[Mao Tse-tung's] revolution, for all its upheavals and horrors, had very little effect on [China's] national psyche, perhaps none at all.To speak of a "national psyche" nowadays, however, is to trespass into the minefield of Political Incorrectness. The Scots are mean, we used to say blithely; the French are arrogant; the Germans are orderly; the Italians, excitable; the Russians, gloomy; the Irish, pugnacious; and so on.Saying such things aloud in 2018 will get you horse-whipped on the steps of your club; but common observation suggests that there is some underlying reality to these unmentionable old perceptions, as is usually the case with stereotypes.End self-quote. I still have that on my mind, which is why I say I'm temporarily biased towards national character as an explanation.That's speculative, but not wildly so. Following an earlier mass shooting four years ago, the human-science blogger JayMan, over at The Unz Review, posted a lengthy piece on guns and violence. He included numerous maps and charts, and chewed over all possible aspects of the relationship between gun ownership and gun violence. He touches all the bases you'd think of: breaking out suicides from homicides, international comparisons, violence-prone minorities, levels of religiosity, and many others.JayMan is an intelligent and learned guy, definitely no fanatic. He is, though, over towards the genetic-determinism end of the nature-nurture spectrum, as am I.That's where his inquiry lands up at last. It's us, he concludes. It is, as the progressive schoolmarms like to say, "who we are." Not just us Americans, but us, the different root stocks: Yankees, Appalachians, Tidewater folk, Westerners, and so on — JayMan has maps explaining that.With fellow-citizens weeping for young lives lost, it sounds callous to say this, but it may none the less be true: We put up with dozens of dead victims of spree shooters every year because we're Americans who regard it as the price of our liberty to own guns; just as we put up with thirty thousand road traffic deaths every year because we're Americans who regard that as the price of our liberty to own personal transportation.Probably there are things you might suggest we could do to reduce both those numbers. We're not going to do them, though, because we're Americans. That's who we are.These are the mysteries of national character. If you track them back in a systematic way, some of them have their roots in the folds and convolutions of population genetics. Take a few tens of thousands of people from the wild, scrappy Anglo-Scottish border country, or from the nonconformist congregations of eastern England, move them to distinct territories in North America — the Appalachians, New England — and leave them alone to continue breeding among themselves for a dozen further generations or so, you'll get distinct personality types, that you might call Hillbillies or Yankees.The precise way this works, the exact paths from individual human genome to individual human personality, is far from our present understanding. As JayMan says, though: You don't need to know the name of every worker in the factory to know that the place produces widgets. Everything we can measure about human personality and behavior has a heritable component, usually around fifty percent. Human societies are just the vector sum of lots of human personalities.Sure, this is speculative. It's less speculative than arm-flapping about mental health and broken families, though. There's some real science in play: not enough to say dispositively that this is the last word, but enough to plant the strong suspicion that this is just who we are. Enough also to encourage researchers to press on until we do have some clear understanding.Oh, it's solutions you're wanting? I got solutions.I note from the business news that Remington, the country's most famous gun manufacturer, is in trouble, has in fact filed for bankruptcy. Source of the trouble? Collapsing sales.There were spikes in gun sales following each of Barack Obama's election victories, and another spike after the Sandy Hook massacre in 2012. Gun owners thought Obama would pass more restrictive gun laws, so they armored up while they could. With the election of Donald Trump, though, panic has subsided, and the long-term slow decline in gun ownership has resumed.So there's a solution to gun violence right there: Elect populist, gun-loving presidents, and gun ownership will decline. If you elect Progressive nanny-state presidents like Barack Obama, there'll be more guns out there.Let's hope the gun-haters of America get that message. mentioned here on Radio Derb more than once, and the human-science blogger JayMan, who I was talking about in the last segment — but blackness the thing is a snoozer for me.First up: This new movie Black Panther is making a lot of noise. It was only released — or, to recycle a very old Hollywood joke: it only escaped — on Thursday this week. The pre-publicity was stupendous, though. In case you've spent the past month or so sealed in a sensory-deprivation tank, it's a superhero movie, like the old Superman flicks.There's this hero, the eponymous Black Panther, who has super powers. Where Superman's home was the planet Krypton, Black Panther hails from a black state called Wakanda, in Africa. Wakanda is, to quote the reviewer in Atlantic magazine, "Technologically advanced beyond the dreams of any other nation." Yeah, I know, you just sprayed coffee through your nose. Go along with me here … after you've cleaned up the mess.The lack of narrative originality is breathtaking. As with Superman, there's a magic mineral. Unlike Kryptonite, though, this one is not lethal to the hero, in fact it's super-strong. It's called vibranium. Vibrant … vibranium — geddit? Among names the scriptwriters discarded: melanium, negronium, malcolmxium, chitlinsium, diversitium, affirmativeactionarium.You can guess I won't be watching Black Panther. I try to keep to a minimum my watching of movies named after violent anti-white paramilitary street gangs. Also, I haven't read a comic book since the Eisenhower administration, and I regard adults who do read them as proper subjects for a reference in the psychiatrist's diagnostic manual.In lieu of watching the actual movie, I watched Ramzpaul's YouTube take on it, which was positive. Ramzpaul offers three reasons to like the movie.
05 — Miscellany. Forgive me, listeners. I'm coming up against my time limits, having gotten carried away by the sound of my own voice there. I have to proceed straight to our closing miscellany of brief items.Imprimis: I promised you some dog news, so here it is.Tuesday night the prestigious Westminster Dog Show reached its climax. A little chap named Flynn was crowned Best In Show.Flynn's breed is given to us as bichon frisé. I'm sure I don't need to tell you that's French: "bichon" is an archaic word for "dog," cognate with the English word "bitch," while "frisé" means "curly."And if you think that's a pretty gay name for a dog breed, check out pictures of fabulous Flynn. Quote from the New York Times, February 13th, quote:
The champion … cut a striking, cloudlike figure in the ring: His powder-puff fur was painstakingly coifed, and he trotted jauntily across the floor with a step that looked almost lighter than air.Hoo-kay. I think we know what zone we're in here. A suggestion from me for Flynn's owner: If you want to get a portrait painted of that pooch, I know just the guy.Item: Not only is this Black History Month, it's also Darwin Month. That is to say, on February 12th, last Monday, we science geeks celebrated the great man's 209th birthday. Congratulations, Chuck!There can't be any major figure in the history of science who's been so comprehensively misunderstood by non-scientists as Darwin. "He said we're descended from apes!" you still hear, when Darwin didn't say that at all. What he actually said was that humans, along with gorillas, chimps, and orangutans, all descended from a common ancestor."He came up with that stinky Theory of Evolution," you still hear. No he didn't. The notion that the species of today evolved gradually from earlier, different species, was around way before Darwin was born. By the time he published his great book in 1859, evolution was widely accepted by scientifically-minded people.There just weren't any convincing theories about how it happened, what mechanism was driving evolution. Darwin supplied the answer: natural selection.And in a kind of cruel symmetry, just as the Theory of Evolution was around decades before Darwin was born, it took decades after his death before natural selection was accepted.The low point in those later decades was Eberhard Dennert's book At the Deathbed of Darwinism, published in 1904 — twenty-two years after Darwin's death. Dennert accepted evolution, but thought natural selection was a crock. You can read his whole book on the Gutenberg website.It wasn't until modern population genetics got airborne in the years after WW1 that natural selection was gradually accepted by all biologists — half a century after Darwin's death, three-quarters of a century after he published his theory. What a genius!Item: The resistance to science nowadays comes not from religious fundamentalists, but from Cultural Marxists.We saw this in Sacramento last week. A local high school held a science fair. One of the projects on display was headed "Race and IQ." It kicked around the relationship between those two things, in a way not at all controversial to anyone who's looked into the science on this.There was of course fainting and swooning all over. School District Superintendent Jorge Aguilar went on local TV to deliver, in a Mexican accent, a sniveling apology to all the Sacramentoans who had been mentally shattered by this outrage, and to assure them that the offending project was Not OK and furthermore that This Is Not Who We Are.To anyone who appreciates empirical inquiry and doesn't mind unfashionable truths, the whole thing was pretty depressing. Say what you like about Eberhard Dennert; but until we had some understanding of genetics, there were plausible scientific reasons to doubt natural selection. These Sacramento folk are just ideological obscurantists.It's not all negative, though. There may be a silver lining here. This is my chance to give a shout-out to another favorite blogger of mine, the one who calls himself Audacious Epigone.For a while now Audacious has been running the theme that Generation Z — that's the one after Millennials: Generation Z are still in high school — is way less tolerant of CultMarx progressivism than the older cohorts.He has some great maps illustrating this from a poll of high school students across the country conducted by the Hispanic Heritage Foundation in Fall of 2016. The maps show the states colored red or blue, according to respondent's preferences: Red for Trump, blue for Clinton.My favorite one of those maps shows white male high school students only. The only blue place is Washington, D.C. The rest is wall to wall red, except for a couple of write-in exceptions.The Millennial generation may have represented peak crazy. Perhaps there's a train back to sanity steaming towards us over the horizon. Watch those high-schoolers, especially that kid in Sacramento — who, by the way, is Asian, although whether South or East Asian, I can't discover.Item: Three years ago on Radio Derb I uttered the following words, quote:
When the subject of Mediterranean boat people comes up, I like to remind people that this may not stay a Mediterranean problem, especially when the Europeans institute strong Australian-style measures to stop the Mediterranean traffic.If Africans can't head across the Mediterranean to Europe, they may instead head across the Atlantic to America. With modern GPS navigational aids, it's not that hard. They'll need a better quality of boat, and a lot more food and water, but those shouldn't be insuperable problems.I went on to point out that the U.S.A. had already received its first African boat people. That was back in 2007, when a boat full of Senegalese illegals arrived in Brooklyn after crossing the Atlantic.Well, I was right in the general, just not in the particular. Here's a quote from a website named Journalists for Transparency, which for some reason doesn't date-stamp its articles. From internal evidence, this one seems to have been posted late last year. Quote:
Abdul Majeed was 5,000 miles and an ocean away from his home in Ghana when he crossed the Darien Gap, the jungle border that lies between Colombia and Panama. With him were scores of other migrants. [Inner quote.] "Somalis, Indians, Senegalese, Nepalese, Ghanaians, Bangladeshis, Cubans, Haitians and Nigerians," [End inner quote.] he recalled …Instead of heading north to Europe, where the crisis at sea has led to thousands of deaths in the Mediterranean, a number of migrants like Majeed are now choosing to head West, flying across the Atlantic on a route that goes first to Latin America, and then north through Mexico to the United States and Canada.End quote. Europe's problem yesterday, our problem today. They're just taking planes instead of boats. Hey, those Africans are pretty smart!It's a good thing we elected President Trump and got that wall built in time along the border with Mexico. Oh, wait …Item: Speaking of Europe and of illegal immigration thereinto, the political situation there, in several countries, is crystallizing ever more clearly.Clearest of all is that center-left parties — what over there are called Social Democrats, equivalent to our Democratic Party — are melting away like dew in the populist morn.British author Matthew Goodwin tweeted the other day that Germany's Social Democrat Party is now polling at 16 percent, their lowest share of the vote since the 1880s. In France, Holland, and Austria it's the same, in fact somewhat worse; and as reported on Radio Derb last week, Italy's Social Democrats look like getting their culi handed to them in the March 4th elections.Meanwhile, in case you thought that progressives couldn't get any more brazen in their contempt for white males, the youth wing of Britain's own equivalent, the Labour Party, will hold an Equalities Conference in London on March 17th.Applications are only being accepted for folk who are either ethnic minority, or disabled, or LGBT, or female. No white, straight, fully-abled males need apply.Those Gen Z high-schoolers can't grow up fast enough.Item: Finally, a sports item here. I don't do half as much sports coverage as I should.This item concerns the noble sport of curling, a sort of ice equivalent of bocce. Competitors slide rounded, flattened granite stones ("also called rocks," the Wikipedia article tells us helpfully) across an ice-covered arena, trying to have them come to rest in a circular target area at the far end.Why has this sport suddenly got everyone's attention? For the lowest and most carnal of reasons, I am sorry to report. You see, Russian curler Anastasia Bryzgalova is, by common agreement, the hottest babe on the ice at the Winter Olympics in South Korea.Hence gushing stories like this one from the Daily Mail, February 12th, sample quote: "Admirers on Twitter have compared her to some of the world's most beautiful women including Adriana Lima, Megan Fox and Angelina Jolie," end quote.Should you look Ms Bryzgalova up and find yourself harboring romantic aspirations towards her, please note that last year she married another curler, one of her team partners. And no, this is not ladies' golf we're talking about here: Ms Bryzgalova's marital partner is male, name of Alexander Krushelnitskiy. Presumably the couple practice curling together … [Aside.] Honey, could you turn down the thermostat a little, it's getting kinda warm in here …
06 — Signoff. That's it, ladies and gents. Thank you for listening, and welcome to the Year of the Dog. Oh: and when reporting on the Westminster Dog Show, I forgot to mention that the powder-puff fur of Flynn, the show winner, that fur that was so painstakingly coifed, is dazzling white. I await the inevitable hashtag: #WestminsterSoWhite.Since I mentioned Darwin back there, let's have some Darwin music to see us out in honor of the great man's birthday.What, you didn't know there was Darwin music? Of course there is. This selection — natural, of course — is from the video version of the Horrible Histories, the book series of which kept my kids' attention for a few weeks when they were little.There will be more from Radio Derb next week.[Music clip: From the Horrible Histories "Natural Selection."]https://vimeo.com/202327818