»  Radio Derb — Transcript

        Friday, October 6th, 2017


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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 to all from your metaphysically genial host John Derbyshire, bringing you commentary on the week's news this first week of October.

This is one of those Radio Derb podcasts that sort of has a theme. The theme is nationalism; but it just comes to the surface a few times, lurking beneath the surface the rest of the time. You'll see what I mean … I hope.

First, though, I must deal with the horrible event in Las Vegas last Sunday.


02 — Massacre in Las Vegas.     This week's headliner was of course the Sunday night massacre in Las Vegas. Stephen Paddock killed 58 people and wounded close to 500 more by shooting down at them from a hotel room as they were enjoying a country music concert. After twelve minutes rapid firing, Paddock shot himself dead.

When I'm reading up news events, I think of what I'm reading in layers. Top layer is the event itself, the actual news: when, where, how, who, why. Then there's First Order commentary, commentary about the event: It shows this about our world, our society, our politics, our manners. It means this. We should do this to stop it happening again if it's bad, or that to encourage more of it, if it's good. That's what I mean by First Order commentary.

Second Order commentary is commentary about the First Order commentary. "You're all wet, Mr First Order Commentator: doing this isn't going to help, and here's why …" And so on.

Where the news itself is concerned, my reactions are those of any normal person: horror at the awful thing that was done, admiration for the acts of courage or defiance among the people being shot at, sympathy for the victims and their loved ones, curiosity about why anyone would do such a thing. I don't have anything to tell you at this level. You've seen the news stories, so have I.

What I'm going to offer here is Second Order commentary: commentary on the First Order commentary.

The First Order commentary was, it seems to me, very poor quality. The massacre was awful, so it would be good to know what, if anything, we might do to prevent similar atrocities in future. The commentariat came up a blank on that, it seems to me. Better background checks on gun buyers? We're already background-checked up the Wazoo. It's hard to see what more could be done, and no-one's been able to tell us specifically.

A lot's being made of this bump stock gadget that harnesses gun recoil to bring the trigger forward to your finger, making a semi-automatic rifle fire kind of like an automatic. I'm not impressed; although I should say up front that I have never fired a bump stock-equipped weapon, and can only comment based on the mechanics of the thing, as given in news stories. That said, here are reasons for my not being impressed.

Number one, a modern semi-automatic rifle can be fired pretty damn fast anyway, the main constraint being the stamina of your finger muscles.

Number two, the slight edge in speed of fire you get from a bump stock is probably paid for several times over in loss of accuracy, as the re-routing of the recoil force has to be more disturbing to your line-of-sight posture than an ordinary recoil (which is disturbing enough).

Number three, a bump stock mechanism doesn't look that hard to make, if you really want one.

In regard to that last, I liked Tom's comment over at the Radio Free New Jersey blog. You need to know that Tom (a) worked in the financial industry for years, and (b) knows a very great deal indeed about guns: I speak as a person who has actually fired several of Tom's guns. Here's Tom's comment, quote:

Weapons design (like derivatives design) is basically a market where the designers are smarter than the regulators.

End quote.

I'm sure that's right on both counts.

The First Order commentary wasn't just low quality, some of it was positively malicious.

For example: The fact that the Las Vegas event was a country music concert caused some crowing among goodwhites, to whom country music is badwhites whining about losing their white privilege. One goodwhite lady, name of Hayley Geftman-Gold, a Vice President at CBS and a senior legal counsel to the network, advertised her lack of sympathy for the murdered Americans on her Facebook page, quote:

I'm actually not even sympathetic [because] country music fans often are Republican gun toters.

End quote.

Several other social media users chimed in with similar sentiments. Ms Geftman-Gold was fired by CBS; I don't know what happened to the others.

This line of opinion doesn't really square with the facts. I just went through checking the home states of the 58 people Stephen Paddock murdered. Here's the tally:

California 33; Nevada 7; Alberta 3; Alaska and Utah 2 each; Arizona, British Columbia, Colorado, Iowa, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, West Virginia, and Washington State, all one each. Leaving the Canadians out of it, that's six red states and eight blue ones.

The age range is from 20 to 67: median 35, mean 38, standard deviation 12. So far as one can judge from the pictures and names, I get 36 females and 22 males; eight or nine Hispanics, two blacks, two East Asian Americans, three likely Jewish, one Native American.

So not exactly a bunch of tobacco-chawing good ol' boys from the back country underbrush.

I notice by the way — and I'm not being heartless myself here, I'm just noticing, and offering a morsel of Second Order commentary — that when I queried Google News to get a full list of the dead, the little thumbnail picture returned for the USA Today story, which is the one I used, showed as its representative victim one of the two black guys killed: Officer Charleston Hartfield of the Las Vegas Police Department. Officer Hartfield is listed as "a proud veteran, a devoted husband and loving father." May the poor man rest in peace and his loved ones find comfort; but really, Google, do you have to smack us over the head with political correctness?

We got a broader, more generalized kind of malice from the anti-white propagandists, telling us for the umpteenth time — obliging us to refute it for the umpteenth time — that mass shootings is a white-guy thing. No, it isn't: white men are under-represented in mass shootings. It keeps getting proved, and the anti-whites keep paying no attention.

And then there was the quest for meaning and motive, which at the time of taping Radio Derb has likewise delivered basically nothing.

I have so far seen nothing about the murderer, Stephen Paddock, that places him outside the bounds of normality. He had his quirks of personality, as we all do, but none of them was extraordinary. He was not keenly religious or political.

And yet this was a major, well-planned operation, not a mere whim. To quote Tom again:

You don't spend three days carrying weapons and ammo into a hotel room without motive. You don't spend time to build 2 shooting platforms without motive … This was an enormous effort on his part. You don't do that because you're annoyed at traffic or because your eggs were too runny. This was a big deal to this guy …

End quote.

We tend to model our speculations about events like this on the first such one that ever got our attention. For me that was the University of Texas killings in 1966. The mass murderer in that case, Charles Whitman, had some health and behavioral issues, though again not outside normal ranges. On autopsy, though, he was found to have a small brain tumor. Whether that could have caused his crazy behavior is not known. Some experts say yes, some say no.

So we might be in the metaphysical realm here, dealing with issues of free will and pathological compulsions. Possibly the autopsy will tell us something, though I wouldn't hold out much hope.

There are some tantalizing clues in Stephen Paddock's family history. His father was a serial bank robber as well as, like Stephen, an obsessive gambler. One of his brothers has a long rap sheet — mostly petty stuff (burglary, threats, vandalism) but indicative of sociopathy at some low level.

So if you want antecedent causes here, they may be as basic as human biology. I agree that looks like a stretch at this point; but nobody has yet come up with anything better.

Oh, I've left out the conspiracy theories. I've left them out because they are not my thing. I can't recall ever in my life believing in a conspiracy theory about anything: most of the world is just what it seems to be. If conspiracy theories are your thing, you'll want to check out Tyler Durden's October 5th post over at ZeroHedge, headline: 16 Unanswered Questions About The Las Vegas Shooting That Mainstream Media Doesn't Want To Talk About. Enjoy!


03 — The Obama-Holder-Lynch effect in New York.     If you count the shooter himself, the total number of dead in that Las Vegas atrocity was 59. As it happens, that was also the number of dead by homicide in Chicago during the month of September, every single one of them a shooting, just like in Las Vegas.

The other stats are different here, though. The age range is from 14 to 66: median 27, mean 30, standard deviation 11. So far as one can judge from the names, I get 4 females and 55 males ; thirteen are listed as "white,", the other 46 all black. Names of the victims listed as "white": Batista, Domagala, Cortez, Monteza, Sandoval, Arvizu, Canno, another Sandoval, Bahena, Rayborn, Hernandez, Lopez, and Vargas.

So the Chicago 59, when compared to the Las Vegas 59, are younger, way blacker, way more male, and hardly at all non-Hispanic white — only that Rayborn, first name Joshua, though I suppose Canno — her first name is Michelle — may be non-Hispanic, and Domagala — first name Bernard — might be Italian-American.

That was the harvest in America's third most populous city: 59 dead in the month of September, same number as last Sunday's Las Vegas toll.

I haven't been to Chicago since 1970-something. It sounds like things are really bad over there. New York City has three times Chicago's population; yet homicides here in September were just 19. That means your average Chicagoan is nine point three times as homicidal as your average New Yorker. That's a hell of a differential.

There's trouble lurking in the New York statistics, though. In one precinct — the 42nd, in the Bronx — September killings were up to six this year from two last September.

What accounts for the rise? The New York Post investigated. "It's career preservation," a precinct cop told them. Further quote from the Post investigation:

Law-enforcement sources said the alarming situation is the result of a spate of civil-rights lawsuits, which recently led a detective to file a $175 million notice of claim against the city on grounds that it's too eager to settle such cases.

It also comes against the backdrop of a nationwide outcry against aggressive policing. Scores of NFL players have being kneeling during the national anthem at games to protest police brutality.

Cops throughout the 42nd Precinct … are steering clear of encounters that could land them in court or in front of the city's Civilian Complaint Review Board for alleged brutality, a law-enforcement source said.

In short, the Ferguson effect … although I still think it should more properly be called the Obama-Holder-Lynch effect.


04 — Dumping Puerto Rico — Yes we can!     In last week's podcast I indulged myself in a brief rant about what I called the Puerto Rico non-Question.

Why isn't Puerto Rico a Question, an issue, a Thing in our national political discourse? I asked. Quote: "Since there is no prospect that Americans will ever admit Puerto Rico as a state, why not give the place its independence?"

Well, a listener who knows more than I do about this topic emailed in very helpfully with the following, slightly edited. Quote:

The Supreme Court ruled in 1967 that natural-born citizens could not be stripped of citizenship by acts of congress; and just recently they limited the ability to strip citizenship from naturalized citizens …

So your proposal to give Puerto Rico independence is stillborn. At the very least you would be creating a foreign country populated by dual Puerto Rican/USA citizens who could move to the USA at anytime and even those who chose to stay would pass citizenship to the next generation according to present law …

I suspect that … a case would be brought from citizens in Puerto Rico claiming that ejecting their property and businesses from the USA would violate the equal protection clause and the Supreme Court would end up ruling that ejecting Puerto Rico would be unconstitutional.

End quote.

Hmm. My own understanding of national sovereignty, America's or any other nation's, is that a country may do anything it wants to do if it — which in the case of a representative democracy means "enough of its people" — if it wants to do it badly enough. No doubt the Supreme Court would huff and puff; but if enough Americans wanted badly enough to get rid of this Caribbean millstone, the Constitution could be changed appropriately and the thing would be done.

Discussing this with Peter Brimelow, he wondered if there was a parallel here with the way British governments tightened the screws on inhabitants of the British Empire, who had unfettered access to the Mother Country until well after WW2.

I looked this up in a reliable source, Marty Schain's comparative study of French, British, and American immigration policy, published in 2008. Let's just say that British practice fell somewhat short of the ideal of open borders to subjects of the Crown. Sample quote from Marty, page 131:

The broad ideal of Empire citizenship was deeply undermined by its discriminatory administration from the very beginning.

End quote.

In fact there was no attempt at a legislative definition of British citizenship until the British Nationality Act of 1948, and that was very muddled. There was no really watertight definition until 1981, and no restrictive legislation until 1971. The Brits just let in, barred, or deported as they saw fit.

Peter's intuition is right, though; British legislation through the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s ground down the notion of imperial citizenship — by that time, Commonwealth citizenship — until it was basically meaningless.

That's not only what it did, it's what it was intended to do. In an age of cheap travel and high Third World birthrates, there was no way Britain was going to give free access to the entire populations of, just for starters, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and West Africa, whatever anyone had thought Empire citizenship entailed.

As I said, when governments want to do something badly enough, they just do it. If their Constitution forbids it, they change their Constitution. And if you want to quibble that Britain doesn't have a Constitution, scholars beg to differ. The Brits just never wrote their Constitution down in a single document, that's all.

In my schooldays you could take the national General Certificate of Education exam in British Constitution. They seem to have dropped that from the curriculum, replaced no doubt with Interpretive Dance or Multiethnic Basket Weaving; but it was a Thing, and not one you can get rid of by just ceasing to examine schoolkids on it.

My listener also chided me, by the way, for saying that it's the better class of Puerto Ricans who emigrate to the mainland. Quote from him:

In fact crime in Puerto Rico is down 30 percent from ten years ago. Florida has better welfare and criminal targets than Puerto Rico, not just better jobs …

What was happening before Hurricane Maria was migration of young people and young families. School enrollment in Puerto Rico is also down, according to the Wall Street Journal … and crime is disproportionately committed by young people.

End quote.

I stand corrected, Sir — thank you. That makes the case for giving Puerto Ricans the pride and dignity of an independent nation of their own, that much more pressing. How grateful they will be!


05 — Separation and its discontents.     Several other listeners to last week's podcast took exception to my casual dismissing of the idea of racial separation. I had said that separation is no more feasible now than it was in 1862, when Abraham Lincoln urged it on the freedmen leaders he'd invited to the White House. "We must struggle on forward as best we can, white and black alike," I concluded.

I think those listeners had been watching Jared Taylor's Tuesday video titled How to Achieve Racial Separation. Jared makes the case that we can peacefully separate into monoracial regions.

Some samples from Jared's video, which you can find at AmRen or on their YouTube channel. First sample:

[Clip:  For blacks, the only way they can be free of the menace of what they believe to be racism and white supremacy is for them to live independently of us, and to take responsibility for their own successes and failures.]

Second sample:

[Clip:  Don't forget: Hardly anyone predicted the breakup of the Soviet Union, or of Yugoslavia, or Czechoslovakia. And all three countries separated along national and ethnic lines. And people who once had to live together are happier living apart.]

Now, Jared has no greater admirer than me. As I have told him myself: If our republic survives, there will be statues to Jared in public squares one day. I'm sorry, though, guy: This just won't fly.

Take that first clip I just played: "For blacks to live independently of us …" But blacks can't live independently of us. They don't have the human capital to live independently of us.

There is some black human capital: brilliant, high-minded, public-spirited blacks. They are just too few among their own people. Google "Smart Fraction Theory," or look up the transcript of my July 27th, 2013 podcast. For a society to function well, to be stable and prosperous, you need a certain threshold proportion of smart people. If your population's smart fraction is below that threshold, the society won't work.

I'll quote myself here, if you don't mind; from a VDARE.com column three years ago, quote:

Think of it like this: A man is walking along dragging a sack behind him. If the man is large and the sack small, it's a nuisance but he can make progress. A small man dragging a large sack is, however, severely encumbered.

White populations of course have members with low scores on behavior, intelligence, and personality, but not so many that the more capable whites can't "carry" them. Smart and well-socialized blacks, by contrast, are numerically far fewer in proportion to the great sullen lumpen-negretariat they drag behind them.

Of that fraction of blacks with something on the ball, all but the most saintly and self-sacrificing will decamp to the nearest nonblack area, as you see happening today across the Mediterranean. Jared's white enclaves are going to need some very serious border control. His proposed multicultural enclave, where people who want diversity can enjoy it, will get way less diverse really fast. It'll just turn black.

There is simply no stable solution here. Whites don't need blacks, but blacks need whites, if they are to have any kind of civilized life.

Jared's second clip is similarly flawed, even setting aside the mayhem that attended the breakup of Yugoslavia. The racial gap in what was formerly Soviet Central Asia is nowhere near the size it is between American blacks and nonblacks.

So, sorry to Jared and those of his followers who emailed in, but on the matter of separation: no sale.

I do, I though fully agree with Jared on the desirability of striking down all legal constraints on private freedom of association. Forced racial integration is an outrageous assault on our liberties. With freedom of association restored there would, I believe, be enough voluntary separation to lower the racial temperature and ease us forward to the calm acceptance of reality that the race issue so badly needs.


06 — Homage to catatonia.     Catalonia is in the news. Catalonia, the southeastern corner of Spain.

[Added later:  That should of course have been "northeastern." I apologized for my blunder here.]

I can't claim to know much about the place. I was there once, back in my salad days, on my way to a camping vacation down the coast at a sleepy little whitewashed village named Oropesa del Mar, now all built up with tower blocks and tourist hotels.

[Added laterThe visa stamps in my passport show me entering Spain on August 25th 1965 (a Wednesday) and leaving on September 18th (a Saturday), so I spent 3½ weeks in the country.]

"Sleepy" was a pretty good descriptor for Spain itself in the mid-1960s, after 25 years of deep clerico-conservatism under the rule of Generalissimo Francisco Franco. We flew into Barcelona and stayed one day there. It was terrifically hot. There was not much traffic and the buildings all seemed about two hundred years old. People moved at a slow walking pace, except for the couple of hours around midday when they didn't move at all.

Changing trains some way down the line we got stuck in a railroad waiting room on the wall of which was pasted an ancient fading poster headed Proclamación Real.

(I guess I have to explain that. Proclamación Real means "Royal Proclamation." Spain was an on-again, off-again monarchy through the 19th and 20th centuries. Right now it's "on"; present-day Spain is a monarchy. That's only been the case since 1975, though. When I was there in 1965, Spain was not a monarchy. It hadn't been one since 1931. So I, standing there in that lonesome railroad halt in 1965, was looking at a pasted-up Royal Proclamation at least 34 years old.)

Perhaps, I remarked to my companion, it might not be entirely coincidence that "Catalonia" differs by only one letter from "catatonia."

Well, as you can see, I'm just filling here. I don't have much to tell you about Catalonia. I've been trying to read up on the place so I can pass an informed opinion, but my eyelids grow heavy.

So in hopes of justifying this segment, rather than engage with the particular issue at hand, I shall make some general observations about nationalism, as in Spain, and sub-nationalism, as in Catatonia … sorry, Catalonia, and trans-nationalism.

The great classic Chinese novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms opens with a sentence that any literate Chinese person can quote to you: 話說天下大勢, 分久必合, 合久必分 — "It has been said of all under Heaven that what was long divided must unite, what was long united must divide." As well as being a fair summary of four thousand years of Chinese history, that's not a bad guide to history at large. Nations come together and merge; empires form then disintegrate.

Yes, there are those big historical tides ebbing and flowing; but we can form preferences related to our own time and place. Mine are nationalist, with a seasoning of skepticism.

Nationalism isn't hard to understand. People want to live among and be governed by other people mostly like themselves, with the same language and shared history, not by foreigners in some distant city who don't understand them.

It is of course the case that our co-ethnics may be crazy beasts — North Korea's a nation; Khmer Rouge Cambodia was a nation — while the foreigners in that distant city might be benign and wise, or at any rate not life-threatening. The Middle East under the Ottoman Empire was not an exemplar of peace and justice, but it doesn't compare badly with today's Middle East.

The great British national conservative Enoch Powell, who fifty years ago gave those eloquent warnings about the evils of mass immigration, Powell once said that if Britain were at war he would fight for Britain, even if it was a communist dictatorship. The Greek poet in Byron's Don Juan, living under the Ottoman Turks, likewise looked back to the Greek tyrants of antiquity and sighed that: "Our masters then / Were still, at least, our countrymen."

I'm basically on the same page with these nationalists, but with reservations. When the Vietnamese army put an end to the Khmer Rouge government by invading Cambodia, most Cambodians hailed them as liberators. Perhaps I would have, too; perhaps even Enoch Powell would have.

So there are qualifications to be made about nationalism, especially small-country nationalism or sub-nationalism. You're not drawing from a big pool of political talent there. I have mixed occasionally with Scottish and Welsh nationalists; let's just say I wasn't impressed.

Sub-nationalism like Catalonia's is also in contradiction to nationalism proper. Who's the truer nationalist: the Spanish citizen who would fight and die for Spain, or the Catalan separatist who feels the same way about his province? Here you're in the zone of differences that can only finally be decided by force of arms.

You don't have to recall horrors like Cambodia or North Korea to develop some caution about nationalism. Growing up in mid-20th-century England, we had an instance of passionate nationalism — or sub-nationalism, depending on your point of view — right on our doorstep. That was of course Ireland.

The Irish had been struggling for centuries to attain self-government. In 1921, after some revolutionary violence, they got autonomy; then in 1937, full independence.

Irish nationalism was a peculiar thing, though. The Irish had the nationalist impulse, all right: they wanted to be ruled by their own people, not by foreigners. Yet they also had strong trans-nationalist sentiments by virtue of being devout adherents of Roman Catholic Christianity — a trans-nationalist enterprise if ever there was one.

Having won their independence, the Irish signed on to every trans-national organization that came along. When I took my wife on a tour of the United Nations headquarters in 1987, our tour guide was an Irishman, and we heard a lot of Irish accents around the building.

Likewise with the European Union, on which the Irish are very keen. The sour joke in Britain thirty years ago was that having fought eight hundred years for their independence, the Irish had then sold it for a package of EU agricultural subsidies.

That's not altogether fair; but looking at Ireland today gives you a jaded perspective on Irish nationalism. The seminaries are full of Nigerians; the cab drivers are all Polish; and the current Prime Minister is an open homosexual whose father was an Indian born in Bombay. For this the heroes of 1916 faced the firing squads?

You may say that the right to national independence includes the right to national suicide. I suppose it does. Still, as a fan of Alexander Solzhenitsyn's observation that, quote, "Nations are the wealth of mankind, its collective personalities," end quote, I lament the transformation of Ireland, the Land of Saints and Scholars, into an airport departure lounge — with the rest of Britain not far behind, indeed in some respects ahead.

"What was long divided must unite, what was long united must divide." Hearing that now we Americans of course think of the secession talk that seems to be getting more and more common on the blogs, including very smart and sensible ones like the Audacious Epigone. If Catalonia, why not California, or Texas, or New England?

All right; history has its ebbs and flows, to be sure; and to stand athwart them crying "Stop!" is most likely futile. As a conservative, though, I rather strongly favor leaving the big old nations as they are, absent some obvious and pressing need to break them up.

So without knowing much about Catalonia or its independence movement, I'll register myself as guardedly skeptical, on general grounds. America for Americans; Spain for Spaniards; nationalism over trans-nationalism and sub-nationalism both.


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

Imprimis:  Speaking of Shakespeare's Island, as I was back there: While the Brits may have a Constitution, they do not have a First Amendment.

There is thus very good reason to fear legislation announced this week by Amber Rudd, the British Home Secretary — the Attorney General, more or less. This legislation will establish a maximum sentence of 15 years' imprisonment for, and now I shall quote Ms Rudd, for, quote:

those who view despicable terrorist content online, including jihadi websites, far-right propaganda, and bomb-making instructions

End quote.

See what the lady did there? In among all the blood-curdling stuff about terrorism and bombs, she slipped in "far-right propaganda."

What does that mean? Whatever Ms Rudd and her successors say it means. Given that Ms Rudd is, believe it or not, a member of the Conservative Party and a cabinet officer in a Conservative government, her successors will surely include persons far more dedicated to Cultural Marxism — quite possibly to actual Marxism — than she is.

This is how they operate, the cowards and fools and destroyers of nations. Terrorism is the hook: It is nationalism they truly hate and fear. Ms Rudd, a One Percenter with a full dedication to trans-national globalism, will send you down for fifteen years for reading websites like, to take a random example, VDARE.com.

Britain is lost, gone, a dead place. I don't know how it happened, but I sure am glad I got out of there.


Item:  Here's a strange item under the heading "One More Thing to Worry About," although the only people who actually need to worry are the Swiss.

You know Switzerland, of course: totally landlocked — 240 miles from the sea at the closest point — and most of it up in the Alps there. Cuckoo clocks, numbered bank accounts, and cheese. You'd think that Switzerland would be as immune as it is possible to be from tsunamis, right?

Well, wrong. Daily Mail online, October 5th, headline: Could Switzerland be hit by a TSUNAMI? Scientists say there is an "underestimated natural danger".

Matter of fact, it's already happened. Switzerland has a lot of big lakes, you see. Bits of the mountains fall into the lakes and make tsunamis. This happened in Lake Geneva back in the, uh, sixth century, killing a lot of people and livestock.

There are earthquakes too. Quote from the story:

Back in 1601 eight people were killed when a 5.9 magnitude earthquake hit Unterwalden and caused a four-metre wave on Lake Lucerne to crash into the water's edge.

End quote.

Well, that's certainly washed away my illusions! I shall stay well clear of Switzerland in future. Or perhaps I'll just stop reading the stupid Daily Mail.


Item:  Last week Radio Derb alerted listeners to the coming centenary of the Bolshevik coup d'état in Russia. At the New York Times they're already starting to hang out the bunting.

The tension between nationalism and imperialism was a factor in Lenin's revolution. Tsarist Russia was an empire; it included numerous non-Russian nationalities. What plan did the Bolsheviks have for them?

Irish historian Frank Armstrong had a thoughtful op-ed on this in Wednesday's Irish Times, contrasting the Bolshevik coup of 1917 with the Easter Rising in Ireland the previous year. He points out the tension among Bolsheviks, notably Stalin, between, on the one hand, the orthodox Marxist line that "the proletariat has no homeland" and nationalism is a reactionary bourgeois impulse, and on the other hand, admiration for revolutionary violence like that practiced by the Irish rebels.

Armstrong doesn't go anywhere much with his op-ed, but it's a useful reminder that nationalists and trans-nationalists can find themselves thinking the same thoughts.

Here's where I renew my call for a worldwide alliance of nationalists along the lines of the old Comintern, the Communist International. We can call this alliance the Natintern, the Nationalist International. I'm still waiting for someone to come up with a suitable anthem, to be called of course The Nationale.


Item:  Also last week I included a curious little closing item about Adolf Hitler's underpants, a pair of which were recently sold at auction for an impressive sum of money.

Well, this week my subscription copy of the London Literary Review, September issue, arrived in the mail. In there on page 9 was a review of a book titled The Greedy Queen: Eating with Victoria, which is all about that great Queen's food preferences and dining habits. Sounds quite interesting, actually.

Along the way we learn that, quote from the review, "a pair of Victoria's drawers sold at auction for £12,900," end quote.

What's going on with these auction houses? Hitler's BVDs, now Victoria's bloomers. Did a whole new market spring up here when I wasn't looking? How can I get in on it? Advice on this will be gratefully accepted.


Item:  Finally, congratulations to American physicist Kip Thorne for being awarded the Nobel Prize, along with two colleagues. The award was for Professor Thorne's work on General Relativity, which contributed to the detection two years ago of gravitational waves in spacetime, as predicted by the theory.

Back in the mid-1970s I owned a copy of the book Gravitation by Kip Thorne and two other authors. It's a beautiful book, a real classic in its field. For the longest time it was out of print, I don't know why. You could only buy it at very inflated prices. Then Google put it on the internet. Now it's coming out in a new print edition later this month.

I've never met Professor Thorne; but for his contribution to that book, he's been a star in my personal firmament for forty-plus years. I'm just taking this opportunity to thank him, and to congratulate him again on his share of the Nobel. Thanks, Prof!


08 — Signoff.     That's it, ladies and gents. Thanks for listening; and if you're Chinese, or a Sinophile, I hope you got the chance to appreciate the moon on Wednesday, this year's moon festival on the traditional lunar calendar.

The problem with a lunar calendar is, it's hard to keep it in sync with the seasons. There are 29½ days in a proper lunar month; so twelve of those only gets you 354 days, eleven short of a solar year. After a few years everyone loses track, and your peasants, going by which month it is, are trying to plant rice in the middle of winter.

The Chinese get around this with a leap month — they just throw in a duplicate month every three years or so, commonly a June or July. This year there were two Junes. That's made the moon festival, which is the 15th of the lunar August, later than usual.

See how multicultural we are here? Now hold on to something solid while Radio Derb lurches over to a totally different culture.

I passed some comments on Ireland back there, so here's some Irish music to see us out: "The Rocky Road to Dublin." If there's any music more Irish than this, I don't know it.

There will be more from Radio Derb next week.


[Music clip: Clancy Brothers, "The Rocky Road to Dublin."]