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[Music clip: From Haydn's Derbyshire Marches, organ version]
01 — Intro. And Radio Derb is on the air! Greetings, listeners, from your mordantly genial host John Derbyshire, here with VDARE.com's roundup of the strange, the sad, and the stupid from this week's news wires.
I'll get to the strange, sad, and stupid in due course; but I'll start with the sensible. This week a prominent person said a sensible thing in public. Now that's newsworthy.
02 — Famous person says sensible thing! Nice to see my old pal the Dalai Lama in the news. Wednesday this week His Holiness spoke at a conference titled "The Art of Happiness and Peace" in the city of Malmö, Sweden.
The event was hosted by a Swedish outfit named — please pardon my Swedish — Individuell Människohjälp, "IM" for short. I think the full Swedish name means "Individual Assistance." It's some kind of international do-gooder outfit which, quote "now works in thirteen countries worldwide focussing on people's right to education, good health and the ability to sustain a life in dignity," end quote. Sounds very Swedish. I wonder if they take money from George Soros.
I shouldn't be so reflexively sour and cynical, though — Heaven forbid! Jolly good luck to IM. Most to the point, they did give the Dalai Lama a platform to say something sensible on Wednesday.
I've always had a soft spot for this Dalai Lama. I met him once, 34 years ago, when he and I were both much younger (he is currently 83). He struck me as having just the right balance of humanity and gravitas that I'd want in a religious leader. Of course a lot of what he said was bland religious-leader stuff about world peace and such; but nothing was plainly false or idiotic, and some was refreshingly honest.
Here for example is a thing he said, not at my meeting with him nor at Malmö last week, but somewhere else. It's recorded in Patrick French's book about Tibet. It concerns Westerners who take up Buddhism. Quote from His Holiness:
In the West, I do not think it advisable to follow Buddhism. Changing religions is not like changing professions. Excitement lessens over the years, and soon you are not excited, and then where are you? Homeless inside yourself.
End quote. If Tibetan Buddhism has a Marketing Department, that must have got them wailing and rending their garments. It's true, though.
The Dalai Lama's remarks this Wednesday in Malmö were similarly sensible. On the topic of Third-Worlders flooding into Europe uninvited, he said, quote: "Receive them, help them, educate them … but ultimately they should develop their own country … I think Europe belongs to the Europeans …"
So, OK, he's accepting the flim-flam about them being refugees, which hardly any of them actually are, and he presumably thinks they are penniless and desperate, when in fact they are mostly well-dressed middle-class types with cellphones who could afford to pay the people-smugglers.
He is also looking at the issue from his own point of view, as a genuine refugee. The Dalai Lama fled his homeland sixty years ago when communist China asserted totalitarian control over the country. Since then he's kept alive the dream of himself and his fellow exiles one day returning to a free Tibet.
So, OK, there are qualifications to be made. Still the Dalai Lama said a sensible thing at the end there: "Europe belongs to the Europeans." Yes it does.
His saying that thing of course generated much gasping and sputtering among goodthinkful Europeans. A depressingly common response was, "Why don't the Dalai Lama and his followers set an example by returning to their own country?" Answer: because they would, beyond a doubt, be tortured and killed by the ChiCom Gestapo. You really don't need a Ph.D. in Far Eastern Studies to know that.
The Dalai Lama's observation in fact turned my thoughts to an issue I've touched on several times, a sea change in the international order that's occurred over my lifetime, but that has, in my opinion, been too little remarked on. I'm going to call it the drift from pride to parasitism, and give it a segment of its own.
03 — From pride to parasitism. Another remark by a prominent person that caused shrieking and wailing among goodthinkers this week was President Trumps' skepticism about an updated count of deaths from Hurricane Maria.
Just to remind you: Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico in mid-September last year and caused much destruction there. The government of the place recorded 64 deaths from the hurricane.
Then, a few days ago, a group of researchers at George Washington University published a report that estimated, quote, "there were 2,975 excess deaths in Puerto Rico due to Hurricane Maria between September 2017 and February 2018," end quote.
That's one heck of a revised estimate, from sixty-something to nearly three thousand. President Trump took it personally, tweet: "This was done by the Democrats in order to make me look as bad as possible when I was successfully raising billions of dollars to help rebuild Puerto Rico." End tweet.
That's what ignited the shrieking and wailing. Hispanic supremacist Representative Luis Gutierrez called it "delusional" and predicted that Trump will respond more energetically to this week's Hurricane Florence than he did to last year's Hurricane Maria because Trump "has a golf club in North Carolina."
Whatever. Clinging as I am to the hope that Trump may actually do something to restore our national sovereignty, and believing as I do that Representative Luis Gutierrez is pond scum, I'll take the President's side on this one. Mention of Puerto Rico, though, always brings to my mind that great slow decades-long trend I just mentioned, the trend from pride to parasitism among the peoples of the Third World.
The trend is vivid to me because I've watched it across these decades, starting in my college years in England during the early 1960s.
Those were the last years of European colonialism. I knew some of the people whose countries had been colonized. I was at college with them: bright young guys from Africa and the Muslim world, on scholarships at my university. They were full of pride and hope for their new, newly-independent countries.
Now the white colonialists had gone home, they told me, talented locals like themselves would take over — become president of the national airline, the national bank, the national university. White-colonial supremacy would be replaced by local meritocracy. These black and Muslim classmates of mine couldn't wait to get home and take up some high-level position in their new, proud, independent nations.
It's embarrassing to look back on that from today. The pride and hope has all evaporated. Meritocracy never gained much of a market share in black or Muslim nations. The president of the national airline in Upper Bongalia is the nephew of some big political playah or gangster boss; nobody interested in actually learning anything attends the national university, which is just a make-work government program. The goal for any Third Worlder with anything on the ball is to get to some Western country — to Europe, North America, Australia.
Faith in the ability of these old colonial territories to govern themselves in any rational way has faded away across the decades I've been watching. Everybody out there in black Africa or Islamia wants to get to a country run by white Europeans. That's why they've been crossing the Mediterranean, south to north, in the hundreds of thousands and millions.
The trend in the New World hasn't been so clear, mainly because colonialism over here was less British and French, more Spanish, and Spain got out of the colonialism business long before the 1960s. In Puerto Rico Spain was replaced by the U.S.A., and in some of the Central American states like Guatemala there was a sort of unofficial commercial colonialism by U.S. corporations. Both things generated local resistance, and there were strong movements for national pride and independence through the early and middle 20th century, egged on by the U.S.S.R. through the Cold War, and actually victorious in Cuba and Nicaragua.
Now, as in the Old World, it's all evaporated. The mood among Guatemalans, Puerto Ricans, and the rest is not one of pride, it's one of parasitism. They don't want to take charge of their own affairs in a spirit of pride and national independence; they want to break into, or be absorbed by, some prosperous First World welfare state.
In a referendum conducted last year, before Hurricane Maria, less than two percent of Puerto Ricans voted for independence — a lunatic fringe. The overwhelming majority of Puerto Ricans want the same thing that black Africans, Pakistanis, Iraqis, and other inhabitants of Old World colonialized territories want: they want to live in countries established by and run by white Europeans.
Taking the wide view, looking at humanity as a whole, this is nothing to be happy about. Pride is much more positive, more admirable, than parasitism. In a happy, harmonious world like the one the Dalai Lama dreams of and does his best to coax into being, distinct people — including Tibetans — would all have their own countries, under their own control, practicing rational government with proper respect for their own and others' cultural traditions.
It's really too bad that we don't live in a world anything like that. Even worse: No world anything like that looks like coming into being any time soon.
04 — The twenty percent solution. I mentioned that the Dalai Lama's words, the ones that started off this train of thought, were uttered Wednesday in the city of Malmö, Sweden.
In last week's podcast I urged listeners to follow the election in Sweden that took place last Sunday, September 9th. Sweden's new nationalist party, the Sweden Democrats, looked set fair to break the twenty percent barrier in the popular vote, I told you.
In the event they didn't quite make twenty percent. They did well, though, winning their biggest share of the vote ever, a tad short of eighteen percent, up from thirteen percent four years ago. Sweden Democrats are now a real force, with 62 seats in Parliament making them the third-biggest party. The biggest party, the Social Democrats, who've been dominant in Sweden pretty much for ever, are down to 100 seats — their worst result for 100 years.
Eighteen percent is encouraging; but you have to think that with immigrant Muslim gangs fighting turf wars with hand grenades, regular incidents of mass car burnings, and rising violent and sexual crime all over, Swedes could have done better.
As we all know now, there are political parties coming up all over Europe against demographic transformation. Their fortunes have played out differently in different countries, though.
The most robustly resistant countries — resistant, I mean, to demographic transformation via mass immigration — have been the former Soviet colonies in East Europe. Viktor Orbán of Hungary is the champion here, winning almost fifty percent of the vote in Hungary's election this April — and that was with a further twenty percent going to the Jobbik Party, which is even more nationalist. Similarly in the other Visegrad countries — Poland, Czechia, and Slovakia.
Elsewhere, though, nationalist parties seem to be stuck under some ceiling. Speaking about this a year and a half ago I called it "the nationalist ceiling," and guessed it at something like twenty percent of the vote. I drew an analogy with a thing I'd heard in my Hong Kong days, quote from myself:
Christian missionaries in the Far East used to talk — perhaps they still do — about the twenty percent ceiling. In places where Christians have been able freely to proselytize among East Asians — places like Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea — under favorable conditions you can convert around twenty percent of the locals, but after that you get stuck.
End quote. Perhaps there really is some general psycho-social rule at work here. Human beings are social animals, and for the most part conformist. You can persuade ten, fifteen, twenty percent to break away from the norm, from the Narrative, but after that it gets much more difficult.
Is there anything that can get a political party through that twenty percent ceiling? Well, yes. Looking at Western Euope, two things come to mind.
One is leadership — clear and forceful — neither of which, by the way, is a synonym for "authoritarian" — clear and forceful leadership, like Matteo Salvini's been giving in Italy. In fact when I made that twenty percent remark back in 2016 I was scoffing at Italy's prospects. They'd taken in thirteen and a half thousand illegals the previous month and, quote from me: "There's boocoo more where they came from, and no sign the Italians can muster the will to turn off the spigot. Italy's a goner." End quote.
Salvini has totally turned that around. He is now deporting illegals back to their home countries — 165 Nigerians in just one day last week. With determined, forceful leadership like that, the invasions can be stopped.
The other thing that comes to mind as a ceiling-buster is party discipline. Too many of Western Europe's nationalist parties have a shambolic quality about them, with too many oddballs, eccentrics, and egotists jostling for the spotlight.
That's been an issue with AfD in Germany, latest poll number thirteen percent, and even with Le Pen's party in France, also at thirteen percent, but around now long enough to have learned discipline. Also with UKIP in Britain where, in spite of the Brexit vote, there has been no let-up in mass immigration; and, come to think of it, no actual Brexit yet.
05 — Thoughts we are not allowed to think. The Quillette website sometimes runs interesting stuff. I think the website classifies as "Alt-lite," or what the Z-man calls "Edgytarian." That is, they go up to the edge of really controversial issues but take great care not to cross the line into anything the Southern Poverty Law Center or Antifa Central — same thing, really — might call Hate! or Bigotry! or Racism!
Last Friday Quillette ran a piece that for them is quite daring. It was by Ted Hill, who is Professor Emeritus of Mathematics at Georgia Tech. The topic of the piece was a paper, a mathematical paper, that Prof. Hill had written on the Greater Male Variability Hypothesis. This hypothesis says, as briefly as it can be put, that males vary more than females.
Let me just firm that up a bit. In studies of human nature, most of the things we can measure distribute themselves on the famous bell curve. There are two key numbers that define a bell curve: its mean, which is the location on the horizontal axis right under its peak, and its standard deviation or "spread," a measure of how flattened-out or pointy it is.
So take for example adult height. In the U.S.A. men have a mean height of 5' 9.3", with a standard deviation of 2.92". Women, however, have a mean height of only 5' 3.8", with a standard deviation 2.8". The means are different; so are the standard deviations. In bell curve language, the female distribution has a peak to the left of the male peak, and the whole female distribution is slightly pointier, less spread out, than the male.
Of course nobody cares about height. What gets voices raised and crockery thrown is the BIP traits — measures of behavior, intelligence, and personality. What are the differences between guys and gals in, say, criminality; or, say, IQ test scores; or, say, extraversion? Are the differences just in the means, with standard deviation the same? Or are the means the same but the standard deviations different? Or are both the means and the standard deviations different, as is the case with adult height?
Well, there have been observations, going back all the way to Charles Darwin, and by no means restricted just to human beings, that on a host of traits — not all traits, of course, but a lot of traits — males are more variable than females. They have a bigger standard deviation.
Males' bell curves on these traits are less pointy than females', more squished down. That pushes more of the subject population into the "tails" of the bell curve: more males with remarkably high scores on whatever is being measured, and also more males with remarkably low scores. Females are more closely clustered around the mean, less spread out. That's the hypothesis, the Greater Male Variability Hypothesis.
So Ted Hill, this mathematician, worked up a model — actually two models — for how such a difference might arise from the well-understood mechanisms of evolutionary biology and sexual selection. He tested his models with computer simulations. He wrote it all up in a paper which he sent for publication to Mathematical Intelligencer.
Intelligencer, to which I am a subscriber, is a quarterly magazine on general mathematical topics which, as I said when celebrating the magazine's fortieth birthday in April this year, quote from myself: "has the great virtue of not taking itself, or its subject matter, too seriously," end quote.
That doesn't mean it's frivolous. There's some good meaty math in there. There's also some light-hearted stuff, though: some verse, an occasional spoof piece, clearly indicated as such. You don't take Intelligencer unless you like math and know a lot about it; but it's not a heavy, dry academic journal.
Intelligencer liked the paper and set it up for printing in this year's Spring issue. Before publication, though, knowledge of the paper seeped out and was noticed by the Thought Police. They swung into action. You can read the grisly details at the Quillette piece. Intelligencer rescinded their acceptance and scotched the article — an unusual thing to do after having accepted the paper.
Even more Soviet: Ted Hill got a revised version of the same paper published in the more heavyweight New York Journal of Mathematics in November last year. I'll let Prof. Hill tell you what happened next, quote:
Three days later, however, the paper had vanished. And a few days after that, a completely different paper by different authors appeared at exactly the same page of the same volume … where mine had once been.
End quote. As I said, positively Soviet.
What was it about Ted Hill's paper that brought the full force of the Thought Police down on it? Well, his paper made an argument from biology, from the laws of evolution, as to how greater male variability might arise.
That means that it is possible — not certain, but mathematically and biologically possible — that the under-representation of women at the highest levels in math and science is just as firmly rooted in biology as, say, their under-representation among championship weight-lifters.
That's a thought we must not be allowed to think. As the Thought Police told the editor of Intelligencer, there exists a, quote, "very real possibility that the right-wing media may pick this up and hype it internationally," end quote.
You know those right-wing media, who have such a stranglehold on public opinion everywhere. Heaven forbid they should get hold of the idea that biology plays any part in forming human nature! Then the Earth would crash into the Sun and we'd all die.
06 — Miscellany. And now, our closing miscellany of brief items.
Imprimis: Just going back to Tibet for a moment. One of my favorite little useless historical factlets concerns Colonel Younghusband's 1904 expedition to Tibet as a representative of the British government. The principal Tibetan government official Younghusband ended up negotiating a treaty with had the title Chief Doctor of Divinity and Metaphysics.
I have wondered, ever since reading that, whether perhaps we shouldn't have a metaphysician at the topmost levels of our own governments here in the West.
The subject-matter of metaphysics, after all, is the nature of reality. The metaphysical theory currently dominant in the Western world, as illustrated by that last segment, is that reality is whatever makes us feel good.
Do we really want our societies to be run by people who believe that? Perhaps a little more metaphysical sophistication at the top wouldn't hurt …
Item: Most encouraging news story of the week was this one from Fox Business News. Headline: More companies dropping college degree requirement for new hires.
The gist of the story is there in the headline. A lot of big companies — the article names Google, Nordstrom, Bank of America, Ernst & Young, IBM, and Apple — are broadening the zone of jobs for which a college degree is not required.
That's a very good sign: a step — only a short step, but a welcome one — towards the reining-in of our bloated, extravagant, and irresponsible higher-education rackets.
We need much more. I'd start with an end to federal funding of junk courses — any course whose name ends with the word "studies" would be a good first approximation. If you want to spend four years engaged with Latinx Studies, by all means do so, but on your own dime.
I'll take what I can get, though. Notice Google in that list. Google hasn't been any patriot's favorite company this week, after that video came out showing how distraught Google management was after Trump's 2016 election victory. If this story is right though, even at Google — even in the darkest, most fetid depths of Social Justice Warrior self-righteousness and folly — there are flickerings of sanity.
Item: My word of the week: "hypocralypse."
Meet Robin Hanson, a Professor of Economics and all-round very brilliant guy who has made a deep study of human nature. He's co-author of a book about human nature, The Elephant in the Brain.
What's his focus? Deception and self-deception. To negotiate around the world, especially the social world, we do a lot of lying, says the Professor, both to ourselves and to others.
I think we all kind of know this. The reasons we offer, to ourselves and others, for doing the things we do are often just made up. Some of our social and work lives consists of interacting in a friendly and receptive way with people we don't much like and would rather not be bothered with … and so on.
This overlaps with the territory of Behavioral Economics, which we've touched on sometimes here at VDARE.com. I myself have written about the key concept of revealed preference. If you want to know people's true desires and motivations, don't just listen to what they say, watch what they do.
It follows from these researches — and again, I think it's something we all kind of know — that it takes a lot of little hypocrisies to make the social wheels go round. Here's where we get to the hypocralypse.
On his blog, September 4th, Prof. Hanson observes that the technology for machine-reading our true desires and intentions from our behavior — facial expressions, body language, tone of voice — is proceeding very fast. Quote from him:
Better tech for reading feelings and widespread hypocrisy seem to me to be on a collision course.
Yes, folks, we're heading for a hypocralypse. No more soothing lies; we'll all know what each other is really thinking.
To an old British sci-fi buff, one of Brain Aldiss' novels comes to mind. I googled it to make sure I remembered it right, and was surprised to find it has a Wikipedia page. I shall read you the entire text of that page. Quote:
The Primal Urge is a 1961 science fiction novel by Brian Aldiss. A satire on sexual reserve, it explores the effects on society of a forehead-mounted Emotion Register that glows when the wearer experiences sexual attraction.
Item: Finally — and very aptly, as it's the most final thing of all — death.
In my August Diary I mentioned Toby Derbyshire's good fortune in dying quietly at home, in his own bed, with his family around. I'd guess that for most of us, that's the ideal. It's what we'd all hope for.
Short of that ideal, but still I think better than leaving this world in a hospital or hospice bed with tubes in your arm and up your nose, is just keeling over in the middle of some everyday activity: working, playing, socializing.
Or performing in public. My subject here is Rita Jitendra: not a household name in the U.S.A., but an academic and public intellectual who appeared often on TV talk programs in northern India.
She was doing just that this week on a live morning show when, quote, "she suffered a cardiac arrest, began choking and died a few minutes later," end quote. Ms Jitendra was 81 years old.
Somewhere on the internet, I'm sure, there is a list of people who have died in the middle of some public performance. The British comedian Tommy Cooper is the only case I can bring to mind, but there have surely been many others.
I'll take it. It's not optimal, but still way better than the tubes and the beeping monitors and the curtains round the bed and the irritable nurse waiting to go off shift. I'll take it.
07 — Signoff. That's it, ladies and gents. Sorry to end on a morbid note there. I guess I'm still missing Toby.
Thank you for your time and attention; and you folk down there on the Carolina coast, please be safe!
Several Radio Derb listeners emailed in with appreciative comments on the British Army bugle call I signed off with last week. Hey, I got more where that came from. Anybody know this one? [Clip: Sick parade.] That's the sick call. There's a bugle call for every occasion.
Not only do I have bugle calls, I have a song about bugle calls. Over to Peter Dawson.
There will be more from Radio Derb next week.
[Music clip: Peter Dawson, "The Trumpeter."]