01:58 Joe Biden's personal Gestapo. (What voters think of the FBI.)
09:21 Higher Ed explained. (Why it's so bloated.)
18:15 It's a mad mad mad mad world. (Probably not ergot.)
25:42 A hero of our time. (Jared speaks … if they let him.)
29:24 The forever war. (Stuck in a fantasy.)
37:54 Headline of the week. (In 1200 B.C.)
39:37 Dad humor. (It is to groan.)
41:54 Renaming monkeypox. (Steve's readers are on it.)
43:31 Signoff. (With a great tubist.)
01 — Intro. And Radio Derb is on the air! Greetings once again, listeners. This is of course your indulgently genial host John Derbyshire. Before proceeding I should explain the intro music you just heard.
When signing off three podcasts ago I mentioned that in among my email I get frequent requests to feature some one particular musical instrument in the signoff music. In response to one such request I thereupon signed off with some ukulele music.
This week I shall indulge a different listener. He requested some tuba music, and he recommended Dmitri Shostakovich's "Second Waltz" for the purpose. Well, there you are, Sir: a snippet of that work, played by the Johann Strauss Orchestra. I'm afraid I don't know the name of the tubist.
I shall have more tuba music for you at signoff. Be patient, please! First, some commentary on the news.
02 — Joe Biden's personal Gestapo. Eight months ago — which of course means long before the raid on Mar-a-Lago — Rasmussen polled a thousand likely voters with the question:
Do you agree or disagree with this statement: There is "a group of politicized thugs at the top of the FBI who are using the FBI … as Joe Biden's personal Gestapo"?
Twenty-nine percent of those likely voters strongly agreed; another seventeen percent somewhat agreed. That's an aggregate 46 percent agreeing — close to half. If Rasmussen were to repeat that poll today, after the Mar-a-Lago raid, I bet it would be more than half.
How did the FBI go from being stalwart defenders of the American Way against organized crime and foreign espionage to having half the voting public seeing them as the President's personal Gestapo?
Well, the slide has been going on for some decades; but one event that mightily accelerated the slide happened thirty years ago this week. That was the siege of Ruby Ridge in the mountains of upcountry Idaho.
The target of the siege was 44-year-old Randy Weaver, an eccentric but perfectly harmless citizen who held survivalist and white-separatist beliefs. Those beliefs had gotten him involved with undercover federal agents who were infiltrating an Aryan Nations group.
The agents framed up Weaver with a petty firearms offense. When Weaver failed to show up at the court hearing, six U.S. Marshals outfitted in full combat gear, carrying automatic weapons, went to the mountain cabin where he lived with his wife and their four children and some dogs.
Marshals spotted Weaver's 14-year-old son Sammy in company with one of the dogs and a friend of Weaver's who was visiting the family. They shot and killed the dog. Sammy fired in their direction without hitting anyone, then turned to go back to the cabin; a marshal shot him in the back, killing him. The family friend responded by fatally shooting one of the marshals.
That shoot-out escalated the issue and the FBI was called in and commenced an eleven-day siege. An FBI sniper shot Randy Weaver, although not fatally. Shortly afterwards that same sniper shot and killed Mrs Weaver — standing in her yard, unarmed, holding her ten-month-old baby daughter.
The family friend was also shot — hit by the same bullet that had killed Mrs Weaver. He was badly hurt, but survived.
Captured at last and put on trial, Weaver and his friend were acquitted on all charges except the original failure to appear for the court date Weaver had been trapped into by the FBI.
The Justice Department did their best to cover up the details of the case, scoffing at Weaver and his friend as white-supremacist terrorists and so on. However, Wall Street Journal reporter James Bovard got hold of the relevant documents and blew their cover.
The government settled with Weaver for 3.1 million dollars. Weaver's friend got $380,000. A senior FBI official was sent to prison for destroying key evidence.
The FBI sniper who'd shot Mrs Weaver — again: standing in her yard, unarmed, holding her ten-month-old baby daughter — was indicted for manslaughter by a state prosecutor but the feds got the case dismissed on the grounds that, quote:
A federal officer cannot be held on a state criminal charge where the alleged crime arose during the performance of his federal duties.
That sniper never did serve any time, nor pay any penalty. He went on to play a much-disputed role in the massacre of the Branch Davidians at Waco, Texas. His present whereabouts are unknown to the internet.
Randy Weaver died in May this year at age 74 after some weeks of illness. I don't know the nature of the illness.
So yeah, the FBI, which half my fellow citizens agree is "Joe Biden's personal Gestapo." I'm just going to register my irritation at all the evils of the world being compared — always, every time — to Adolf Hitler and his agencies. It lets the communists off way too lightly.
That registered, there need to be some major, serious, whole-hearted purges in federal law enforcement: not just the FBI but the U.S. Marshals Service, too, and the DEA and the ATF. If I were in charge the reform would be zero-based: fire the whole lot of them, top to bottom, stick every one of them with a lifetime ban on federal employment, then build up from scratch.
I would add ICE to that list of agencies except that where ICE is concerned, all the efforts of the federal government are bent towards ICE agents doing nothing at all to enforce the people's laws.
03 — Higher Ed explained. The top talking-point this week has been our President's proposal for some limited forgiveness of federal student loans. What does Radio Derb think of this?
What I think is, it gives me the opportunity for a rant about college education in general. Here I go.
In the first place, I don't see why student loans can't be entirely a matter for the private sector. If a bright 18-year-old with an excellent high-school record wants to pursue higher education but his parents can't afford the tuition and boarding fees, why aren't there private-sector lenders — banks and such, perhaps the colleges themselves — willing to lend to him? He's a good prospect for being able to make full repayment once he starts working. What's it got to do with the federal government?
Private-sector lending would also supply a useful filter. To set the precise terms of the loan the lender would want to know how good a prospect the applicant is. A big determinant there would be the subject he intended to major in. Medicine? Engineering? Comp-Sci? Law? Business? Good prospects. History? English? Philosophy? Hmm. Grievance Studies? You kidding?
The size of those fees is an issue all by itself. College tuition fees have far, far outpaced ordinary currency inflation in recent decades. The average annual cost of tuition at a public 4-year college today is thirty-seven times higher than it was in 1963, when I began my college education.
Some of that thirty-seven times is of course what I just called "ordinary currency inflation," but a whole lot of it isn't. Adjusting for that ordinary currency inflation, average tuition fees today are still eight and a half times what they were in 1963.
Eight and a half times! What explains that? Is college education eight and a half times better today than it was sixty years ago? From what I have seen and heard, including my own mid-1960s college experience, I very much doubt it.
Is it just the market working its magic? Supply and demand? — way more people vying for the same or fewer numbers of college places? That may be some of it. Total college enrollment in 1963 was less than five million; today it's more than twenty million. That's not an eight-and-a-half multiple, though, and the number of college places has surely expanded to meet increased demand.
The increased demand at least is not hard to understand. We have moved decisively into a post-industrial society that needs a lot more symbol manipulators and a lot fewer factory hands. Symbol manipulation needs to be taught, and that's what colleges do.
But again, that's only part of an answer. For one thing, only a fraction of the symbol-manipulation fields need four years of classroom study to get you to employment-ready expertise.
This used to be widely understood. For example, there used to be people called "articled clerks"; trainee lawyers, accountants, and such, who learned on the job, working for very low wages.
I myself made a very good living for thirty years as a computer programmer, the ultimate in symbol manipulation; yet I never studied programming in a classroom, other than some brief company training courses, and I have no academic credentials in the field. I picked up programming from books and manuals, and from … doing it.
There is also a mismatch, quite a severe one, in higher education. You need an above-average IQ to work at symbol manipulation; and by definition most people don't have one. If we use IQ 110 as a cutoff, only one white American in four makes it, and only one black American in twenty.
Those are roughly the proportions of people for whom college is, from a strictly educational point of view, not a waste of time. The notion that everyone should go to college is one of the dumbest ever to be aired in public; but it has led to a vast increase in college populations, and so in the wealth and importance of colleges.
But of course college isn't just about education. We live under a social ethos that declares intelligence testing to be a ploy of Satan. Applying straightforward intelligence or aptitude tests to prospective employees is not altogether illegal; but a great many people believe it is, and even employers who know it isn't are wary of incurring liability in the dark penumbras of employment law. They therefore want job applicants to show some kind of credentials, and a college graduation certificate fills the bill.
At this point in the argument someone says: "Employers also want some evidence of the right personality traits — conscientiousness, perseverance. Coming successfully through four years of college offers that evidence."
I suppose it does. Personality traits have long since been quantified, though, and could be tested for at job-application time, just like IQ, if our cultural commissars allowed it, which of course they won't.
So in addition to higher education, colleges supply an expensive and time-wasting credential that is much in demand, although it really shouldn't be. Hence all the bogus light-weight undergraduate courses and Departments of Buncombe Studies.
What should be the role of the federal goverment in higher education? I can't see that it should have any, so long as the nation's need for graduate-level skills in essential fields like Medicine and Engineering are met.
Educating a new generation of historians or classicists is very worthwhile for the sustenance of our civilization; but so is the painting of pictures and writing of novels. Political interference in such areas does more harm than good.
04 — It's a mad mad mad mad world. There is madness all around us — more than the usual amount, I believe.
I keep finding myself thinking of those stories about villages in medieval Europe where suddenly everyone was seized with a dancing frenzy, or the urge to bark like a dog. Is what happened to those villages happening to the world at large?
Here's a story from Australia, whose population I used to think of as exceptionally calm, sensible, and phlegmatic.
At a tony private school in Melbourne, Australia, a female student in year eight (which I guess means she is thirteen or fourteen — the news story just says "teenager") identifies as a cat.
This girl is very bright and capable, the school says, but she won't speak during school hours. A source close to the girl's family told the Daily Mail that, quote:
No one seems to have a protocol for students identifying as animals, but the approach has been that if it doesn't disrupt the school, everyone is being supportive.
It's not just that one case, either. Melbourne is in the extreme south of Australia. At a tony private school in Brisbane, on the east coast further north, it was reported back in March that female students were walking on all fours and cutting holes into their school uniforms for tails because they identify as cats or foxes.
Nor is it just Australia that's affected. There is a whole subculture of people — mainly youngsters — identifying as animals. They call themselves "furries," and the phenomenon is international. A school district in Michigan was recently forced to deny that litter boxes were provided to students who identify as "furries" after a woman made the claim in a school board meeting.
I'll just pause here to note the injustice of this cult calling themselves "furries." Not all animals have fur. What about reptiles? Even among higher animals, those with something like intelligence, fur isn't universal. Octopuses are as intelligent as any furry vertebrate. I urge listeners to join with me in helping to stamp out furry privilege.
Back to the main theme: Those medieval villagers suddenly seized with uncontrollable dance frenzy or dog-barking were, it is generally thought, reacting to something in their food supply.
The villain most often fingered here is ergot, a kind of fungus mold that grows on bread and is known to have hallucinogenic properties. All kinds of mass social aberrations both physical and psychiatric, from plagues to witch hunts, have been blamed on ergot.
We don't any longer have to eat moldy bread as our medieval ancestors did, but there are problems with our food supply, as evidenced by the high level of obesity among poor people in the First World. Our civilization is, as has often been noted, the first in history in which poor people are fat and rich people are thin.
Could it be that our diet is giving us psychiatric problems along with the merely physical ones? Among all the myriad chemical compounds, natural and additive, that make up our diet, might there be hallucinogens, perhaps of a slowly cumulative kind?
I'd like to believe that well-credentialed researchers in appropriate fields — microbiology, organic chemistry, neuroscience, and so on — are studying the relationship between the modern First World diet and the weird, irrational hysterias that sweep through our societies from time to time — phenomena like the 2020 George Floyd frenzy or the fast-rising popularity of gender reassignment by chemical or surgical means.
I'd like to believe that, but I doubt such research is actually taking place. When great numbers of us are swept up in these hysterias, to the degree that all respectable organs of education and opinion say that reality is like this and that those who stubbornly persist in believing it's like that are evil people driven by hatred who should be fired from their jobs, shut out from social media, and have their bank accounts closed … When the psychiatric plague has taken over to that degree, those well-credentialed researchers are dancing themselves to exhaustion with the rest, or barking like dogs with the rest, or joining in the witch-hunts with the rest.
Still I wonder. What ergot did to those medieval villagers, perhaps some other agent is doing to us, but on a much wider scale. History shows that we live on the edge of madness, and that sometimes entire societies dive right in.
I know, I know: I think about this stuff too much. I need to calm down, take a break, make myself a sandwich … Here we go. Wait, what's this on the bread? …
05 — A hero of our time. Jared Taylor is proprietor of the American Renaissance website. His voice is one of the most eloquent and most consistent of those advocating for the group interests of white Americans — a perfectly reasonable thing to advocate for in a multiracial society. We frequently cross-post Jared's opinion pieces here at VDARE.com, always with his permission of course.
I've been a fan of Jared's since reading his book Paved with Good Intentions thirty years ago. I've attended many of American Renaissance's annual conventions, and I've had the privilege of speaking at some of them.
So it was with much interest that I saw Jared himself is scheduled to speak to a student group at Arizona State University in Tempe next Friday. Title of his talk: "If We Do Nothing: A Defense of White Identity Politics." That's the title.
(I'll just point out, for those not aware of it, that "If We Do Nothing" is also the title of another of Jared's books: a collection he published in 2017 of essays from the previous 25 years. Well worth your twenty bucks, and now available as an audiobook, too.)
OK, back to Tempe, Arizona, where Jared is scheduled to speak September 2nd. The thing I'm wondering is of course: Will this actually happen? The anti-white and anarchist mobs are already shrieking and howling on social media.
Will Arizona State University authorities buckle under threats of disorder, the way Williams College did when I was scheduled to speak there back in 2016? "Free speech is a value I hold in extremely high regard," squealed the college president on that occasion as he bent over and grabbed his ankles for the Antifa hooligans.
Or will the visit go ahead but end prematurely in hysteria, broken windows, and the roughing-up of female faculty members, as happened when Charles Murray addressed students at Middlebury College the following year?
I await developments with interest. Whatever happens, I can't say I'm afraid on Jared's behalf. He keeps himself superbly fit and is perfectly fearless.
This is a seasoned warrior the anti-whites are up against here. I'd call out some encouraging words like, "Stay the course, Jared! Don't back down!" But I know Jared will stay the course, and won't back down. A hero of our time.
06 — The forever war. Just because we cut and ran from Afghanistan doesn't mean we've given up pointless wars in the Middle East. How could we? That's not who we are!
Hence this headline from The Washington Times, August 23rd, headline: U.S. airstrikes target militia-controlled areas in east Syria.
Now, I'll admit that my brain's powers of attention and retention are not what they used to be, but be honest please: Do you have any idea what this is all about? Could you explain to an intelligent teenager who those militia are, how they came to control areas in east Syria, and why we sent our planes to bomb them?
It must have been real important that we do so. The Washington Times tells us that, quote: "the strikes … came at the orders of President Joe Biden," end quote.
Let me dig a little deeper for you, see if I can figure what's going on. Quote:
The airstrikes targeted the Ayash Camp run by the Fatimiyoun group made up of Shiite fighters from Afghanistan.
O-kay … Shiites I know about. That's the breed of Muslims that run Iran and a good bit of Iraq. I think I knew there were Shiites in Afghanistan, too, but I forget why it matters. Ayash? … Fatimiyoun? … Sorry, no clue.
Further quote from The Washington Times:
[Inner quote.] "Today's strikes were necessary to protect and defend U.S. personnel," [end inner quote] Central Command spokesman Col. Joe Buccino said in a statement.
OK, now I'm engaged. Protecting and defending U.S. personnel is definitely something we should be doing. Wait, though: that sounds like a dangerous part of the world. What are our personnel doing there? Further quote:
The colonel added the attack was in response to an Aug. 15 attack targeting U.S. forces. That attack saw drones allegedly launched by Iranian-backed militias target the al-Tanf Garrison used by American forces.
Uh-huh. "Used by American forces." Used for what? Further quote:
Deir Ez-Zor is a strategic province that borders Iraq and contains oil fields. Iran-backed militia groups and Syrian forces control the area and have often been the target of Israeli warplanes in previous strikes.
Now I've totally lost the thread again. This place borders Iraq? So what? It contains oil fields? Why do we care about that?
Oil is bad, isn't it? It's fossil fuel, causes global warming. We've shut down our own pipelines, stopped prospecting, and banned fracking. Shouldn't we just bomb the bejasus out of … what's the place called? … Deir Ez-Zor … shouldn't we just bomb them to hell so they can't produce any more of the filthy stuff? Wouldn't that be a net plus for the climate?
And then "Iran-backed militia groups and Syrian forces." Oh, right: there's a civil war in Syria, been going on for years. Which side are we on, though? I forget. And why are we on any side? What's Syria to us? The place is just another Third World dung-hole. Why are we spending money dropping bombs there?
Oh, and those militia groups and Syrians "have often been the target of Israeli warplanes in previous strikes." Well, it's Israel's neighborhood so I guess they know what they're doing. My strong impression is that the Israelis can take good care of themselves. If something in Syria needs bombing, they can bomb it — as apparently they did in those previous strikes. Again: What are we doing there?
What we are doing of course is, we are continuing to pursue the fantasy of late 2001: the fantasy that by a mixture of force, example, careful stewardship and huge cash subsidies, we could turn corrupt tribal theocracies into modern nations governed by mass consent and practicing honest commerce.
We couldn't, of course. The force we applied just created new or enlarged counter-force — like those militias, and the Taliban who chased us out of Afghanistan. The example fell on stony ground: these places need a few centuries of constitutional development before they can be little Denmarks. The stewards pocketed our cash subsidies and withdrew to luxury apartments in Dubai with gold-plated bathroom fixtures.
It was all an utter failure, 21 years of failure.
It's hard to let go of fantasies, though, and the military-industrial complex needs feeding. In that long Cold War we somehow lost the habit of minding our own business.
How will it all end? The way it always ends for tired, overstretched empires living out fantasies of global supremacy. There will be a military debacle — pray God only a small one, like Suez or Dien Bien Phu, or at worst a short and localized one, like the Russo-Japanese War.
When will this happen? Could be next week, could be ten years from now. The firmest I'll say is: If it hasn't happened by this date in 2035, I shall be very surprised … if I'm around to be surprised.
07 — Miscellany. And now, our closing miscellany of brief items.
Imprimis: Headline of the week: Fall of Troy was inevitable, say Opposition party leaders.
That's the headline. I found myself in full agreement with those Opposition party leaders, whoever they were. Yes: once Odysseus got that wooden horse inside the gates and Cassandra had been shouted down and Laocoön disposed of, the fall of Troy was inevitable.
What was that doing as a newspaper headline, though? Wasn't it kind of … old news? Like, three thousand years old?
I buckled down to it and read the accompanying story. Ah. This is not Troy the city, this is a guy named Robert Troy, a minister in the government of the Irish Republic. Mr Troy had been caught out making some iffy statements about his property interests and handed in his resignation.
The opposition parties were of course delighted. The leader of the Labour Party, a bold colleen named Ivana Bacik, wanted to drag Mr Troy's corpse behind her chariot round the walls of Dublin, but fortunately her colleagues dissuaded her.
Item: Some light humor here — a Dad joke, in fact. I'm plagiarizing this from Twitter, August 25th.
We're in a diner. A female customer is sitting there, obviously just arrived. A pretty young waitress has come over to her.
Customer: Can I ask you about the menu, please?
Waitress: I'm afraid not. The men I please is none of your business.
All right, it's a terrible joke. Dad jokes are supposed to be terrible.
I'm going to double down here. That joke reminded me of one that was current in Hong Kong when I lived there fifty years ago. I see I've told it before; but that was twenty years ago and on a different website, so the Statute of Internet Joke Limitations applies.
A young Chinese man is getting ready to go and study in America. The day before he leaves, his father takes him aside and warns him: "Son, you must be very careful in America. American women are very bold. They will try to seduce you! You must always be on your guard!" Son: "Yes, father."
On his first day in America the boy goes into a diner. A pretty young waitress comes over. "I'll have the special, please," says the young man. "Tea or coffee?" asks the waitress. "Tea, please." Waitress: "Yes, Sir, with pleasure." Young man: "No, no, no! No pleasure!"
Item: Just one more on the humor beat, this one I'm afraid slightly off-color.
This outbreak of monkeypox is causing a lot of embarrassment to the mainstream media. The disease is spread almost entirely by homosexual buggery, but of course it is shamefully homophobic to say that out loud, or to write it in plain print. Furthermore the "monkey" part of "monkeypox" might be taken by sensitive souls as a very disrespectful allusion to black Americans.
As a result of these unfortunate connotations, naughty people have been suggesting alternative names for the disease. These naughty people have been especially prominent in Steve Sailer's comment threads. One of them has offered "pridepox" as an alternative name which should mollify the shirt-lifting community.
And now I have just noticed another one of Steve's commenters attempting something similar on behalf of our black, indigenous, and people-of-color — which is to say, BIPOC — demographic: BIPOX!
08 — Signoff. That's all I have, ladies and gents. Thank you for your time and attention, your comments and requests, and your kind donations.
I shall just note in passing that Tuesday this week also marked an anniversary: eighty years since the beginning of the German assault on Stalingrad. That was to become the most ferocious battle of modern times: five months of total urban war with hundreds of thousands of dead, both military and civilian. May we be spared such horrors in our own time!
I promised you more tuba music at signout, so here it is. This is from Johann Sebastian Bach's Art of the Fugue, Fugue Number Five, played here by the Canadian Brass Quintet. Thanks to the friend who suggested this.
In this case I do know the name of the tubist: he is Charles Daellenbach. The Canadian Brass website tells us that, quote: "Chuck and his gold-plated & carbon fiber tuba are the bedrock of the massive Canadian Brass repertoire — from Baroque to jazz," end quote. Wikipedia tells us that he is, quote: "the most recorded tuba performer in history," end quote. Hey, you wanted tuba: I've given you tuba.
There will be more from Radio Derb next week.
[Music clip: The Canadian Brass Quintet, J. S. Bach's Contrapunctus 5.]