• Play the sound file
[Music clip: From Haydn's Derbyshire March No. 2, piano version]
01 — Intro. And Radio Derb is on the air! Welcome, listeners worldwide, from your inevitably genial host John Derbyshire, here with VDARE.com's roundup of the sad, the bad, and the mad in this week's news.
I am actually speaking to you this week from the VDARE castle in Berkeley Springs, West Virginia. I am the weekend guest of Peter and Lydia Brimelow for the annual dinner of the 1620 Society. Introducing the Society on the VDARE website two years ago, Lydia Brimelow wrote this, quote:
The 1620 Society is a select group of patriots who stand in a meaningful way with the VDARE Foundation in the struggle to preserve the Historic American Nation and maintain control of America's national borders. For a recurring donation of $100 per month or $1200 per year, 1620 Society members get early access to VDARE conferences and events, a special newsletter that shares Berkeley Castle news and updates, and an invitation to the annual 1620 Society Dinner hosted in the Great Hall of the castle itself. The dinner will feature the best of food and lively conversation with like-minded patriots, all in our matchless ambiance.
The actual dinner is tomorrow, Saturday, and we are looking forward to it. In the meantime, for your intellectual and spiritual nourishment, I offer the following.
02 — Election non-fever (cont.). The big upcoming event in our nation's political life is of course the midterm elections next Tuesday.
I've been looking back at what I had to say about previous midterms. Here I was twelve years ago, in my monthly diary for October 2010, halfway through Barack Obama's first term. Quote:
This being October of an even year, I'm going to grumble about election fatigue, right? You bet!
That hasn't aged too badly. Certainly that Oscar Wilde quote applies just as well today as it did twelve years ago. Still it's a bit depressing to be reminded that we don't go from bad to better and then upward to way better; we go from bad to a bit better, then back to bad again. We seem to have no collective memory.
Here's a segment on that, with reference to New York City.
New Yorkers reacted in 1993 by voting in Rudy Giuliani, a plain-spoken Republican, who did what needed to be done. New Yorkers were so pleased with the results they then voted in Michael Bloomberg, a no-nonsense businessman and also a Republican, although just barely: He'd registered as GOP just before running for Mayor. Bloomberg continued Giuliani's policies, and things went along nicely.
Things went along so nicely, New Yorkers forgot why they'd elected Giuliani and Bloomberg. In 2013 they reverted to gentry-liberal type and elected moonbat lefty Democrat Bill de Blasio. In 2017 they re-elected the fool. After those eight years of lunacy, which had the inevitable consequences, they came part-way back to their senses and elected a Democrat who had served in the city police force. Although not as lazy and stupid as de Blasio, the new Mayor unfortunately has turned out to be incompetent and corrupt.
Since Giuliani and Bloomberg had fixed the problems of the early 1990s, why didn't New Yorkers go on electing mayors of the same general stripe? Either they supposed that those problems, once fixed, would stay fixed of their own accord; or else they just forgot about the early nineties.
The problems did stay fixed to a degree. In 1990 there were 2,262 murders in the city, 3,126 rapes, and over a hundred thousand robberies. The numbers for last year, 2021, were 488, 1,491, and just short of fourteen thousand. To the nearest percent, last year's figures are 22, 48, and 14 percent of the 1990 ones.
There are complications behind those numbers, though, and the trend lines don't look good. Crimes for which there used to be arrests and prosecutions — most notoriously, shoplifting — now get no law-enforcement attention at all. Perps who used to have to post bail if they wanted to walk out of the court after arraignment now … don't have to. They just walk out.
Crime is a top issue in conversations and media commentary in New York. Local newspapers are full of crime stories. Cover story in today's New York Post: JOGGER RAPED IN HEART OF CITY, subheading "Vagrant with 25 priors busted in attack on West Village pier."
That cover story captures a lot of what's gotten people mad about the criminal-justice system and skeptical of the numbers. The rapist was wanted for two other sexual assaults. Quote from the story:
He had multiple I-Cards, or notifications to cops to arrest a suspect if they're seen, out in his name and it's not clear why cops didn't bust him after the first two assaults.
"It's not clear" to The New York Post but it's clear (or at any rate clear-ish) to a lot of us. The rapist is black (or at any rate black-ish) and cops are under orders not to arrest too many blacks. Gotta strive for equity! Not that cops need to be ordered. After what happened to Derek Chauvin in Minneapolis, cops everywhere are way more hesitant to arrest a black person who isn't actually caught in the act of cutting his girlfriend's throat.
And then there's those 25 priors mentioned in the subheading. The story tells us they are mostly for petit larceny, assault, drug possession and drug dealing.
I lived seven years in New York City and I don't have any priors. I don't have priors in any other jurisdiction, either. Nor do any of my family members; nor, to the best of my knowledge, do any of my friends. Allowing for the occasional traffic ticket, we're law-abiding citizens. It's not difficult.
This guy is a serial law-breaker, i.e. a career criminal. Why was he walking around free?
New Yorkers are as angry about crime as they were thirty years ago. All right, people: then why, when a problem's once been solved, do you forget it ever needed solving and flop back into feel-good fantasies about bail reform, police brutality, the evils of incarceration, and "restorative justice"?
Perhaps there's a Rudy Giuliani clone waiting in the wings for New Yorkers to elect next time around, or the time after that. And then, after another 20-year turn of the wheel, to forget why they elected him and start groaning about crime again.
"Against stupidity," said a wise man, "the gods themselves struggle in vain." There's a lot of stupidity about, especially in New York City; although in New York City it has to be fashionable stupidity.
And I can't let the crime issue go without reporting a brief exchange on Twitter early this week. One party to the exchange was the Dissident Right blogger who calls himself The Inductivist, whose posts I have been enjoying for years. The other party is Jennifer Rubin, a highly regarded, and I'm sure very well paid, opinion journalist who opinionates at The Washington Post, MSNBC, and probably other regime outlets.
The exchange went like this, actual quotes:
Rubin: if Republicans would stop inciting violence crime might go down
04 — Trying to square the affirmative action circle. Monday this week the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in two cases concerning affirmative action in college admissions.
The plaintiff in the case is a nonprofit called Students For Fair Admissions who want race preferences declared unconsitutional.
There are two defendants: the University of North Carolina, which is a public college, and Harvard University, which bills itself as a private college, although they of course get big subsidies indirectly from the public purse via research grants and student loans.
At one further remove, in fact, Harvard benefits financially from our government's extremely lax policies on issuance of visas to foreign students, which doesn't get talked about half as much as it should. Higher education is a finite resource. Our own citizens should have first call on it.
In the absence of a wide public acceptance of race realism, of which I see no sign at all, the affirmative action issue cannot be resolved in any satisfactory way. When your enemy is reality you may have the spirit, the support, and the money to keep fighting indefinitely, but you can never attain victory.
The real dilemma facing America is that we can have a meritocracy, or we can have equal outcomes by ancestry group, but, unless the information now coming in by every post from the human sciences is all utterly wrong, we cannot have both. Both, of course, is exactly what we insist on having, and diversity is our current attempt at squaring this unhappy circle.
Nothing I've seen, heard, or read in the nineteen years since I wrote that has given me any reason to change my opinion. Nor have I seen any mathematically sound proof that circles can be squared. The issue is just intractable.
We may dream of the issue being resolved, and I do. I have a dream today, brothers and sisters — I have a dream! I have a dream that one day our freedom of association in the private sphere will be restored. That would involve the repeal of so-called Civil Rights laws so I'm not holding my breath; but I have a dream!
I have a dream that a hurricane of reform will sweep through the whole stinking, corrupt apparatus of higher education. Get government out of the game as far as possible. The only area where it seems to me it's not possible is key disciplines of direct public consequence, disciplines like medicine, engineering, and law. Enrolment in those disciplines should be rigorously meritocratic, enforced by government authorities.
(In the case of law, if they were so we would have been spared the spectacle of Justice Sotomayor, in Monday's hearing, revealing that she does not know the meaning of the phrase de jure.)
Elsewhere let universities enrol whoever they like: legacies, athletes, blacks, whites, Asians, … hey. Freedom of association!
Students who need loans should get them in the private sector, like anyone else wanting a loan. Researchers in need of government grants should resign from the academy and take public employment. Public spending on scientific research is a public good; the researchers should be public employees.
That's just dreaming, though. What the Supremes actually decide will not be vouchsafed to us until next year — probably at the end of the current term in June.
What will the decision look like? For sure it won't impose meritocratic rigor on college admissions. The issues of legacy and athletic admissions aside, meritocratic rigor would see elite colleges with massive over-representation of Asians and massive under-representation of blacks. In today's U.S.A. that is simply unthinkable.
It follows that the court decision must be some kind of fudge, as all previous SCOTUS ruling on affirmative action have been.
Given the known dispositions of the current nine justices, their ruling will make it more difficult for college admissions officers to practice race preferences — more difficult but not impossible. There will be enough cracks and fissures in the ruling for colleges to keep race preferences alive in them by subterfuge, dishonesty, and the copious use of weasel words like "holistic."
I'll just close here with some reading recommendations. The foundational text on affirmative action skepticism is Ron Unz's long essay "The Myth of American Meritocracy," published at the Unz Review just ten years ago this month. Not only is it foundational to this topic, it is also an outstanding masterpiece of quantitative journalism.
It is long, though — longer than the Second Book of Chronicles, longer than any of the Gospels. Ron posted an updated and much shorter version the other day, only a wee bit longer than Paul's Second Letter to the Corinthians; and our own James Fulford published a crisp summary of Ron's work the same day here at VDARE.com.
05 — Nationalist citizens, globalist rulers. Britain's Conservative Party, like our own GOP, is populated mainly by cynical seat-warmers who regard their base as ignorant rubes who have to be soothed with empty words around election time but can be ignored otherwise.
The question hanging over new Prime Minister Rishi Sunak — or "Rashid Sanuk," as he is known to our President, or "Sanuk Sanak" to White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre: I can't wait to hear what Kamala Harris calls him — the question hanging over Snuki Hatchback is whether or not he is one of those seat-warmers, or whether he is something new.
We've had conflicting signals. He told the House of Commons on October 26th that he would ban fracking — a sign that he's aligning himself with the globalist climate-change cult. But then, in the same session, he told the House he would not attend the COP27 summit meeting for climate alarmists, to be held in Egypt next week. Could he be a climate-change skeptic after all?
Er, no. Wednesday this week Nanook of the North tweeted that he'd changed his mind and will attend COP27. So either he's a weasel or he's carrying a torch for Greta Thunberg.
Another positive sign from the week before last was Sunak's reinstating of Suella Braverman as Home Secretary, which means she'll play a key role in immigration policy. Mrs Braverman, as I have noted before, is a sharp immigration skeptic. At any rate she talks a strong line against so-called "asylum seekers," which is to say illegal alien invaders.
Mrs Braverman was actually bold enough to use the "i" word. That's "i" for "invasion." She spoke to the House of Commons this week about, actual quote, "stopping the invasion on our southern coast," end quote. That led to much swooning and clutching of pearls among the seat-warmer community and their media shills.
I would be a bit more impressed with Mrs Braverman's rhetoric if she'd get down to legislative brass tacks. Britain needs to get out from the European Court of Human Rights, the ECHR; tell them to stuff their rulings where the Sun don't shine even when the climate is warming. The ECHR are the multinational kritarchs in Strasbourg who thwart every attempt at border control.
And Britain, like us, needs universal compulsory E-verify with brutal penalties for employers hiring illegal alien labor.
Still, Mrs Braverman's heart seems to be in the right place. Is Rasher Canuck backing her up? Eh, not very forcefully.
While the British Establishment and its shills were hyperventilating about Mrs Braverman's having used the "i" word, the Prime Minister was asked to comment. "Damn right!" he said. "We should be shooting the adult males like Israel does, and sending the women and children to camps until they cry to be sent home."
Nah, just kidding there. What Squishy Flatpack actually said was that Britain would, quote, "always be a compassionate, welcoming country." end quote.
As British commentator Alex Story wrote at the American Greatness website on Tuesday, quote:
The crux of the dilemma is that international law and domestic priorities contradict one another. They are not and can never be compatible.
I think that's right. The issue of the European Court of Human Rights that I mentioned a minute ago illustrates the dilemma.
The essence of a dilemma is that you have to pick from one of two incompatible options. In 2016 the Brits voted to take back their national identity; but their ruling class wanted to maintain all those globalist links. That can't be made to work.
Which side is Fishy Poosack on? As Alex Story said, we'll soon find out.
06 — Miscellany. And now, our closing miscellany of brief items.
Imprimis: The Supreme Court hearing on affirmative action gave Scientific American magazine yet another opportunity to remind us science geeks why we don't read the filthy thing, and to remind us science geeks of the senior cohort why we lament the cruel death of the Scientific American we read so eagerly in our youth when it covered actual science in a way that was actually interesting to people who were not hysterical adolescent girls.
Monday the magazine's website ran a big op-ed under the title "Why Scientists Must Stand for Affirmative Action and against Scientific Racism."
As a piece of opinion journalism, this one is pretty dire. Every cliché you'd predict before starting to read it is there. "Systemic racism": check. "White supremacy": check. The late Phil Rushton was a "notorious scientific racist": check. The Bell Curve is "pseudoscience": check. A lunatic killer who was a race realist proves that race realism is "dangerous": check. Mustaches must be dangerous, then: Stalin and Hitler both had one.
As a piece of science journalism, the op-ed is a disgrace. The scientific temperament does not pronounce as indisputable facts ideas that are highly disputable, and disputed by thoughtful and learned people. It does not pretend that fashionable luxury opinions are the last word on open scientific topics. It does not abuse and insult by name persons whose research, conducted with proper scientific rigor, suggests results displeasing to political ideologues.
I did get one faint smile out of the piece. Enumerating racial and ethnic groups that, the authors say, are underrepresented in STEM programs, they list, quote: "Black, Latine, American Indian, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander students," end quote.
The second term in that list is spelt L-a-t-i-n-e. La-teen? La-tine? Don't ask me. It's the first time I've seen that. Has "Latinx" now been laughed out of usage even by the former Teen Vogue staffers now writing for Scientific American?
What caused me the faint smile was the thought of some subversive subeditor in some publication slipping a letter "r" into that word …
Item: I was raised in England back when Halloween was a weird thing Americans did. Guy Fawkes Night was our autumn celebration; you can read all about it at my personal website under "Opinions," Straggler No. 38. My wife was raised in China where images of death and the dead are regarded with fear and disgust. Both of us have had a hard time getting used to Halloween.
It's world-wide now, though. This was illustrated very disastrously in Seoul, South Korea on Saturday last when more than 150 people were crushed to death in a crowd of mostly young people celebrating Halloween. There doesn't seem to have been any particular spark for the calamity; it was just too many people in too little space.
And then there was this at Breitbart.com, November 2nd, headline: "Halloween Riots Break Out Across Europe As 86 Arrested in France Alone."
Scotland, Germany, Austria, … and France where 86 people were arrested and nearly 90 cars were set on fire. Was Halloween a tradition in those countries? I honestly don't know. In Scotland, perhaps: I have things to say about that in the Straggler column I just mentioned. Mexicans have their Day of the Dead, too; I guess that is basically the same idea.
Whatever, it still seems weird to the Derbyshires. I know I shall die someday and my flesh will be burned to ashes or eaten by animals — possibly small ones like worms or fishes. I don't want to be forcibly reminded of the fact, though, not even once a year.
Halloween? Bah, humbug!
Item: A footnote to the foregoing. I did once say, not altogether seriously, that after I have set off on the long meander, I should like my corpse to be embedded in a big slab of lucite. A correspondent told me this is not in fact possible. A human corpse is too big and too … soft.
Halloween got me thinking — reluctantly — about that exchange. I did some googling.
Sure enough, here's the website of a company named Clearmount, who embed things in lucite. The website includes a list of things, or characteristics of things, not likely to embed well. The list goes: "Soft, Moist, Food, Oily, Large sharp metal edges, Most plastics, Certain inks, Paper that is too thin."
That's the list. However, a bit further down they say, quote: "we never say never to trying to embed an object," end quote, and tell of items on the list that they did somehow manage to embed.
I'm going to leave this topic now. Please just take it as Radio Derb's contribution to the Halloween festivities.
Item: Returning to the topic of open issues in science, back there I mentioned next week's COP27 conference for believers in world climate change and those who hope to make money out of them.
In the world of science there is a vigorous opposition to climate alarmism. They gather under the banner of the World Climate Declaration. As of last Monday more than 1,400 credentialed scientists have put their signatures to the Declaration.
What do climate alarmists say about this opposition movement? As pointed out at The Daily Skeptic on Monday, their main counter is that the signatories to the Declaration are mostly pure scientists, not "climate scientists."
The Daily Skeptic punches back at this by saying, in regard to one alarmist who has made that argument, that, quote:
It is a bit of an ask to take his word, and those of thousands of other climate activists, that the climate is breaking down due to complex scientific interactions. Some might think that such interactions are understood in greater detail by pure science specialists such as chemists and physicists.
There is more respect for scientific method in those two sentences than you'll find in a whole year's-worth of the current Scientific American.
07 — Signoff. That's all I have, good people. Thank you as always for your time and attention. Please don't forget to turn your clocks back this weekend to end Daylight Saving Time for this year. There is talk about ending it permanently, or keeping it permanently, … Sorry, I haven't kept up with the legislation, but I'm reliably informed that either the one thing or the other will happen real soon.
One thing that happened last week just too late for Radio Derb was the passing of rock'n'roll superstar Jerry Lee Lewis at age 87. Jerry Lee died at his ranch in Mississippi from pneumonia, known to professional nurses of my mother's generation as "the old man's friend."
I can still remember the fuss in Britain's tabloid press when they found out that Jerry Lee's wife Myra, who he'd brought along with him across the Atlantic for a concert tour, was only 13 years old. Jerry Lee protested that, quote, "I plumb married the gal, di'n't I?" but the scandal killed the tour anyway. Just turning 13 myself at the time, it made a big impression on me.
Jerry Lee wasn't just a rocker but also a first-rate country singer. Here he was twenty years after that scandal doing full justice to a Hank Williams classic. I think Hank would have been nodding along with Jerry Lee here if he had not himself passed away in either 1952 or 1953. Rest in peace, Jerry Lee.
There will be more from Radio Derb next week.
[Music clip: Jerry Lee Lewis, "You Win Again."]