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[Music clip: Haydn's Derbyshire March No. 2, piano version]
01 — Intro. And Radio Derb is on the air! That was of course Haydn's Derbyshire March No. 2 and this is your predictably genial host John Derbyshire casting my eye over the week's events.
Events, and also anniversaries — I have a few of those in mind. I'll get to that in due course. First, though, a few words about next month's conference at the VDARE Castle.
02 — Our summer conference. Yes, our summer conference at the castle in Berkeley Springs opens three weeks from today, June 16th. We are all excited about it, anticipating three days of debate, fellowship, and fun.
Also defiance. I noted back in January the lawfare we're engaged in with New York State Attorney General Letitia James, a dogged and ruthless Social Justice Warrior. The other day our boss here, Peter Brimelow, described in much greater detail what we are going through.
It makes for painful reading, not just for those of us writing and podcasting here at VDARE, but — surely! — for anyone who cares about the liberty of American citizens and the degradation, the cynical politicization, of our justice system.
It's a bitter fight; and, as Peter explains, one that's taking a toll on us. There's the time we have to spend complying with A-G James' preposterous subpoenas, the money we have to spend on legal fees, and the opportunity cost for projects we've had to abandon or postpone.
If you haven't yet signed up for the conference, I urge you to do so. Not only will you be mingling and dining with a host of people who feel the same way you do about uncontrolled mass immigration, the corruption of our constitutional order, and the cultural revolution assaulting our values, you will also be in the unique and fascinating environment of the castle — an adventure all by itself.
And I should mention the town of Berkeley Springs itself, a place of much charm and not a little history. The teenage George Washington took baths here. If you want to brush up on the town before coming, I suggest the Berkeley Springs book in the "Images of America" series out of Arcadia Publishing.
Steve Sailer, who's been an inspiration to the Dissident Right for nigh on a quarter of a century now, will be making one of his extremely rare public appearances.
In the highly probable event that you have never met Steve I can report that he is as well-informed and engaging in person as he is in print, and sociable and witty too. I speak from experience: Steve once spent the night sleeping on a camp bed in the Derbyshire family attic.
I shall be speaking myself, speech title something like: "Are We Doomed? Reflections on Our Cultural Revolution." I shall take as the starting point my 2009 book We Are Doomed, returning to some of the topics I covered there — including of course immigration — to see which direction things have moved in this past fourteen years.
This long after publication the publisher will no longer supply me with author copies at discount, and I have none left in my stock. You can still buy the paperback online, though. If you do, and bring it with you, I'll be happy to sign it for you.
For outfits like VDARE to which the regime is hostile, the hazard of holding a conference is that regime-supporting Red Guards will infiltrate the event and try to make trouble, shrieking and flinging poop around at our sessions.
As part of our strategy for avoiding such unpleasantness we want to have some acquaintance with you before signing you up for attendance. Just email Lydia Brimelow at "firstname.lastname@example.org" for details.
03 — What's driving Open Borders? I mentioned immigration just then. That reminds me to say something about a topic which doesn't get discussed half as much as, in my opinion, it should.
The topic is: what is driving the open borders movement?
There are several candidate explanations.
Each of these candidate explanations can easily be countered. We've done plenty of that here at VDARE.com. I've done some of it myself.
The Humanitarian case, which is the one most favored and steadily broadcast by regime media, crashes up against Lifeboat Ethics.
The demographic argument falls flat on its face when you notice that immigrant fertility quickly drops to the native level. Since 2019 immigrant fertility (legal and illegal together) has been below the replacement level of 2.1 children per woman. So the demographic argument is for a Ponzi scheme.
Likewise with the others. You can browse VDARE.com and other immigration-restrictionist websites like NumbersUSA, the Center for Immigration Studies, and the Federation for Immigration Reform for informed refutations of happy-sounding immigration boosterism.
Contemplating the issue myself, I have taken my cue from Napoleon, who famously wrote that, quote. "The moral is to the physical as three to one," end quote.
Boney was writing about war, but I think the same applies in politics. Great movements in politics are driven by moral fervor, not by economic or social considerations. The open-borders people are conducting a campaign of passionate, unrestrained virtue signaling. We who oppose them are, they believe, evil.
That's the position I've always ended up at … until the other day I read Neil Munro's piece at Breitbart.com.
Munro's reporting on a presentation to the American Enterprise Institute given May 15th by Katie Tobin, the administration's Senior Director for Transborder Security on the National Security Council.
Ms Tobin went full-bore on what I have called "Honest economic boosterism" with just a dash of moralizing. Sample quotes:
As our economy grows, we need workers that we just don't have enough of. So it is in our interest to bring people in and to stay competitive globally …
Munro trashes some of her arguments himself, and pulls in Mark Krikorian from the Center for Immigration Studies to trash the rest. It's not difficult; any of us here at VDARE can do it while mentally factorizing a twenty-digit number.
Don't they know these counter-arguments? Or do they know them but not care as the economic argument is good cover for what they're really aiming for: the New Feudalism, or victory in the Cold Civil War against their own citizens.
I don't know, but my inclination is to believe the worst. Read Neil Munro's coverage for yourself. It's at Breitbart, posted May 21st, title: "White House Official: Biden's Migration is an Economic Strategy."
04 — A week of anniversaries. Anniversaries, yes. This week saw a handful I'd like to note.
Tomorrow, May 27th, God willing, Henry Kissinger will attain his one-hundredth birthday. Congratulations, Sir!
I have encountered Dr Kissinger in person only twice. Of the two encounters, the one I cherish more was when he was guest speaker at my gents' dinner club in Manhattan back in the 2000s.
In the discussions period after he spoke I ventured some observations of my own about Chinese politics. Dr K listened attentively to this poor scribbler; then, when I was through, complimented me on my insights which, he said, agreed with his own. I have been basking in the warm recollection of those generous words ever since.
My other Kissinger encounter was at Bill Buckley's eightieth birthday bash in 2005. Mrs Derbyshire was with me. She wondered if she could have a picture taken with the good doctor to send to her friends in China, where Kissinger is well known and highly regarded. I asked him, he agreed, and there is the picture in our album.
[Added when archiving: Yes, my lady regrets that experiment with hair styling.]
I wish Dr Kissinger a very happy birthday and urge him to observe the words of another guy who made it to the hundred mark, the late George Burns. Asked by Johnny Carson if he had advice for anyone else approaching his centenary, Mr Burns offered: "Don't buy green bananas!"
And then Thursday this week, May 25th, was the third anniversary of the death of Minneapolis junkie George Floyd. Mr Floyd died from a fentanyl overdose while under restraint by a police officer half his weight.
Floyd's death was strikingly similar to that of Tony Timpa in Dallas, Texas, four years previously. However, while Floyd has been elevated to sainthood in our peculiar national religion, only seventeen Americans have ever heard of Tony Timpa. Funny how that works.
The arresting officers in Floyd's case were judicially lynched to well-nigh universal approval; those who arrested Timpa were, last time I checked, still on active duty. Equal justice under the law? It is to laugh.
What else? Well, Wednesday, May 24th, was Bob Dylan's 82nd birthday. Happy birthday, Sir, and thanks for some lovely songs. Also for the opportunity to air once again one of my favorite trivial factlets: Only one other person besides Dylan has been awarded both the Nobel Prize and an Oscar. Who was that person?
May 24th marks yet another anniversary, but this one just personal. I'll cover it in my May Diary next week, unless I forget.
So much for anniversaries of past events. Now let's peer into the future.
05 — DeSantis declares. To nobody's surprise, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis declared that he'll campaign to be the Republican Party candidate in next year's presidential election. I watched his interview with Trey Gowdy Wednesday evening.
When weighing up a guy who's asking for my vote, I have a number of things in mind. (A guy or a gal, of course; I'm a Margaret Thatcher voter from way back. The male embraces the female.)
So what do I have in mind? Working from the front of my mind through to the back, here are the four big things I look for in a candidate.
From what I know so far I'll score DeSantis acceptable on all four.
On Point One, I agree with him more often than not.
There are things I wish he'd talk about but doesn't — birthright citizenship, for example. On immigration in general, as Governor of Florida he has a Cuban issue to finesse. I'll cut him slack on that and hope that in national office he'd paint on a broader canvas.
And of course there are things he's done from obvious political expediency that have made me wince, like signing that Florida State anti-antisemitism bill while on an official visit to Israel last month.
Since the Constitution doesn't allow me to run for president myself, though, I have to put up with these minor disappointments in candidates and take what I can get.
On Point Two, the ability to work the machine, to get things done, his record is impressive. This is where he really stands head and shoulders above Donald Trump.
If we end up with Trump as the GOP presidential candidate I'll grit my teeth and vote for him. Trump's right about many things I think are important, and he's hated by all the people I hate. At getting his way, though, he's hopeless, easily rolled by the Washington, D.C. lifers.
We saw that in all its grisly reality five years ago, in those televised sessions with legislators at the White House where, quote from myself, "[Trump] agreed enthusiastically with the last person who spoke, even when that person had said the opposite thing to what the previous person had said," end quote.
On Point Three, DeSantis spoke in an intelligent and well-informed way on Wednesday. Possibly he has committed gibberish on some other occasion I'm not aware of; I'll take instruction from listeners more attentive than I am to retail politics. From what I have seen, yes: DeSantis is a smart person who's thought things through.
Point Four is the one furthest from the front of my mind. If a candidate scores well on Points One to Three, I'm willing to tolerate some low-level hanky-panky. We're talking politics here, not the College of Cardinals.
In any case I don't know of any marks against DeSantis on the honesty score. Of course a really skilled psychopath might be able to present himself as a normal guy; that's how confidence men work.
You can never be utterly certain, not when you only know someone through his media presence. I seriously doubt DeSantis is a psychopath, though; his life history all argues against it.
I am in company with those who believe our ruling class will keep Donald Trump in play — which is to say, not yet lynched — through the GOP primaries because they think he'll be easier to beat in the general.
If we are right, those primaries will be quite a circus. I hope Ron DeSantis can stay on the high wire and work the trapeze.
06 — NAACP travel advisory. The Social Justice Warriors are already arming and mobilizing against DeSantis.
Last Saturday, for example, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People issued a formal travel advisory to people who take the NAACP seriously — I suppose there must be some people who do. Quotes from that advisory:
Florida is openly hostile toward African Americans, people of color and LGBTQ+ individuals … Before traveling to Florida, please understand that the state of Florida devalues and marginalizes the contributions of, and the challenges faced by African Americans and other communities of color.
That is all in reaction to executive and legislative initiatives Governor DeSantis has taken on issues of race and sex: blocking AP African American Studies in Florida public schools, banning the state's public colleges from spending money on DEI programs, and so on.
In other words, DeSantis doesn't think Florida taxpayers should be funding wokery, sexual confusion, and academic pseudo-disciplines. If you want to study those things, fine, but don't ask normal people to pay for them.
If the NAACP advisory does have any effect, I should think the state's beach communities will be grateful. Florida's beaches are of course a favorite destination for college students on Spring Break. It is by no means unusual for the beach scene to turn nasty.
Samples, from an Associated Press report on Miami's South Beach in March 2021, quotes:
With more than 1,000 arrests and nearly 100 gun seizures already during this year's spring break season, officials are thinking it may finally be time to cleanse the hip neighborhood of its law-breaking, party-all-night vibe.
From the news pictures that accompany stories like that it looks as though the fighting, property destruction, and stampedes mostly involve … colored people, as in "National Association for the Advancement of." The news agencies may of course be suppressing pictures that show white supremacists engaging in Spring Break riots, but … I doubt it.
07 — Miscellany. And now, our closing miscellany of brief items.
Imprimis: The climate change cultists are getting to be serious nuisances; nuisances and also vandals, going into public art galleries and gluing themselves to paintings, and so on.
Their latest stunt, last weekend, was to wade into the pool of Rome's Trevi Fountain and pour black dye into the water, permanently staining the white stone structure. This will apparently forestall climate change somehow.
Back in 2005 the Derbs — Dad, Mom, and kids — took a quick tour of Europe. We visited the Trevi Fountain and marveled at its beauty. We also visited the Barcaccia Fountain and the room overlooking it where the poet John Keats died.
[Added when archiving: No photographs of either location survive in my family album, but here are Mom and the kids in the Forum.]
Happy memories of places loaded with beauty and melancholy.
I'm an easy-going and peaceful kind of guy, but I'm now close to the point where I'll favor capital punishment for these climate change vandals.
Item: This week's white-supremacist outrage was committed by 19-year-old Sai Varshith Kandula, who rammed a rented truck into one of the White House security barriers.
News pictures of the scene all featured a Nazi flag — black swastika on a white and red background — carefully laid out on the ground next to the crashed truck. Yeah, right …
Item: I'm sorry to say I smiled at this one.
The New York Times Magazine issues a subscriber-only newsletter called The Ethicist, a sort of advice column on manners and morals.
Last Friday The Ethicist featured a complaint from a lady whose husband always flies first class, leaving her and the kids in coach. Quote:
My husband loves to travel and always either pays for, or gets an upgrade into, the first-class cabin. When we travel together with our children, he buys himself a ticket in first class and puts us in economy or economy plus. He even did this recently on an overnight flight to Paris. He justifies flying alone in first class because of the cost, and the fact that our kids (12 and 16) might feel alone if I were to travel in first with him and leave them in the rear cabin. I feel that this is unfair.
I think that's a lousy way to treat your family and I'd never do it myself. I confess I did smile, though, just because this guy is so majestically, audaciously indifferent to the mood of our times. I mean, talk about toxic masculinity!
08 — Signoff. That's all, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you for your time and trouble, for your emails and donations. I wish you all a relaxed and cheerful weekend.
Next Monday is of course Memorial Day, when we remember those who died in service to our country. I shall be observing it along with all other patriotic Americans. Secondarily to that, however, and with of course no disrespect intended towards our heroes, I'll be recalling it also as Whit Monday.
In the England of my childhood we set aside November 11th, Remembrance Day, to commemorate those who died in our wars. We didn't have anything equivalent to Veterans Day, commemorating all who served; or if we did, it was so low-key it never registered on my juvenile consciousness.
We did have a big holiday between mid-May and mid-June, though, corresponding roughly to Memorial Day in time but of religious, not patriotic origin. That was Whitsun.
Whit Sunday is the seventh Sunday after Easter on the Christian calendar. The following day, Whit Monday, was a public holiday in mid-20th-century Britain. Perhaps it still is; or perhaps it's been replaced by LGBTQIA2S++ Pride Day or some such … I'd prefer not to know.
That whole week — Whitsuntide — had a merry spirit to it, I think mainly because Whit Monday was the first public holiday of the year when there was a chance of good weather. People took the whole week off work if they could.
And it was a favorite time to get married. There was that holiday spirit, and the chance of a honeymoon in good weather — how many more reasons do you need?
I can't recall any Whitsun music, although there surely is some. In lieu of music, here is a very lovely poem from early 1960s England: The Whitsun Weddings by Philip Larkin. The reader here is the late Richard Griffiths, a British actor best known to today's audiences for his movie roles as Harry Potter's uncle.
The reading is rather long — four and a half minutes — but well worth your time if you love poetry.
There will be more from Radio Derb at the close of Whitsuntide.
[Music clip: Richard Griffiths reading Philip Larkin's poem The Whitsun Weddings.]