• Play the sound file
[Music clip: From Haydn's Derbyshire Marches, piano version]
01 — Intro. And Radio Derb is on the air this Ides of March. Scanning back through the archives, I'm a bit surprised to see that this is only the second time in fifteen years of podcasting that our date stamp has fallen on March 15th. The last time was in 2014, when I seem not to have noticed it being the Ides, being more preoccupied with an upsurge of neoconnery following Russia's annexation of the Ukraine. Sample quote from my 2014 self:
I always suspected [John] Bolton was nuts. Now I know it.
Whatever happened to John Bolton? Oh, right.
Also in that podcast five years ago I was urging Jeff Sessions to run for President in 2016. Whatever happened to him? You know, of course.
So, some appropriately melancholy reflections this Ides of March. Is there any hope for improvement? None that I can see. All we can do is keep buggering on.
02 — Modern Irish manners. This weekend also sees St Patrick's Day, of course, when we celebrate the great Welshman who brought Christianity to the heathen Irish.
Last week's podcast included a brief item, based on an article by Piers Shepherd in the March issue of Chronicles magazine, describing how the Irish of today are regressing to heathenism. Today's Ireland is, I said, "The most angrily secular, feminist, homosexualist, globalist nation in Europe, perhaps in the world."
That brought in a trickle of emails denouncing me as a vile Saxon shoneen, which cheered me up some. I mean, it's good to know that the older Ireland, complete with its scorn for the British, is not quite dead yet. I'm a big fan of national character — what Solzhenitsyn called the "generalized personalities" of mankind. The world would be a duller and poorer place without that.
The current Prime Minister of Ireland, Leo Varadkar, certainly intends to keep buggering on in the most literal sense. The Taoiseach is visiting the U.S.A. this week. He's an open homosexual, and he's brought his current partner, a chap named Matt Barrett, along with him. Thursday the two of them attended a traditional vice-president's breakfast at Mike Pence's official residence.
Mike Pence is an evangelical Christian who believes that homosexual acts are sinful. Mr Varadkar made a pointed reference to this in his breakfast speech. Quote:
I stand here this morning as leader of my country, flawed and human, but judged on my political actions and mistakes and not on my sexual orientation or my skin tone or my gender or my religious beliefs.
End quote. The bit about skin tone refers to Mr Varadkar's father having been Indian; in point of fact, as a friend of mine likes to say in a different context: "He looks white to me."
Just a note to the Taoiseach from Radio Derb. You are judged not only by your "political actions and mistakes" but also, like the rest of us, by your manners. To poke a finger in your host's eye like that is bad manners. If you were a better man you would have kept quiet about your private inclinations, and left your partner at home.
03 — Brexit and a border. Ireland is actually a major political issue now because of Brexit.
Just to refresh your memory here: The British Isles consist of one big island, a somewhat smaller one, and lots of tiny ones. The big island is called Britain; the somewhat smaller one is called Ireland.
That's just geography: Ireland has been politically divided since 1922, five-sixths of it being the Republic of Ireland, the other one-sixth, in the northeast, being part of the U.K. along with Britain.
Currently the U.K., including of course the Northern Ireland bit, and also the Republic of Ireland, are both members of the European Union. So on a clean Brexit — I mean, if the U.K. gets back full sovereignty — the island of Ireland will be divided between a bigger part in the EU and a smaller part in a non-EU sovereign nation, presumably with different rules from the EU's on things like customs duties, immigration, extradition, and so on.
You wouldn't think that should be a big problem. For two different sovereign nations to share a land border isn't exactly a new thing in the world. Most places manage it without much fuss.
In the Irish case, though, there are some serious complications. Northern Ireland is itself divided more or less equally between two ethnies. The two ethnies call themselves "Loyalists" and "Republicans." The loyalty of the Loyalists is to the British Crown: they're happy to be part of the U.K. and would like to stay that way. The Republicanism of the Republicans is a loyalty to, of course, the Irish Republic — more generally, to the ideal of a separate sovereign state for Irish people.
The temperature of political passions among individual persons in these two ethnies varies hugely, of course. A lot of Northern Irelanders just shake their heads and sigh when you mention the ethnic issue, and ask you to change the subject. There is a Yuppie class of professional types who couldn't care less about ethnicity.
Certainly the overall political temperature is lower now than it was when it was driving the horrors of the late 20th century. The memory of those horrors has not altogether faded, though, and there is a nagging fear they might resume.
For sure there are still extremists willing to commit mayhem in one or other ethnic cause, mostly the Republican one. Just last week police in Northern Ireland found an arsenal of military equipment hidden in a forest, though they don't seem to know who put it there. That followed the sending of crude incendiary bombs through the mail from Ireland to several transport hubs in Britain the week before.
As always in Irish history, the extremists are much helped by the stupidity of Britain's ruling class. That stupidity manifested itself this week in a decision by the Northern Ireland equivalent of the Justice Department to prosecute an anonymous soldier for murder when confronting a Republican demonstration forty-seven years ago. The authorities doubled down on their stupidity by declaring, at the same time, that there is not enough evidence to prosecute sixteen other British soldiers at the event.
Prosecuting the one guy has made Loyalists — and a great many people in Britain — furious; declining to prosecute the sixteen has made Republicans furious. I tell you: In the annals of political stupidity, Britain's policy towards Ireland deserves a volume all to itself.
Back to the Brexit issue, though. What would be the problem with a "hard" border separating Northern Ireland from the Republic? Well, the problem is demographic. The population of Northern Ireland is, as I said, roughly equally divided between Loyalists and Republicans. The distribution, however, is very uneven. The part of Northern Ireland near the border, most of it open countryside, is much more Republican than Loyalist — and also more pro-Europe. Loyalists are concentrated forty or fifty miles away in the more urban east of the region.
So you'd have pro-European Republicans on both sides of the border. Given that any border is an outrage to the keener sort of Republicans, even the very feeble one currently in place, a truly hard border would drive them nuts. Smuggling would be rampant if the border was not heavily policed; and those police would drive extremist Republicans even further nuts. There would be IEDs, random shootings, truck bombs … It doesn't bear thinking about.
Is there a solution? Well, there's ethnic separation. Give the Loyalists a smaller enclave where they could be a super-majority and cede the rest of the region to Ireland. Or give the Loyalists independence: There are two million of them, more than the population of Estonia. The loyalty of the Loyalists is not much reciprocated in Britain; most Brits would be glad to see them go.
Of course, ethnic separation is a thing we're not supposed to favor anywhere, for any reason, under the current ruling ideology of the West. Diversity is our strength! So there's not much prospect of that as a solution.
As I go to tape here, there is actually not a hundred percent prospect of a problem. Brexit is still up in the air.
04 — Waiting for Cortés. It was in June 2016, nearly three years ago, that the Brits voted in a referendum to leave the European Union. Well, they are still in it.
The Prime Minister, Theresa May, and her government have been trying to negotiate terms to make Britain's departure from the EU as painless as possible. The Europeans haven't been co-operative, though, and the terms aren't very good. The situation isn't helped by the fact of Britain's Deep State, along with most of the media and goodthinking intellectuals, being strongly anti-Brexit.
Under current rules the U.K. has to leave the EU on March 29th, deal or no deal. This week Parliament declined to sign off on Mrs May's latest deal, so the situation is deteriorating fast. Ask the EU for an extension? Why would they grant one? They could fairly say: "If you couldn't settle matters in three years, why would a few extra months help?"
Ask for an extension on the promise the Brits will hold another referendum? That would make pro-Brexit Brits mad as hell; they'd turn out in major force to vote for the same thing they voted for in 2016. What then?
It's a real crisis. In hindsight the best thing would have been a precipitate no-deal exit right after the referendum. By now the dust would have settled, the currency stabilized, trade resumed under WTO rules, and the U.K. would be a normal sovereign country once again, trading with Europe just as the U.S.A. does, or Japan, or India.
The parallels with what happened in the U.S.A. in 2016 are hard to miss. That year's Brexit vote was driven by the same forces that got Donald Trump elected: a widespread desire to be a citizen of a distinct sovereign country with well-defined borders firmly policed, as opposed to being a mere inhabitant of a globalized shopping mall.
Over here just as over there, swift, resolute, unapologetic action on key aspects of the National Question right after the collective decision had been voiced, would have spared us the endless inconclusive wranglings that we, like the Brits, are now mired in. The Deep State would have been caught off guard, their forces scattered in confusion.
As it happens I have just finished reading Hugh Thomas's magnificent history of the conquest of Mexico by Hernán Cortés five hundred years ago. It is an astonishing, amazing story — one of the great epics of history.
On the book's last page the author sums up the epic's principal actor thus, quote:
The word which best describes Cortés' actions is "audacity": it contains a hint of imagination, impertinence, a capacity to perform the unexpected which differentiates it from mere valour. Cortés was also decisive, flexible, and had few scruples.
Audacity, imagination, impertinence, a capacity to perform the unexpected; decisive, flexible, few scruples. Well, I'd like the people running my nation to have more than just a few scruples. That aside, looking at those other nouns and adjectives there, I must say, I would vote for a Cortés if one showed up.
05 — The killings in Christchurch. The headlines as I'm recording here are all about the mass killing in Christchurch, New Zealand.
I render my usual apology for not being able to think of much to say about these occasional sudden acts of homicidal lunacy. There is an irreducible number of people in the world who will do things like this; and short of drastically curtailing the liberties of everybody, the problem doesn't have a solution.
With no offense to those who have suffered and died from these outrages, I cherish my liberty and will take my chances with the very occasional random lunatic in the same spirit of fatalism I bring to my chances with lightning strikes, asteroid impacts, and slippery bathtubs.
I can't stop other people drawing conclusions, though, and a great many people are ready to do so.
"It's Islamophobia," comes the cry. Well, yes, the killer here does seem to have had a special antipathy to Muslims.
There are crazy Muslims with an equal antipathy to infidels, though. Precisely equal in this case: The number of dead in Christchurch was 49, exactly the same as the number killed by Afghan-American Omar Mateen in Orlando, Florida three years ago.
Perhaps settling great numbers of Muslims in non-Muslim nations is a bad idea, stirring up crazy people on both sides.
The gun controllers are howling, too. Again, I'll cherish my liberties, and put up with the accompanying risks — which, from a coldly actuarial point of view, are way down below the struck-by-lightning level of probability.
Not being able to think of much else to say relevant to the public sphere, I'll go private.
The city of Christchurch has some faint but special associations for me. Faint, because I've never been there. I heard all about it, though, from my father.
Dad lived in and around Christchurch in the late 1920s, when he was a footloose young man. My half-brother was actually born in Linwood, the district in Christchurch where one of those mosques stands.
From Dad's reminiscences, I believe those New Zealand years were the happiest of his life. He returned to England in 1930 to deal with a family crisis, got stuck in the Depression, and never found his way back to the Antipodes. He waxed lyrical about New Zealand all through my childhood, to the degree that I made an unsuccessful try at emigrating there.
Dad was a keen tennis player in his youth. He once told me that he'd played the inaugural game at a new-built set of tennis courts somewhere in or near Christchurch, and a commemorative plaque had been put up there with his name on it, among others. I suppose it's pretty unlikely that the plaque — or even the courts themselves — have survived ninety years; but if I have any listeners down there in Christchurch, I'd be curious to know.
So in a spirit of filial piety, transmitting my Dad's sad nostalgia, I offer my condolences to the people of Christchurch for such a horrible thing happening in their city, with the faint hope that I shall visit that city one day.
06 — What kind of elite do we want? If you are a cold-eyed realist about human nature with a deep scorn for all the many varieties of wishful thinking, you come to the topic of education like a hungry lion to a herd of gazelles. The problem is not finding something to scoff and jeer at; the problem is there are, at any time, so many plump, juicy targets, you don't know which one to head for.
Commenting on education issues, I generally end up quoting from the education chapter in my 2009 masterpiece We Are Doomed. Just for once I'm going to break the mold and start with the quote. Here it is, quote:
This whole topic of education is a glorious feast for pessimists of all kinds. Not only does no-one have a clue what to do about the achievement, behavior, and math sex gaps, but government programs to address them have just the kinds of results a pessimist expects when money and jobs are offered to people willing to say they will do something that nobody knows how to do. Those results will inevitably be: cheating, corruption, and cover-ups.
Thus primed, you will not be amazed to hear that this week's revelations about chicanery in college admissions did not even rate a roll of the eyes from your genial host.
In the matter of young people in schools and colleges actually learning things, I am a severe reductionist. At least half the population are not capable of benefiting from classroom instruction after the age of twelve. After the age of sixteen, no more than twenty percent gain any advantage from being schooled; after eighteen, less than ten percent.
Those facts, if faced honestly, pose some difficult questions about what to do with young people. Back in the Environment of Evolutionary Adaptedness the answer was hunting, gathering, child-bearing, and war. Nowadays we are more or less the same critter but our social evolution has taken us to a point where those things are ruled out, at any rate for thirteen-year-olds.
So we have this problem: What do we do with our youngsters? The answer we've come up with is to extend their schooling into their early twenties. It's a waste of time for most of them, and colossally expensive; but it keeps them out of trouble — more or less — and provides masses of jobs for sedentary middle-aged people.
We cover up the futility of it all with noble phrases about improving minds and equipping people for informed citizenship. A half-hour's acquaintance with an average college graduate easily exposes the hollowness of those phrases; but we avert our eyes.
Compounding the futility is our race denialism. The news outlets here in New York City are full of stories about the collapse of discipline in public schools.
What happened? Well, as any teacher will tell you, black kids misbehave way more than other kids, so they used to get disciplined more. That, said Social Justice Warriors, was racist and discriminatory; so the schools stopped disciplining black kids. Now they act up with impunity.
Race denialism corrupts the college admissions process, too. As Heather Mac Donald points out in an article on this week's scandal, quote:
On average, Asians admitted from 2010 to 2015 at Harvard outperformed admitted blacks on the SAT by 218 points (admitted whites outperformed admitted blacks by 193 points). Test scores and GPA that would give an Asian only a 25 percent chance of admission at Harvard would be a virtual admissions guarantee — 95 percent — for a black student.
Heather agrees that legacy admissions also distort the admissions process, as of course does the kind of cheating uncovered this week. On the statistics she presents, though, these inequities distort the process far less than the affirmative-action rackets do.
Heather's solution is to fire all the college admissions officers and impose a universal entrance exam to be taken by all applicants. Let's have true meritocracy!
With all respect to Heather, while straightforwardly meritocratic admissions would certainly be an improvement on the current rancid swamp of lies, evasions, and corruption, meritocracy presents problems of its own. Michael Young taught us that sixty years ago. You end up with a test-passing elite stuffed with a conviction of their own merit, looking down with scorn on the merit-poor masses skulking in their slums.
Worse yet, since the merit-relevant traits of intelligence and behavior are heritable, your elite is just as hereditary as an Old World aristocracy of blood and lineage.
What kind of elite do we want, though? It's hard to see how a society can function without an elite of some kind. The Old World aristocratic model was clearly repudiated by our nation's founders. Then what?
I suppose at last, fifty or a hundred years from now, we shall end up with a genetically-enhanced elite. Perhaps that will make for a stable system. Do I believe that? No, not really; but we must hope.
07 — Miscellany. And now, our closing miscellany of brief items.
A thoughtful listener emailed in to take partial issue with me. Yes, he agreed, dual citizenship is a lousy idea, but a total proscription is unreasonable. A person from country A goes to live in country B, marries a native, has a child. That child could be a citizen of both A and B. On attaining majority, however, he should have to choose between A and B, choosing one citizenship and formally renouncing the other.
I think that's sensible. It seems to me, in fact, that it used to be the case — perhaps it still is. My beef, like my listener's, is with an adult holding two countries' passports indefinitely.
My correspondent also points out that while you can, by legislation, abolish dual citizenship — or at least corral it within sensible limits — there's nothing much you can do about dual loyalties. Quote from him: "The only people who never have a conflict of loyalties are total egoists, who are always unfailingly loyal to themselves." End quote.
Hmm. Do I have dual loyalties? I don't think I do. In certain moods I'm aware of a sentimental fondness for the nation of my birth, but it soon passes.
Perhaps it's a matter of precisely defining "loyalty." Or perhaps I am a total egoist.
Item: Probably most listeners know the name of Kevin MacDonald. Kevin is a retired professor of psychology best known for three books about Jewish history he published in the 1990s. Those books are written from the perspective of evolutionary psychology and group survival strategies, the group here being of course Jews.
I reviewed the third of those books, title The Culture of Critique, for American Conservative back in 2003. My review was not hostile. I said positive things when I thought there were positive things to say, and expressed respect for Kevin as a serious scholar. However, I was skeptical about some of his theory and conclusions; for which, I have been getting angry messages from Kevin's fans ever since.
Well, the other day I saw Kevin grumbling on Twitter that Amazon has removed two of those three books, including The Culture of Critique. I went to Amazon and checked.
Sure enough, only one of that trilogy of books about the Jews is listed. It's the first and least controversial one, title A People That Shall Dwell Alone. The second book, Separation and Its Discontents, and the third, the aforementioned Culture of Critique, have been memory-holed.
Call me naive, but I was shocked by this. These were not the self-published books of a lone crank. All three of those books — the copies I own, at any rate — were published by Praeger, a perfectly respectable house issuing, quote from Wikipedia, "scholarly, professional, and general interest books." Praeger is an imprint of the parent Greenwood Publishing Group, "an educational and academic publisher," says Wikipedia.
The censors are getting more brazen, more shameless. Bad thoughts are no longer to be allowed in the public square.
Is this not the behavior of an arrogant monopoly? Where are the antitrust watchdogs? Where is the Justice Department? Where is the President?
I watched that vidcast and I recommend you watch it too — it's just over thirteen minutes.
What is the real reason? Why is immigration, legal and illegal, such an unstoppable force in the teeth of majority sentiment, all over the West, for less immigration?
Molyneux theorizes that it all comes down to the housing market, and to terror among politicians, bankers, financiers, and economists that the housing market will collapse, or even just decline. Bringing in ever more people from abroad props up the housing market, preventing a systemic disaster that would ripple through the economy.
As Molyneux points out, you're not really preventing a crash, only postponing one. It's a Ponzi scheme. For politicians with their four-year time horizons though, there is no functional difference between "prevent" and "postpone."
It's an intriguing argument, which I confess I haven't fully digested yet. If you watch the vidcast and have an informed opinion about it, by all means email me. I'd like to understand more about the plausibility of this argument.
08 — Signoff. That's the ration for this week, ladies and gents. Thank you for your time and attention; I hope the Ides of March left you unscathed; and if you are Irish, or would like to be, céad míle fáilte.
There is another anniversary coming up: nothing whatever to do with Julius Caesar or the Irish. Next Wednesday is the 102nd birthday of Dame Vera Lynn, bless her.
Faithful listeners will recall that I missed the lady's centenary in 2017 and had to be prompted by a listener. I am resolved that will not happen again. This year, and I hope for many more years to come, I shall offer a birthday tribute. I'm afraid it may be the same song every year: this one is far and away my favorite.
Happy birthday, Ma'am! There will be more from Radio Derb next week.
[Music clip: Vera Lynn, "A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square."]