Radio Derb: D-Day Memories, Vets Regret, And Europe And UK Elections, Etc.
06/07/2024
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02:22  D-Day memories. (A day like no other.)

11:20  Vets regret.  (At book length.)

19:14  Election fun and games.  (Euro, U.K.)

28:00  COVID, Fauci, vaccines, zzz…  (Just another moral panic.)

30:51  Kendi flops.  (Luck, but no talent.)

34:28  Yoked to a dying technology.  (Print on paper.)

37:41  Pride month.  (For the PROUDS!)

39:02  Could Nigel be any more English?  (He’s a bloke.) 

40:41  Signoff.  (For June 3rd.) 

01 — Intro.     And Radio Derb is on the air! This is your immaculately genial host John Derbyshire, striding forward fearlessly into our 21st year on the internet. Greetings!

Monday this week was June 3rd, a significant birth date. Yes: it was on June 3rd 1808 that Jefferson Davis was born. Fifty-three years later he became President and Commander-in-Chief of the Confederate States.

Davis was an honest and intelligent man. He carried out the duties of his office with fair competence. When the Confederacy was defeated he was imprisoned for two years by the Union government, then released on bail; then, after a few months, officially pardoned by President Andrew Johnson.

In those days even the most intense, most bitter sectarian feelings were tempered by ideals of chivalry, honor, and justice. Today Davis would have been tortured and then burned alive on the White House lawn while a mob of college-educated lesbians screech their approval.

We were a different country in 1868: in some ways better than today, in some ways worse. Speaking as a reactionary pessimist, I'm mostly going to emphasize the better; but for sanity's sake let's try to keep the worse in mind, too.

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02 — D-Day memories.     That remark I just made of course applies generally, not just to 1868. It applies to 1944, for example.

That year has been in the news because yesterday, Thursday, was the eightieth anniversary of D-Day, otherwise known as the Battle of Normandy, when tens of thousands of allied troops attacked German-occupied Europe with amphibious landings and airborne assaults.

So the news media have been showing us touching pictures of grizzled old veterans paying their respects to fallen comrades in the great war cemeteries or being thanked and congratulated by notables like William, Prince of Wales, who are nearly sixty years their junior.

One of my favorite reminiscences of D-Day is a three-minute clip that the late Andy Rooney recorded for 60 Minutes twenty years ago. Here you go.

[Clip:  Because it was part of my life, I'd like to say something about D-Day. I don't know how to say it any differently than I did in a book I wrote called My War. If you are young and not really clear what D-Day was, let me tell you: It was a day unlike any other.

There have only been a handful of days since the beginning of time on which the direction the world was taking has been changed for the better in one 24-hour period by an act of man. June 6th 1944 was one of them.

What the Americans, the British, and the Canadians were trying to do was get back a whole continent that had been taken from its rightful owners by Adolf Hitler's German army. It was one of the most monumentally unselfish things that one group of people ever did for another.

We all have days of our lives that stand out from the blur of days that have gone by, and the day I came ashore on Utah Beach, four days after the initial invasion, is one of mine.

As we approached the French coast there were small clouds of smoke and sudden eruptions as German artillery blindly lobbed shells over the hills behind the beach. They were hoping to hit U.S. troops or some of the massive amounts of equipment piled up on the shore there.

Row on row of dead American soldiers were laid out on the beach just above the high-tide mark where it turned into weedy clumps of grass. They were covered with olive drab blankets, just their feet sticking out at the bottom, their GI boots sticking out. I remember their boots: all the same on boys all so different.

No-one can tell the whole story of D-Day because no-one knows it. Each of the sixty thousand men who waded ashore that day knew a little part of the story too well.

To them the landing looked like a catastrophe. Each knew a friend shot through the throat, shot through a knee. Each knew names of the five hanging dead on the barbed wire in the water twenty yards offshore, three who lay unattended on the stony beach as the blood drained from holes in their bodies. They saw whole tank crews drowned when the tanks rumbled off the ramps of their landing craft and dropped into twenty feet of water.

There were heroes here no-one will ever know, because they're dead. The heroism of others is known only to themselves.

Across the Channel in Allied Headquarters in England the war directors, remote from the details of death, were exultant. They saw no blood, no dead, no dying. From the statisticians' point of view the invasion was a success. Statisticians were right. They always are: that's the damn thing about it.

On each visit to the beaches over the years, I've wept. It's impossible to keep back the tears as you look across the rows of markers and think of the boys under them who died that day.

Even if you didn't know anyone who died, your heart knows something that your brain does not. You weep. If you think the world is selfish and rotten, go to the cemetery at Colleville-sur-Mer overlooking Omaha Beach. See what one group of men did for another on D-Day: June 6th 1944.]

That was Andy Rooney, who died twelve years ago at the age of 92. I recall Rooney vaguely from the quirky little clips he used to do for the 60 Minutes program. There were things not to like about him, and he sometimes rubbed me the wrong way; but he was a fine war correspondent and a close observer of life. That D-Day clip is a little classic.

Eighty years on from D-Day, how does it look in retrospect?

The first thing to be said is the thing Rooney said: admiration and respect for the thousands of young men who fought, suffered, and died in what they believed to be a righteous cause.

But then, eighty years is a long time: long enough for revisionists and conspiracists to burrow away underneath the narrative of righteousness and glory to tell us that it was all lies, all sordid and corrupt.

Don't you know that WW2 was a scheme cooked up by international bankers with Winston Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt as their paid hirelings (or willing stooges, or dimwitted accomplices, depending on the burrower)? That Pearl Harbor was staged by FDR to give us a pretext for going to war with Germany? That General Patton said we'd fought the wrong enemy? That the boys who died storming the Normandy beaches were dupes and suckers? And so on.

If that's your kind of thing, there's plenty of it on the internet — dig in! For myself: I'm strongly predisposed to believe that most things are as they seem to be; that the common historical narrative is most likely the true one; and that conspiracy theorizing is one of the minor forms of mental disorder.

Indeed, there are doubts and ambiguities that can fairly be raised about WW2. Yes: we fought in alliance with Stalin's U.S.S.R., a state even more brutally totalitarian — and much bigger — than Hitler's little empire. No, it's not clear that a Europe under German domination would be any threat to the U.S.A., Hitler's foolish declaration of war against us notwithstanding. You don't need to be a conspiracy bug to ponder these things.

As I started out by saying, though: the past is another country, in some respects better than the present. And when we look back on D-Day from eighty years on, it's as Andy Rooney said: Your heart knows something that your brain does not.

The courage, idealism, and fighting spirit of the 1944 U.S.A., and its sheer ability to plan, organize, and successfully carry out a colossal operation like Overlord and then, 25 years later, land men on the Moon — those qualities, those abilities shine dazzling bright against the impotent bickering and squalid compromises that characterize our public life today.

Sure, much has been gained; but much too — perhaps more — has been lost.

All that said, there is a negative gloss you can put on D-Day that I think is worth airing. Next segment.

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03 — Vets regret.     A lot of people have been posting on social media that if the heroes of D-Day had been able to see what would happen to their countries — mainly the U.S.A., Britain, and Canada — they would not have fought.

Here's a post at X I've just been looking at: an old black'n'white photograph of allied troops going into battle with, superimposed on it, a thought balloon coming out of one soldier's head saying: "I hope my grandchildren become minorities in their own country."

There is documentary support for that bitter sarcasm, at least in the U.K. Back in 2006 British author Nicholas Pringle published an appeal in the local newspapers of his country asking for men and women who'd fought or served in WW2 to offer their memories, and their opinions as to whether all the sacrifices had been worthwhile.

Pringle got enough responses to publish them as a book of over five hundred pages, title The Unknown Warriors, which you can buy on Amazon.

The vlogger who calls himself Zoomer Historian has posted a one-hour YouTube video about Pringle's book under the heading "Do British Veterans Regret Fighting World War 2?"

Pringle's respondents were Brits (and a few Australians and New Zealanders) in their eighties and nineties, so of course you have to discount those responses some for the natural and universal tendency of geezers to think that the past was better than the present, without altogether discarding the truth I started out with: that in some respects the past was better than the present.

Even discounting for ordinary geezer grumbling, though, Pringle's respondents were remarkably negative. Here is the voice of Zoomer Historian talking about Pringle's book. This starts at 51m13s into the YouTube clip. The title of the clip, once again: "Do British Veterans Regret Fighting World War 2?"

[Clip:  This video could have gone on for hours. Since the sentiments of all the responses tended to be much the same, I thought I'd spare you the trouble. Instead I settled for writing down the general trends.

I also made a tally of positive and negative responses. Bear in mind I went into this video expecting a rather even split.

There were 182 responses in total. Of those, 30 seemed to be a little confused on the assignment and just gave a recount of their war experiences and didn't touch on how Britain has changed.

Three — yes, that's right: only three — of the responses in the entire 500-page book were positive. All three have been quoted above and all three were positive due to personal financial success.

So naturally that leaves the rest, meaning there were 149 negative responses. The numbers speak for themselves.

As for the trends, here is what I noticed. I will simply read them out and let you make your own conclusions.

Firstly, immigration was by far the biggest complaint. Almost every response mentioned it. Of these immigrants it was mostly Muslims and also blacks from the Caribbean who were viewed the most negatively. Not one person referred to immigration positively.]

That's a British perspective, but it maps pretty well into what I hear from American vets and see on social media. It also calls to mind some of the problems and paradoxes of immigration control.

Pringle's respondents are WW2 vets, which means they are geezers. Hindsight is proverbially 20-20. Those vets, and geezer-adjacent Brits and Americans like your genial host who can clearly remember their nations as they were sixty or seventy years ago, understand the blessings of demographic stability better than do younger citizens who grew up hearing authority figures tell them it was wicked to think about such things.

And then there's the issue of why, when the immigration catastrophe got under way — which in Britain was during the 1960s, in the U.S.A. somewhat later — why didn't that senior generation, who were working adults and voters at the time — why didn't they vote to stop it? We are democracies, aren't we?

The fact that it was a catastrophe, with dire consequences for the nation's future, was already plain back then. For those who didn't see it, the great British politician Enoch Powell gave his fellow countrymen a warning as loud and eloquent as it could possibly be in 1968, to widespread applause. And yet the demographic destabilization went on, from strength to strength.

How could that be, in a country under representative government? Why didn't citizens vote to stop it? I have pondered that at length many times here at Radio Derb.

And that too maps into the present-day U.S. situation. Even setting aside legal immigration, which badly needs addressing, uncontrolled mass illegal immigration is causing dramatic, expensive, unwanted changes in our national life.

Yet the politicians allowing it to happen, even encouraging it, are polling decently well. Current voting intentions for the Presidential election in November show 44 percent of voters favoring Joe Biden, who has thrown our borders wide open.

On immigration, only 41 percent of us want the numbers decreased. Twenty-six percent — better than one in four — want them increased.

Does a quarter of the U.S. population really dislike their country, its character, its history, and their fellow citizens that much? I guess so.

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04 — Elections: Europe, the U.K.     Two weeks ago I gave you notice that elections to the European Parliament were coming up June 6th to 9th and that, quote from myself, "Prospects look good for immigration-restrictionist parties." End quote.

Well, here we are at June 7th with those elections under way. It's a five-year cycle; the last elections were in 2019.

The votes get counted on Sunday. Allowing for the difference in time zones, we here in the States will probably know by around 7 p.m. that day, Sunday the 9th, what the new Parliament will look like.

The Euro Parliament has limited powers. It can't legislate for member nations, only approve or veto legislation proposed by the executive, the European Commission. It can make a major nuisance of itself to the EU bureaucracy, though, and the preferences of European voters as revealed in these five-yearly elections echo back into the politics of member countries.

Seats in the Parliament are apportioned by each country's population, so the big fish are the most populous countries. The biggest five, each with more than fifty seats in the current 705-seat total, are Germany, France, Italy, Spain, and Poland.

They all have strong populist-conservative parties, although only Italy has one actually in power. That is the Brothers of Italy Party led by Giorgia Meloni — Giorgia Pippalina to Radio Derb listeners.

It's a curious thing that if you look up the table of nations of the world listed by Total Fertility Rate, the last three of those nations — Italy, Spain, and Poland — clump together, although in reverse order, near the bottom. Of the 227 nations listed, Poland is number 217, Spain 218, Italy 219. The actual fertility rates there are down in the 1.3s and 1.2s, children per woman.

France and Germany score higher, numbers 121 and 190 in the rankings, fertility rates 1.9 and 1.6.

Why does this matter? Well, a politician whose nation is down at the 1.3 or 1.2 level, like Italy, Spain, and Poland, should be worried about it. If the politician is comparatively young, as politicians go, he or she should be seriously worried about it, foreseeing major population decline in his or her own lifetime.

Giorgia Meloni is only 47, so those remarks apply to her. Hence her immigration policy, which has brought her some criticism from the sterner kind of immigration restrictionists. She is pretty stalwart on illegal immigration — the Mediterranean boat people — but wants to encourage legal immigration.

I'd guess, although I don't know, that some similar considerations are in play for the leaders of Spain and Poland. France and Germany not so much, and the populist-conservative parties of those nations — Marine Le Pen's RN Party and the AfD Party in Germany — can take a stronger line.

So the populist-conservative bloc in the European Parliament has some tensions, the more so since the bloc expelled Germany's AfD two weeks ago after some unfortunate remarks by its lead candidate. We shall find out on Sunday how it's all played out with Euro voters.

Britain is of course no longer in the EU, thanks largely to the efforts of Nigel Farage, whose U.K. Independence Party led the Brexit campaign to victory in a referendum eight years ago this June 23rd.

Farage has mostly stayed out of politics since then … until this week, when on Sunday he announced that he'd be standing as a candidate in Britain's July 4th general election.

As I have been reporting, legacy conservatism has been dying a slow death over there just as it has over here. The legacy-conservative seat-warmers over there, the equivalent of our own GOP, are the Conservative Party which, during fourteen years in power, has conserved nothing at all.

The opposition Labour Party doesn't inspire much enthusiasm; but British voters are so frustrated by the uselessness of the Conservative Party, especially its failure to stand up against the Great Replacement, that the polls predict a Labour Party landslide even though the Labour Party itself is more or less open-borders with a big Muslim voting bloc.

A new party called Reform U.K. was founded five years ago, advertising itself as traditionalist and anti-woke. It hasn't gained much traction, mainly because of lackluster leadership and low levels of funding.

But then, in Sunday's announcement Nigel Farage said he would stand as a candidate for the Reform Party, and if elected Member of Parliament would lead that party in the House of Commons.

That caused a minor political earthquake. It's highly unlikely Reform will win the July 4th election, but with Farage on the ticket Reform will draw votes away from the Conservative Party, making the humiliation of the Conservatives even worse. With any luck it might kill off the Conservative Party altogether, a fate the party richly deserves.

So: fun and games in elections across the Pond, Euro and British. Who knows? Perhaps strong populist successes over there will encourage more Americans to tick the box for Donald Trump in November. With the Establishment rigging the vote counting nine ways to Sunday, it may not help, but … who knows?

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

Imprimis:  The trouble with being an opinionator is, you're supposed to have an opinion about everything — a strong opinion that you will vigorously defend.

There I'm at a disadvantage. There are whole zones of the human world in which I'm not sufficiently interested to have an opinion.

Example: The COVID pandemic, its origin, the vaccines, Dr Fauci, … I said as much as I could think of to say here at Radio Derb, the February 28th 2020 podcast, when it was all new news.

I haven't commented much since, other than with an occasional round-up of the social and political consequences of COVID hysteria, for example in my March 27th podcast that same year, 2020. Our collective addiction to hysterias and moral panics is kind of interesting; but there are so many of them that commentary gets tiring.

Is Dr Fauci a distinguished immunologist and conscientious public servant, or is he a limb of Satan? Sorry, no idea. He's been in the news this week, I'm not sure why.

It all makes me feel like a time traveller from an earlier era, which I guess in a way I am. When I was a child parents worried obsessively about childhood diseases: mumps, whooping cough, diphtheria, chicken pox, polio, … We all knew what an iron lung was; a neighbor child ended up in one. When there was news of a new vaccine, everyone took it.

The fundamental attitude I grew up with was fatalistic. If that virus has got your number on it, it'll get ya. Meanwhile, enjoy life.

So the huge fuss over COVID — the lockdowns and closures — struck me as weird. It didn't affect me directly, though, except in that my wife was assigned to work from home, which she still does, and which I rather like.

So … sorry, no opinion.

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Item:  The most enduring, most heated of our moral panics is the one about race — a phenomenon that of course does not exist, except as a figment of your imagination.

There's gold in them thar hills, though. When a moral panic is at its loudest and most heated, those favored by luck or talent to take advantage of it for self-promotion can make a fortune.

So it was with Ibram X. Kendi. He was teaching history at a private college in Washington, D.C. in mid-2020 when the nationwide frenzy over the death of street hoodlum George Floyd erupted. A few months earlier Kendi's book How to be an Antiracist had come out, received friendly reviews in progressive outlets, and sold decently well.

Kendi was in exactly the right place at the right time. As the George Floyd rapture took off, so did his book sales. He was famous, being interviewed all over.

Boston University gave him an endowed chair and the space and resources to open a Center for Antiracist Research that by mid-2023 boasted 45 employees. He was showered with money, most famously ten million dollars from Jack Dorsey, the founder of Twitter.

Last Sunday's New York Times magazine reported at length that the Center for Antiracist Research has been an almighty flop, in spite of $55 million worth of funding across three and a half years. Last September Kendi laid off "more than half its staff." When the Times reporter went there to interview Kendi in December, she found the place, quote, "mostly empty," end quote.

There doesn't seem to have been any financial hanky-panky; Boston U. did an audit; Kendi came out clean. It was just that managing a big academic enterprise like that, with dozens of employees, was beyond Kendi's abilities. As our own Steve Sailer observed, with supporting data, Kendi just isn't very intelligent.

I started out by saying that those favored by luck or talent to take advantage of a moral panic for self-promotion can make a fortune. I think my "or" should have been an "and." You need luck and talent. Kendi had a major stroke of good luck, but … no talent.

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Item:  In my May Diary here at VDARE.com I lamented the sorry state of book production, describing a gross production error from Wisehouse Classics, a very respectable publisher.

Then on Tuesday this week I opened my morning copy of the New York Post to find that its production had been fouled up.

A newspaper is produced as a single lo-o-o-ong sheet of printed pages which, in the final stage of the production process, is sliced up into separate two-page-wide pieces.

Each piece carries four pages on its two sides: two from the low-numbered pages, two from the high-numbered. So if your newspaper has forty pages, the first piece has pages one and two on its left-hand half, pages 39 and 40 on its right. The next piece has pages 3 and 4 at left, 37 and 38 at right … and so on until you get the piece with the newspaper's middle four pages: pages 19 and 20 at left, 21 and 22 at right.

These pieces are stacked, the stack is folded down the middle, and there's your newspaper with the pages all in order.

Well, the one I was looking at over my breakfast oatmeal had not been properly cut. Some of the pieces were too wide, containing fragments of text that belonged on other pieces. Even the folding-down-the-middle had been buggered up: the fold went down through text.

When I grumbled to my kids about this, they rolled their eyes. Do I not know how prehistoric I am, getting an actual paper newspaper delivered every morning? And living in a house full of printed books? Everything's online nowadays, hel-LO.

This is what it's like to be mentally yoked to a dying technology, in this case the technology of printed words on paper. This is what it was like to drive a horse and buggy in an American city around 1925. This is what it was like for tribesmen armed with spears and swords to charge Queen Victoria's soldiers when

Whatever happens, we have got
The Maxim gun, and they have not.

I tell ya: It's not easy being a reactionary.

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Item:  And this is Pride Month. I cherish one of Steve Sailer's best quips: That when kids growing up in the 21st century see the title of the old Gary Cooper movie Pride of the Yankees, they probably come away assuming that Lou Gehrig was a homosexual.

That aside, this being Pride Month gives me the opportunity to renew my plea that everyone should please stop trying to say unpronouncable abominations like "LGBTQIA2S++," or whatever the hell it is this week, and just refer to the persons concerned as "Prouds."

It's short, it's just one snappy syllable, you can't elongate it or mess around with it, and it's hard even for the easily-offended to take offense at it.

Please join me in this, people. Say it loud, say it proud: they are the Prouds!

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Item:  And just one more word about Nigel Farage. The word is English, as in: Could the guy be any more English?

It even seems wrong to call him a guy. Nigel isn't a guy, he's a bloke, a true English normie. Even his name is as English as it could be. Was there ever, since the War of Independence, an American male child christened "Nigel"?

"Nigel" is as English as "Basil." As it happens my dog, the Hound of the Derbyshires, is named Basil. I've had to train my neighbors to say "Ba-zil," not "Bay-zil." Other than one or two Fawlty Towers fans and an old-movies buff, they only know the herb.

And yes, I know: Farage was educated at a private school and his Dad was a stockbroker. Those things don't necessarily detract from being a bloke in the English class system, which has subtleties that outsiders cannot fathom. Farage anyway makes up for his upper-middle-class background by drinking draft ale in pints and smoking fags.

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06 — Signoff.     That's all I have, ladies and gents. Thank you for your time and attention, and thank you for your continuing support of VDARE.com and Radio Derb.

Country music fans of the senior demographic will know that as well as being a birth date, June 3rd is also a death date. The deceased here was Billie Joe McAllister, who jumped off the Tallahatchie Bridge for reasons connected somehow — we are not told precisely how — with the first-person female narrator of the song, in this case Bobbie Gentry. Rest in peace, Billie Joe.

There will be more from Radio Derb next week.

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[Music clip: Bobbie Gentry, Ode to Billie Joe.]

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