DERB'S MARCH DIARY: Eloquence On Christchurch, Return Of The Ice Sheets, Royal NPCS, And The Conquest Of Mexico, Etc.[8 ITEMS]
April 02, 2019, 10:54 AM
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Eloquence of the month.     Mid-March saw the atrocity in New Zealand, where Brenton Tarrant shot up two mosques in the city of Christchurch, killing fifty people.

As is now routine, this act by a lone lunatic of dissident sympathies was taken by governments of formerly-liberal democracies and their corporate stooges as an excuse to further shut down all expression of dissident ideas, however moderate, thoughtful, and nonviolent.

Which is just what Tarrant hoped for in his manifesto. He was motivated by the old Leninist principle: "The worse, the better." The worse things become for moderate, non-crazy dissidents, the better the prospects for violent revolution.

At month's end came news that white advocate Jared Taylor has been banned from most of Europe. My colleague James Kirkpatrick covered that very thoroughly in his March 31st column.

Whether the banning of Jared was a consequence of the New Zealand massacre—whether, that is, it was another opportunistic blow against moderate dissidence in the spirit of "never let an atrocity go to waste"—I don't know. It may have been done independently by the Polish government, or much more likely by some low-level bureaucrat in that government's employ.

Whatever the truth of that matter, this latest insult to a law-abiding patriot makes it all the more important to give the widest possible publicity to the words Jared published on March 18th—after the Christchurch massacre but before his banning from Europe. The following extract is particularly eloquent.

What would have prevented Mr. Tarrant's murderous rampage? Not more repression, censorship, and demonization.

Let us instead imagine a different political environment. Let us imagine one in which there is open discussion about the demographic future. One in which it is not considered "hate" to ask: How many people should our country have? Do we need any immigrants? Do people of certain religions or races assimilate better than others? Why do people of different races consistently build different societies? Is diversity a strength or a weakness? Is it wrong for whites to prefer to live, marry, and work with other whites? Must whites become a minority?

I have been asking these questions, politely but pointedly, for nearly 30 years. I believe that the long-term solution to racial and ethnic conflict is not to force more "diversity" on people who never asked for it but to let them, if they wish, build separate communities. This can be achieved through the democratic process.

For this, I am called a "hater." Twitter closed my account, Amazon banned my books, my organization lost its Facebook account, hotels will not rent meeting rooms to me, printers refuse my business, and payment processors have cut me off. Many other groups are harassed and silenced in exactly the same way. Any society that crushes opposing viewpoints is treating dissent as a crime. The entire West is rushing towards tyranny, and as we saw in Christchurch, tyranny has consequences. When even the most moderate views are outlawed, extremism—and worse—will flourish.

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A Kultprop explains the manifesto    The first link in Jared's March 18th piece will get you to Tarrant's manifesto in zip-file format. At least, it will at the time of posting this; I make no guarantees for the future. Efforts to memory-hole the manifesto have been very determined; I doubt they have yet ceased.(An archived PDF is here...for now.)

I actually read the manifesto—well, the first twenty-odd pages of it—via a more direct link Jim Goad had included in the seventh paragraph of his column at Taki's Magazine, also posted on March 18th. That was a day or two after Jim's piece went up at TakiMag.

Then, preparing this diary a few days later, I thought it would be helpful to add the same link here. However, when I brought up Jim's March 18th piece again and re-clicked on the link, it no longer went to the manifesto. Instead it went to some brief, bland introductory text for a 4m32s video clip.

The clip shows a fashionably-bearded metrosexual Kultprop of indeterminate race "explaining" the manifesto from an ideologically-correct viewpoint.

The closing words of the clip are: "Diversity isn't a weakness. Diversity is a strength."

Don't be looking to a Kultprop for originality.

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Return of the ice-sheets.     Jared's American Renaissance, like VDARE.com, is a child of the easy-going 1990s, when dissident ideas could be discussed with what now seems like astonishing freedom.

Jared could hold conferences at commercial hotels, address student groups on college campuses, raise funds through normal channels, publish books with mainstream publishers and sell those books on AmazonJared and VDARE.com's Peter Brimelow even appeared on TV! It all seems incredible now.

I write these words with sadness, but also with some smug proprietorial satisfaction. I was one of the first, perhaps the first person to record how free we were a quarter-century ago in what Peter calls that "interglacial" spell during the 1990s. I even made a rough attempt to quantify the freedom.

Then our dimwitted power elites slowly grasped what a threat the internet is to their interests. They cracked the whip on their media shills, let loose their Antifa street thugs, and easily co-opted the big software and social-media corporations to turn the internet against dissent from their cherished ideology.

Now the ice-sheets have returned. Free speech and free thought are being crushed by state and corporate power.

Stanford political scientist Larry Diamond calls this new order "postmodern totalitarianism": a data-driven blend of Brave New World and Nineteen Eighty-Four in which citizens enjoy the apparent freedom to live their daily lives in happy hedonism while the state carefully monitors and censors everything they see, say, and do.

China of course leads the way here, but what we were once pleased to call "the free world" is catching up fast. As Jared wrote: "The entire West is rushing towards tyranny."

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Royal NPCs    treI like the NPC meme. In case you don't know it, "NPC" stands for "Non-Playing Character" in a video game. An NPC has some of the characteristics of a genuine human player, but is in fact an entirely computer-generated object that "advances the game's plot by saying scripted lines, or assisting the playable characters in some way."

That quote is from a New York Times article on the NPC meme last Fall. That article further explains that:

Several months ago, users on 4chan and Reddit, the online message forums, started using the term NPC to refer to liberals. These people, they said, join the anti-Trump crowd not because they are led by independent thought or conscience to oppose President Trump's policies, but because they're brainwashed sheep who have been conditioned to parrot left-wing orthodoxy, in the manner of a scripted character.

As a Reddit user, BasedMedicalDoctor, explains in a thread about the appeal of the meme, NPCs are "completely dependent on their programming, and can't do or think on their own." [What Is NPC, the Pro-Trump Internet's New Favorite Insult? by Kevin Roose; New York Times, October 16th 2018.]

My NPC-recognition neurons lit up when I read news stories at the very beginning of March about England's Prince Harry and his pregnant wife Meghan Markle telling the world they intend to raise their child "gender-fluid."

The royal family's PR people have been denying the story, but it sounds all too believable to me. Harry's a climate-change warrior (when not zipping around his country in private helicopters); Meghan's a self-declared feminist; their wedding last May was self-consciously "diverse." Everything about this couple shouts "NPC!"

You could I suppose make the case that constitutional monarchy requires NPCs at the top. The entire point of constitutional monarchy is that the monarch is a figurehead, a mere token, not a political player. Constitutional monarchy is, in its very nature, NPC-dom enthroned.

Fair enough, I guess. Still I think it's sad to see people in positions of such prominence showing no sign of an ability for independent thought, no trace of skepticism or irreverence towards ideological pieties.

I shall miss the Duke of Edinburgh when he's gone.

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Hernán Cortés, twelve-pointer    My book of the month has been Hugh Thomas's 800-page 1993 doorstopper about the Spanish conquest of Mexico, which commenced just 500 years ago.

https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/81NgMKwtefL.jpgThis is the revival of an old interest. Back in my thirties, during a spell living at my parents' home in Northampton, I found a copy of William H. Prescott's 1843 book on the same subject in Mrs. Billingham's second-hand bookstore in St Giles Street and read it with keen attention. I was so taken by the story I then bought a copy of Bernal Díaz' memoirs, which had just come out as a Penguin book. Díaz actually served with Cortés right through the Mexico campaign.

What a tremendous story it is!—one of the great true epics of history. And what a hell of an alpha male Cortés was! His will never wavered, in spite of terrible reverses. He pressed ahead resolutely with his own plans, ignoring the orders of his superior, the Governor of Cuba. When the Governor sent troops to arrest him, Cortés won them over to his cause. This guy was a real twelve-pointer.

https://www.ctrarebooks.com/assets/images/product/9696.JPGHugh Thomas goes much deeper into detail than Prescott, and has 150 years' further scholarship to draw on, but he is nothing like so gifted a writer: his prose often clangs. And what does he have against maps?—the book doesn't include anything like enough.

I could have used more help with pronunciation of the names, too. Tetlahuehuequititzin; Iztaquimaxtitlan; Chichimecatecle; Axayactaztin; Chalchiuhnenetzin; Ixtlilxochitl (there are two of those); Teoctlamacazqui; Xuchimatzatzin; … oy oy oy. Couldn't the author just tell me which syllable gets the stress? I don't recall so many damn names in Prescott; but Prescott's book is shorter. Perhaps that's why.

Hugh Thomas published his book before full-bore Cultural Marxism took over the academy, so he does not insult our intelligence by framing his story in anti-white terms as an assault on peaceful, harmless indigenes by cruel, avaricious Europeans. His narrative makes plain, in fact, that the worst, most appalling atrocities against the Mexica were committed by Cortés' Indian allies:

Cortés later commented: "There was not one man among us [Castilians] whose heart did not bleed at the sound of these killings." … The Tlaxcalans, the Texcocans, and other allies killed indiscriminately. The city [i.e. Tenochtitlan, Mexico's capital] was full of unburied bodies.

https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/61nVQJbJioL.jpgHe signs off his chapter on the final conquest and destruction of Tenochtitlan in August 1521 with five short sentences summarizing Cortés' astounding achievement. But then:

For a time he and his friends seemed to have been looked upon by some Mexica at least as being reincarnations of deities. But in the end, to be honest, it had been the Mexica who had fought like gods.

That's not any sop to political correctness, it is just plain truth, as Thomas's narrative has made clear. The Mexica fought desperately, heroically, for their city and their civilization long after all hope was gone. They had no metal weapons, no horses, no cannon or firearms, only cotton armor, and their numbers had been decimated by smallpox, to which they had no resistance. (Cuitláhuac, who succeeded Montezuma as Emperor, had died of smallpox.) Still they fought, to the point of utter exhaustion.

What a story! What a story!

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A problem of communication.    

Hugh Thomas is rightly skeptical about the degree to which Cortés could make himself understood to the Mexica. When he first showed up in their capital city in November 1519 he had no-one with him who could speak both Spanish and Nahuatl, the language of the Mexica.

He had his Indian mistress Marina, who had been raised speaking a dialect of Nahuatl, although not the dialect spoken in the capital, and who had then been sold to Mayans and learned their quite different language. He also had Gerónimo de Aguilar, an Andalusian Spaniard who had been shipwrecked in Yucatan and spent eight years among the Maya, learning their language.

So to talk to Montezuma Cortés depended on Aguilar to put his words from Spanish into Mayan, then on Marina to turn them from Mayan into her dialect of Nahuatl. How much sense got accurately transmitted this way, it's hard to judge.

https://pictures.abebooks.com/isbn/9780007118700-uk.jpg(Marina later learned enough Spanish from Cortés that he could dispense with Aguilar's services. Cortés seems never to have learned much Nahuatl, though. This is the reverse of the practice favored by British colonial administrators posted to remote areas of India and Africa, who would acquire working knowledge of the local language via a "sleeping dictionary.")

Nicholas Ostler in Empires of the Word gives Nahuatl a good press, and includes some hauntingly beautiful verses.

Zan yuhki nonyaz in oompoliwi šocitl ah?
Antle notleyo yez in kenmanian?
Antle nitauhka yez in tlaltikpak?
Ma nel šocitl, ma nel kuikatl!
Ken konciwaz noyollo, yewaya?
On nen tonkizako in tlaltikpak!
Shall I just go like the flowers which were fading?
Will my glory be nothing one day?
Will my fame be nothing in the earth?
At least flowers, at least songs!
Alas, what will my heart do?
In vain do we pass this way across the earth!

That would not disgrace one of the Greek lyric poets — Callimachus or Pindar. I'd like to hear the original Nahuatl from a native speaker.

I'm the last person you should go to for expressions of white guilt about European colonialism. I understand, however, that there is certainly a great, a terrible melancholy in losing your language, your literature, your nation, your culture, your civilization.

All the more amazing that we seem willing to surrender ours so carelessly. At least the Mexica put up a fight.

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https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/8/80/William_Hickling_Prescott_by_Southworth_%26_Hawes%2C_c1850-9-crop.jpg/440px-William_Hickling_Prescott_by_Southworth_%26_Hawes%2C_c1850-9-crop.jpgPerils of a Harvard education.     William H. Prescott, who wrote that earlier Conquest of Mexico, followed up with an equally engrossing Conquest of Peru. These two books are scholarly achievements of the first rank; and this is doubly remarkable as Prescott was nearly blind.

Prescott's eyesight degenerated after being hit in the eye with a crust of bread during a food fight as a student, and it remained weak and unstable throughout the rest of his life. — Wikipedia.

That would have been in the Harvard refectory, I guess. Harvard in the 1810s was a rough place.

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Math Corner.     This month's math corner is about vaccination—reluctantly, as this is one of those zones, like Global Warming, in which the mildest, most diffident expression of opinion causes one's mailbox to fill up with 800-word argumentative epistles from people some nontrivial proportion of whom are screeching monomaniacs.

Michelle Malkin is not a screeching monomaniac, and her views on the vaccination of children are close to my own, as aired for example here. This is Math Corner, though, and Michelle's March 5th column on vaccination, while it contained many good and sensible things, also included a small lesson in the pitfalls of handling data when you don't know any math or statistics.

Here is the offending paragraph:

As for efficacy, consider this new data: A recent whooping cough outbreak at the private Harvard-Westlake School in Los Angeles last week resulted in 30 students contracting the illness, all of whom were vaccinated. Of 18 unvaccinated students, none caught the disease. Will pointing this out on my Facebook and Twitter accounts bring down the Silicon Valley ban hammer?

I sure hope not. The public square would be poorer without Michelle's voice. There are math issues in there, though, that need scrutinizing.

First ask the question: How many of Harvard-Westlake's 1,600 total students were exposed to the whooping cough pathogen?

I'm going to assume that any unvaccinated student who is exposed, will be infected. Since none of the 18 unvaccinated students were infected, none were exposed. The thirty who were infected therefore all belonged to the 1,582-strong vaccinated component of the student body.

I am indebted to a reader for the following analysis, which I take on trust.

Standard sources suggest that the vaccine is 80-90 percent effective in the first year after vaccination, but effectiveness declines over time. The Tdap vaccine is usually given at ages 10-11, so the average high school student has not been vaccinated for five years, reducing effectiveness to around 50 percent. This suggests that perhaps sixty students were exposed to whooping cough in order for thirty to become infected.

So now we have a math question: Pick sixty students at random from a student body consisting of 1,582 vaccinated and 18 unvaccinated. What is the probability that none of the sixty is unvaccinated? Or equivalently: What is the probability that all of the sixty are vaccinated?

Easy-peasy. The probability that the first student picked is vaccinated is 1582/1600. The probability that the second student picked is vaccinated is 1581/1599. The probability that the third student picked is vaccinated is 1580/1598. The probability that the fourth student picked is vaccinated is 1579/1597. The probability that the fifth student picked is vaccinated is 1578/1596 …… The probability that the fifty-ninth student picked is vaccinated is 1524/1542. The probability that the sixtieth student picked is vaccinated is 1523/1541.

So the probability that all sixty exposed students are vaccinated is a fraction with numerator 1582×1581×1580× … ×1523 and denominator 1600×1599×1598× … ×1541. This is also, of course, the probability that none of the unvaccinated 18 students was exposed to the pathogen.

That's a lot of multiplying, but math has shortcuts for this kind of thing. The natural log of that numerator is 440.85358; the natural log of the denominator is 441.54531. Subtract latter from former, you get −0.79174. Raise e to that power, you get 0.453058.

Bottom line: On the numbers given, there's a 45.3 percent chance that none of the unvaccinated 18 students was exposed to the pathogen. Given the margins of uncertainty here, "close to fifty-fifty" is a fair statement of the probability.

https://vdare.com/public_upload/publication/featured_image/47975/addtext_com_MjI0NjIzMTkxMzg.jpgSo it wouldn't be at all remarkable if none of the 18 unvaccinated students was exposed to the pathogen.

And as my helpful reader explained:

Since the parents of unvaccinated students might have taken extra precautions upon learning of the outbreak, such as keeping their children home, this result [i.e. that none of the unvaccinated students was actually exposed to the pathogen] is even less surprising.

And in the context of Michelle worrying about the Silicon Valley Thought Police bringing down the ban hammer, I note that my reader added, as my readers mostly do nowadays: "Given the current environment, I would appreciate anonymity."

You of course have it, Sir; and thank you!

[Math-geek readers may recognize a similarity with the ancient Birthday Paradox.]

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2010-12-24dl[1]John Derbyshire [email him] writes an incredible amount on all sorts of subjects for all kinds of outlets. (This no longer includes National Review, whose editors had some kind of tantrum and fired him.) He is the author of We Are Doomed: Reclaiming Conservative Pessimism and several other books. He has had two books published by VDARE.com com: FROM THE DISSIDENT RIGHT (also available in Kindle) and FROM THE DISSIDENT RIGHT II: ESSAYS 2013.

For years he’s been podcasting at Radio Derb, now available at VDARE.com for no charge. His writings are archived at JohnDerbyshire.com.

Readers who wish to donate (tax deductible) funds specifically earmarked for John Derbyshire's writings at VDARE.com can do so here.

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