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[Music clip: Haydn's Derbyshire March No. 2, fife'n'drum version]
01 — Intro. And Radio Derb is on the air! That was one of Franz Joseph Haydn's Derbyshire Marches and this is your regretfully genial host John Derbyshire with some commentary on the week's news.
All you fathers out there, I hope you were suitably spoiled on Father's Day last Sunday. That wasn't just Father's Day, though; it was also Juneteenth, a day long celebrated by black Americans as a milestone in the outlawing of slavery in our country.
Last year, presumably as a result of the months-long national hysteria over the death of George Floyd while under police restraint, Juneteenth was declared a federal holiday. Since Juneteenth actually fell on a Sunday this year, the federal workforce got their day off the following day, Monday.
I have mixed feelings about the Juneteenth business; but none of those feelings are very strong. Permit me to enlarge on that.
02 — Juneteenth, meh. I didn't pay much attention to the Juneteenth business until Monday this week when the mail seemed awfully late. I checked with a neighbor. Did he get his mail? "No," he said, "It's Juneteenth. Federal holiday now." Oh right.
The trouble with opinionating for a living is, you're supposed to have an opinion about everything in the public sphere. It is therefore mildly distressful to find, combing through my cerebellum, that I don't have any strong feelings about this holiday.
Combing through my archives, I see just one mention of Juneteenth. That was 15 years ago, back in June of 2007. Here's the entire segment — it's a short one.
Now be honest: Had you ever heard of Juneteenth before this week? I hadn't and I've spent 26 years of my life in these United States.
For more on the Morales murder, see Steve Sailer's post dated June 22nd 2007 here at VDARE.com.
If it's strong opinions you're wanting, I can only direct you to the fine polemical blast issued by Pedro Gonzalez last year in Chronicles magazine, just three weeks after Congress made Juneteenth a federal holiday. The piece is titled The Meaning of Juneteenth. It's on the internet; I commend it to your attention. Our own James Fulford promoted it in a good piece of his own about Juneteenth, posted at VDARE.com last Sunday.
Both of these commentators made a point of noting that Juneteenth celebrations result in a lot of black people getting gunshot wounds from weapons fired by other black people, with the usual proportion of those wounds being fatal. That usual proportion of course follows Steve Sailer's Law of Mass Shootings, quote from Steve:
If there are more wounded than dead, then the shooter was probably black, but in the rarer cases where there are more dead than wounded, the shooter was probably nonblack.
For sure this year's celebrations saw plenty of shooting. Here in New York City at least twenty people were shot, all of them apparently black. In Harlem a college basketball player was shot dead and eight other people wounded in a single incident. All the shooters were black. That was Harlem: trust me, not a bastion of white supremacy.
In Washington, D.C., our nation's capital, a 15-year-old boy was shot dead at a Juneteenth concert on Sunday. Several other people took gunshot wounds at the concert, including a cop. The 15-year-old, we have learned, had a gun on him, although it wasn't the gun that was used to shoot him. We've also learned that this lad had been shot twice before, most recently in February. Perhaps that was at a Washington's Birthday celebration, I don't know.
That's low-class blacks for you, though. You can preserve your own and your family's safety by following the simple life rules I offered up in an opinion column ten years ago — the column that got me tagged as a hateful hater by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Juneteenth is just one more occasion to be particularly attentive to those rules.
Well, as you can see, I am thoroughly wishy-washy about Juneteenth. I don't care one way or the other.
"But Derb," I hear you cry, "they've made the durn thing a public holiday ! It's up there with Memorial Day, Washington's Birthday, and Thanksgiving! You don't have an opinion about that ?"
Sorry, I really don't. Since Juneteenth was added last year there are now eleven days on the calendar when federal employees don't have to show up for work. The eleven are conventionally divided into six major and five minor. Juneteenth is one of the minors, along with Martin Luther King Day, Washington's Birthday, Columbus Day and Veterans' Day.
The only negativity I can summon up about this is that eleven days without mail is too many. I wouldn't want to see this get out of hand. But then, mail delivery aside, most of what the federal government does is misguided if not actually evil; so the more days federal employees are at home doing nothing, the better for America.
[Clip: Edith Piaf, Non, je ne regrette rien.]
Unlike the Little Sparrow, I do have some regrets. Up near the head of the list is my regret at not having stood up for my Second Amendment rights three years ago.
If you read my monthly diaries you'll know the story. I gave an executive summary in this year's February Diary, thus:
As described in my February Diary, that last issue was resolved for me by my local gun store, blessings be upon them! They drove all the way out to the Property Department, took charge of my guns, then purchased them from me at very fair prices. Thanks again, guys!
Still, all of that fuss and trouble for me, a perfectly law-abiding gun owner, has left me seething at the whole concept of "red flag" laws.
And, yes, regretful. I bitterly regret that when those two police officers showed up at my house on April 9th, 2019 — a day that will live in infamy — I didn't tell them that what they wished to do — take my handguns from me without due process — was a plain violation of the Fifth Amendment.
Well … Sometimes I wish I had said that. Other times I wish I had given them the old John Wayne line: "You can have my handguns when you prise them from my cold dead fingers …"
At any rate I regret having been such a pussy, not standing up for my Constitutional rights like a good American should against the gun-hating pen-pushers and seat-warmers of New York State's government bureaucracy. It is by thousands of tiny acts of submission like mine that those rights wither and die.
So as you may imagine, I stood up and cheered yesterday on hearing the ruling from our nation's Supreme Court that New York State's laws on carrying firearms are too restrictive.
I particularly liked Justice Samuel Alito's perfectly-aimed shot at Justice Breyer's dissenting opinion. In that opinion Breyer listed more than a dozen recent mass shootings, including the attacks in Buffalo and Uvalde. Justice Alito responded with, quote:
How does the dissent account for the fact that one of the mass shootings near the top of its list took place in Buffalo? The New York law at issue in this case obviously did not stop that perpetrator.
End quote. Right in the bulls-eye there, Sam!
I haven't read the whole judgment yet — it's 135 pages, durn it — but I did a Ctrl-F on "red flag" and got no hits. From that, and the news reports I've read, it seems the justices didn't take on "red flag" laws. That's fair enough, since the case wasn't directly about those laws.
So I can go on enjoying the fantasy in which I stood up to those cops three years ago, refused to surrender my guns, got arrested, got lawyered up, appealed all the way to SCOTUS, got "red flag" laws declared unconstitutional, and basked in the fame and glory of being a Second Amendment hero.
Hey: reality is OK, but fantasy is way more fun.
04 — The Spirit of Scalia Also on the Supreme Court front: While I was putting together my notes for today's podcast the news came out that, as leaked a few days ago, the U.S. Supreme Court has indeed reversed the 1973 decision on Roe v. Wade.
There is, after all, the justices have ruled, no national right to an abortion hidden in the cracks and fissures of the United States Constitution. If Americans at large would like there to be such a national law, they should lobby their senators and congressmen to write and enact one. Should whatever is written and enacted then be judged unconstitutional by the court, citizens should agitate for an appropriate constitutional amendment.
That's the system we have, and have had since the Founding. Since the middle 1960s it has been corrupted by judicial imperialism, aided and abetted by Congress failing to carry out its proper functions.
There have been a few jurists aware of the problem, and vocal in their written opinions that it is not the job of the courts to legislate; but their voices have been drowned out by the modern liberal intelligentsia, which has included most of our lawyers and judges.
My favorite of those few dissident voices was the late Antonin Scalia, who left us six years ago. When I saw this morning's news my first thought was: "Ah, the Spirit of Scalia!" Apparently the late Justice's spirit is indeed active in the Roberts court.
I mentioned constitutional amendments. When was the last one, do you know? Answer: It was thirty years ago last month.
Just keep that number thirty in mind while I cruise back through the last ten amendments to the Constitution, saying aloud the number of years that elapsed between each amendment and the previous one. You ready?
Starting with the last amendment thirty years ago, the previous one was 21 years before that, the one prior four years before that. So the sequence goes: 30, 21, 4; then 3, 3, 10, 18, 0, 13, 1.
That takes us back to 1919, 103 years ago. As you can see, that current gap of 30 years — and there's no amendment in sight, so the actual number will be bigger — but even just as it is, that gap of 30 years is a real anomaly in modern American history.
Never mind "modern," in fact. If you go still further back, all the way from 1919 to the adoption of the Constitution in 1787, what was the average gap between amendments in years across that span? Answer: less than eight years — seven point seven something.
It's the same with other parts of that wonderful constitutional machinery the Founders bequeathed to us — with impeachments, for example, which are way too few.
That machinery, that wonderful, vigorously argued, carefully thought-out machinery, is idle and rusting, tempting power-hungry villains and moralizing zealots to bypass it: tempting the Executive to cease enforcing laws they don't like, Congress to neglect key issues their big-money donors want neglected, the Judiciary to make the laws Congress won't make.
Now, here at last, we see a reversal of the trend. Hallelujah! May there be many more to come.
Concerning the abortion issue itself: I sit, as I've often said, with the majority of Americans overall, or perhaps a tad to the right of them, in not minding abortion on demand up to some definite limit — twelve weeks seems to be the consensus — with abortion thereafter legal only when there is indisputable risk to the mother's health in going to term.
That is, I believe and hope, a mild, sensible opinion midway between the every-sperm-is-sacred lobby and the folk who want to decapitate unwanted newborns. I'm not deeply concerned about the issue, though, and I'll go along with whatever the people of my state decide following this ruling. I may grumble a bit, that's all.
There are, of course, plenty of people out there wa-a-a-ay more passionate than that on the issue. It is in fact a touchstone issue for our Cultural Revolutionaries, and for the ruling elites who support them.
We have already seen some very nasty demonstrations in front of the Supreme Court building and outside the private homes of dissident justices — justices, I mean, whose written opinions contradict elite ideology. There has been one attempt by a Cultural Revolutionary to assassinate Justice Brett Kavanaugh, inspired by the leak of the Roe v. Wade reversal.
The next few days will show us how willing the regime is to deploy its forces against class enemies. Those forces will include both regulars and irregulars: both federal agencies like the Justice Department, the FBI, and the DHS, and also irregulars like Antifa, BLM, and this new one called Jane's Revenge.
If, for example, Antifa burn down some Catholic church, will there be arrests and prosecutions? Or will the event be memory-holed, like the January 2017 Inauguration Day riots or the 2020 attack on the White House?
Or suppose — God forbid! but just suppose — some more competent activist succeeds in assassinating one of the establishment's class enemies on the Supreme Court. Clarence Thomas must look like a tempting target; the regime and their media could sell the assassination as an act of white supremacy …
05 — Is Ron a World Saver? "What rough beast, its hour come round at last, Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?"
I don't know, Bill; but I do know of a chap named Donald Trump who is slouching towards November 2024 hoping to be re-born President of the United States.
His prospects, though, seem to be dwindling; and I think the dwindle accelerated this past few days. There has been a slew of news stories and opinion pieces pooh-poohing the Donald's chances, by no means all of them from the regime media.
Here's a gem from Thursday. This is Max Burns posting at The Hill. Sample quote:
After the better part of a decade wielding a political brand as untouchable as any in memory, former President Trump is now experiencing a strange feeling: abandonment. In races large and small unfolding in states across the country, the same Republican candidates who months ago clamored for Trump's endorsement are now in a race to toss the former president overboard.
Some of those tossers could fairly be described as RINOs losing their nerve. Just back in early April, for example, Trump endorsed Mehmet Oz in the Pennsylvania GOP primary. A lot of MAGA stalwarts — Steve Bannon and Jack Posobiec for just two — took that as a huge disappointment, if not a betrayal.
Oz won that primary last month. He will be the GOP senatorial candidate in November. In the five weeks between Trump's endorsement and Primary Day on May 17th, Oz's campaign ads and Twitter account were dense with images of Trump and references to the endorsement.
Now, however, as Oz re-orients himself towards the general in November, he has been assiduously scrubbing all references to Trump out of his campaign literature. He hasn't tweeted about Trump since May 17th.
All right: You need different strategies for primary and general. And all right: Oz is a RINO, and treachery is what RINOs excel at. Still, this is more than a strategic backing-off. It's more like Oz cutting Trump in the street — walking right past him without a sideways glance.
Much more striking is Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida apparently not wanting to seek Trump's endorsement for his gubernatorial re-election run this November. I say "apparently" because DeSantis hasn't said publicly he doesn't want the endorsement; but we got this from Politico.com on Wednesday, quote:
According to four people connected to the governor and former president, DeSantis has not asked Trump for a formal endorsement and isn't planning to.
If DeSantis has any objection to Politico reporting that, I think we would have heard it by now.
Earlier this year the common talk among GOP observers was: "Trump in '24, DeSantis in '28." It's been a few weeks since I last heard that. I wouldn't be terrifically surprised if I were never to hear it again, other than from the hardest of hard-core Trump supporters. With every day that passes, DeSantis looks stronger and Trump looks weaker.
Am I losing any sleep over this? Not much. I outed myself well over a year ago as a member of the "Trumpism yes, Trump no" demographic.
As best I can judge, Ron DeSantis would make a fine Trumpish president. So no, I'm not losing much sleep here.
I'm losing a little, though. One great insight Trump had, and still has, concerns foreign policy. He understands that trying to set the world to rights is a fool's mission, and a waste of our national energies; and that every time we try it we make a pig's ear of it, even creating unnecessary dangers for ourselves.
The great H.L. Mencken, in his obituary on Calvin Coolidge, wrote the following thing, quote:
Counting out Harding as a cipher only, Dr. Coolidge was preceded by one World Saver and followed by two more. What enlightened American, having to choose between any of them and another Coolidge, would hesitate for an instant?
The first of those World Savers was Woodrow Wilson; the latter two were Herbert Hoover and Franklin Roosevelt.
We have been afflicted with World Savers in the White House ever since. Donald Trump is not a World Saver. Had he been in the White House thirty years ago when the Warsaw Pact dissolved itself, I do believe he would have pulled us out of NATO and left the Europeans to defend their own territories. He still, if re-elected, might get us out of NATO, to America's huge benefit.
That, to my way of thinking, is Trump's saving grace, outweighing all his many weaknesses and follies.
So now what I want to know is: Is Ron DeSantis a World Saver?
I can't find much evidence either way. He had some sharp words against Russia right after they invaded Ukraine; but then, so did I, and I'm a total isolationist, not to mention a lifelong fan of Calvin Coolidge.
DeSantis doesn't seem like a World Saver, and his positions on issues at the fringe of the foreign-affairs zone — on immigration, for instance — seem sensible. Still, I'd really like to know.
06 — Miscellany. And now, our closing miscellany of brief items.
Imprimis: Every dark cloud has a silver lining. Russia's assault on Ukraine, and the West's bungled response to it, are very dark clouds indeed: thousands dead or maimed, massive destruction of housing and infrastructure, unprecedented interruption of food exports, fuel supplies, and supply chains … You know the story.
What's the silver lining? Well, Ted Nordhaus argues in a June 5th posting at the Foreign Policy website, that the energy crisis precipitated by this war may kill the carbon-emissions hysteria stone dead. Quote from him:
A new era, marked by geopolitically driven energy insecurity and resource competition, is moving climate concerns down on the list of priorities.
Browsing further, in fact, I see that there is a whole blossoming genre of opinion pieces on this theme. Claris Feldman has one over at American Thinker, title: "Russia's Ukrainian Invasion May End the Monomaniacal Focus on Carbon Emissions."
If, like me, you've always felt there was something a bit nutty about the Greens, here is support for those feelings.
Higher education … is a precious resource; and our own citizens should have first call on it.
Well, I have good news on this front. This is from Pew Research last December — I only just spotted it. Headline: Amid pandemic, international student enrollment at U.S. universities fell 15 percent in the 2020-21 school year. End headline.
That's very good news for us academic nationalists, wormwood and gall to the college rackets. They depend heavily on those foreign students paying full tuition to fund, among other things, their extravagant establishments of Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity indoctrination.
So: wormwood and gall to the woke college administrators; honey and sweet marjoram to academic nationalists.
Item: While fertility in white nations is dropping and their populations age and dwindle, the population of sub-Saharan Africa continues to swell. Total fertility rate in children per woman: France 2.03, Germany 1.57, Spain 1.27, Italy 1.22, … et cetera. But Congo 5.63, Uganda 5.36, Somalia 5.31, Nigeria 4.62, …
Now this from American Renaissance, June 16th, opener, quote:
More than half of young Africans have expressed their intention to emigrate in the coming years, as attitudes shift considerably from previous polling conducted at the height of the coronavirus pandemic.
Where will they try to immigrate to? India? China? Latin America? It's hard to guess.
Remember the BRICS nations? That's B-R-I-C-S for Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa. BRICS.
I tried to read the communiqué put out by the ChiComs' Foreign Affairs ministry, but it's an insomnia cure. "We reiterate our commitment to multilateralism … Making instruments of global governance more inclusive, representative and participatory … further enhance the weight of our dialogue on issue of international peace and security …" zzzzzzzzz …
I shall try to have another go next week, as I think this is something we ought to pay attention to. Somewhere in the reports I saw something about the BRICS setting up their own independent global financial system to counter the international power of the dollar.
With the poor old dollar in its current inflated state and India and China both making nice with Russia — or is it India and Russia making nice with China? — there could be a revolution in the world economy taking shape there, and definitely not to our advantage.
07 — Signoff. That's all I have, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you for listening, and also of course for your emails, your suggestions, and your kind donations.
For signoff music this week, something off the beaten track.
Tomorrow, Saturday June 25th, is George Orwell's birthday: his 119th birthday. Orwell didn't write any music. However, as I noted at some length in my diary for March 2018, his novel Nineteen Eighty-Four does include the lyrics of a pop song he made up.
This is in Chapter IV of Part II — just halfway through the novel. Winston has rented an upstairs room where he can have trysts with Julia. He gets there before her; but while setting up for the tryst he hears a prole woman singing in the courtyard below. Looking out the window he sees that she's hanging out diapers on a line to dry, singing as she works.
Orwell doesn't give us any music for the song, but he does supply two full verses of lyrics, filtered through the prole woman's stiff Cockney accent.
It was only an 'opeless fancy.
In that diary entry four years ago I commented that as pop lyrics go, those aren't bad. I wondered if anyone had tried to work up a suitable tune. Browsing YouTube it turned out that several people had, but none of them was memorable.
Well, this year, four years later, I was curious to see if anything better had come up, so I re-browsed. Here's a thing I found, by the Czech jazz composer Augustin Bernard.
The singer, whose name is Jana Vondru, is also Czech, and she sings the lyrics in Czech. Don't let that put you off, though. I've listened to this half a dozen times now. I don't think I'll be singing it in the shower, but it does have a certain something.
That something carries the right mood for Nineteen Eighty-Four: a musical portrait of the despair, melancholy, loneliness, and fear of life in a totalitarian society. Augustin Bernard, the composer, was born in 1988 so he had practically no direct experience of communist Czechoslovakia; but all the adults around him would have known the atmosphere of total state power very well, and made sure he knew it.
Eastern Europeans all know it, even the young ones. A few weeks ago I went to a talk given by Kristóf Veres, an immigration researcher from Hungary, a few years younger than Augustin Bernard. Dr Veres knew the atmosphere of totalitarianism very well. He was completely without illusions.
They all know it. Ten years, perhaps even five years ago, I might have added: "… better than we ever shall." Now I'm not so sure.
There will be more from Radio Derb next week.
[Music clip: Jana Vondru, "Hopeless Fancy."]