• Play the sound file
[Music clip: From Haydn's Derbyshire March No. 2, piano version]
01 — Intro. And Radio Derb is on the air! Greetings, listeners, from your judicially genial host John Derbyshire, here with a ration of the week's news.
This has actually been a somewhat slow week for news, if you're not interested in the misfortunes of celebrity golfers or the fate of pop singers' pet puppies.
Radio Derb of course wishes no ill to any of the afflicted parties there. I hope, in all sincerity, that Tiger Woods and Lady Gaga's dog walker will make full recoveries from their injuries and Lady Gaga herself will have her canine companions restored to her. This just isn't the kind of stuff that has brought Radio Derb to the forefront of online reportage.
With the Miss Bum Bum pageant now defunct, nothing much going on in Turkmenistan, and our ex-Entertainer-in-Chief down in Mar-a-lago wrestling with TurboTax, I'm afraid I have no choice but to fall back on domestic politics. It's tedious, I know, but as responsible citizens we should at least pretend to take an interest.
So, what's been happening in the halls of power? Confirmation hearings, that's what.
02 — Our Third World jurisprudence. News of the federal executive: Joe Biden's people are settling in. Probably Biden himself is settling in, too, as if it makes any difference.
Of the sixteen persons nominated for a cabinet position, as listed in the January 23rd issue of The Economist, nine have now been confirmed by the U.S. Senate and have assumed office. So we are better than halfway through the confirmation process.
Concerning those sixteen cabinet picks, you can't help but notice the diversity. Not one of them — not one of the sixteen — is a non-Hispanic white protestant heterosexual male. To put that another way: Not one of the sixteen comes from the same slice of the diversity pie as did every single one of our nation's Founding Fathers.
(Am I still allowed to say "Founding Fathers"? "Founding persons," whatever.)
That is the working definition of the word "diversity" in our benighted age: no non-Hispanic white protestant heterosexual males! That's true diversity!
Only one of the sixteen is a white male Protestant. That's Peter Buttigieg, the Transportation Secretary; and as an Episcopalian, his Protestantism is borderline. I used to be an Episcopalian, and I recall that bit in the liturgy where we prayed for the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.
Confessionwise I count eight Roman Catholics, four Jews, two Protestants, one Hindu, and one unknown. By sex they break down as ten guys and six gals. Cutting by race and ethnicity: ten white, three black or blackish, three Hispanic. By sexual preference: fourteen apparently heterosexual, one homosexual, one unknown.
Concerning the confirmation process itself: There is a customary understanding — a sensible one, I think — that a new President is entitled to his cabinet picks, and that the Senators should practice forbearance in challenging them, with due allowance for a bit of televised grandstanding on particular issues. Given that, and the present balance of parties in the Senate, these confirmation hearings are somewhat of a formality.
They can be instructive, though. Instruction this week came from Merrick Garland, picked by Biden — or whoever pulls Biden's strings — to head the Justice Department.
Justice in the U.S.A. is in serious trouble. It has been politicized.
Our ruling classes have been seized by an ideology: the one loosely called "Wokeness," although as a longtime fan of Professor Paul Gottfried, I prefer "Cultural Marxism." This ideology has many facets, but its most central characteristics are, one, deep hostility to the founding stock of the U.S.A. — as illustrated by the statistics I just gave you on Biden's cabinet picks — and two, fierce intolerance of all dissent.
In the matter of justice, the effect of that ideology has been to give us a two-tiered system, a shameful double standard. Anarchist mobs who burned, looted, and murdered their way through our cities last year have been smiled on by the courts. The motley protestors who entered the Capitol on January 6th, by contrast, are being hunted down and crushed like bugs: no bail, no celebrity support, no GoFundMe pages, no allowance for personal circumstances.
Sample quote from my new journalistic heroine, Miranda Devine quote:
As for Portland, Oregon, charges were dropped for 90 percent of rioters arrested in September's anti-cop violence. One 23-year-old charged with attempted murder, arson, possession of a destructive device, and rioting was released on a $1,000 bond.
Plainly — it could not be more plain — there is one system of justice for persons who hold approved opinions, another for dissidents.
Anglo-Saxon jurisprudence has of course always allowed intent as a factor in the dispensing of justice: an unintended homicide is treated differently from an intended one. That principle has now been distorted to:
This gross and obvious double standard is Third World jurisprudence. It's how things are done in Congo, Uzbekistan, China, or Guatemala. No American jurist with any respect for our nation's history or constitution should tolerate it.
Merrick Garland doesn't just tolerate it, he approves it. Asked about last year's attempt to burn down a federal courthouse in Portland, Oregon, Garland mumbled that no, that wasn't domestic terrorism because it happened at night when no proceedings were going on.
Garland's responses to similar questions were likewise tilted towards the anarchist mobs rioting in support of ruling-class ideology and against citizens hostile to that ideology. It's as clear as can be that as Attorney General Garland won't challenge the double standard, much less dismantle it; he will bolster it.
Our one crumb of consolation here is that at least this stuttering doofus is not on the U.S. Supreme Court, where most of our significant legislating actually gets done nowadays. Barack Obama, in his last year in office, proposed Garland as a replacement for — Heaven help us! — the late, brilliant, patriotic Justice Antonin Scalia. In that instance, at least, Heaven did help us. The congressional Republican Party, in a rare display of spine, ran out the clock on Garland's nomination.
That won't happen with this nomination. Garland will be approved as A-G. He has already told us that his priority will be hunting down and prosecuting dissidents, while smiling benignly on the Antifa and Black Lives Matter enforcers of regime ideology.
For our liberties and for our traditional Anglo-Saxon jurisprudence — what's left of it — this will be a long four years.
Last time I reported on this there had been some dithering by Minnesota's black Muslim communist Attorney General Keith Ellison. Should Chauvin and the three other officers present at George Floyd's arrest be tried all together? Should they be tried while the Covid pandemic is waxing strong, or in the summer, when presumably it will have abated?
The decision has been that Officer Chauvin will be tried next month, the other officers in August.
As I told you a month ago, and as Steve has just been telling us again, the barbarous and unconstitutional practice of double jeopardy will be in play. If, by some mischance, People's Commissar Ellison can't rig up a jury conviction of Officer Chauvin on the charges of homicide — or, on the James Fields precedent, likely even if he can — the feds will step in to prosecute Officer Chauvin for homicide-while-thinking-bad-thoughts.
Attorney General Merrick Garland will be just fine with this. He will throw all the resources of the Justice Department at Officer Chauvin, and then all over again in August at the other three officers.
If you're thinking that it's hard to imagine a creature as limp as Garland throwing anything at anyone, I'm inclined to agree; but in this case he will be energetically assisted by his Assistant A-G for the Civil Rights Division, fanatical white-hating black supremacist Kristen Clarke.
Emboldened by the destruction of Officer Chauvin, the feds will then turn their attention to the arrested January 6th protestors, with similar malice aforethought. And after that the FBI — which is a tool of the Justice Department, remember — will go scouring the land for persons who might in some way have encouraged or supported those "domestic terrorists."
The next year or so will see one of those descents into authoritarian savagery that have blotted history so often before, in different times and places: the witch-hunting panics of early-modern Europe, the terror phase of the French Revolution, Stalin's purges. I doubt it will go as far as public executions, or dissidents being shot in FBI dungeons, but many lives will be destroyed.
Through it all Merrick Garland will be smiling vacantly or mumbling CultMarx platitudes, and Kristen Clarke will be cackling gleefully.
Meanwhile, quietly, hesitantly, cautiously in the background, resistance will be rising.
04 — It's time to delete the Muppets. The purging and cleansing of our culture proceeds apace. Latest target of the Thought Police: the Muppets.
If you have one of those streaming gadgets plugged in at the back of your TV you can sign up to the Disney streaming service for just $6.99 a month. Disney owns The Muppet Show, and on Friday last week they released five whole seasons of the show on their streaming service. However, each episode of the show comes with a disclaimer up front warning viewers of "offensive content."
The disclaimer goes into full prune-faced schoolmarm honk, instructing viewers that, honk:
This program includes negative depictions and/or mistreatment of people or cultures. These stereotypes were wrong then and are wrong now … Rather than remove this content, we want to acknowledge its harmful impact, learn from it and spark conversation to create a more inclusive future together.
End honk. That boy in the back row there — yes, you: Stop picking your nose and pay attention, please. Thank you.
I always liked the Muppets. In late-1970s England they were one of the few things worth watching on British TV.
I wasn't the only person with that opinion. At that time I subscribed to the The Spectator, a venerable London literary and political weekly with a conservative slant. The Spectator had a TV critic named Richard Ingrams. Ingrams was unusual among TV critics in that he hated TV. He thought it was all garbage … all except The Muppet Show, the only program he ever wrote about with any approval.
How could you resist the Muppets? Forty years on I still cherish little fragments. For example, the exchange — it may have been in one of the Muppet movies — between Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy when they were supposed to have gotten married but Kermit stood her up at the altar.
Miss Piggy: "Where were you? Why didn't you come to the church?"
They don't write lines like that any more. And now the cold dark shadow of ideological orthodoxy has fallen across the Muppets. Five years from now The Muppet Show will probably be banned altogether. If you want to see it you'll have to get a bootleg copy from China.
In approximately related news, I see that the toy company Hasbro has rebranded Mr Potato Head. They have dropped the "Mr," I suppose because it signifies toxic masculinity. The branding on the box will now just say "Potato Head."
A spokes-bot for Hasbro told the world on Thursday that the purpose of the rebranding is to make sure that, quote, "all feel welcome in the Potato Head world." End quote. He further revealed that Hasbro will market a new playset this fall, one that will let kids create their own type of potato families — two moms, two dads, whatever.
So the ideological enforcers have come for the Muppets and for Mr Potato Head. Who's next, the Easter Bunny?
Sorry, sorry. I meant of course the Spring Bunny.
05 — NATO's thirty years without an enemy. Politics is not just domestic, of course. There is foreign policy, too. What's happening abroad?
This week, as it happens, marks a significant anniversary in foreign affairs. On February 25th 1991, precisely thirty years ago this Thursday, the Warsaw Pact was wound up.
Remember the Warsaw Pact? It was an alliance of Soviet satellite states, under the direction and control of the U.S.S.R. of course, to counter NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty organization.
The Warsaw Pact began to fall apart when the two halves of Germany were reunited in 1990. The Soviet Union was obviously disintegrating, so the other five remaining Warsaw Pact nations — Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Poland, and Romania — decided to go their own ways defense-wise.
That was thirty years ago. You might suppose that with the Warsaw Pact a dead letter, NATO could likewise shut up shop. Or, at the very least, that we in the U.S.A. could gracefully withdraw and leave the 450 million Europeans to take care of their own collective defenses against any threat from one-third that number of Russians with one-ninth of Europe's Gross Domestic Product.
That would be naive. Our own defense experts, with all their Ivy League degrees, know much more than you do. They know that the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact was just a crafty feint by those sly Russians.
If we relax our vigilance for even an instant, those brainiacs in the Pentagon will assure you, the Red Army tanks will be storming westwards across Europe before you can say glubokaya operatsiya … assuming you can say it: It's the Russian for blitzkrieg.
So NATO soldiers on towards its 73rd year, apparently a permanent feature of U.S. foreign policy. No-one in any position of authority doubts its absolute necessity.
If you do have the impertinence to doubt NATO's necessity, you may find yourself banned from Twitter. Quote from Breitbart.com, February 24th, quote:
Twitter announced on Tuesday it has banned 373 accounts linked to the governments of Russia, Iran, and Armenia for allegedly violating various policies and [inner quote] "undermining faith in the NATO alliance and its stability." [End inner quote.]
Undermining faith in NATO, you see, is a grave ideological offense, tantamount to domestic terrorism. One more thing for Merrick Garland to get to work on as soon as he's confirmed.
06 — Whither our Afghan policy? Later this year there will come another anniversary: the twentieth anniversary of our declaring war on Afghanistan. Well, not actually declaring war: we don't do that any more. September 26th this year is the twentieth anniversary of U.S. Special Forces commencing operations in Afghanistan. That's better.
So how's that war going? Not well. Here's a report from Radio Free Europe in May last year telling me that, quote:
The Taliban controls more territory than at any time since the U.S.-led invasion in 2001 toppled the fundamentalist group from power.
That doesn't seem like much to boast of after twenty years' fighting. What is the new administration's Afghan policy?
That's a good question. A year ago — just exactly a year ago next week, speaking of anniversaries — the Trump administration came to an agreement with the Taliban to withdraw our remaining troops from the country by May this year.
It was supposed to be a quid pro quo, of course. We withdrawing our troops was the quid. For the quo, the Taliban were supposed to stop targeting U.S. forces and to scale down their attacks on forces of the official Afghan government.
This only kind-of worked out. We have been reducing our troop numbers, and the Taliban have stopped attacking our guys. The Afghan government, however, were left out of the agreement, so the Taliban have been merrily attacking them and they've been attacking back, sometimes with our tactical support.
If we go ahead under the terms of the deal, we shall pull out the last of our troops by May 1st. Analysts all agree that shortly after our departure the Afghan government will fold and the Taliban will take back the country after a brief spell of nasty fighting.
This would be very bad optics for the Biden administration. It would be Saigon 1975 all over again, Afghans being helicoptered off the embassy roof — the lucky ones who could make it into the embassy grounds.
We could just renege on last year's deal and stay. Then, however, the Taliban would renege on their side of the deal and start killing our guys again. For there to be any point to our continuing presence, we'd have to ship more troops back over there — a repeat of the Bush-Obama 2009 troop surge, which of course accomplished … nothing.
If we stay, the Taliban will also stop the talks they've been having with the Afghan government, which were conditional on our withdrawal from the country. My own impression is that these talks are highly unlikely to amount to anything. The diplomatic types love them, though; and the diplomatic types have the ear of Washington politicians, whereas I … don't.
There's a middle way between those two options: between (a) just pulling out by May 1st as scheduled and steeling ourselves for the bad optics, or (b) just dragging the war on for another twenty years.
The middle way is, to beg … sorry, I mean to ask, to ask the Taliban for an extension past that May 1st deadline. We'd want the Taliban's negotiations with the Afghan government to continue to the new deadline, with the hope that in the extra time they might strike some kind of deal.
Downsides to this middle way are, that one, the Taliban might not agree to an extension, and two, even if they did, there's no guarantee their negotiations with the Afghan government would come to anything before the new deadline. So then we'd be back where we are now.
We could sweeten the deal for them with bribery: prisoner exchanges, full recognition (since the Taliban will obviously end up running Afghanistan when we're no longer there), or just plain cash bribery. This is the Third World after all, and a mere few billion dollars might do the trick.
Biden's people seem to be leaning towards this middle way. The clock's ticking towards May 1st, so they will have to make up their minds soon.
This was all fated to happen when we went into Afghanistan twenty years ago. If we had gone Roman back then and just killed everything that moved in the Taliban areas, the outcome might have been different, but of course we don't make war like that any more.
Nowadays we make war nicely, winning hearts and minds, teaching the locals how to be good Jeffersonian democrats, while our own Taliban here are pulling down statues of Jefferson and renaming anything with his name on it.
I guess it all makes sense to the deep thinkers in Washington, D.C.
07 — Miscellany. And now, our closing miscellany of brief items.
The news is that last October the Southern Poverty Law Center, those majestically impartial monitors of hate, changed its hate categories. They've wrapped the change in a lot of verbiage, but the long and short of it is, if a black group is primarily organized around hating white people, as of course most of them are, they will no longer be included on the SPLC's Hate Map.
Black groups that hate Jews, or homosexuals, or feminists, will still be counted as hateful, and listed in the appropriate hate category: antisemitic, homophobic, male supremacist.
The SPLC tells us they hope that, quote:
by dropping this listing we can lead by example and be able to contribute to a more accurate understanding of violent extremism, one that foregrounds white supremacist extremism as the most dangerous threat to national security.
As I said, they have packaged up the change in a lot — a lot — of fancy language, but the bottom line is: Hating on whites is now, so far as the SPLC is concerned, no longer hateful. Got it.
Item: Listen carefully, please.
The language there was, as I am sure you recognized, Icelandic. It was in fact a clip from a popular quiz show on Icelandic TV, in which high school or college students compete in teams of three to see which team can get most right answers. The show, if you want to try catching it on your streaming gadget, is called Gettu Betur, which means "guess again."
What happened in that clip was that one member of one team took it very much amiss that his team had lost a round. He hurled his water glass to the floor, pushed over his podium, and stormed off the stage, annihilating a team colleague's water glass as he went.
The emcee and her scorers were all struck speechless. Then, just when they had located their voices again, more sounds of breakage came from offstage.
I have included this little snippet because, (a) it's been a couple of years since I last brought you any news from Iceland, and (b) it warms my heart to know that the Scandinavians — or in this case, the Hiberno-Scandinavians, since I believe the settlers of Iceland brought most of their women from Ireland — that this branch of the Scandinavian stock, at least, has not descended into total emasculated submission.
The menfolk of Sweden and Norway may be looking on meekly as illegal aliens from Somalia and Iraq rape their women, but in Iceland the old ornery Viking spirit is still alive!
Item: More news on the war against Critical Race theory being waged in the Oklahoma state legislature.
A couple of weeks ago I alerted you to a bill put before the lower house of the state legislature by Rep. Justin Humphrey to ban teaching material that, quote, "promotes or degrades any race, gender or sexual orientation."
Now I'm told that a second front has opened in the war. This one is in the upper house. Senate Bill 803 prohibits, quote: "public schools and charter schools from teaching or training students to believe certain divisive concepts …," end quote. This bill seems to be the brainchild of State Senator Shane Jett, to whom all honor and glory.
If you want a few minutes' quiet amusement, just google local reports about the bill and chuckle at the media nitwits wringing their hands and wetting their knickers over Senator Jett's "racism."
Resistance is spreading, too. The state legislature in West Virginia now has a bill before its lower house to ban not only, quote, "the teaching of 'divisive acts' in West Virginia schools," end quote, but also, quote, "discriminatory 'divisive acts' in the workplace" and "state funding to agencies who promote 'divisive acts'," end quotes. That's West Virginia House Bill 2595 if you want to look it up.
Much more of this and Merrick Garland's FBI is really going to see its resources stretched.
Apparently the Covid pandemic has led to a rise in suicides in Japan, the first such rise in eleven years. Old people who didn't grow up socializing online are particularly affected.
It's well-intended, I guess, but too much government for my taste. Oliver Goldsmith observed 250 years ago that, quote:
How small, of all that human hearts endure,
I think he nailed it. Governments should secure the coasts and borders, keep a stable currency, and see the people's laws are fairly enforced. As to loneliness, grief, rejection, and the other things our hearts endure, leave it to us to cope as best we can.
Item: Generalissimo Francisco Franco ruled the nation of Spain as a dictator from his victory in that country's civil war in 1939 until his death from natural causes in 1975. He is generally tagged as a fascist, but that doesn't really capture the man. I quote here from the sketch of Franco's philosophy in the book Modern Times by British historian Paul Johnson, edited quote:
Franco was never a fascist or had the smallest belief in any kind of Utopia or system … He spent his entire political career seeking to exterminate politics.
What's not to like? Adolf Hitler had just one meeting with Franco, in occupied France, October 1940. The Führer remarked afterwards that he would rather have three or four teeth pulled than go through another meeting with Franco.
I actually lived in Franco's Spain for a couple of weeks in the mid-1960s, a camping holiday. It was a bit poorer than the West European standard, but the people were cheerful and easy-going. Franco's authoritarianism was of the lighter sort, I believe. The civil war was very brutally conducted, to be sure, but the brutality was on both sides. I don't think there have been any nice civil wars. By the time I got to Spain 25 years later, the dictatorship had mellowed.
Franco is credited with some wit, too. Most famously, when Argentina's First Lady Eva Perón, who had a rather checkered past, came on a state visit to Spain, her first words with Franco were to complain that as she had been driven through the streets of Madrid, people called out "Puta! Puta!" at her car as it passed. "Puta" is the Spanish word for "whore."
"Ah, my dear," Franco is supposed to have replied, "I have long been retired from military affairs, but they still call me 'General'."
Be all that as it may, the Franco news this week is that the very last public statue of the Generalissimo has been taken down. This was in the town of Mellila, one of those tiny Spanish enclaves in North Africa. There are now no statues of Franco left in any public place anywhere in Spain. Streets, squares, and parks named after him were all renamed under socialist governments years ago.
Couldn't they have left just one Franco statue somewhere, perhaps with a notice chiseled into the plinth that he loved his country and his church but hated the 20th century? Well, I guess it's their country and they know their business best.
08 — Signoff. That's all I have, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you for listening; and if I may beg a little more of your attention, this weekend is also month-end, so VDARE.com will be posting my monthly diary on Monday or shortly thereafter.
I mention that because it keys in to that last item in the miscellany, the one about Franco's statue. This month's diary starts off with a longish tale from recent Spanish history, based on yet another anniversary this week. I know that doesn't sound very enthralling, but I tell the tale to make a point about our own politics.
Some signout music. What have I covered this week? Let me see … Ah yes, of course. Here they are, the whole crew.
There will be more from Radio Derb next week.
[Music clip: Intro music for The Muppet Show.]