• Play the sound file
[Music clip: Haydn's Derbyshire March No. 2, organ version]
01 — Intro. And Radio Derb is on the air! Welcome, listeners, from your diligently and persistently genial host John Derbyshire.
I shall be passing comment on some stories from the news as usual; but much the biggest part of my podcast this week — the final two segments before my closing miscellany — concerns events happening next week. I shall get to that in due course. Bear with me, please.
02 — Blacks v. Wetbacks. Here's a phenomenon that's popped up in the news recently. I'm going to headline it as "Blacks v. Wetbacks."
News story: New York Post, July 23rd. Quote:
A group of "disorderly" migrants hurled objects at passersby in Manhattan before beating up two men who tried to intervene — pushing one of them through a glass door of an apartment building entrance on Sunday morning, according to police and witnesses.
Nasty stuff. The word "migrants" there refers to some of the illegal aliens who've been pouring into New York City in the tens of thousands these past few months. Further quote:
Law enforcement sources and witnesses said the suspects were migrants staying at a former jail that has been converted into a shelter for asylum seekers on Central Park North, near where the incident took place.
A former jail, right. Because, you know, New York City doesn't need jails any more since the hateful, racist practice of incarcerating people against their will has been discontinued. Further quote:
A 35-year-old man who came out of his apartment to confront the group was kicked and punched by the attackers, police said … A security guard who works at the former Lincoln Correctional Facility at 31 Central Park North said he saw the fight between migrants and what police called a "concerned citizen."
The victim there suffered some nasty lacerations. He's been hospitalized, though, and will recover.
This being mainstream media we are not of course told the races involved here, either perps or victims. The story does tell us, however, that the confrontation occurred in Harlem.
Harlem, right. So there is a high probability that the passersby who got objects thrown at them were majority black and the two guys who got beaten up by the wetbacks, likewise.
Here's another news report, this one from Politico, June 1st. Quote:
The painful effect of immigration on Black communities was laid to bare Wednesday during a heated debate by the Chicago City Council, which ultimately voted in favor of transferring $51 million in city funds to help migrants.
And here was Alderman Andre Vasquez, who I'd guess to be a quadroon or octoroon. Addressing the City Council, Alderman Vasquez, quote:
described the Black v. migrant tension as "crabs in a barrel." When one group gets ahead another pulls it back down.
Both these Alderpersons none the less voted with the majority to transfer $51 million in city funds to the wetbacks.
Of the total fifty Chicago Alderfolk the majority, as I said, voted for the payout to foreign scofflaws, and that included the two black Aldercritters I just introduced you to. Only thirteen voted against the payout: six white or Hispanic, seven black.
So there are some interesting racial dynamics developing here. White people may be too pussified to resist the incoming flood of Third Worlders. Blacks have more spine, but are still susceptible to the gravitational pull of anti-whitism. It'll be interesting to see how this plays out.
03 — Race v. Merit, an old story. And yes, I forgot to mention last week the 1.8- billion-dollar settlement that New York City has agreed to pay to blacks and Hispanics who failed the teacher-licensing exam from 1994 to 2014. They failed, the judgment says, because the exam was biased against black people and Hispanic people.
So the evil, poisonous, scientifically illiterate doctrine of Disparate Impact strikes again. Those white supremacist New York City test-preparers managed to phrase the questions on the Liberal Arts and Sciences Test for teacher certification eleven years running so that black and Hispanic test-takers wouldn't be able to give correct answers.
And the cost to New York City will be a lot more than the stated one point eight billion. For one thing, quote from the New York Post report, quote:
The case is expected to generate hundreds of other future million-dollar awards.
"Million"? "Million"? We don' want none of yo' dumb-ass "millions"; we want BILLIONS!
And they're going to get those extra billions. More from the New York Post report, quote:
But the cost to taxpayers is expected to be significantly higher because they'll also be footing the bill for many of the plaintiffs to collect pension checks based on time never worked after they reach retirement age, plus their health insurance.
The settlement is bad enough in itself, but even worse is the time this lawsuit has been rolling on: twenty-seven years. All right, it's not precisely the same lawsuit, nor the same defendant; but it is all in continuous line of descent from a lawsuit filed in 1996 by four teachers against the city's Board of Education.
Twenty-seven years of litigation: state courts, federal courts, appeal after appeal … There's probably another 1.8 billion dollars there in lawyers' fees and salaries of judges and court officers. This is the madness of our time.
And again, twenty-seven years: yes, it's been a long time. The main reason I couldn't work up any indignation about this for last week's podcast is sheer indignation fatigue.
I did a lo-o-ong piece — over 2,500 words long — for National Review Online back in 2009 about Ricci v. DeStefano. That was the case of the 20 firefighters suing the town of New Haven, Connecticut for throwing out the results of the 2003 town firefighters' test. The town threw out the test results because not enough blacks and Hispanics had passed.
Quote from me back then, writing fourteen years ago, edited quote:
There is nothing new here, of course. Given the history of this subject, the really surprising thing is that as late as 2003 a fire department was still giving formal examinations for promotions. New York City Police Department was fighting lawsuits over "discriminatory" test results thirty years ago. Police, fire, and other municipal departments all over the country have been similarly affected across an entire generation.
Again, that was written fourteen years ago.
And still the race denialism continues. Here's one from the Stamford Advocate, local newspaper for Stamford, Connecticut, March 18th this year. Quote:
Black students in Stamford are suspended at five times the rate of white students and more than double the rate of Hispanic students, according to data presented by the school district.
The actual numbers for suspension rates are given in percentages as: blacks 9.8, Hispanic 4.4, whites 1.8, Asians 1.2.
In other words, Rushton's Rule of Three, as proposed by the late J. P. Rushton thirty years ago. The rule states that a wide variety of behavioral and physical traits, when carefully quantified, show blacks at one end of the scale, Asians at the other, whites in between. Rushton didn't include Hispanics, but when you do they fall between blacks and whites.
And this thing from Stamford is a news story in 2023!
What would be a real news story after all these decades would be something that violated Rushton's Rule of Three for the traits Rushton measured, but … nothing ever does.
Indignation fatigue? Oh yeah. Will common sense ever make a comeback?
04 — The fences are coming down all over Europe. To American and European progressives, well-nigh all of European history happened between the rise of Benito Mussolini in 1922 and the death of Spain's Francisco Franco in 1975. No doubt stuff happened outside that half-century window, they'll say, but nothing worth thinking about.
That window of course included the twelve-year rule of Adolf Hitler in Germany, so progressives think of it as the Fascist Window.
To do so doesn't actually make much sense, as General Franco disliked fascism and only used fascists when he had no choice. Franco disliked pretty much everything about the 20th century — everything since the Council of Trent, in fact. He was a Roman Catholic reactionary patriot who loved the past; fascism was a modern phenomenon.
Progressives don't engage with that level of detail, though. They just want some stick figures to use for a Two Minutes Hate, where they can whip up their followers into a frenzy preparatory to telling them that some politician of today — Donald Trump, Viktor Orbán, Marine Le Pen — is a fascist just like those guys from eighty or ninety years ago.
That point of view has been showing through in coverage of recent political news from Europe. Much-too-long headline from Daily Mail Online, July 22nd, headline: Franco's ghost haunts Spain as the hard-Right makes a comeback: With the ruling socialists set to be humbled in tomorrow's election, how a new breed of young voter is turning back the clock. End headline.
As an example of the horrors in store under this resurgent Spanish fascism, the Mail tells us that the city of Valladolid in northern Spain will no longer be celebrating Pride Week. Can gas chambers be far away?
What a load of rubbish. I actually lived in Franco's Spain for 24 days in 1965, when Franco was still in charge. It was a happy, easy-going place, the people cheerful, hospitable, and modestly prosperous.
All right, 24 days isn't very long. I've been in seriously unhappy nations for similar lengths of time, though — Soviet-dominated Hungary and Romania, CIA-run (so far as I could tell) Laos. The difference was plain to the eye.
Similarly, Yahoo News was gasping on July 23rd that Germany's conservative-nationalist AfD Party has been making ground. Polls now show the party favored by 22 percent of voters. They'll be having a torchlight rally in Nuremberg any day now … or any night, I guess.
So what's actually going on here? Let me explain.
What's most worrying to progressives about Europe right now is that fences are breaking down, No, I don't mean national borders. These are internal political fences.
The politics of most European nations consist of:
That's the raw material of European politics. To actually form a government, the electoral systems of most European countries depend on coalitions. It has been the rule until recently that the (a) and (b) parties — democratic socialists and controlled opposition parties — would not go into coalition with the Far Right. The Far Right would be fenced off.
It's those those fences that are breaking down. In Italy, Giorgia Meloni's Brothers of Italy party is the senior party in a center-right coalition that currently holds power.
Similarly, in Sweden and Finland parties that progressives call Far Right and that were fenced off until recently are today members of coalition governments, although not yet the senior members.
Sir Edward Grey famously lamented in August 1914 that, quote: "The lamps are going out all over Europe." End quote.
Sir Edward's progressive counterpart in July 2023 might observe that the fences are coming down all over Europe. That's nothing to lament, though. Those fences existed to protect the entrenched parties of progressive, globalist administrative states. We should cheer their demolition.
05 — Our friend Calvin Coolidge. Next week is a very special week for American conservatives who believe in personal liberty, minimalist government, minding our own national business, and strict limits on immigration.
At 2:47 a.m. Eastern Standard Time on August 3rd, 2023 — early next Thursday morning — it will be precisely one hundred years since Calvin Coolidge was sworn in as President of the United States.
For insights into Coolidge's popularity amongst us of the aforementioned conservative outlook I shall hand you off to H.L. Mencken's obituary of the man. 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? There were no thrills while he reigned, but neither were there any headaches. He had no ideas, and he was not a nuisance.
End Mencken quote.
Commenting on that, a different writer added, quote:
Mencken was mostly right about Mr Coolidge: There were no thrills while he reigned because he attended diligently and persistently to the sometimes quiet but always necessary and indispensable tasks of the presidential office.
We here at VDARE.com are especially grateful to the thirtieth President for his having signed the 1924 Immigration Act. Here's a quote about that, quote:
The 1924 Immigration Act did indeed profoundly affect the demographic and political character of the nation, by creating — with some later assistance from Presidents F. D. Roosevelt, Truman, and Eisenhower — a forty-year immigration moratorium in which was forged the strongest, happiest, most prosperous, and most culturally vibrant nation the world has ever seen.
The person being quoted there is … me, in a review I posted here at VDARE.com ten years ago, a review of Amity Shlaes' biography of Coolidge.
Ms Shlaes, as I noted in my review, had very little to say — just over one page in 461 pages of narrative — about the 1924 Act. So far as I can judge from such slight engagement, she is compliant with the 21st-century progressive view of immigration: that it is an unqualified good, and that those who seek to restrict it are driven by prejudice, hate, spite, greed, and an excess of bile.
As I pointed out in my review, immigration restriction was hardly even controversial in 1924. The House of Representatives voted for the Bill to become an Act by 306-58, the Senate by 69-9.
Coolidge, as I also pointed out, was in any case not instrumental in writing or promoting the Bill; he'd only been President a few weeks when Congress started debating it.
Still, he signed the Bill with only some murmured reservations about the Japanese Exclusion clause. He didn't think the clause hateful, or supremacist, or morally objectionable in any way; he just thought it unnecessary.
So thanks to Calvin Coolidge for those forty-one years of limited, controlled immigration which brought our country so much good.
Now back to next week's festivities. Let me give them a segment of their own.
06 — The most romantic Inauguration. As I have told you, next week, in the small hours of Thursday morning, marks the centenary of Coolidge taking the Presidential oath of office.
The story of the swearing-in is one of the most romantic in American political history. Here's the background in very brief.
Coolidge, at that moment 51 years old — his birthday was July 4th — was Vice President of the U.S.A. under President Warren Harding.
This was the 1920s, remember. The office of Vice President was even less demanding of the occupant's time and effort than it is today. His main function was to take visiting dignitaries out to dinner, concerning which Coolidge himself commented in his famously brachylogical style: "Gotta eat somewhere."
In June 1923 President Harding left Washington, D.C. for a trip to the West Coast and Alaska. He was still out there when, later in June, Coolidge went to attend the Commencement ceremony at Amherst College in Massachusetts, of which he was an alumnus and also a Trustee. College politics kept him there until early July.
July 8th the Coolidges, Mr and Mrs, set out for Calvin's family home in the tiny hamlet of Plymouth Notch, Vermont, where Coolidge had been born.
His father, Colonel John Coolidge, then 78 years old, still lived in the homestead there. He had served in the Vermont state militia during the Civil War with rank of Captain, but never saw active service. The "Colonel" was an honorary title, like Colonel Sanders', awarded for services to the Governor. John Coolidge was a man of some standing locally, and a notary public.
Mr and Mrs Calvin Coolidge planned to spend a few weeks through July and August on vacation at Plymouth Notch, staying in the homestead with Coolidge Sr. and relaxing from the stresses of Washington, D.C.
President Harding, however, had been taken ill while in Alaska. Keeping up his speaking schedule, he rode down to San Francisco — by train, of course — but his condition deteriorated. On August 2nd around 7:30 p.m. local time he died, probably from a heart attack.
That would have been 10:30 p.m. Eastern time on the evening of August 2nd. It took a while for the news to reach Vermont by telegram and telephone. Even then it didn't get to the Coolidge's; Plymouth Notch had neither phones nor a cable office. The homestead didn't even have electricity.
However, Coolidge's chauffeur and stenographer were staying in a hotel at Bridgewater six miles away, and there was a posse of national newspaper reporters following the Vice President around, staying at Ludlow ten miles away. Both locations had telephone connections, so they all got the news, piled into automobiles, and headed for Plymouth Notch.
The chauffeur, Joseph McInerney, with some companions got to the homestead first, a few minutes into August 3rd. They hammered on the door, waking Colonel Coolidge. He heard their news then went upstairs to tell his son, who now of course was acting President of the United States. Calvin Coolidge washed, dressed, knelt to say a prayer, then headed downstairs.
The homestead was getting busy. The reporters from Ludlow had arrived, along with some other newspapermen. So had Vermont's Congressman, and the telephone company was rigging up a wire for communications with Washington. Coolidge dictated a statement for the press and his stenographer distributed it.
They got the telephone wire to D.C. working and Coolidge spoke to Charles Evans Hughes, the Secretary of State, who told him to take the oath of office A.S.A.P. How was it to be done, though?
I'll just read you the relevant passage from Chapter 14 of Claude Fuess' biography of Coolidge. Long quote:
Meanwhile, Colonel Coolidge, after some searching, had found a copy of the Constitution of the United States and had read Article II, Section I, Paragraph 8, which gives the wording of the oath or affirmation, but does not specify by whom it shall be administered. Finally, however, Coolidge reached a decision. "Father." he asked, "are you still a notary?" "Yes, Cal," was the reply. "Then I want you to administer the oath." Colonel Coolidge, who meanwhile had gone out to the kitchen to shave and put on a collar and tie, returned and stood erect with his back to the porch, facing his son across the marble-topped table, which had been cleared except for two oil lamps and the copy of the Bible which had belonged to Coolidge's mother. The Vice President stood directly beneath a framed picture of himself on the wall. Between them was Mrs Coolidge, and in the background were Dale [the congressman], Fountain [local newspaper editor], McInerney [the chauffeur] Crawford [a reporter], and L.I. Lane, a railway mailman who had accompanied Dale. Then Colonel Coolidge, adjusting his spectacles and clearing his throat, read the prescribed oath, "I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the office of the President of the United States and will, to the best of my ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States." Calvin Coolidge repeated the words in a firm voice, with his right hand raised, added, "So help me God!" and then, by the glow of the lamps, signed the oath in triplicate. The time was precisely 2:47 a.m. As he laid his pen aside, and his father affixed the seal, he raised his head and glanced at Mrs Coolidge, who still stood near by. Speaking no word, he nodded, and the two left the room. He was President of the United States.
Colonel Coolidge sat up all night after that; but President Calvin Coolidge went back to bed and, by his own testimony, resumed his night's asleep.
As I said: one of the most romantic stories in American political history. Coolidge was inaugurated as President by his father, a notary public, in his father's dining-room, by the light of two oil lamps, as his wife and sundry citizens looked on. Pure Americana.
Well, the Coolidge Foundation is holding Centennial Celebrations next week in, of course, Plymouth Notch, Vermont. There's a Gala Reception and Dinner in a tent on the Homestead grounds August 2nd, a re-enactment of the inauguration at, yes, 2:47 a.m. on August 3rd with a reprise at 2:47 p.m., and various other events through the week.
It looks like fun and the Derbs will be there. I shall give a report in next week's podcast.
In the meantime, if you want to read what I've said about Calvin Coolidge in the past, I refer you to:
07 — Miscellany. And now, our closing miscellany of brief items. Just three this week; I got carried away there with dear old Calvin Coolidge, my political hero.
Imprimis: I've been telling you about the inversion of values. What was once shameful, wrong, and even illegal is today encouraged, good, and even celebrated. And then what was once praiseworthy, morally approved, and lawful is today shameful, bad, and even criminal.
It may also lose you your job.
A 68-year-old white lady named Donna Hansbrough was employed at a Lowe's hardware megastore in Rincon, Georgia. She'd been working there for 13 years.
Then one day she saw three young blacks, a female and two males, loading up a shopping cart with goods and then leave without stopping to pay.
Lowe's, like everywhere else today, has a policy against employees confronting shoplifters. Ms Hansbrough knew that, but, as she tells it, quote:
I just got tired of seeing things get out the door. I just, I lost it. I basically lost all the training. Everything they tell you to do, I just … I just lost it.
She ran over and grabbed the cart. The female thief socked her in the face three times.
Now Ms Hansbrough's out of a job. Lowe's fired her. She has a black eye and is out of a job, aged 68. In the U.S.A. today.
Still, given the races of the parties involved here, Ms Hansbrough should count herself lucky she didn't get hit with a federal Hate Crime charge.
Item: Are you tired of hearing about statues and monuments being pulled down? Don't despair: there are new ones going up to replace them.
Here's one, sort of: a monument to Emmett Till, announced Tuesday this week by President Biden at a special ceremony.
I'm sure I don't need to tell you who Emmett Till was. If you read any news outlets at all, you by now know Emmett Till's life story better than you know your own.
There is already a statue to Till: nine feet tall and made of bronze, unveiled last October in Greenwood, Mississippi.
So what is this new monument? It's not a statue: it's three little memorial parks, total five acres, in three separate sites that mark critical points in the Till story. Think Stations of the Cross. The sites will be managed by the National Park Service.
Item: If that didn't leave you sufficiently depressed, here's another story along the same miserable lines.
Ahmaud Arbery was the young black guy who died after trying to grab a shotgun from a white guy who was trying to conduct a perfectly legal citizen's arrest on him in Brunswick, Georgia two years ago.
That guy and his two companions — both also white, and neither of whom did anything to Arbery — are now serving multiple life sentences after the usual series of double-jeopardy-loaded fake trials and whipped-up media frenzy.
Writing about the Brunswick Three here at VDARE.com, I have called their arrest and conviction, quote, "a monstrous miscarriage of justice," end quote; and also, quote, "the most appalling anti-white horror of recent years," end quote. I haven't heard or read anything to change my mind.
I don't know whether a statue of Arbery has been erected anywhere and I'd rather not know, so please don't tell me if there's one gracing your local town square.
There is, though, now an Ahmaud Arbery Day, at any rate in Georgia, by resolution of the state legislature. It's February 23rd. The resolution also encourages members of the community to run 2.23 miles on that day to advocate for racial equality.
Hoo-kay. State Representative Sandra Scott introduced the resolution. Checking her pictures, I'd pay money to see her run 2.23 miles.
08 — Signoff. That's it, ladies and gents. Or as my old Dad used to say: "That's what the cobbler threw at his wife." The last, you see? My Dad actually owned a cobbler's last, and I still have it — there's a picture of it on my website. I'm glad to say he never threw it at my mother, though.
With the Coolidge centenary in mind my first idea for signoff music was to give you a pop-music hit from 1923. When I looked up the top fifty for that year, though, none of them really fired my enthusiasm.
Then, as I was dithering, I remembered that early-1960s TV show The Roaring Twenties. It featured Dorothy Provine, every English schoolboy's dream of what an American woman should be.
Dorothy sang the songs of the Twenties with full vigor, and much better sound reproduction that you get when pulling up the originals. One of her performances, I remembered, mentioned Calvin Coolidge by name, and actually quoted him, along with Napoleon, George Washington, and Patrick Henry.
All right, it's a deeply silly song; and all right, it came out in 1927, not 1923. With Coolidge in it, though, how could I pass it up? The Coolidge quote is at one minute, two seconds into this clip.
There will be more from Radio Derb next week.
[Music clip: Dorothy Provine, "Crazy Words, Crazy Tune."]