01m22s Trump the timid. (Too little, too late.)
05m53s What asylum should be for. (Not parasites and scofflaws.)
11m31s Race denialism v. reality. (It's a hard sell.)
17m23s Collegiality and its enemies. (Appreciating James Flynn.)
25m34s The transgender moment. (What about opera singers?)
28m24s Gaia is angry! (Tsunami, earthquake, volcanos, geysers.)
30m57s Solzhenitsyn as a writer. (Russians speak.)
33m44s National leader's plain speaking. (Why isn't there more of it?)
34m50s ChiComs war on Christmas. (Lotsa luck.)
36m29s Signoff. (For New Year's.)
This has of course been the last full week of 2018—a year when the National Question has become a major political issue, not only in the U.S.A. but also in Europe.
Not much has actually been done policywise; but the fact that people all over are now talking about our issues—immigration, citizenship, sovereignty, border control, asylum—is enough of a white pill all by itself. Let's keep the talk going, keep pressing the issues, and hope for some real consequences in 2019.
02—Trump the timid. Steve Sailer captured post-1965 U.S. policy very neatly with his phrase "invade the world, invite the world." It's the inviting that we mainly concentrate on here at VDARE.com, but the invading is worth citizens' attention, too; and as Steve's phrase suggests, the two things are not unconnected.
We have done an awful lot of invading this past half-century, most of it to no point at all, and at a cost of thousands of American lives and trillions of dollars.
Candidate Donald Trump on the 2016 campaign trail seemed to get the futility of it all. He talked of bringing our troops home, advised South Korea to nuke up, said we should withdraw from NATO and shut down our missionary wars in the Middle East.
Millions of us responded eagerly to all that, as we did to his talk of bringing order to our immigration system. That's how Trump got elected.
Two years later very little has been done on either clause of Steve's phrase. We're still inviting the world on a huge scale, a scale that makes sense only to cheap-labor lobbyists and anti-white ethnic ideologues. And yes, we're still invading the world. We're still in NATO; we still have 26,000 troops in Korea; our war in Afghanistan is in its eighteenth year, with one-eighth of the country under enemy control and one-third "contested."
The President, in that careless, half-hearted way he has, threw us a small bone last week by announcing that we would withdraw all our troops from Syria and half from Afghanistan. The news is welcome, but it's way too little.
Why is Trump so half-hearted, so timid? Did you ever think you'd hear the words "Trump" and "timid" in the same sentence? I don't know how else to describe the President's actions, though. I long to see him throw down gauntlets, challenge the Executive apparatchiks, the Congressional seat-warmers, the puffed-up Judiciary.
There are so many gauntlets he could throw down. Just at random from this week's browsing: A long, closely-argued piece on the CIS website by immigration wonk Andrew Arthur making the case that Trump can, by himself, make E-Verify mandatory. Quote: "All that it requires is the will, and 60 days' notice before implementation." End quote.
Where's the will, Mr President? Sure, the congresscritters will screech and the lefty judges will frown; and perhaps they could stop what you're trying to do. The only way to find out is to try doing it, to throw down the gauntlet.
So thanks for the Syria bone, Mr President. Could you now try something big, something bold, even if it makes Ivanka cry?
03—What asylum should be for. F.H. Buckley has a good column on the withdrawal from Syria, pointing out that in all these stupid, futile interventions we have had help from local people who saw us as on their side, and put themselves in danger to help us.
When we pull out our troops—Buckley is speaking specifically of Syria, and the Kurds—we are leaving those allies to their fate, which may not be a happy one.
As Buckley points out, we've been here before. After Vietnam fell in 1975 we admitted hundreds of thousands of South Vietnamese. A lot of them just didn't want to live under communism, but some significant proportion—I'd like to see an estimate of that proportion, though I never have—had actively helped us in South Vietnam and were in real danger.
There are people in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria today in that same position. Notably so are the Kurds of northern Syria who have actually been fighting alongside American troops against ISIS. The Kurds face hostility not only from the Syrian government, but also from Turkey, which has a longstanding policy of crushing Kurdish separatism.
The situation of the Kurds is tragic to be sure, and they attach a nontrivial moral issue to our withdrawal from Syria. I mean them no disrespect; in a world ordered by me, they'd have their own country.
That said, I could not help but smile when reading the December 20th Washington Post story about the Kurds' reaction to Trump's decision. Longish quote:
The decision represented yet another setback to Kurdish aspirations for some form of statehood, which have repeatedly met disappointment at the hands of the United States. The letdowns began after President Woodrow Wilson pushed for but failed to secure a separate Kurdish state at the 1919 peace conference following World War I, which drew the borders of the modern Middle East.
Kurds say the hopes they have since placed in the United States have continued to be dashed. In 1975, the United States abandoned support for a Kurdish uprising in Iraq after President Saddam Hussein struck a deal with their ally, the Shah of Iran. In 1991, President George H.W. Bush encouraged Iraqis to rise up against Saddam, but when Kurds in the north and Shiite Arabs in the south responded to the call, the U.S. military refrained from going to their aid. Most recently, the Trump administration last year withheld support for an independence referendum in Iraqi Kurdistan, and Iraqi troops rolled unopposed into areas the Kurds had controlled.
Again, I don't wish to be unkind, and this smile I'm sporting is a grim one; but given that we've been letting them down since 1919—that's a hundred years, guys—it's kind of amazing that any Kurds still trust us.
Yes, we should pull out of all these places, while swearing a solemn national oath that any future wars we fight abroad will be won quickly, not lost slowly. And I can't believe it is beyond our abilities to identify people with a clear claim on our sympathies, and offer them asylum as we pull out.
That's what asylum should be for. Instead we're handing it out to hundreds of thousands of liars and crooks from Central America, carefully coached by the people-smugglers with tales of violence and danger.
If these parasites and scofflaws continue to get asylum while we refuse it to Kurds and Afghans who have actually fought alongside us, that would be a monstrous national disgrace.
04—Race denialism versus reality. Boy, race realism's a tough sell, isn't it? I've been doing my best to make the case for honesty about race, but the people who run Western countries, along with all our bigfoot opinionators and educators, would submit to being boiled in oil rather than admit the reality of innate race differences.
Latest illustration of this comes from London. The police force of that city—the Metropolitan Police, known as "the Met"—has a database of gang activity in the city. This database was set up after nationwide race riots in August of 2011, riots that included attacks on the police and much looting and destruction of property.
Those 2011 riots illustrate, all by themselves, the stubborn race denialism of British authorities. That the rioters were mainly black jumps out at you from the video footage. It's amply confirmed by the arrest figures.
Britain's far-left broadsheet newspaper, The Guardian, reported for example that in the city of Nottingham, which is only nine percent black, 62 percent of defendants in riot-related court cases were black—a fact that The Guardian of course tried to spin as racist injustice in policing, the court system, and society at large.
Yet to refer to those 2011 riots as "race riots," as I just did, is a gross breach of bad manners in Britain.
Well, back to the present day. As I said, one consequence of those riots seven years ago was the establishment by the Met of this database of gang activity in London.
Word leaked out that blacks were heavily over-represented on the database. The Met reports to the Mayor of London, a chap named Sadiq Khan. Hizzoner ordered a review of the database, and last Friday the reviewers released a report.
Guess what: Eighty per cent of the gangbangers on the database were black. Only sixteen percent of Londoners are black.
Racism! Discrimination! The Mayor has ordered an overhaul of the database to make the numbers come out right—that is, to accord more with the race-denialist Narrative and less with reality.
This isn't the stupidest example of race denialism from 2018. The award for that still has to go to the University of Pennsylvania Law School. Back in March I reported on how Amy Wax, a professor at that law school, had mentioned in a video exchange some months prior that, quote: "I don't think I've ever seen a black student graduate in the top quarter of the class, and rarely, rarely in the top half," end quote.
This was in the context of a discussion about affirmative action in which Prof. Wax expressed sympathy for black students who get affirmative-actioned into classes they can't cope with.
When that video exchange was brought to the attention of Ted Ruger, the Dean of U. Penn. Law school, earlier this year, Dean Ruger flatly contradicted Prof. Wax. He called her a liar in print and took away some of her classes.
Asked to provide evidence that Prof. Wax was indeed lying, that her assertion was false, Dean Ruger refused. We're just going to have to take his word for it, he told us. O … kay.
As I said, race realism is a hard sell, and not getting any easier. "Humankind cannot bear very much reality," wrote the poet; but, as Prof. Wax noted, reality has a way of winning the argument at last.
It can take a while, though. Until then the smiley-faces, happy-talkers, big-city Mayors and Law School Deans are in charge, Heaven help us.
05—Collegiality and its enemies. A shout-out here to James Flynn. This is a mere echo of a much longer and more knowledgeable shout-out to Flynn at the Unz Review, December 10th, by James Thompson—who is, like Flynn, an academic psychologist.
Flynn's research has been in human intelligence. If you've heard of the Flynn effect—the steady rise, across several decades, of IQ scores on standard tests in developed countries—well, that's Flynn. He did most of the documentation on it.
Flynn is a lefty. Eighty-four years old now, Flynn tells us that back in his youth he was such a lefty he kept getting fired for his activism, and that was why he left the U.S.A. in 1963 to live in New Zealand, where he still lives. He has stood as a candidate for the New Zealand parliament on the ticket of Alliance, a Democratic Socialist party.
You won't be surprised, then, to learn that Flynn is a race denialist. He acknowledges the differences in mean IQ scores for different races, but thinks they are environmental in origin, not biological.
Boo, hiss, I hear the race realists say. Hold on, here, though. Flynn is a conscientious scholar, with respect for data and willingness to engage in polite disagreement with people who interpret that data differently.
I saw Flynn debate Charles Murray at the Manhattan Institute twelve years ago. It was one of the most civilized exchanges I've had the good fortune to witness. Flynn and Murray of course differ on the interpretation of IQ data, and are poles apart politically—Flynn socialist, Murray libertarian—but they dealt with each other respectfully and listened thoughtfully to each other's arguments, each doing his best to refute the other with data and logic. The event was a model of collegiality.
"Collegiality" is not the word I'd use to describe what happened to Noah Carl, a 28-year-old social scientist in England. Carl has done research, and published papers in learned journals, on how people's intelligence interacts with their beliefs and attitudes—with their politics, for example. On the strength of this work, he's just been given a research fellowship at the University of Cambridge.
So far, so good … until the Thought Police discovered a paper Noah Carl had published this April in a journal of evolutionary psychology arguing that it was wrong to stifle research into possible genetic components of race differences in IQ.
Note that Carl's paper takes no position on the nature-nurture issue; it only argues for open inquiry. Quote: "Stifling debate around taboo topics can itself do active harm." End quote.
That got the race-denialist establishment all a-flutter. Three hundred academics from around the world signed an open letter denouncing Noah Carl's work as, quote, "ethically suspect and methodologically flawed," and demanding that Cambridge withdraw the Fellowship offer. Further quote:
We are shocked that a body of work that includes vital errors in data analysis and interpretation appears to have been taken seriously for appointment to such a competitive research fellowship.
Of course, in the spirit of Dean Ruger at U. Penn. Law School, they did not feel obliged to supply actual examples of Carl's "errors in data analysis." We should just take their word for it. They're good people; Carl's a bad person; why would you take a bad person's word over the word of good people? Are you a bad person? That's the intellectual level we're operating at here.
There was full coverage of the Carl controversy at Quillette, December 7th.
Back to James Flynn. Flynn published an article in the Journal of Criminal Justice November-December issue, title: Academic freedom and race: You ought not to believe what you think may be true. It's a clumsy and ambiguous title, if the good professor won't mind my saying so, and I'm not clear why it's in the Journal of Criminal Justice, but it's a stirring defense of the right of academics like Noah Carl to study and publish on controversial topics like race and IQ. Money quote:
I know of no alternative to the scientific method to maximize accumulation of truth about the physical world and the causes of human behavior.
End quote. I stood up and cheered when I got to that bit.
From what I know about the production cycle of academic journals, I'm pretty sure Flynn wrote that before the flap over Noah Carl at Cambridge blew up. He doesn't refer to the Carl business in his paper. The paper is very timely none the less; and we can never have enough defenses of academic freedom, or enough reminders that you can be a leftist—like Flynn—without being a totalitarian.
So let's hear it for James Flynn: a lifelong lefty who doubts genetics has anything to do with observed race differences in behavior, intelligence, and personality, but who sturdily defends the right of scholars to inquire into such topics.
Every day brings new headlines. Sample from today, headline: All-Women's College to Begin Accepting Transgender Students. This is Stephens College, a private all-women's college in Missouri. If you're a guy and you'd like to go to Stephens, no problem! Just "identify" as female and you're in!
OK, here's my question. I'm an opera fan. Most opera singers fall into one of six categories based on the range and quality of the voice. From highest to lowest: men are tenor, baritone, or bass; women are soprano, mezzo, or contralto.
Range-wise there's a lot of overlap, especially among the ladies. If you play me a snippet of a female voice in the lower range and ask me if this gal bills as a mezzo or a contralto, I wouldn't be right more than seventy percent of the time.
Sex-wise, on the other hand, there's no overlap. Range aside, the timbre of a male voice is just different from a female's. A male, any range, could sing a couple of bars; and a female could sing the same notes; and you'd have no trouble saying which was which. Even castrati—there's a sound clip of one at the Wikipedia entry for "castrato"—didn't really sound like females, if that clip is representative.
So my question is: Are there any transgender opera singers? If not, are we going to get some? If we get some, how will they persuade us that they are one sex when their voice obviously proclaims them the other?
Most horrible was last weekend's tsunami in Indonesia, caused by a huge landslide into the nearby sea, the landslide itself caused by an eruption in what's left of the original Krakatoa, which famously blew up in 1883. The most recent death toll I've seen for last weekend's tsunami was 429.
Meanwhile Mount Etna on Sicily erupted on Christmas Eve; then Gaia followed up with an earthquake two days later, damaging the city of Catania—which, just to drag out the opera theme a bit, was the home town of the composer Vincenzo Bellini, a great favorite of mine.
The big old Mexican volcano Popocatépetl popped on December 15th, an event I shall say more about in my December Diary.
There's been unusual activity at Yellowstone, too. The Steamboat Geyser was quiet for four years: this year it's erupted thirty times. Yellowstone sits on a supervolcano. If that sucker blows it's goodbye, civilization.
When I mentioned all this to Mrs Derbyshire she went total Chinese on me. "It's because human affairs are disordered," she told me. "Earthquakes, volcanos—they just correspond to what's happening in the human world."
Hey, who knows? The 1976 Tangshan earthquake in north China killed a quarter million people. A few weeks later Mao Tse-tung died and the Cultural Revolution ended. I know better than to argue with Mrs Derbyshire.
Item: Two weeks ago on Radio Derb I noted the centenary of Alexander Solzhenitsyn's birth. Along the way there I said that with all proper respect to Solzhenitsyn's suffering and courage, I thought he was a dull writer.
Then I wondered if that might be just the fault of his translators and added, quote: "If any fluent readers of Russian are listening, I'll be glad to air your opinion in a future podcast."
Well, I did hear from a Russian listener. Longish quote, with his permission, and slightly edited:
I would like to … express my complete agreement with your assessment … This position is not uncommon among Russians, even those who are literary critics. Here is Lev Pirogov (a fellow nationalist) [inner quote]: "I am not of a popular opinion that Solzhenitsyn was a bad writer. In my opinion, he was an average writer, while sometimes being close to a good one (and sometimes even beyond that, of course) … If you take from Solzhenitsyn his struggle, what will be left? If you take from Tolstoy his moralizing there will still be a great artist left … The Solzhenitsyn phenomenon is not a literary one. It is a sociological,ideological, political one. Its essence is resonance that makes bridges fall." [End inner quote.]
This doesn't mean that no one in Russia appreciates Solzhenitsyn as a stylist. For example, Andrei Nemser, who is one of the foremost historians of Russian literature, definitely does. All I am trying to say is that there are multiple opinions on Aleksandr Isayevich's work in Russia and yours is one that is shared by many, even by those who deeply respect the late great dissident.
End longish quote.
Thank you, Sir. I mean, of course, Большое спасибо!
Item: Quote of the week comes from Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, in a Christmas interview with one of Hungary's daily newspapers. Quote:
We do not want our countries to be inhabited by a mixed population and therefore we are protecting our borders and oppose migration.
End quote. That's plain and straightforward. Why can't more national leaders talk like that?
For us in the U.S.A. of course it's a couple of hundred years too late to complain about having a mixed population; but we can still reasonably ask for our population not to become any more mixed than it currently is. That's not cruel, or hateful, or Nazi: it's just … conservative.
One: This is China. It's a big place and local authorities have a lot of power. "Heaven is high, the Emperor far away," they've been saying for three thousand years.
Hence these reports on Twitter about huge Christmas trees in department stores in Shanghai, Ningpo, and elsewhere. No, China's not turning Christian; but Chinese people do love an opportunity to shop, give out gifts, have feasts. Christmas is as good an excuse as any.
Two: This is China, land of the 後門, the "back door." The Chinese are world champions at finding a way round stupid rules and regulations. If they want to indulge in a little Christmas spirit, they'll find a way.
In China, there's always a way—always some workaround, some evasion, someone you can bribe. If you can find it, everyone will admire your smarts. Then they'll imitate you.
Look for my December Diary here on VDARE.com next week; and there will of course be more from Radio Derb next Friday.
Here's Peter Dawson.
[Music clip: Peter Dawson, "Auld Lang Syne."]