Radio Derb: Harvard In The Dock,Street-Fighting Men, And Mutiny Among The Troops, Etc.
October 19, 2018, 10:29 PM
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01m54s  Harvard in the dock.  (Race preferences or meritocracy?)

10m29s  Street-fighting men.  (Antifa action generates reaction.)

15m32s  Mutiny in the ranks.  (Britain's soldiers get restive.)

21m24s  A new thoughtcrime: quoting Churchill.  (He was proud of his own race—eeek!)

30m57s  Ann Coulter for the U.N.!  (It would add to the gaiety of nations.)

32m26s  The caravan moves on.  (Making Trump's failure apparent.)

34m41s  Keeping Saudi Arabia stable.  (Our son of a bitch.)

36m18s  Signoff.  (With an earworm.)  

01—Intro.     And Radio Derb is on the air! Greetings, listeners worldwide, from your avowedly genial host John Derbyshire, coming to you from the bosky—and right now, rather chilly—suburbs of Long Island.

Just a note here on the Radio Derb archives. I've had a longstanding project in my head to properly transcribe all the old Radio Derbs for which only the sound files have survived. It's been longstanding for several years, but I've never found the time.

With the passing of Toby, however, I have a blank slot in my daily schedule. Our beloved pooch used to get a good long daily walk—45 minutes to an hour—so I now have the corresponding amount of time on my hands.

To fill it, I have finally got going on transcription. I've done the first year already—May 2004 to May 2005—and should have 2005 complete by month's end. I'll say more about the technology and methods I'm using in my month-end diary. This is just a marker that the work is under way.

OK, let's go to the week's news.

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02—Harvard in the dock.     Monday this week in Boston, first arguments were presented in the case Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard, a lawsuit that claims Harvard University is discriminating against Asian-American applicants.

That Harvard does discriminate against Asian-Americans hardly needs demonstrating. It's been open knowledge among Asian-Americans for almost as long as I've been acquainted with them, which has been forty-five years. We've discussed the issue here at VDARE.com; I had a segment on it in August, and Steve had a post up just the other day. Ron Unz crunched the numbers five years ago.

The point at issue is not in serious doubt. If the court doesn't find against Harvard, there's something seriously wrong with our legal procedures.

Given that this is so, and the probability that the court will rule that it's so, what should we think of it? And what can we do about it?

On the latter question I'm inclined to the reply given by the Irish peasant in that old joke about a traveler who inquired the way to Ballybunion. "If I was going to Ballybunion," said the peasant, "I wouldn't start from here." Through our crazy post-1965 immigration policies, we have gotten ourselves to an undesirable place from which there is no exit and no path of return.

The best I can offer solutionwise is: Could we please stop making things worse? We need an immigration moratorium, which should include very strict limits on issuance of student visas.

On my first question—what should we think about this discrimination?—you soon find yourself deep in the weeds of social, political, and educational philosophy. What's a university for? What are the elite universities for? What relation are they in—should they be in—to the rest of society?

Charles Murray argues the libertarian point of view, that, quote: "In a free society private institutions should be free to admit or refuse whomever they wish." End quote. That tickles my libertarian fancy. I'm a freedom-of-association absolutist. If some private institution wants to admit no Asians, or to admit only Asians, hey.

Is Harvard truly a private institution, though? Don't they get scads of public money via grants and subsidized student loans? If I'm doing research in the Physics Department at Harvard, aren't I likely on a grant from the National Science Foundation, or the Department of Energy?

If Harvard is not a purely private institution, then it is subject to democratic audit, to the political process. If citizens don't like race preferences they should press their representatives to pass laws against them, and Harvard should obey those laws.

But (the libertarian responds), we're all sucking on the government teat. Even a college that rigorously shunned grants and subsidies would be using public highways, police services, and so on. Libertarianism's all or nothing—a utopia!

My libertarian fancy doesn't extend to a fondness for utopias. My actual opinion is that Harvard is private enough to discriminate in any way it likes: by race, in legacy admissions, in sports admissions—whatever. We have too much damn government, too many laws, and way too many lawyers. Let Harvard admit whom they please.

You may say: Yeah, but the educational consequences of race preferences are negative. They force 115-IQ blacks to compete in class with 140-IQ Asians. The blacks lose self-esteem and drop out. Also, the pool of blacks smart enough to benefit from a college education is drained dry by the Ivy League schools, leaving lower-ranked schools with none to admit that can do college work. This is the famous Mismatch Theory.

So far as I can tell, Mismatch Theory is sound. So the choice we have is:

  • Door Number One: letting colleges practice race preferences and putting up with the grumbling from Asians and whites who are discriminated against, along with the pains and distortions predicted by Mismatch Theory; or,
  • Door Number Two: imposing strict meritocracy by law even on private or quasi-private institutions and seeing Asians and blacks admitted to the most elite schools at percentages something like more than fifty and less than one, respectively.

It's a heck of a choice, which is why I started with that Irish peasant. Door Number One offers a slightly better prospect of social harmony, or at any rate a prospect of slightly less dis-harmony, it seems to me, so that's my choice.

The colleges can always work up some fluff courses for the lower-IQ students to graduate from—Post-Colonial Studies, that sort of thing—while the smarter ones get ahead learning real things in STEM subjects. And of course the colleges already do this, bigtime.

This nasty little dilemma, all the dishonesty and hypocrisy and weasel words, it's all the fruit of multiculturalism. The U.S.A. has been cursed with some of that from our founding, but we've massively compounded the problem this past fifty years through foolish immigration policies. Let's at least put the brakes on that.

So again I plead: Could we please stop making things worse?

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03—Street-fighting men.     I don't need to tell you that the level of political violence in the U.S.A. has been rising. The main reason for this has been the license given by our Establishment to the Antifa movement of anarchist thugs.

Twice now—in Charlottesville last year, and in Portland, Oregon two weeks ago—we have seen municipal police forces deliberately stood down by their political superiors so that Antifa could control the streets. The Establishment's media shills either find a way to frame the subsequent violence as someone else's fault, as at Charlottesville, or else they just ignore it, as in Portland.

That is the context in which to evaluate the scuffles in New York City last weekend between Antifa activists and Gavin McInnes's Proud Boys.

Gavin, who is a friend of mine, was to speak at the city's Republican Club on the Upper East Side. A few hours before his appearance Antifa vandalized the building, breaking a window and spray-painting anarchist symbols. Gavin showed up and spoke anyway, but his appearance was followed by some low-level street fighting between Antifa and Proud Boys.

Who started what and how it then developed, is not clear to me. New York State's corrupt and cynical Governor Andrew Cuomo, a puppet of the far-left public-sector unions, blamed it on McInnes, who is just a guy with opinions outside the Narrative.

The New York Times report is bare-faced Establishment propaganda. They report for instance that Gavin brandished a sword, without telling their readers it was a plastic sword, a theatrical prop for some point Gavin wanted to make in his talk. They describe the Proud Boys as, quote, "a far-right group" but Antifa as … what, do you think? "A far-left group"? No, as "anti-fascist activists," taking them at their own evaluation. They're fighting fascism, you see? Just like the lads who stormed the Normandy beaches on D-Day.

They even tell us with a straight face that the Proud Boys have been, quote, "deemed a hate group," end quote, by yes, the Southern Poverty Law Center. "Deemed": that's one of those words like "espoused" that CultMarx journo-bots have set up as single-key macros.

Details aside, the interesting thing about these scuffles is that the fighting here seems to not have been, or not entirely have been, defensive on the part of the Proud Boys, as was the case with Unite the Right in Charlottesville. The Proud Boys were willing to fight.

So the question arises: Are we moving into a zone where street fighting between political groups becomes normal?

Antifa have had the streets pretty much to themselves up to now, courtesy of cowardly political leaders. Actions generate reactions, though. It wouldn't be terrifically surprising to see more groups like the Proud Boys coming up, ready and willing to fight. The New York Times, which to the best of my knowledge has never printed a single word critical of Antifa, will denounce them as Nazis and appeal to the Southern Poverty Law Center for Hate Group designations: but you can only push people so far before they push back.

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04—Mutiny in the ranks.     Back of the question I just posed, about the forthcoming normalization of political street fighting, is a bigger, darker one.

Suppose these street fights escalate to a serious, major breakdown of public order, serious enough to need the attention of the military. Will the military stand neutral? If not, if they take a side, which side will they take?

I know, it sounds crazily apocalyptic, but I have a news story here for your consideration, a story from across the Pond, from the old country. It's a news story with a backstory, actually, so I'll give you the backstory first.

Backstory: A week last Monday English dissident-right activist Tommy Robinson, who I'm sure needs no introduction, by chance encountered a group of young soldiers, recent recruits, at a freeway service area outside London. The soldiers recognized Tommy—he's been in the news a lot—and surrounded him, cheering and singing his name.

Robinson took video of the encounter and posted it on the internet. The Army was not happy. Honked an Army spokeswoman, honk: "Far-right ideology is completely at odds with the values and ethos of the armed forces." End quote. One of the soldiers in the video has been discharged from the service. The soldier, said the Army, had had previous disciplinary problems and this was the last straw.

Well, maybe. Voltaire's remark about the execution of Admiral Byng comes to mind, though; so does a certain Chinese idiom about killing a chicken to scare the monkeys.

Well, that's the backstory. Here's the follow-up.

We don't know the name of the soldier who was discharged. He's being referred to as "Soldier X." And now there's a Twitter hashtag #IAmSoldierX with a following among the squaddies. One group of them—in uniform, but faces not showing—have produced a video of themselves holding up a big #IAmSoldierX sign.

The British Army senior staff, meanwhile, are putting out tweets saying The Army needs more feminists, and recruiting videos dwelling on how respectful the service is to the prayer requirements of Muslim soldiers.

I can't improve on James Delingpole's summary at the end of his Breitbart.com piece about this, October 18th, quote, with apologies for the British slang:

The Army's Top Brass are where the rest of the Establishment are: terrified of doing anything that might upset the Religion of Peace; painfully eager to give the Army some kind of post-conflict-era relevance as an agency for diversity and gender outreach and mindfulness. And the squaddies are all thinking: sod this for a game of soldiers—I didn't join the Army for this bollocks.

Does anyone normal blame them?

End quote. The subtitle on James's article is, quote: "Sooner or later there is going to be a mutiny in the British Army." End quote.

Well, that's all happening over there. What's the correlation of forces over here?

I can offer only one data point: a person I am quite closely acquainted with—no names, no pack drill—who finished a four-year term a few months ago in one of the more strenuous combat arms of the U.S. Army.

How did political sympathies run among his comrades in the 2016 election? I asked him. The grunts, not the cooks and the clerks and the officers. Pro-Trump, pro-Hillary, didn't care: what was the breakdown?

His reply: "Pro-Trump 70 percent, pro-Hillary 5 percent, didn't care 25 percent."

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05—A new thoughtcrime: quoting Churchill.     Sir Winston Churchill's been in the news, though I'm a little behind on this one.

The news story is that twelve days ago, 54-year-old retired American astronaut Scott Kelly, in reference to the high levels of rancor generated by our 2016 election, tweeted that, tweet: "One of the greatest leaders of modern times, Sir Winston Churchill, said, 'in victory, magnanimity.' I guess those days are over." End tweet.

That caused a, yes, Tweetstorm. Innumerable Twitter readers—we really need a noun for that: I suggest "twits"—innumerable twits leapt to their keyboards to instruct Mr Kelly that Churchill was a hateful bigot and racist who heartlessly presided over the Bengal Famine of 1943.

(Just a parenthesis before I continue. One of the very minor irritations of being born British and having received a decent mid-twentieth-century education is that I know by instinct forms of address the rest of the English-speaking world is fast forgetting. If your name is Hubert Featherstonehaugh and you acquire a knighthood, or a baronetcy (which is a slightly different thing), you become Sir Hubert Featherstonehaugh. The correct form of address for you is then "Sir Hubert." To refer to you as "Featherstonehaugh" is, in most contexts, slightly improper. We should therefore be talking about "Sir Winston," not about "Churchill." The common usage is now so long- and well-established, though, that I am probably the last person in the world who cares about this; and I don't actually care very much. I shall go on saying "Churchill.")

It's quite true that Churchill thought whites to be a superior race, or at any rate superior to blacks, subcontinental Indians, and the aborigines of Australia and the Americas. I don't know what he thought of East Asians. I went looking for relevant quotes on the internet but what I found was mostly ambiguous. It's clear at any rate that Churchill was proud of his own race and didn't have a lot of respect for others.

But he was born in 1874, for Heaven's sake. That was how people thought who had come to maturity in the later 19th century.

It was not bizarre for them to think like that, either. There was good strong empirical evidence in the world around them that, yes, the white race was pretty special. It was whites everywhere who had subjugated and colonized the other races, not vice versa. If you had been a young adult in 1900, looking round at the world as you found it, you would most likely also have believed that the white race was hot stuff.

And in the matter of a multiracial society, Churchill was right. Whatever you think of the relative worth of different races, settling big numbers of one race in a country demographically dominated by a different race, is a terrible idea. It has caused trouble, discord, and division everywhere it has been done.

This is the case even if you don't look down on the settler race. Large-scale Japanese immigration into the U.S.A. was opposed a hundred years ago because the Japanese were thought to be too clever and industrious. "We whites will end up working for them," was the common, unwelcome thought.

We have no words to discuss these subtleties of attitude in today's infantilized diction of "hate" and "privilege." They are there in the historical records, though, if anyone cares to look them up.

Settling big numbers of blacks among whites was a particularly bad idea. This very country, the United States, was seen by Churchill's generation and the couple of generations that followed it, as a dreadful warning. British statesman Enoch Powell, born 38 years after Churchill, reminded his countrymen in his famous "Rivers of Blood" speech about, quote: "That tragic and intractable phenomenon which we watch with horror on the other side of the Atlantic."

Churchill warned his government colleagues in 1954, when immigration of blacks from the Caribbean was just becoming an issue, that, quote: "Problems will arise if many coloured people settle here. Are we to saddle ourselves with colour problems in [the] U.K.?"

Churchill was at the end of his political career when he issued that warning: old, tired, and not much listened to. Britain's political movers and shakers in 1954 were wealthy liberals, and sentimentalists for the loyal, smiling, colorful subjects of the Queen in her overseas colonies. Mass settlement of blacks went ahead in defiance of Churchill.

Today blacks are three percent of the population in England and Wales, but of course twelve percent of prison inmates. White Britons avoid black neighborhoods as much as they can—neighborhoods where their own ancestors lived and worked, neighborhoods they surrendered to the blacks.

Previous generations wondered whether a tree falling in an uninhabited forest made any sound. The question Churchill's racial opinions bring to mind is: Can a bigot none the less be correct on matters of national policy?

Well, I am not going to litigate Churchill's reputation here. Growing up with my Dad, who was a Churchill-hater, I'm thoroughly familiar with both sides of the case. If you'd like to acquaint yourself with some of the negatives, presented by a thoughtful scholar in a non-vituperative style, I recommend Paul Gottfried's piece in The American Conservative last week.

I will only close with, as a marker for the totalitarian trend of our times, astronaut Scott Kelly's groveling self-criticism on Twitter following the protests against his original tweet. Here he was tweeting a few hours later, tweet: "Did not mean to offend by quoting Churchill. My apologies. I will go and educate myself further on his atrocities, racist views which I do not support." End tweet.

That's what the Thought Police call "showing a correct attitude."

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06—Miscellany.     And now, our closing miscellany of brief items.

Imprimis:  Last week I offered my suggestion for a new U.N. Ambassador, following Nikki Haley's resignation. My suggestion was: Kermit the Frog.

That doesn't seem to have gotten much traction among our diplomatic decision-makers. Former newspaper mogul Conrad Black, however, has come forth with a different suggestion that's almost as good and considerably more likely to be taken up: Ann Coulter.

I think that's a great idea. Putting a gadfly like Ann into the U.N. General Assembly to laugh and jeer at the pompous seatwarmers who inhabit the place, would add immensly to the gaiety of nations. People would actually watch the U.N.'s dry-as-dust proceedings just to see Ann kick up that dust.

I bet our President likes the idea, too. Now, if only he can get it past the wall of Never Trump saboteurs he confronts in the State Department.

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Item:  I intended to say something about this so-called "caravan" of invaders heading up to our southern border from Central America. I'm out of time, though, so I can only offer a couple of sentences.

It's not yet clear as I write whether the invaders will get passage through Mexico, so this may not become a headline-level crisis. If the wave does break, it will do so right before the midterms, so Administration plans for dealing with the crisis, if it happens, will all be shaped for political effect.

Our President is said to be furious about this, and about the swelling numbers who've been crossing these past few months. Well, we should all be furious, but I don't think we should let Trump off the hook. He's been in office almost two years now, after being elected with a signature promise to seal the southern border.

I know: He's had staffing problems, and his party in Congress, most of them bought and sold by the cheap-labor lobbies, has been deeply unhelpful. Still, Trump went full-court press on repeal of Obamacare, which nobody is much bothered about, and tax reform, ditto ditto, when he should have been pushing for border security from Day One with everything at his disposal—and even a President like Trump, disliked by the Washington bureaucracy, still has plenty at his disposal.

It's been a failure; and this caravan, if it arrives, will make the failure plain for all to see. Unless Trump does something very smart, or gets very lucky, it could cost him the midterms.

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Item:  This killing of a Saudi journalist in Turkey should not surprise anybody. Saudi Arabia is a backward place, its politics all addled with tribalism, corruption, and 57 varieties of religious fanaticism.

The place has been stable for decades, though; and it pumps out ten million barrels of oil a day, one-eighth of total world output. If Saudi Arabia stops being stable, the economic repercussions could be nasty. I doubt Donald Trump has any illusions about the Saudis, but he very much would like not to be the President who gave us seven-dollars-a-gallon gasoline.

Hence the very careful pronouncements about this murder from everyone in the Administration. This new dynamic Saudi leader is obviously a son of a bitch, but he's our son of a bitch. Trying to keep Saudi Arabia stable is Job One. Probably this also accounts for the Saudis never having been pressed to explain what they know about 9/11, which is surely more than has ever been made public.

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07—Signoff.     That's all, ladies and gents. Thank you for listening, and for your emails and donations.

In my July Diary I grumbled about lame puns, most particularly the ones that seem now to be compulsory for headlines in my New York Post. Well, I'm going to walk that grumble back a little—just a little.

Last Sunday's Post ran a double-page story about Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich acquiring four adjacent town houses in Manhattan's very tony and expensive Upper East Side, with the intention of uniting them into one single mega-mansion—31,500 square feet. The print edition of the Post—although not, alas, the online version—published this story under the headline: Save the Vast Manse for Me!

Now that's not actually bad. It's not in the same class as Onan the Librarian or even The Goulash Archipelago, but it's not lame.

The downside is, it's given me an earworm. Here to sing us out are the Drifters, who must hold the record among music groups for high turnover. Their publicity pics show them as either four or five guys, but Wikipedia lists four "Members" and thirty-seven "Past members." What's up with that?

I don't know, but I do know there will be more from Radio Derb next week.

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[Music clip: The Drifters, "Save the Last Dance for Me."]