»  Radio Derb — Transcript

        Friday, March 15th, 2024

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[Music clip: Haydn's Derbyshire March No. 1, organ version]

01 — Intro.     And Radio Derb is on the air! Welcome, listeners. That was a few bars from Haydn's Derbyshire March No. 1, just to give you a change from No. 2, and this is your unassailably genial host John Derbyshire with some observations on the passing charivari.

This weekend, Sunday March 17th, we mark St. Patrick's Day. I'm sure you all know the story of St. Patrick, but I'll offer a very brief reminder.

Patrick was a British lad who, when just a teenager, was kidnapped by raiders from Ireland and carried off to be a slave in their country. This was a common occurrence sixteen hundred years ago. Some of us have been petitioning the British government to bring a case for reparations in the International Court of Justice, but so far without result.

Eventually young Patrick escaped back to Britain, where he then studied to become a priest. After ordination he returned to Ireland to convert his former slavemasters. Snakes feature in the story somehow, but I forget the details.

Patrick duly became the principal patron saint of Ireland. St. Patrick's Day is therefore an occasion to celebrate all things Irish. Radio Derb will try to rise to the occasion.

And there has in fact this week been some news from Ireland on the cultural front worth noting. Let me begin with that.

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02 — Have the Irish had enough Woke?     The key word in this news story is "referendum." The people of Ireland — the Republic of Ireland — had a referendum last Friday, March 8th.

The referendum concerned their nation's Constitution, which has been the basis of Ireland's law and identity since its adoption in 1937.

In particular, the referendum was about whether or not to amend two particular parts of the Constitution. To amend them or not to amend them? Yay or nay? That was what Irish citizens were being asked to vote on last Friday.

Which two precise parts of the Constitution would be amended by Yay votes? Both concerned Article 41.

Articles 40 to 44 in the Constitution are grouped under the heading "Fundamental Rights." Article 41 concerns the family. It opens with a firm declaration of the importance of that institution. Quote:

The state recognizes the family as the natural primary and fundamental unit group of society, and as a moral institution possessing inalienable and imprescriptible rights, antecedent and superior to all positive law.

The state pledges itself to guard with special care the institution of marriage, on which the family is founded, and to protect it against attack.

End quote.

That's Section 41.1. Immediately following is Section 41.2, quote:

In particular, the State recognises that by her life within the home, woman gives to the State a support without which the common good cannot be achieved.

The State shall, therefore, endeavour to ensure that mothers shall not be obliged by economic necessity to engage in labour to the neglect of their duties in the home.

End quote.

I'm sure you see the problems there. "The institution of marriage, on which the family is founded"? "By her life within the home, woman gives to the state a support without which the common good cannot be achieved"? You can hear the Progressives howling. What is this, the Middle Ages? Afghanistan?

So the proposals before the voters were to amend the Constitution by changing the wording there.

The proposal for that first section there was to change it with an addition and a subtraction. The addition would have enlarged the section by adding a qualifying clause after the word "family." Here's the proposed clause, quote: "whether founded on marriage or on other durable relationships," end quote.

That addition of words in the first section was to be swiftly balanced by a subtraction. In the existing Constitution the word "marriage" is followed by the clause "on which the family is founded." The proposal would have struck out that clause.

For the second section, about a woman's life within the home as a key support of the State, the proposal was for total replacement. The section would be replaced by new wording that identifies as the key support, quote, "the provision of care, by members of a family to one another by reason of the bonds that exist among them," end quote. The word "woman" would then not be present at all.

So Yay votes on these two questions would amend Ireland's Constitution to bring it more into line with the sensibilities of our ruling classes in the modern Western world. A key axiom of those sensibilities is of course that there is no such thing as sex. So what need to mention women or traditional marriage in one's national Constitution?

So last Friday — which happened to be International Women's Day — Ireland's voters went to the polls to vote on these Constitutional amendments.

The result, not to keep you in suspense: Strong majorities voted Nay on both proposals.

  • On the first, the one with an addition and a subtraction both designed to suck all meaning from the word "marriage," the Nays were 68 percent.

  • On the second, the one annihilating talk of "a woman's life within the home," the Nays were 74 percent.

Turnout was rather low: 44 percent of eligible voters.

The large context here is the West's Cultural Revolution, in which Ireland has played the part of a key indicator.

I've been writing about this for more than twenty years. Here I was for example in March 2002 at National Review Online, a column I titled "All Eyes to Ireland." Closing paragraph, quote:

[Inner quote.] "All changed, changed utterly: a terrible beauty is born," [end inner quote] remarked Yeats at the time of the Easter Rising. What has actually been born in Ireland during this past 20 years has been a modern, secular, hedonistic welfare state with a globalized economy, a Marxified Academy, a crime problem, a drug problem, an immigration problem and a terrorist problem. Is that terrible? Or beautiful? Your answer is probably a good indicator as to whether or not you are going to enjoy the first half of the 21st century.

End quote.

Ireland's swing towards progressivism is all the more striking because the country was, until it joined the EU in 1973, one of the most rigidly conservative nations in Europe, the Roman Catholic church dominant in its cultural life. I can testify to that: I first visited Ireland in the mid-1960s.

That has all been swept away. Another couple of decades on from that last self-quote, in my May 2020 Diary here at VDARE.com I passed on a report I'd had from a friend living and working in Ireland. Sample quotes: this is my friend, a native of Croatia, writing four years ago, quotes:

This is the most pozzed country in the world. If Ireland ever was a Catholic country with a rebellious attitude, that part of it is dead. Installation of the new religion has been completed here — diversity, multiculturalism, equality, feminism, those are the new gods …

The largest event in Dublin is the Gay Pride Parade … Abortion is practically celebrated as a new sacrament …

The term "wife" is slowly being replaced by "partner." Women are far less charming and far more bossy around here. I ran my mouth after a couple of beers at a company Christmas party and found that men here are completely neutered: they find my Balkan jokes demeaning to women …

End quotes.

That last remark of my friend's stirred something I keep noticing in the deep background of news stories about Ireland: the feminization of the place. It goes way back: I remember noticing that bossiness and lack of charm in the 1960s.

I hasten to add of course that it is not universal. In subsequent decades I have encountered many demure and charming Irish females, and have even dated a couple. I shall introduce another one at the end of this podcast.

The female sex in all generality does, however, contain a ferocious subset; and I do suspect, with my Croatian friend, that the subset of ferocious females is larger in Ireland than the world average.

I further suspect that this female ferocity was a major driving force in Ireland's transformation from a deeply conservative cultural backwater to its recent status as what I have called the Heart of Wokeness.

And now, this referendum result. That 44 percent turnout is, as I said, rather low, so perhaps we shouldn't read too much into it. It does, though, suggest the possibility that the Irish have taken as much wokeness as they can stomach.

I doubt there will be a return to the poor, proud, pre-1973 Ireland — the Ireland in which, to quote an old quip, citizens were expected to occupy their spare time sitting around a peat fire discussing the Council of Trent in Gaelic. The Irish may, though, be waking up to the loss of their national identity.

If they are, a key factor in the awakening has surely been mass immigration. The past few years have seen numerous demonstrations by native Irish people against their replacement. Radio Derb has passed comment on this; so has VDARE.com's Irish correspondent Pádraic O'Bannon.

Of all the destruction brought upon Western society by radical progressivism — the mutilation of children, the downgrading of merit, the enstupidation of our schools, the canceling and witch-hunting — of all these horrors, uncontrolled mass immigration may at last have made its way to the front of citizens' attention.

For many years it crept forward quietly, insidiously — the proverbial boiling of a frog. Now it is in plain sight, visible to all, and resented by most. In Ireland it likely helped to deliver those No votes in last Friday's referendum; in the U.S.A. it may decide this year's presidential election.

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03 — A new recruit to National Conservatism in Europe.     Mass immigration is a factor all over Europe, drawing more and more voters away from big old center-left and center-right parties.

There was an illustration last weekend in Portugal, which held a parliamentary election March 10th, an election to populate the nation's legislature.

Eight parties won seats in the parliament. Five of them, however, were tiny fringe parties winning single-digit numbers of seats. By far the biggest shares of the seats went to three parties: a center-left party, a center-right party, and a new party founded just five years ago.

This new party has the name Chega. According to Wikipedia this translates literally as "enough!" When I checked with Google Translate, though — I don't own a Portuguese dictionary — it translated chega as "he arrives."

Make of that what you will: Chega is described in all the news reports as "populist,"  "far right,"  or "national conservative."

The founder of the party and current party leader is a fellow named André Ventura. He can fairly be described as "colorful."

Mr Ventura started out in life training to be a priest at a seminary in Lisbon; but he fell in love — with a female, I guess I should point out — and decided to become a lawyer instead. He actually studied law in Ireland. I'm telling you, this is a St. Patrick's Day special podcast.

Mr Ventura's subsequent career was as a lawyer, a novelist (one of his novels is about Yasser Arafat), a college teacher, a tax inspector, a newspaper opinion journalist, and a TV soccer commentator. So, yes: colorful.

With some qualifications you can put André Ventura in your files with other European populist insurgents like Geert Wilders of the Netherlands, Marine Le Pen of France, Viktor Orbán of Hungary, Jimmie Åkesson of Sweden, and whoever it is currently heading up the AfD party in Germany.

Outside Europe, Donald Trump is the obvious comparison, and news reports on the election have not hesitated to make that comparison. There's nothing unfair about that; but the parliamentary systems of European countries, with numerous parties all getting small slices of the pie, don't map well into our still solidly two-party regime.

But yes: Europe's nations, and nations like ours of European ancestry, are going through some big slow political change, with concerns over mass immigration a key driver of that change.

It'll take a while. In this Portuguese election the main vote broke as 79 seats in the legislature for the center-right, 77 for the center-left, 48 for Chega. So to get anything done legislatively, Chega will have to co-operate with the center-right.

That can go all sorts of ways, even into the betrayal of the National Conservative ideals Chega got elected on. Think of the sad backsliding of Italy's Giorgia Meloni this past year and a half.

So let's not get our hopes up too high for Europe. Change is under way, though, and it's change in the direction of National Conservatism.

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04 — EUTO, not NATO.     It's always gratifying to see a serious pundit take a position one has oneself taken. So it was with a warming of the heart that I saw Srdja Trifkovic's long opinion piece in the March issue of Chronicles magazine, title: "Pulling the Plug on NATO."

Trifkovic's article was inspired by a piece written by Neocon champion Anne Applebaum in the current issue of The Atlantic. Title of her article: "Trump Will Abandon NATO." Which, of course, Ms Applebaum thinks is a terrifying prospect.

Trifkovic warms us up with a swipe at Ms Applebaum's record, quote:

Keep in mind that in her long journalistic career, Applebaum has never offered a sound insight, or even an interesting observation, about any issue of importance.

End quote.

He then does an excellent summary of the case against us remaining in NATO. That is not, as I always take care to point out, a case against NATO.

It is perfectly rational for a nation like Poland to fear Russian imperialism, and to seek alliances with neighboring countries for mutual defense.

The territorial squabbles of the Eastern Slavs are, however, none of our business, and have no relevance to our national interests. NATO should be recast as EUTO, a European treaty organization.

Trifkovic also hopes, as I do, that Donald Trump, if he gets a second Presidency, will show better judgment in personnel hiring than he did the first time. Quote:

Donald Trump's inability during his first term to make reasonable (let alone solid) personnel choices and his propensity to appoint backstabbing saboteurs and outright foes to his innermost circle was the greatest single failure of his presidency. The enemies within Trump's cabinet gave a clear signal to the rest of America's neoconservative/neoliberal policy apparatus that — for as long as they occupied the White House — the nominal chief executive could be ignored with impunity. Their infiltration rendered Trump just a transient headache that would pass and which may never be allowed to make a comeback.

End quote.

Trifkovic elsewhere names names: Former National Security Advisor John Bolton, Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, Secretaries of State Rex Tillerson and Mike Pompeo, and even Vice President Mike Pence.

As I said, I share Trifkovic's hope there. The problem here is common to leadership in all kinds of situations, though.

It may be brave and good of me to storm the enemy's stronghold at the head of my troops. If I am too far out ahead of them, though, I may find myself alone in the stronghold surrounded by enemy. My choice then is to do their will, or die. Possibly this explains Giorgia Meloni's betrayal.

Well, let's just hope that someone with the ear of President Trump in the 2025 White House is a reader of Chronicles, or a listener to Radio Derb …

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05 — Firefighters and the DMV Lady.     As a VDARE.com loyalist I naturally consider New York State Attorney General Letitia James to be a limb of Satan.

This evil creature somehow escaped from her natural habitat behind the counter at a local DMV office to become the supreme judicial authority in a state of twenty million people.

The functions of her office are described on her department's website as being to, quote "advise the executive branch of state government and to defend actions and proceedings on behalf of the state."

Ms James has, however, not used the powers of her office for those purposes, but rather to harass and persecute persons and organizations she dislikes for political reasons.

It was therefore with much glee that I read about — and saw, on my local TV news — Ms James' reception at a March 7th event held by the FDNY, which is to say the New York City Fire Department.

The event was a promotion ceremony, held for some reason in a hall on the campus of the Christian Cultural Center in Brooklyn. The audience consisted of city firefighters and civilian employees of the Fire Department, most especially of people up for promotion, along with many of their families.

So this was a hall full of working-class New Yorkers, majority white and male, most with jobs involving discipline, danger, and sometimes death. Were there Trump voters among them? Are you kidding?

Ms James was the invited speaker. Given that she is obviously an avatar of Old Scratch and that this venue was a Christian Cultural Center, it's surprising that she wasn't struck down by a bolt of lightning as she waddled over to the speaker's microphone, but unfortunately she wasn't.

She was, though, greeted with, quote from the New York Post, "a chorus of boos and chants of 'Trump'," end quote.

It didn't stop with the greeting, either. Further quote from the Post:

As James continued her speech, the booing swiftly turned to chants in support of former President Donald Trump.

"Trump, Trump, Trump, Trump," the crowd bellowed.

End quote.

I don't know where Madam Attorney General stays when she's in New York City but I sure hope the fire alarms are in good working order.

To the A-G's credit, I should say that she weathered the storm with dignity and got all the way through her speech. With a nod back to Srdja Trifkovic, the Prince of Darkness is better at personnel selection than Donald Trump is.

Management took the whole thing amiss, though. Fire Commissioner Laura Kavanaugh apologized to the church and issued an internal memo to the Department calling for those who jeered, booed, and chanted Trump's name to turn themselves in, warning that those involved will get, quote, "educated [on] why their behavior is unacceptable." End quote.

The general opinion in the Department, including management, seems to be that this little witch hunt will come to nothing. There is too much solidarity among the firefighters.

Not being au courant with FDNY issues, I had no idea that the Commissioner was female. Being of a suspicious mind, when reading the first news stories about this and seeing the name Laura Kavanaugh, I made a bet with myself that this was yet another instance of black females being promoted to every open position of leadership in our nation — of what you might call DMV Lady supremacy.

Checking with Google Images, though, I soon saw that Commissioner Kavanaugh is in fact white. Not just white, in fact, but very white: pale skin, blue-green eyes, gingerish hair, …

Whoa, hold on a minute. Kavanaugh? That's an Irish name. Is this one of those "far less charming and far more bossy" females my Croatian friend wrote about? Are the Irish Furies even more to be dreaded than DMV ladies?

Whatever. Hey, I told you this is a St. Patrick's Day special.

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

Imprimis:  One of the best-loved of all Italian operas is Puccini's Turandot, first performed here at the New York Met in 1926. By general agreement, the most extravagant, opulent, must-see production of Turandot is the one created by Italian director Franco Zeffirelli, first performed at The Met in 1987 and then more than 200 times since.

Now the Met is staging it again. This production opened on February 28th and will run through June 7th.

The story of the opera takes place in China. Princess Turandot of that country is so beautiful that any man who sees her falls in love with her. Turandot, however, has vowed to marry only the man who can solve three riddles she poses. Answer the riddles correctly, you get to marry the lovely princess. Give a wrong answer, you die.

Yes, I know: this princess sounds somewhat Irish. She is though, I assure you, Chinese.

The plot of Turandot is, however, offensive to the easily-offended. Foreseeing this, the Met has tried to cover itself with program notes telling the audience that, quote:

A Western projection of the East, it is rife with contradictions, distortions, and racial stereotypes

End quote.

They just can't leave anything alone, can they? In fact Puccini wove into his score considerable respect for China's musical tradition.

David Goldman pointed that out in a scathing column at Asia Times back in 2021 when already, as he noted, quote: "Grumblings about Asian stereotypes in the opera have been around for years."

I can't resist another Goldman quote, from the very end of that same 2021 piece. Quote:

The Protestant missionaries of the 19th and early 20th centuries looked at the Chinese as prospective Christian converts. Their descendants, today's woke mob, have twisted America's original Christian impulse into a secular pseudo-religion where salvation arises from protecting the fragile identities of the oppressed.

They have become clowns. It's too bad Puccini didn't write a comic opera about them.

End quote.

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Item:  I see from the Associated Press, a report dated early this morning, that the U.S.A. — that's us — has, quote, "circulated the final draft of a United Nations Security Council resolution … that would support international efforts to establish an immediate and sustained cease-fire in the Israel-Hamas war." End quote.

Why? Are cease-fires really such a great idea? Don't they just leave both parties to a war with their anger simmering and their munitions still intact?

Consider for example the cease-fire in the Korean War. That cease-fire is now in its 71st year. Did it settle anything? Well, it stopped the immediate killing, I guess, if you don't count the unknown number of prisoners North Korea killed after the fighting stopped.

It set the stage, though, for the current unstable and dangerous situation: North Korea with thirty or so nukes and ICBMs that could deliver them to the U.S. mainland. Who knows how many deaths there will be if Kim Jong Un's trigger finger gets seriously itchy?

Wars should be fought to a clear and unambiguous conclusion, with one side the winner, the other the loser. Germany, Italy, and Japan have given us no trouble at all since 1945. They lost and they know it.

The Israel-Gaza war should be allowed to proceed to such a clear conclusion. One side or other needs to surrender: to lose, and to know they lost. Cease-fires are humbug.

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Item:  Finally, and most depressingly, Haiti. What on earth can be done with the wretched place?

I suppose we could send over a force to restore order. We've done that before, though: twice, in fact. We actually occupied Haiti for twenty years, 1915 to 1934; then again for seven months in 1994 to 1995.

Neither made any difference. For Haiti, nothing makes any difference.

Trying to be constructive here, we could I guess finance a mission by El Salvador President Nayib Bukele, who has demonstrated indisputably that he knows how to deal with Anarchy. Bukele might not want the job, though.

Or we could start up a mass deportation program to just get Haitians the hell out of our neighborhood. To where? Why, to francophone Africa.

My go-to reference here is my Grandad's 1922 Atlas-Guide to the British Commonwealth of Nations & Foreign Countries. There on pages 74-75 is Africa, as it was in 1922.

The French-speaking part is huge: modern-day Senegal, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Mauretania, Niger, Chad, Central African Republic, … vast territories inhabited by black people and once, like Haiti, ruled by France. The Haitians could easily make themselves at home there; and their numbers, only 11½ million, would hardly notice in the vastness of Africa.

For sure no-one in this hemisphere would miss them, least of all their next-door neighbors in the Dominican Republic.

Haitians have been a problem in our region for far too long. It's time they went home to Africa, where perhaps they might succeed. Hey, it's worth a try …

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07 — Signoff.     That's all, ladies and gents. Thanks as always for your time and attention, your support and encouragement.

As is my custom around St. Patrick's Day, I shall sign off with something Irish.

Here's a pretty little song that was a favorite with my parents' generation. It's only Irish by way of cultural appropriation: the composer was Hermann Lohr, an Englishman of German parentage. To compound the offense, the singer here is Walter Glynne, who was likewise not Irish. In mitigation, however, he was a Celt; only a p-Celt, not a q-Celt. Scholars of linguistics will know what I mean: Walter Glynne was Welsh.

I don't care. I can't see anything flagitious about cultural appropriation, so long as the thing appropriated is worth appropriating — in which case it's a kind of flattery, isn't it?

So here's Welshman Walter Glynne with an Irish ditty composed by an Englishman. I'm sorry about the background crackling, but the recording is at least a hundred years old. Let me know what you sound like when you're a hundred years old.

There will be more from Radio Derb next week.

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[Music clip: Walter Glynne, "The Little Irish Girl."]