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[Music clip: Haydn's Derbyshire March No. 2, big band version]
01 — Intro. And Radio Derb is on the air! Greetings, listeners, from your handily genial host John Derbyshire this fine mid-October evening.
This week's podcast opens with a morality tale. I relate it with no pleasure at all. A pundit I have been following for years, whose show I enjoy (with only minor reservations) and who I believe is doing useful work to the advantage of our republic, committed an act of minor folly. Shortly after he had committed it, consequences of it blew up, leaving him embarrassed.
As my blessed mother used to say: "Worse things happen at sea." They surely do. I'm sorry this one happened, and particularly sorry it happened to this pleasant and patriotic guy. The tale bears telling, though, so … here it is.
02 — Tucker blunders. My normal routine on a weekday evening is to sit down to dinner at 7:30, eat steadily for half an hour while making light conversation with Mrs Derbyshire and such family members or friends as may be present; then, at 8 o'clock, move to the living-room, usually clutching my half-eaten dessert, switch on the TV, and watch Tucker Carlson's show.
Friday evenings I'm under pressure to get my podcast finished and posted. I don't let that interfere with my normal routine, though. I have to eat dinner; and, having eaten it, I have to sit still and do something undemanding while my digestive tract grinds through its work. There aren't many things less demanding than watching TV; so, the eating done and digestion well under way, I watch Tucker before returning to my podcast labors.
I don't always watch the whole show. If I'm behind with the podcast I cut out at the first commercial break; or later, if Tucker starts talking about flying saucers, I quit right there.
Well, last Friday Tucker started in not with his monologue as usual, but with an interview. The interviewee was Kanye West.
I knew the name Kanye West because it shows up in New York Post headlines, attached to stories that I skip right over. I knew he was some kind of celebrity, and I think I knew that he was showbiz, not sports. That was the sum total of my Kanye West knowledge last Friday evening. I don't have to engage with celebrity culture, and you can't make me.
I sat through the first few minutes of the show, but neither Tucker nor West said anything interesting, so I went to my study and recorded some podcast.
Around 8:30, by which point Tucker has generally finished with his first segment and is halfway through his second, I stopped by the living-room to see what Tucker was covering in that second segment. To my surprise he was still sitting across from Kanye West asking him questions. I watched for a minute or two, again heard nothing interesting, went back to my study.
Apparently Tucker gave over that entire hour to the interview with Kanye West, a thing he very rarely does. Why? West didn't seem very smart or eloquent. The few minutes I caught of him actually speaking, he was mumbling gibberish. I did some lookups on the internet.
So now I know who Kanye West is. He's a rapper. [Clip: West rapping "Wouldn't Leave."] Not my thing, you understand; but then, rock'n'roll wasn't my parents' thing, jazz wasn't their parents' thing, and so on back to the Bronze Age. Chacun à son goût. A young friend (white male) who listens to rap music for pleasure tells me that West's is much better than the average.
West isn't just a performer, either; he's a producer and entrepreneur in those black styles of performed and recorded music, and also in the fashion business. He has real entrepreneurial talent and has made himself stinking rich.
That's not nothing, and all good luck to him. The point of a prime-time pundit show, however, is not to showcase entrepreneurial whizz-kids. The point is for the pundit to sound off intelligently on matters of public concern, and to bring on guests who'll do the same for five or ten minutes while the pundit catches his breath. So what was Kanye West doing on Tucker's program? For a whole hour?
The proximate cause here seems to have been West showing up at a fashion show the previous Monday wearing a shirt with the legend WHITE LIVES MATTER printed on it.
As far as I can fathom his political views — and it ain't easy — West started out a traditional left-liberal, Democrat-voting, anti-white, antisemitic black American, then in recent years lurched off to the populist right, hobnobbing with Donald Trump and running for president himself in 2020 on an independent ticket.
Religion seems to have something to do with it; West describes himself as a Christian, although I can't find any information on his churchgoing habits. Whatever: Right now he seems to be traveling with the black conservative movement. Next year, who knows?
There's nothing especially black about any of that, it's basic celebrity stuff. There's no reason to expect a celebrity to have any well-thought-out political philosophy. Smiling for the paparazzi, or looking happy or sad or angry while reciting lines someone's written for you — those are just physical talents, like being able to wiggle your ears. They don't need much connected thought.
Most celebrities are low-IQ. Sure: entrepreneurial success like West's needs some people skills and planning ability, but not much abstract thinking.
So once again: What was Tucker thinking, giving West a whole prime-time hour to ramble incoherently?
What he was thinking was, in a word: Equity.
Conservatives who are respectable enough to have their own TV shows — a category that obviously includes Tucker — live in terror of being thought hostile to blacks. They want thirteen percent of their guests to be black, for equity. For the Tuckers of the world, black conservatives are gold — even airhead celebrity blacks who are no more able to articulate consistent conservative opinions than they are to solve cubic equations.
So there's your answer: Tucker was virtue signaling.
It came back to bite him, though. That Tucker interview was on Friday. The very next day, Saturday October 8th, West posted a weird tweet on Twitter, saying that he would soon go [quote] "death con 3 on JEWISH PEOPLE," [end quote] and adding as an afterthought: [quote] "You guys have toyed with me and tried to black ball anyone whoever opposes your agenda." [End quote.]
Yes, he actually wrote "death con" for "def con," either to add a bit more outrageousness to the antisemitism, or — much more likely — from sheer illiterate ignorance.
Twitter deleted the tweet and suspended West's account. Poor Tucker was left with egg all over his face. If there is one thing a cable-TV prime-time host dreads more than being thought racist, it's being thought antisemitic, or even just being accused of hosting an antisemite on his show. They really, really hate when that happens.
What do we learn from this, comrades? We learn that when selecting guests for your TV show — especially guests you intend to keep talking for an entire hour — stick with people who you know have given more than thirty seconds connected thought to issues of public policy.
Corollary: Do not invite showbiz, sports, or business celebrities, unless they also have Ph.D.s in Political Science.
03 — Cancel Finance. Just a footnote to all that. Tucker's interview with West was aired last Friday. West's tweet appeared on Saturday. Four days on from that, on Wednesday, we learned that JP Morgan Chase bank, which Kanye West has been using for his various enterprises, will no longer take his business.
As Rod Dreher points out at the American Conservative website, we are proceeding steadily towards a ChiCom-style social credit system in which, if you are suspected of harboring thoughts not approved by the regime, private business corporations will not accept you as a customer. This action by JP Morgan Chase illustrates the process very clearly.
Some days before that we had had another illustration of this creeping, and very creepy, trend. On Friday October 7th, the same day Tucker's interview with Kanye West aired, reports came out that PayPal would, starting on November 3rd, would sanction users who engage in, quote, "prohibited activities."
What did they mean by "sanction" there? They would, they said, fine such users up to $2,500 per offense, presumably just sucking the money out of your account.
And what did they mean by "prohibited activities"? Quote:
The sending, posting, or publication of any messages, content, or materials that promote misinformation or present a risk to user safety or wellbeing … the promotion of hate, violence, racial or other forms of intolerance that is discriminatory.
We all know, of course, that what's being targeted there is the expression of opinions not approved by the progressive regime.
Who gets to decide what is "misinformation"? Or what poses "a risk to user safety or wellbeing"? Or what forms of intolerance are "discriminatory"?
Again, we all know the answer. Merrick Garland's thin-lipped apparatchiks get to decide. The regime's bought-and-paid-for Gestapo, formerly known as the FBI, gets to decide. The Southern Poverty Law Center — half cynical money racket, half refuge for red-diaper babies still weeping for the demise of the Soviet Union, which their parents told them was the Hope of the World — the SPLC gets to decide.
The day that new PayPal policy was aired, Friday October 7th, PayPal stock fell four percent on the exchanges. Then on Monday, the next trading day, it fell another six percent. It rallied a bit later in the week, but is still underperforming the market.
There could be extraneous reasons for that — please don't come to me for deep market analysis — but whether or not that's the case, PayPal was badly spooked by the general public reaction to its October 7th announcement. The following day, Saturday the 8th, PayPal management scrambled to save the situation. A spokesman for the company put out a not-very-convincing email telling the world that, quote:
PayPal is not fining people for misinformation and this language was never intended to be inserted in our policy. Our teams have made appropriate updates to correct these inaccuracies and we apologize for any confusion this has caused.
Executive summary: Oops!
The pushback against PayPal wasn't just coming from us semi-fascist deplorable crackpots of the far right, either. There were words of disapproval from Senators Marsha Blackburn and Tim Scott, Brendan Carr at the Federal Communications Commission, a spokeslady for Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, former president of PayPal David Marcus, and Elon Musk.
We can dare to hope that if the GOP gets control of Congress — or even just of the House — in the upcoming midterms, they might take some legislative action against these big software monopolies fronting for the Democratic Party. That's assuming of course that Republican legislators can spare some time from voting more five-billion-dollar aid packages to Ukraine.
04 — Redressing the balance. A British Foreign Secretary of the 1820s, congratulating himself for having recognized the former Spanish and Portuguese colonies in South America as independent countries, boasted that, quote: "I called the New World into existence to redress the balance of the Old."
It is possible, as of this week, that the balances of both the New World and the Old may be redressed by the Very Old. Let me explain that.
Here in the New World, our spirits were lifted — I mean, those of us who loathe and detest the Democratic Party and its totalitarian aspirations — our spirits were lifted on Tuesday by the news that Tulsi Gabbard, former U.S. Army platoon leader, Democratic Representative and candidate for the 2020 Democratic Party presidential nomination, has quit that party.
Ms Gabbard, whose forename is of Sanskrit origin, is a devout Hindu. Her political positions are sufficiently close to my own that my first reaction on hearing the news of her defection this week was: "What took her so long?"
As she deployed her parachute to leave the party, Ms Gabbard tweeted that, quote:
I can no longer remain in today's Democratic Party that is now under the complete control of an elitist cabal of warmongers driven by cowardly wokeness, who divide us by racializing every issue and stoke anti-white racism, actively work to undermine our God-given freedoms that are enshrined in our Constitution.
Meanwhile, over in the Old World, here is Suella Braverman, Britain's Home Secretary. (That's Attorney General, near enough.) Mrs Braverman has a law degree from Cambridge University, a Master's degree in law from the Sorbonne, and is qualified to practice as an attorney in New York.
At age 42, Mrs Braverman is one year older than Tulsi Gabbard. Braverman is her husband's name; her parents are of Indian origin and she is a devout practitioner of that other great Indian religion, Buddhism.
As noted here at VDARE.com the other day, on the subject of the British Empire, my heart and Mrs Braverman's beat as one. We both believe that the Empire was, in her words, quote, "a force for good," end quote.
Much more to the current political point, Mrs Braverman is an outspoken immigration skeptic. Sample quotes from her, quotes:
The unexamined drive towards multiculturalism as an end in itself combined with the corrosive aspects of identity politics has led us astray …
Opinions like that are very widely held in Britain, but to hear them from a politician of any party is very unusual. They are totally at odds with the official position of her party, the Conservative Party. The leader of that party, Prime Minister Liz Truss, in one of her first speeches after attaining that office last month, told her fellow countrymen that she wants to boost economic growth by increasing immigration.
Mrs Braverman's colleagues in the U.K. government would be clutching their pearls and swooning at her heterodox opinions if not for the fact that they are much too busy trying to hold on to their jobs as their party plunges to depths of unpopularity not hitherto plumbed. Polls show the opposition Labour Party with a 34 percent lead.
The Prime Minister's own approval rating is nine percent — yes, single digits. She just fired her Treasury Secretary. She may very well be gone herself by the time you hear this. So Mrs Braverman's heterodoxies on immigration and diversity aren't making as much of a splash as they would in a stable political situation. It's nice to hear them, none the less.
Since I have mentioned the confessions of Tulsi Gabbard and Suella Braverman, I should add that Prime Minister Liz Truss is an Anglican, although apparently not a very observant one.
Buddhism is of course older than Christianity. Hinduism is way older that that — older even than Judaism.
So here we have two ladies, Mrs Braverman and Ms Gabbard, in the Old and the New World respectively, both adhering to Very Old religious traditions, both fearlessly articulating the right way forward for their nations, while politicians bearing a newer faith, or no faith at all, fumble and stumble.
As I said: the Very Old World may step up to redress the balances of the New World and the Old.
05 — Miscellany. And now, our closing miscellany of brief items.
Imprimis: All right, I'm going to do it. I'm going to come out of the closet. I'm going to confess to being the thing that dare not speak its name: the thing that for decades has been mocked, scorned, and denounced from all places on the political spectrum — radical, liberal, conservative, or reactionary. Stand aside, please, I'm coming out.
Yes: I am — brace yourselves, please — I am an … isolationist.
I don't want American troops stationed anywhere in the world other than here in the U.S.A. I don't want our diplomats meddling in other nations' squabbles for any reasons not strictly commercial. I want the repeal of all treaty obligations that would require us going to war with A on behalf of B.
I don't want the U.S.A. to belong to any international bodies — no, not even the United Nations. Especially not the United Nations. The whole thing is a 1940s anachronism and a blight on parking in the eastern side of midtown Manhattan.
I don't want any of my tax dollars to go to foreign aid: "The transfer of wealth from poor people in rich countries to rich people in poor countries."
For immigration, I laid out my preferred policy, which I christened "Derbian minimalism," five years ago. I offer it to the federal government free of charge, although I'd appreciate a credit somewhere. In brief, I'll grant the right of permanent settlement here for:
That's it for permanent settlement. Foreign students? In very limited numbers. Businessmen and tourists? Only if closely monitored from entry to exit.
Derbian minimalism: Say it loud, say it proud.
Surely we have enough issues to occupy us here in our homeland. Let's make sure we're well-enough armed to repel any invaders. That aside, let the rest of the damn world go hang.
I use Wikipedia all the time while knowing how biased towards regime ideology much of it is … Wikipedia is evil but … handy. Hence my wikiguilt.
End quote. Once again, that was me, speaking in July.
Then this week I saw this very informative tweet from someone using the handle "echetus." Along with its accompanying tweets, it's too long to quote in entirety, but it spills the beans on Wikimedia.
And so on. After I'd read these tweets I promptly canceled my $3.10 monthly subscription to Wikimedia.
Do please check out those tweets. The tweeter once again has the handle "echetus," all lower-case, e-c-h-e-t-u-s. It's the name of a rather evil character in Greek mythology. I know that because I looked it up … on Wikipedia.
Item: Wednesday this week, October 12th, stood precisely midway between October 2nd and October 22nd.
Why did I tell you that? Because October 2nd and October 22nd this year both mark a tenth anniversary: the anniversary in each case of the death of an important race realist. My fellow race realists, bow your heads in acknowledgment.
The first of those dates, October 2nd, was ten years on from the death in 2012 of groundbreaking evolutionary psychologist J. Philippe Rushton.
Rushton's 1994 book Race, Evolution, and Behavior introduced us to Rushton's Rule of Three: the fact that on a large number of physical, psychological, and behavioral indices, the average for Asians is here, the average for Africans is there, and the average for whites is somewhere in between them.
Our own Steve Sailer posted a very comprehensive obituary notice for Rushton here at VDARE.com on October 4th 2012.
October 22nd this year was ten years on from the death, also in 2012, of behavioral psychologist Arthur Jensen. Our obituarist here was Jared Taylor, posting on VDARE.com October 30th 2012. For those who don't know of Jensen, here's a longish quote from Jared's post, quote:
In 1967, Jensen received a Guggenheim fellowship to study at the Center for the Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences in Palo Alto, California, where he planned to do research for a book about how cultural deprivation depresses the intelligence of minorities. At the center he met a geneticist who persuaded him to study the genetics of intelligence, and this completely changed his views. Instead of writing a book, he wrote his famous February 1969 article for the Harvard Educational Review, "How Much Can We Boost IQ and Scholastic Achievement?"
J. Philippe Rushton and Arthur Jensen: Two giants of race realism, and also of academic courage. Bow your heads, please.
06 — Signoff. That's all I have, ladies and gents. Thank you for your time and attention, and for all your emails.
If you go to the VDARE.com website around mid-month you will generally see a blog post from me under the title "From Derb's Email Bag." There I post some emails that have particularly caught my fancy — always anonymously, of course — along with my responses to them, except when I don't have a response.
And while I'm advertising, be sure to catch my end-of-month Diary at, you know, the end of the month. The Diary is now in its 22nd year, for which I probably deserve some kind of award. Award committees please note: I can be reached at VDARE.com.
As well as being the centenary of Max Bygraves and the 60th anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis, this weekend marks Mrs Derbyshire's birthday. To make sure my lady is in a good humor for the occasion, I have been catching up on some home-maintenance chores she has been nagging me about for months past.
If you, like me, are a survivor of the 1970s, you will know what song was going through my poor head as I hammered, glued, sanded, and painted.
There will be more from Radio Derb next week.
[Music clip: James Taylor, "Handy Man."]