• Play the sound file
[Music clip: From Haydn's Derbyshire March No. 2, blues guitar version]
01 — Intro. And Radio Derb is on the air! Greetings, listeners, from your didactically genial host John Derbyshire, with commentary on news of the hour.
I'm going to start off this week's podcast by doing a thing I very rarely do — which, in fact, I don't think I have ever done in the previous 792 editions of Radio Derb. I'm just going to read, straight off, a column I wrote eleven years ago.
Some things you only need to say once. I said this thing back in June of 2010, in a column posted at Taki's Magazine. Reading it again the other day, I didn't see anything I'd change; so I hope you'll excuse me today, eleven years later, for just reading it off to you verbatim.
Let's see how it goes.
02 — Taking Israel's side. Background here: Three years earlier, in mid-2007, Hamas had taken over the Gaza strip. Israel and Egypt, the two nations bordering the Strip, had then blockaded it: Israel in hopes of preventing Hamas smuggling in arms, Egypt for fear of Iranian influence, and also probably for fear of losing American aid.
In mid-2010 a flotilla of civilian ships from Turkey, carrying parties of humanitarian relief volunteers mixed in with anti-Israel activists, tried to break the blockade, but were intercepted by the Israeli navy. Violence ensued and there was a huge international fuss. You can of course read all about it on the internet: search with "Gaza flotilla 2010."
Here in the States, one effect of all that was another outbreak of pro- and anti-Israel argumentation at conservative opinion outlets — higher-level argumentation, I mean, not necessarily discussing the particular flotilla incident.
This column was my contribution to that. Spoiler alert: I'm pro-Israel.
All the rest of this segment is me reading the June 2010 column. Title: "Taking Israel's Side." OK, here we go.
Of this crop, Steve Sailer took the most defensible position — one that at least did not wilfully distort reality, or demand that Israel practice a forbearance that no rational nation could practice:
Quote from Steve:
I haven't had anything to say previously about that fatal Israeli naval encounter with the Gaza-bound flotilla on May 31, 2010 — because I don't much care. Israel is not the 51st state; it's one of a couple of hundred other countries. If Israel wants to push around the Palestinians, well, that's their business much more than it is my business.
Even that strikes me as somewhat disingenuous, though. Does Steve really think like that? Does anyone?
Here's Steve-1 tomorrow morning opening up his newspaper. Headline: Population of Israel Wiped Out by Mystery Virus.
Meanwhile here's Steve-2 at the identical moment in an alternative universe. His newspaper headline reads: Population of Tajikistan Wiped Out by Mystery Virus.
Are Steve-1's and Steve-2's reactions to those different headlines precisely the same? I don't believe it.
Each of us has a mental map of the world colored by partiality, some of it reasonable, some merely emotional. If we are patriotic, we will feel more warmly towards a nation that trades fairly with us, co-operates to some degree in international projects we undertake, and shares some commonality of history, culture, or values with us. Contrariwise, of course, if you believe, as a liberal once told me he actually did believe, that your country is the most evil that ever existed, you will feel affinity with foreign nations whose leaders share that view.
At a level below all that, there are sentimental attachments of the blood-and-soil type. Even third- and fourth-generation Americans who disdain to hyphenate themselves will, when reading of events in the Old Country, hear some faint echoes of grandma's stories, see shadowy images of old photographs in the mind's eye, recall a childhood visit to great-grandad's home village.
Our attachments ripple out in overlapping chains of diminishing concentric circles: family, extended family, town, state, religion, ethny, nation. The ripples don't, for most of us, stop at our nation's borders.
I'll speak for myself here. America's my country, and the only one I'd be keen to fight and die for if the peril was great enough to need my sorry old hide set against it. I feel strong extranational attachments, though: attachments on behalf of which I'd be willing to give up money or time — or even, under conceivable circumstances, want to see my country commit warlike acts.
There's the Anglosphere, that great collection of British-settler nations, together with Britain herself, in which I feel most at home, and which, in my opinion, have attained the fairest, freest, and least corrupt systems of government ever known to man.
Beyond the Anglosphere there is Western civilization — nations culturally descended from Jerusalem, Athens, Rome, Germania, Byzantium, medieval Christendom, and the Enlightenment.
Out beyond even that is civilization itself: human beings living in organized nations or empires under rational government, with schools and libraries, doctors and engineers, judges and policemen, commerce and scholarship. I believe I can imagine fairly well what life is like under barbarism. I don't want any part of it. (Though I do understand that for some people, in some historical circumstances, barbarism can be the better choice.)
Sure, there is plenty to be argued about in this zone.
It remains the case that any fair-minded person must be an Israel sympathizer. A hundred years ago there were Jews and Arabs living in that part of the Ottoman Empire. After the Ottoman collapse both peoples had a right to set up their own ethnostates. It has been the furiously intransigent Arab denial of this fact, not anything Israelis have done, that has been the root cause of all subsequent troubles.
It is also indisputably the case, as has often been said, that if Hamas, Hezbollah, and the rest were to lay down their arms, there would be peace in Palestine, while if Israel were to lay down her arms, the Israelis would be slaughtered.
At some level, I'll agree, this is not our business. North of five million people have been slaughtered in the Congo this past twelve years, and nobody much (no, not me — how about you?) has lost a wink of sleep over it.
That just takes us back to Steve-1 and Steve-2, though. The Congo is nothing to me. Israel is something to me. It's an outpost of my civilization, organized on principles I agree with, inhabited by people I could live at ease with. They defend themselves, their borders, their interests, with the kind of vigor and thick-skinned determination I'd like to see my nation display. (If only!) I admire them and wish them well.
There's an affinity. In some tenuous sense, they are me, and I am them. The Gazans? I'll care about them right after I start caring about the Congo.
03 — Trump in 2024? Please, no. One day this week I attended a talk given by a seasoned Republican activist and commentator who had made a careful, thorough scrutiny of last year's presidential election. It was a private gathering so I can't give any names, but the speaker was impressively knowledgeable.
The most striking thing he said was, quote: "It was Jared Kushner who lost the election for us." End quote.
He'd been telling campaign stories. For example: The pandemic-related changes to election procedures in many states, like the expansion of mail-in voting and the stretching of deadlines for absentee voting, got a lot of conservative Republican operators and observers — people like this speaker — seriously worried. Those changes opened up so many new opportunities for shenanigans at the polls.
So a group of these Republicans asked for a meeting at the White House to discuss the matter, and to prompt the Trump administration to get legal challenges going to these changes. Eventually the word came back from the White House: OK, let's set up a meeting. A meeting was set up. At the appointed date and time, our speaker and others showed up in the appointed White House conference room.
Trump wasn't present. Jared was, though, and Ivanka. They listened politely to the arguments from the worried Republicans, and said they'd take their concerns to the president.
And then, guess what? Nothing. Nothing was done.
Our speaker had other stories along similar lines. He concluded by saying the thing I said he said: "It was Jared Kushner who lost the election for us."
If he was right, that is of course equivalent to saying that Trump lost his own election, by his appalling decisions on personnel.
Browsing the news the day after that talk, I came across this report in the British newspaper Independent. Headline: Nearly half of GOP voters indicate they'd vote for Trump in 2024 Republican primary, according to new poll.
The poll referenced there was conducted last weekend among a sample of two thousand registered Republican voters, asking who they would vote for in a hypothetical 2024 Republican primary. Trump got half; Mike Pence was second with 13 percent. Third, Heaven help us, was Donald Trump, Jr. with eight percent; fourth, Ron DeSantis with seven percent.
I found that deeply depressing. I'm in the camp that wants Trumpism, but not Trump. America First, yes; strong border enforcement, yes; take an axe to federal regulations, definitely; end the missionary wars, yes; get the federal government out of the Cultural Revolution, yes — or better still, get the feds on the side of counter-revolution … Trumpism.
The trouble with Trump is, he's not actually much of a Trumpist. How long did it take him to get started on that border wall? Why almost no action on legal immigration? Why are we still in NATO? Sure, Trump did good things on regulation, and eventually, lackadaisically, on border security; but the things he did were flimsy and easily reversed. Joe Biden spent his first week on the job reversing them all.
Nor is Trump supportive of Trumpists. The treatment of his supporters after the January 6th protests has been a gross outrage, but he's had very little to say about it. Has he ever actually mentioned Ashli Babbitt by name? If so, I missed it.
And then, Trump is old. He'll be 78 at election time in 2024. It was plain in those disastrous televised White House meetings in 2018 that in group policy discussions, Trump is the opposite of nimble, and he's easily bamboozled. Seven or eight years further on from that, he'll be even slower and dumber. Enough with these geezers, with Trump, McConnell, Biden, Pelosi! Let's get some sharp forty- or fifty-somethings on the ballot.
It's time for Republicans to call the Trump presidency what it was: a failure. And it wasn't crazy or wrong-headed policies that made it a failure: the policies were fine. It was Donald Trump's sloth, ignorance, egoism, and poor decision-making, especially on personnel.
Do fifty percent of Trump voters really not understand that?
04 — Down with the Four Olds! I mentioned our Cultural Revolution back there. How's it going? Here's a progress report, a few unrelated items.
Meet Lisa Keogh, 29 years old and the mother of two children. Ms Keogh is studying for a law degree at Abertay University over there in Dundee, Scotland. At least she was; I'm not sure of her present status. Last I heard, she was facing disciplinary action by the university administration after making comments in a class discussion that were "discriminatory."
What did she say? There are two statements at issue. She said
You or I may think that those two assertions are so obvious as to be well-nigh tautological. To twenty-somethings at a university law school, however, they are … transphobic. [Shriek.]
I haven't yet heard that Ms Keogh is to be paraded through the streets of Dundee in a dunce cap with a placard around her neck while the townsfolk throw garbage at her, but I'll keep you posted.
Second item. In a segment last month I described the Associated Press as, quote, "a lefty outfit fronting for the anti-white, anti-American establishment," end quote. There was further evidence of that this week from the Washington Free Beacon, May 18th.
AP, like all major news outlets, has a stylebook telling writers and speakers what words and phrases are approved or not approved. Because the AP is such a big deal in news-gathering, their stylebook is a big influence on everyone else's stylebook.
Back in March AP used the word "surge" to describe the, well, surge of aliens coming over our southern border illegally. That got them a rap on the knuckles from Hispanic supremacist Julio Ricardo Varela, who published an angry op-ed in the Washington Post about it a few days later.
Varela also objected to the word "sneak" to describe illegals entering across the border. These words are, he fumed, no way to describe poor and oppressed people who are just trying to put food on their families.
AP groveled and updated its stylebook. No more "surge" and "sneak." Approved replacements are "entering," "crossing the border," and "increase."
I'll leave you free to imagine the expression on my face watching Israeli planes collapse that Gaza building that was home to both AP and a Hamas unit.
What else? Oh, yes, Richard Cohen. Cohen is a British nonfiction author with half a dozen well-regarded books to his credit. His latest one, to be published in Britain next month, is about historians. Title: The History Makers: 2500 Years of Shaping the Past.
This is a big, thick, heavy book: 780 pages. It is, quote from the British publisher, quote: "An epic exploration of who writes about the past and how the biases of certain storytellers continue to influence our ideas about history (and about who we are) today." End quote.
Sounds like a good book. It's not good enough for the American publisher, Random House, though. Why not? Because there are not enough black historians in it.
When Random House first told him that, Mr Cohen scrambled to improve his text. He wrote another 18,000 words — that's forty-odd additional pages — about black historians like, er, Frederick Douglass, and, um, W.E.B. Du Bois, and, eh, Leo Africanus, who was a, quote, "16th Century Berber diplomat and author who wrote historical pieces on the Magreb and Nile Valley," end quote.
I'm just reading from the news story there. OK: Du Bois was a professor of history — didn't know that. Frederick Douglass certainly had many fine qualities, but I can't see how he qualifies as a historian. As for Leo Africanus: Are Berbers black? The ones I brought up on Google Images mostly aren't. The Magreb and the Nile Valley belong, like the Berbers, to North Africa, not sub-Saharan Africa; and Leo Africanus' book sounds like a travelogue, not a history.
Those 18,000 extra words were in vain: Random House has canceled Cohen's book anyway.
Just one more, although this one's a bit of a mystery, at any rate to me.
Oxford University in Britain wants to make their teaching of science less Eurocentric. In particular they want to "decolonize" the old imperial system of measurements: pounds and ounces, feet and inches, gallons and pints, etc.
I've read the news stories on this, and I can't for the life of me figure out what Oxford is trying to do. The science departments in British universities already teach exclusively in metric units, and have been doing so since the 1960s. Metric units are anyway just as Eurocentric as imperial units: they were invented in France. In fact, they are just as imperial: It was the France of the First Empire, Napoleon's France, that introduced them.
Whatever. I included this one mainly because it gives me the chance to air once again the speed of light as expressed in traditional British units: one point eight billion furlongs per fortnight.
05 — When diversity works. Last week's Radio Derb included a segment titled "No escape from Diversity Hell." I was comparing the discords arising due to blacks in America with those due to Arabs in Israel. There's no avoiding those discords, I argued; we just have to cope with them as best we can, and not make them any worse.
A listener emailed in to say that diversity need not be hellish. Hawaii, he told me, is plenty diverse; so is Switzerland; neither place is a Hell.
I didn't know much about the demography of Hawaii, so I looked it up. In percentages it looks like 27 percent white, 37 percent Asian, which means Japanese and Chinese, ten percent native Hawaiian, three percent black, 23 percent mixed and other. "The only state where people who identify as Asian Americans are the largest ethnic group," says Wikipedia. I did not know that.
And sure, you don't hear about much social discord in Hawaii. With all those Asians, I can't imagine that white anarchists like Antifa and BLM would be indulged the way they are on the mainland; and Hawaii's blacks, I'd guess, are mostly from military families, and so pre-selected for higher IQ. In fact the only black Hawaiian I can think of is Barack Obama.
So I'll grant my listener Hawaii. I'll grant him Switzerland, too, although more grudgingly. I mean, the only real diversity there is language; and even that is mostly corraled off in separate regions.
I'm tempted to one-up him with India. Now that's a diverse country. Languages? Hindi, Gujarati, Bengali, Tamil, Urdu, … India's constitution recognizes 23 official languages. Religions? Hinduism, Islam, Buddhism, Zoroastrianism, … Races? Carleton Coon's 1965 classic The Living Races of Man is never far from my elbow, as Radio Derb listeners surely know, so I opened it up to check. Coon lists five main races, and comments that, quote: "No invader has ever been able to homogenize India, and it is unlikely that any ever will." End quote.
So India is a very diverse place; yet they seem to get along pretty well. Not only that, but they have a system of elections that, in efficiency and security, puts ours to shame. In the last national election two years ago, six hundred million people voted. Vox has a good video about it: Go to YouTube and search on "Indian election."
OK, OK, you got me: Diversity is not necessarily Hell. You can hardly deny, however, that it is sometimes Hell. Can we specify when?
From the modern experience in Europe, America, and Israel, I think we can say that you get Diversity Hell, or a high probability of it, when
Hold up there, though, Derb: India is one-seventh Muslim, close to 200 million people. They don't make a lot of trouble, do they?
Answer: No, they don't. They are in fact more troubled against than troubling. There are anti-Muslim riots now and then, usually culminating in a mosque burning. There was a nasty one in New Delhi last year that claimed at least 24 lives.
You have to remember some historical context, though. Indians have a strong folk memory of the Partition that accompanied independence in 1947, when the Muslim-majority parts of British India — what today are Pakistan and Bangladesh — broke away from the Hindu-majority part. It wasn't pretty: Estimates of the number killed in Muslim-Hindu clashes at Partition go up into the millions.
That was enough diversity Hellishness to have kept things low-key ever since. India's Muslims in particular are not looking for a replay.
06 — Miscellany. And now, our closing miscellany of brief items.
Imprimis: A Radio Derb listener was much amused by a moment in my September 4th podcast last year, when I moaned, in the diction of an ethnomasochist white person: "We are guilty, guilty! We are all guilty!" He was so amused in fact, he turned that moment into a ringtone and installed it on his smartphone. He even sent me a video of his phone thus ringing.
Edited quote from him:
The ring has been with me for several months now, and I have yet to tire of it … If you think there would be vast or even modest market demand for Derb™ ringtones, I would be a willing partner in their production.
I have been trying to come up with a promising business model, but so far without success. Listeners' suggestions will be gratefully received.
Item: In November 2014 voters in California passed Proposition 47, which lightened up criminal charges on many offenses, reducing them from felonies to misdemeanors. One particular crime thus "re-imagined" — I think that's the woke term — was shoplifting. Shoplifting goods of a value not greater than $950 was no longer a felony.
The main stated motive for the change was to reduce overcrowding in California's prisons. Apparently it never occurred to state legislators that they could get the same effect by building more prisons. The true motive was most likely white guilt and black resentment over the fact that a hugely disproportionate number of those jailed for these offenses were black. Systemic racism!
Fast forward 6½ years. The San Francisco Chronicle reports that seventeen Walgreens Pharmacy locations have closed during the past five years in the city, at least ten of them in just the last two years.
I'm predicting that this will collapse into one of those damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don't singularities that social justice efforts are prone to.
You've probably heard about "food deserts" — districts, mostly in inner cities, where it's hard to find a decent grocery store or supermarket. My prediction is that we shall soon hear complaints from California about "pharmacy deserts." Systemic racism!
Item: Discrimination comes in many forms: racism, sexism, ablism, and so on. I just learned this week, from a commenter at Steve's blog, that we should also shun sanism, also known as mentalism. Sanism is discrimination against insane people.
I didn't believe this when I first read it, but when I googled it — sure enough. Here is the definition from a mental-health website — not, so far as I can figure, a spoof one. Quote:
Sanism is a form of systemic and systematic discrimination and oppression of people who have been diagnosed with psychiatric disorders, or who have or are perceived to have mental differences or emotional distress.
"Systemic and systematic!"
So far as I can gather from further browsing, the main idea is that lunatics should feel comfortable with their lunacy; that it is not at odds with reality, only a different, but of course equally valid, reality — their "lived experience."
Along with this new understanding comes the notion of Mad Pride. Steve dug the following from some tweet he found, quote:
Mad Pride focuses on expressing the unique ways people experience the world in terms of making meaning, developing communities, and creating culture.
I want to see some pushback against this. It's too bad movie director Stanley Kramer is no longer among us. He could have done a follow-up to his famous 1963 movie. This new one would be called It's a sane sane sane sane world.
Item: Finally, bringing up the rear — and no, this is nothing to do with the Miss Bum Bum Pageant … well, not much to do with it — I've been reading in the science magazines about anal breathing.
That's right: anal breathing. Headline from New Scientist, May 14th, headline: Pigs can breathe oxygen via their rectum, so humans probably can too.
If your blood oxygen level's low, you see, the medics will put you on a respirator. That needs sedation, though; and it can damage your lungs.
A Japanese researcher, Dr Takanori Takebe, theorized that he might be able come at the issue from behind, as it were, by administering oxygen enemas. He and his team tried this out on mice, pigs, and rats with positive results. Now, quote:
The team hopes to establish the technique's effectiveness in humans in a clinical setting.
However, I understand these researchers are having trouble recruiting human test subjects. If there are any Radio Derb listeners who'd like to help, I believe travel and hotel expenses to Tokyo will be taken care of. Just email me at VDARE.com and I'll put you in touch with Dr Takebe.
07 — Signoff. That's all I have, ladies and gents. Thank you for listening; and I hope you will join me in offering best wishes to Congresslady Marjorie Taylor Greene, whose birthday is next Thursday. We here at Radio Derb are much too genteel to have any interest in how old Ms Greene is; We just wish her a happy birthday in advance, and success in all her endeavors.
OK, signout music. I'm not sure why, but after those last two items in the Miscellany I feel a need for something soothing. Here is the soothingest thing I know.
There will be more from Radio Derb next week.
[Music clip: Santo and Johnny, Sleep Walk.]