05:14 Calendrical observations. (Lunar and solar.)
09:32 MLK, the unwelcome reminder. (What causes earthquakes?)
16:36 The race problem metastasizes. (White supremacy? Not in wealth.)
21:35 A movie sex goddess departs. (Shakespeare’s words of comfort.)
24:56 Anarcho-what? (Progressivism from NY to NZ.)
31:06 Justice v. order. (Salvadorans choose.)
34:29 Votes for illegals. (Our nation’s joke capital.)
36:19 New frontiers in offense archeology. (Nick Bostrom’s thoughtcrime.)
37:48 A name to love. (Not the lady, just the name.)
39:18 Hoist by their own petards. (Sanctuary city mayors whine.)
42:02 Signoff. (With Handel.)
If this week's podcast seems a tad more abrupt than usual, please permit me to offer excuses.
First excuse: flow. No, not the flow of water. Whatever Al Gore may tell you, global warming has not yet advanced to the point where the Derbyshire estates are inundated. Since we are 240 feet above sea level, it's not likely that it soon will, although of course, after all those terrifying warnings we got from the World Economic Forum this week, I am taking suitable precautions.
No, this is a different meaning of "flow." And no, I have not acquired a mistress named Florence. The chance would be a fine thing. No, this is flow in the psychological sense. Permit me to quote from my own oeuvre, February 2007, quote:
There is a phenomenon that psychologists call flow. I quote from an internet dictionary: [Inner quote.] "the mental state of operation in which the person is fully immersed in what he or she is doing, characterized by a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and success in the process of the activity." [End inner quote.] For me, the most reliable portal to flow is a jigsaw puzzle. Set me up with one of these things and I am lost to the world until that one last piece clicks into place.
That's how I've been wasting the precious days this past week, listeners. Santa was unusually generous to me at Christmas: I was gifted two jigsaw puzzles and I am finding them far more interesting than the damn crazy fever-inducing imbecilities put forth by the news outlets.
Yes, yes, I know: the news is important, while figuring out where this weird-shaped piece goes is not important. Yet still, as a great American philosopher once said, quote: "The heart wants what it wants."
Second excuse: Most of you have by now emerged from the Thanksgiving-Christmas-New Year festivities more or less intact even if considerably poorer and plumper, ready to resume a normal schedule. For those of us who have yoked themselves to the culture of the Far East, however, the festivities start all over again at the Lunar New Year.
Tomorrow, January 21st, is New Year's Eve on the lunar calendar. Sunday is of course New Year's Day. Mr and Mrs Derb will spend much of the weekend as either guests or hosts, so I have been helping with preparations this week, when I could be distracted from my jigsaw puzzle.
For us there is the added blessing that tomorrow is our first grandchild's first birthday. We have to merge birthday celebrations in somehow with all the guesting and hosting.
So, somewhat of a domestic overload here. I shall of course do my best to satisfy the public hunger for informed commentary from a dissident-right perspective; but should I lapse into ruminations about whether it's better to sort by shape rather than color, or better to tackle sky before foliage, you have been forewarned.
First a word about lunar New Year's Day. The earliest it can possibly occur on our solar calendar is January 21st, so this year's is exceptionally early. The latest it can occur is February 21st.
Each year is tagged with some animal from a list of twelve and also with an element from a list of five: wood, fire, earth, metal, water. Those five elements key to a host of other fives: five colors, five planets, five tastes, five virtues, yada, yada … Fives are a big thing in Chinese numerology. Check out China's national flag … see? This stuff goes deep.
The twelve and the five rotate together for a sixty-year super-cycle. The current super-cycle began in 1984. I'll just leave that there …
Well, this lunar new year that starts on Sunday will be the Year of the Rabbit with the element water and the color black. The planet is Mercury, the taste is salty, the virtue is wisdom, and so on.
This is the point where you have to grab me by the shirt collar, pull me off my chair, and slosh cold water on my face. I find this numerological stuff amusing. I know not many other people do, but it comes irresistibly to mind at this time of the lunar year.
OK, OK, let's take a solar, occidental look at the date.
Monday this week, January 16th, was the third Monday of the year. That had mental-health professionals buckling on their armor, or whatever it is that protects them from the lunatics they minister to.
The third Monday in January is, you see, Blue Monday in the Northern Hemisphere, when Seasonal Affective Disorder peaks. Quote from an article about this at DailyMail.com, January fifteenth, quote:
The term Blue Monday was coined by psychologist Dr Cliff Arnall, who worked out a formula to show how the third Monday in January is especially bad.
It takes into account factors including the average time for New Year's resolutions to fail, the bad weather, debt, the time since Christmas and motivational levels.
The Daily Mail assures us that, quote:
The charity Samaritans is not just on hand for people who are contemplating taking their own life … It is also there for those who are having a tough time.
Eh, good to know.
The Blue Monday stories seem to be coming mainly from the U.K., so perhaps it's not a Northern Hemisphere-wide thing. Whether it is or not, we Americans had an extra reason to be blue on Monday: it was Martin Luther King Day. A word about that.
We remember the hopes of sixty years ago: the hopes that MLK represented. We remember hoping that if legal segregation was ended and unjust laws struck down, if black Americans were given the same access to life's good things as everyone else, if manners and language were reformed to show blacks the same respect every other citizen got, then the whole accurséd race business would melt away and no-one would any longer give it any mind.
Here we are sixty years later. No more schools and housing districts segregated by law; no more crazy laws to make it hard for blacks to vote; no more separate drinking fountains; no more "boy" or "spook" or n-word; sit where you like in a bus or a diner; go to whichever beach or public swimming pool you please; … The things we wanted done back in those days of hope have all been done long since.
Yet we are more bitterly racialized than ever. Two stories from this week's news—from what, a segment or two ago, I referred to as "the damn crazy fever-inducing imbecilities put forth by the news outlets." You thought I was kidding? Listen.
Under Sheila Jackson Lee's law, if it were to pass, any criticism of any non-white person or group—of Sheila Jackson Lee, for instance, or Black Lives Matter—would be incitement to a federal hate crime. If the criticism was voiced on social media and anyone agreed with it, that would be conspiracy to commit a federal crime.
Concerning San Francisco's reparations proposal, our own Steve Sailer tossed and gored the thing on Wednesday over at Taki's Magazine. I won't attempt to compete with Steve in scathing commentary, I'll just quote him. Quote:
That blacks, after 59 years of aggressive government programs to help them, are still almost as much in need might logically suggest something about black responsibility for their own current state.
But that is unthinkable.
There are no longer any acceptable explanations for racial disparities other than white badness and bad whiteness.
Yep. As I myself have described, we have, over a century or so, descended from blaming differential outcomes by race on nature, to blaming them on nurture, to blaming them on the malice of white people.
That is a real decline, a real ongoing enstupidation in the human sciences. An equivalent in the physical sciences would be a descent from blaming earthquakes on the movements of molten rock below the Earth's crust, to blaming them on restless underground dragons turning in their sleep, to blaming them on corruption in the imperial court.
For those of us who remember those early hopes, the hopes that MLK voiced and encouraged—whether sincerely or not, make up your own mind on that—for those of us who remember, the Western world of today presents a miserable spectacle.
The wretchedness of the black underclass is not the worst aspect of that spectacle. The worst is the sight of white people cringing and moaning, flagellating themselves in manufactured remorse, sitting dumb and receptive as hired grifters berate them for their evil nature and the crimes of their ancestors, nodding along in agreement with Dr Heinz Kiosk: "We are guilty! We are all guilty!"
No, we haven't vanquished the race problem. If anything we have only inflamed it. All those hopes of our youth have come to nothing—to less than nothing.
When we—my generation—are gone, will anyone remember those hopes … other than to laugh bitterly at them?
04—The race problem metastasizes. Not only is the intractable race business still with us, it is metastasizing. We may, by foolish policies, be importing yet more race problems to add to the big one we have so utterly failed to solve.
I was just looking at this latest chart from the U.S. Census Bureau on "Median Household Income in the United States by Ethnic Group."
Top of the ranking: Indian-Americans, Median Household Income $100,500. Second: Filipino-Americans, $83,300. That's kind of a big gap from first to second, $17,000.
Chinese-Americans rank seventh, $69,100. We whites are at number nine, just below $60,000. The overall American median is below that, $56,200. Of the seventeen ethnic groups tallied, blacks are seventeenth with a Median Household Income $35,000. Latinos are just above at sixteen, $43,000.
There are some questions I'd want cleared up there. Are those Filipino-Americans at number two Polynesian-Filipinos like (I think) Michelle Malkin, or Chinese-Filipinos like Amy Chua? Similarly with Malaysian-, Indonesian-, and Thai-Americans.
And what about my own household? Do we count as White-American or Chinese-American? If we're white, could we please upgrade to Chinese? We could use the extra dollars.
A friend with whom I discussed this chart was more impertinent than your genial host would even think of being. "What about Jewish-Americans?" he asked.
Once I'd regained consciousness I went a-googling. The best I could come up with in a five-minute browse was a report from Pew Research based on a survey done three years ago. Quote:
Half of Jews live in households earning at least $100,000.
If half are over the 100K mark then that's the median by definition. And if that was the case in 2020 I'd guess it's even more the case now, so likely Jewish-Americans are doing even better than Indian-Americans.
Other naughty questions come to mind. Those Indian-Americans in the number one spot: Are we just creaming off India's smartest? Well, yes, of course we are. And if that's our gain, isn't it India's loss? Aren't we just strip-mining the Third World of its smartest people? Yes and Yes.
And is it our gain? Our own Patrick Cleburne posted just the other day that Brown University has had to formally ban discrimination by caste. Are the Indians we're importing for their talents also bringing in the more obnoxious, un-American aspects of their home country? Yes again.
(Just doing a site search at VDARE.com for Indians, I was reminded how many skeptical articles we've posted: not only Patrick Cleburne but Herbert Collins, Eugene Gant, Washington Watcher, A.W. Morgan, Pedro de Alvarado, and more. My own alarms about importing an overclass are also relevant.)
In last week's podcast I linked to one of the pages under "Readings" at my personal website. Some listeners emailed in with nice things to say about that.
If you are of the opposite opinion: don't worry, I'm not going to make a habit of it. I'll just indulge myself once more, if you don't mind.
These are lines that always come to mind when I read about some person who represented high glamor in my childhood or youth and has now died old and long-forgotten.
That happened this week when the news came out that Gina Lollobrigida had died at the age of 95. Ms Lollobrigida was a movie sex goddess just as I was getting acquainted with the idea of movie sex goddesses. Humphrey Bogart famously said that Lollobrigida, quote, "makes Marilyn Monroe look like Shirley Temple," end quote.
And now she's dead, wrinkled, worn, and ill at 95. Cue William Shakespeare.
06—Progressivism from New York to New Zealand. I winced when reading Bob McManus's column in this morning's New York Post.
The column is a scathing takedown of New York State's governess Kathy Hochul. The gist of it is that, Governess Hochul's politics aside, she just doesn't know how to play the game. The far-left ideologues who control the state legislature are running rings round her.
Not that there's much daylight between their ideology and hers; but Hochul is vaguely aware that, as Governor, there are things she really ought to do. The legislators don't want those things done, and Hochul's political skills aren't good enough for her to get her way … ever, on anything. She's a child in an adult's game.
That's depressing for us New Yorkers and I am appropriately depressed. What made me wince, though, was a term that Bob McManus used. Writing of those things that need doing, and having just listed them, McManus comments that, quote:
New York's anarcho-progressives will have none of those things, thank you very much.
McManus is a savvy observer with long experience of watching the political circus, but … "anarcho-progressives"? Say what?
Reflecting post-wince I kind of see what he means. Progressives who want to make prosecution of criminals more difficult, empty out the jails and asylums, and defund the police are asking for anarchy—and in New York, they're getting it. So yeah: "anarcho-progressives." It fits.
It's just that, hanging out at websites like VDARE.com, I've gotten much more use to the term "anarcho-tyranny." That's when the authorities withdraw from imposing social order when it's difficult or controversial to do so, but come down with full force on easier targets.
For an advanced case of anarcho-tyranny check out the U.K., where misdemeanor crimes up to and including burglary now go unpunished, but standing praying silently in the street across from an abortion clinic will get you arrested.
I think I'll stick with "anarcho-tyranny." The other term, "anarcho-progressivism," just seems to me to hide the iron fist in the velvet glove a bit too snugly.
It's best to keep in mind that the anarchy favored by progressives is not for society at large, it's only for groups progressives themselves look on fondly—blacks, feminists, sexual eccentrics, illegal aliens, and so on. The natural tendency of progressivism is always towards tyranny for most of us.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern illustrated this. She's not actually all that progressive by U.S. standards. She ticks all the progressive boxes on same-sex marriage, abortion, climate change, and so on, but she's against open borders and has been no worse than neoliberal on trade, taxes, and constitutional issues.
Still she couldn't resist scratching the tyrannical itch when opportunity offered. After the Christchurch mosque shootings four years ago her government imposed savage restrictions on private gun ownership. When COVID struck she put the whole country in almost ChiCom-style lockdown.
Now polls are telling the lady her countrymen have had enough of her. This week she announced she'll be stepping down February 7th so her party can sort itself out in plenty of time for the next election in October.
I never did understand why the Kiwis put up with her for five years. My mental image of New Zealanders, based on my Dad's stories, is of plain-spoken Anglo-Celtic sons of the soil confident in the belief that any problem can be solved with some ingenuity and a few yards of galvanized baling wire.
Perhaps I need to update my stereotypes.
That came to mind when I was reading about the El Salvador crackdown.
You probably remember having heard that El Salvador used to be the world capital of violent criminality. Back in 2015, the nation recorded 105 murders per 100,000 people making it the most homicidal country on the planet. In that same year, 2015, the U.S. homicide rate was not quite five per 100,000, so El Salvador was over 21 times as homicidal as we were. (Our current homicide rate is somewhat higher, around 7½ per 100,000.)
Well, in March last year the government down there decided to do something. President Nayib Bukele declared a state of emergency and authorised mass arrests. To date around 60,000 people have been imprisoned. That's one percent of the entire population, and it's in addition to 40,000 who are already in jail.
How do Salvadorans feel about this crackdown? They love it! A survey in December found almost 88 percent of voters approving of President Bukele, making him the most popular president on the continent, perhaps even the world.
Sample quote from a Salvadoran: "Now we can go outside when we like. Our family can come and visit us. No president has cared about us here before." End quote.
The justice here is of course rough-and-ready Third World justice. Probably some harmless people have been caught in the crackdown along with the gangbangers and psychos. International human rights lobbies are making a fuss, and you can see their point, especially when you think of the extremely harm-full types that those harmless people are locked up with in stinking unsanitary prisons.
There's the tension, though: justice versus order. I've no doubt that for a lot of Salvadorans—like that 88 percent—the loss of justice is a small price to pay for the gain of order.
Did you know that? I confess I didn't. I'm not surprised to hear it, though. Since the mayoralty of the late Marion Barry, nothing I hear about the governance of our nation's capital surprises me.
Washington is a joke city with a joke government under a succession of joke mayors. The departments of the federal government should be scattered around the fifty states. The District of Columbia should be reduced to a national memorial park, residence in the District limited strictly to park employees. Sessions of Congress should be held in a different state every year. The White House should be relocated to the Aleutian Islands.
Hey, I can dream. Meanwhile, going back to that bill to give illegals the vote, some Republicans in Congress have tabled a resolution to overturn it.
Note some Republicans. The interest here will be seeing how many GOP congressweasels fail to support the resolution. My hopes are not high.
Item: Nick Bostrom is a 49-year-old philosopher professor at Oxford University who has written several deep-brow books about topics of current interest, mainly to do with what we know, how much of it is real, and whether artificial intelligences will know more.
Now Professor Bostrom is being investigated by administrators at his university for thoughtcrime. The particular thoughtcrime he's suspected of is contained in an email he sent to a private discussion group twenty-six years ago, when he was a 23-year-old undergraduate.
You can read the entire email at the Daily Sceptic website, January 14th. It touches on the topic of race and intelligence, although the main thrust of it is to be careful when speaking to a general public because some truths will be thought by some people to be offensive.
And that was twenty-six years ago! How deep did the Thought Police have to dig to find that?
Item: Among the celebrants at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland this week was a lady that I know nothing at all about except that I smile every time I see her name in print: Queen Maxima of Holland.
What a lovely name! Obviously it couldn't be any better: it's maximal!
What was Her Majesty doing with all the billionaire lefty do-gooders at Davos? Well, she was there to give a speech on behalf of the U.N. about "financial inclusion."
What is "financial inclusion"? I have no idea. This being Davos, I'll hazard a guess that it involves imposing burdens on, and taking money from, middle-class shlubs like me in prosperous countries so that the Davos do-gooders can feel they've done good.
If that is indeed the case. I'd rather not know. Leave me with my illusions so I can continue to chuckle over that name. Maxima!
Then I heard about the late-19th-century French stage performer who went by the name Le Petomane, who earned immortal fame for himself by breaking wind. That was his stage act, performing every conceivable kind of fart at the Moulin Rouge.
At some point I put the word "petard" together with Petomane, thought "wait a minute," and checked with Webster's dictionary. Sure enough, peter is the French verb for "to break wind" and a petard is a small explosive device—a bomb or mine. If you're hoist by your own petard, you were blown up by your own bomb.
That naturally takes us to Eric Adams, the Mayor of New York, and in fact to all mayors of sanctuary cities. The governments of our Southern border states are effectively saying to them: "Oh, you wanted to be a sanctuary for illegal aliens? OK, here's another ten thousand—more to come!"
Here was Eric Adams on a visit to El Paso this week. Quote from him: "There is no room in New York. New York cannot take more. We can't. No city deserves what is happening."
I beg to differ, Mr Mayor. You and all the fool New Yorkers who voted for you richly deserve the 40,000 illegals the border states have sent you. If they send you another hundred thousand you'll deserve those, too.
You mayors planted the bomb in your cities by declaring them sanctuaries. Now the bomb's gone off. You have been hoist by your own petards. Cry me a river.
As longtime listeners know I try to keep a good mix of signoff music: 20th-century pop, folk songs, bluegrass, middlebrow opera, TV themes, Irish ballads, lounge singers, … something for everyone.
When it comes to concert music, though—what people loosely call "classical" music—I'm at a disadvantage, not having had much musical education. To get the best from concert music you really need to know a lot about music, and I just don't.
Fortunately I have friends to help me out. Here is a piece of music from one such, who challenged me to sit all the way through it with dry eyes. It's the late American mezzo Lorraine Hunt Lieberson singing the air "As with rosy steps the morn" from Act I Scene 4 of Handel's oratorio Theodora.
As with rosy steps the morn,
Advancing, drives the shades of night,
So from virtuous toils well-borne,
Raise Thou our hopes of endless light.
Triumphant saviour, Lord of day,
Thou art the life, the light, the way!
I met the challenge and emerged dry-eyed; but that's just because Baroque music doesn't penetrate into my soul as deeply as it would if I had a better understanding of music in general. It is certainly very beautiful, and I am obliged to the friend who sent it to me.
There will be more from Radio Derb next week, in the Year of the Black Rabbit.
[Music clip: Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, "As with rosy steps the morn."]