02m00s Turbulence and order. (The Portland insurrection.)
08m47s Backing the Blue. (With a cold, realistic eye.)
12m29s Is Brexit woke? (Have we been thinking about it wrong?)
18m20s The Quadruple Entente. (From a strange source.)
21m58s The Gen Z menace. (They're starting to worry me.)
26m34s The African future. (Preventable evils.)
32m07s Immigrants take over. (A lesson from the Bronze Age.)
37m51s The naming of parts. (Toxic-male anatomy.)
40m27s Museum curators gone wild. (Miss BumBum Pageant for the educated classes.)
42m17s The mind's construction in the face. (A case study from Fox News.)
01— Intro. And Radio Derb is on the air! Notably so this week, listeners, as this is actually Radio Derb Number 750. Yes, folks; this is your tenaciously genial host John Derbyshire three-quarters of the way to one thousand podcasts. [Cheering.] Thank you, thank you.
This is also, as it happens, my 250th podcast hosted at VDARE.com. Many thanks to the VDARE editors and technical staff for making Radio Derb possible. Sincere thanks also to the hosts of our previous 500 episodes, Taki's Magazine and National Review Online. And most of all, of course, thanks to our listeners for giving us your time and attention all these years: a total of 454 hours, 44 minutes and 20 seconds if you caught every single podcast.
Well, well: Vita brevis, ars longa. Although, surveying the current national scene, the Latin tag that more readily comes to mind is O tempora, O mores! Let's take a look.
02— Turbulence and order. Our nation's Constitution is getting something of a stress test up in the Northwest, especially in the city of Portland. Anarchist rioters have been assaulting the federal courthouse there, along with of course some vandalizing and looting of private property on the side.
(And in parenthesis, just a word about my use of the word "anarchist" there. No, I don't mean to imply that these rioters are inspired by the writings of Peter Kropotkin, Michael Bakunin, and Max Stirner. I'd be very surprised to learn that any of them are inspired by anything more erudite than Marvel Comics and Teen Vogue. We need some way to refer to them collectively, though, and a fully-informative descriptor like "Soros-funded alliance of Occupy, Antifa, Black Lives Matter, and opportunistic black looters" just isn't snappy enough. End parenthesis.)
The constitutional issue here is the proper role of federal law-enforcement in local disturbances. It's been an issue at some level or other since the very beginnings of the Republic, since the Whiskey Rebellion of the 1790s.
A fundamental principle in play here is localism, also known as the principle of subsidiarity, which says that public issues should be managed and decided at the lowest level able and willing to decide them. You don't want bureaucrats in Washington, DC telling you whether or not you can build a treehouse in your back yard.
Over against that is the body of our fundamental rights and duties as citizens of a common nation. If my town decides that it's OK for me to practice human sacrifice in my back yard, higher authorities will have something to say about it, and it's right that they should.
And then, turbulence. I had things to say about this back in May. I quoted George Orwell's remarks after attending a meeting of striking coal miners during the Great Depression. Orwell had called the miners "sheeplike" and lamented that, quote, "There is no turbulence left in England."
I hastened to add that you can of course have too much turbulence. Still, for a crowd of citizens to break a few windows now and then— the windows of the rich and powerful for strong preference— is not altogether a bad thing.
So what if turbulence well above the window-breaking variety goes on night after night for weeks? And what if the local levels of law enforcement— municipal and state— can't control it? Ideally what you'd want to happen then is, those authorities would call on the feds to take over. The feds would come in and restore order, and life would get back to normal.
But what if the local elected officials don't want to do that? What if, for one reason or another— cold political calculation, perhaps, or a much warmer belief that the guy in charge of the feds is Literally Hitler— what if the Mayor and the Governor prefer the turbulence to just go on, even when rioters are assaulting federal facilities?
A sidebar issue here is the democratic legitimacy of those officials. There are high levels of apathy in municipal voting. I have previously noted the case of New York City, which twice elected Bill De Blasio, a crazy communist, as mayor, on turnouts of thirteen percent and eighteen percent.
Portlanders seem not to be that apathetic. The current mayor, a chap named Ted Wheeler, was elected in 2016. He got 55 percent of the votes in a total turnout just short of two hundred thousand. I can't find a figure for that turnout as a percentage of the total voter roll; but Portland's population is 650 thousand, so on the usual rule of thumb that two-thirds are registered voters, only about half of Portlanders turned out to vote, not much more than half of them voting for Wheeler.
So Portlanders are not as dumb as New Yorkers; but if only half of them bother to vote in mayoral elections, it's tempting for the rest of us to sit back and say: "This current mayhem is what you folk didn't bother to vote for. Enjoy!"
Except of course that federal facilities belong to the rest of us, not just to Portlanders. If they are being vandalized and assaulted, the rest of us have something to say about it.
If Portland's mayor, and his state's governor, don't like what we have to say, we have further recourse. As well as sending in federal officers to defend our property and arrest those who are assaulting it, let's cease all other federal activity in Portland and/or Oregon and stop all federal funding there other than for firm enforcement of federal laws.
03— Backing the Blue. In my chat with Michelle Malkin here at VDARE.com this Thursday, I said the following thing. It's at 56 minutes, 35 seconds on the video.
[Clip: I've mixed with cops a fair amount. I don't know how it is country-wide, but in New York, going into the police force, you're basically going in for twenty years. You go to Police Academy, you come out, you do twenty years, you retire on a very handsome pension; and then you can start a new career, or you can start a handy little business. It's a pretty good life, and— no offense to anyone— but a lot of guys just don't want to jeopardize that.
Michelle: Yes, that's a plain fact. There are pension collectors; and, you know, if their staunchest supporters are bloodied in front of them, eh. Back the Blue …
Me: I back the Blue, but with a slightly cold, realistic eye …
Of course, some people did take offense. "We're putting our lives on the line for you civilians, and you think it's just about the darn pension? …" et cetera, et cetera.
Well, we don't always make ourselves clear when speaking impromptu, so let me just say again: I do back the Blue, and am not such a fool as to think we can enjoy peace and safety without a well-trained, well-funded, properly-remunerated police force. Thanks to all of them for what they do.
And Michelle's credentials on this are way more impressive than mine. That was a Back the Blue rally in Denver on Sunday where Michelle got roughed up, and it was one of many, many that she's attended and spoken at through the years. She's aggrieved that Denver police had been told to stand down and let the anarchists run wild, and she's entitled to be aggrieved on that point.
I'm sorry, though, that I didn't mention, and didn't give Michelle the chance to mention, that one Denver police lieutenant ignored the stand-down order and kept his guys in place, saving the rally from much worse mayhem. Michelle has already, elsewhere, expressed her thanks and appreciation to that lieutenant, and I'm glad to add my thanks to hers. Thank you, officer!
And the point I was making is still a true one. Yes, police work can be dangerous, even fatal, and any officer at any time can find himself called to an act of selfless heroism. With very rare exceptions, cops answer that call.
There is no contradiction in noting, however, that policing is a really good job if you have the temperament for it. Again, I can't speak for the whole country; but where I live in the outer-outer suburbs of New York city, cops retire in the prime of life with gold-plated pensions and benefits. I know by first-hand reports that when my county police headquarters advertises a new round of entrance exams for the local force, the line of applicants goes nine times round the block.
By all means let's back the Blue. Let's also honestly acknowledge, however, that when shyster politicians and their willing stooges in the police command bureaucracy tell rank-and-file officers to stand down to let anarchists run wild, and those rank-and-file officers do stand down, there is more than just blind obedience in play.
04— Is Brexit woke? I haven't posted any Brexit news for a while. I don't really have any actual news, and I don't think there is any. Britain formally withdrew from the European Union on January 31st this year and is now in a one-year "transition period," filled with eye-glazing negotiations about legal and economic fine details.
I did, though, just read a very striking essay on Brexit by British writer Ed West over at Unherd.com.
As you probably know, the debate over Brexit fitted neatly into the big cultural schism that occupies so much of our attention nowadays. The two sides of that schism have been variously named: so variously, I have built lists of the names. Here's my list from last November:
Well, on the Brexit issue, the Brits who wanted to remain in the EU— commonly called Remainers— and those who wanted to leave— the Leavers, of course, a/k/a Brexiteers— make for another entry on that list:
Remainers are blue, globalist, cosmopolitan, and metropolitan. They are the Cloud People; they are the Anywheres.
Brexiteers, on the other hand, are red, nationalist, communitarian, and provincial. They are the Dirt People; they are the Somewheres.
Not so fast, says Ed West. That might turn out to be all wrong. Civilization-wise, the Europe that Britain has left is redder, more provincial, less globalist, and so on than is the Anglosphere— the collection of English-speaking nations with whom the Brits hope to forge new bonds and strengthen old ones.
He notes, for example, that while Britain's Conservative government has made placatory noises to the Black Lives Matter lunatics, France's Emmanuel Macron has given them the back of his hand. Similarly, France protested about Turkey's turning the Hagia Sophia museum back into a mosque and there's considerable indignation about it in other EU countries; but the Brits have said nothing about it.
the English-speaking nations are the most liberal on earth. In continental Europe, only the small Scandinavian countries are comparable and Germany— and even more so France— are further to the Right on core progressive issues like race relations, gender equality and gay rights.
I love contrarian takes like this, and recommend Ed's article to anyone similarly disposed. Just one more quote. This is from the very end of the piece. Quote:
It is not inconceivable that there might be a "great realignment" on Europe, with internationalist Remainers embracing Global Britain and nationalists finding common cause with allies on the continent. Stranger things have happened, and in the 2020s, stranger things will.
This phrase is a play on a much older one from European history: the Triple Entente. That was an understanding between Britain, France, and Russia in the early years of the 20th century, motivated by fear of a rising Germany. It wasn't a formal alliance; but when World War One broke out, it might as well have been, as the Entente countries acted together against Germany and her allies.
So who's in this Quadruple Entente? Well, nobody yet, as it's not yet a thing, only a speculation. It's a very plausible speculation, though, it seems to me.
The part of Germany here is being played by China. Moved by fear of China's fast-rising military power, India, the U.S.A., Japan, and Russia may be headed to a common understanding, perhaps common action, against China. A common understanding: a Quadruple Entente.
The arguments here have been laid out in two blogs, dated July 1st and July 9th, at a website called The Giza Death Star, run by an Oklahoma eccentric named Joseph Farrell, who has published a book of that same name, The Giza Death Star.
To call Farrell eccentric is actually an understatement: He is way further out than merely eccentric. Farrell belongs in fact, along with the likes of Charles Fort, Immanuel Velikovsky, and many others, to that brotherhood of crackpot intellectuals that the rest of the world thinks of as characteristically American (although Velikovsky didn't settle here until his forties). Farrell has a doctorate in, uh, Theology. The gist of his book The Giza Death Star is that the Great Pyramid in Egypt was a weapon deployed in an interplanetary war. Hoo-kay.
No, I'm not going to try to sell you on that, which I think is nuts. Those two blogs from earlier this month speculating about a Quadruple Entente are, however, worth your time.
Supposing I am right about that, they raise the interesting question: Can a crackpot who believes crazy things also have interesting thoughts that make sense? Stopped clocks and all that. I leave it with you.
06— The Gen Z menace. Here's a real, credentialed scholar of geopolitics and geostrategy; this one not, so far as I can tell, a crackpot about the Pyramids. His name is Richard Hanania and he's a research fellow at Columbia University. I find him quite simpatico and follow him on Twitter.
Here he was the other day tweeting a survey he'd found— he doesn't give a source— about the Washington Redskins changing their name. Should they? the pollster asked, and broke down responses by broad age group.
Only twenty-four percent of Baby Boomers thought they should. For Gen X respondents— people age 40 to 55— it was twenty-seven percent; for Millennials— ages 25 to 40— thirty-one percent. For Gen Z— the under-twenty-fives— there was a big jump: forty-five percent of respondents though the Redskins should change their name.
All right, it's a straw in the wind. And all right: we get more conservative as we get older. That's a big straw, though, and a heck of a wind.
The numbers are more impressive if you cut out the don't-knows and just compare shoulds to shouldn'ts. For those with an opinion we get the following ratios, should change the name to shouldn't:
The Gen Z ratio is three times the one for Millennials. As Hanania says, tweet:
By 2-1, Gen Z favors the Redskins name change, every other generation opposes it. Basically, you can predict every single thing the younger generation believes by just looking at the [New York Times] editorial page and what's happening at schools and universities.
That's awful and depressing. Last week I had a segment wondering whether Poland will go Irish: that is to say, wondering whether the first of those two deeply Catholic, conservative, ethnonationalist countries will follow the second into the long dark night of wokeness.
Among the responses I got was one pointing me to a news report about Poland's recent election headlined: "Older, rural voters tip Poland's election to the incumbent"— that is, to Andrzej Duda, the conservative-ethnonationalist candidate.
The implication there is that as those older, more rural voters die off, a more woke younger generation of Poles might indeed send their country down the path Ireland has taken.
Again, I know: We get more conservative as we get older. And Ed West's speculations, which I noted earlier, about Europe standing to defend her civilization while the English-speaking world slips ever deeper into multiculti progressivism, might put Poland back on the rails.
I know, I know; yet still, Gen Z— these under-25s— are starting to worry me.
07— The African future. Steve has drawn our attention to a report from the BBC on world population trends.
It's a shocker: no great surprises, but none the less shocking. Sample quotes:
End sample quotes.
There are 1,058 words in the story. You have to read 843 of them— so you're just at eighty percent of the way through the story— before you reach this, quote:
The population of sub-Saharan Africa is expected to treble in size to more than three billion people by 2100.
And the study says Nigeria will become the world's second biggest country [behind India, they mean], with a population of 791 million.
So: At the end of this century Nigeria will have more people than China … in less than ten percent of China's land area. Interesting. Is it wrong of me to think it strange that I had to read through four-fifths of the story to get to that?
Ah, but, the lead researcher tells us, quote:
We will have many more people of African descent in many more countries as we go through this.
Global recognition of the challenges around racism are going to be all the more critical if there are large numbers of people of African descent in many countries.
Indeed. "The challenges around racism." It goes without saying that there are no problems with bringing tens of millions of blacks into countries that formerly had none, except for "The challenges around racism."
To put it another way: Any problems that might arise from such a massive demographic transformation will be the fault of non-black people.
"The supreme function of statesmanship is to provide against preventable evils," said a great man fifty-two years ago. Is there a preventable evil here our statesmen should be providing against, for the sake of our children and grandchildren?
If there is, will any of them speak about it? Dare any of them speak about it?
Back in my late-teen years I read Geoffrey Bibby's book with the title Four Thousand Years Ago, subtitle: "A Panorama of Life in the Second Millennium B.C." The teenage Derb was fascinated to learn how much history took place before what we normally think of as history, even before ancient history. The world was a busy place way back there in the Bronze Age.
Not the least fascinating aspect was, that you could, without trying very hard, find faint echoes in that history of Old Testament stories: the migration of Abraham and his clan from Mesopotamia to Palestine; Joseph's rise in Egypt and the migration of his clan thither; Moses and the Exodus; the settlement of Canaan.
Now, sixty years on, the glow has faded considerably. Bibby was a professional archeologist and knew his stuff, but inevitably there have been new discoveries in the decades since he did his work, so much of what he wrote has been superseded. The historicity of the Old Testament stories is not given much credence by scholars nowadays.
Still, in reflective moments, I marvel to think that, so long ago, there were people much like myself, working and playing, eating and loving, reading and writing, marrying and socializing, living in cities with roads and schools and temples. The ancient world, however imperfectly we know it, however distorted and mythologized is our collective memory of it, is great food for the imagination.
And Egypt is always there, a part of it, from way back in the third millennium B.C., quite possibly even the fourth. What a span of time! How uncountably many lives were lived in all those distant centuries!
Bibby and other writers told us that the Egyptians were ruled by no-one but themselves for the first fifteen hundred years of their kingdom. There were some spells of division, but the rulers were always Egyptian.
Then (the story continued) around 1700 B.C. Egypt was invaded by Semitic nomads called the Hyksos. Where exactly the Hyksos invaded from depended on who you read. Bibby, as I recall, thought they were Amorites from northern Mesopotamia who had made their way down through Palestine to attack Egypt from the north.
Wherever they came from, they took over northern Egypt and established a dynasty, the Fifteenth, which lasted a hundred years. That's the story we read.
One oddity about this story that's been bothersome to archeologists is that there isn't much archeological evidence of the kind of slaughter and destruction you'd expect when a foreign army takes over inhabited territory. This particular anomaly may just now have been resolved.
Science magazine, July 15th, headline: "Invasion" of ancient Egypt may have actually been immigrant uprising.
Yes: By dint of some very clever detective work on skeletons buried in Egypt long before the Hyksos showed up and comparing them with known Hyksos skeletons, some British archeologists have figured out that there was a big immigrant community of Hyksos in Egypt long before they took over the country. Quote:
Their rise to power is probably explained by the failings of the pharaohs to control the area, says Egyptologist John Darnell at Yale University.
So this may be a case of immigrants— the Hyksos— doing the work Egyptians wouldn't do— ruling Egypt.
Imprimis: Earlier this year I had a spot of bother with my Eustachian tubes, teeny little passages that go from the inner ear to the back of the nose. Radio Derb listeners were very helpful, and the problem is solved.
Those pesky tubes are named after Bartolomeo Eustachi, a 16th-century Italian anatomist. I bet you didn't know that.
I don't have any Fallopian tubes, but if I did have any I'd be glad to know they were named after Gabriele Falloppio, another 16th-century Italian anatomist.
Where am I going with this? To an article in the July 18th Daily Mail about a campaign launched by doctors in Australia to purge from our medical vocabulary any terms for body parts that are named after men or are otherwise misogynistic. Eustachian and Fallopian tubes, Achilles tendon, Adam's apple, … they've all got to go!
The stupidity level here is higher even than usual for a cultural revolution story, which God knows is high enough. Quote:
The speculum— used by gynaecologists to perform a pap smear— was named after an American slave trader.
Oh yeah: Ol' Simon Legree Speculum, remember him? Actually you don't. The word "speculum," according to the Oxford English Dictionary, is taken from the Latin verb specere, "to look at or observe."
[Australian accent.] Strewth, you Aussies, don't youse have anything better to do down there than bugger up the Queen's English? I mean really: fair suck of the old sauce bottle, Bluey.
This one's pandemic-related. Museums world-wide are in trouble for want of visitors. To keep alive interest in their exhibits, curators have set up a social media challenge to find the world's Best Museum Bum.
Images of statues and paintings from all over, and even a suit of armor, are being submitted to the contest and scrutinized by judges to find the handsomist heinie, the perfect posterior, the cutest keester, the most delightful derrière. It's a sort of Miss BumBum Pageant for the educated classes.
The suit of armor, in case you're wondering, belonged to King Henry VIII of England, whose rear end expanded considerably as he worked his way through the six wives but maintained a properly regal roundness.
In His Majesty's honor, and as defiance to the cultural revolutionaries Down Under, I propose that this particular part of every human being's own personal Down Under be known henceforth as the henry.
Item: A different king, this one King Duncan of Scotland in Shakespeare's Macbeth, told us that, quote: "There's no art / To find the mind's construction in the face."
I respectfully disagree. Sometimes, after you've gotten a good long look at someone's face, you know there are bats in the belfry.
I always felt that way about Cathy Areu, who used to feature on Tucker Carlson's show as the "liberal sherpa," explaining abstruse points of the cultural revolution to Tucker and his viewers.
Cathy hasn't been on the show for a while, and now she is suing Carlson and other Fox personnel for sexual harassment.
The lawsuit isn't going well. Ms Areu's claims are addled with errors: mismatched dates and places, dubious quotes, a claim to have been trapped in a studio chair because she didn't know how to remove her voice mike and ear piece. Guest mikes are just clipped to your clothing; the ear piece is just … an ear piece. Spectator USA July 21st had a full account of all the blunders and inconsistencies.
I could have spared Fox the trouble. For a modest fee I will pre-screen future studio guests for them to eliminate the troublemakers. It's in the face, whatever Shakespeare thought.
Radio Derb podcast number 750 in the bag. Onward and upward!
There will be more from Radio Derb next week.