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[Music clip: From Haydn's Derbyshire March No. 1, organ version]
01 — Intro. And Radio Derb is on the air! Greetings, listeners, from your intermittently genial host John Derbyshire.
Possibly under the influence of Charles Murray's new book, which I reviewed here at VDARE.com the other day, this week's podcast delves into issues of sex, race, and class. First, though, the election news.
In 2018, when she was re-elected as one of Minnesota's senators, she performed vastly better in the state than Hillary Clinton did two years earlier … Mrs Klobuchar is the opponent Mr Trump would least like to face.
I said at the time that Senator Klobuchar was being talked up, quote, "as a safe pair of hands with good electability." How sweet those words sound today in the ears of Democratic Party bosses! They are desperately hoping for a candidate who fits that description: not tinfoil-hat crazy like Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren, not a sexual eccentric with a paper-thin resumé like Peter Buttigieg, not a billionaire carpetbagger like Michael Bloomberg.
Klobuchar has got to be the DNC's dream candidate. She's a middle-class Midwesterner with a good, unblemished track record in both local and national politics. She's been married twenty-odd years to a person of the other sex.
Her political positions are those of her party. Some of them may seem wacky to you and me, but they're the party's positions, and they sound sober compared to some of the stuff we've heard from her fellow candidates. In any case, she carries herself with enough of an attitude of Midwestern practical good sense that you have to suspect she doen't believe the really crazy stuff.
She's talking open borders, for example. However, like Bernie Sanders she is on record quite recently as taking a somewhat more sensible point of view.
"Quite recently" was actually 2006, during her first run for the Senate. Here was Amy Klobuchar taking audience questions at a televised debate in the Minnesota state senate that year.
Now you can say, and I wouldn't altogether disagree with you, that this was just boob bait for the bubbas. This was 2006, in the era of George W. Bush immigration flim-flam, when politicians were starting to hear rising discontent with the failure to enforce immigration laws. They came up with a form of words to smother that discontent — "fence on the border," "pay their taxes," "path to citizenship," and the rest.
It was all bogus. No politician of any party truly intended any action on immigration. Then as now, the congressweasels were all bought and paid for by the cheap-labor lobbies.
Pay their taxes? How do you compute taxes on someone who's been paid cash under the table for ten years?
Path to citizenship? What's wrong with the path we have — lawfully acquire permanent residence, wait out the waiting period, then apply for citizenship? It worked for me.
Yes, Congress did pass the 2006 Secure Fence Act, but the actual appropriation of funds and the actual building of the fence was slow and lackadaisical. The fencing itself was half-hearted and makeshift; it had basically no effect on illegal crossings.
That's not the main point, though. A nice Midwestern lady in 2006 had given no more than ten seconds' connected thought to immigration issues. The boob bait for the bubbas was handed to Ms Klobuchar by some staffer, and she just read it off.
That's the kind of candidate party managers like! Nowadays they're handing her different stuff to read off, and she is obediently doing so, with a thoughtful and confident approach that doesn't scare the horses over in the corporate-donor corral. "A safe pair of hands with good electability."
I note from the betting averages shown at Real Clear Politics that Amy Klobuchar's numbers took a sharp upward turn last week and look set fair to pass the plummeting numbers for poor Joe Biden any day now. Ms Normal rises as Mr Normal falls.
Minnesota has a persistent problem with race. The Twin Cities is one of the most racially segregated metropolitan areas in the nation. The state's racial financial wealth gap is the worst in the nation. The racial incarceration gap is among the worst. There is a persistent health care outcomes disparity that is among the worst in America. Among so many measures Minnesota ranks among the bottom when it comes to racial issues. The same is true with K-12 education.
In the matter of education at least, Minnesota is on the case. What are they going to do about those pesky education achievement gaps? They're going to make them illegal — in fact, unconstitutional!
Yes folks: Two authority figures in the Gopher State, one a former state Supreme Court justice and the other president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, these two big playahs are pushing for an amendment to the state constitution to guarantee all children the fundamental right to a quality public education. Problem fixed!
If you've listened to Radio Derb much you'll know how much I enjoy reporting on these education stories, especially when they concern the race gap in test scores. Nowhere in our public life is the blind clueless stupidity of race denialism in plainer sight.
There is proverbially nobody nicer than Midwesterners; and taking the opposite of "nice" to be "naughty," there is nothing naughtier than race realism.
Well, the hell with that. Here's some race realism. Those test score gaps are rooted in biology. That is why, after decades — decades — of educational theorizing and fiddling, untold trillions of dollars spent, they remain stubbornly on display.
And here are these two authority figures in Minnesota setting out to fix the problem at last — at last! — with a constitutional amendment. That bespeaks a quite breathtaking faith in the power of words. If you don't like some aspect of reality, pass a law to say it ain't so.
There are precedents. Mathematicians tell you it's impossible to square the circle? Pass a law to say they are wrong. This was actually tried in Indiana in 1897, although the state Senate scotched the bill. The legislation would have made the mathematical constant pi equal to precisely three and one-fifth, rather than the 3.1415926535 8979323846 2643383279 5028841971 6939937510 5820974944 5923078164 0628620899 8628034825 3421170679 … and change it actually is.
"If thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out," says the good book. The folk who run Minnesota have improved on that: If reality offends you, pass a law. That'll fix it!
04 — Bloomie commits heresy. In the matter of race realism, Michael Bloomberg's campaign hit some nasty turbulence this week.
Bloomie was of course mayor of New York City from 2002 to 2013. In 2015, in a speech to the Aspen Institute for which I can't find a good-quality audio, he said the following thing, quote:
Ninety-five percent of your murders — murderers and murder victims — fit one M.O. You can just take the description, Xerox it and pass it out to all the cops. They are male minorities, 16 to 25. That's true in New York. That's true in virtually every city.
Well, duh. Everybody knows that's true, and the numbers support it. Blacks and Latinos are only 51 percent of New Yorkers, but they perform 93 percent of the homicides, and so on. While every nonblack person knows this, though, and lives his life accordingly — staying out of black neighborhoods as much as possible, sending his kids to schools with as few blacks as possible — to say it out loud is seriously taboo.
Good citizens are supposed to practice doublethink, defined by Orwell as:
To know and not to know, to be conscious of complete truthfulness while telling carefully constructed lies, to hold simultaneously two opinions which cancelled out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both of them …
We all know that blacks and Latinos — blacks most particularly — commit a massively disproportionate amount of crime. At the same time we don't know this. We know that it is a vile slander put about by white supremacists. We believe both things simultaneously … if we know what's good for us.
Just as Bloomie was trying to babble his way out of this he took another hit. In September 2008, just as the great financial crisis was getting up a head of steam, he'd given a talk at Georgetown University in which he said that the collapse of rational credit standards in mortgage lending was to blame. Quote:
It all started back when there was a lot of pressure on banks to make loans to everyone … Redlining, if you remember, was the term where banks took whole neighborhoods and said, "People in these neighborhoods are poor, they're not going to be able to pay off their mortgages, tell your salesmen don't go into those areas."
Again, the efforts by politicians from the Carter administration onwards, much accelerated under George W. Bush, to kill off proper credit standards in mortgage lending surely did leave a great many people, disproportionately black and Latino, living in houses they couldn't finance. But again, while we all know that, it is seriously taboo to say it out loud.
Bloomie compounded the offense by speaking approvingly of redlining. That's a trigger word for the race denialists. In the religion of Anti-Racism, redlining is a major heresy. To praise it is to put yourself outside the pale of right-thinking people. Bloomie might as well have said that Emmett Till got what was coming to him.
So now Bloomie's in bad odor with the priests of Anti-Racism and their congregations. Who are those people, though? How many of them are black? Next segment.
05 — How blackety-black-black are American blacks? Black voters, as we all think we know, and as the current crop of Democratic Presidential candidates seem to believe, vote their blackness. Is that really the case, though?
Noah Rothman over at Commentary magazine puts forward some contrary data. Sample quotes:
When Gallup surveyed the landscape, following a 2016 Supreme Court case that affirmed the constitutionality of using race and ethnicity to make college admissions decisions, non-Hispanic blacks were by far the most hostile toward the decision. Only 35 percent approved of the ruling. Fifty percent disapproved of colleges using admissions criteria that were not based on merit alone …
That Quinnipiac poll, I should say, came out February 10th, the day before Bloomie was exposed as having stepped on the race-and-crime third rail. Still, Rothman's numbers got me wondering about a thing I wonder about a lot: Just how much of blacks' political behavior is shaped by racial solidarity? All right, I know, the answer is "a lot." But how much?
Follow me through a little thought experiment, please.
Let's start with Prof. Amy Wax's op-ed promoting bourgeois values, which caused much pointing'n'sputtering when it appeared in August 2017. Here are some of the values Prof. Wax (and her co-author Larry Alexander) sought to promote. Quote:
Get married before you have children and strive to stay married for their sake. Get the education you need for gainful employment, work hard, and avoid idleness. Go the extra mile for your employer or client. Be a patriot, ready to serve the country. Be neighborly, civic-minded, and charitable. Avoid coarse language in public. Be respectful of authority. Eschew substance abuse and crime.
Let's suppose we can quantify those values — give to every adult citizen an aggregate score measuring how well he practices those values, or how badly he fails to. And let's suppose we could draw a bright horizontal line such that citizens who score above the line could be described as "worthy," those who score below it as "trash."
Now let's go out into the field and do a major survey involving many thousands of self-identifying white Americans, scoring them all. What would be the proportions, white worthies and white trash?
I don't know the answer, of course; but I grew up in public housing around a lot of poor people, some of them definitely white trash, and I've subsequently lived a long and varied life, mostly among whites, in many many places. I'm going to hazard a guess that white worthies outnumber white trash in today's U.S.A. about four to one. Put it another way: eighty percent of our white population are worthies, twenty percent are trash.
So far, so good. Now let's go back out into the field, and let's do the same survey among self-identifying black Americans. What would be the proportions, black worthies to black trash?
I'm on less secure ground here. I have only a couple of times, briefly, lived in black neighborhoods. Most of what I know about American blacks has been observed at some distance. I'm pretty sure, though, that the proportions are different for blacks. I'd guess that black worthies, practicing bourgeois values, are down around fifty percent, sixty percent max, while black trash is forty or fifty percent.
Circling back round now to political behavior, the question arises: How do black worthies feel about black trash?
I know, from private conversations, and from watching comedians like Chris Rock, that feelings are not necessarily warm. Middle-class black worthies are just as keen to get away from black trash as I am to get away from white trash.
On the other hand, some big subset of black worthies have graduated from college and so have their heads filled with grievance flapdoodle about evil whites keeping the black man down. They're going to vote racial loyalty, however much they dislike the black trash on the other side of town.
I suppose psephologists — poll-watchers and election experts — have some clear idea about the numbers here, but I really don't. I'm just wondering aloud.
Could Donald Trump take a big bite out of the black vote in November? The answer depends on the kind of thing I've just been wondering about. Also of course on who gets the Democratic Party nod. Against Michael Bloomberg? Against Peter Buttigieg? Against … Amy Klobuchar? We'll see.
06 — Miscellany. And now, our closing miscellany of brief items.
Imprimis: The New York trial of Harvey Weinstein concludes this week. Yesterday, Thursday, we heard closing arguments for the defense from Weinstein's attorney Donna Rotunno — who seems to me, just going by the short accounts in my daily New York Post, to have done a bang-up job.
As I vented in my January 10th podcast, I am in Weinstein's corner here. The MeToo movement is the latest eruption of moral hysteria, like the child sex-abuse panic of the 1990s, or, at a lower level, the recurrent shrieking and pointing because someone somewhere saw something in a public place that might, if you squint and look sideways, resemble a hangman's noose.
Donna Rotunno nicely nailed the CultMarx aspect of these show trials — the key narrative of all-powerful oppressor and agency-less victim — when she said that in the prosecution's universe, quote:
women are not responsible for the parties they attend, the men they flirt with, the choices they make to further their careers, the hotel room invitations and the plane tickets they accept.
There wasn't actually much sign of regret on display by Weinstein's accusers until attorneys showed up to dangle the prospect of big fat settlements in front of them. Time and again the defense produced cheery emails from the accusing women to Weinstein sent days after his assaults on them were supposed to have occurred.
The case goes to the jury on Tuesday. Given the high level of stupidity among New York jurors — these are the people who elected Bill de Blasio Mayor, remember … twice — and the low level of sense we can expect from the graduates of our lefty law schools now wearing judges' robes, I don't hold out much hope for Weinstein. You never know, though, and I'd be happy to be surprised.
A brief footnote to that. I wanted to take a look at the judge in the case, State Supreme Court Judge James Burke, just out of curiosity. Strange to say, I could find no photograph on the internet.
This is very unusual for someone so prominent. There's usually a news or formal photograph out there somewhere. All I could find was a courtroom sketch of the guy, and it's very sketchy; I can't even tell what race he is. Strange …
It was a hung election, with no party getting enough seats in Ireland's parliament to form a government. Ireland's two big parties, Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil, are generally tagged as center-right and center-center respectively, but the differences between them are entirely historical, not political. They are even more of a Uniparty than our own dear Democrats and Republicans.
For what it's worth, Fine Gael, who held the Prime Ministership before the election, suffered serious losses — down 14 seats in the 160-seat parliament. Fianna Fáil lost, too, though: down six seats.
So if the big old establishment parties both took losses, who were the winners? Well, the fringe Green Party went from two seats to twelve, which is impressive. Kind of nice to know, also, that Ireland has a Green Party. Why would Ireland not have a Green Party? This is not the green of nationalism, though; they're a bunch of tree-hugging globalist lefties.
The big sensation was Sinn Féin raising their seat total from 23 to 37, actually putting them two seats ahead of Fine Gael. Sinn Féin is the political front for the IRA, and has strong connections to terrorism and the crime syndicates that fund terrorism.
As I keep trying to explain to Americans, Ireland is the Sicily of the British Isles. Sinn Féin's aim in life is to keep it that way.
So why are so many people voting for them? Well, it's a good protest vote against the Uniparty if you're not woke enough to find the Green Party appealing.
And then, there's ignorance. Just as an entire generation of Americans has grown up knowing nothing about the horrors of state socialism in the U.S.S.R. and so are willing to believe that Bernie Sanders just wants Scandinavian Social Democracy, so a generation of young Irish people know nothing about the Troubles of forty and fifty years ago. They like that same Social Democratic face that Sinn Féin presents to them.
And what about John Waters, the National Conservative whose voice you heard on last week's podcast, who ran as an independent in the Dún Laoghaire constituency? I'm sorry to report that he did not do well.
That's putting it nicely: The way they count votes in Ireland is way complicated, but John got only one-and-a-half percent of the First Preference votes cast, not enough to survive into the second count. The winner in Dún Laoghaire was the Green Party candidate, feugh.
I salute John Waters anyway for raising the banner of National Conservatism in a brave old nation busily drowning itself with mass immigration.
Item: I promised you some sex, and here you are — The Harvey Weinstein trial doesn't count.
So sex, yes — sex in sport. Three female high school athletes in Connecticut have filed a federal lawsuit to block transgender students from competing in girl's sports against them.
"Transgender" is this context means guys claiming to be girls, either from genuine conviction that they are girls, or from cynical calculation that this is an easy way to win some distinction for themselves. As one of the girls told ABC News, quote:
Mentally and physically, we know the outcome before the race even starts … That biological unfairness doesn't go away because of what someone believes about gender identity.
Radio Derb wishes these girls luck, of course. While I wouldn't rule out cynical calculation on the part of some of these transgenders, I do understand that there are people genuinely confused about their sex. As always with mental abnormalities of the minor sort like this, we should treat those people with sympathy and consideration, but we should not turn our society upside down to accommodate their fantasies.
As I have before, I raise the example of Cotard's Syndrome, in which a person honestly believes himself to be dead. To accommodate such a person's belief, we should bury or cremate him; but of course we don't. We nod and smile sympathetically, and try to think of some way to get him help. We don't start planning to redesign all our social institutions on his behalf.
Item: The Coronavirus outbreak in China is just as mysterious, in key respects, as it was a week ago.
How worried about it should we be? I still have no idea. On open scientific questions like this, where totally different opinions are equally plausible, you can get some perspective by looking at the extremes. There is a spectrum of speculation, if you'll excuse my alliterating. The spectrum here has an optimistic end and a pessimistic end.
At the optimistic end is professor John Nicholls, a clinical professor in pathology at the University of Hong Kong and one of the world's leading experts on coronaviruses. In a February 6th conference call with a Hong Kong investment group, which I can only find in transcript form, Prof. Nicholls told us that, executive summary, this outbreak is basically a bad cold which kills people who already have other health issues. Quote:
This virus will burn itself out in May when temperatures rise. Wash your hands.
At the other end of the speculation spectrum is physicist-turned-geneticist Greg Cochran, who has been right about an impressively large number of open scientific questions in the 21 years I have known him, including some where I myself have been wrong. Greg has been sounding the alarm, although cautiously. Worst case, he says, at around ten percent probability, we could be looking at fifty million deaths worldwide.
And on the question our own Lance Welton raised here at VDARE.com, as to whether this new virus is race-specific, we are no wiser than a week ago. We were told last Saturday, for example, that a U.S. citizen had died from the infection after going to Wuhan, but we weren't told her race.
I asked Mrs Derbyshire if she had any information on the case from her Chinese social media, but she hadn't. She did tell me, though, that there's a lot of angry noise there about the possibility that the outbreak may be biological warfare targeted at Chinese people by America.
Me: "You don't believe that, do you?"
She, with a snort: "Of course not! But there are people in China that do."
07 — Signoff. That's it, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you for listening this St Valentine's Day weekend and I hope something nice came your way, if only a box of chocolates.
Here is something Romantic to see us out. That's "Romantic" with a capital "R"; on the grounds that the composer here, Jules Massenet, is always listed as belonging to the Romantic Era of Western music. This is from his opera Thaïs. If you don't like opera, no worries. There are no fat ladies singing here, the piece is entirely instrumental. It's the Méditation intermezzo from Act 2, played here by the great Russian violinist Maxim Vengerov and the Classic FM M-Tel Orchestra. For my money this is one of the loveliest short pieces of music ever written.
There will be more from Radio Derb next week.
[Music clip: Maxim Vengerov, the Méditation intermezzo from Massenet's Thaïs.]