• Play the sound file
[Music clip: From Haydn's Derbyshire March No. 1, organ version]
01 — Intro. And Radio Derb is on the air! Greetings, ladies and gentlemen. That was Derbyshire March No. 1, and this is your exophthalmically genial host John Derbyshire with news of the hour.
Last week you'll recall I was at the annual meeting of the H.L. Mencken Club in Baltimore, Maryland. It was great fun. My thanks as always to the speakers and attendees, but most of all to Prof. Paul Gottfried and Mary for putting it together.
Now I am back at home on the Derbyshire estates, where the ground staff are busy raking a quite astonishing quantity of dead leaves. I shall go out and assist them in a proper spirit of noblesse oblige. First, though, a survey of current events.
02 — Disgust and shame. This week's news was dominated by the impeachment hearings going on in Congress. I haven't had anything much to say about this in past podcasts, and still don't. I'm not very interested in it, and can't be bothered to engage with the details. Ukraine … whistle-blower … transcripts … quid pro quo … [snoring sounds].
I can't say I'm proud of my lack of interest. As a citizen of a participatory democracy, I ought to do my best, and this isn't my best.
Oh, sure, there are excuses I can offer. I've never had that much interest in retail politics. Social, cultural, and scientific topics are more my thing.
And then, I'm getting long in the tooth, heading into that zone of life described so well by the old man in Rasselas, quote: "The world has lost its novelty," end quote and et cetera. It's hard to get excited about human folly when you've seen several decades of it, and participated in some yourself.
And are we still living in a participatory democracy? In this age of social media, with mass opinion shaped by billionaire ideologues, public policy controlled by unelected judges, and national legislation dictated by greedy business lobbies?
The main emotions aroused in me by the impeachment business are disgust and shame.
My disgust is for the people running the show.
It's a well-worn cliché by now that our ruling class lost its collective mind in 2016, when an outsider — not a Vice President or a senator or a state governor, not even a congressman for crying out loud! — won the Presidential election. Clichés are truths, though: There is real pathology on display here.
Within the ruling class, Republicans have mostly, though grudgingly, reconciled themselves to their loss. And yes, it was a great loss for elite Republicans. They would a thousand times rather have had Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, or Ted Cruz in the White House.
Still, their psyches have righted themselves. There are crisis scenarios I can imagine where elite Republicans would rat on Trump; but for the time being, while they struggle to figure out what's going on with that strange, mysterious species of insect called "voters," they'll pretend to be on-side.
The Democrats, though, have gone all-out nuts. Hence my disgust.
Any human being is susceptible to sour grapes after a disappointment; but when the disappointment arises not from some illegality or gross wrong, but from losing a fair contest under legal or social rules long agreed to, adult human beings swallow their sour grapes and get on with the business of life. A person who doesn't do that is a person who has lost proper adult self-control — no different from a drunkard, a lecher, or a chronic gambler. It's disgusting.
So, disgust. And then, shame. I'm a nationalist and a patriot, with origins and family connections in other countries. I want my country, this blessed America, to present a good face to the world, a face that other peoples can admire. The current clown show in congress has foreigners laughing at us — I know this from my personal contacts. This, they are saying, this is a serious nation? Leader of the Free World?
They are right to laugh at us. Our nation, like every other nation, has public issues to deal with, problems to solve, disagreements to sort out. Some of the issues are pressing; some of the problems, difficult; some of the the disagreements sharp.
For us here at VDARE.com the most pressing issue is the National Question: matters of immigration, national sovereignty, national stability and cohesion. There are plenty of other matters our national legislature should be busy attending to, though.
We are still fighting the missionary wars of the early 2000s, even though there is near-universal agreement — Max Boot and John Bolton are the only dissenters I can think of — that those wars were futile, if not counter-productive. We are still locked into military alliances that ceased to make any sense when the Cold War ended an entire generation ago. The nation's finances are in a sorry state: a trillion-dollar deficit and 23 trillion dollars of debt.
There are major social problems, too: homeless camps in our city streets, rising deaths from drug addiction, the increasing difficulty for young people of getting a home and starting a family, the out-of-control college rackets.
And what are our nation's legislators concentrating their energies on? Ukraine … whistle-blower … transcripts … quid pro quo … [snoring sounds].
03 — Why isn't everywhere Switzerland? Well, politically, taking the world as a whole, there's trouble and strife all over. Is America that much worse than other places? Are our legislators that much more corrupt and irresponsible?
Eh, depends where you look. Here's a news story I pulled off the wires. This is from BBC News, November 14th. Headline: Switzerland's plan to stop stockpiling coffee proves hard to swallow.
What's it about? Well, I'll just read you the opening grafs. Longish quote:
The Swiss are nothing if not well-prepared. Theirs is a country with a nuclear bunker for every household, a country that tests its air raid sirens every year, and a country that, although one of the wealthiest in the world, stockpiles thousands of tonnes of goods in case of an emergency — including coffee.
Now that's a country with a good sensible approach to national issues. Should the federal government stockpile coffee against a national emergency? That's a topic I could get interested in — way more interesting than the fine parsing of phone calls between the President and some apparatchik in some no-account junkyard country whose legislators can be bought over the counter like pounds of cheese.
The more I write about international matters, in fact, the more I wonder why the whole world doesn't just go Swiss — I mean, adopt the Swiss model of government. We are an imitative species, aren't we? Why don't we all imitate Switzerland? They have a good thing going up there in the Alps.
Can you name the president of Switzerland? No, I can't either. I had to look him up: It's a chap named Ulrich Maurer. Don't feel bad about not knowing that: I'm told some large number of Swiss people can't name their country's president either. That's what I call having politics in the right place on your list of priorities.
If you'll excuse me another longish quote, here's the background section from the Wikipedia page for Herr Maurer. Quote:
Maurer grew up as the son of a poor farmer in the Zürcher Oberland. After a commercial apprenticeship, Maurer received a federal accountant's diploma. He was director of the Zürich Farmers' Association from 1994 to 2008 and president of the Swiss Vegetable Farmers' Association and the Farmers' Machinery Association … until his election to the Federal Council.
Well, you can smile, but there are things in there that would incline me to vote for Herr Maurer, all else being equal. He's the son of a dirt farmer — no silver spoon there. Accounting may lack the glamor of being a real-estate mogul or community organizer, but keeping the nation's books balanced is an essential function of government.
On the military angle: I don't know how it is in Switzerland, but British Army folklore says that the rank of major is the highest rank at which you're doing real out-in-the-field soldiering, before the paperwork takes over.
Oh, and six children — bless him!
So without any knowledge of Swiss politics or any personal acquaintance with Herr Maurer, I must say, I like the cut of his jib. It doesn't hurt that Wikipedia describes his party, the Swiss People's Party, as, quote, "national-conservative" and "right-wing populist." That settles it, the guy's got my vote. Can we get him over here?
Or can we at least get to a place where none of us knows or cares much who the President is, and where the headline national issue is government stockpiling of coffee?
04 — The Rectification of Names. The cultural fissure that has opened up in the West in recent years, replacing the old left-right paradigm, needs descriptors for its two sides. I offered a list of four pairs of descriptors back on November 1st:
Well, it looks as though updating that list is going to be a weekly chore. Last week, at a reader's urging, I added the pair that blogger Z-man uses: "Cloud People" and "Dirt People."
A friend at the Mencken Club conference last weekend reminded me of the terms used by David Goodhart in his 2017 book titled The Road to Somewhere, subtitle "The Populist Revolt and the Future of Politics." Goodhart calls the two warring tribes the Anywheres and the Somewheres.
His idea is that the Somewheres, a.k.a. the Dirt People, feel a sense of belonging to some particular place. The Anywheres, on the other hand, fancy they are equally at home … anywhere; and they further believe that people from anywhere, in any numbers, would be able to make themselves at home in Western countries if not for the hate-filled reactionary resistance of us Somewheres.
So here's this week's full updated list:
As Confucius pointed out, quote from the sage: "If names be not correct, language is not in accordance with the truth of things. If language be not in accordance with the truth of things, affairs cannot be carried on to success." End quote.
05 — Demography notes. Just following on there from that bit of military folklore out of the officer's mess: here's another one. You've probably heard this one: "Amateurs talk strategy; professionals talk logistics."
One of my email correspondents has a variation on that, one I rather like, and so shall plagiarize. Here you go:
Amateurs talk politics; professionals talk demography.
I talk plenty of demography here at Radio Derb. Here I'm going to talk some more.
The topic here is: Which states in our union have populations increasing the fastest? Which have populations de-creasing the fastest?
The latest figures I can find online are from the Census Bureau, dated December 2018, almost a year ago, and covering population movements up to July 2018. World Population Review seems to be using those same numbers, although it says "2019" in its headlines.
So what's the news here? Well, we have five states with annual growth bigger than one and a half percent. From the highest to lowest of that top five: Idaho, Utah, Washington State, Nevada, Florida. On the 2016 election map those states show Red, red, blue, blue, red — two blues, three reds.
Down at the other end, five states have annual population declines of more than a quarter percent. From the bottom, biggest decline first: Wyoming, West Virginia, Illinois, Hawaii, New York. Red, red, blue, blue, blue. Two reds, three blues.
Once again. Population increasing most: two blues, three reds. Population de-creasing most: two reds, three blues.
That kind of hints that blue states are losing population to red states, for which I would raise a cheer. It's a thin edge, though — two to three versus three to two; and there are massive confusing factors in there. The proper untangling of those factors is above my pay grade, so I'll just name them.
First of course is immigration. How much of the increases are due to Americans moving house, and how many are foreigners settling here? You hear "Washington State," you think Boeing and Microsoft; but in fact the state is still heavily agricultural. Better than one in twelve of Washingtonians speak Spanish at home.
There's the snowbird factor, too. It's great to think of healthy young people moving out of crappy over-priced, over-governed states like New York into the mountains and prairies of the West — 21st-century homesteaders! Some large portion of the population movement state-to-state, though, is geezers looking for somewhere warm to retire to. Isn't that a net burden on the state? I can't see that it's a positive.
There's a be-careful-what-you-wish-for factor, too. Our President famously once voiced a preference for immigrants from civilized places like Norway over poop-hole countries like Haiti. It's a reasonable preference … until you read the news out of Norway.
I don't get a lot of news out of Norway, but my impression is that while Norwegians are not as thoroughly ashamed of their nationality as Swedes are, they're pretty deep into ethnomasochism. Your poster guy here is Karsten Nordal Hauken, a Norwegian chap who was raped by a Somali. The Somali was deported back to Somalia, and Mr Hauken feels terrible about it, quote:
I also got a strong sense of guilt and responsibility. I was the reason why he should not be left in Norway, but rather to face a very uncertain future in Somalia.
Given a choice between importing a few thousand Somalis or some similar number of Scandinavian cuckeroos like Mr Hauken, I have to admit, I'd hesitate.
And yes, I'll say it before you do. I'm an immigrant from Britain, and still nurse some lingering sentimental affection for the Old Country. I'd have to say, though, looking at what the Brits have done to Britain — whole towns surrendered to alien invaders, ancient liberties crushed in the name of multiculturalism — I'd have to say that I'd be loth to see mass settlement of Brits in America today.
There's some similar situation with state-to-state population movements in America.
This story got my eye. It's from the L.A. Times, November 10th. Remember, please, that Idaho is top of that list of states by annual increase of population — over two percent annual increase. OK, headline: "Go back to California": Wave of newcomers fuels backlash in Boise
That's Boise, Idaho, of course. Californians have been flooding into Idaho: Those are the "newcomers" in that headline. A lot of Idahoans aren't happy about it. One of them, actually a candidate in the November 5th election for Mayor of Boise, has argued for building a wall around Idaho. That guy got less than two percent of the vote, but unhappiness over the incoming flood of Californians seems widespread.
The L.A. Times says the cause of the unhappiness is mostly financial — Californians are richer than Idahoans, and they're pricing locals out of the housing markets. Given what Californians have allowed to happen to their state, though, I'd guess that cultural resentment against them won't be far behind.
06 — Chuckling along with Steve. The human-sciences journal Intelligence surveyed experts on intelligence — on, quote, "the nature, causes, and consequences of cognitive ability." They're a bit late reporting their results; the survey was done in 2013-2014. There's some interesting stuff in there, though.
So what did this survey come up with? Well, one thing was this, quote:
Experts were skeptical of the quality of media reports on intelligence research. In general, mean [i.e. average] expert ratings of media accuracy were around 3 to 4, on a scale of 1 (very inaccurate) to 9 (very accurate). Only two media outlets received positive ratings, the blogs of Steve Sailer (M = 7.38, N = 26 ratings) and Anatoly Karlin (6.10, N = 10 ratings).
Yep, that's our own Steve Sailer, and he's been chuckling over at the Unz Review about that survey.
I'm chuckling right along with Steve. I've known Steve for twenty years, since I joined his Human Biodiversity listserv back in the late 1990s. There's a book to be written about the names on that listserv, about some of their subsequent careers … although one or two of them might prefer it not known that they were contributors.
Our personal encounters have been all too few, what with him on one coast, me on the other, and neither of us much fond of traveling. Steve did stay over chez Derb once, though; so when Steve's as famous as, in the scales of cosmic justice, he ought to be I shall have one of those plaques fixed to the front wall, like you see for George Washington: Steve Sailer Slept Here, 2004.
So congratulations to Steve on this recognition. By way of personal tribute, I shan't try to improve on what I wrote in the afterword to my 2009 worldwide bestseller We Are Doomed. Here it is, slightly edited, quote:
In writing this book, I have borrowed pretty freely from the online writings of my friend Steve Sailer. As well as some ideas, my borrowings include entire phrases — Steve is a master of the memorable phrase. "Invade the world, invite the world, in hock to the world" is one of his coinages … I am sure there are other Sailerisms in my text. I have used some of Steve's data, too. He is a great quantitative journalist: I once heard him describe himself as "the only Republican that knows how to use Microsoft Excel" (which may very well be true). In a sane republic, Steve would have some highly-paid position advising the government, or a professorship in social science at some prestigious university. In the nation we actually live in, Steve can only be a guerrilla intellectual, emerging from the maquis now and then to take a few sniping shots at what George Orwell — Steve's greatest hero, and mine — called "the smelly little orthodoxies which are now contending for our souls."
Onward and upward, Steve!
07 — Miscellany. What else? Oh, who's this coming up the driveway? Why, it's every Radio Derb listener's favorite Southern Belle, Miss Ellany.
Imprimis: Radio Derb has for many years — well, close to four years — been urging English-language news and educational outlets to drop the "The" when naming nations. We no longer, as in my schooldays, say "The Argentine," "The Lebanon," and "The Ukraine." Why are we still saying "The Netherlands" and "The Czech Republic"?
As I ranted four years ago, rant:
Why are we still saying "The Czech Republic"? … Is there some other Czech nation it's differentiating itself from, like back when Taiwan was officially "the Republic of China" and mainland China was "the People's Republic of China"? Is there a Czech People's Republic? A Czech Federation? A Czech Kingdom? A Czech Despotism? A Czech Empire?
Well, the power and worldwide influence of Radio Derb are proving too much for the forces of the "The" to resist.
It has been brought to my attention, and I have confirmed, that Google Maps has now abandoned "The Czech Republic" in favor of "Czechia." Ha!
They have also reduced "The Netherlands" to just "Netherlands." However, they still show "The Gambia" as a country name in West Africa. I think that's the only "The" left, though. So far as Google Maps is concerned, we are trembling on the edge of total victory over "The."
See the power of Radio Derb!
Item: What's going on with Popeye's?
First there was this story from November 4th. At a Popeye's in Maryland, 28-year-old Kevin Tyrell Davis cut in to the line waiting to order a chicken sandwich. One of the other customers in line, 30-year-old Ricoh McClain, took exception. Words were exchanged, it went outside to the parking lot, and Mr McClain stabbed Mr Davis to death. Over a sandwich.
Forward four days to November 8th and six hundred miles west to Columbia, Tennessee. This time the perp is a Popeyes worker, 29-year-old Deriance Ra'Shaiel Hughes. The victim's name is not given; she is only described as a 55-year-old white woman.
Apparently the lady was disgruntled at having been double-billed for a meal of chicken tenders, corn and apple pies. Video shows her being chased out of the establishment by several workers. One of them punched her, then Mr Hughes picked her up and body-slammed her onto the concrete forecourt. The lady suffered a shattered elbow, six broken ribs and a broken leg.
The sad thing about these stories to me, aside from the human damage inflicted, is that they have the name of Popeye attached. Popeye was one of the first TV cartoon characters I got to know, when we first acquired a TV set back in the Eisenhower administration. I have fond memories of Popeye, though I could never figure out what he and Bluto saw in Olive Oyl.
Plainly Popeye's is a dangerous place to buy a sandwich. All right: I guess some fast-food place has to be dangerous. Did it have to be Popeye's, though? Is there any chance we can get a movement going to have them chnage the name of the outlet to some different cartoon character? How about Fat Albert's?
08 — Signoff. That's all for this week, ladies and gents. Thank you for listening, and for your many encouraging, thoughtful, and plagiarizable emails.
I recently yielded to the temptation to play Polonius — I mean, to offer wise words of advice to a younger person. I wish I hadn't. For one thing, I'm a pretty hardcore genetic determinist, so it's a bit bogus of me to try to direct someone's life course. For another, my actual ideas about life in the round are somewhat variable, depending on my mood.
All that came to mind again this week when I was browsing Twitter and spotted this, tweeted by a guy named Jose Rosado. I never heard of Mr Rosado; I picked this up as a retweet by Dennis Mangan, whom I do follow.
So here's Mr Rosado, apparently with Dennis adding his approval. The grammar is Rosado's, not mine. Tweet:
Advice for 20-year-olds:
Yeah, yeah: and the shade of old Polonius is nodding along in agreement somewhere.
There's another side to life, though, one that in certain moods I find attractive, and which, to tell the truth, has been the side I've mostly dwelt on. The operatic expression of it is the gavotte in Act Three of Massenet's Manon:
Profitons bien de la jeunesse,
That translates as: "Let's make the best of our youth, of the days that springtime provides. Love! Laugh! Sing! without ceasing — We'll never be twenty again." So the last line at least agrees with Jose Rosado.
Here's lovely Anna Netrebko to sing it for us. There will be more from Radio Derb next week.
[Music clip: Anna Netrebko, "Profitons bien de la jeunesse."]