»  Radio Derb — Transcript

        Friday, January 26th, 2024

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[Music clip: Haydn's Derbyshire March No. 2, harpsichord'n'kazoo version]

01 — Intro.     And Radio Derb is on the air! Welcome, listeners, from your valiantly genial host John Derbyshire with cheerfully vituperative commentary on the week's news.

A couple of production notes. One: I have a new sound system for recording the podcast, and I haven't yet totally got used to it. So if you detect something unusual about the sound here, that's the reason. Practice makes perfect, and after a couple more weeks I shall have mastered the details and be speaking to you in my usual clear, confident tones.

And two, not unrelated: I have been plagued with computer problems the last couple of days. That has robbed me of some of the time I normally put into podcast production, so this week's Radio Derb may be a tad shorter than usual.

Thus prepared. let's dive into the week's events.

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02 — Illegal bad, legal good!     Governor Greg Abbott of Texas has been in the headlines.

Even before those headlines, Abbott has become something of a hero to immigration patriots this past three years. Under his Operation Lone Star, Texas state troopers have been arresting illegal border crossers, Texas National Guard troops have been setting up razor wire along the banks of the Rio Grande, state game wardens are patrolling the river in motor-boats, and busloads of illegals have been shipped to the smug sanctuary cities of the north.

That of course has all been vexing to the federal authorities in Washington, D.C., who want our southern border as open as possible but for the invaders to stay down South out of sight. (In a rather creepy echo of those Northern abolitionists who, following Emancipation, wanted the black slaves freed but … to stay down South out of sight.)

They particularly dislike the razor wire because illegals might hurt themselves getting over it.

Last year the federal Border Patrol cut through some of the wire to make passage easier for the invaders. In October Texas' state Attorney General sued the feds for unlawfully destroying state property and interfering with the state's efforts to block illegal border crossers.

The feds appealed; the appeals court prohibited the administration from cutting the wire while the Supreme Court considered the case; Monday this week the Supremes ruled 5-4 for the feds. They can now resume cutting the wire, although nothing in the case prevents Texas from just replacing it.

The four dissenters there were Justices Thomas, Alito, Gorsuch, and Kavanaugh. Roberts and Coney Barrett joined the court's three hefty ladies for a majority … Wait, what did I just say? "Hefty"? Sorry! Sorry! I meant of course lefty ladies.

I confess I was looking forward to reading what Justice Sotomayor had to say. She can usually be depended on for something hilariously stupid in her written opinions. I did not know that when the Supremes act on emergency applications like this one, they don't have to give reasons. Disappointed!

Governor Greg Abbott, after hearing the Supremes' Monday decision, has adopted a fighting stance. Wednesday he issued what he described as a, quote, "Statement on Texas' Constitutional Right to Self-Defense," end quote, asserting his state's right under the U.S. Constitution to protect itself.

At week's end he is still defiant, while Homeland Security is demanding access to the wired areas.

A possible escalation being aired is that Washington might put the Texas National Guard under federal control, as Eisenhower did with Arkansas in 1957 over school desegregation. This could go off in all kinds of interesting directions.

So Governor Greg Abbott of Texas is a hero to us immigration patriots this week, right? Eh, not altogether.

The Governor hasn't actually been in his state while these potentially momentous developments were under way. Where's he been? In India.

Starting last Friday, the 19th, returning this Sunday, the 28th, Abbott has been on an Economic Development Mission to that country under the auspices of the Governor's Economic Development & Tourism Office and the Texas Economic Development Corporation.

What's wrong with that? Isn't it part of a state governor's job to encourage economic development, including joint ventures with foreign firms?

It certainly is. When doing so, however, the interests of American workers should be at the front of his mind.

Those interests were not at the front of Governor Abbott's mind on Wednesday when he had a jolly meeting with representatives of NASSCOM, an Indian information-technology lobby that has been energetic in pushing for more American guest-worker visas for Indian tech workers.

With illegal border-jumpers dominating the immigration news, we are forgetting the serious issues we have with legal immigration. India is prominent in those issues. Our tech industry of course prefers cheap foreign labor to pricier Americans; India is to the fore in supplying that labor with big, rich, and relentless lobbies ever pushing for more of those guest-worker visas.

A standard midwit line on immigration is: "I have nothing against legal immigration, of course; but illegal immigration? I'm against that. After all, it's illegal, isn't it?"

There is of course a point there: a point which, as a person who has been, at different times, both a legal and an illegal immigrant, I certainly applaud.

However, while legal immigration is indeed preferable to the illegal variety, the wanton abuses of our legal immigration system typified by those proliferating H-1B visas needs correcting.

Here's a random quote from a report posted June last year at the Institute for Sound Public Policy, quote:

The H-1B and other employment visas have, for decades, destroyed U.S. tech workers' careers and created turmoil in their personal lives. Skilled, experienced long-time employees have been dismissed from Disney, Southern California Edison and dozens of other companies. Major tech employers Google, Microsoft, Dell and myriad others have been especially ruthless. After being fired, the displaced Americans are forced to suffer the indignity of training their replacements. Jobless and without their middle-class incomes, unemployed Americans struggle to make mortgage, car and tuition payments, and meet other obligations. The lucky H-1B workers receive lawful permanent residency and eventual citizenship — a raw deal for the unfortunate American job discrimination and bias victims.

End quote.

India is by far the biggest player in these legal-immigration outrages. Governor Abbott should have stayed home this week and minded his border.

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03 — How many Indians?     The lobbying of those Indian tech-placement firms has been so successful that there are now, I am told, IT departments in American companies with a majority of Indian employees. At the executive level, we here at VDARE.com have for a couple of years now been posting on the Indian CEO virus.

And just a brief personal note on those IT departments: I spent thirty years working in them, as an employee or as an independent contractor. I know those places and the work that's done in them. It's not hard. Those guest-worker visas are not bringing in Claude Shannons and John von Neumanns. They are bringing in John Derbyshires … er, at best.

I am now going to ask what Sir Winston Churchill would have called a naughty question. Before asking it, though, permit me to put down a marker about diversity, which I think is a jolly good thing.

My inspiration here is Noah Carl, posting at Aporia magazine, January 17th, quote:

When it comes to nation states, "diversity is our strength" doesn't really hold water. Or to put it less diplomatically, it's sentimental tripe. But is there a context in which the slogan might have more veracity? Yes there is: the whole world. The more unique cultures, nations and races we have on planet earth, the better.

End quote.

I completely agree. Taking the world as a whole, the more human diversity it holds, the better. Diversity adds interest, opportunities for adventure, intellectual challenges, … and that's not even to mention different cuisines.

From the point of view of a working-class English lad, for example, China is separated from the society he knows by a considerable diversity gap. I've been fascinated by the place since my college days; got two books out of it and, um, a wife.

So yeah for global diversity! It's not improper to ask, though, how much diversity one single country can tolerate within itself. As Noah Carl describes at length in his article, too much human diversity in one nation can be a negative.

Americans of all peoples don't need to be told this. We, a big population of white Europeans sharing the land with a smaller, but still big population of black Africans, are reminded of it daily.

So here is my naughty question: How many Indians should we admit for settlement?

There is almost no upper limit to the answer that might be given. India has a lot of Indians. At some point very recently — around the end of last year, I think — India's population became bigger than China's, at just over 1.4 billion. And that's with a higher fertility rate: 2.07 children per woman versus China's advertised 1.45, which experts believe is an over-statement.

You can broaden the scope here slightly, and not impermissibly, by bringing in other South Asian nations somewhat aligned culturally with India: Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan, even the Maldives if you like. Population total then: 1.87 billion. If you do the same for China, adding in Taiwan and Singapore, you get something like 1.44 billion; so that South Asia is thirty percent more populous than the Greater China Co-Prosperity Sphere.

So: a mighty lot of Indians, and even more South Asians.

And that naughty question again: How many should we admit for settlement?

There are negatives to be considered, most obviously Hindu-Moslem antagonism and the caste system.

Less obviously, but increasingly noticeable, there is what you might call "political capture." Glance across the Pond to the British Isles. British?

British Isles settlers of South Asian or part-South Asian parentage seem not to have found Wales a subject of political interest yet, but perhaps it is just a matter of time. Or perhaps they find the language too difficult.

Meanwhile, we Americans have just been obsessing over General Election primaries featuring personalities named Vivek Ramaswamy and Nikki Haley, née Nimarata Randhawa.

South Asians seem to be rather good at the Anglo-American style of politics.

So one more time, my naughty question: How many Indians should we admit for settlement, from a nation whose population is currently 4.2 times ours? Are we permitted to ask?

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04 — Does the regime have a plan?     In last week's podcast I vented thus, concerning Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, quoting myself, quote:

It's hard to believe that we shall be looking at a Biden-Harris ticket this Fall. I mean, really? A nation of a third of a billion people, and this is the best we can bring forward? …

Are the Democrats really going to run these two fifth-raters again? I don't believe it. The regime has some kind of plan. Surely, surely …

End quote.

There have been rumors — I wouldn't put it any higher than that; if there is any actual evidence, I haven't yet seen it — there have been rumors that, yes, our ruling class does indeed have a plan. One of those rumors in particular caught my eye over my breakfast oatmeal on Tuesday.

Pride is of course a sin; so any time I feel pride warming in my breast over the approaching twentieth anniversary of this podcast, I remind myself of opinionators whose careers have been far longer and more remunerative than mine. Here's one of them: gossip columnist Cindy Adams.

I'm not sure how well Cindy Adams is known outside New York. She is a quintessential Manhattanite, born and raised on the Upper West Side and still living there today, in a nine-room Park Avenue penthouse by Central Park.

She will be 94 years old in April — God bless her! — and in that long life has met everyone — showbiz, politics, business — and written about them all, in some cases at book length. Her gossip column in the New York Post, my daily newspaper, has been running since 1979. So much for my piffling twenty years of podcasting!

Well, there I was Tuesday morning slurping down my oatmeal (with raisins, a banana, and a splash of milk) while perusing my morning New York Post; and there was Cindy on page 18 with an arresting opening paragraph, quote:

Obama's wife is scratching to maybe be our next president. Her husband's helping. Pay attention.

End quote. Oh, I'm paying attention, Cindy.

(So was Jesse Watters over at Fox News. This same column caught his eye and he quoted from it on his Thursday evening broadcast. And I should note the annoying fact, which always brings in a couple of correcting emails, that the date given online for an article in the Post is the date it was written, in this case Monday. It landed on my doorstep the following morning, Tuesday. Formatting differs, too: that opening paragraph is two paragraphs online. Hold the emails!)

Quoting what she calls "credible sources few have access to" — words not to be taken lightly coming from Cindy — she tells us that Barack Obama has been polling donors on his wife's behalf.

The plan, she has heard, is that Joe Biden will announce he's not running after all. He'll delay the announcement to minimize the lame-duck spell that will follow.

How much he'll delay it, Cindy is unclear: he'll announce either in May or else just before the convention in mid-August. The convention will then have to nominate someone else, and the regime is maneuvering for Michelle Obama to be that someone.

It's plausible enough, even discounting for Cindy Adams' gossipy uncertainties and lame humor. (" I think in all fairness I should give the other side its say. So to quote rumors out of the White House, drums are beating that Joe Biden's campaign is finally heating up. Of course, it could be because he's carrying a hibachi in his shorts.")

The default assumption in the punditocracy is currently that voters in November will be invited to choose beteen Joe Biden and Donald Trump. What are the odds that will actually be the case? Less than fifty-fifty, would be my guess.

Biden can be set aside easily and honorably by some such plan as Cindy Adams has heard whispered. Trump may yet be derailed by concentrated lawfare with a big assist from the regime media; or the elites may prefer to keep him on the ticket in the confidence that any candidate other than Biden, even one as inexperienced and dimwitted as Mrs Obama, will defeat him.

Biden-Trump? Michelle-Trump? Michelle-Nikki? We'll find out.

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05 — Bye-bye legacy conservatism.     Twenty twenty-four is an election year in Britain as well as in the U.S.A.  That's worth a few minutes reflection, just on my pet hypothesis that British and American politics proceed approximately in sync.

We don't know exactly when Britain's election will take place. Constitutionally, it has to be at some date before January 2025; but it is for the ruling party, currently Rishi Sunak's Conservative Party, to decide when. Popular guesses are May or October.

Whenever it happens, prospects don't look good for that ruling party. The latest poll I have seen show them as favored by only twenty percent of the electorate. The opposition Labour Party under Sir Keir Starmer polls at forty-seven percent. Forty-seven against twenty is a heck of a gap.

Sir Keir Starmer isn't much regarded as a knight in shining armor, either. He was describing himself unblushingly as a socialist as recently as 2020. He's terrifically "green," devoted to the Climate Change cult, and apparently committed to removing coal and oil from Britain's electricity generation by 2030.

His only noteworthy proposals for dealing with the legions of Third World invaders pouring across the English Channel from France were announced last September. They pleased nobody: too stern for the bleeding-heart left of his party, too ineffectual for Conservative voters.

It looks like a landslide for Sir Keith and his party none the less. I noted with interest, though, that in that poll I mentioned, the forty-seven against twenty poll, the Reform Party scored thirteen percent.

This is a new party, the successor to Nigel Farage's U.K. Independence Party, promoting a populist, Trumpish agenda. All right: thirteen percent isn't going to win them an election this year, but it's a respectable showing for a new party with no longstanding loyalties to draw on.

And there, according to me, is the parallel with U.S. politics. To put it at its simplest: Legacy conservatism — the conservatism of Rishi Sunak's Conservative Party over there or of Mitch McConnell's Republican Party over here, is dying.

In Steve Sailer's memorable formula (pre-order his book!) conservative voters no longer want either to invade the world or invite the world. They want their rulers to attend full-time to our own nations, our own people.

Comparing Donald Trump's poll numbers to that thirteen percent the Reform Party is getting, we are way ahead of the Brits in killing off legacy conservatism.

Our constitutional systems are different, though. It may just be harder for British voters to clear Parliament of Tory dead wood than it will be for us to send home all the Romneys and McConnells and their House equivalents.

The signs seem clear, though. In both Britain and the U.S.A., and in some European countries, too, legacy conservatism is on the way out. It just may take a while to get it through the door …

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06 — Miscellany.     And now, our closing miscellany of brief items.

Imprimis:  Thursday night the state of Alabama executed 58-year-old Kenneth Smith, who was convicted in 1996 for a murder he'd committed in 1988.

They had tried to execute him in November 2022 using the lethal-injection method. However, they couldn't get the intravenous line in place before the death warrant expired at midnight, so they sent Smith back to his cell.

This time they used a different method, nitrogen hypoxia. Smith was fitted with an airtight mask and fed nitrogen gas. It's not a poison: if it were, we'd be in trouble, as eighty percent of the air we breathe is nitrogen. The method just deprives the victim of oxygen and he quickly suffocates.

This was the first nitrogen hypoxia execution in the U.S.A., although it's a popular way to carry out assisted suicide in some European countries.

I favor capital punishment, but lethal injection is an abomination — a pretense that what's being done is some kind of medical procedure. As the old joke goes: Do they swab his arm with alcohol beore putting the line in?

Nitrogen hypoxia is more honest. I still think a firing squad is best, though. It gives ordinary citizen volunteers the opportunity to assist in the administration of justice.

I would certainly volunteer to join a firing squad if that were the method in my jurisdiction. Unfortunately my jurisdiction here in New York State is so progressive I don't think they even arrest people for murder any more, let alone execute them.

And look at those time spans! Eight years from the crime to the sentence, then twenty-eight more to the execution. Is justice that long delayed really justice? Not in my book, it isn't.

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ItemLast week I noted the appeal by Massachusetts' Governor Maura Healey for citizens to take illegal aliens into their homes.

It's trending nationwide. Thousands of illegals are being bused to Chicago and the surrounding suburbs. Public accommodations are packed full.

A city councilman for Naperville, which is one of those suburbs, suggested during a council meeting that Naperville create a sign-up sheet for locals who would be willing to house families of the illegals in their homes.

This councilman's name is Josh McBroom. Quote from him:

We do have a very affluent community. A lot of big homes.

End quote.

Councilman McBroom's suggestion hasn't gone anywhere much. The Chicago Tribune rreported that, quote:

Staff were instructed to take the idea and create a lasting, more thought out version for future city council meetings.

End quote.

Lotsa luck there, Josh.

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Item:  What's going on with caves and tunnels? This story was in my New York Post on Wednesday. Opening graph, quote:

Homeless people in California were found living in dangerously constructed riverside caves — outfitting the trash-filled dwellings with furniture and other supplies before they were cleared out by police and volunteers over the weekend.

The 20-foot-deep underground digs were tucked along the Tuolumne River in Modesto, accessible by makeshift stairs carved into the hillside.

End quote.

That comes just a week after I was reading about secret subterranean tunnels found under an Orthodox Jewish synagogue in New York City. What was that all about? Nobody seems to know.

Are either of these stories related in any way to all the tunnels that Hamas people have been hiding in under Gaza city, that the Israeli Defence Forces are blowing up as fast as they can find them?

I can't see any connection, but who knows? Our species started out as cavemen; perhaps we'll end up that way. Please let it not be soon.

Or is there perhaps something more structured going on? In H.G. Wells' novel The Time Machine the elites have separated completely from the lower classes. These elites, the Eloi, live an idle, frivolous life in sunshine on the Earth's surface while the proles have evolved into ugly, grunting Morlocks who live deep underground, coming up into the light once in a while only to snatch an unlucky Eloi they then take down below to be cooked and eaten.

Yeah, that's more like it. I think Wells was on to something. Stay well clear of those tunnels …

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Item:  Last night, Thursday night, was of course Burns Night, celebrating the memory of the great Scottish poet Robert Burns.

The main food dish served at a Burns Night supper is haggis, with neaps and tatties. Tatties are mashed potatoes; neaps are mashed turnips; haggis is a traditional Scots favorite: a sheep's stomach stuffed with chopped-up other bits of the creature's interior mixed with oats, herbs and veggies. It's delicious!

Nothing is sacred or permanent in the age of Artificial Intelligence, though. Google's AI chatbot — which, adding insult to injury, is called Bard — has determined that haggis is not a Scottish invention at all. It shows up, says Bard, in English cookbooks of the 15th century, before the Scots were eating it.

I await news of Google headquarters being assaulted by an angry force of kilted Scotsmen wielding pikes and led by a lusty piper or two. Scots wha hae!

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07 — Signoff.     That's it, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you for your time and attention, and for your emails with their criticism, encouragement, and flattery — especially the ones with flattery.

Just one more note on national preferences for food and drink. The other day a lady I met for the first time complimented me on my accent. Then, going into Brit mode herself, she asked me with a giggle if I'd care for a spot of tea.

I've encountered this before. Some large subset of Americans believe that Brits go around saying "a spot of tea." I hate to burst anyone's bubble, but I lived thirty-some years over there without, I am pretty sure, ever hearing anyone say "a spot of tea."

These misunderstandings cut both ways. I grew up in England believing that Americans say "Aw, shucks" at least once in every hour; but again, after forty-some years in the U.S.A. I don't think I've ever heard a native say "Aw, shucks," although I've heard things that rhyme pretty closely.

I took the lady's suggestion in the spirit of good humor she intended, and drank tea with her. Yes, we do enjoy a nice cup of tea. We even have a song about it.

There will be more from Radio Derb next week.

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[Music clip: Binnie Hale, "A Nice Cup of Tea."]