14m36s — The long littleness of politics. (President Trump gives interviews.)
22m21s — Emmanuel Macron, leader of the Frog-Boiling Party. (French electioneering not yet over.) 27m13s — The unmentionable real issues. (The news and the metanews.)
37m20s — Happy upcoming birthday, India! (And thanks for The Nipple Song.)
46m15s — Our Cultural Revolution. (Down With The Four Olds!) 49m00s — Trayvon Martin graduates college. (Another finger poked in Whitey's eye.)
50m58s — Signalling isn't showing off. (I like "cheap grace.")
53m26s — A Trump nominee withdraws. (Why didn't we fight?)
56m35s — Kim goes too far. (I counsel you beware.)
58m02s — World Naked Gardening Day. (Be careful with the loppers.)
01 — Intro. And Radio Derb is on the air! Greetings, listeners, from your diffidently genial host John Derbyshire, podcasting to you from VDARE.com's modestly equipped sound studio on Long Island's bosky North Shore.
The theme of this week's podcast is somewhat as follows.
There is news; there is fake news; and there is metanews. Metanews isn't really news about something, it's news about news. In Information Theory, metadata is data about data. So if I send you an email, the actual content of the email is data. The send date and time, from and to adresses, and subject line are metadata — data about the data.
More and more news seems to me like that: news about news.
I speculate that the reason for this is that so many topics have now been declared taboo by the guardians of political correctness, there are so many things we're not allowed to talk about, that well-nigh the only thing we can talk about is our own talking about things.
Matters of real moment, matters that should be top of the agenda for discussion in the public square, all concern taboo topics, so we can't talk about them. That leaves us talking about ourselves talking, or just babbling meaninglessly, like the winner of last week's French Presidential election, or like people sending each other emails that have no actual content, only metadata. To actually say something about something might infringe the rules — might cause a microaggression, making someone somewhere feel unsafe.
So at least I speculate. Let's see how it works in practice.
02 — Trump, Comey, and inward micturition. I don't know whether Trump Derangement Syndrome has reached Peak Hysteria yet, but this week it definitely attained what we math geeks call a "local maximum." That means, while it may not be the tallest peak in the mountain range, it's taller than anything in its immediate vicinity.
This is of course all about President Trump firing FBI Director James Comey. Prior to this week, the most famous episode in U.S. history concerning a President and his FBI Director was Lyndon Johnson's apothegm about J. Edgar Hoover, slightly bowdlerized quote: "It's probably better to have him inside the tent peeing out, than outside the tent peeing in."
This week our President decided that FBI Director James Comey had been doing somewhat too much inward micturition and not enough of the outward kind, so he fired him.
That is perfectly constitutional. Comey was head of a federal agency reporting to the Executive Branch; the President is chief of that branch; there is no impropriety or unconstitutionality.
You'd never know that from the Establishment's reaction. Politicians and pundits were weeping and rending their garments everywhere you looked. One major New York tabloid, the Daily News, ran a cover saying, in the largest type they could fit on the page, Coup de Trump.
That's a metropolitan subeditor's notion of a clever play on words, in this case the words coup d'état, an overthrow of the state by force. Since d'état means "of the state" while de Trump means "of Trump," the actual implication of the Daily News headline to an educated reader (assuming the Daily News has one) would be that Trump had been overthrown by force.
That is not what happened, except in the fever dreams of our Trump-derangement-syndrome-affected elites. They couldn't help but verbalize their wishful thinking, though. The coup motif was a common one, by no means restricted to the Daily News. "Donald Trump Is Attempting a Coup," gasped Bill Moyers on his website. "A coup in real time?" asked Yale Professor of History Timothy Snyder rhetorically at the CultMarx website Salon.com. The firing of Comey was, said this Ivy League professor, quote: "an open admission of collusion with Russia."
Atlantic editor David Frum called it, quote "a coup against the FBI." That one left me really confused. What, the FBI should be running the country, but Trump's overthrown them?
As I said, probably not peak hysteria yet — that will have arrived when Yale professors and Atlantic editors run screaming naked through the streets while tearing their flesh with billhooks; but definitely a local maximum.
Thoughtful commentary on the firing — I mean, the small percentage of commentary that contained something other than shrieking and sputtering — thoughtful commentary concentrated on Trump's timing, wisdom, and motivation. Here's Radio Derb's take on those three aspects, taking them in turn.
I can't summon up much interest in the timing. If it was a right thing to do, the timing of the doing is secondary. Sooner would have been better; but better late than never.
The wisdom can reasonably be doubted. Back in March I noted North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un's purge of his secret police chief Kim Won-hong. I said how remarkable it was that the top cop was still alive, when senior officials who run afoul of Kim Jong-un are usually executed by some imaginatively gruesome method. How odd, I said, that the secret-police chief had merely been placed under house arrest. (He has since been sent to a camp for "re-education".)
But that's the thing with relations between a national leader and his secret-police boss, as LBJ understood. The secret-police boss knows far more about what's going on, at a much greater depth of detail, than the leader does. He doesn't just know where the bodies are buried: he knows how deep they are buried, and what was buried with them, and what was done to them that made it necessary at last to bury them, and who did it.
From the leader's point of view, the secret-police chief is a cargo of dynamite, to be handled with extreme care.
The money quote here is one I retailed back in January, from Senator Chuck Schumer. Schumer is, as I noted at the time, a repulsive creep, but he nailed this one in a TV interview January 3rd, when asked about unkind things candidate Trump had said about the spooks, re-quote:
Let me tell you, you take on the intelligence community, they have six ways from Sunday to get back at you. So, even for a practical, supposedly hard-nosed businessman, he [that is, Trump] is being really dumb to do this.
End quote. So on the wisdom point, I'm shaking my head. Donald Trump may, and I hope will, go down in history as a successful President, but I doubt he will be regarded as one of the wisest.
That's two of my three points, timing and wisdom. What about motivation?
I'm sticking with my LBJ analogy. Comey just wasn't sufficiently on-side; or the President thought he wasn't, which is functionally the same thing.
Other opinions were on offer from the commentariat. Ann Coulter told her Twitter followers, perhaps not entirely seriously, quote: "Comey firing is a red herring to distract from the fact that Trump hasn't started building the wall," end quote. Sorry, Ann, and I want that wall as much as you do, babe, or very nearly as much; but that's a stretch. I'm sticking with LBJ.
Out on the foam-flecked Left — which is to say, wellnigh all the mainstream media pundits and political establishment — that Yale professor's opinion was the default: Comey was getting too close to the truth about candidate Trump's collaboration with the Russians to rig last November's election.
This business about the Russians is by now a psychiatric-level obsession with our elites, a King Charles's head. That's in spite of the fact that after months of furious digging there is not a shard or fragment of evidence for it, not a jot nor a tittle; and in spite of the further fact that it makes no strategic sense whatsoever from the Russians' point of view — a Clinton presidency would have suited them better; and in spite of the yet further fact that, according to me, it wouldn't have mattered a damn if there had been Russian attempts to interfere in our election. More on that shortly.
I suggested back in March that the President throw this Russia stuff right back in the elites' smug weasel faces by making the Russian ambassador an honored guest at all cabinet meetings. In the same spirit of defiance, I now tender a further suggestion.
Mr President, you are in need of a new FBI Director. Please consider appointing Russian ambassador Sergey Ivanovich Kislyak to this position.
Ambassador Kislyak is a genial and worldly fellow you should have no trouble getting along with. As a former diplomatic functionary of the U.S.S.R., I'm sure he is well acquainted with intelligence procedures and protocols. An ideal candidate!
You'd probably have to grant him U.S. citizenship; but I believe that can be done on an expedited basis by a simple Act of Congress. The upside for you would be that it would drive the opposition into shrieking, moon-howling madness. The downside for our country would be … nothing at all. Again, more on that later.
03 — The long littleness of politics. President Trump gave two full-length interviews this week, one on Monday with Time magazine, the other on Thursday with NBC News. Planning out my Radio Derb coverage, I allocated a segment to these interviews, hoping the President would say something newsworthy, but he didn't.
Sure, these aren't original or striking observations; but nothing said in these interviews was any more original or striking.
Here are some executive summaries.
The President told Time magazine that the F-35 is a cool plane. He also told them he'd inspected one of our aircraft carriers. The catapult system that launches the planes used to be steam powered, but that's been replaced by, quote "digital." I have this mental image of a plane roaring off the carrier deck in a great cloud of binary digits, zeroes and ones … but that's probably wrong. Anyway, the President asked around, and the deck crews told him the new system is not good. Right, said the President, we'll go back to steam.
Again my mental imagery was subverting the whole story. I had this image of our President in a sort of Kim Jong-un situation, surrounded by staff officers all with those dicky little notebooks, scribbling down everything the President said.
What does he watch on TV? the interviewer asked. The President said he'd used to watch sport, but now, quote, "I'm now consumed by news. And business, I like the business stuff." End quote.
Foreign policy? Quote: "I have a great relationship with all of them," end quote. Angela Merkel? "Great relationship … She loves Ivanka." The Egyptian leader, Wossname al-Sisi? "A great guy." ChiCom Godfather Xi Jinping? "I have great respect for him. I think we have a very good mutual liking of each other." Hoo-kay.
The Syria situation? Quote: "You have arms and legs and everything else laying all over the town where it is. A real problem too," end quote. Yeah, I hate when that happens. You go into town to buy a birthday card for the Mrs and there's arms and legs everywhere. What's up with the sanitation department?
I'd summarize the NBC interview for you, but by this point I'm into my third slug of No-Doz and can't face the job.
Please don't get me wrong. I'm not trying to belittle the President here. To the contrary, the main effect on me of reading those interview transcripts was one of reassurance. This is a very ordinary guy, they're telling me. It's like listening to some office-supplies sales rep you met at the Econolodge bar. Well, Trump is smarter than that in his own field, of course. You don't get to be as rich as he is without lots of smarts. He's ordinary, though, and the ordinariness is reassuring.
Remember please the default Radio Derb position: that most of politics is a racket without much meaning, except to whichever noisy interest group is trying to get its hand in the public cookie jar. And most people who find politics compulsively fascinating are bores and monomaniacs.
As much of an insomnia cure as a Trump interview is, I'd way rather listen to Trump than to Barack Obama, with his gassy moralizing and references to Reinhold Niebuhr. I bet President Trump doesn't know who Reinhold Niebuhr is. I sure hope he doesn't. Heaven preserve us from philosopher-kings!
Donald Trump's ascent to the Presidency got the commentariat reaching for historical parallels. "He's the new Andy Jackson!" chortled his supporters. "More like the new James Buchanan," snarled his detractors.
Based on these interviews this week, I'd say Trump is closer to one of my favorite Presidents, the late great Warren Gamaliel Harding (peace be upon him!) — the guy who cured the economic depression of 1920-21 by doing … nothing.
Ten years after that, as another depression was starting up and an energetic whiz-kid was in the White House, H.L. Mencken penned some memorable lines about the office currently occupied by Mr Trump. Quote:
All day long the right hon. lord of us all sits listening solemnly to bores and quacks … It takes four days' hard work to concoct a speech without a sensible word in it. Next day a dam must be opened somewhere … The Presidential automobile runs over a dog. It rains.
End quote. That's Presidential politics.
The poet Frances Cornford said of a different poet, Rupert Brooke, that he was, quote: "Magnificently unprepared / For the long littleness of life," end quote. I'd say our new President is totally prepared for the long littleness of politics in a modern republic.
I would advise him, though, if he won't think it impertinent of me, to leave the design of carrier-deck catapult systems to the engineers.
04 — Emmanuel Macron, leader of the Frog-Boiling Party. Last Sunday's Presidential election in France delivered the result everyone expected: Marine Le Pen's voters stuck with her, and voters for the other ten candidates from the first round of voting consolidated behind Emmanuel Macron. So he's now the President-Elect of France.
It's a disappointing result for National Conservatives everywhere, the disappointment dulled by its being unsurprising.
The game's not over, though. This was just a Presidential election. Next month sees elections for the National Assembly, which is more or less equivalent to our House of Representatives; and as Donald Trump has discovered, while the President can propose all he wants, it's often the legislature that ends up disposing.
The analysts are predicting gains for Ms Le Pen's National Front party, which currently has only two seats in the Assembly. They're saying that number will go up into the range 15 to 25.
That'll be good news for the nationalist cause, I guess; but there are 577 seats in the Assembly, so even 25 seats for Le Pen's party would leave them as a splinter group with less than five percent of the seats in the legislature.
In the wider context of preserving France as a European nation, with cultural and demographic continuity stretching back into the past, it's disappointing that so few French voters are willing to cast a ballot for a plain nationalist platform.
The civilizational crisis is getting acute over there, as I described at length two weeks ago. Voters seem sufficiently aware of this to have turned away from the big old political parties, yet not aware enough to turn all the way to National Conservatism.
So they shunned the big old parties and elected this outsider Macron to the Presidency, with Ms Le Pen as their second choice. What will they do in the Assembly elections next month?
Well, the analysts tell us that Macron's brand-new On the Move Party will win a plurality, just possibly a majority; then a cuck-right coalition of Nicolas Sarkozy's old party and some others will come close behind as a big minority faction; then bits and pieces of the old center-left and hard-left, and Ms Le Pen's National Front, will score down below the ten percent level.
Macron's new party of course has no track record to indicate its direction, and his pronouncements on the campaign trail were mainly designed to present him as the not Le Pen, so it's hard to say where he'll take the country. He surely won't be taking it out of the open-borders European Union, though, and mass immigration of Muslims and Africans will continue.
Macron's party is actually named, in French, La République En Marche!, with a closing exclamation point. That translates as "Republic on the move!" Fair enough; but … on the move to where? On the move in which direction?
From what I've been able to gather so far about their positions on National Question issues, a better name for the outfit would be: The Frog-Boiling Party.
Here's someone else having the same thought: Mark Steyn.
05 — The unmentionable real issues. Several people sent me Mark Steyn's vlog — that's a video blog … perhaps it should be a "vidcast" … don't ask me, I can't keep up with this stuff — anyway, Mark Steyn opining in a video clip this past Wednesday. It's a 23-minute clip, right there on YouTube, and well worth your attention.
Mark takes Mr Macron and his new political party as the starting point for his commentary. He refers to Macron as, quote, "this cipher, this globalist pretty boy," end quote. He translates the name of Macron's party, En Marche!, as "Forward!" Mark calls this "a vacuous slogan."
This recent Presidential election in France was, says Mark, a consequential election; but the guy who won, "won by pretending it was an election about nothing."
To support his case, and to set the hearts a-fluttering over here on the Dissident Right, Mark then pulls out Steve Sailer's graph, the graph I was talking about two weeks ago, what Steve calls "the world's most important graph." This is the graph Steve made from the U.N.'s 2012 population projections, showing the population of Europe flatlining at around half a billion through the rest of this century while the population of Africa rockets up to over four billion.
To Mark's credit, he references Steve by name, and agrees with him about the importance of those numbers. As I told you two weeks ago: this is what we should have at the front of our minds when thinking about the future. This is what our pundits should be talking about: not just pundits on the political fringe, like Mark, or pundits way beyond the fringe, like me and Steve, but the bigfoot guys at the newspapers, magazines, and cable channels.
Ranked on a scale from one to ten, as matters that are important to our future — the future our children and grandchildren will inhabit — that graph is a ten. Global warming is a two or a three; Russian interference in last year's election is around a zero point zero one.
So why don't we talk about it? Why is such a huge, real issue so unmentionable?
Where Europe is concerned, Mark identifies part of the problem as relating exactly to our children and grandchildren; or rather, to the fact that Europeans aren't having any.
Mr Macron, for example, is childless. So is German leader Angela Merkel. So is British Prime Minister Theresa May. The President of Italy has three kids, but Italy's Prime Minister is childless. So is Mark Rutte, Prime Minister of Holland. Mark Steyn has some fun with Belgium: the current Prime Minister has two kids, but the previous one was a childless homosexual.
Why, Mark wonders rhetorically, would we expect these barren politicians to think hard thoughts about the world of twenty, fifty, eighty years from now? They have no personal stake in that world.
The great English economist John Maynard Keynes famously said that, quote: "In the long run we are all dead." You can get into trouble — historian Niall Ferguson did get into trouble — for observing that Keynes was a childless homosexual when he wrote that. (He later married, though he never did have children.) There is something in the observation, though. I know I've thought differently about the future since becoming a father. Who doesn't?
That graph — the world's most important graph — looms over the 21st century like a monstrous great crow: yet we can't talk about it. Or rather, I can, and Mark can; but no-one with much more of a profile than us, can.
Why not? Do you need to ask? That line shooting up on the graph represents Africa — black people (mostly), and a high proportion Muslims. The other line, the one plodding along horizontally, represents Europe — white people (mostly), and a very high proportion not Muslims.
In the state ideologies of the Western world, black people are sacred objects to whom whites must defer, Muslims only slightly less so. Nothing negative may be said about these peoples, nor even hinted.
So Mark's gloomy prognostications about Europe being swamped, and European civilization destroyed, by incoming hordes of blacks and Muslims, are out of bounds. In several European countries, including I think France, it would actually be a criminal offense to say such things in public.
That's the state we're in. The real issues, the important issues — vitally important to our children and grandchildren, those of us who have any — may not be openly discussed.
Global warming? Sure. Russian hacking? Oh definitely. Homosexual marriage? Let's have a debate! But … world demographics? Why would you be interested in that? What are you, some kind of Nazi?
Now that we've got Mark Steyn talking about the world's most important graph, next we should try to get him helping promote the Arctic Alliance.
It's way past the time when we high-IQ, low-fertility, long-civilized Arctic peoples — the whites and the yellows — can afford to bicker among ourselves, about election hacking or anything else. We should be putting our smart, pale heads together to plan a geostrategy to preserve our nations, our civilization, from the swelling numbers down there in the tropics who seek to displace us by demographically overwhelming us.
I quipped back there about making the Russian Ambassador our new FBI Director. Is that really a great idea? No, not really a great one. A pretty bad one, actually.
On any reasonable scale of badness, though, its badness fades to insignificance, to nothing at all, by comparison with really really bad ideas: ideas like continuing mass Third World immigration, or restarting the Cold War with Russia.
A nation can survive having a foreigner of doubtful loyalty in charge of one of its law-enforcement agencies, but it can't survive having its population replaced by alien peoples. If that happens, the country is no longer what it was. It's a different country.
That's the condition we're in. Really really bad ideas, lethally bad ideas, existentially disastrous ideas, are respectable, in fact wellnigh compulsory; ideas that are mildly silly but not permanently harmful are considered outrageous. That's our condition.
It's not just me, either. News-wise, India's a sort of non-place. Everyone knows about China's economic miracle and military bumptiousness; Russia is supposed to be a major existential threat to us, striving to undermine our democracy, though so far as I can see there is a complete absence of evidence for either thing. Quite small and inconsequential places like Venezuela get lots of news coverage; but India? Meh.
This is so unfair. India's a huge country — population nearly 1.3 billion, nipping at the heels of China. The place is poor, per capita GDP less than half China's. It's afflicted with the scourge of diversity, too: one-seventh of the population is Muslim, roughly the same as the proportion of our population that's black. In spite of these handicaps, India minds her own business pretty much, making no trouble in the world.
I confess to knowing very little about India. The last thing I read about the place with any attention was Paul Scott's big novel The Raj Quartet, which I reviewed for The New Criterion nine years ago. Such slight understanding of the Indian national character as I possess was formed three or four decades before that, from reading Arthur Koestler's travelogue The Lotus and the Robot. The lotus is India; the robot is Japan; so only half of Koestler's book is about India, and Heaven only knows how accurate his portrayal is, or how much of it still applies half a century on.
Koestler's book — one of his biographers summarized it by saying that Koestler liked the Indians but disliked India, and disliked the Japanese but liked Japan — that book, The Lotus and the Robot, left me with the abiding impression that India is a slightly nutty place, full of peculiar cults and weird practices, like passing an entire bolt of silk through your digestive system to clean it out.
That was the mindset I brought to this story from the Washington Post, May 8th, headline: "Straight out of the Nazi playbook": Hindu nationalists try to engineer "genius" babies in India. I'll read you the first four sentences from the report, quote:
Members of a Hindu far-right organization called Arogya Bharati say they are working with expectant couples in the country to produce "customized" babies, who, they hope, will be taller, fairer and smarter than other babies, according to a report in the Indian Express newspaper.
The group's health officials claimed that their program — a combination of diet, ayurvedic medicine and other practices — has led to 450 of these babies, and they hope to have "thousands" more by 2020, the report said.
[Inner quote] "The parents may have lower IQ, with a poor educational background, but their baby can be extremely bright. If the proper procedure is followed, babies of dark-skinned parents with lesser height can have fair complexion and grow taller," Hitesh Jani, the group's national convener, told the newspaper.
End quote. I had to google "ayurvedic medicine." It's one of those premodern traditional types of medicine, like Chinese acupuncture. Probably — I didn't read enough to know for sure — the trick of doing a pull-through of your internal organs by swallowing a bolt of silk is in there somewhere — I'd rather not know.
I smiled at the rampant political incorrectness on display there, though. They're talking about eugenics, of course — one of the great taboos of our age, as if it were not the case that everyone in the world would rather have smart, handsome, and healthy offspring than dumb, ugly, and sickly ones. As if also it were not the case that all American states have eugenic laws on the books. In my state, for instance, it is unlawful to marry your sister, presumably for eugenic reasons.
The procedures favored by this Arogya Bharati outfit don't sound very scientific. Still, they seem to have a market for them over there.
So to judge by this story, when the actual science of embryo selection and then DNA editing become routine and decently cheap, there'll be some large-scale eugenics going on in India, which seems to have no problem with the idea. China likewise has no problem with it.
Imagine that: the two biggest countries in the world blithely going ahead with a practice that in the West is considered unspeakably evil. Perhaps we'll have to invade them to stop them doing it.
While I'm covering India, let me give them an early shout-out for the 70th anniversary of their independence from Britain, August 15th this year. Congratulations, India! Thanks for all the curry restaurants, the call centers, and the Kama Sutra. And of course the Nipple Song. [Clip: Nipple Song.]
Now, with the previous segment in mind, I'm going to do some hard thinking about whether to include India in the Arctic Alliance. It's surely not an Arctic country climatically; and the mean national IQ and fertility rates are on the other side of the line from us true Arctics.
Still, the majority of Indians speak an Indo-European language. Unlike Africa, they've had respectable civilizational achievements at several points — heck, they invented the number zero — and the six-sevenths of them who are not Muslim have no desire to conquer and subjugate the whole world.
So there are pluses and minuses here. I'll do some work on this and get back to you …
Imprimis: Watching TV news Thursday evening, they had an item about the statue of Jefferson Davis being removed from a public place in New Orleans.
Remarked Mrs Derbyshire, quote: "Oh! It's just like the Cultural Revolution!"
I should explain that Mrs D was born in China in 1962, and so was 14 years old when Mao Tse-tung's Great Cultural Revolution ended, after massive civilizational destruction and untold numbers of dead. She has vivid memories of the whole thing.
And she is right, of course. This is the annihilation of a nation's past, just as much as when Mao Tse-tung declared war on the Four Old Things; or when the Taliban destroyed those great Buddha statues; or when ISIS smashed up ancient Greek temples.
And why is this happening now? The Confederacy was defeated 152 years ago. Legal racial segregation was struck down 53 years ago. By forty years ago affirmative action and racial preferences were firmly in place everywhere. These statues of Confederate heroes still stood, and went on standing for decades more … until now, suddenly, they are intolerable.
Why are they more intolerable now than forty years ago, when we were forty years closer to legal slavery? This is just Goodwhite triumphalism, one side in the Cold Civil War jeering provocatively at the other side, the badwhites: rubbing their faces in the dirt, because they know they can.
The thing you used to hear from Americans, when I started listening thirty years ago, was that the Civil War was fought with courage and honor on both sides, with no spiteful intention by the leaders on either side to mock or humiliate the other. How we have fallen!
Item: This weekend, May 13th, Florida Memorial University, a historically black institution, is holding its commencement ceremony. Among those who will be honored with degrees is the late larcenous thug Trayvon Martin, who was shot dead in 2012 while violently assaulting neighborhood watch George Zimmerman.
Martin is to receive a posthumous bachelor's degree in aeronautical science, apparently on the grounds — or in the skies — that he "attended a few aviation classes in high school."
Wow. I was in the Sea Cadets in high school, and have a certificate to prove it. So if I go to meet my maker while beating the crap out of some Neighborhood Watch captain, will the local college award me a posthumous degree in nautical science? That would be cool.
This item is actually related to the previous one. It's becoming clear that the Trayvon Martin shooting was some kind of turning point in our national culture: a turning away from such national solidarity as we once had towards the Goodwhite triumphalism that is bringing those statues down in New Orleans.
Militant blacks are happy to follow along with the Goodwhite jeering and sneering. That's the context of stunts like this: another finger poked in the eye of white people — the wrong kind of white people.
Item: A listener has directed my attention to a posting at the Adam Smith Institute website. The poster, one Sam Bowman, wants us to stop using the term "virtue signalling" to indicate empty gestures of political correctness. Says he, edited quote:
The term signalling does not mean the same thing as "saying" or "showing off" when it is used by economists or biologists. Signalling means credibly giving information that is difficult to prove just by saying it. For example, banks used to have very grand buildings. Any bank could claim to be safe, but only a bank that had lots of money could afford a grand office.
End quote. My first reaction was that this is awfully nitpicky. In particular intellectual disciplines, a common word may have very precise, particular meanings. The word "ring," for example, has a precise meaning in mathematics that has nothing to do with circularity or finger ornaments. That doesn't mean we should stop using it in common speech.
On reflection I'll allow that Bowman has perhaps half of a point, maybe a third of a point. Until you've had "virtue signalling" explained to you, it's not obvious that it refers to a phony display.
I always liked the closely-allied expression "cheap grace." I'm sorry that's gone out of circulation. If you say "cheap grace" in conversation, people just look puzzled — mainly I suppose because the theological concept of grace is no longer widely understood.
With that little bit of piety signalling, I'll let the matter drop …
The nominee was Mark Green, a Tennessee state senator with twenty years' service in the U.S. Army, including a tour in Iraq. He's a committed Christian. Trump nominated him for the Army Secretary post on April 7th.
The reason for his withdrawal, before confirmation hearings have even begun, was opposition from the homosexual lobbies and from Muslims — an unlikely alliance, when you think about it, but of course all differences are set aside when there's the opportunity to crush a white male Christian heterosexual.
Here are some samples of Mark Green's heterodoxy, all of them uttered at a speech he gave last September to the Chattanooga Tea Party. You might want to have your smelling salts close at hand before hearing them.
Sample, quote: "We need to take a stand on the indoctrination of Islam in our public schools."
Sample: Green speculated that a rise in Latinos registering to vote was due to them, quote, "being bused here probably."
Sample, quote: "If you poll the psychiatrists, they're going to tell you transgender is a disease."
I note in passing that the previous Secretary of the Army — not counting the Acting Secretary Robert Speer, appointed in January when President Trump took office — the previous guy, Eric Fanning, appointed of course by Obama, was openly homosexual. Fanning was a career bureaucrat who, unlike Mark Green, had never served in the military.
As so often nowadays, the sad thing about this story is the spinelessness of the Trump administration in refusing to stand up for their nominee.
All right: with the buggery brigades and the Muslims testifying against him, likely the cucks and commies on the Senate Armed Services Committee wouldn't have confirmed him, but why not at least put up a fight?
Shame on the administration for their cowardice here. We're talking about the military, for crying out loud.
Item: I think Kim Jong-un may finally have gone too far. Breitbart reported April 29th that he is now threatening Israel.
Apparently the Israeli Defense Minister said something or other, I don't know what, that upset Fat Boy. The Nork news agency leapt to their leader's defense, quote: "The reckless remarks of the Israeli defense minister are sordid and wicked behavior and a grave challenge to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea," end quote.
For indignant, self-righteous moralizing, homicidal commie dictators are up there with our own Social Justice Warriors … which is not very surprising, since their ideologies have a common origin.
I'd counsel caution to Mr Kim, though. China won't do anything unless there's money in it; America's a paper tiger; Russia couldn't care less; but Israel is a serious country with a line in covert ops perfected and polished over seventy years. Take care, Tubby.
Item: Finally, I hope Radio Derb listeners took time to celebrate World Naked Gardening Day last Saturday.
I'm not sure how much of a world event this is. It actually started in the Pacific Northwest, but most of the articles I found about it were in the British newspapers. Perhaps this is related somehow to Winston Churchill's observation that, quote: "The natural occupations of man are war and gardening," end quote. Or perhaps it's just that there is no poison ivy in Britain.
And rest assured, if you think you have a witty quip to make about World Naked Gardening Day — something about trimming the bush, perhaps, or a warning to be extra careful with the pruning shears — someone in the comment threads got there before you.
I mentioned the poet Rupert Brooke back there somewhere. He's hardly known to Americans, but a great popular favorite elsewhere in the Anglosphere. It's easy to make fun of Brooke, and many have piled on to do so; but when you're through criticizing his innocence and sentimentality, there's something true and memorable in there among the fudge.
So here's me reading a Rupert Brooke poem. There'll be more from Radio Derb next week.
[Clip: Rupert Brooke, "The Jolly Company."]