south to north, Confederate General Robert E. Lee, Confederate General J.E.B. Stuart, Confederate President Jefferson Davis, Confederate Naval Commander Fontaine Maury, Confederate General Stonewall Jackson, and Richmond-born tennis champion Arthur Ashe.
Those magnificent statues impressed on me again, as the story of the surrender had, the terrible gravity of war, and the supreme importance of the lead participants in a war behaving towards one another with proper gentlemanly forbearance, as a counter to the horror and cruelty that are inseparable from the business of waging war.
A key factor here is how the victor deals with the vanquished. The barbarian standard is the one set by Brennus the Gaul: "Woe to the vanquished!" The barbarian victor grinds the beaten enemy beneath his heel, laughing as he does so. Civilized nations have not always been above this kind of behavior, either, as the victorious allies showed after World War One, with vengeful and vindictive policies that are generally, and in my opinion credibly, blamed for bringing on World War Two.
Civilized nations are mostly better than that, though. We don't generally massacre, enslave, or reduce to beggary the nations we defeat. After the allies defeated Japan in WW2 we let them keep their Emperor even though Hirohito had been, at least theoretically, a key decision-maker in Japanese war policy. We let them keep their other national symbols, too: The national flag of Japan today is the same as the one flown a hundred years ago. Then we helped them rebuild their economy.
When the war is a civil war, a civilized tolerance towards the defeated enemy, his sensibilities, his symbols, his grief for his dead, and his wish to honor their sacrifice, is doubly necessary. Victor and vanquished have to live together as fellow citizens — tolerant of social differences, but firm in the belief that they must function together as citizens of a single nation.
Robert E. Lee and Ulysses S. Grant understood that. The architects of the post-WW2 global peace understood it — men like George C. Marshall, George Kennan, and Douglas MacArthur.
The Trotskyite fanatics who control today's public discourse do not understand it. Or rather: They understand the principle, but despise it. They represent, essentially, a regression to barbarism, to the ethics of Brennus the Gaul. For them, it is not sufficient that the defeated enemy has been defeated. He must also be humiliated, his symbols defaced and burned, his face pushed down into the mud. Woe to the vanquished!
These fanatics will not rest until all those fine statues on Richmond's Monument Avenue have been defaced and destroyed; until every street or square named for a Southern hero has been renamed for some black communist, philanderer, or crook; until every trace of what our ancestors believed, felt, and fought for has been discredited and mocked.
Just today I read in the New York Post some yammering fool telling me that Gone With the Wind, one of the best American movies ever made, from a very fine novel, should be hidden away in museums for fear it might offend someone.
Well, here's what I say to that. The hell with these vandals and their barbarian values! The Civil War was fought by Americans of courage and honor on both sides. Inevitably one side won and the other lost, so that instead of two separate nations we ended up with two distinct sections within one nation. Each can honor the valor and sacrifice of the other, without loss of face or honor.
That's how mature people behave. That's how mature nations behave. That's how Robert E. Lee and Ulysses S. Grant behaved. That's how George Marshall and Douglas MacArthur behaved. That's how Americans at large behaved until recently; until Cultural Marxism fixed its clammy grip on the national soul, insisting that all right is here, all evil is there, and all dissent from official dogma is sick and cruel.
We are relapsing into barbarism, ladies and gentlemen. The current campaign against the South and its symbols — what I call the Cold Civil War — is the manifestation of that relapse. The South accepted its fate, as defeated peoples must. Out of that acceptance came a great modern nation, the U.S.A. of the 20th century. That nation is now being destroyed by people who hate it. American patriots, and everyone who believes in civilized values, should resist that.
05 — We are so smart! So good! It's not only that the current campaign against the South and its symbols is vindictive and barbarous; it is also cheap and shallow.
Furthermore, it's narcissistic in a certain precise sense. It's present-centric. Our age, this present day, is wiser and better than all that went before. So we believe.
Well, so we're supposed to believe. I personally think this is a stupid age, an age when our society's dominant beliefs and dogmas make even less sense than is usually the case.
A comment on one of the race-realist websites caught my eye. I read it in passing, and can't recall the website or the precise wording, but it was along the following lines, quote from memory:
Our grandfathers shipped over to Europe to fight and defeat Nazism. Now, if you believe the things your grandfather believed, you are called a Nazi.
End quote. That's right. Our grandparents, to almost a man and a woman, believed in things which, if you admitted to believing in them now, you would be fired from your job and excluded from polite society.
So, were our grandparents stupid? So far as I can understand, you are supposed to believe that they were. How strange, then, that the productions of their minds were of such high quality. Just in the last few hours I have found myself discussing the poetry of William Butler Yeats, the middlebrow novels of James Gould Cozzens, and the middlebrow music of Rodgers and Hammerstein.
Shoot a motherfucker in a minute
Here is what I say. Our grandparents believed such-and-such. We are supposed to believe such-and-such. Our grandchildren will believe such-and-such.
What our grandchildren believe, with the benefit of a few more decades of understanding in the human and genetic sciences, will resemble what our grandparents believed much more closely than it will resemble what we are supposed to believe.
Put it another way: We are in the temporary grip of a collective delusion, as sometimes happens — like the Dutch tulip mania. We have mislaid obvious facts about the world — the fact, for example, that there are innate statistical differences between the major human races.
We shall eventually, with the aid of science, recover those facts. As stupid as we believe our grandparents to have been, our own grandchildren will look back on us as really stupid; and on our grandparents — the ones who defeated fascism, remember? — as eminently sensible by comparison.
06 — It's that man again. In last week's broadcast I welcomed the entry of Donald Trump into the 2016 presidential race. The grounds for my welcoming Mr Trump were, as I made clear, that he is not a professional politician. Professional politicians are, according to me, such loathsome, repulsive critters that non-politicians are always appealing by comparison.
Heck, back in 2011 I wrote a column welcoming Herman Cain. No, it's not one the columns I'm most proud of; I just thought I'd mention it before someone else did.
And for the record, most of my emailers agreed with me in looking forward to a Trump candidacy. On the evidence of my email bag, in fact, hatred of professional politicians is running strong and deep in America. Whether it's running strong and deep enough to get Trump on the GOP ticket is open to reasonable doubt; but it's encouraging anyway.
It's good to hear dissenting voices, though, especially from people who are in the same line of business as The Donald and can offer expert opinions about his talents.
I have one such among Radio Derb listeners. He took the trouble to email in with some critical remarks. I shall quote them, with his permission.
Quote, slightly edited:
It is true that bankruptcy is, as you say "a business arrangement." It does not quite follow that it is not a blot on the old escutcheon. I mean, mediocrity is a business style …
I should just interrupt here to explain that passive loss is a tax dodge you can take advantage of if you are at sufficiently long arm's length from some losing investment in your portfolio. Its advantages in the real estate market were mostly killed off by Ronald Reagan in 1986. OK, back to my listener:
That said, passive loss was a crutch and not to be relied on. Trump howled shrilly at the time, having been deft with crutches …
End quotes. My correspondent admits frankly that he himself makes money without producing anything; but adds that he, after all, is not running for President, while Trump is.
All fair enough, and thank you for the input, Sir. I am now better-informed. I shall continue to prefer Trump to the professional cockroaches, though, and not just because of my strong instinctual aversion to creepy-crawly things.
Trump has had enough worldly intelligence to make himself rich beyond the dreams of avarice without, so far as we know, breaking any laws. He is sufficiently interested in, and accomplished at, negotiating to have written — or had ghost-written for him — a 400-page book about it, The Art of the Deal. Personally I'd have trouble writing four pages on that topic.
And what is being President all about if not negotiating — negotiating with Congress, with Cabinet members, with staff, with foreign leaders? What else is it, but knowing how much you have to give to get what you want? Well, there is the dignified ceremonial aspect of the job, I guess. I don't see why Trump shouldn't adapt himsef easily to that, though, given a more modest rug and a pair of black oxfords.
And look: If I'm wrong in supporting Trump, how wrong am I? As wrong as I would be in supporting a law-school Trotskyite with zero executive experience and nothing in his head but faculty-lounge gossip and anti-white racial resentment? The American public voted that in twice. That's the bar for Presidential candidates now. Trump could get over it easily, with his feet in moon boots and tied together with duct tape.
07 — Miscellany. And now, our closing miscellany of brief items.
Imprimis: As you may have heard — on, for example, Radio Derb — they're having a nasty drought in California. The drought has, of course, absolutely nothing to do with the fact that California's population has doubled since 1970, mainly because of mass immigration. If you were to suggest that, you would be a hateful person.
The drought could generate some unfortunate side-effects. Here's one of them, from Bloomberg Business News, June 23rd, headline: Drought May Prompt Californians to Let Personal Hygiene Slide.
The idea is that with the shortage of water getting acute, residents of the Golden State are not going to wash themselves as much.
Why is this in the business news? Because people who read the business news want to know which companies will prosper and which falter. Companies like Procter & Gamble will falter if people buy fewer personal hygiene products; companies selling cleansing products that don't need water will be good buys, see? Come to Radio Derb for your stock tips! Money talks in this world, my friends.
Business considerations aside, the decline in Left Coast personal hygiene may itself have an unwanted side effect. Heading back to Paris from the wars, Napoleon wrote ahead to Josephine: "Don't wash!" The little guy was on to something. Among the stuff we wash away in our morning shower are body secretions whose odors help drive sexual interest. If these juices are not washed away, presumably Californians will be doing more coupling. That may result in a population boom, leading to further pressure on water resources … which is where we came in.
What's the moral of this story? Sheesh, I don't know. Cleanliness is next to godliness, perhaps? Or possibly: Uncontrolled mass immigration stinks.
Item: Seventy-eight-year-old Godfrey Maclauchlan of Billericay in England, was pulled over by police for driving on the wrong side of the road. When the chaps in blue attempted to question him, Mr Maclauchlan, who seems to be an intimate friend of John Barleycorn, responded with, quote: "Stop the adjectives."The baffled copper replied peevishly: "How can we explain without using adjectives?"
I'm on Mr Maclauchan's side here. There are far too many adjectives about. Enough with all the adjectives! If you can't express yourself with honest nouns and verbs, stay silent.
For us writer types, what comes to mind here is a short story by Jack Finney, published in the Ladies Home Journal April 1948 issue. Title of the story: "Cousin Len's Wonderful Adjective Cellar."
Plot of the story: Cousin Len, who writes a syndicated column, picks up a little old antique pewter salt cellar in a pawnshop. He discovers by chance, though, that it's not a salt cellar at all, but a sort of vacuum cleaner for adjectives. If you pass it over a page of writing, it sucks up all the adjectives, greatly improving your prose style.
I can't resist a sample quote from the story, quote:
Cousin Len always waits till we're home before he empties the adjective cellar: we like to be on hand. It fills up once a week, and Cousin Len unscrews the top and, pounding the bottom like a catchup bottle, empties it out the window over Second Avenue. And there, caught in the breeze, the adjectives and adverbs float out over the street and sidewalk like a cloud of almost invisible confetti … Most of the time the adjectives and adverbs simply drop into the gutters and street, and disappear like snowflakes when they touch the pavement. But occasionally, when we're lucky, they drop straight into a conversation …
End quote. Every professional writer nurses the suspicion that his work would be improved if he could just get his hands on one of those adjective cellars. Politics surely could — a point the short story makes very wittily. Police work, too, at least in the opinion of Mr Maclauchan and me.
The peelers of Billericay, however, were not interested in exploring the virtues of different parts of speech. Mr Maclauchlan has been fined $400 and banned from driving for 12 months.
Item: Finally, headline of the week, also from the crime blotter: Toad Licker Is Locked Up On Trespass Charge.
The toad licker here is 41-year-old Richard Mullins of La Porte, Indiana. Mr Mullins was ejected from a bar but would not leave the parking lot, where he began dancing barefoot. Police were called. Quote:
"The subject … reportedly picked up a toad and was licking it prior to our arrival," Officer Vincent Bowman noted.
Mr Mullins was arrested for trespassing. The toad is reported to be in stable condition at a local Humane Society amphibian shelter.
10 — Signoff. That's it, ladies and gentlemen. Way over time, as usual. I can only thank you for listening and promise you that there will be more from Radio Derb next week.
Franz Joseph, where are you? Ah, there you are …
[Music clip: From Haydn's Derbyshire Marches]