John Derbyshire: Cecil The Lion And The Goodwhite-Badwhite Cold Civil War
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This column is adapted from the latest Radio Derb—now available free of charge on!

adX48efQ3arAEpsQe5LS_simba-the-lion-king-30983414-292-400[1]The subject of our latest Two Minutes Hate: 55-year-old Dr. Walter Palmer, a dental practitioner from the Minneapolis suburb of Eden Prairie. Early in July, Dr. Palmer, on a hunting vacation in Zimbabwe, killed a lion. Now he's in hiding, his office is under siege by furious mobs, and his patients have all deserted him.

All the emotional stops have been pulled out for this one. The mobs around Dr. Palmer's office are weeping and rending their garments. Mothers are taking their little kiddies—known in lion-speak as "midnight snacks"—to lay bouquets of flowers on Dr. Palmer's doorstep in memoriam for the lion.

I suppose the tots have images of Simba in their silly Disneyfied heads. Come to think of it, probably the "adults" do, too.

Sentimentality about animals is not a new thing in the world, of course. I can remember my sister, back in the Truman administration, crying when the hunters shot Bambi's mother.

That was fiction, though; my sister was five; our fellow-countrymen had just gotten through reducing Hamburg and Berlin to piles of rubble; and anyway Bambi's Mom was a herbivore. This fuss over the lion is way more preposterous.

Latest news as we go to tape: this incident—which happened in Zimbabwe, remember—is now a federal case, literally. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced on Thursday that it is investigating the killing. They will, they tell us, quote, "go where facts lead." [US Fish & Wildlife Service Investigating Killing Of Cecil The Lion « CBS Minnesota, June 30, 2015]

Why all the hullabaloo? What are the facts? Let's take a look.

This wasn't just any lion. This was Cecil, a star attraction in Hwange National Park. That's a huge safari park—it's about eighty miles across—in the west of Zimbabwe.

The late Cecil was 13 years old at time of death, equivalent to mid-fifties in human years. He was named after 19th-century empire-builder Cecil Rhodes—as indeed was Zimbabwe, when it used to be called Rhodesia. Concerning Rhodes, historian James Morris had this to say in 1968:

article-1338791-0C7E429E000005DC-684_634x415[1]Rhodes died in 1902, and was buried at a site of his own choosing in the Matopo Hills in Rhodesia, which he called The World's View. There, in a place of silent beauty, he lies with his friend Jameson and the dead of Allan Wilson's Shangani patrol—all the heroes of Rhodesia, awaiting one fears not the Last Trump but the next regime. [Pax Britannica: Climax of an Empire, p. 298]
Rhodes was the man who said, "To be born an Englishman is to win first prize in the lottery of life." He was not the man who said,” If you don't like black people, don't come to live in Africa," That was Sir Roy Welensky, premier, until 1963, of what is now Zimbabwe.

So anyway, this lion Cecil was killed by Dr. Palmer of Minneapolis. What's wrong with that?

Well, nothing per se. Shooting lions is legal in Zimbabwe, provided the proper formalities are observed. Lots of people, big game hunters, go there for just that purpose, as Dr. Palmer did.

Problem is, the formalities were not observed. Cecil was shot a few hundred yards outside the park, on privately owned land that had not been assigned a lion quota. That's the main point of illegality.

Cecil wore a radio collar because he was being tracked by an Oxford University research project. That's OK: It is not illegal to shoot a collared lion. He was drawn out of the park by bait and shot initially with a bow and arrow. He staggered off, was tracked for several miles, and was then dispatched with a rifle shot. None of that is illegal either. However, the hunting guide who lured the lion so Dr. Palmer could shoot it, tried to destroy the collar when he saw it. That is a secondary illegality.

So the illegality here is pretty technical stuff: no lion quota on the private land where Cecil was shot, attempted destruction of the tracking collar. Dr. Palmer tells us, very plausibly, that he had all necessary permits and relied on the guide and the landowner to ensure everything was legal. From what I've read so far, I don't see any way he can be faulted on this.

The killing happened, furthermore, in Zimbabwe, a country not best known for firm adherence to rule of law, property rights, and governmental integrity. The place is, in fact, a miserable black African slum ruled by an aged despot who has murdered his political opponents, banned dissent, and allowed his family and friends to loot the economy, what's left of it.

Freedom House ranks nations on a four-point scale: Free, Partly Free, Not Free, and Worst of the Worst. Zimbabwe is ranked Not Free. Starting 15 years ago, white farmers have been driven off their land, frequently with violence, and their farms have been handed over to blacks with political connections. Only about 300 farms are still white-owned, down from 4,500.

Zimbabwe is an economic disaster zone. Six years ago the currency bottomed out after years of hyperinflation. For a while the national bank was issuing $100 trillion bills, each one worth around 33 cents U.S. The currency has since been recalibrated, but the economy hasn't improved much.

The latest report on Zimbabwe from Human Rights Watch makes pretty devastating reading. You can read it for yourself on the Internet. That's human rights.

And people—Americans—are worked up about animal rights in this hell-hole?

If you insist on discussing animal rights in Zimbabwe, start from the rampant poaching since whites lost control of the country. Poaching has severely depleted wildlife stocks, to the enrichment of the poachers and of their friends and relatives in Zimbabwe's ruling class. This is Africa, for crying out loud.

National Geographic reported in 2007 that 60 percent of Zimbabwe's total wildlife had been killed off in just the previous seven years. [Zimbabwe's Wildlife Decimated by Economic Crisis, by Nick Wadhams, August 1, 2007] The surprising thing in the Cecil story is not that a guy shot a lion, but that there are any lions left to shoot.

So, once again, why the massive nationwide hysteria over a lion killed in a remote, badly misgoverned country, under some rather technical issues of local illegality, by a hunter who plausibly was not aware of those issues?

Because, inevitably, the whole incident became refracted through the lens of current public discourse in the U.S.A. into a skirmish in what I call the Cold Civil War: that is, the everlasting struggle between, on the one hand, the Progressive goodwhites who dominate our country's mainstream culture—the Main Stream Media, the universities and law schools, big corporations, the federal bureaucracy—and, on the other hand, the ignorant gap-toothed hillbilly redneck badwhites clinging to their guns and religion out on the despised margins of civilized society.

Dr. Palmer is, of course, a badwhite. The evidence for this in in his actions. Hunting charismatic megafauna for sport is a thing only badwhites do. Big game trophy hunting is in fact as typically, characteristically badwhite as shopping at Whole Foods, or patronizing microbreweries, or listening to NPR are characteristically goodwhite.

For a full catalog of typical goodwhite lifestyle choices I refer you to Christian Landers' 2008 book Stuff White People Like—slightly out of date now, but still reliable on most points. I have occasionally entertained the notion of putting out an updated version to be titled Stuff Goodwhites Like, with a companion volume titled, of course, Stuff Badwhites Like. Big game trophy hunting—indeed, hunting of all kinds—would definitely be listed in that latter volume, along with commercial beer, pickup trucks, Protestant Christianity, side-clip suspenders, NASCAR, and other badwhite favorites.

So we now have our badwhite antihero: this leocidal dentist, Walter Palmer. Who will step up to do battle for the goodwhites?

Jimmy Kimmel, that's who.

Kimmel's is one of those names that floats around on the outer fringes of my awareness. I know he has a late-night talk show, but I've never actually watched it. Looking him up, I see that he's a 47-year-old native of Brooklyn of mixed German and Italian ancestry who's been busy in radio and TV all his adult life. Hey, good luck to him.

Now there's a clip of Jimmy Kimmel on his TV show the other day putting the goodwhite viewpoint on the Cecil story with exceptional clarity. Samples:

[Kimmel]:  The big question is: Why are you shooting a lion in the first place? I mean, I'm honestly curious to know why a human being would feel compelled to do that. How is that fun? Is it that difficult for you to get an erection that you need to kill things? [Prolonged applause.]

Note the instant recourse to sexual insult. It is an article of faith with goodwhites that badwhites have unsatisfactory sex lives, and that the discontent badwhites feel in this regard explains their otherwise incomprehensible tastes and viewpoints.

Whether badwhites actually do have less happy sex lives than goodwhites, I have no data. This ought to be a matter that can be settled by rigorous empirical enquiry—although given the difficulty of finding out what couples actually experience in the privacy of their chambers, there are some knotty problems of methodology to sort out. Pending reliable research studies, I stand agnostic.

But I can think of some facts that might be taken as counter-indications. On genetic evidence, for example, Genghis Khan seems to have enjoyed an exceptionally vigorous sex life, yet there surely can't be many topics on which the great conqueror would agree with a modern Progressive goodwhite, certainly not big game hunting.

And then there is the fact—I'm pretty sure it's a fact—that goodwhites' fertility is way lower than badwhites'.

Whatever the underlying truth of the matter, what is undeniably on display here with Kimmel and his audience is the psychic need among goodwhites to feel, not only morally superior to badwhites, but also sexually superior. Just listen to the studio audience whooping and applauding in approval there. The thought they're taking away, and that you are supposed to take away too, is something like: "If only Dr. Palmer were as sexually liberated and fulfilled as we are, he wouldn't want to hunt and kill animals."

For full penetration here, Kimmel follows up with a Viagra joke, followed in quick succession by a Bill Cosby joke:

Kimmel:  If that's the case, they have a pill for that. It works great. [Laughter.] Just stay home and swallow it, and you save yourself a lifetime of being the most hated man in America who never advertised Jell-O Pudding on television. [Laughter, applause.]
Kimmel's performance strategy here seems to be: First, go for the broad goodwhite audience with a joke about erectile dysfunction among badwhite males. Then pivot to the feminists with a joke about Bill Cosby, who is now a hate figure to them.

Kimmel needs a deft touch here, as Cosby is black and you don't want the audience to catch a whiff of racism. Cosby's accusers, though, to judge from the 35 of them pictured on the cover of New York magazine, are almost exclusively white. And thirty or so white females trump one old black guy who hasn't had a hit show since way, way back in the remote past, before Facebook came up.

Cosby anyway made a name for himself—I mean, before the Trial Lawyers Association got to work making a different name for him—by telling his fellow blacks to shape up and stop complaining. So he's not, like, authentically black. So hey, screw him!

This is, remember, the Cold Civil War between two white armies. Blacks can be trucked in as auxiliaries when needed, to score points off the other side, but nobody cares what they think.

There follows a gesture from Kimmel towards multiculturalism:

And by the way, I'm not against hunting, if you're hunting to eat or help keep the animal population healthy or to … part of your culture or something, that's one thing …
Multicultural considerations do not extend to badwhites, though. They have no culture, being little better than animals themselves:
… but here's some a-hole dentist who wants a lion's head over the fireplace in his man-cave so his douchebag buddies can gather around it and drink scotch and tell him how awesome he is, that's just vomitous …
"A-hole," "douchebag," "vomitous," … Just listen to the language there! This is the grand old tradition of dehumanizing ideological vituperation, in direct line of descent from Thomas More's ravings against Luther, or the names Karl Marx called Ferdinand Lasalle, both of which I'll leave you to look up for yourselves, this being a family website.

The Chinese language is slightly more delicate in these matters, so I can tell you what Mao Tse-tung called his ideological enemies, quote: "bloodsuckers, parasites, smiling tigers, piles of garbage, cow ghosts and snake demons." End quote.

OK, Kimmel has us pointed in the right ideological direction. Where is the Social Justice angle, though? How do we translate our righteous anger at the counter-revolutionary wrecker Walt Palmer into political action? To use the term Marx himself would have used: how do we incorporate our revolutionary impulses into praxis?

Kimmel tells us:

In the meantime I think it's important to have some good come out of this disgusting tragedy. So this is the website for the Wildlife Conservation Research Unit at Oxford: These are the researchers who put the collar on Cecil in the first place. They track the animals and study them. If you want to do something … If you want to make this into a positive …
Here the tragic aspect of this, quote, "disgusting tragedy" seizes control of Kimmel's pure but sensitive heart. In orations of this kind, you see, it is not enough to merely make verbal gestures towards feminism. The speaker must show us his own feminine side. Thus, for a moment, Kimmel loses control over his emotions:
… you can, er … [Voice breaks] … sorry. I, um … I … I … OK, I'm good.
Beautifully done! Just a glimpse of proper empathy; then stern self-control resumes its mastery. Or mistressy …
Er, make a donation and support them. At the very least …
Yes? Yes? Tell us, Jimmy! What, at the very least, can we do?
Er, maybe … maybe we can show the world that not all Americans are like this jackhole here, this dentist … [Cheers, tumultuous applause.]
Yes! Heaven forbid the world should think we are all callous brutes like Dr. Palmer. We, er …

Wait a minute, I need the goodwhite phrasebook here. I can never remember the approved form of words in the progressive liturgy. What am I searching for here?

Right, got it! This is not who we are.

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. His most recent book, published by com is FROM THE DISSIDENT RIGHT (also available in Kindle).His writings are archived at

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