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—————————[Music clip: From Haydn's Derbyshire Marches, electronic piano version]
01 — Intro. And Radio Derb is on the air! Greetings, ladies and gents, from your ruefully genial host John Derbyshire, here with highlights of the week's news for your listening pleasure.
Before I begin, I have a confession of error to make. In my October 26th podcast I referred to CBP as Customs and Border Patrol. In fact, as an attentive listener pointed out, CBP stands for Customs and Border Protection. Groveling apologies from Radio Derb to the fine men and women of CBP. Please keep working to help DHS keep the USA free of SIAs!
OK, what's been happening this week? The midterm elections, of course. Thank goodness they're over! Politics is fun to watch, and provides mostly harmless employment to a lot of people who would otherwise be unemployable; but you can have too much of it. Well, I can.
Let's see how things went.
02 — The Great Disappointment. The dust has pretty much settled after Tuesday's elections. The result was what all the pundits predicted: the GOP lost the House but gained seats in the Senate. That probably means not much will get done in the next two years.
Since nothing much has gotten done in the last two years, the election didn't change much. The congressional GOP has gone from being merely worthless, to being worthless and impotent. Congressional Democrats have gone from being crazy and impotent to being crazy and in charge of important committees; but the President has a veto pen, and I think we can trust him to use it.
Stepping back for a wider picture, this election was a good point from which to view the two years since Trump himself got elected. For those of us who toil away at the National Question, the dominant emotion has to be disappointment.
On illegal immigration not much has been done, for all of Jeff Sessions' efforts, of which more in a later segment. Inward flows dropped dramatically in Trump's first few months; now they are as high as in the Obama years.
On legal immigration, nothing at all has been done. All the follies and rackets and scams that immigration patriots have been beefing about for twenty years — EB-5 visas, the OPT program, H-1Bs, birthright citizenship, the green card lottery, the refugee profiteers, … the whole filthy, shameful, illogical, corrupt edifice of legal immigration policy stands untouched.
Trump has talked a good game — most recently on birthright citizenship — but it's hard to believe he holds the National Question at the front of his mind for more than a few minutes in the average week. There are things he could have done that he just hasn't — taxing remittances, for example — for reasons that are hard to understand.
It has of course been the congressional Republican Party that has been most at fault here, with their deep unwillingness to engage in any way with National Question issues. Many of them have of course been bought and paid for by the cheap-labor lobbies. Others suffer from that strange psychological deformation of our time, that when they hear words like "border," or "visa," or "citizenship," their minds turn the word into "racist!" and they break out in cold sweat.
Could Trump have built a wall without congressional appropriations, using the Department of Defense budget? Opinions differ. An editor at The Atlantic back in April argued that he couldn't for legal, constitutional, and administrative reasons. Having DoD fund the wall but then handing it off to CBP, a law-enforcement agency, to oversee it would be a, quote, "administrative nightmare," she tells us.
(I note in passing that this writer, like me, thinks that CBP stands for "Customs and Border Patrol." Perhaps we could start a club.)
Maybe. Surely it was at least worth a try. No, I didn't expect everything to be accomplished in two years, even with the GOP in control of both Congress and the Presidency. I thought something might get done, though. There has basically been nothing, and that's a huge disappointment.
I doubt the disappointment is just mine. A striking thing about these midterms was the high turnout — nearly 48 percent, the highest for a midterm since 1966. In both Kansas and Minnesota turnout was 60 percent. Those two states had three Senate seats up for grabs; the Democrats grabbed all three.
I mis-spoke there. Minnesota did indeed have two Senate seats up, but the key Kansas race was for Governor, not the Senate.
Nationwide, more Democrats voted than Republicans, although turnout was unusually high for both parties. Would Republican numbers be higher yet if not for a disappointment factor? Did voters who came out for Trump two years ago on his promise of a border wall stay home last week because of his failure to follow through?
I don't know. It would need a finer analysis than any I've yet seen to know the answer. I'm just registering my disappointment for these two years, and betting I'm not the only one.
03 — A cynic's guide to vote counting. The actual vote results turned up the usual sprinkling of victors to whom the kindest adjective one can apply is "colorful."
Possibly the colorfullest of these is Ilhan Omar, a Somali-born woman who won in Minnesota's fifth congressional district. Ms Omar hates America, hates Jews, and seems to have married her brother in pursuit of immigration fraud. She'll now be sitting in Congress.
I've been warning the Republic for a decade or so about importing Somalis. A good foundation for any sensible immigration policy would be: No Somalis! As I wrote in 2011, quote:
Any population has a lot of variation, and I have no doubt there are many law-abiding and industrious Somalis. When you take in 4,000, or 16,000, or 100,000, though, the law of averages is going to kick in — as of course it kicks in unmistakeably in Somalia itself. Human-capital-wise, the Somali averages are simply terrible.
End quote. They sure are, although those terrifically nice Midwesterners will do all they can to suppress the details.
Meanwhile there seem to have been some serious vote-counting shenanigans in Florida, Georgia, and Arizona. According to Florida Governor Rick Scott, for example, the Election Supervisor of Broward County down there mysteriously found 78,000 new votes two days after election day.
In this zone there are two golden oldies that come to mind. One is of course the quote attributed, I don't know how authentically, to Stalin, quote: "It's not the votes that matter, it's who counts them."
The other is the old accountant joke, thus:
A big corporation has a board meeting. The question comes up: What is two plus two? None of the board members knows the answer.
04 — Jeff Sessions: Speak as you find. So farewell then, Jeff Sessions. President Trump fired his Attorney General on Wednesday, to the surprise of nobody at all.
The gravamen of Federale's case is that Jeff failed to take on the Deep State operatives in the Justice Department, and failed to confront the domestic terrorism of groups like Antifa and Black Lives Matter.
Okay, but with what was available to him — I mean, with no support for changes to the law from a timid and corrupt Republican Congress, and operating under a President who was not merely unsupportive but fiercely hostile, Jeff Sessions at least did things — things that no-one in the administrations of Barack Obama or George W. Bush or Bill Clinton did.
Here's an example from close to home. My actual home is in Suffolk County on Long Island. Suffolk County was for years plagued by Central American gangs, especially MS-13. High-school kids were being murdered. Nothing much got done about it. It didn't help that in 2012 the County Executive declared us a sanctuary county and ceased co-operation with ICE.
I'll let Steve Levy continue the story. Steve served two four-year terms as our County Executive, stepping down at the end of 2011. He was, by the way, a Democrat for those two terms, although he's since changed parties.
Okay, here's Steve Levy picking up the story in an article published in the New York Post November 9th, quote:
Then someone new took occupancy of the White House and tapped Jeff Sessions as AG.
End quote. "Speak as you find" is the rule I was taught for judging people. Here in Suffolk County we've found Jeff Sessions a friend and a vigorous enforcer of the law. Sorry to see you go, Jeff.
05 — The Great War for Civilization. This Sunday, November 11th, marks the centenary of the armistice that ended fighting in World War One.
I've observed elsewhere that, quoting myself here, quote:
I think every country reserves a special place in the collective memory for her bloodiest war. For the U.S., that was the Civil War, which killed more Americans — from a smaller population — than all other wars since, combined. For us English, the Great War was WW1.
End quote. The year I was born, the youngest veterans of the Great War were in their mid-forties. My own father was one of them. The middle-aged English people who populated my childhood all remembered the war. If they hadn't fought themselves, they had lost friends and relatives. The man who taught me physics in my secondary school was a casualty of the Great War: His lungs had been badly damaged by poison gas in the trenches, and gave out on him in his early sixties.
Now, getting into my seventies, I am glumly aware that my generation is the last to have even a second-hand acquaintance with the most tremendous event of the 20th century. Our consolation is that it is today, surely, very improbable that white Europeans will ever again set about each other with such ferocity. If there is mass slaughter in our future — which Heaven forfend! — it will be race war.
I am reading articles in the British press about Sunday's commemorations with mixed feelings layered on top of each other. The base layer is of course my own sentimental nostalgia. On top of that, and in mild reaction against it, is the reflection that for nations as for individuals, dwelling on past sorrows is unhealthy and unproductive. If Great War nostalgia is fading, perhaps that's a good thing.
But then, counter to that, is sorrow at the transformation of Britain into a place I barely recognize, a place that fairly fits Theodore Roosevelt's term for what a nation should not be, quote from T.R.: "a polyglot boarding house" — a place without shared collective memories.
That twinge of sorrow keeps coming to me. It came to me the other day when I was reading Eric Kaufmann's November 2nd piece titled Can anything arrest the polarisation of the West? This was at the excellent website UnHerd.com. Kaufmann is writing about immigration, and the huge increases thereof in recent years. Longish quote:
As coverage of the increase grows, the public becomes more focused on the potential long-term loss of what I term the nation's "ethno-tradition," i.e. its characteristic ethnic composition of having a substantial ethnic majority alongside minorities. It also makes white majorities more aware that their group, with its collective memories, sense of common ancestry and cultural practices, is declining numerically in relation to other groups.
There is an interesting little sidebar to the November 11th Armistice that ended the Great War, noted by Adam Hochschild in his review of some Armistice books in the November 5th New Yorker.
The Armistice was actually signed at 5 a.m. that morning, to take effect at 11 a.m. After the 5 a.m. signing, says Hochschild, the key terms were immediately radioed and telephoned to Army commands up and down the front on both sides. The fighting went on until 11 a.m., though. So how many died in those six hours after the signing?
We only have a butcher's bill for the entire day: 2,738 dead from both sides, 8,206 wounded or missing. Not much fighting happened between midnight and 5 a.m., though, so those numbers probably answer the question near enough.
06 — Badthinker get government job. While I have my eyes on the other side of the Pond, here is a thing happening over there to get indignant about: Sir Roger Scruton is in trouble.
If the name's not familiar to you, Sir Roger is a conservative British intellectual of my generation — he's actually 462 days older than me. "Intellectual" doesn't do justice to the man, though. On his Wikipedia page under "Selected works" are listed 49 nonfiction books, eight fiction books and two operas.
Some of the nonfiction titles at random: The Aesthetics of Architecture, An Intelligent Person's Guide to Modern Culture, Our Church: A Personal History of the Church of England — hey, I reviewed that one, Thinkers of the New Left, I Drink Therefore I Am: A Philosopher's Guide to Wine, The Uses of Pessimism — I reviewed that one, too, How to be a Conservative, … You get the idea. This is one very productive guy with a very deep brow.
I have a very slight acquaintance with Sir Roger. He has written for The New Criterion, one of my outlets, and I've shared a dinner table with him at a couple of their functions.
So why is he in the news? Well, the British government seeks to beautify their country, which is very commendable of them. They've set up a commission to advise them on how to improve the nation's architecture. Since Sir Roger's written two books on the subject, they asked him to chair this commission, and he agreed. It's an unpaid post, so he's doing it from motives of duty and patriotism.
He may not be doing it for long. The CultMarx mob is mighty over there, and they've been trawling through Sir Roger's vast output of books, articles, and speeches looking for badthink. It turns out that this brilliant and distinguished person is a homophobe, an Islamophobe, a misogynist, and an antisemite … according to them.
Both of those nitwits are Members of Parliament, with all the associated privileges and emoluments.
Probably Sir Roger will be fired from his unpaid government position while the nitwits rise ever higher in the political ranks, thus verifying yet again the great cosmic principle that gold sinks while poop floats.
07 — Miscellany. And now, our closing miscellany of brief items.
Imprimis: First, congratulations to Jared Taylor on the November 5th court ruling.
Background here: Jared's American Renaissance conference is held every year at Montgomery Bell State Park in Tennessee. As a state facility, the park is bound to honor Jared's free speech rights. They also provide state law-enforcement officers to protect conference-goers from the Antifa crazies.
The state of Tennessee, however, just recently demanded that Jared pay for the law-enforcement, and for any damage done by Antifa. That would have killed the conference. AmRen just doesn't have that kind of money.
Jared sued to restore the status quo, and last week a U.S. District Judge ruled in his favor.
This is unlikely to be the end of the matter. Jared is one citizen with limited resources: Tennessee is a state with legions of lawyers and billions of dollars. They may be hoping that if they can't bankrupt Jared on security fees, they'll bankrupt him on appeals costs.
It's a victory none the less, and those are always welcome.
Item: Federale's point about the failure of the feds to confront anarchist terrorist groups like Antifa is a good one, but law enforcement starts at the local level. Why don't municipalities deal with them? We've seen them run riot in Charlottesville, in Portland, in New York City, and this week in Washington, DC, attacking Tucker Carlson's home.
The answer, you have to suspect, is that municipal politicians are sympathetic to Antifa in a way they absolutely would not be to unauthorized demonstrators from our side.
The relationship here is one we've seen before. When the Ku Klux Klan was a real thing, a lot of local politicians were sympathetic, and let them do as they pleased. If token arrests were necessary, similarly sympathetic courts let them off with a wrist-tap.
AntiFa are the Klan of our time, only in black instead of white, with masks instead of hoods.
Item: Are Muslims white? Well, sure, some of them are. It's a religion, duh.
Someone should explain this to crazy — oh, I beg your pardon; I mean "colorful" — Irish pop singer Sinéad O'Connor. Two weeks ago Ms O'Connor announced to the world, or at any rate to that portion of the world that pays attention to showbiz nutcases, that she had converted to Islam, taking the name Shuhada' Davitt. That's a glottal stop at the end of "Shuhada'"; at any rate, it's written with an apostrophe, which I assume represents a glottal stop.
Tuesday this week, to make her position perfectly clear, the lady tweeted the following, tweet: "truly I never wanna spend time with white people again (if that's what non-muslims are called)." End tweet.
Well, no, Ma'am, that's not what non-Muslims are called. We're called infidels, kaffirs, or just non-Muslims.
On the general sentiment you expressed, however, I think I speak for multitudes when I say that the sentiment is heartily reciprocated. Our loss is Islam's gain.
Item: Apropos World War One, I see there is a move afoot in Germany herself to rehabilitate the old German Empire — the one that went to war in 1914.
I need to tread carefully here. Four years ago I reviewed John Röhl's concise biography of Kaiser Wilhelm II, who was German Emperor in 1914. I passed some opinions, based on Röhl's researches, about the Kaiser's thinking and personality having been a major contributing factor to the launching of the war.
That drew some good-natured scorn from my old friend Paul Gottfried, who knows a lot more about Imperial Germany than I do.
All right. I still find the Kaiser really, really hard to like. I'll allow, though, that pre-WW1 Germany was a stable and successful nation: the first modern welfare state, with major achievements in every sphere of culture: science, math, art, literature, engineering, …
It had its blemishes, to be sure, as all nations do. As Bertrand Russell noted, there was an obnoxious militaristic bumptiousness about it, that could probably have been contained by wiser policies among the other powers. On the whole, though, there was much to like and admire about Imperial Germany.
You'd never know that from the news reports about this latest resurgence of interest. This one I'm looking at, from France24.com, presents the renewed interest as an obsession of the, quote, "far right."
Nobody wants Germans to take pride in the twelve-year interlude from 1933 to 1945; but are they not to be allowed to cherish any of their history?
Item: I have endured a certain degree of mockery for my addiction to massive jigsaw puzzles. That's OK; I find it a great way to escape from the world and get lost in a task that is challenging and instructive but otherwise pointless.
I am therefore pleased to know I have distinguished company. This is not jigsaw puzzles but something slightly different. It is, though, I do believe, the same general principle.
Meet 46-year-old Jeremy Wright of England. He is a minister in the British government, actually the Culture Secretary — which I think justifies the adjective "distinguished."
In an interview on talk radio, Mr Wright revealed that after a stressful day administering Britain's cultural affairs, he unwinds by playing with Lego.
This is not any pettifogging $15 Lego set, either, just as I don't waste time on 500-piece jigsaw puzzles. Concerning his collection of bricks, Mr Wright says, quote: "It's very large indeed, my wife would say far too large." O-kay.
I hail Mr Wright as a fellow spirit. If you don't have some way to escape into the zone of pure, pointless absorption, like me with my puzzles and Jeremy Wright with his Lego, you are the poorer for it — and probably, from a psychic point of view, less healthy.
Item: Finally, distressing news from Brazil. I am sorry to report that the forces of rancor and disorder that afflict so much of our civilized life nowadays have found their way even into the highest, noblest, most revered of our cultural institutions. Yes, ladies and gentlemen: There has been trouble at the Miss BumBum contest.
No sooner had 31-year-old Ellen Santana been crowned Miss BumBum 2018 and draped with the coveted sash than she was assaulted by fellow contestant Aline Uva, a 27-year-old massage therapist. The assailant was shouting that Ms Santana's bottom had been surgically enhanced, while hers was real.
This year's contest was, as I told you back in May the last that will be held. What a tragedy that this uplifting spectacle, looked forward to by so many of us, should end on such a discordant note. Truly this is a fallen world.
08 — Signoff. That's your portion for this week, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you for your time and attention.
Anniversaries and centenaries and such are of course artificial to a degree, mere numerical and astronomical coincidences. They serve a purpose none the less, drawing our attention away for a while from our everyday concerns to the wider sweeps of history, culture, and shared memory.
In that spirit, here is John Stanhope Arkwright's lovely hymn "O Valiant Hearts," which is always sung in England on Remembrance Sunday. It's sung here by the Chapel Choir of the Royal Hospital, Chelsea.
There will be more from Radio Derb next week.
[Music clip: The Chapel Choir of the Royal Hospital, Chelsea: "O Valiant Hearts."]