Radio Derb: The 9/11 Punctuation Mark, What Actually Happened?, Attica Anniversary & Afghan Women's Cricket, Etc
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02m00s  The 9/11 punctuation mark.  (Not the End of History.)

09m56s  What actually happened?  (State actors and conspiracies.)

16m33s  The World's Second Most Important Graph.  (Dragon and Bear are worried.)

25m57s  The Attica anniversary.  (Lessons for today.)

35m54s  Afghan women in a sticky wicket.  (Sport meets politics.)

39m24s  Cricket explained.  (In, out, and not out.)

40m49s  Miss England and Miss Ireland.  (Something in common.)

42m51s  Miss Bumbum lives!  (But who is she?)

45m01s  Small coup in Guinea.  (Not many dead.)

45m14s  Larry Elder runs for Governor.  (Stirs antiracist lunacy.)

48m05s  Signoff.  (With Brahms.)


01—Intro.     And Radio Derb is on the air! Greetings, listeners, from your punctually genial host John Derbyshire, here with another edition of the internet's longest-running Dissident Right podcast.

I'm sure it hasn't escaped your attention that tomorrow is the twentieth anniversary of 9/11. Earlier in the week, starting to sketch out the podcast, I didn't think I had anything to say about the event—nothing I haven't already said, for example on the tenth anniversary.

I have terrible work habits. I'm a last-minute guy. I don't even know what I think until I start talking or writing about it. So this morning, with deadline looming, when I sat down to work up a Radio Derb transcript, I was a bit surprised to find myself producing two whole segments of 9/11 opinionating, with a third segment peripherally related.

As if that wasn't sufficiently disconcerting, there's another anniversary I want to commemorate.

There will be some commentary on current events in there somewhere, I promise. First, though, come tripping with me down Memory Lane.


02—The 9/11 punctuation mark.     Geopolitically, 9/11 was a punctuation mark. The previous punctuation mark had been ten years earlier, when the Soviet Union had disintegrated, leaving us, the U.S.A., as the world's only Great Power.

In the ten years between those two punctuation marks we were at peace. Well, not entirely at peace, of course. There were minor ructions here and there in the nineties: Black Hawk Down in Somalia, the break-up of Yugoslavia, the terrorist bombings of our East African embassies and the U.S.S. Cole introducing us to the name "al-Qaeda," some shoving matches with Saddam Hussein, and of course the never-ending attempts to mediate between Israel and the Palestinian Arabs.

None of that had any existential quality to it, though. None of it compared in sheer gravity with the Cold War, our 45-year standoff with the thermonuclear-armed U.S.S.R. None of it disturbed our domestic tranquillity.

The Europeans were getting along fine with each other. Russia had gotten rid of the Communist Party; at any rate, the Party's stone-faced geriatric apparatchiks were no longer in charge of everything.

China was still dragging herself out from under the rotting carcass of Maoism. There was a general vague assumption that once the Chinese got their eyes fully open and looked around, they'd see that personal liberty under representative government was the right way forward. India was already there, in her peculiar Indian way, after the detour through Mrs Gandhi's fun-packed adventures in authoritarianism.

South America was poor and corrupt, but no worse than it had always been. Africa vegetated in squalor and despotism, but without bothering the rest of the world; only the Rwanda horror made headlines.

For ordinary Americas—or, in the case of the Derbyshires, Resident Aliens—nothing was happening in the rest of the world that we really needed to think about, certainly nothing to keep us awake at night. A scholar published a book titled The End of History; it was a bestseller.

I look back on the nineties very fondly, as I'm sure very many Americans do. I bought a house, started a family, learned to dance, did more freelance writing, published a book, got acquainted with the internet.

In the summer of 2001 we—Dad, Mom, and the two kids, then aged eight and six—spent five weeks in China, visiting my wife's relatives and friends, seeing the sights. Yes, China was much more like a normal country than it had been when I'd lived there eighteen years previously.

Plainly that scholar was right: history had ended. The world was sailing forward on a smooth current of social, political, and technological progress, into a radiant future.

We left China to return to the U.S.A. August the 7th, a Tuesday. Five Tuesdays later History started up again.

Did we know, at the time, that 9/11 was a punctuation mark? I'm not sure that I did. That very morning, September 11th, I wrote a column for National Review Online in which I quoted Kipling's poem on the outbreak of WW1:

Our world has passed away,
In wantonness o'erthrown.
There is nothing left today
But steel and fire and stone!

That sounds like I recognized a punctuation mark. But then I went on to write, quote: "we suddenly know that the distractions of our pleasant, commonplace lives must be set aside for a while," end quote. "For a while." Nothing permanent!

[Added when archiving:  Kipling may have been experiencing the same illusion in August 1914. A great many of his fellow-countrymen were. The common opinion was: "It'll be over by Christmas."]

And then further on, I wrote this, quote:

This will not be a matter of great troop movements, of trenches and fleets and squadrons and massed charges. This will be small teams of inconceivably brave men and women, working in strange places, unknown and unacknowledged.

End quote.

So, no great mobilization. No tens of thousands of troops being shipped here or there, no flights of bombers raining death. Just a few hundred special ops hunting down bad guys in the bush.

Looking back on what I wrote and what I remember thinking, I was still locked into the End of History mindset. There was just a spell of serious mopping-up to be done, that was all. So I supposed.

If you had told me that twenty years on, the Chinese Communist Party would have invented a new kind of totalitarian capitalism and be challenging the U.S.A., while Russia would have sunk into Latin American-style Strong Man authoritarianism, I would have frowned skeptically.

If you had told me that the U.S.A. would have spent several trillion dollars and thousands of lives trying to bring the End of History—liberty and democracy—to places that didn't want it and couldn't have sustained it if they did want it, I'd have laughed in your face.

And if you'd told me that, with 9/11 as a starting excuse, America would have fought a 20-year war against a rabble of mountain tribesmen wearing flip-flops and Charlton Heston robes, and then bailed out leaving the flip-flop guys just as much in charge as they were in 2001 … If you'd told me that, I'd have asked you to seek psychiatric help.


03—What actually happened?     Yes, it's been a strange twenty years; and the starting-point for much of the strangeness was 9/11. What was 9/11, though? What actually happened? Do we know? I'm not sure that we do.

What seems to have happened is that nineteen Muslim terrorists from the Middle East simultaneously hijacked four commercial plane flights with the intention to crash them into significant buildings, but in one case failing to do so.

That was a seriously impressive achievement, a small masterpiece of planning and execution. The terrorists were much helped by our own national stupidity: especially by our infantile neurosis about "racial profiling" and our insanely lax immigration system. Even so, what they accomplished was more than you might reasonably expect from a crew of suicidal cultists.

Was there a state actor behind them—funding them, coaching them, helping them? It's natural to think so. In fact, the question is still open.

Fifteen of the nineteen hijackers were Saudis, and rumors of Saudi government involvement persist to this day, with our own intelligence agencies doggedly refusing requests to make public what they know.

And of course conspiracy theorists have feasted on the event. I'd better confess up front that I'm temperamentally allergic to conspiracy theorizing. I have a strong bias towards believing that almost everything is what it seems to be. That bias is reinforced by the fact that the most dogged and determined conspiracy theorists always end up at the same place: It was the Jews!

There are a great many groups and nations all over the world that would be happy to see the U.S.A. assaulted and humiliated—Russia, China, Iran, pretty much any Arab nation—but the diligent inquiries of the conspiracy buffs somehow always lead them to Israel.

Yesterday I read the article headlined 9/11 Was an Israeli Job over at the Unz Review. It's by a chap named Laurent Guyénot, who I had never heard of. After reading the article, I looked up Guyénot. His most recent book is an argument that Israel was responsible for killing the Kennedys, Jack and Bobby both.

Hoo-kay. I look forward to future books from Laurent Guyénot proving that Israel caused swine fever, Nixon's resignation, and the Death of Vaudeville.

Well, you can read Guyénot's piece for yourself at the Unz Review, along with Ron Unz's own contribution to the genre. For balance, you should then read the counter-conspiracy literature, which is extensive: Popular Mechanics magazine did a whole series of debunkings. Check 'em out and make up your own mind.

To return to the issue of state sponsorship, and setting aside the Saudis, since it seems that we shall never be allowed to know what our intelligence people know, it seems odd to me that a rather obvious candidate for state sponsor hardly gets mentioned. That candidate is Pakistan.

The word "state" should really be in quote marks there. Pakistan isn't so much a state as a collection of gangster fiefs, warlords, powerful families, and religious leaders all striving, when not engaged in their employment, to keep a lid on widespread popular Muslim fanaticism.

Yet Pakistan is never blamed for anything, never pays a penalty for anything. The Taliban, as we've all heard by now, only did their fighting in the summer months. Winters they spent holed up in their retreats in … Pakistan. Osama bin Laden, who conceived and planned the 9/11 attacks, was tracked down at last and killed in … Pakistan, less than a mile from that nation's military academy.

What accounts for Pakistan's immunity? Not hard to figure. The place has nuclear weapons, perhaps two hundred of them. Plus, it is fragile—seriously unstable. Handle with care!

If not for those factors, I suspect that instead of spending this past twenty years futzing around in back-country Afghanistan building soccer fields for the kiddies, we would have been carpet-bombing Islamabad, Hyderabad, Karachi, and Lahore.


04—Graph of the Week.     That leads directly to my Graph of the Week.

I'm at a disadvantage here, though, this being a podcast, not a vidcast. I can't show you the graph. I'll tell you where to find it in just a minute. First, though, some preamble, concerning a different graph.

If you are a regular follower of Steve Sailer, either here at or over at the Unz Review, you'll be familiar with what Steve calls The World's Most Important Graph. This is the graph of the U.N. world population projections, by broad regions, through to the end of this century.

The graph starts in 1950 with MENA—that's the Middle East and North Africa—and Sub-Saharan Africa each at one or two hundred million and Europe up above five hundred million. As you head forward through the later twentieth century, there's a modest increase in numbers for MENA, a bigger increase for black Africa, and Europe starting to flatline.

Then as the 21st century proceeds, Europe gently declines, MENA is flatlining by century's end below one billion, but the curve for black Africa is zooming up, up and away, through the stratosphere, up past the four billion mark at century's end.

That's what Steve calls The World's Most Important Graph, and I think Steve's right.

OK, now to my candidate for Graph of the Week. In fact I think I may call it The World's Second Most Important Graph.

Unfortunately I don't have an easy way for you to get to it. I spotted it in an opinion column at, a column by their correspondent David Goldman, who uses the pen-name Spengler. The article is dated September 6th and its title is Afghan debacle cedes Eurasia to the dragon and bear. It's behind a paywall, though.

I took the liberty of copying the graph from that article and putting it on my own website—I hope the author doesn't mind. The link is, slash, Opinions, slash, RadioDerb, slash, Extras (with an uppercase "E"), slash, samuslims.jpg, "samuslims" all one lowercase word.

The graph is yet another U.N. population projection; but here the timescale is just 2020 to 2100 and the regional breakdown is different.

There are lines for North America, Europe, and Latin America, all pretty much flatlining well below a billion. There's a line for East Asia—China, Japan, Korea—plunging downwards from 1.7 billion down to near the one billion mark. There's a line for Indian Hindus showing a modest but steady increase, from the current 1.2 billion up to about 1.7 billion.

And then there's a line shooting up, up into the stratosphere. What, black Africans again? No: this line is for South and Southeast Asian Muslims: Pakistanis, Afghans, Bengalis, Indonesians and Indian Muslims, from the present eight hundred million or so, more than doubling to almost two billion at century's end.

Yes, folks: the world of 2100 will, demographically speaking, be black Africans, South and Southeast Asian Muslims, and … other.

It's not all Muslims, note; it's South and Southeast Asian Muslims. Quote from David Goldman:

The educated and literate Muslim countries like Turkey and Iran have fertility rates well below replacement. Pakistan, with a literacy rate barely above 50 percent, still has four live births per female.

End quote. Actually the CIA World Factbook gives 3.53, but he's rounding up to the nearest whole number.

Of course, these projections all assume that fertility rates stay constant. The end of the century is less than eighty years away, though. Even if Pakistanis, Afghans, Indonesians, and the rest get religion … no, wait, that's the wrong expression … even if they all get on board with low fertility, the way demography works, there's a big baby boom to work through before the curves turn down.

Goldman again, quote:

Projections of this sort never are accurate, but the relative magnitudes make the point: The populations susceptible to jihadist influence are enormous and growing.

End quote.

David Goldman's article is well worth reading—worth paying for, in fact, if you can't get round the paywall. Goldman argues that with the collapse of our Afghan adventure, China and Russia will now unite to control Central and West Asia—not from imperial ambitions, but from a common concern for the security of their own nations against the jihadist threat from their south.

They are worried, and they should be. Pakistanis are popping out four kids per woman, Afghans five, Indonesians, Bangladeshis, Tajiks and Turkmens [Clip:  Turkmen national anthem]—oh, stop!—all more than two, Indian Muslims I don't know, but I bet they're up there.

Meanwhile: Russia, 1.6 children per woman. China the same on the World Factbook, but Chinese statistics are widely disbelieved. The probable figure is 1.4, perhaps even 1.2.

So the Muslims of South and Southeast Asia now have their future in the hands of Russia and China. What will that future look like? The word "Uighurs" mean anything?


05—The Attica anniversary.     I promised you another anniversary, and here it is: Fifty years ago this weekend, and also encompassing a weekend, September 9th to 13th, there occurred the Attica prison riot in western upstate New York. The final death toll for those five days was 43: thirty-three inmates of the prison and ten guards and other civilians.

The September issue of Chronicles magazine has a very fine article by Nicholas Jackson commemorating the anniversary. It makes the key point that the riot was not caused by a tightening of prison discipline, but on the contrary by a loosening.

Political scientists have often noted that authoritarian governments are most in danger of being overthrown when they try to liberalize. People get used to repression and learn to cope with it; but loosening up signals a lack of confidence among the rulers, and that gets people thinking, and rebelling.

Michael Gorbachev's policies of glasnost and perestroika—"opening" and "restructuring" make the point: just as they were getting to be household words, the U.S.S.R. fell apart. The careers of Hu Yaobang and Zhao Ziyang in China, leading up to the 1989 protests in Tiananmen Square and elsewhere, would have made the same point if Deng Xiaoping hadn't sent in the tanks.

So it was with the Attica riot. New York State's governor at the time was Nelson Rockefeller, who was as liberal as a Republican can be without falling off the edge of the Earth. His Corrections Commissioner, Russell Oswald, was of the same stamp. Quote from Nicholas Jackson in Chronicles, quote:

The riot and hostage siege occurred because violent felons had been fortified and encouraged by progressive and liberal concessions in the previous decade—while, by the same concessions, wardens and guards were fettered, shackled, enfeebled, and incapacitated.

End quote.

So social reformers of the 1960s had been showing the same kind indulgence towards prison inmates as we are showing today towards criminals and rioters; and the same stern harshness towards corrections officers, as we today are showing towards police. If you want to know where current trends are leading, Attica offers a clue.

In his fine 1942 essay on Rudyard Kipling, George Orwell wrote the following thing, quote:

He [that is, Kipling] sees clearly that men can only be highly civilized while other men, inevitably less civilized, are there to guard and feed them.

End quote.

That is a key insight into human affairs; but unfortunately it is one we have become deeply reluctant to contemplate. As part of our current flight from reality, we would much, much rather not think about the fact that an essential part of the maintenance of any civilized society is, that some people must be treated harshly: deprived of their liberty, made to sleep on hard beds in bare cells, put under strict rules of discipline with penalties of extra harshness if they break that discipline, sometimes physically manhandled.

I have mentioned before a friend I had back in England forty years ago who had been a probation officer. He'd spent considerable time in prisons dealing with the inmates. He was a decent man: good company, well-mannered and well-read, a man of broad sympathies. Very few of those sympathies extended to the prison inmates, though. For the most part, he detested them. He summarized them as: "The sad, the bad, and the mad."

The sad were not much in evidence in the Attica riot, to judge from Nicholas Jackson's account. This was the Bad and the Mad on one side, on the other the prison guards, concerning whom Jackson tells us, quote:

Their only sin was doing their low-status, low-wage, yet highly hazardous, more-dangerous-than-thankless job. Indeed, salaries of guards at Attica were so low that many of them also held part-time jobs in the small town to make ends meet.

End quote.

From the pictures in Jackson's article it seems that the great majority of the rioting inmates were black. I'd guess that most of the corrections officers, if not all, were white. That means that the story of the riot can be twisted to fit the narrative that white liberal Americans never tire of hearing told: the evergreen American narrative of brutish low-class whites being mean to harmless, innocent, soulful blacks.

According to Jackson, the story has been thus twisted by left-wing lawyer Elizabeth Fink and left-wing author Heather Ann Thompson. The efforts of these two women, and undoubtedly others, brought millions of dollars in payouts to convicts who'd rioted. Listeners familiar with the Central Park Five travesty will recognize the terrain here.

But liberals never learn anything. The main jail here in New York City is Rikers Island, a huge facility for 10,000 inmates—most on pre-trial or preventive detention, the rest convicts serving short sentences.

Rikers has been getting a really bad press recently: inmates having drug and booze parties accompanied by rap music, savage fights, mass resignations of officers. What, as liberals ask about crime, what is the root cause?

Benny Boscio, who is President of the Correction Officer's Benevolent Association, blamed New York City's communist mayor Bill de Blasio. Mr Boscio told the New York Post that, quote:

Maintaining safety and security in New York City's jails begins with maintaining proper staffing levels … the number of Correction Officers has dwindled down to less than 7,600, including the nearly 1,300 Correction Officers who have resigned since 2019 because of the horrific conditions Mayor de Blasio's negligence has created.

End quote.

Could Rikers Island be the next Attica? Nobody would be much surprised. In jailhouse riots, New York leads the way!


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

Imprimis:  It's always vexing when politics gets in the way of our sporting pleasures. Here's a case from Afghanistan. We newspeople just can't avoid the place nowadays.

The sport at issue here is cricket. Yes, I know: Americans, to the degree they are aware of cricket at any level, regard it as one of those peculiarly British things, like Marmite and warm beer. In fact cricket is a major international sport, with millions of followers in the old imperial domains—South Asia, Australia and New Zealand, Africa, the Caribbean.

And Afghanistan. The place was never a British imperial possession, some 19th-century efforts notwithstanding. They got the cultural influence, though, via India.

The International Cricket Council, the ICC, which is the governing body for the sport, has twelve full members—which is to say, nations or alliances of nations who send teams to play full five-day test matches with each other. Afghanistan is one of those twelve nations.

(The others, in case you are curious, are Australia, Bangladesh, England, India, Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka, West Indies, and Zimbabwe.)

Now, women play cricket too. In fact one of the ICC rules is, that for a nation to be a full member, that nation must have a national women's team. You can see the problem.

Australia was scheduled to play one of those five-day test matches against Afghanistan, in Australia, this November. This would have been guys playing guys. As is the case with most women's sport, beach volleyball aside, those wanting to play outnumber those who want to watch.

The ICC has that rule, though, and a cultural spokesman for the new Taliban government told an Australian TV reporter that, quote: "I don't think women will be allowed to play cricket." End quote.

That puts November's test match on a sticky wicket. The Australians are still trying to get a more definite pronouncement from the Taliban, but things don't look good. The BBC reports that members of the Afghan women's team have gone into hiding.


Item:  On a more cheerful note, for the benefit of listeners who know nothing about cricket, here are the essentials.

You have two sides, one out in the field and one in. Each man that's in the side that's in goes out, and when he's out he comes in and the next man goes in until he's out. When they are all out, the side that's out comes in and the side that's been in goes out and tries to get those coming in, out. Sometimes you get men still in and not out.

When a man goes out to go in, the men who are out try to get him out, and when he is out he goes in and the next man in goes out and goes in.

There are two men called umpires who stay out all the time and they decide when the men who are in are out. When both sides have been in and all the men have been out, and both sides have been out twice after all the men have been in, including those who are not out, that is the end of the game.


Item:  Beauty pageants are always worth a look. They had one in Ireland last week. The winner, the new Miss Ireland, was 26-year-old Pamela Uba, and a bonny colleen she is. Another thing she is, is … black. Ms Uba immigrated from South Africa at age seven. Now she is the very first black Miss Ireland, further reinforcing our perception of Ireland as the Heart of Wokeness.

Although for that title—not the Miss Ireland title, the Heart of Wokeness title—the Micks may have competition from their old enemy across the Irish Channel. August 31st a new Miss England was crowned. She is 25-year-old Rehema Muthamia and yes, she's black too, from Kenya this time.

As Mark Collett over at Gab observed, quote:

Miss England and Miss Ireland … it's almost as if there is a concerted effort to replace Europeans.

End quote.

But hey, what did Europeans ever do to improve the world? Slavery, colonialism, Emmett Till, Stephen Lawrence, George Floyd …

I for one welcome our new black overlords … and overladies.


Item:  I can't leave the topic of beauty pageants without a few words about the greatest of them all, the Miss Bumbum pageant.

What has happened to it? anxious listeners want to know. In my last report, almost a year ago, I said I thought it had been canceled because of the coronavirus.

Apparently it wasn't. YouTube has a 2¼-hour clip of the 2021 pageant, posted on July 5th. A winner is duly crowned; although, the voice-over being in Portuguese with no subtitles, I didn't get her name.

To further confuse the issue, Wikipedia lists no winner for 2021, and I can't find any news stories about the actual pageant having taken place, only some items from earlier in the year, anticipating the event.

It's all a bit mysterious. I shall try to get to the bottom of it and report back.

In the meantime, from those news reports earlier in the year, I'll just note this one from, March 16th in which contestants for this year's pageant are urging their fans to get vaccinated for COVID-19: taking the needle not in the upper arm, as is usual, but in the … butt.

That is so far the only news story I have seen that tries to combine Miss Bumbum news with COVID news in any kind of constructive way. Socially-responsible journalism is not dead!


ItemThere has been a coup in Guinea. Guinea … a coup.


Item:  I know very little about Larry Elder. Way back in the year 2000 I read his book The Ten Things You Can't Say in America and wrote an appreciative follow-up column about it.

Quote from that column, October 31st 2000:

I applaud Larry Elder's efforts to open a crack of honesty in the wall of lies and self-deceptions that forms our public discourse. Now I am going to hammer my own wedge into the crack, in the hope of widening it just a little.

End quote.

I followed with ten more things that, according to me, you couldn't say in America. With proper respect to Mr Elder, I think my ten were a tad less sayable than his ten.

[Added when archiving:  I may—after 21 years I honestly can't remember—I may have taken inspiration for my column from Dan Seligman, who'd published his own take on Larry Elder's book here at a few days earlier.]

Since then I have only been aware of Larry Elder from his appearances in commercial breaks on Tucker Carlson's Fox News show, where he is keeping alive the fine old American tradition of peddling patent medicines.

Now he's running in this special election in California next Tuesday to unseat Governor Gavin Newsom. Latest polls I've seen don't give Larry Elder much of a chance, but good luck to him anyway. Newsom is a reptile; but he has the ruling class on his side, so the election result is a foregone conclusion. Even if Elder were to win on actual votes, he'll lose on ballot-stuffing.

Still, if Elder's run for Governor achieves nothing else, it's highlighted the lunacy of the anti-racism fanatics. Elder's black, but his positions on social issues are so un-woke, he's already been tagged as "the black face of white supremacy."

Yeah, it's nuts. Also not very imaginative. Why not go all the way and call him "the black male heterosexual ablist face of white male heterosexual ablist supremacy"? Now that's woke!


07—Signoff.     That's all I have, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you for your time and attention, and my sympathies to those who lost loved ones or friends in those attacks twenty years ago.

Since we're all feeling a bit solemn this weekend, here to play us out is a fragment of a requiem, that word defined in Webster's Dictionary as, quote, "a dirge or other solemn chant for the repose of the dead," end quote.

The actual requiem here is Brahms' German Requiem, the work that made Brahms famous, according to Harold Schonberg. The actual fragment is from the sixth movement, where they sing St Paul's fine defiant words: "O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?" Except, of course, that they sing them in German: Tod, wo ist dein Stachel? Hölle, wo ist dein Sieg? It's all a bit odd coming from Brahms, who was an unbeliever; but it's beautiful and stirring none the less.

There will be more from Radio Derb next week.


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