07m36s — What's President Trump doing? (Want us to bomb your enemy? Stage some atrocity theater.)
17m23s — What President Trump is not doing. (Students rotting in the classrooms.)
23m27s — Importing corruption. (Why not a moratorium?)
29m35s — Our Great Cultural Revolution. (Exotics game the system.)
41m41s — A week of anniversaries. (To the Finland Station.)
47m43s — Wilson's war. (A civilizational catastrophe.)
53m51s — The ChiComs come calling. (I sing along.)
56m12s — Five years on. (We're bigger hypocrites than ever.)
59m43s — Happy birthday, Dame Vera! (Buy her new album.) 1h01m03s — Signoff. (Stay away from that Red Cross Store.)
01 — Intro. And Radio Derb is on the air! Greetings, listeners, from your thrasonically genial host John Derbyshire, here to bring you a potpourri of the week's news items, seasoned with sarcasm, dramatic irony, metaphor, bathos, puns, parody, litotes, and satire.
First, though, a report on last week's spot quiz. I used the word "facetious" in last week's podcast, and challenged listeners to identity another common English adjective that has all five vowels in order. Many listeners got the answer, which is "abstemious."
I further challenged listeners to find words with the five vowels in reverse order. "Subcontinental" was a favorite here, with "uncomplimentary" as runner-up. One reader noted an interesting curiosity that I confess hadn't occurred to me: "unoccidental" and "unoriental" both qualify, yet they are antonyms. Interesting!
I think that's it for the vowels in reverse order. Let's get on with the show now. I need to finish early: my buddies Mustafa from Istanbul and José from Valparaíso are taking me to a dinner this evening at the Turko-Chilean Friendship Society. Should be fun.
02 — The collapse of Trumpism. I can't think of any way to put a smiley face on it: This was a really bad week for National Conservatives.
There was always the possibility that Trump would cuck on us. Peter Brimelow mentioned that in his speech to American Renaissance last May. Quote from Peter:
Well, the second question: can he be trusted if he wins?
And the answer is: absolutely not! You can't trust any of these characters.
It's entirely possible that he could be another Schwarzenegger, that he could be content to reign rather than to rule. We don't really know what he's going to do when he gets into the White House.
But we did know what Jeb Bush was going to do. And we did know what Marco Rubio was going to do — even if he had the grace to lie about it in the campaign. [It Will Only Take One Election — The Trump Tsunami vs. Clinton's Coming Merkel-Style Immigration Surge by Peter Brimelow; posted here June 1st 2016.]
End quote. Still, I don't think any of us thought the cucking would come so swiftly. Not even a hundred days in office — not even eighty — and our man, our best hope, has gone D.C. native.
Am I depressed? You bet I am. You should be, too. I am sunk in fatalistic despair, awaiting news of U.S. Marines storming the beaches of Iran, Jeff Sessions being pushed out from the Justice Department to make way for Al Sharpton, and an executive order mandating compulsory quotas for transsexuals in all law enforcement agencies.
Well, let's take a look at what happened to occasion this despair.
Tuesday Steve Bannon was removed from his position as a principal on Trump's National Security Council.
There was a case you could make for Bannon not holding that position. There is no necessary or logical reason why a President's political strategist needs to be a member of any specific advisory unit. Bannon was on the NSC, though, and now he's not on it. That looks, sounds, smells, tastes, and feels like a demotion.
Worse came on Thursday, when we heard that our administration had bombed — more precisely, cruise-missiled — a Syrian air force base, supposedly the one from which the Syrian government had launched a poison-gas attack on a rebel town earlier in the week.
Our bombing of the air force base was, the administration made plain, retaliation for the gas attack — an attack which killed no Americans and harmed no American interests. So I guess we can kiss goodbye to "America first."
As depressing as these two things were, the fact of them happening a few hours apart was double depressing. There can't have been a direct connection: The gas attack that prompted our bombing of the air base happened just about the same time Bannon was getting his pink slip from the NSC, so there can't have been a scenario where Trump decided to bomb, Bannon protested, Bannon got dumped. Still, it's hard to imagine that Bannon wouldn't have protested our bombing if the sequence of events had been different.
So, Tuesday, the strongest voice for National Conservatism in the White House got demoted. Thursday, "America first" got tossed out of the White House window. Not a good week.
Concerning Bannon's demotion, there are plenty of rumors and speculations. It's hard to evaluate them without good inside information, which I don't have; so I'll wait till the memoirs come out.
The attack on Syria, though, is a complete repudiation of Trumpism as we were given to understand it. I'll give it a segment of its own.
03 — What's President Trump doing? Well, so we bombed Syria. Why?
If President Trump himself is to be believed, the bombing was inspired by his own feelings of outrage at seeing pictures of little children who had been killed by the poison gas. Quote from him, with apologies for the sound quality:
[Clip: Using a deadly nerve agent, Assad choked out the lives of helpless men, women and children.
It was a slow and brutal death for so many. Even beautiful babies were cruelly murdered in this very barbaric attack. No child of God should ever suffer such horror.
Tonight I ordered a targeted military strike on the airfield in Syria from where the chemical attack was launched.]
End quote. So apparently the driving motive here was the President's feelings, wo wo wo feelings. We thought we'd elected a practical, deal-making, hard-headed National Conservative to the presidency. It seems that we actually elected a 14-year-old girl.
Of course it's a shame for little kids to be killed; and poisoning by gas is a nasty way to go. The world is full of horrors, though. Why is this particular one any of America's business? Let the President explain.
[Clip: It is in this vital national security interest of the United States to prevent and deter the spread and use of deadly chemical weapons.]
Is it? Chemical weapons, like nuclear weapons, are awful, and we should certainly do what we can to stop them getting into the hands of bad actors.
We can't do much, though; not even as much as we can do with nukes, which at least require some substantial expertise and industrial infrastructure. Our best defense, as with nukes, is deterrence.
And deterrence works. When Britain declared war on Germany in World War Two, the British government issued millions of gas masks to the civilian population. Gas had been used as a weapon in the previous big war; everyone assumed it would play a major role in the new one.
It didn't. Germany knew if they used it on Britain, the Brits would use it right back. Deterrence worked.
Even terrorists have kept away from gas. Sarin gas, which seems to have been what the Syrians used against their rebels, featured in the Tokyo subway attacks of 1995. It hasn't featured in terrorist attacks since, though.
And all of that assumes that Tuesday's gas attack in Syria actually was perpetrated by the Syrian air force against rebels. As many commentators have observed, Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian dictator, has pretty much won his civil war. He was in no need of desperate measures; and as an intelligent guy, he surely realized that using gas would make for a lot of really bad publicity. Even if he's crazy, which I don't believe, he's not that kind of crazy.
So maybe the whole thing was a false flag by … who? The Rebels? ISIS? The Saudis? The Israelis? I wouldn't rule it out.
And if it was a false flag, the whole world now knows that if A is fighting B, and B is losing badly, and B figures that it would help for Uncle Sam to drop a few bombs on A, then a little staged atrocity theater will do the trick.
I wonder who else has taken that message to heart?
Is President Trump really such an emotional ninny as to attack a foreign country because some images from their civil war upset him? Ghastly things happened in our own Civil War, God knows; but I never heard that the guy in charge of Syria at the time, Sultan Abdulaziz the Unfortunate, thought it was any of his business. Of course, the Sultan didn't have high-definition TV; perhaps that's what makes the difference.
And listening to the President speaking there, he doesn't sound very Trumpish. On the news commentary websites, everybody and his brother have been posting Trump's tweets from four years ago, when it looked as though Barack Obama might do something or other in Syria. Sample One:
We should stay the hell out of Syria, the rebels are just as bad as the current regime. WHAT WILL WE GET FOR OUR LIVES AND $ BILLIONS? ZERO
What will we get for bombing Syria besides more debt and a possible long term conflict? Obama needs Congressional approval.
The only reason President Obama wants to attack Syria is to save face over his very dumb RED LINE statement. Do NOT attack Syria, fix U.S.A.
End sample tweets, all from 2013. What happened to that Donald Trump — the one I voted for last November? How did we end up with George W. Bush the Second, with all this World Policeman stuff and God language and emoting?
One possibility being aired is that the President has been captured by his daughter Ivanka and her husband, who is one of his senior advisors. Well, that Thursday night address was definitely more girly than guyish and more Gen-X than Boomer; and speaking as the father of a princess myself, I know how susceptible we can be. Still I expected more strength of character from Trump. This is a grave disappointment.
Clutching at straws, I'm trying to think of some reason, some National Conservative reason, President Trump might have done this.
One possibility is the Nixon strategy. President Nixon believed it was good for potential adversaries to have some doubt about whether perhaps he was a little bit crazy and unpredictable. Perhaps Trump wants Putin, Xi Jinping, and Kim Jong Un thinking: "Wow, this guy fires off his cruise missiles any time he's upset. Better be careful!"
That really is clutching at straws, though. I'd much rather have Putin & Co. thinking: "Wow, this guy fires off his cruise missiles in response to any slightest attack on his country or its citizens."
I suspect that what they are actually thinking is: "Wow, this guy's just as keen as that dumbass George W. Bush was to spend trillions of his people's dollars and thousands of their lives on pointless wars in the Middle East. How can I play this idiot to my advantage?"
04 — What President Trump is not doing. As vexing as the Syrian bombing itself, is the opportunity cost: the things our President is not doing while he's dabbing his eyes at images of dead Syrian babies.
A big thing he's not doing is, he's not acting on immigration, one of his strongest issues on the campaign trail, and one that differentiated him from all the other candidates of both parties.
Here are two stories from the immigration log this week, stories of a kind I hoped I wouldn't be reading any more once a Trump administration had settled in.
First story. We all know that without millions of illegal aliens, crops would be rotting in the fields. Well, apparently things are worse than that. Without the illegals, American schoolchildren will be rotting in their classrooms.
This story is from the Guardian, Britain's far-left white-submissivist newspaper. A white submissivist, in case you don't know, is the opposite of a white supremacist.
OK, the Guardian, April 5th, headline: Dreamers need not apply: city's teacher shortage overlooks the undocumented.
The city in that headline is Charlotte, North Carolina. In that city lives a young woman named Madai Zamora, 23 years old, who has been studying to become a teacher. As well as studying, she has also been doing some low-level teaching at Charlotte schools — low enough not to require a teaching license.
Which she can't get, as she is an illegal alien. Yes, she's a Dreamer, enjoying temporary relief from deportation under Barack Obama's 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals initiative (DACA). However, North Carolina, in common with most other states, doesn't issue teaching licenses to illegals.
Quote from the Guardian story:
What makes the situation even more desperate is that Charlotte actually has a teacher shortage. The school district superintendent, Ann Clark, has issued personal calls for teachers, going so far as to ask people at community meetings "to email, text or call [the teachers you know] and invite them to teach in Charlotte."
The shortage is country-wide. U.S. classrooms were short of 60,000 teachers in 2015, according to the Learning Policy Institute. By 2018, the number is expected to rise to more than 100,000. The shortage is most severe in maths, science, special education and in bilingual and English-language education.
End quote. Just as I said: Students are rotting in the classrooms all over the U.S.A. Of course, you may say that there wouldn't be so many of those students if we hadn't been importing high-fertility Third Worlders for the past thirty years — people like, oh, Ms. Zamora's parents. If you do say that, you are plainly a hateful hater filled with hate.
You may also say that basic economics offers a rather straightforward prescription for any kind of shortage. If you say that, you are unmasking yourself as an innumerate ignoramus.
Concerning DACA, the Guardian tells us that, quote: "The White House has not announced its plans for the programme," end quote.
That's correct; they haven't. Why not?
Since immunity from deportation under DACA is only good for two years, then has to be renewed, the solution seems straightforward: stop renewing. DACA is entirely an executive-branch initiative; Congress and the courts have nothing to say about it.
The executive branch doesn't even have to take any action, other than to instruct the relevant employees to practice in-action. Just stop renewing.
What's the problem here, Mr. President? This is the kind of thing you were elected to do — this, and refraining from getting us involved in unnecessary military actions abroad.
Second story … new segment.
05 — Importing corruption. Three weeks ago I reported on a story from The Economist magazine about wealthy Chinese students at the University of Iowa, flaunting their wealth and sneering at the local rubes. This story belongs with that one.
The principal person in this story is one Tiffany Li, 31 years old, of San Francisco. That's Li spelt L-I; the lady is of Chinese origin.
Ms. Li has two daughters by a man named Keith Green. They had lived together in an upmarket property she owned. Then she got involved with another man. When Green found out she threw him out of the house — Green, not the boyfriend.
Ms. Li was known to fear losing custody of her daughters by Green. Keith Green disappeared some months ago. His body was later found with a bullet wound to the neck.
The lady has been charged, along with her boyfriend and an associate of his, with the killing of Keith Green. The three go to trial in September. Meanwhile Ms. Li is out on bail.
And there is the story: Ms. Li's bail was set at $35 million and she came up with it, offering $4 million cash and pledging properties around the Bay area worth tens of millions, properties belonging to herself, her family, and their business associates. Real-estate pledges only count as fifty cents in the dollar when reckoning bond payment, so that $31 million balance after cash needed $62 million of real estate pledged. That's what she came up with: $4 million cash, $62 million real estate.
Apparently she is well-connected in China. Given the state of affairs in China, one of the most corrupt countries in the world, that means she has an essentially bottomless supply of cash to draw on — not to mention a bolt-hole to flee to now that she's out on bail.
He two co-defendants remain in jail. It seems she didn't want to cover their bail, too. Why should she? They're just a couple of dumb American yokels who don't even know how to get rich.
I don't know Ms. Li's immigration history, but it's hard to see what the U.S.A. gained by admitting her as a permanent resident. Or rather, it's all too easy to see what we gained: We gained another infusion of the kind of shameless, rampant corruption that the Chinese Communist Party allows and encourages, and that ordinary working- and middle-class Chinese people in China complain about bitterly.
On the scale of things our new administration ought to be doing, exercising a little more care — make that a lot more care — over who gets settlement rights in the U.S.A. ranks way higher than dropping cruise missiles on some faction in Trashcanistan because they used poison gas on some other faction.
A couple of secondary questions also occur. (A) Rather than burdening ourselves with more vetting and scrutiny of the million or so legal residents we admit every year, why not simplify things with a moratorium? Wives and dependent children of citizens; certified, credentialed geniuses; foreigners who have risked their lives on our behalf; others only by explicit, named, hand-signed-by-the-President executive order. We have a third of a billion people; why do we need to import more?
And (B) Independent of that, why are there apparently no restrictions at all on foreigners buying up our real estate? With our own young people loaded down with student debt, should we really be jacking up property prices out of their reach so that some Chinese crook can launder his cash through San Francisco real estate?
These are the kinds of issues — issues about our country, our kids' future — that we elected you on, Mr. President. Can't we let Syrians take care of their own business while we take care of ours?
06 — Our Great Cultural Revolution. Steve's been having some fun with the story of Ziad Ahmed, an 18-year-old student at an expensive private school in New Jersey. Young Ziad has been accepted for a place at Stanford University.
Congratulations to the lad. Getting accepted by Stanford is not newsy in itself, of course; and I may as well mention that he was also accepted at Princeton and Yale.
What's newsy is that on the Stanford application form, to the questions, "What matters to you, and why?" young Ziad replied by writing — actually cut'n'pasting — "#BlackLivesMatter" a hundred times over. Apparently the Stanford admissions officers really liked that, even though Ziad didn't answer the second part of the question, the "why?"
They probably liked the rest of Ziad's résumé, too. He's been a busy Social Justice Warrior since puberty. He attended the White House Iftar dinner (that's some kind of Muslim deal) and met then-President Obama there. He worked for Mrs. Clinton's campaign. He's founded Social Justice organizations, interned for lefty politicians, and so on.
Ziad's father, an immigrant from Bangladesh, got rich as a Wall Street quant, and then seriously rich as a hedge fund manager. So this is a child of wealth and privilege leveraging his victim-group status — i.e. he's a Muslim — to play the Social Justice game. Even those of us who think young Ziad is a loathsome little twerp have to concede that he's played the game superbly well.
The moral of the story, as Steve points out, is that one road to wealth and power in a modern Western society is by playing that game. If you have some claim to victim status — black, woman, Muslim — with skill and luck you can parlay that into worldly success at the very highest levels, as the career of Barack Obama showed.
And, as Steve also points out, a secondary lesson here is that the highest levels of skill in playing this game are not typically found among legacy Americans. Exotic Americans like Obama and young Zaid, with roots in the old despotic-bureaucratic cultures of East Asia and Islamia grasp, much more easily than we do, that kissing up to the state ideology and its enforcers is a faster and more sure route to worldly success than sucker strategies like hard work, thrift, and honesty.
That tells us revealing things, sad things, about the direction the U.S.A. is headed in.
Reading the story of Ziad Ahmed's reply to those questions on the Stanford application brought something else to my mind: a name, to be exact, a famous name.
The fame of this name is localized in space and time, as is often the case with fame. Everyone in the U.S.A. knows who Lizzie Borden was; outside this country, no-one ever heard of her. This is one of those names.
The name is Zhang Tiesheng. If you are Chinese and over forty years old, you just fell off your chair laughing. If not, you are frowning and saying, "Who he?"
I have to give you a little modern Chinese history.
Everyone's heard of the Great Cultural Revolution, which Mao Tse-tung started up in 1966 to, as he saw it, reinvigorate the Communist Party, which he thought was getting too complacent and bureaucratic.
So the Cultural Revolution got going. There was a spell of chaos, when all colleges were closed. When they re-opened, students were admitted not on examination results, but on class background and political zeal. These were the so-called "worker-peasant-soldier" students. "Worker-peasant-soldier" sounds neater in Chinese: gong-nong-bing.
By the early seventies the Cultural Revolution had developed into a power struggle between radicals, led by Mao and his wife, and more moderate elements, especially in the army. Sometimes radicals had the upper hand, sometimes moderates.
In 1973 the moderates got back some control over education. They re-established college entrance examinations. That's where Zhang Tiesheng comes in.
Zhang, age 22, sat for the new college entrance exams that year, 1973. He hadn't studied much, though, and his heart was with the radicals' worker-peasant-soldier ideal of a college student, politically correct and fired up with revolutionary zeal. So instead of answering the questions on the paper, he left the answer spaces blank; then on the back of the paper he wrote out a short radical manifesto.
That's what he's famous for; he's the bai juan ying xiong, the Empty Sheet Hero. The radical faction promoted him as a model revolutionary.
That didn't work out well for Zhang. He had three years of fame and glory, but then Mao died. Mrs. Mao was arrested, and so was Zhang. The Cultural Revolution was over, the radicals totally defeated. Zhang got fifteen years in jail.
He had the last laugh, though. He finished serving his sentence in 1991, when Deng Xiaoping was liberalizing China's economy and encouraging business enterprise. Zhang Tiesheng got on the bandwagon and founded a company producing animal feed. He is now worth tens of millions of dollars.
Hey: If you can game one system, you can game another. When there's a revolution, and an old system gives way to a new one, you'd be surprised how many people that prospered under the old system, also prosper under the new, like Komarovsky in Doctor Zhivago.
This time, though, Zhang is taking no chances on a change of wind direction: He's acquired New Zealand citizenship.
Naturally I want to make a parallel here with our own Cultural Revolution; Ziad Ahmed's display of revolutionary zeal in filling out his Stanford application being the equivalent of Zhang Tiesheng's blank paper 44 years ago.
I can't quite make the parallel work, though. After the chaos they brought to China, Mao's radicals weren't popular. When Mao died, the whole radical movement collapsed. The moderates took power without much resistance.
There is no parallel with our situation. The anti-white, anti-male, anti-American radicals of our own time occupy all the commanding heights of American culture: the media, the academy, the judiciary, corporations, churches, even the military. Opposition to them is feeble and scattered. I can't foresee a collapse of radical power. There is no prospect of a return to rational principles, to honest meritocracy and traditional American values.
There is surely no prospect of Ziad Ahmed being arrested and given fifteen years in the bridewell. Not that I think it should be illegal to be a repulsive, opportunistic teenage creep … but you can't help wishing there were some downside.
There isn't, not in today's America. Ziad Ahmed will be rich and powerful before he's forty. If you are a legacy American, especially if you're a white male one, you'll be shining his shoes for him. Heck, he'll probably be President one day.
The commissar tells Winston Smith in Nineteen Eighty-Four, quote: "If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face — forever." No, listeners: If you want a picture of our future, imagine some immigrant Third World huckster like Ziad Ahmed milking the Social Justice game to his own personal advantage … forever.
07 — A week of anniversaries. Three anniversaries to note this week, two centenaries and a semidecennial.
First centenary: Monday, April 3rd marked the centenary of Vladimir Lenin arriving back in Russia from his exile in Switzerland. He was traveling in a sealed train supplied by the Germans, with whom Russia was at war. The Germans figured that Lenin was just the guy to cripple his own country's war effort, and they were right.
I have long held the opinion that Lenin was the evil genius of modern totalitarianism, the other big names in that field merely imitators.
Cultural Marxists control all our schools, universities, and media, and they have done everything they can to expunge all recollection of what Lenin did. For them it's all Hitler, Hitler, Hitler.
Hitler was a nasty piece of work, no doubt about it, but Stalin and Mao were just as bad, and they were all building on Lenin's foundations. Hitler modeled his party organization on Lenin's; Stalin just inherited what Lenin had built; Mao merely imitated Lenin and Stalin.
These others held power for much longer than Lenin, too. Lenin held effective power for less than five years, Hitler for twelve, Stalin for thirty, Mao for twenty-seven. If you rate them by quantity of evil done per annum, Lenin comes out way ahead.
Lenin institutionalized the designation "Enemy of the People" and set in motion all the main instruments of modern despotism: mass killings, total censorship, slave-labor camps, famine as a political weapon.
There is a full account of the horrors under Lenin in the first five chapters of The Black Book of Communism. Sample at random, from Chapter 3, quote, concerning the second half of 1918, quote:
The size of these numbers alone — between 10,000 and 15,000 summary executions in two months — marked a radical break with the practices of the Tsarist regime. For the whole period 1825-1917 the number of death sentences passed by Tsarist courts (including courts-martial) "relating to political matters" came to only 6,321 … Moreover, not all death sentences were carried out; a good number were converted to forced labor. In the space of a few weeks the Cheka alone [Lenin's elite secret police corps] had executed two to three times the total number of people condemned to death by the Tsarist regime over ninety-two years.
End quote. It was Lenin who made this great revolution in human affairs: Hitler, Stalin, Mao, and lesser totalitarians like Castro and Pol Pot, merely copied him.
One more quote. Bertrand Russell, a famous progressive of his time, visited Bolshevik Russia in 1920, and copped a personal interview with the leader himself. Here is what Russell wrote, quote:
When I met Lenin … my most vivid impressions were of bigotry and Mongolian cruelty. When I put a question to him about socialism in agriculture, he explained with glee how he had incited the poorer peasants against the richer ones, "and they soon hanged them from the nearest tree — ha ha ha!" His guffaw at the thought of those massacred made my blood run cold.
End quote. That's from a book titled The Practice and Theory of Bolshevism which Russell wrote after his return to England. The publication of that book lost Russell half his progressive friends.
Progressives then were just as stupid as they are today. The historical record amply bears out Russell's judgment of Lenin's character, though.
08 — Wilson's war. Second centenary this week: Thursday, April 6th marked the hundredth anniversary of the U.S.A. entering World War One.
What it actually, precisely marks the hundredth anniversary of, is Congress declaring war on Germany, April 6th 1917. Yes, that's how we used to do it: The President had to ask Congress for a declaration of war, and Congress had to vote assent. What a quaint old-fashioned way to do things!
And no, it wasn't because of the sinking of the Lusitania. That had happened in May of 1915, almost two years earlier. It was a British ship, and only ten percent of those aboard were American. The sinking made for some bad feeling against Germany, but not war: Woodrow Wilson ran for election the following year on a platform of strict neutrality.
It was the unrestricted German submarine warfare of early 1917 that really got America riled up. By Spring the U-boats were sinking American ships with great gusto. Then the British intercepted and published a telegram from German Secretary of State Zimmerman to his ambassador in Mexico, offering to help Mexico reconquer the American southwest. That was the last straw, and the declaration of war soon followed.
World War One has pretty much vanished from the collective American imagination, overshadowed by World War Two, which was a lot bloodier, and to some degree by the Civil War of two generations earlier, which was bloodier for America than both world wars put together, in a smaller population.
I was mooching around Washington, D.C. one day some years ago when, in one of the open spaces around the Mall, I came across a little gazebo structure, mossy and unkempt (it has since been cleaned up). Reading the inscription, I saw that it was a memorial to D.C. residents who had been killed fighting in World War One.
That's the only memorial to the war that I have seen in the U.S.A., a war that took 120,000 American lives. That, and its neglected state, were striking to me because back in England, World War One was, and still is, a very big deal.
Someone has said that every nation keeps a special place in its heart for its bloodiest war. For Americans, that is the Civil War; for Brits, World War One.
Heck, I can remember the fuss in 1964 on the fiftieth anniversary of what everyone in England called "The Great War." There were plenty of veterans around from the Great War, including my own father. I was a student in London; we had a class trip to see Joan Littlewood's stage production of Oh! What a Lovely War, later made into a movie. I can still sing some of the songs.
Peculiarities of national sentiment aside, I think it can be argued that from anyone's perspective, anyone from anywhere, World War One was the greatest civilizational catastrophe of the modern age.
It brought down the empires of Russia, Austria, Germany, and the Ottoman Turks, and left Britain's empire holed below the waterline. It demoralized a whole generation of Europeans, perhaps more than one. It discredited European civilization in the eyes of other peoples; the Chinese, for example. The May Fourth movement of 1919, an indirect consequence of the war, was the birth of modern Chinese nationalism. World War One sowed the seeds of World War Two.
And yes, it gave us Lenin and the totalitarian state. What a catastrophe! What mass folly! Just thinking about World War One makes it hard to hold much optimism about the future of the human race.
There now: I started out the podcast depressed at President Trump's cucking; now I've depressed myself more talking about the Great War. Sorry, sorry-sorry. Let's wind up here; let's go to our closing miscellany.
09 — Miscellany. And now, yes, our closing miscellany of brief items.
Imprimis: At week's end the President and First Lady are hosting ChiCom dictator Xi Jinping and his lady at the Trumps' Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida. I hope they've ordered in some good Chinese food for them from one of the excellent local restaurants.
I shall pass comment on the Trump-Xi meeting next week, when we have some idea about what transpired. Here I just want to do a little self-promotion.
Mrs. Xi, before she was China's First Lady, had a successful career as a singer of uplifting songs about how infallibly wonderful the Communist Party is and how happy the Chinese people are under the Party's wise guidance. I sang some of those same songs myself as a member of a college choir during my own China days; so now I get to replay a sing-along I did with Mrs. Xi on one of those songs here on Radio Derb five years ago.
I thought the recollection of that might have gotten me an invitation to this week's Mar-a-Lago bash, but I guess not. This week has just been one disappointment after another.
Item: In the segment before last I mentioned that in addition to the two centenaries this week, there was also a semidecennial, a five-year anniversary.
Yes, it was five years ago this weekend that I got defenestrated from National Review. I had written a piece for another outlet mocking those black journalists who'd written weepy pieces about The Talk they said they'd had to give to their kids following the Trayvon Martin affair. They had to give their kids this capital-T Talk, they claimed, to warn them how dangerous white people are.
I pointed out, what is statistically indisputable, that blacks are far more dangerous to nonblacks than vice versa, and offered some advice of my own to nonblack kids. That's what got me canned.
Several friends have asked me to mark the anniversary somehow, but I'm darned if I can think of anything suitable. I will note that the prohibition on saying or writing unflattering things about blacks in general is even stronger now than it was five years ago. There's been a corresponding increase in the national quantity of hypocrisy, as wellnigh all nonblack Americans live their lives on the principles I spelled out.
This disconnect between how we live, and what we may say about how we live, continues to baffle me. The best explanation I can come up with is a deep national despair that we are unwilling to face: despair that, fifty years after unjust laws were struck down and uncouth behavior by whites towards blacks was shamed out of the public spaces, the races are no closer to getting along harmoniously than we were then.
The only other thing I can think of to say about the events of five years ago is, once again, a profoundly heartfelt "thank you" to all those who helped and supported me at that time, including but by no means limited to the proprietors of this website and of Taki's Magazine, and to all those who contributed donations. Thank you, Peter and Lydia; thank you, Taki and Mandolyna; and thank you several hundred times over to the others.
Just writing about all that kindness and generosity has lifted my depression!
Item: Finally, a listener has chid me for not noting the one hundredth birthday of Dame Vera Lynn on March 20th.
Shame on me indeed. Not only is Dame Vera a great British patriot and an emblem of resistance to tyranny, she was also my Dad's favorite singer. Mum used to joke that he was in love with her; I wouldn't have blamed him if he had been.
The nation that Dame Vera helped to save has since destroyed itself by mass immigration of blacks and Muslims; but that's not her fault. It was a lovely nation when it still existed; I am old enough to remember it.
Here's wishing many more years of life to Dame Vera. She's still sprightly and energetic; in fact, to mark her hundredth, she has put out a new album Vera Lynn 100, which you can buy from Amazon. I hope you will; I just did.
10 — Signoff. That's it, ladies and gents. Thank you for listening; and particular thanks to those whose kindness and generosity — I mean the remembering of them — has lifted me out of the doldrums while recording this podcast.
I know, you're expecting me to sign off with a Vera Lynn song. Nope: I love the lady, but I'm way too late with my birthday tribute, so I'll let it stand, and urge you again to buy or download the CD.
Instead, on the World War One theme, here's Leadbelly refusing to go down to the Red Cross Store. Why? Because that's where the recruiters were signing up men for service in the military, that's why.
There will be more from Radio Derb next week.
[Music clip: Leadbelly, "Red Cross Store."