01m49s Telescopic foreign policy. (A lesson from Dickens.)
04m43s Strong horse, weak horse. (The week in elections.)
12m01s Neither of us is the other. (Horowitzes, Russells, Spencers, Derbyshires.)
18m48s Gender fluidity floods the Anglosphere. (China too?)
22m53s Hospital won't treat racists. (Geezers worst hit.)
27m15s Jeff Sessions back in the arena. (Shut up, Mr President.)
28m47s Williams College news. (Full woke for a quarter million dollars.)
31m07s Naming the split. (The Z-man's contribution.)
32m08s A queer hymnal. (Suggested adaptations.)
34m03s Signoff. (Nostalgia for Sixties survivors.)
01—Intro. And Radio Derb is on the air! Welcome, listeners. As usual at this time of year, I am podcasting to you from Baltimore, where I am attending the annual meeting of the the H.L. Mencken Club. The boss, Peter Brimelow, is here, and many other worthies of the Dissident Right persuasion.
One consequence of my location is that I am far away from VDARE.com's state-of-the-art sound studio in Long Island. Instead I am recording here in my room at the BWI Sheraton hotel. That accounts for the occasional noises off—traffic sounds, gurgling water pipes, doors slamming, muffled screams, random gunshots, and so on. Please don't let them distract you.
Right now it's late Friday evening. The only actual conference event so far was the opening reception at six o'clock; but there's a busy schedule of talks and discussion groups tomorrow, and I'm looking forward to that.
Meanwhile, some titbits from the week's news. Whaddya say, Ethel?
[Clip: Ethel Merman, "Let's go on with the show.".]
02—Telescopic foreign policy. Chapter 4 of Charles Dickens' novel Bleak House bears the title "Telescopic Philanthropy." This chapter introduces us to the character Mrs Jellyby, who from her home in London devotes all her energies to the welfare of, quote,"the natives of Borrioboola-Gha, on the left bank of the Niger," end quote.
Meanwhile Mrs Jellyby neglects her own house and her own children. Her attention, her interest, and her energies are all focused on Africa, on the natives of Borrioboola-Gha. This is what Dickens satirizes as "telescopic philanthropy."
Following the murder of nine Americans—three mothers and six children—in Mexico on Monday on Monday just fifty miles south of the American border, it's dawning on ordinary Americans that our administration, with full support from both our big political parties, is dedicated to telescopic foreign policy.
Our eyes, like Mrs Jellyby's, scan the far horizon seeking out matters we can involve ourselves in and spend our money on. Meanwhile, here at home, our cities clog up with homeless, unelected judges make a mockery of the democratic process, foreign scofflaws pour in across our borders, and our citizens die in tens of thousands every year from illegal drugs.
Those nine Americans died while our fool administration was still crowing about a Special Forces mission in Syria, and while also, of course, our war in Afghanistan chugged into its nineteenth year, and tens of thousands of our troops continued to garrison rich and populous nations like Germany and South Korea that are perfectly well able to manage their own defenses.
Telescopic philanthropy. But while Mrs Jellyby's telescopic philanthropy, however foolish, was at least private, spending no-one's money but her own, neglecting no-one's property and children but her own, ours is a squandering of our national wealth and resources to no national advantage.
On the plus side, voters in Washington State rejected a measure to legalize affirmative action. Precisely, a yes vote would, quote:
allow affirmative action policies by the state of Washington in the areas of public education, public employment, and public contracting as long as such policies do not constitute preferential treatment (as defined) and do not use quotas.
Of course the entire point of affirmative action is to give preferential treatment to favored groups, and quotas are the only way you can do so without risking legal trouble. Everybody understands this, but everyone has to pretend not to. Thanks to the voters of Washington State—well, 52 percent of them—for giving a good kick in the shins to the whole dishonest sham.
And then, voters in Tucson, Arizona voted down an initiative that would have made Tucson a sanctuary city. This initiative was in reaction to the famous law passed in 2010 by the state legislature, and signed by then-governor Jan Brewer, giving state law enforcement powers to help enforce federal immigration laws. Kritarchs of course struck down most of the law, but left it OK for officers to check a suspect's immigration status. The idea of the initiative was to kill that last surviving portion of the 2010 law—to finish the job the kritarchs left un-finished. Instead, voters killed the initiative, leaving the law standing.
This wasn't a 50-50 decision either; more than 70 percent of Tucson voters said no to the sanctuary city idea. Well done, Tucson! Sanctuary much!
Good news from Texas, too. Texas is one of just seven states without a personal income tax. (Pop quiz: How many of the other six can you name?) The Texas state constitution says there can only be a state income tax if it's approved by a majority of legislators and a majority of voters in referendum.
Well, Texans voted by nearly 75 percent to 25 for an amendment raising that simple majority of legislators to two-thirds, while still requiring also a majority of voters. So with the state constitution thus amended, now it's even harder than it was before to get an income tax passed in Texas.
So some nice pluses there, but nationwide most of the news was bad for President Trump and his party. In Virginia, Democrats now control both houses of the state legislature for the first time in 26 years. Republican losses in Pennsylvania inspired the Associated Press report to descriptives like "blue wave" and "catastrophic."
The GOP candidate for governor of Kentucky lost, in spite of Trump having staged a big rally in his support on Monday night. He only lost by a whisker—less than half of one percent—but still … Kentucky!
So it goes. There's a pattern though, if you look for it. So at any rate says Daniel Horowitz over at Conservative Review. I'll let him explain, edited quotes:
On critical issues, especially on issues like immigration and crime, Republicans are not as emphatically to the right as Democrats are to the left …
How else do you explain, on the one hand, Republican issues winning overwhelmingly in urban and very Hispanic Tucson, but on the other hand, GOP candidates losing tremendous ground in suburbs, even in red states like Mississippi? …
Voters in no way support the extreme agenda of the Democratic Party, certainly not those living in suburban neighborhoods in the south. But the Republican Party is a terrible vehicle for promoting a bold contrast.
I'd chop that last sentence down from eleven words to five: "The Republican Party is terrible." I think Daniel Horowitz has caught on to an important truth there. As a great political analyst once said: "When people see a strong horse and a weak horse, by nature they will like the strong horse."
The Democratic Party is the strong horse here. Their ideas are wrong-headed, frequently crazy, but they pursue political victory with vigor and conviction. The Republicans are the weak horse. They have much more sensible ideas, but they are hobbled by their globalist business donors, and they half-believe the cant out of media and the academy that national sovereignty, demographic stability, and realism about sex and race are immoral.
Democrats are bold and loud, Republicans are timid and apologetic. Strong horse, weak horse.
As it happens I attended a talk by Daniel last week in New York City. I was introduced to him beforehand; he knew who I was; we exchanged a few cordial pleasantries; then I enjoyed listening to him give a fine spirited talk about immigration and judicial arrogance.
Daniel actually wrote a book on the latter topic—about what we at VDARE.com call the kritarchy—back in 2016, co-authoring with Michael Levin. Stolen Sovereignty is the title, and I commend it to your attention; although I think that, with a federal judge somewhere issuing an injunction every time Donald Trump blows his nose, an updated edition might be a good idea.
[Added when archiving: In an interesting example of the topic infecting the text, I confused race-realist philosopher Michael Levin with my rival podcaster (and Daniel Horowitz's boss at Conservative Review) Mark Levin. It was Mark, not Michael, who co-authored the book with Daniel, and "co-authored" is a stretch: Mark just contributed a foreword. When a commentator says of some book, "I commend it to your attention," he means, "looks like something you might find interesting." You should not assume he has read it.]
So put me down as a fan of Daniel Horowitz. Unfortunately he labors under the disadvantage that his first initial and surname are the same as those of David Horowitz, editor of the venerable conservative website FrontPageMag.com. Naturally the younger Horowitz, Daniel, gets confused with the older one, David. I have no idea whether or not they are related.
Confusions of this kind are distressingly common in public life. Permit me to quote from one of my old Straggler columns at National Review. This was July 2006. The subject of the column was Letters to the Editor. Quote from the Straggler, quote:
A personal favorite of mine is the one sent to the London Times in February 1959, signed jointly by Earl Russell, a.k.a. Bertrand Russell, the philosopher and gadfly, and Lord Russell of Liverpool, a jurist who had helped prosecute the Nazi defendants at Nuremberg. After the latter's book The Scourge of the Swastika became a bestseller, people started getting the two aristocratic Russells mixed up, leading to the joint letter, whose text read, in its entirety: [inner quote] "In order to discourage confusions which have been constantly occurring, we beg herewith to state that neither of us is the other." [End inner quote.] There you have a perfect letter to the editor: memorable, socially useful, and brief.
If you're wondering how England could have two lords named Russell, it's because one of them, the philosopher, was an earl, while the other one, the jurist, was only a baron, two rungs lower on the aristocratic ladder. If you yearn to know more, I refer you to the classic reference work on British titles, Debrett's Peerage, Baronetage, Knightage, and Companionage.
Another instance of this confusion showed up on Twitter the other day. Robert Spencer, author of numerous books about the Middle East and principal of the website jihadwatch.org issued a tweet along the same lines as that letter to the Times sixty years ago from the two lords Russell. Tweet from Robert Spencer:
I see that Richard Spencer is trending. I have no idea why, but this is likely to move a lot more idiots and trolls to confuse us. This is a reminder that Richard and Robert are not the same name, and I am not Richard. Thank you in advance for understanding.
Your onomastically genial host here has been involved in similar confusions. Jonathan Derbyshire, an opinion-page editor at the Financial Times, is constantly pestered by people mistaking him for the proprietor of Radio Derb, which has of course a much higher profile among the opinion-seeking public. In a spirit of collegial magnanimity I have offered to relieve Jonathan of the annoyance by changing my name, in return for a modest sum of money, but Jonathan has so far not responded to my offer.
There was even another rising star in opinion journalism with precisely the same name as myself, another John Derbyshire, a young fellow not long out of college. This other John Derbyshire even started up a weekly podcast in competition with Radio Derb. Unfortunately the young man suffered a fatal automobile accident while visiting Turkmenistan at the personal invitation of my dear friend President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov. A real tragedy: So young, so talented …
[Clip: Turkmen national anthem.]
I had an item on this two weeks ago. That referred to a ruling by Air Canada that they will no longer say "ladies and gentlemen" or mesdames et messieurs when addressing airplane passengers en masse. To do so would apparently be de trop, if not un outrage à la pudeur.
I don't know how much further French-speakers will take this, but it's spreading like wildfire through the Anglosphere. Here's a news item from Britain dated November 3rd.
Actors over there in Shakespeare's Island have a labor union called Equity. Last week this union issued guidelines for theaters and such banning the phrase "ladies and gentlemen." The actual Royal Shakespeare Company snapped to attention, putting out a statement saying that they will, quote:
strive to create environments which welcome and support trans people and people who identify their gender as fluid.
Other production companies have been ahead of the curve. Last year Britain's National Youth Theatre staged a production of Macbeth featuring a female Macbeth married to a female Lady Macbeth; and two of the three witches were males, although one of them was wearing a tutu and apparently nothing else.
And yes: That distant grinding sound you hear is the Bard himself, turning in his grave.
The expurgation of "ladies and gentlemen" may not be limited to the Anglosphere. As a sidebar to these stories, although I'll admit of strictly limited interest, I wonder if China is going woke.
When I lived there 36 years ago the usual mode of address to a mixed-sex gathering was tong-zhi-men, which means "comrades." When I next visited, 18 years later, the word tong-zhi had wellnigh disappeared from ordinary usage. I was hearing xian-sheng-men, nü-shi-men, which means "gentlemen and ladies."
This year, a further 18 years on, tong-zhi has, as I reported in my May Diary, been appropriated by homosexuals. If you address a guy in mainland China as tong-zhi he will either sock you on the jaw or invite you back to his place to look at his collection of Liza Minelli videos.
Xian-sheng-men, nü-shi-men is still current; but I thought I was hearing a lot of the sex-neutral style ge-wei da-jia, a polite way of saying "everybody."
So … is China going woke? That would be an interesting development. I wasn't there long enough this year to form a definite opinion, so I'd be glad to hear input from people more familiar with today's China, or from other people outside the Anglosphere.
Racism, on the dictionary definition, is just an opinion about our species, Homo sapiens. I wouldn't say there are no instances at all when the authorities should be interested in citizens' opinions; but the number of such instances is very small, out at the furthest extremes of terrorist and criminal activity, and we should keep it that way. If a person is partial to some races over others, that's no business of the state. It's just an opinion.
Likewise, if he makes himself obnoxious in public to people of other races, he should be scolded and shamed by his fellow citizens, as we do with other displays of bad manners. Again, no business of the state.
Of course, if there's a major breach of public order, or the person goes burning crosses on people's front lawns, or beating people up, or bombing churches, he should be dealt with under the appropriate laws dealing with assaults on property or persons.
These are the basic understandings of civilized life in a free society. We are losing them fast.
Case in point: A hospital in Bristol, in the southwest of England, is going to withdraw treatment from patients who use, quote, "racist or sexist language, gestures or behaviour." There will be a process like those used at soccer games. For a first offense you'll be shown a yellow card. If the bad manners continue, you'll get a red card. Then your treatment will be, quote, "withdrawn as soon as is safe."
What does that mean? The point where it's safe to withdraw treatment is the point where you are cured, isn't it? In which case the hospital will be discharging you anyway. Perhaps they mean you'll be suffering pain or disability but your condition won't get any worse after treatment's withdrawn. Hard to see how that can be squared with the Hippocratic Oath.
A statement from the hospital says that, quote:
The hospital will also be calling for staff to join its Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Network to champion the approach and to provide support to any affected staff.
I can surmise what's going on here. Hospital patients include a good proportion of old and very old people: citizens who grew up before the infinite delicacy of modern racial etiquette settled in—citizens, furthermore, not always in total possession of their faculties.
Hospital staff, on the other hand, now include a high proportion of nonwhites from decades of Third World immigration. Working the wards, they don't always encounter the careful deference from white people that they're used to outside the hospital.
So now, if some geezer keeps mumbling that he'd rather be attended by an English doctor, he can have his treatment withdrawn.
And that's a good thing! Everyone repeat after me: DIVERSITY IS OUR STRENGTH!
Sessions was in the senate arguing the agenda Trump ran on in 2016 long before Trump declared his candidacy. He was one of Trump's earliest supporters. As Attorney General he did his best, in the teeth of opposition from the judiciary and established bureaucracy, to see that the people's laws on immigration were enforced.
In return Trump insulted and belittled him endlessly—a shameful display of ingratitude and bad manners. Sessions took it all like the gentleman he is, putting the integrity of our government and the good of our country first. After leaving office he told no tales and spoke no ill of anyone.
Jeff Sessions is a rare gem. He told us on Thursday this week that he'll be back running for his old senate seat next November, for the state of Alabama. I hope he gets it; and if the President doesn't want to support him, I hope Trump will at least have the decency to just keep his mouth shut.
Item: I'm always interested in developments at Williams College, the liberal arts school in Williamstown, Massachusetts whose president had a nervous breakdown in 2016 because a student group at the college invited me to speak there.
Well, here's the latest from there, quote:
Students at Williams College have launched a boycott of the entire English Department, claiming the curriculum is "whitewashed" and its scholars "racist."
Joined by alumni and others, the "Boycott English" effort calls "on the students of Williams College to boycott the entire English Department," according to the activists' lengthy online missive.
Their main complaints include allegations of scholars using the N-word, a curriculum that prioritizes white authors over authors of color, and claims that professors of color are not given tenure at the private and preppy Massachusetts institution.
The college is as woke as it is possible to be. Faculty includes two self-described "black queer feminists," one teaching "Introduction to Women's, Gender & Sexuality Studies," the other teaching "Black Literature Matters."
Annual tuition at Williams is $57,000, so a four-year degree will cost you nearly a quarter million dollars.
So here's my question. What on earth, what in God's good earth, is going through the minds of parents writing quarter-million-dollar checks so their kids can spend four years in this lunatic asylum and come out with a B.A. in English?
Item: In last week's podcast I rattled off four different ways to describe the great cultural split that is reshaping our politics:
A listener emailed in to grumble that I'd omitted the descriptors used by blogger Z-man, which he—the listener—liked better than any of mine. Z calls the two sides "Cloud People" and "Dirt People."
I agree that those are indeed excellent descriptors, and shall include them in future lists.
This week it was a story at Breitbart.com about a Christian hymn society releasing a collection of queer hymns, formally "Songs for the Holy Other: Hymns Affirming the LGBTQIA2S+ Community." Quote from Breitbart:
Among the nearly 50 "queer hymns" featured in the collection are: "God of Queer Transgressive Spaces," "Lovely, Needy People," "Quirky Queer and Wonderful" and "The Kingdom of God is the Queerest of Nations."
I don't see the need for new hymns. Couldn't they just have adapted some of the old ones? A tweak here and there to Hymns Ancient and Modern and you have something for the LGBTQIA2S+s.
I'll get the ball rolling. How about "Queerer My God to Thee" … "How Fabulous Thou Art" … "Songs of Thankfulness and Gays" … Although if it's up to me, I think "The Old Rugged Cross" should be left just as it is.
08—Signoff. There you have it, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you for listening; and rest assured, please, that you will be ladies and gentlemen to Radio Derb until officers from the Commission For The Promotion Of Virtue And Prevention Of Vice kick down my door and drag me off for re-education.
Some signoff music. This is an oldie, but I beg your indulgence. I'm a Sixties survivor, and occasionally look back wistfully across these past five decades to the world of my younger self.
Now, I won't deny that Western Civ took a wrong turn in the Sixties—several wrong turns, in fact, the 1965 Immigration Act being one of the wrongest. And when it wasn't being plain wrong, the world of the Sixties was being silly in an aimless and civilizationally unproductive way.
It was my youth, though, and for all the silliness and wrong-headedness swirling around back then, I can't help but nurse nostalgia. Certain names, certain images, certain movies …
Well, enough with the excuses. The movie Midnight Cowboy was released in Britain September 25th 1969. I was living in London, and I went to see it at one of the West End theaters soon after the release … which is to say, just about exactly fifty years ago.
So here, for all you other Sixties survivors, and anyone else who likes a decently well-crafted pop song with that Sixties flavor of what I think can fairly be called creative self-absorption, is Harry Nilsson.
There will be more from Radio Derb next week.
[Music clip: Harry Nilsson, "Everybody's Talkin'."]