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[Music clip: From Haydn's Derbyshire March No. 2, fife'n'drum version]
01 — Intro. And Radio Derb is on the air! Greetings, listeners, from your fastidiously genial host John Derbyshire, here with a roundup of news and comment from the past week.
To start us off, let's open the Good Book.
Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel.
Jesus really nailed it there. That's our ruling class and their media lackeys to a "t" … actually, I guess, since the Savior was speaking Aramaic, to a taw. They make a great fuss, a great show of struggle and passion, trying to swallow a gnat; but the camel goes down with one smooth gulp.
For the last few years our news has been all like that. If you look closely at the big headline issues, the ones generating all the heat and noise in the mainstream media, there is nothing much there — just a gnat.
If you want to know what really matters, what is really nation-changing, you may, if you're lucky catch a glimpse of it from item number eleven in your evening TV news, or on page 23 of your broadsheet newspaper, or in fringe internet outlets like, well, VDARE.com.
Our regime and their media shills just swallow down that really major stuff — the camels — with hardly a burp.
It's the same with big global issues. Noise, heat, rage, straining … all about nothing much — a gnat. Silence, indifference, or facile optimism: That's when you know there is something really big and important — a camel — that elites would much rather not be discussed in public.
Consider, for example, two current issues with world-wide effect: global warming and mass migration. I'll have a segment on each, the gnat and the camel.
03 — Climate hysteria. Today, November 12th, the UN Climate Change Conference, COP26, winds up in Glasgow, Scotland, after two weeks of presentations, discussions, partying, and celebrity schmoozing. The Great and the Good came from far and wide to express their concern for what is, according to them, an existential challenge to the human race.
Is it, though? The Earth's overall mean temperature has risen by one-seventh of a degree Fahrenheit per decade since 1880. So in my lifetime our planet got one point one degrees warmer. I suppose I should be ashamed to say it; but honestly, listener, I didn't even notice.
How much hotter will the planet be at the end of this century? That of course depends on whether we go on doing just what we're doing, or do something different.
If we go on doing what we're doing, estimates go all the way up to 8.6 degrees, although — I'm quoting here from Discover magazine, February 15th this year — quote, "some climate researchers caution that it's more of an upper bound possibility and is unlikely to occur," end quote.
Probably I would notice that, if I were around to notice it.
We're not going to go on doing what we're doing for the next eighty years, though, any more than we're doing today what we were doing in 1940. Even without nagging from the climate alarmists, even if we don't all start eating beetles and traveling by rickshaw, technology changes of its own accord, generally in a cleaner, more efficient direction.
Population changes, too: World population has more than tripled since 1940; it's extremely unlikely to triple again by 2100. In the biggest energy-consuming nations of today, it will actually have declined, unless someone figures out how to encourage people in these countries to make more babies, which so far no-one has.
All things considered, my bet would be on a world-wide temperature rise, absent lifestyle upheavals like beetle-eating and rickshaws, in the range 3½ to 5½ degrees — three to five times what I have failed to notice in my own lifetime. Existential crisis? Nah, we'll adjust.
But Derb (I hear you cry) what about rising sea-levels?
The numbers come out similarly non-existential. Global mean sea level has risen about seven inches in my lifetime, again without my noticing. The IPCC thinks a one to three feet further rise will happen if we go on doing what we're doing, but the same arguments apply.
Again I end up guessing that, even if we ignore the nagging from British royals, Swedish goblins, and Hollywood airheads, the actual rise will be three to five times what I've failed to notice in my own lifetime. Meh.
Yes, there'll be localized issues, some of them locally existential. The world's lowest-lying country is the Maldives, an archipelago in the ocean south of India, average natural elevation five feet above sea level. If that dwindles to three feet, the Maldiveans are in a pickle. There are only half a million of them, though, and I'm sure India will take them in if no other solution can be found (world's first floating nation?)
Humanity always has problems to face, and we've successfully faced far bigger ones than global warming. All right, it's bigger than a gnat — a housefly, perhaps. For sure it doesn't justify the hyperbole, hysteria, and celebrity virtue-signalling we've gotten this last two weeks from Glasgow.
04 — The great migrations. The camel, in this extended analogy I'm running, is demography: more precisely, the swelling mass movements of people from poop-hole countries with high fertility to civilized countries with low fertility.
Three items from the non-headline news this past week.
This is a huge and growing crisis, far more pressing than climate change and with few signs of world elites — including American elites — having any clue what to do about it.
Such hopeful signs as there are come from Europe. They especially come from Eastern Europe, from nations which only thirty years ago regained their sovereignty after decades under the Soviet heel.
Poland is responding sturdily to Lukashenko's attempt to flood them with illegals. They now have multi-layer barriers of barbed-wire coils the entire length of the border, and Poland's parliament has authorized the building of a wall. Lithuania and Latvia are showing similar resolution.
And the EU itself seems to be waking up. The Union's political leadership, in its plodding way, has begun the process of helping fund border walls. Quote from the Wall Street Journal, November 11th, quote:
European officials and EU diplomats said that a number of governments were still reluctant to directly fund border walls because it is politically controversial, but several noted that a majority is tilting in favor of the demands by frontier states.
Given the speed at which things move in EU executive politics, Fortress Europe is some years away yet. It looks like it may happen, though.
Fortress Britain and Fortress America are nowhere in sight. The Brits are totally cucked. The most common statements from the government there about the Channel boats is concern for the safety of the invaders, as if that was anyone's business but the invaders' own.
As well as being cursed with spineless politicians and a defeated, apathetic public, Britain is further blighted by exceptionally wide-ranging so-called "human rights" laws and a large and vigorous establishment of "human rights" lawyers working them.
These "human rights" seem to apply only to foreigners, especially illegal aliens. Just this week the government tried to deport 37 illegal-alien criminals to their native Jamaica, but the plane took off with only four people on board. "Human rights" lawyers had blocked the rest through legal action.
And the British government I'm talking about here is in the hands of the Conservative Party! If Britain's more progressive party was in charge, they'd be chartering luxury cruise ships to bring the invaders in.
Listeners are I'm sure familiar with the U.S. situation, especially since last month's fiasco with the Haitians and the ongoing seeding of red states with Afghans.
Given that no-one ever supposed Joe Biden and Kamala Harris were conservatives, though, we are at least less crazy than the Brits. What is more important for a Conservative Party to conserve than the nation's borders?
05 — Why this camel? So that's my thesis. Peering forward through the coming decades, there are lesser things to worry about, and then there are much, much greater things. There are gnats and there are camels.
Climate change is a gnat: mass migration of peoples from crappy places to nice places, is a camel. Our elites fuss and shout and strain over the gnat, but swallow the camel in silence.
The one thing has an influence on the other, of course, as my example of the Maldives shows.
That's a trivial example, though. Let's suppose you live in the nation of Niger, where the Total Fertility Rate is 6.9 children per woman. And let's suppose that at some point between now and year 2100, climate change makes agriculture in Niger, which is today only very difficult, absolutely impossible.
Then you, or your 6.9 children, or your 47.61 grandchildren, will likely be wanting to move to somewhere more salubrious.
Note please that even without climate change, Niger's current population of 23.6 million will by century's end have increased to several hundred million — more than the current population of the entire EU. Note also that Niger is only one of the 28 countries with Total Fertility Rate greater than four, all but one of them in sub-Saharan Africa. What is the one? Afghanistan.
So yes: looking forward at the decades to come, humanity faces at least one colossal problem, and it's not climate change.
Why, then, are the Great and the Good — royals, movie stars, pop singers, progressive politicians — jetting around the world for solemn conferences about climate change, when this greater and far more intractable problem is looming in plain sight? Why aren't the Beautiful People congregating in Glasgow to discuss the defence of the civilized world against swelling hordes of desperate migrants?
Part of it, I think, is just fashion. Once a critical mass of jet-setters have embraced a cause, others will naturally be attracted.
Another part is the opportunities for status display. Even the humblest climate cultist can drive an electric car. If you are a royal, you can heat the palace with solar panels. If you're a politician, you can promote world-saving legislation.
All right; but why is climate change the gnat, mass migration the camel? After all, there are opportunities for status display in mass migration, too, as witness the trend of elite women adopting Third World infants. So why the silence on mass migration, when everyone's twittering about climate change?
Is it race? Is it because the inevitable — it really does look inevitable — the inevitable course of events leads to the civilized nations of the world, twenty or thirty years from now, defending their borders with major force against great hordes of desperate migrants, most of them black?
I doubt that. The Great and the Good are too innumerate to grasp the inevitability there; and all respectable people in the Western world have trained themselves never to think about black people in any other than uplifting terms.
Part of the answer I think is in humanity's religious instinct. Climate change is easy to work up into a cult. You can feel yourself and your fellow cultists to be righteous, waging war against sin. You can display emblems of your righteousness: your solar panels, your electric car. And there is, as with Marxism, a New Jerusalem to look forward to — a world without sin, the world in which the climate has been stabilized.
The coming mass-migration crisis, by contrast, doesn't lend itself to that kind of cultification. What would it mean to be righteous about it? "Let 'em all in!" might work, and there are a few enthusiasts — some of the crazier kind of economists like Bryan Caplan, for instance — but it doesn't have much market share.
I suspect, though, that most of the answer is political suppression. The progressive regime doesn't mind people babbling about climate change. It doesn't interfere with anything they want to accomplish; and as a side benefit, it gives them opportunities to look busy and virtuous without actually breaking a sweat.
Mass migration, though, is a key part of their agenda — their secret agenda. Why do you think they are flying migrants into red states at three o'clock in the morning?
This is something they want to keep going: to feed their donors with cheap labor, and to replace the obnoxious, uppity, spoiled, lazy legacy population with a more submissive kind of serfs.
To keep it going, though, they have to keep it quiet. Chatter all you like about climate change; but if you chatter about mass migration, the regime will frown, close your PayPal and Facebook accounts, cancel your conferences, intimidate your lawyers and accountants.
Gnats may be strained at as noisily as you please; camels must be swallowed in silence.
06 — Kyle on trial. I assumed, before it got under way, that the trial of Kyle Rittenhouse in Kenosha, Wisconsin would be just another show trial to pacify the Diversity gods. The sacrificial victim would be led up the steps of the temple pyramid, laid on a slab, and have his beating heart ripped out and shown to the mob.
It's true that there wasn't any real diversity in play. Rittenhouse and the three guys he shot, two fatally, were all white males — heterosexual and binary, so far as I know.
Those three guys were, though, Antifa and/or BLM rioters. Antifa and BLM are the muscle of our ruling class, street enforcers of the progressive Narrative, and so honorary Diversity on that account. An offense against them is an offense against our state ideology, against our gods; so Rittenhouse's trial and conviction should have been a mere formality, as with James Fields, Michael Slager, or Derek Chauvin.
It hasn't worked out that way at all. The prosecutors were all ready to play their part, but the presiding judge, Judge Schroeder, seemed not to want to go along. He actually cancelled some of their stunts in mid-stunt.
Even the witnesses didn't co-operate. Gaige Grosskreutz, the one who survived being shot by Rittenhouse, in questioning by one of the prosecutors, admitted that Rittenhouse didn't shoot him until he, Grosskreutz, was advancing on him, Rittenhouse, with a gun pointed at him. That was so off-script it caused the other prosecutor to face-palm at his desk.
Monday sees final summing-up and the case going to the jury. On what we've seen in the courtroom, and the extensive video evidence, Rittenhouse ought to be acquitted. The jurors may, however, be too scared to acquit.
Judge Schroeder has ordered the jurors' names sealed; but a BLM activist — which is to say, government stooge — named Cortez Rice, told a local media outlet that, quote: "There's definitely people taking pictures of the jurors and everything like that." End quote. If that's true, modern facial-recognition technology should make it easy to doxx them.
And even if the jurors do have the courage to acquit, Comrade Merrick Garland may step in with so-called "civil rights" charges. Which would not be double jeopardy! Absolutely not! No way whatsoever! Perish the thought! Totally different!
A "civil rights" prosecution would, however, affirm that white people have civil rights, too. Comrade Garland may feel that's too high a price to pay for a conviction. So perhaps this time the feds will let an acquittal stand.
Ah, the tangles of the law!
Well, we should have some kind of result on Monday. Tony Evers, Wisconsin's thoroughly progressive Governor, has authorized 500 state National Guard troops to be present in Kenosha in support of local law enforcement.
That has Kenoshans asking rhetorically why the Governor didn't call out the guard for the three nights last year when Antifa and BLM were burning the town. I say "rhetorically" because I think we all know the answer.
07 — MCMXIV. Thursday this week was of course Veteran's Day here in the States. Over in Britain it's Armistice Day, sort of Veterans' Day and Memorial Day rolled into one. The date is always associated in British minds with World War One, Britain's bloodiest war.
I generally play the lovely hymn "O Valiant Hearts" on Armistice Day. It's the hymn we sang at school assemblies to honor the war dead. This year, though, I thought we'd have a poem instead.
The poem's title is "MCMXIV," which is just "1914" in Roman numerals. The poet is Philip Larkin, one of the best mid-20th-century British poets. Larkin, who was born in 1922, seems to have just been looking at old photographs of the young men lined up outside a recruiting office to enlist in August 1914.
Some Britishisms need explaining. The Oval is London's main cricket ground; Villa Park is a big soccer stadium in Birmingham. Farthings and sovereigns were coins, now both extinct. Twist is pipe tobacco. The Domesday Book was a great survey of English land and landholdings done in the eleventh century for King William the First.
Here is the poem, read by the poet himself, Philip Larkin.
08 — Miscellany. And now, our closing miscellany of brief items.
Imprimis: Prompted to identify the traditions of the Royal Navy, Winston Churchill is supposed to have replied: "Rum, sodomy, and the lash." Churchill actually denied having said it, although he added: "I wish I had."
Whether he said it or not, Churchill would surely have smiled to know that the U.S. Navy has named a ship after homosexualist activist Harvey Milk. Milk was assassinated in November 1978 by a fellow member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.
The jokes write themselves here. The Babylon Bee ran a story headlined, quote: "USNS Harvey Milk To Be Manned Entirely By Crew Of Underage Boys," end quote.
I'm not going to compete here; just note in passing that the ship thus named is a, quote, "replenishment oiler."
No, wait, I can't resist. Are there any plans to use USNS Harvey Milk as flagship for a rear admiral? Sorry, sorry, …
Item: Has the word "woke" worn out its welcome? Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez thinks so, and who better to pronounce on the matter?
James Carville had blamed what he called "stupid wokeness" for Democratic electoral losses on November 2nd. The congressgal fired back that, quote:
"wokeness" is a term almost exclusively used by older people these days … the average audience for people seriously using the word "woke" in a 2021 political discussion are James Carville and Fox News pundits, so that should tell you all you need to know.
Disgracefully ageist, if you ask me.
Item: Finally, I just note the passing of character actor Val Bisoglio, who played John Travolta's Dad in the 1977 classic movie Saturday Night Fever. Some of his lines have stuck in my mind for 44 years. "One pork chop! … We coulda used the conversation …"
Val Bisoglio was 95 years old. Rest in peace.
09 — Signoff. That's it, ladies and gents. Thank you for your time and attention, and for your good wishes. For the record, my nose is almost back to normal.
Now for a signoff song. I closed out last week's podcast with Gentleman Jim Reeves singing the great country classic "He'll Have To Go." Listeners who weren't around sixty years ago may not be aware that back then there was a whole genre of "answer songs." So after Elvis Presley had a big hit with "Are You Lonesome Tonight?" Dodie Stevens recorded "Yes, I'm Lonesome Tonight." After Roger Miller had a hit with "King of the Road," Jody Miller — no relation — countered with "Queen of the House." And so on.
No surprise, therefore, that after Jim Reeves topped the charts with "He'll Have to Go" in early 1960, lyricists worked up an answer song.
In the interest of gender equity, and to avoid accusations of toxic masculinity, here's Skeeter Davis reporting from the other side of the mating game.
There will be more from Radio Derb next week.
[Music clip: Skeeter Davis, "He'll Have To Stay."]