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[Music clip: From Haydn's Derbyshire March No. 2, organ version]
01 — Intro. And Radio Derb is on the air! Greetings, ladies and gentlemen, from your implacably genial host John Derbyshire, podcasting to you from the Derbyshire estates in autumnal Long Island.
My dismissive comments about Canada last week generated a storm of outrage, little short of a diplomatic incident. I assure listeners that was not my intention. Far be it from me to disturb the long friendship that has united the eagle and the moose. I shall make amends.
Yes, in this and future podcasts I shall strive mightily to avoid giving offense to our insecure, envious, and pallid northern neighbors. I shall not mock their peculiar vowel sounds, nor shall I perpetuate the cruel myth that they end all their sentences with meaningless ejaculations, eh?
In this spirit I shall lead off this week's Radio Derb with three, count 'em three segments on this week's Canadian election. For any American readers who are still awake after that, I shall then pass some comments on our own politics.
Over, then, to the True North strong and free!
02 — Canadian politics: the primer. Obviously I know nothing at all about Canadian politics. Apparently that nice Mr Diefenbaker whose name was the only one my memory could conjure up in this context last week, apparently that gentleman has retired from politics.
So in order to make some intelligent commentary on Monday's Canadian election, I have had to fall back on secondary sources. From these researches I harvested the following five basic facts.
Thence to this week's election. It was won by Justin Trudeau, son of the aforementioned PET and his erratic wife. The win was very decisive — extraordinarily so by U.S. standards. Trudeau's party, the glamor party, went from holding eleven percent of the seats in Parliament to holding fifty-four percent. Stephen Harper's party, the Conservatives, went the other way, though not quite so dramatically: from 54 percent to 29. The socialists suffered bigger losses proportionally, from 33 percent of seats to 13.
The magnitude of the victory came with, perhaps somehow was caused by, the unusual length of the election campaign: eleven weeks! It may be that after being obliged to concentrate on national politics for such a length of time, Canadian voters were determined to give a decisive result so that the politicians would not trespass upon their attention for several more years.
So much for the result. Let's take a look at the reaction.
03 — Hope and change. Justin Trudeau is younger than his Dad was on first taking power, and even better-looking. I was not the least bit surprised to see the New York Times run a post-election op-ed with the title Camelot Comes to Canada. Gushes columnist Roger Cohen, the author of that piece, gush:
Camelot has come to Canada. For a moment at least, the duller part of North America looks sexier than its overweening cousin to the south. Trudeau and his wife, Sophie Grégoire, have razzmatazz. The incoming prime minister is very much his father's son, a natural charmer. There's no point denying it. The American political field looks wizened by comparison.
Sexier! Razzmatazz! A charmer! Oh, hey, look: If you lived up there in the flickering Arctic twilight, you'd want a little glamor in your life, too. Tout comprendre c'est tout pardonner. Did I mention I'm having a fire sale on French clichés this week in the new Prime Minister's honor?
Every morality play must have a villain, and the villain in the Canadian election narrative, so far as the mainstream media are concerned, is outgoing Stephen Harper.
Most recently Harper had scandalized all goodthinkful Canadians by trying to prevent immigrant Muslim women from attending their citizenship swearing-in ceremonies with their faces covered. He actually went to court over this. When the court ruled against him, he appealed to Canada's Supreme Court; he lost that appeal just a few days before the election.
That wasn't Harper's only offense against all that is decent, righteous, and cringingly multicultural. His government tried to cut back on public healthcare provision for persons claiming refugee status; then, in one of the election debates, he doubled down on this hateful hatefulness by claiming that this position on refugee healthcare was supported by, quote, "new and existing and old-stock Canadians."
"Old-stock Canadians"? How hatefully hateful is that, to suggest that some Canadians have ancestors who were also Canadians while others, presumably inferior types, don't? As the aforementioned Roger Cohen said in his New York Times Camelot piece, quote:
The attempt to undermine Canadian values was Harper's — and Canadians saw through him. They rejected his crass divisiveness. Trudeau was forthright in standing up for the right of Canada's Muslim women to wear what they like. "Diversity is at the very heart of Canada. It is who we are and what we do," he declared in March.
So after nine years of groaning under the iron heel of reactionary Harperism, Canada has at last emerged into the sunlight — and glamor! — of another Trudeau Prime Ministership.
Now is the winter of their discontent made glorious summer by this sun of Quebec! (I should mention that along with the French clichés, there is a vaguely Shakespearian theme in this week's Radio Derb.)
They don't have inauguration ceremonies for the Prime Ministership, but you have to think that if they did, there'd be a flight of white doves released as the oath was sworn, and some Canadian equivalent of the late Maya Angelou on hand to recite a vaporous poem about mornings and hope and hearts and songbirds and justice and change and walls coming down and shackles being cast off and horizons leaning.
All hail, then, to Justin Trudeau, the new Prime Minister of Canada! All praise to he who vanquished the evil Harper! Glamor is back in Ottawa! No more hate, no more divisiveness! Let Hollywood rejoice! Let the celebrities converge! Gossip columnists, boot up your word processors!
Could I have some soaring chords, please? Thank you. [Soaring chords.]
04 — Aux armes, citoyens!. Opinionwise, there have of course been contrary points of view on Justin Trudeau's victory.
Among the tiny number of Canadians I know who share my own political inclinations, there is despair. That is understating the matter, in fact; these people are hurling themselves from high windows.
Kathy Shaidle has not gone to those extremes, but declares herself, quote, "dizzy and nauseous." Further quote from Kathy's commentary at Taki's Magazine, quote:
Justin Trudeau is often compared to Barack Obama, but, particularly in terms of both achievement and testosterone levels, Justin Trudeau makes Barack Obama look like Teddy Roosevelt.
Enough of this second-hand stuff, though. What does Radio Derb think, after so many grueling hours of reading and research?
Ever charitable as I am well known to be, and having found Canadians on their home tundra to be pleasant and hospitable souls, I'm going to give them the benefit of the doubt and assume that what we see in this election result is nothing more alarming than human nature's dislike of stasis.
A great Frenchman said, quote:
I have discovered that all human misery comes only from this, that we are incapable of staying quietly in a room.
Just so: and the political forms of human misery, perhaps not all but a great many of them, arise from the restless feeling that we've had enough of this, let's now try that.
I surmise that Canadians, after nine years, have had enough of the stodgy virtues — of fiscal restraint, assimilation to a common culture, respect for a nation's founding stock, and what Roger Cohen sneers at as, quote, "Harper's weird Canadian unilateralism," by which I think Cohen means patriotism — after nine years Canadians have had enough of that gray dull stuff. They want some glamor; they want some sexiness; they want charm; they want some … what's the word there? … razzmatazz, they want razzmatazz.
Well, I hope they get it, good and hard.
And let's at least acknowledge, to their credit, that Canadians have come a long way politically this past two hundred years. This thought was inspired by the following circumstance.
I mentioned in last week's podcast that the Derb family's travels by automobile around Canada's Atlantic provinces earlier this month were both enlivened and improved by Prof. Desan's lectures on the French Revolution.
By the time we returned home we were only halfway through the 48-lecture course. I have been pressing on with it in the days since. At the time the Canadian election results were coming through, it happened that I was listening to Lecture 34, which covers relations between revolutionary France and the young U.S.A.
One of the players here was a French gentleman named Edmond-Charles Genêt. Genêt was appointed ambassador to the U.S.A. in 1793 by the revolutionary French government. Now, France was at that time at war with both Britain and Spain. Britain held Canada; Spain held Louisiana and Florida. Part of Genêt's mission was to stir up rebellion in these places against the British and the Spanish, France's enemies, with help from the U.S.A. if he could get it.
He couldn't, and his attempts to do so turned into fiasco. He was recalled to France. This was just at the point in the terroristic phase of the French Revolution when, as was famously said, the Revolution was devouring her children. As one of those children, Genêt didn't fancy his chances back in France, so he applied to the U.S. government for asylum. Grudgingly, it was granted, and Genêt lived out his days as a gentleman farmer in New York State.
For a while there, though, Genêt had been hopeful of fomenting rebellion against the British Crown in Canada. Here is the relevant passage from Professor Desan's lecture, quote:
[Clip: Genêt had also sent an agent to Canada to carry revolutionary manifestos against the despotic British king. But that agent reported back that the Canadians were, quote, "plunged in thick shadows of ignorance and slavery." They were not ready for "the bright noonday sun of liberty."]
Today's problem is not that Canadians are unready for the bright noonday sun of liberty; it's that they may be a little too hospitable to the bright crescent moon of Islam. Justin Trudeau looks like just the guy to open up his country to hundreds of thousands of Middle Eastern moochers, criminals, terrorists, and one-woman baby factories. Canadian conservatives, to your battle stations!
05 — Swiss slide right. You lose some, you win some. Canada took a step backwards from sovereignty, demographic stability, and cultural integrity this week; but the week's other election result was more encouraging.
That was the election held in Switzerland last Sunday, the day before the Canadian poll. The Swiss have been sitting up there in their Alpine fastnesses watching the floods of illegal aliens from Africa and the Middle East pouring into southern Europe and surging across the continent, egged on by foolish politicians in Germany and Scandinavia. They do not like what they are seeing.
So they gave an electoral success to the Swiss People's Party, the SVP, which favors demographic stability and restrictions on immigration. Switzerland's conventionally center-right Liberal Party also improved its vote share, causing Swiss commentators to speak of a "Rechtsrutsch" — a slide to the right. "Rechtsrutsch" — you try saying that after a couple of shots of Old Crow.
(In parentheses here, I should explain that Switzerland's Liberal Party is not, as is Canada's, a glamor party. The Swiss don't do glamor. True, there are some glamorous places in Switzerland, like Gstaad, but they're full of foreigners. The last Swiss movie star you've heard of is Ursula Andress, who is 79 years old. Aside from very occasional exceptions like Ms Andress, the Swiss don't do glamor. Trust me on this, as an ex-employee of Credit Suisse. I worked with Swiss colleagues all day long. Great people — smart, hard-working, and efficient — but glamorous? Nah.)
It's difficult to make any large deductions from the Swiss case as their politics is so peculiar. They have held on tight to the principle of subsidiarity — the principle, that is, that as many political decisions as possible should be taken at the lowest organizational level possible. In American terms this would mean the federal government not making decisions that states could make, the states not making decisions that their counties could make, and so on down to municipalities and districts.
This is why nobody you will ever meet outside Switzerland, and likely a great many inside the place, cannot tell you the name of the Swiss government's Chief Executive.
And the subsidiarity principle reaches even lower down than that: Much of Swiss politics is decided through popular referendums. Famous recent examples were the 2009 referendum to ban the building of minarets in Switzerland, which was approved by 58 percent of voters; and the referendum in February last year to limit immigration, passed by just over 50 percent. Those are just examples. The Swiss have referendums all the time. There were fifteen referendums last year.
Switzerland's policies on citizenship and naturalization are likewise unglamorously sensible. There is no birthright citizenship. Unless you are born to a Swiss citizen or marry one, you have to wait twelve years just to apply for naturalization.
Even then you may not get it. Quote from the Swiss government website, quote:
Cantons and municipalities have their own requirements that must be met.
In a case that got multiculturalists screaming and fainting fifteen years ago, the townspeople of Lucerne voted no on citizenship for 48 applicants, mostly Muslims from Bosnia, while approving eight Italians.
So, as I said, it's hard to generalize from the Swiss case. Still, those of us who hope Europe might be saved from demographic catastrophe can raise our hopes a notch or two based on last Sunday's Swiss election result.
There are still majorities or robust minorities of Europeans, especially in the East, who are hostile to multiculturalism and mass Third World immigration; and they can still organize and make themselves heard through constitutional, nonviolent channels. Let's keep hoping.
06 — The GOP straddle. Meanwhile, what of our own political scene?
Before I pass comment here, permit me to cast one longing, lingering look behind at Canada's eleven-week election campaign, which the people we met up there were already complaining, around week nine, had gone on far too long. [Sigh.]
OK, down here in the U.S. of A. we are eleven months into a two-year Presidential campaign. That's the way we do it, and there's no use complaining. The Swiss couldn't care less who their top politician is, the Canadians grumble if forced to think about it for more than a month, but here we wrestle and fret and opinionate for two years over who gets to preside over one of the three branches of one of the two or three levels of government we pay taxes to. It's the American way — exceptionalism!
Significant stuff happened this week in both big parties. The Republicans are the more interesting case, though the happenings there were Congressional, not Presidential.
The GOP is a very peculiar political beast. Any big party, if it's to enjoy widespread success, needs two things: money, so that it can advertise itself to the populace, and votes, so that its candidates can get into office.
Put it another way, a party needs donors, and it needs voters. What is highly peculiar about today's Republican Party is that most of its voters want things diametrically opposed to what most of its donors want.
That's why you hear so much scornful or angry talk about "the GOP establishment." These are the party bosses and congresscritters who see it as their main job to keep the donors happy. It's hard to argue that they're wrong, as without donors they wouldn't be able to get the party's message out there.
Big parts of the party's message, though, are indigestible to Republican voters. Since they need voters just as much as they need donors, the GOP establishment is trapped in a painful and unsightly straddle.
This is the reality behind Mitt Romney's defeat in 2012. Rightly or wrongly — you'll get an argument from Ann Coulter about that — Romney was seen as an establishment candidate, so a lot of GOP voters stayed home.
The straddle failed even more spectacularly in the summer of 2014 when quintessential establishment Republican congressman Eric Cantor — who was House Majority Leader, no less — lost in a primary contest to an unknown and underfunded challenger.
The Eric Cantor story reveals the dark underside of this issue. Cantor had barely finished cleaning out his desk on Capitol Hill when he was offered, and accepted, a job with an investment bank at an annual salary of $3½ million.
That's the calculation a lot of GOP congresscritters hold in the backs of their minds. Tick off the voters, the donors will take care of you. Tick off the donors, it's back to small-town lawyering. That's why the donors win on issues much more often than the voters do. That's why the GOP is much more a donorist party than a voterist party.
And that's why we're likely looking forward to a Paul Ryan speakership in the House of Representatives. Ryan is donorist down to his Gucci loafers. Breitbart.com ran a withering piece about this on Wednesday this week. Sample quote:
On two of the issues of immense importance to GOP voters — trade and immigration — polling from the Pew Research Center shows that most GOP voters oppose some of the key ideological stances to which Ryan is devoted …
Ryan has a D-minus rating on immigration issues from NumbersUSA, that's down in the bottom quintile among Republican House members. He has consistently shilled for the interests of foreigners and employers over the interests of American workers. Breitbart dug up a video clip from Chicago in 2013 where Ryan joined with the fanatical Hispanic-supremacist representative Luis Gutiérrez to call for open borders.
Quote from Ryan on that occasion, quote:
[Clip: America is more than just a country. It's more than Chicago, or Wisconsin. It's more than our borders. America is an idea. It's a very precious idea.]
As the late Sam Francis pointed out, the logic of that is that a native of, say, Somalia who believes in the Very Precious Idea should be given citizenship forthwith, while a U.S. citizen who does not believe in it should have his citizenship taken away with equal despatch.
Yet a person who promotes this nation-wrecking flapdoodle, in opposition to 93 percent of his party's voters, is set fair to become the next Speaker of the House. Or, if he screws up somehow and falls to a primary challenger, the donors will set him up with a nice gig at an investment bank.
That's the system we have, folks.
Oh well, let's look on the bright side: At least we shan't have to see John Boehner weeping into his hanky any more.
[Clip: Johnnie Ray, "Cry".]
07 — Hillary: it could be worse. And then, the Democrats.
This week's winner was obviously Mrs Clinton. She was a double winner in fact.
Win number one: On Wednesday Joe Biden officially announced he would not contest for the Democratic nomination.
Radio Derb cast a not-totally-hostile eye on Biden back in August. Quote:
Whatever you think of Biden's abilities, they've kept him in politics his entire adult life, aside from a couple of years' perfunctory lawyering after college. That's more than forty years. He knows the business. He knows when to hold 'em and when to fold 'em. He's a pro, an establishment pro … the anti-Trump.
Well, the guy who knows when to hold 'em and when to fold 'em, just folded 'em. It's not hard to figure out why. The fuss about Mrs Clinton's emails isn't going anywhere much. The fuss about the Benghazi fiasco was holed beneath the waterline last month when House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy made an injudicious remark about it. By Wednesday this week, when Biden made his announcement, the stars were pretty well aligned for Mrs Clinton.
They were even better aligned at week end after the lady pulled off a confident appearance on Thursday before the House Benghazi committee. Her actual testimony was the usual Clintonian array of lies and half-truths, but it was a clear win on style.
The overriding impression at this point is that no-one can lay a glove on Hillary. Her polling is way out ahead of her primary competitors, such as they are, and it's hard to see how we'll be looking at anything but a Clinton ticket next fall. She'll pick a Hispanic running mate, or a transvestite perhaps — maybe a transvestite Hispanic — to take the edge off her shamefully un-diverse married-white-femaleness, the media will fall in line, the gentry liberals will send Bernie back to Smugglers Notch, and we'll be facing the possibility of another Clinton Presidency.
Again, let's look for silver linings here. I yield to no-one in my loathing of the Clintons and all they stand for — which is themselves, exclusively — but we could do worse.
Mrs Clinton is too old to have really absorbed the Cultural Marxist vapors into her tissues. She probably knows what a lot of nonsense it all is, but nods along with it cynically to get what she wants. That's better than her being a true believer, at least. She doesn't have a racial chip on her shoulder, like Obama. She doesn't prefer Mexicans to Americans, like Jeb Bush. I'd guess she's smart enough to have learned the folly of missionary wars from the Libyan debacle.
Don't get me wrong. Personally, I'm hoping to have the opportunity to vote Trump for President. Mrs Clinton's not the worst alternative, though. I'd actually vote for her in preference to some GOP donorist sock puppet like Bush or Marco Rubio. The Republic will survive four years of Hillary.
As a footnote here: Although it didn't have more than a microscopic effect on Mrs Clinton's chances, I was sorry to see Jim Webb drop out of the race. There's a Democrat I might have voted for with something near enthusiasm. He never stood a chance, of course; but he performed a public service, hanging around like Banquo's ghost at the Democrat's primary banquet, reminding us of days past, when we had politicians who gave a damn about American citizens and American sovereignty.
08 — Miscellany. And now, our closing miscellany of brief items.
Imprimis: One of the commonest complaints I get from Radio Derb listeners is that I don't keep you sufficiently up-to-date on the Miss BumBum pageant down in Brazil.
Well, you know, Brazil's a hot country; things move slowly down there. I can't give week-by week bulletins.
I have not yet myself decided for whom I shall vote on the particular qualities being contested, but I have settled on my favorite name among these fifteen gals: Sabrina Boing Boing, representing the Brazilian state of Rio Grande Do Sul. I'm not clear if her last name is Boing Boing or if she has both middle and last names Boing, but I wish her luck in the contest.
Quote from the Daily Mirror, quote:
Bottoms are a thing of national pride in Brazil, where some Carnival beauties have been reported to get their behinds covered by insurance companies.
Sounds a lot like American politics, doesn't it? Cover your arse to get a prize.
Item: Latest word to be driven out of the lexicon: "sissy."
Well, in Britain at any rate. From the Daily Mail, quote:
Children as young as five will be told not to use sexist language such as "sissy," "cupcake," and "man up" under new Government guidelines.
"As young as five," eh? So the word "schools" there obviously includes elementary schools. First-graders will be subject to this indoctrination. The Cultural Marxists don't stop at half measures.
I'm afraid that the first thing that came to my mind when reading this story was my favorite homosexual activist from the 1990s, Luke Sissyfag. Remember him? That was his actual name, Luke Sissyfag. He was born with some other name but he had it legally changed.
Luke Sissyfag ran for Mayor of Washington, D.C. in 1994, although alas he didn't win. The latest news about him I can find from Google is that he has turned into a bear.
Changing one's name to Luke Sissyfag is an example of "owning the insult," which regrettably is now much less common than in the past. The party labels "Whig" and "Tory" both came up this way. A whig was originally a cattle rustler from the Scottish borders; a tory was an illiterate bog-dwelling Irish Catholic. They just owned the insults.
It's a shame we don't do that any more. The GOP could proudly rebrand itself the Donorist Party; Democrats could face the world boldly as the Tax-Eaters Party. There'd be a net gain in political honesty. Own the insult, people!
Now I think about it: Sabrina Boing Boing? … is she owning the insult? Let's hope not.
Item: I'm sure Radio Derb listeners all know about obstetric tourism — foreign women coming to the U.S.A. on tourist visas in an advanced state of pregnancy so that their baby will be born here. Under the current interpretation of the 14th Amendment, the infant is then a U.S. citizen.
Earlier this month a woman from Taiwan got her timing slightly wrong and gave birth on a plane flying from Taipei to Los Angeles. The plane was diverted to Alaska.
I can't find out what the baby's citizenship works out to be. It was a China Airlines plane, that's a Taiwanese company, so I think the plane cabin counts as Taiwanese territory. On the other hand, the birth took place six hours into the flight. It's a 12-hour flight, but the diversion to Alaska would have reduced that. It's possible the birth took place over U.S. territory, I don't know.
The mother was flown back to Taiwan; the baby is in care of relatives in the U.S.A. I'd say the odds are on him getting U.S. citizenship, after considerable lawyering. Whether that's so or not, this whole story testifies to the craziness of our laws on naturalization and citizenship.
It seems to me that a couple of days' work in Congress could sort this all out. Why doesn't it get done? I'm sure the Swiss would be willing to send people over as consultants.
09 — Signoff. That's all for this week, Radio Derb listeners. Thank you for joining us.
This Sunday, October 25th, is St Crispin's day. This year's is a more than usually notable occurrence of that day, as it is exactly six hundred years since the Battle of Agincourt, immortalized in Shakespeare's play Henry V.
How many of us, I wonder, would even have heard of St Crispin — actually, to be hagiographically precise, the Saints Crispin and Crispinian — if not for that publicity boost they got from the Swan of Avon?
I ask that in a spirit of smug superiority, being among those who would have heard of them anyway. The blessed martyrs Crispin and Crispinian were cobblers by trade, and became the patron saints of cobblers and other workers in leather, though probably excluding S&M dominatrices. I grew up in a shoemaking town, so we knew all about them. The local insane asylum was actually named St Crispin's.
If you want to understand what it must have been like to fight at Agincourt, I recommend the account of the battle in Chapter Two of John Keegan's classic of military history, The Face of Battle.
Keegan's account is that of a superb military historian, familiar with fifteenth-century weapons and tactics. What we got at school in England, and what Shakespeare gives, is a more partisan story, sturdy English yeomen with bows and arrows bringing down the flower of French chivalry, arrogant in their steel armor and caparisoned great horses.
Well, well; history is written by the victors, and Agincourt was a tremendous victory for England, the more so as the numerical odds were heavily against them — by two to one at least, possibly four to one.
In memory of those brave English yeomen who faced and defeated such a formidable enemy — and indeed, as Shakespeare buffs will remember, many brave Welshmen also — here is Peter Dawson.
More from Radio Derb next week.
[Music clip: Peter Dawson, "The Yeomen of England."]