»  Radio Derb — Transcript

        Friday, August 4th, 2017


•  Play the sound file


[Music clip: From Haydn's Derbyshire March No. 2, organ version]

01 — Intro.     And Radio Derb is on the air! Greetings, listeners, from your shamefacedly genial host John Derbyshire, back on the airwaves after a two-week summer break.

And yes, I am shamefaced. At the conclusion of my last podcast, on July 14th, I said, quote: "There will be more from Radio Derb next week," end quote.

Well, there wasn't a podcast on July 21st, nor one on July 28th. I mis-spoke; my brain was on automatic pilot, looking forward to its vacation. Listeners went hopefully to iTunes on those dates and found nothing there. I am sorry.

Now we are back — tanned, rested, and ready. History's great juggernaut has of course been rumbling on forward in our absence, generating news.

This week, as it happens, there's been an unusual quantity of good news out of Washington, D.C. I don't want to overstate this. It's not great, throw-your-hat-in-the-air news; but it's hopeful news, news about our government moving in the right direction.

I'm thinking of three items in particular: the President's proposed immigration reforms, a story that the Justice Department may be moving against race preferences in college admissions, and the President's order banning transgender whaddya-call-its from military service.

I can't cover all those stories in depth. I'll give over most of the podcast to the first one, the proposed immigration reforms, since that is after all the main focus of our efforts here on VDARE.com. I'll give honorable mentions to the others in my closing miscellany.


02 — The Derb Immigration Primer.     Here's the Derb Immigration Primer. I'm going to oversimplify somewhat, of course, but not in any way that's fatal to the arguments I want to make.

The basic model here is a three-layer cake: immigrants, guest workers, visitors.

So, top layer: immigrants. Here I'm using the word "immigrant" the way it's used in federal law. An immigrant is a foreigner given permission by the federal government to settle permanently in the U.S.A. He can work; he can do most everything a citizen can do — although not vote. After some fixed number of years, so long as he hasn't robbed a bank or chopped up his wife, he can apply for naturalization, to become a full U.S. citizen.

That's an immigrant, in the proper meaning of the word.

Why would we admit these immigrants? Three reasons:

  1. We don't have enough people, or enough of some category of person.

  2. We feel sorry for him. He's a war refugee, or a courageous and noble dissident — think Solzhenitsyn.

  3. He helped us out, at risk to himself, from idealism as best we can judge, in our military or covert operations abroad.

That's the top layer: immigrants. Permanent residence — the so-called "green card" — and a right to work.

Second layer: guest workers. Some kind of work needs doing; the U.S.A. has no-one that can do it; we bring in a foreigner on a fixed-term temporary visa, just to do that job. No permanent residence; employment restricted to that one job.

Third layer: visitors. Tourists, businessmen attending meetings, students in schools and colleges. No permanent residence, no right to work at all. Strictly limited term for the visa.

There you are. That's my three-layer cake: immigrants, guest workers, visitors.

There are complications round the edges I didn't mention — diplomatic visas, airline crews stopping over, and so on. That's low-level detail, though.

There's also the matter of foreigners resident here illegally, with no visa of any kind. In my book, though, that comes under Law Enforcement, not under Immigration, so I'm totally leaving it out.

The broad picture for immigration, then, to the U.S.A. or any other sovereign nation, is that three-layer cake: immigrants, guest workers, visitors.

OK, let's talk policy: my policy.


03 — Immigration: Derbian Minimalism.     The name of my immigration policy is Derbian Minimalism: "Derbian" because it's mine, "Minimalism" because, having studied the subject and grappled with the immigration bureaucracy at close quarters, I know what an appalling mess current policy is. I want to clean it up, to simplify it and make it more rational.

On a topic as important as immigration, which will shape the nation our grandchildren inherit, national policy should be easy enough for any thoughtful citizen to understand.

We are far, far from that level of simplicity, as I shall later demonstrate.

OK, the policy of Derbian Minimalism, applied to the three-layer cake.

Top layer: immigrants. I don't believe we need any. We have a third of a billion people here. That's enough. When I first came here in 1973 there were a fifth of a billion. It was a lovely country — heck, I fell in love with it. I can't see that adding a hundred and thirty million souls has made America any lovelier.

The furthest I'll step away from this position is to say: Show me, by rigorous demonstration, that we need more people. In decades of attention to the issue, I have never seen any such demonstration.

Economists eagerly tell you that more people means more national wealth. That's probably true; but leaving aside that wealth is not the sole single index of a nation's fortune, it is the case, as I've often pointed out, that Bangladesh has eight times the national wealth of Luxembourg.

The math requirement for an Economics degree apparently doesn't include the art of division.

And even if the U.S.A. does need more people, Mother Nature in her kindness has provided us with a fun-packed way to make more. We don't need to import foreigners.

I'll allow a few exceptions for permanent residence. Spouse and minor children of citizens and immigrants? Sure. Joe from Kansas City goes to Paris, meets the love of his life, marries her … hey, give her residence. Let us not to the marriage of true minds admit impediment. Solzhenitsyn? Definitely. And then, those foreigners who've helped our overseas ops, after careful vetting of course.

Refugees? No. The correct number is zero. We can do our bit to help refugees without settling them here. Muslim refugees should be taken in by Muslim countries, where they'd be happier and assimilate easily; black African refugees should be taken by the more stable, or less unstable, black African countries; white South Africans should be taken in by Britain and Holland, where their ancestors came from.

That reduces my top layer of the cake down from over a million a year to a few thousand — a reduction of around 99 percent.

Guest workers? Again, don't need 'em, with a few exceptions. The world-famous concert pianist who's invited to perform at Carnegie Hall? Sure. Let him come and take his fee. The one person in the world that's figured out the secret for extracting sunbeams out of cucumbers? Give him a one-year visa and let's take a look.

That aside, with a third of a billion people, we have the full range of all human talents already here, and should use them. We don't need Bangladeshi web designers. Let wages for web designers rise because of shortages; Americans will be flocking to design websites. It's not hard. Do we have a market economy or don't we?

So the second layer of the cake is also massively reduced, from hundreds of thousands a year to possibly just a few hundred: a ninety-nine point nine percent reduction.

As for visitors, the third layer: My only reservation here is the number of foreign students we let in. It's far too many, in my opinion.

Higher education is a finite resource; our own people should have first priority in accessing it. So I'd severely cap foreign student numbers.

Sure, the Edbiz racketeers would scream. They love foreign students, for obvious reasons. [Ker-ching.] Let the buggers scream; and let American professors teach American students.

Tourists? Businessmen? Let 'em in — with proper monitoring of exit and entry, which is easy enough to do with modern data management and personal i.d. systems.

That's the policy: Derbian Minimalism. How does it match up with current U.S. policy? I shall tell you.


04 — Immigration: Antiwhite Capitalism.     Current U.S. immigration policy can fairly be described as antiwhite capitalist. That is to say, it's an ugly blend of antiwhite ideology and the crudest kind of crush-the-workers capitalism.

Both our big political parties are on board with this. The Democrats are increasingly the antiwhite party, who see their future in bringing in more and more nonwhites to vote for them. The Republicans are completely controlled by cheap-labor business lobbies.

Antiwhite capitalism works for both parties; that's why it has a stranglehold on our national life. It doesn't work for non-elite white Americans. That's why last November's election gave us President Trump and not President Clinton.

For a closer look, I'll apply my three-layer cake model to current U.S. policy.

Top layer: immigrants. Democrats want those votes. The strategy is therefore to bring in as many as possible and get them to citizenship as fast as possible so they can vote. Pending citizenship, keep the voter rolls wide open to fraud so non-citizens can vote.

On the capitalist side, more warm bodies means more competition for jobs, which drives down wages, and it also means more customers, which pushes up profits. What's not to like?

Capitalism in this context isn't just fat guys with top hats and monocles owning factories making widgets. Refugees, for example, are big business for the refugee contractors — mainly bogus charities with impressively churchy-sounding names, stuffing their pockets from the public fisc.

Ann Corcoran's been documenting this scam for years at Refugee Resettlement Watch; go there for the unsightly details, or see our own postings on the topic.

Second layer: guest workers. This is a pure top-to-bottom cheap-labor racket, with minor exceptions like the concert pianist aforementioned.

We've been documenting this for decades: see our archives. Two years ago Michelle Malkin and John Miano wrote a fine thick book about the guest-worker scam, title Sold Out. I reviewed that book here at VDARE.com.

Third layer: visitors. Entry and exit tracking for visitors is basically nonexistent. Other countries do it — Australia has a good system — but we just don't. Millions of foreigners come in on visitor visas and just stay.

Foreign students are especially likely to do this. Quote from a Center for Immigration Studies report, May 25th this year, quote:

Foreign students are more than twice as likely to overstay their visas as nonimmigrants coming to the United States generally.

End quote.

So current policy is a lo-o-o-ong way from the Derbian Minimalist ideal. It really doesn't deserve the word "policy" at all. It's just an edifice of special-interest rackets, operated by and for the advantage of political and business elites, against the interests of the American people at large.

In the context of swamp-draining, U.S. immigration policy is the mother of all swamps. It stinks to high heaven, there are some mean scaly critters lurking in the mud, and it badly, badly needs draining.

How on earth is such a monstrosity maintained? Why doesn't this mother of all swamps just explode from the pressure of its own stinking internal gases?

The main contributory factors here are ignorance and sentimentality.


05 — Immigration ignorance.     The ignorance is willed. People — including educated and influential people, non-sinister people who are not directly benefiting from the scams — would rather not hear about, not talk about immigration. It's radioactive.

This is especially the case on the Respectable Right, whose inmates creep around in mortal terror that someone might call them racist.

Mind if I quote myself here? I'm writing on VDARE.com two years ago. Quote:

In the year or so prior to Presidential elections in 2004, 2008, and 2012, GOP hopefuls would drop by at National Review to share their thoughts with us. The hopeful would meet with a dozen or so editors and contributors in the magazine's library.

I think it was always the case that I was the only person in the room ever to ask a candidate about immigration policy. As I did so, the other staffers present would squirm and examine their fingernails. I recall thinking, time and again: "What's the matter with you guys? It's just a policy." (The hopefuls were invariably clueless.)

End quote. The Overton Window has shifted some since then. Nowadays National Review staffers write immigration op-eds modeled on what VDARE.com was posting fifteen years ago.

Ah, the melancholy of being right too soon! We're like those "premature antifascists" of the 1930s, who opposed Hitler and Mussolini before it was respectable to. Prophets without honor.

The general level of ignorance is still deep, though, even among the licensed commentariat. To those of us who have involved ourselves in immigration issues for years, the most maddening — and, to me, slightly amazing — thing about this zone of public policy is the very low level of factual knowledge among otherwise bright and influential people.

Let me give you an example. The example is columnist and Fox News talking head Charles Krauthammer.

Yeah, yeah; I can hear your eyes rolling already: cucky neocon Israel-first GOP establishment front man. Scanning back through my archived columns, my own very occasional references to Krauthammer have been in that general area, too.

Recently, though, I've been warming to the guy. In his appearances on Tucker Carlson's show, he has said mostly sensible things.

Whether this is a cynical trimming of sails or honest enlightenment, I can't say, not having paid close enough attention to Krauthammer the previous twenty years. It's a change of direction, regardless, and I'm disposed to be charitable. We are promised that more joy shall be in Heaven over one sinner that repenteth, than over ninety and nine just persons who need no repentance.

That's all kind of beside the point. The point is, that Krauthammer is a smart, high-level political commentator, with a track record going back over thirty years. Just precisely thirty years ago, in fact, in 1987, Krauthammer got a Pultizer Prize for, quote from the Pulitzer committee, "his witty and insightful columns on national issues," end quote.

OK. Here was Dr Krauthammer speaking on Fox Wednesday this week, about the President's proposed reforms of lmmigration law.

[Clip:  The pushback is going to come from the Chamber of Commerce — who I think you could appease by having a guest-worker program as Reagan did …]

So here we have a guy, a seasoned and authoritative voice in the national commentariat, who thinks it would be great if our immigration system included a guest-worker program.

I'll try to keep calm here, though the frustration level is exceeding high.

Let me quote, in as level a voice as I can maintain, from a piece I wrote here on VDARE.com three years ago. Before I get to the actual quote, some background.

The occasion of the piece was, that the editors of the New York Post had given it as their solemn, considered opinion that, quote from them, "America is desperately in need of a guest-worker program," end quote.

Having read that in my morning edition of the New York Post, I sent in a Letter to the Editor. They didn't print my letter. Always loth to let good copy go to waste, I reproduced it here on VDARE.com, with some scathing remarks about the lazy ignorance of New York Post editorialists.

So here's what I said in that Letter to the Editor, as reproduced on our website here. Quoting myself now from three years ago. Quote, me addressing the editors of the New York Post, quote:

I assume that by "guest-worker program" you mean a category of U.S. visas allowing foreigners to work in the U.S.A. without permanent settlement rights.

Our country already has many such visa categories. Under the heading "Temporary (Nonimmigrant) Worker" the website of the U.S. Customs and Immigration Service lists 21 guest-worker visa categories: CW-1, E-1, E-2 (two types), E-3, H-1B, H-1C, H-2A, H-2B, H-3, I, L-1A, L-1B, O-1, P-1A, P-1B, P-2, P-3, Q, R-1, TN. These categories encompass all kinds of workers, from seasonal agricultural laborers to concert pianists.

Why does the Post think we are [inner quote] "desperately in need of a guest-worker program" [end inner quote] when we already have 21 such programs?

End quote.

Visa categories are subject to occasional changes, so the actual number of guest-worker programs now, three years after I wrote that, may not be exactly 21. Possibly it's 20 or 23. By all means check for yourself on the USCIS website; I have no heart to do so. Suffice it to say, with utter certainty, the number of our guest-worker programs is greater than zero.

The fact that the United States has a whole thick sheaf of guest-worker programs is not a secret. Two years ago Michelle Malkin and John Miano wrote that book I already mentioned, Sold Out, dissecting the whole rotten beast.

Yet Charles Krauthammer, a very intelligent man, never heard of those programs: not the E-3 visa nor the O-1, not the P-1A nor the H-1B, none of them. Like the New York Post editorialists, he thinks it is bright and spiffy — original, perhaps daring — to propose the U.S.A. having a guest-worker program … WHEN WE ALREADY HAVE A WHOLE BULGING FILE CABINET OF THE DARN THINGS AND HAVE HAD FOR DECADES. I came to the U.S.A. in 1985 on a guest-worker visa. HEL-LO?

So there's the ignorance — widespread, maddening ignorance by people who are supposed to inform themselves on public policy.

Sentimentality? I'm using up my time here, so here's a short segment.


06 — Immigration sentimentality.     Dostoyevsky described one of his characters as "evil and sentimental." I wouldn't myself say that sentimentality is always evil, but that's the way to bet.

It's sure the way to bet when listening to immigration talk. You know what I'm referring to: huddled masses, wretched refuse, my grandpa landed with just a hundred dollars in his pocket. Famine ships, pogroms, Ellis Island … you know all the heartstring-pullers that get dragged out in service of antiwhite capitalism.

Quote from Dr Johnson, in "The Vanity of Human Wishes," quote:

How Nations sink, by darling Schemes oppress'd,
When Vengeance listens to the Fool's Request.

True enough, but it needs updating for our own time. Allow me:

How Nations sink, by Racketeers oppress'd,
When sentimental Tales the public Sphere infest.

Hence the pleasure — the ecstatic, joyful pleasure — of watching Trump aide Stephen Miller the other day make CNN propagandist Jim Acosta bend over and squeal like a pig. All that sentimentality is in service of a poisonous nation-killing scam. To see it thus exposed on national TV was just wonderful.

Immigration policy is just policy, like interstate highway management or farm price supports. It should be arranged to the advantage of the American people, coldly and realistically, not in compliance with myths and poems.

If you, my listeners, can get the Constitution changed and elect me President, I promise that on Day One I will order the dynamiting of Ellis Island. Deal?


07 — Trump's immigration bill: a curate's egg.     So now let's get to this week's developments.

Wednesday this week President Trump proposed legislation, to be put before Congress, to reform our immigration laws.

The legislation was drafted by two Republican Senators: Tom Cotton, junior Senator from Arkansas, and David Perdue, junior Senator from Georgia.

Some highlights from the legislation.

  1. It ends chain migration. At present, if you are a citizen or legal permanent resident, you can sponsor your parents, your siblings, and your adult children for permanent residence. No longer: Under the proposed reform, it'll be spouse and dependent children only.

  2. It ends the so-called "diversity lottery," which gives permanent residence to 50,000 random people from anywhere, by lottery from the millions who apply — 14½ million in 2015, the last year we have numbers for. Almost half of those were from Africa.

  3. It caps refugee numbers at 50,000 in any year.

  4. Applicants for permanent residence would be graded on a points system, with points decided by age, education credentials, English-language skills, professional awards, investment resources, and job offers.

  5. Guest workers would have to show job offers paying more than what is being paid to local Americans.

Those are highlights. You can read the entire bill at Senator Perdue's congressional website. It's called the RAISE Bill, by the way: R-A-I-S-E, stands for "Reforming American Immigration for a Strong Economy."

From the point of view of Derbian Minimalism, the proposed bill is a curate's egg: good in parts.

Cutting back chain migration to just spouse and dependent children, for instance, is very Derbish. A sensible reform. Likewise dumping the horrible, stupid "diversity lottery." Diversity, above the minimal salt-in-the-stew level, creates nothing but trouble. We already have way too much. We can't taste the stew, we've dumped so much salt in it.

There are some nits to pick, though. The refugee cap is way too high, for instance. Fifty thousand a year? Here are government figures for the actual number of refugees admitted in fiscal years 2016, -15, -14, -13, and -12, in thousands: 85, 70, 70, 70, 58. So fifty thousand is a very modest reduction.

Given that, as I have explained, refugees and ourselves are all better off if they're parked in countries with similar cultures; and given also that, as documented in detail by Ann Coulter in ¡Adios America!, the refugee program is addled with fraud, the proper ceiling here is zero.

The guest-worker reform would quickly be gamed by smart immigration lawyers, just as they have gamed the present system, where employers are supposed to show they can't find an American worker to hire. Employers go through the motions on that, but everyone knows it's bogus.

Most problematic in the President's proposal is the points-based system — giving permanent residence to the smartest, best-credentialed foreigners.

The long-term result of that, as Richard Spencer pointed out at the American Renaissance conference last week, is that legacy Americans end up working for an overclass of smart Asians. That's a recipe for racial resentment and civic disorder here in America. I mean, of course, yet more racial resentment and yet more civic disorder.

It also strips poor countries of their most talented people. I couldn't personally care less about that, but most Americans are more moralistically inclined than I am. People who claim to fret about world poverty should be asked why it's good to enrich America by making poor countries poorer.

So, a curate's egg: some good bits, some bad. Where do we go from here? Next segment.


08 — Immigration: battle is joined.     Once again: The right immigration policy is minimalist: a policy that serves Americans, and one that Americans can understand.

  • New permanent residents? Don't need any. Exceptions: spouse and dependent children of current citizens. Guys who've helped us overseas. Solzhenitsyn.

  • Temporary guest workers? Don't need any. Exceptions: that concert pianist, some world-class physicist teaching on exchange at a U.S. university. A few thousand similar cases.

  • Tourists and businessfolk on temporary visas with no right to work? Sure, carefully monitored on entry and exit, easily done with modern data management and i.d. systems. Students? In very limited numbers.

That's it, that's my immigration policy.

All that said, I'll thank the President and the two Senators for this bill. It's pointed in the right direction, away from our present chaotic, corrupt, and nation-destroying system.

Best of all, it opens up the issue of immigration so that establishment figures have to discuss it. Which they hate to do; and which, as Jim Acosta showed in that clip with Stephen Miller, they do so excruciatingly badly, it makes great TV and gets citizens talking, and helps dispel the clouds of ignorance.

Setting aside the virtues and faults of the bill, what are the chances it'll actually become law?

I'd say small. This bill, modest as it mostly is, is a dagger aimed at the heart of the political establishment, the Democrats and Republicans, who on immigration issues are really just one party, the Antiwhite Capitalist Party.

Senator Lindsey Graham, who is the very model and archetype of an Antiwhite Capitalist, has already declared his outrage over the bill.

We now — thank goodness! — have an opposition party, the Trumpists, willing to stand up to the Antiwhite Capitalists. Trumpism is poorly organized, though, and not much represented in the great government bureaucracies who so often have the last word on policy. We're going to lose a few battles, likely including this one.

Still, this proposed bill makes a mighty crack in the dam. There's no going back to the regime of blanket ignorance and sentimentality on immigration.

Citizens are talking and listening; the cucks are scrambling to catch up; in the White House we have a guy who knows the facts — and no, I'm not talking about the President.

Battle is joined! Up and at 'em!


09 — Miscellany.     And now, our closing miscellany of brief items.

Imprimis:  The second hopeful story is a bit vague; really, a story about a story.

The story that the story's about appeared in the New York Times, August 1st. Headline: Justice Dept. to Take On Affirmative Action in College. First paragraph, quote:

The Trump administration is preparing to redirect resources of the Justice Department's civil rights division toward investigating and suing universities over affirmative action admissions policies deemed to discriminate against white applicants, according to a document obtained by The New York Times.

End quote.

They describe the document as "an internal announcement to the civil rights division."

That took my breath away. Does the Trump administration really have that much courage — to take on the affirmative action rackets the same week they're unsheathing that dagger for the cheap labor lobbies?

Well no, apparently they don't. Next day the DOJ issued a statement calling the Times report "inaccurate." What they are actually looking at, says the DOJ, is a complaint by Asian Americans that Harvard University discriminates against them.

Well, I bet Harvard does. East Asians have higher mean IQ than other groups, Jews excepted, and higher proportions of bookish personality types. Without discrimination, they'll be hugely over-represented at elite schools.

This is one of the holes we have dug for ourselves this past half century with mass immigration and multiculturalism.

Do I know how to get out of the hole? No. I do know, though, that if we adopt Derbian Minimalism as our immigration policy with no further settlement of foreigners from anywhere and severe restrictions on numbers of foreign students, we might at least stabilize the situation.

Instead, it's just going to get worse, especially with that dumb points-based system in the President's proposal.


Item:  And then, the President's tweeting, on July 26th, that transgendered people would no longer be allowed to serve in the military.

Seems reasonable to me. We don't let obese people, or mentally unstable people, or people with bad knees, serve in the military. Adding to the list people who are confused about their sex shouldn't be controversial.

Of course it is, though. It's "hate," according to the CultMarx websites. What lunacy we have sunk into! What infantile babbling! I don't hate people with bad knees, but I don't want them in the armed forces.

Servicemen need to be fit and capable, and able to operate with others in tightly cohesive units under conditions of great stress. Can a guy in a dress do that? I suppose some of them might be able to, but why take a chance?

The military is not a welfare service. Getting into the military is already much easier than it should be. Pregnancy leave for serving soldiers, excuse me?

I don't know how much authority the President's tweets on this have, but I hope he pushes hard on it.


Item:  Finally, this new Dunkirk movie. No, haven't seen it; but I did enjoy Peter Brimelow's fine angry piece here on VDARE.com.

Sample, where Peter compares the homogenous, unified Britain of 77 years ago with the Third World flop-house Britain's become today, quote:

People should be hung from lampposts — they should be burned alive — for what they've done to Britain.

End quote.

No argument from me on that. When the public burning of Tony Blair is announced — please let it be soon! — I shall be there in the crowd with a picnic lunch to enjoy the spectacle.

There's more to be said, though. Britain's an open society with consensual government. Was there really nothing the Brits could collectively do — no Dunkirk-style co-operative effort — to stop the disaster?

Here we get into the argument about was it suicide or was it murder? It looks to me like suicide; maybe, at a stretch, assisted suicide. The Brits let it happen.

The Japanese, under equally open, equally consensual government, have kept themselves homogenous. Why the difference between the two island nations? Suicide's a Japanese thing, isn't it? Why have they so stoutly resisted collective suicide, while the Brits succumbed to it?

Like Peter, I can remember the old homogenous Britain, and I lament its passing. Why did the Brits let it happen, though? Why did that brave old nation sit so passively in the pot as the water slowly boiled around them?

I don't know. I do have a Dunkirk story of my own, though. I'm way over time, so I'll tell it in my August Diary.


10 — Signoff.     And there you have it, ladies and gents. Thank you for listening; and my apologies once again for misleading you at the end of the last podcast.

Let's have some appropriate signout music.

As narrated in my Diary for the month of July, Mr and Mrs Derb, with pooch, took a few days off and traveled down to the AmRen conference in a rented RV.

My wife, who loves nature and the outdoors, has the ambition to see as many as possible of our national parks; so we took in the Shenandoah Park, the George Washington National Forest, the Great Smoky Mountains Park, and, along the way somewhere, to fulfill a longstanding ambition of my own, the Cumberland Gap National Park.

Why was I so keen to see the Cumberland Gap? Because of Lonnie Donegan, that's why.

Donegan was a pop star in late-1950s England, when your humble podcaster was in his early teens. He was one of those Brits in that period who livened up our pop-music scene over there by bringing in American folk music, mountain music, and R&B.

Well, one item Donegan brought to us was the old Appalachian folk song "Cumberland Gap." It was a big hit: Number One on the British charts for five weeks in the Spring of 1957. I've had it stored away there in my mental lumber room ever since.

Planning this trip, when I saw that the Cumberland Gap was along our way, and a National Park to boot, I had to book us in to the RV campground there.

In the event, I must say, the Cumberland Gap was a disappointment. The best place to view it from is the top of a nearby mountain. The mountain's covered with trees, though, all the way to the top, so you can't actually see anything.

There's one of those historical noticeboards at the summit. It tells you that the Civil War armies that fought over the Gap took pains to cut down the trees on the summit to give their artillery a clear line of fire. So you're standing there reading this, thinking: "Well, why doesn't the Park Service do the same, to give us a great view?"

Anyway, I've been to the Cumberland Gap, even if I didn't see much. Now all I have to do is figure a way to get the damn song out of my head.

There will be more from Radio Derb next week, my oath on it.

Take it away, Lonnie.


[Music clip: Lonnie Donegan, "Cumberland Gap."]