00m53s Trump no match for the Swamp. (They buffaloed him.)
08m29s The circus comes to town. (Opening of Congress.)
15m21s Suing the Thought Police. (David tackles Goliath.)
19m53s Leave me alone. (Supremacy? No thanks.)
24m51s After Brexit, CANZUK? (Maybe even CANZUKUS?)
33m10s Watson re-Watsoned. (Dragged from his cowshed.)
38m52s China's demography goes over the cliff. (Nine years behind Japan's.)
41m35s Judith Rich Harris, RIP. (The most counterintuitive result in the modern human sciences.)
[Music clip: From Haydn's Derbyshire Marches, piano version]
Out with the old, in with the new. The old includes some names departing from the national Executive; the new is of course a new national Legislature, the republic's 116th Congress. Let's start with those.
02 — Trump no match for the Swamp. White House Chief of Staff John Kelly left the administration on Wednesday this week. The previous Friday he'd given a two-hour telephone interview to the Los Angeles Times, an interview that revealed all too clearly that Trump is no match for the Swamp.
Kelly was of a pair with James Mattis, another retired Marine Corps General, who, in a 600-word letter dated December 20th, announced his resignation as Trump's Secretary of Defense. Mattis's resignation became effective January 1st, last Tuesday.
As Chief of Staff for a year and a half, and Trump's head of Homeland Security for six months before that, Kelly naturally had a wider field of issues to comment on than Mattis, whose only responsibility was defense. Still, both men — Mattis in his resignation letter and Kelly in that LA Times interview, illustrate the problems Trump faces in draining the Swamp.
Quotes from the LA Times report on the Kelly interview:
Top officials from the Pentagon and the CIA, the director of national intelligence, diplomats and lawmakers huddled with Trump as Kelly and others urged him not to give up in Afghanistan.
"When I first took over, he was inclined to want to withdraw from Afghanistan," Kelly recounted.
Kelly's supporters say he stepped in to block or divert the president on dozens of matters large and small. They credit him, in part, for persuading Trump not to pull U.S. forces out of South Korea, or withdraw from NATO, as he had threatened.
End quote. "Threatened"? How about "promised the electorate, and got elected on those promises"?
A fair translation of those quotes in fact would be something like this, imaginary quote:
Trump had strong ideas about our everlasting military involvement in the Middle East, and about the notion that a quarter-century after the end of the Warsaw Pact our Cold War military alliances should continue in perpetuity. However, we deep-staters succeeded in buffaloing him.
End quote. Hence the fuss and the fury when the President reverted momentarily to his instincts — which is to say, to his campaign promises — and announced a pullout from Syria.
Further quote from the LA Times report on Kelly, quote: "Kelly defended his rocky tenure, arguing that it is best measured by what the president did not do when Kelly was at his side." End quote.
Translation of that: "Thanks to me, Trump decided not to do a lot of the things he had got elected to do."
Kelly's comments on immigration were a mixed bag. There were flashes of good sense. Quote, Kelly speaking:
One of the reasons why it's so difficult to keep people from coming … is a crazy, oftentimes conflicting series of loopholes in the law in the United States that makes it extremely hard to turn people around and send them home …
If we don't fix the laws, then they will keep coming.
End quote. That's true. I think we're all aware now that a big part of the current problem is our extremely stupid and gullible laws, especially on asylum. That will continue to be the case if we have a wall — which, by the way, Kelly says we won't.
But then on the other hand Kelly extruded Swamp-speak like this, quote: "If you want to stop illegal immigration, stop U.S. demand for drugs, and expand economic opportunity in Central America."
Does anyone actually know how to do either of those things? No, nobody does. We could score major hits against both the drug traffickers and the people traffickers, though, with a robust border wall and sensible asylum laws.
And if the drug traffickers and the people traffickers lose a lot of their business, perhaps they won't have such a stranglehold on the politics and economies of Central America, as they do at present.
Mattis's resignation letter is less interesting than Kelly's interview, but it shows that the Perpetual War Party is still strong, the demise of the Weekly Standard notwithstanding. Stuff like this, quote:
It is clear that China and Russia … want to shape a world consistent with their authoritarian model — gaining veto authority over other nations' economic, diplomatic, and security decisions — to promote their own interests at the expense of their neighbors, America and our allies.
End quote. Sorry, General, it's not clear to me. The regimes in Russia and China want, first, to survive in power, and second, to be hegemons in their neighborhoods, just as we want to be the hegemon in ours.
As for promoting their own interests: hey, maybe we should try a policy that promotes ours. We could call it "America First."
A compelling advertisement for representative government it was not. Some of the antics on display from House Democrats would have had the Founders begging George III to take the colonies back under his royal wing.
Some Muslim congressgal from Michigan quoted herself telling her son that, quote: "We're gonna go in there, we're gonna impeach the motherfucker." Meaning of course our constitutionally-elected President.
Fatima, or whatever the hell her name is, may just have been trying to out-crazy Rep. Hank Johnson, just re-elected to his sixth term in the House by voters who presumably do not hold high IQ — nor even above-room-temperature IQ — to be a requirement for national legislative office.
Rep. Johnson is the chap who worried out loud on national TV to Admiral Willard that if we stationed too many troops on Guam the island might capsize. On Tuesday, at a public event preparatory to the opening of Congress, he delivered himself of the observation that President Trump is just like Adolf Hitler.
That Guam remark eight years ago was terminally stupid, to be sure; but at least it was original.
The U.S. Senate, in line with its more sober, more dignified traditions, was less of a circus. Noteworthy arrivals were, for the Democrats, Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona and for the Republicans, Mitt Romney of Utah.
Senator Sinema, formerly Rep. Sinema, is Jeff Flake's replacement. In her three terms in the House she scored F on immigration by the NumbersUSA ranking; but on a quick scan of her voting record otherwise, she doesn't seem crazy enough to have been a Democratic House member. Possibly she escaped to the Senate precisely to get away from the mob of lunatics taking over her party in the lower House.
The news stories all want us to know that Senator Sinema is the first openly bisexual Senator in our country's history. I don't myself find that interesting. I will, though, retail a remark made to me by a male homosexual acquaintance some years ago, apparently settled folklore among persons of his inclination, quote: "You're either gay, or straight, or lying."
If Kyrsten Sinema is Jeff Flake's physical replacement in the Senate, Mitt Romney is Flake's spiritual replacement. Next time screeching feminists are looking to scare the wits — and the committee vote — out of a Senator by cornering him in a Capitol elevator, Mitt's your most promising target, girls.
Mitt commenced his career in the Senate with a Tuesday op-ed in the Washington Post. In it, among the flapdoodle about how to, quote, "reassume our leadership in world politics" — as if that's something any measurable number of Americans give a fig about — in among that word salad Mitt scolded Trump for coming up short in, quote, "presidential leadership in qualities of character," end quote.
In the weeks following the 2016 Presidential election Peggy Noonan wondered aloud in her Wall Street Journal column whether leaders of the Republican Party had engaged in any serious reflection as to why their voters had preferred Trump, with all his interesting — what's the phrase, again? — "qualities of character," why GOP voters preferred Trump to the other seventeen GOP candidates on offer.
After making appropriate enquiries she concluded that they had not engaged in such reflection. Mitt Romney and his fatuous essay illustrate Peggy's point perfectly. They still don't get it.
As I think I have narrated before, I sat across a table from Mitt Romney once. This was in the run-up to the 2012 campaign when I was at National Review. The GOP primary candidates dropped by one at a time to give us a look at them. We'd sit round a table in the library with the candidate and fire questions at him.
I asked Mitt about immigration. I drew a complete and utter blank. It was as plain as could be that he had never in his life given ten seconds' continous thought to the topic. It was actually embarrassing. Our exchanges ended with Mitt mumbling that immigration policy was something he'd have to read up on.
Did he ever do so? I think I kind of know the answer.
It follows that if you want to cripple some particular brand of social activism, one way to to it is to guilt financial institutions — banks, credit card companies, PayPal — into refusing to handle their transactions.
Mastercard seems to have been particularly susceptible to this game. Robert Spencer of JihadWatch was forced off the funding sites Patreon and GoFundMe last year at the insistence of Mastercard. Shortly afterwards David Horowitz's Freedom Center was likewise blacklisted, by Visa as well as Mastercard. More recently Carl Benjamin, better known as Sargon of Akkad, was blacklisted by Patreon.
(Horowitz has since been reinstated. I'm not clear about the present status of Robert Spencer and Carl Benjamin.)
The villain here is the far-left direct-mail outfit that calls itself the Southern Poverty Law Center. For reasons I cannot fathom, major financial institutions allow the SPLC to tell them who they ought and ought not do business with.
It's therefore very encouraging to see more and more victims of this kind of blacklisting suing the SPLC. Possibly people have been encouraged by Maajid Nawaz, a British critic of Islamic extremism, forcing the SPLC to a $3 million settlement last year.
Now Glen Allen, a Baltimore lawyer, has a major lawsuit ongoing against the SPLC for destroying his career and reputation.
It's an unequal contest. The SPLC is fabulously rich, with an endowment well north of $400 million, tens of millions of those dollars in offshore havens. The SPLC also has a big staff of lawyers on call. The people they set out to destroy are private citizens like Glen Allen, or underfunded interest groups like Jihadwatch.
And there's the nasty little Catch-22 that individuals and small groups needing to raise funds to fight the SPLC need access to funding sites like Patreon and GoFundMe, who in turn need to be recognized by the credit card companies and PayPal … who jump when the SPLC commissars crack their whip.
It's dismaying and depressing that totalitarian enforcers like the SPLC can attain such power over major players in consumer finance. There's something terribly wrong with that.
At the same time, it's encouraging that there are citizens with the courage and persistence to take on the SPLC Goliath. If our courts have not been totally corrupted by Cultural Marxism in our law schools, we may yet see a really big fat settlement against the SPLC.
Hey, Goliath was defeated at last.
05 — Leave me alone. The phrase "white supremacist" seems to have settled in among Social Justice Warriors as the favorite term of obloquy for those of us who won't clap along with the Progressive liturgy. I guess the word "racist" was just worn out from over-use.
"White supremacist" is of course just totalitarian cuss-talk, like "counter-revolutionary" or "enemy of the people." You're not supposed to think about the meaning of the words; you're just supposed to flip into Two Minutes Hate mode.
I get asked rather often whether I am a white supremacist. Somewhat more often than that I get accused of being one. When I probe the questioner or accuser, it generally turns out they have looked me up on SJWikipedia. In the entry about me there the Wikifolk quote from my musings in May 2012 about what people with opinions like mine, and VDARE's, should call ourselves.
I mused that, quote: "I actually think 'White Supremacist' is not bad semantically," end quote. I pointed out how desperate the wretched of the Earth are to get into white-run countries any way they can. Taking "white-run" to be a synonym for "white supremacist," that means white supremacy is terrifically popular with nonwhites.
However, a few sentences later, I rejected the term. Quote:
We should not let our enemies dictate vocabulary to us … In any case, the Whatever Right contains many separatists — who, far from wanting to lord it over nonwhites, just want to get away from them.
No, "White Supremacist" really won't do.
End quote. In other words I considered the term as a possible self-descriptor, then I rejected it. Of course, Commiepedia doesn't tell you I rejected it.
At last I favored the term "dissident right" instead. I have in fact, just this week, through the offices of a kind friend, acquired title to the internet domain name dissidentright.com, although I haven't yet figured out what to do with it. Suggestions will be gratefully received.
So no, I'm not a supremacist of any kind. I don't want to lord it over any other race or ethny; I just want to be left alone, and not see the country I live in swamped by millions of hard-to-assimilate foreigners. I can't see what's wrong with any of that; although of course I understand that nothing could be further from the minds of our ruling ideologues than leaving people alone.
Here's a thought experiment, though. Of all possible supremacies — white supremacy, black supremacy, East Asian supremacy, male supremacy, Ashkenazi supremacy, Muslim supremacy, hetero supremacy, … of all the supremacies you can come up with, is there any that I'm somewhat favorably disposed to?
I'm picking my words carefully here. As I said, my preference is to be left alone. I don't want to be bossed around, and I don't want to boss anyone else around. In all honesty, though, there are bound to be some supremacies that fall more gently on my ear than others.
All right, I'll 'fess up. If I were a supremacist of any kind — which, once again, I'm really not — I'd be an Anglo-Saxon Supremacist. Let me enlarge on that for a segment.
06 — After Brexit, CANZUK? I'm looking at this survey from just over a year ago, a worldwide survey done by the Gallup organization, of how many people want to go live in another country, and which country they most want to move to.
The report lists the top 22 "desired destinations." The U.S.A. is of course number one. Canada is number three, the U.K. number four. Australia is number six. New Zealand, somewhat to my surprise, is at number seventeen, in between Russia and China. That's likely just ignorance, though. New Zealand's a small, quiet, out-of-the-way place; much of the world's population, I'm sure, has never heard of it.
New Zealand notwithstanding, that's a pretty impressive showing for what John O'Sullivan has called the Anglosphere.
Surveying the world across the past century or so, in fact, I think a fair-minded person would have to say that a human being's best shot at liberty, political stability, and modest middle-class prosperity has been in the Anglosphere; and that the preferences recorded in the Gallup poll reflect worldwide awareness of that.
You can of course point to some blots, but many fewer in the Anglosphere than elsewhere. I'll give you the Amritsar massacre if you give me Stalin's Ukraine Famine, … and so on.
Political stability? France is on its fifth republic since 1789, with a couple of empires and a monarchy in there, too. Germany … the less said the better. The current constitution of China dates from 1982; it's their fourth since the commies took over in 1949. Russia, Italy, Spain, … you get the idea.
So let's hear it for the Anglosphere!
In this context I'm encouraged to see the rise of the CANZUK movement. That's "CANZUK" in all capitals. It stands for "Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the U.K." The idea, which seems to be a spin-off from the Brexit debate, is for free trade and freedom of movement between the CANZUK nations.
The promoters of CANZUK — which by the way has a Facebook group — insist firmly that they do not want political union or a common currency. They only want free trade and free immigration among themselves.
It's not a new idea. I remember in the early 1970s, when Britain was negotiating to enter the European Union, that some similar arrangement was put forward by people opposed to entry.
Back then, though, with the British Empire still bright in the collective memory, a CANZUK-style alliance carried too much a flavor of imperial nostalgia. It was old, fuddy-duddy, geezerish — promoted by florid, white-mustached retired Indian Army colonels living in old manor houses with tiger-skin rugs. The EU, at that time still called the Common Market, was new — shiny, spiffy, up-to-date, modern, cool!
Now, forty years on, things look quite different. The retired Indian Army types are dead and forgotten. The British Empire is one with Nineveh and Tyre. The EU is seen plainly as the Franco-German bankers' racket it always was. This could be the CANZUK moment.
The document I'm mainly drawing on here was posted at quora.com in August 2018 by Philip Yip, who describes himself as Administrator for the CANZUK Facebook Group. Yip, I note in passing, is a Cantonese surname, so presumably Philip Yip is of Hong Kong Chinese descent — mildly interesting by itself in this context.
You naturally find yourself thinking: What about the U.S.A.? Could we get included in this free trade, free movement, English-speaking alliance? Could CANZUK become CANZUKUS?
Americans seem to respond positively to the idea. Quote from Mr Yip: "I have seen on the likes of Reddit many Americans portray a great interest and enthusiasm for CANZUK." End quote.
There are problems, though. Healthcare, for example. For free movement of people within the alliance you need reciprocity in healthcare coverage. Our healthcare system, although considerably socialized, is much less socialized than those of the CANZUK countries.
Another negative I think, although Mr Yip doesn't mention it, is the suspicion among the CANZUK peoples that, given the population and resources of the U.S.A. by comparison with theirs, the U.S.A. would be too dominant in the alliance and start setting the rules and overriding the interests of the others.
Our population is two and a half times the four CANZUK countries combined. We'd be the bear at the CANZUKUS picnic.
You have to wonder also whether Britain, maybe Britain and Canada both, are now sunk too deep in multiculturalism for the thing to work. Does New Zealand, for example, really want an inflow of British Muslim rape gangs or black British drug dealers?
For all that, the CANZUK alliance is an interesting idea. I'm curious to see if it goes anywhere. Probably that will depend on this year's Brexit result. I shall keep tabs and report back.
07 — Watson re-Watsoned. In the great cycles of political movements that roiled communist China through the nineteen fifties, sixties, and seventies, a person targeted by the Party commissars would be "struggled" — dragged out before a hooting crowd, forced to confess his political sins, then be stripped of his job and apartment and be sent to live in some pigsty or cowshed.
Then, four or five years later, when the next movement came round, he'd be dragged from his cowshed and struggled all over again for the edification of the masses.
Our own enforcers of ideological orthodoxy work the same way. So last week we saw James Watson dragged from his cowshed for another struggle session.
Watson is the world-famous geneticist who, sixty-five years ago, with Francis Crick, figured out the structure of DNA. They, with Maurice Wilkins, got the Nobel Prize for that. Jim Watson used his prestige to help advance research and support young researchers across many decades. He found a home at last in Cold Spring Harbor Lab, just down the road from where I live. He was Director of the lab for nearly forty years.
In 2007 he told an interviewer that blacks are, on average, less intelligent than whites. That's a well-established fact, but of course serious Thoughtcrime under the reigning ideology. Watson was struggled. In fact he was Watsoned — the indignities he was subjected to for saying out loud what everybody knows to be true generated their own verb: "to Watson."
He had to resign his position at Cold Spring Harbor, and eventually had to sell his Nobel Prize to make ends meet.
Forward to this week. A new documentary about Watson was broadcast on PBS Wednesday. In it he reaffirms his 2007 heresy, quote: "There's a difference on the average between blacks and whites on I.Q. tests. I would say the difference is, it's genetic." End quote.
Bear in mind please, this is the world's greatest living geneticist speaking.
What he said is counter-revolutionary Thoughtcrime none the less. The New York Times dragged Watson out of his cowshed and struggled him all over again. In charge of the struggle session was hack journalist Amy Harmon, who did not hesitate to publish bare-faced lies in defense of our state ideology. Sample, quote:
In response to questions from The Times, Dr. Francis Collins, the director of the National Institutes of Health, said that most experts on intelligence "consider any black-white differences in I.Q. testing to arise primarily from environmental, not genetic, differences."
End quote. That's false. A 2013 survey by Rindermann, Coyle and Becker found 42 percent think the difference is up to two-fifths genetic, the remaining 58 percent think it's more than two-fifths genetic.
You can quibble about Dr. Collins' use of the words "most" and "primarily," but the findings of that survey are not at all what you'd expect from Dr. Collins' statement. He's being deliberately misleading; so is the New York Times by quoting him.
To Jim Watson's credit, he's sticking to his guns in this latest documentary. What are they going to do to him? He's ninety years old. Well, they can jeer at him and humiliate him all over again, which of course is what the New York Times is doing.
In China back in the day they would have put a dunce's cap on his head and paraded him round with a placard around his neck calling him a cow-demon snake-spirit. Our own ideologues are not quite that bold yet; for which, on Jim Watson's behalf, I give thanks.
A Chinese demographer named Yi Fuxian, a researcher at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, has figured out that last year, for the first time in China's modern history, the population declined.
It's a teeny decline — less than 0.1 percent — but the harbinger of a future trend. The East Asian societies are all low-fertility. Japan's population peaked in 2009 and has been declining ever since. South Korea's will peak in 2034 on U.N. forecasts, thereafter decline.
Here I get to quote myself. This is from Chapter 11 of We Are Doomed, quote:
It is a plausible general principle that, when the human race in its overall development comes to some kind of bridge, the first nation to cross the bridge successfully has a great advantage over other nations. Britain was the first nation to industrialize, and dominated world affairs for a century afterwards. If demographic decline is inevitable — which of course it is: the Earth must have some maximum carrying capacity — the first nation to get through the transition intact, and conquer the associated problems, will be at a huge advantage. On current showing, that will be Japan.
China will be a generation or so behind, but the demographic cliff edge is already in sight.
If Dr. Yi got his numbers right, China went over the cliff edge last year. My estimate of their being "a generation or so behind" Japan was too cautious; they are only nine years behind on Dr. Yi's calculations.
Item: Of all the results out of the human sciences this past thirty years, none has been so counter-intuitive to ordinary people as the understanding — which now is indisputable — that parenting style, within the normal range — with, for example, chaining your kids in the basement and feeding them dog food being outside the normal range — within the normal range, parenting style has very little effect on how the the child turns out when grown to a finished adult.
The twin and adoption studies of the 20th century's last quarter were turning scholarly opinion in that direction. What brought it into the sphere of general public discussion, though, was a 1998 book titled The Nurture Assumption by American psychologist Judith Rich Harris.
Harris had reviewed a lot of child-development literature — a lot of journal papers showing, for example, that when parents were violent towards their children, the children grew up to be violent adults. The papers always assumed that the parents' behavior caused the kids to turn out violent.
What about genetic confounding? Harris began asking herself. Red-headed parents have red-headed kids, for reasons genetic. What if violent parents have violent kids, likewise for reasons genetic?
With thirty more years of findings in behavioral genetics, this no longer sounds sensational. It caused a great stir at the time, though. Harris's book was a best-seller. A lot of people still find its message hard to swallow.
Judith Rich Harris died December 29th at age 80. She seems — I know people who knew her — to have been a charming lady with a first-class mind. Rest in peace, Ma'am.
I am, as I said, over my time, so I shall leave you without further ado.
There will be more from Radio Derb next week.
[Music clip: From Haydn's Derbyshire Marches]