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[Music clip: Haydn's Derbyshire March No. 2, electronic piano version]
01 — Intro. And Radio Derb is on the air! Greetings, listeners, from your meritoriously genial host John Derbyshire, here with some thoughts from the first week of May.
I live on Long Island, 36 miles from the Empire State Building. I take daily delivery of the New York Post, America's Newspaper of Record, and get my first infusion of news each day from that over breakfast.
Those facts considered, I self-consciously try not to make my commentary New York-centric. Having traveled considerably around the U.S.A., I know very well that many citizens couldn't care less what happens in New York, and not a few of you hate the place and wish it would slip quietly into the Atlantic Ocean.
I understand, I understand. Occasionally New York matters are worth commenting on, though. Here goes with one such occasion.
02 — New victims of racism: Black City Mayors.. Eric Adams, the mayor of New York City, is in a bind. He's a black Democrat, dependably on board with all the policies favored by progressives plus a side order of corruption.
One of those policies, however, is causing serious strain to his city's budget. That would be the open Southern border that both major parties favor.
Given that immigration is a national issue, mayors of border cities and governors of border states understandably believe that the downsides of an open border should be spread nationwide, not concentrated in their localities. Overwhelmed with illegal border crossers, they have been flying and busing them elsewhere, mainly to the big cities that illegals want to go to: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Denver, and Washington, D.C.
Since this started in a big way last Spring, New York City has taken in sixty thousand illegals, putting up most of them in hotels and city-run shelters, at a cost of close to a billion dollars.
Two weeks ago His Honor went to Washington, D.C. to beg for more federal funds to help deal with the crisis. He didn't get smacked down as hard as his predecessor Abe Beame had under the Gerry Ford administration, in a different fiscal crisis 48 years ago — the episode that inspired the New York Daily News to the memorable front-page headline: FORD TO CITY: DROP DEAD. Adams wasn't satisfied, though. Quote from him:
The issue is not the asylum seeker. The issue is the fact that the national government is not doing its job.
What is the federal government's job, according to Mayor Adams? Its job is, one, to give his city a wad of federal money to help look after all the illegals, and two, to give them all permission to work so they won't be indigent.
Why doesn't Hizzoner ask the feds to send ICE agents in force to round up and incarcerate all the illegals until they can be deported, as federal law not only allows but requires?
Why? Need you ask? New York is a sanctuary city. New York welcomes illegal aliens. And in any case, as Adams surely knows, at the first signs of a mass arrest a mighty host of lawyers would descend upon the city to block the arrests with legal niceties.
And you can of course quibble with my usage of the word "illegal." The policy of the Biden administration towards illegal border crossers is to declare them legal, more precisely pseudo-legal, by executive action. As a headline in the April 29th New York Post put it, headline: Mayorkas tells migrants: Don't break the law! That's my job!
Although the Post was being a bit too kind to the border-jumpers there. A few days later — just today, in fact — the Post ran an illuminating report by veteran border watcher Todd Bensman, writing about the particular case of Venezuelans, one of the biggest nationalities in the Biden Border Rush of the past two years.
A high proportion of these Venezuelans left Venezuela after the nation's economic and political collapse ten years ago, relocating to safe third countries like Colombia, Brazil, Ecuador, Chile and Argentina. They'd settled to comfortable, even prosperous lives in those third countries. Then, hearing from friends and relatives that the U.S.A. is wide open, they've decided to head up here.
Quote from Bensman:
Many will eventually have to lie on government forms or to government agents about where they've really been, a lie that is a federal crime that can bring up to five years in prison if ever investigated.
So my usage of the word "illegal" in these cases is certainly justified.
And of course their lies never will be investigated. Where immigration is concerned, our laws are a joke.
You sometimes see people ask, in comment threads or Letters to the Editor, why Congress doesn't do something: pass laws that are stricter, less easily gamed by the Executive.
Answer: Both parties in Congress want the border open — Republicans to feed cheap labor to their donors, Democrats to appease their race lobbies. There could of course be impeachment of federal officials like Mayorkas who are breaking our laws; but you won't be seeing any impeachment efforts out of the Uniparty.
Back to New York's mayor Eric Adams. As I said, he's in a bind. He's frustrated. What does a progressive black politician do when he's frustrated? He cries RACISM!
Last weekend Greg Abbott, the white Republican governor of Texas, announced that he would continue busing illegals to New York, Chicago, and Washington, D.C. Governor Abbott further announced that he would start busing illegals to Los Angeles and Denver, too.
Apprised of this, Mayor Adams on Monday issued a press release containing the following, quote:
Not only is this behavior morally bankrupt and devoid of any concern for the well-being of asylum seekers, but it is also impossible to ignore the fact that Abbott is now targeting five cities run by Black mayors. Put plainly, Abbott is using this crisis to hurt Black-run cities.
It's all about race, see? The white demons are trying to put down the black man!
"Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel," said Dr Johnson. In today's U.S.A., an accusation of Republican racism is the last refuge of a Democrat politician being shafted by his own party.
And this particular accusation doesn't hold water. Since the busing began last Spring Texas has sent 5,200 illegals to New York. The city of El Paso has separately and independently sent more than twice as many: 10,713. The mayor of El Paso, Oscar Leeser, is a Democrat and … white with, if I'm not mistaken, blue eyes.
Next Thursday, May 11th, the Title 42 covid rule ends and it's widely predicted that there'll be a mighty surge of illegals over the border. There are said to be forty thousand camped on the Mexican side, waiting.
So, Mister Mayor, if you think the white devils have been racistly making trouble for you, you ain't seen nothing yet.
03 — God save the King! Tomorrow — Saturday, May 6th — King Charles the Third of Great Britain and Northern Ireland will be crowned at Westminster Abbey. A grand spectacle has been planned.
At the last Coronation in 1953 I was actually a British subject, although a small one, so I engaged with the event enthusiastically, to the degree that I could. We had a street party; I got a Coronation Mug; I listened to the radio commentary.
We didn't have a TV. Only one family in our street had one. I think I may have gone over there to watch some of the broadcast, but I didn't stay long and it was of course only fuzzy black and white. I didn't get to see any coverage in color until the Pathé News special at the local cinema the following weekend.
Now I have a TV of my own, with high resolution full color. I guess I'll watch a few minutes of tomorrow's show, just for old times' sake, without much interest. I'm an American now, so no real reason to be interested. Probably Mrs Derbyshire, who likes spectacles of that sort, will be more engaged than me.
In any case the old country depresses me. Britain has gone downhill this past seventy years. The news from there is uniformly depressing. The place is being invaded from the South just as we are; and Britain's ruling class, like ours, couldn't care less. They don't much like their legacy citizens and will be happy to see them replaced.
Surely, though (you may say) the Royal Family count as legacy British, don't they? It depends who you ask. My father, born in the reign of Queen Victoria, called the Windsors, quote, "those bloody Germans," end quote; and H.G. Wells referred to Charles the Third's great-grandfather George the Fifth as, quote, "alien and uninspiring," end quote.
(Although to be fair to the monarchy, when the king heard about H.G. Wells' remark he countered with, quote: "I may be uninspiring, but I'll be damned if I'm an alien!" End quote.)
The point of a monarchy is to be a symbolic representation of the nation — of its national character, its unity. The U.K. no longer has any national character. It's just a cultural colony in the American Empire, eagerly lapping up all our stupid poisonous fads — multiculturalism, transgenderism, open borders — and amplifying them to show their loyalty to the imperial center.
As for unity: well, it's looking shaky. Northern Ireland has to go, either as an independent state or absorbed into the Irish Republic. That will probably inspire the Scots to cut loose. I doubt the Welsh have sufficient collective energy to pursue independence, but they may surprise me.
Before the middle of this century the U.K. will probably have disintegrated. Charles' son William will be King of England, or perhaps of England and Wales. Even that assumes the Windsor line won't be terminated for being shamefully, unacceptably white and cisgendered.
I'm just speculating idly. I knew England when she was England, that's all. That's all.
04 — Trust whose science? April 28th saw the publication of an academic paper titled "In Defense of Merit in Science." I'll read you the abstract, longish quote:
Merit is a central pillar of liberal epistemology, humanism, and democracy. The scientific enterprise, built on merit, has proven effective in generating scientific and technological advances, reducing suffering, narrowing social gaps, and improving the quality of life globally. This perspective documents the ongoing attempts to undermine the core principles of liberal epistemology and to replace merit with non-scientific, politically motivated criteria. We explain the philosophical origins of this conflict, document the intrusion of ideology into our scientific institutions, discuss the perils of abandoning merit, and offer an alternative, human-centered approach to address existing social inequalities.
The authors, in other words, are making a strong, long, reasoned statement against the degrading cult of DEI in science.
Who are these authors? There are 29 of them, almost all working scientists of one sort or another, including two Nobel Prize winners. I only recognized a handful of the names:
Obviously the paper is one whose spirit I whole-heartedly applaud. I should say, too, that for a production with 29 authors, it's surprisingly well-written. You can download the PDF from a link I'll direct you to in just a moment.
Considerably to my surprise the paper got a very positive write-up in the opinion pages of the May 4th New York Times from one of their staff journalists, a lady named Pamela Paul. Even more to my surprise, the reader comments on Ms Paul's column are mostly positive. In the New York Times! Perhaps things aren't as bad as I've feared.
And yet … well, let Ms Paul tell you. Quote:
Yet the paper was rejected by several prominent mainstream journals, including The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Another publication that passed on the paper, the authors report, described some of its conclusions as [inner quote] "downright hurtful" [end inner quote]. The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences took issue with the word "merit" in the title, writing that [inner quote] "the problem is that this concept of merit, as the authors surely know, has been widely and legitimately attacked as hollow as currently implemented" [end inner quote].
That's where you'll find the paper if you want to read it. Just search on the phrase "Journal of Controversial Ideas," click on "current issue," and Bob's your uncle.
Lee Jussim, one of the paper's authors, fired off some comment-thread fun at Twitter by suggesting possible titles for papers as controversial as "In Defense of Merit in Science." Samples:
In Defense of Not Drinking Battery Fluid
And so on. Feel free to add some Controversial Ideas of your own.
That response from the National Academy of Sciences, along with the utter degraded wokeness of once-serious popular outlets like Scientific American, remind us that there's a real battle still to be fought here, a battle for truth and objectivity against superstition, socially-forced posturing, and totalitarian suppression.
Still, it's heartening to know that there are working scientists willing to arm up and engage the enemy. All strength to them!
05 — Sympathy for a lost cause. A lost cause is a very sad thing. You could ask Bonnie Prince Charlie about that. He was, as readers of British History or fans of Radio Derb know, the last champion of the Jacobite cause, which perished for good on the bloody field of Culloden 277 years ago last month.
Within the large general category of lost causes there is a sub-category even sadder.
Eric Hoffer wrote that, quote: "What starts out here as a mass movement ends up as a racket, a cult, or a corporation." End quote. That, all the quote-checker sources tell us, is frequently mis-quoted as, misquote:
Every great cause begins as a movement, becomes a business, and eventually degenerates into a racket.
I actually prefer the misquote to the original; and the fact that you hear the misquote way more often than you hear the original quote suggests that mine is the majority preference.
So I'll take that misquote as my starting point here. Once again:
Every great cause begins as a movement, becomes a business, and eventually degenerates into a racket.
The deeper sadness within the ordinary sadness of all lost causes is the sadness of those who were enthused and inspirited by the original, genuine, great cause, who then live long enough to see it degenerate into a racket, but who can't face the fact that it has done so.
That came to mind earlier this week when I was the recipient, with many others, of an impassioned email from Sam. No, that's not the guy's real name. I don't want to give any personal offense here; and, as I'll explain, my sympathies are mainly with Sam.
So who is Sam? He's a black New Yorker, a veteran of the Civil Rights movement, which he's been engaged with for more than fifty years. He's still active in it; but the Civil Rights movement has followed the arc described by that Eric Hoffer misquote. Today it's just a racket. Al Sharpton? Please. Black Lives Matter? Oh, please.
I have some slight acquaintance with Sam. He and I both belong to a discussion group. The group meets for dinner in New York City once every few weeks, September to May. The members are mainly academic social scientists, with a sprinkling of legal and journalistic types. Over dinner one of the academics talks about some topic he's researching, or some paper he's just published.
Sam is an occasional participant. He adds some spice to what are, with no offense to anyone — look, you all know how I hate to give offense — not very exciting discussions.
Civil Rights for blacks is Sam's only topic. He's steeped in it — in, I mean, the original cause, the 1960s efforts to stamp out legal discrimination against blacks.
The Freedom Riders, March on Washington, Selma, Civil Rights Acts, the Fair Housing Act, … Sam can give you a detailed, passionate 45-minute account of any of those, and of anything else that happened when Civil Rights was a great cause.
Unfortunately he hasn't processed the fact that it all happened more than fifty years ago. I suppose he must be aware at some level that
… and so on.
Well, as I said, that came to mind earlier this week when I, along with many others, got an impassioned email from Sam. It was a plea on behalf of the Civil Rights group he is active in, a plea for funding. Edited sample quote:
We at the [name of group] are still battling those forces that deify skin color [inner quote] "differences" [end inner quote]. We are still fighting the good fight. But funding for our noble and righteous movement is just about shrunk to its lowest ebb. The explanation for that fund diminution can't be a lack of interest in our fight for racial equality and against racial fanaticism. We don't believe that stout-hearted Americans have given up on the Martin L. King, Jr. philosophy of integration …
End quote. There is way more than that: the body of the email is over a thousand words.
In the matter of our country's race issues I don't think Sam and I would agree about anything at all; and Sam's a guy who, when he disagrees, does so passionately and angrily.
For all that, my honest reaction after reading his email was sadness. He's not a bad guy. He just got stuck in the passions of his youth, as some people do — as perhaps most of us do to some much lesser degree.
The world has left Sam behind.
And so on. Yes, the hopes of sixty years ago were noble and righteous. I shared them. Unfortunately they were in some respects at odds with reality, and that never works out well.
What can be done has been done. By trying to do more, we have bent our society out of shape. What's required at this point is some un-doing.
06 — Miscellany. And now, our closing miscellany of brief items.
Imprimis: As bad as things may be in England, in the Republic of Ireland they are far worse. This week the Irish parliament passed a law making it illegal for citizens to view or share any non-mainstream media content on their phones and computer devices.
This is seriously totalitarian. You're not just breaking the law by communicating wrongthink, but even just by possessing it.
What counts as wrongthink? Quote: "material that is likely to incite violence or hatred against a person or a group of persons on account of their protected characteristics or any of those characteristics." End quote.
There is no presumption of innocence, either. Quote: "The person shall be presumed, until the contrary is proved, to have been in possession of the material," end quote.
Ireland is far gone into the pit, Britain not far behind. Please, citizens, don't let our beloved U.S.A. slide down into that same dark pit. Freedom of speech is the key!
Item: There have been a couple of postscripts to the Tucker Carlson saga.
First postscript. A 2021 text message from Carlson to one of his producers has emerged in which Carlson deplored a gang of white Trump supporters beating up on a solitary Antifa. "It's not how white men fight," texted Tucker.
As Steve Sailer posted, we all know what Carlson meant. We've all seen the many, many video clips on social media of blacks piling on to a solitary white victim; and we've all pondered the near-total absence of clips showing the converse thing.
It's a race difference, that's all, most likely rooted in behavioral genetics … which is a science, with a respectable journal — more respectable, possibly, than the Journal of Controversial Ideas.
Item: Second postscript. From the LA Times, May 3rd, quote:
Fox News Channel's prime-time viewership in its first week without Tucker Carlson dropped 29.6 percent from the previous week.
That's thirty percent, basically — one heck of a drop. It's not just for Tucker's 8 p.m. slot, either; it's across the board. It really looks as though Fox's viewers are punishing the channel. That first Tuckerless week Fox didn't have a single program in the top 10 for the week.
A Twitter user improbably called Tyler Carditis went through the Nielsen figures in detail. He found that in the in the all-important ages 25-54 audience demographic, Fox ratings dropped at 8 p.m. by 75 percent and in the other evening time slots — 6 and 7 p.m., 9, 10, and 11 p.m. — by 42, 62, 70, 66, and 49 percent. Ratings-wise, that's a bloodbath.
Are you weeping for Fox? Me neither.
07 — Signoff. That's it, listeners. Thank you for your time and attention. Please forgive me for omitting to note that Monday marked the first day of Asian Pacific Heritage Month. I would have prepared some Asian Pacific music for signout if I had remembered.
In lieu of that, here is a music clip inspired by a story I could not resist. I have taken it from Monday's issue of my daily New York Post.
The Post reported that on Friday the previous week, April 28th, during a performance of Tchaikovsky's 5th Symphony by the Los Angeles Philharmonic orchestra, a lady in the audience, up in the balcony of the Walt Disney Concert Hall, experienced a loud orgasm, heard all over the hall. The orchestra, to its credit, did not falter.
We have not been told precisely which part of the symphony excited the lady to climax, only that it was in the Second Movement.
I consulted with Radio Derb's musical advisor, Professor Johann Sebastian Knochenschnitzler of the University of Ulm. He said he thought it was most likely around the 24-minute mark in that Second Movement, so that's what I will sign off with this week.
Ladies please make sure you are seated comfortably. Seated … lying down … whatever works best for you …
There will be more from Radio Derb next week.
[Music clip: From Tchaikovsky's "5th Symphony, 2nd Movement."]