The Unz Review - Mobile

The Unz Review: An Alternative Media Selection

A Collection of Interesting, Important, and Controversial Perspectives Largely Excluded from the American Mainstream Media

Email This Page to Someone

 Remember My Information

 John Derbyshire Blog View
Can D.C. Suits Stand It?

This is the Week of the Two Presidents—Donald Trump succeeds Barack Obama at noon on Friday January 20. Both men recently addressed major gatherings: Barack Obama made his official farewell to the nation, Donald Trump held his first formal press conference since being elected. Each event was highly characteristic. My take: I for one am glad we have heard the last of Obama. And Trump’s rumbustiousness is thrilling.

Obama stepped out in front of a huge audience in Chicago and delivered a long, gassy speech—51 minutes and 10 seconds. That’s 10 minutes longer than the Farewell Addresses of George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and Ronald Reagan combined.

Bush 41 did not technically give a farewell address, although his speech to West Point cadets, the last of his presidency, is sometimes cited as such. I don’t know its duration, but the transcript runs to 3,300 words. The transcript of Obama’s farewell address is just short of 5,000 words, so he left Poppy Bush in the dust, too. This is a guy who really likes the sound of his own voice.

The gold standard in political speeches, so far as I’m concerned, was the one Calvin Coolidge delivered to the Massachusetts Senate 102 years ago, after being elected President of that body. It consisted of forty-four words, thus:

Honorable Senators: My sincerest thanks I offer you. Conserve the firm foundations of our institutions. Do your work with the spirit of a soldier in the public service. Be loyal to the Commonwealth and to yourselves, and be brief; above all things, be brief.

That makes the Gettysburg Address, at 272 words, look positively flabby. It makes Obama’s farewell address look morbidly obese.

What did Obama’s speech actually contain? Well, there was lots of “hope” and “change”: five “hopes” and sixteen “changes” by my count. I couldn’t actually pin down anything declarative about “hope”, but there was definitely a consistent theme on “change.” Change is good! Don’t be afraid of change! —

Constant change has been America’s hallmark; that it’s not something to fear but something to embrace … It [the antecedent for “it” seems to be the danger to us from terrorism and foreign dictators–JD] represents the fear of change; the fear of people who look or speak or pray differently …

If you fear change you are a bad person!

I’m sorry, Mr. President, but that is inane. Some change is good, some isn’t. Saying, “Change is good!” makes as much sense as saying, “Weather is good!” or “Vegetation is good!” If an asteroid were to strike the earth and wipe out the human race, that would be a major change, wouldn’t it? Not many of us would consider it good, though.

And just as change is not necessarily good, fear is not necessarily bad. We have the fear instinct for a very good reason: to preserve ourselves against dangers. We may argue about whether some one particular phenomenon is or is not dangerous, but fear itself is useful and valuable, not a failing or a weakness.

Take for example that “fear of people who look or speak or pray differently.” If people who look different from me in some one particular way have a homicide rate seven times that of people who look the same as me, and a robbery rate thirteen times, isn’t fear of those people rational? If violent acts of terrorism against innocent civilians are almost exclusively committed by people who pray a certain way, is not fear of people who pray that way justified?

And look at Obama’s illogical assumptions:

If we’re unwilling to invest in the children of immigrants, just because they don’t look like us, we will diminish the prospects of our own children—because those brown kids will represent a larger and larger share of America’s workforce.

Note the patronizing conflation of “immigrants” with “brown kids.” I’m an immigrant; my wife is an immigrant; neither of us is brown.

Note also the meteorological approach to immigration. It’s like the weather! Can’t do anything about it! In fact immigration is just a policy, that we can change at will. We could, without any offense to the Constitution, stop all immigration and require all noncitizens to leave our territory.

How would that be for “change”! To fear it would, of course, be weak and un-American.

And then there are Obama’s characteristic weaselly little half-truths:

I reject discrimination against Muslim Americans who are just as patriotic as we are.

I have no problem with the first half of that. I too reject discrimination against American citizens who are Muslims.

At the same time, and without any inconsistency I can see, I think we have all the Muslims we need. Islam doesn’t fit comfortably into non-Muslim nations. It creates problems that we’d be wise to avoid. Let’s stop all further settlement of Muslims in the U.S.A.

Again, I don’t know of any constitutional reason why we can’t do that.

But the second half, Obama’s assertion that Muslims are just as patriotic as we are, is open to question. It’s true in the sense that some Muslims, like some non-Muslims, are patriotic, while others aren’t. The proportions in each case bears examining. The non-patriotism of Muslim non-patriots is of a seriously different kind from the non-patriotism of Episcopalian, Catholic, Baptist, Congregationalist, Unitarian, Jewish, agnostic, atheist, and Wiccan non-patriots.

This slippery sleight of mouth is very Obamaesque. And personally, I could do without all the girlish emoting that Obama went in for towards the end of the speech. By the time he’d gotten through gushing over all the hope and change he’d generated, and over his wife and daughters, etc., there was, as several news outlets noted, not a dry eye in the house.[ Watch: ‘You Have Made Me Proud’ – President Obama’s Farewell Speech Is a Powerful Road-Map for Upholding Democracy , Black Entertainment Television, January 11, 3017]

From time to time I make a resolution never to vote for any person who has shed tears in public. Then I recall that this is somewhat un-American of me, and feel a bit ashamed. My fellow Americans mostly like that kind of thing, and I ought to yield to their taste.

I just can’t, though. I’m from a nation and a time that admired reserve, fortitude, and the stiff upper lip. “I have lost my leg, by God!” Lord Uxbridge told the Duke of Wellington on the field of Waterloo, as cannonballs whizzed by. “By God, and have you!” replied the Duke.

Those are my people. They’re dead now, or old, even in the Mother Country. But they had something that’s been lost, and the loss of which I regret very much.

Trump’s presser was comparable in wordage to Obama’s speech.

The questions and answers, not counting the nested presentation by Trump’s lawyer, were seventy-four hundred words, of which by far the majority were Trump’s. So chances are Trump spoke more words than Obama. And they were pure Trumplish: unfiltered, demotic, boastful, pugnacious in self-defense, hyperbolic in praise, brutal in scorn, sometimes contradictory, occasionally nonsensical.

When he didn’t want to answer a question he just blustered. Would Obamacare guarantee coverage for current beneficiaries? Trump:

  • You’re gonna be very, very proud … of what we put forth having to do with health care … We’re going to be submitting, as soon as our secretary’s approved, almost simultaneously, shortly thereafter, a plan.
  • It’ll be repeal and replace. It will be essentially, simultaneously. It will be various segments, you understand, but will most likely be on the same day or the same week, but probably, the same day, could be the same hour.
  • So we’re gonna do repeal and replace, very complicated stuff. And we’re gonna get a health bill passed, we’re gonna get health care taken care of in this country … The plan will be repeal and replace Obamacare.
  • We’re going to have a health care that is far less expensive and far better.

Donald Trump’s News Conference: Full Transcript and Video, NYT, January 11, 2017

The information content of that answer is, let’s be frank, zero. You could in fact, in the spirit of Coolidge, you could make an economical translation of that 430-word answer from Trumplish into Coolidgean using just three words: “Wait and see.”

That’s OK, though. Donald Trump is by no means the first President to answer a reporter’s question with blustery evasion—by no means.

It was Trump’s style and demeanor at the presser that had us Trumpians clapping along with him. Those, and his one-liners. Four sample one-liners:

  • On the suggestion that Vladimir Putin helped Trump get elected: “If Putin likes Donald Trump, guess what, folks? That’s called an asset, not a liability.”
  • On the allegations in the BuzzFeed file about stuff he had paid those honey-trap hookers to do in Moscow: “I’m also very much of a germaphobe, by the way, believe me.”
  • On whether he thinks the American public is concerned about him not releasing his tax returns: “No, I don’t think they care at all.”
  • On Lindsey Graham proposing a bill for tougher sanctions on Russia: “I hadn’t heard Lindsey Graham was going to do that. Lindsey Graham. I’ve been competing with him for a long time. He is going to crack that one percent barrier one day.”

That’s the Trump we know and love. So was his reaction when a CNN reporter kept demanding to ask a question: “Don’t be rude. No, I’m not going to give you a question … You are fake news!

Similarly with BuzzFeed, which Trump said is, quote, “a failing pile of garbage.”

Along the lines of the old joke about Harry Truman and the word “manure,” I guess America should be glad he used the word “garbage.”

Of all the commentary on Trump’s presser, I think the one that got to the heart of the matter was Justin Webb’s in the Daily Mail, January 12th, pertaining to the point in the presser where Trump brought up his lawyer to explain about his business interests:

One of the reasons low-income Americans admire rich people is that they are do-ers who seem to live gilded lives, and not on the backs of the poor.

It’s the professional classes they don’t like—the lawyers and doctors and teachers, who invade their lives with bills and lectures. The people who look and sound like Hillary Clinton. Trump was showing that he, too, was under the cosh of the miserable lawyers—he even had one come to the podium.

And he was demonstrating that, despite this, he had admirably emerged with his businesses intact. I am no psychology professor, but this seemed to me to be playing to the gallery—i.e. those “ordinary” Americans who are so fed up with the political class—with something bordering on genius.

Bad news, Trump haters: This bonkers show has made him even MORE popular, writes JUSTIN WEBB. He played to the gallery with something bordering on genius…, By Justin Webb, The Daily Mail, January 13, 2017

Mailman Webb then goes on to warn that Trump might be too combative, too much the Alpha Male, for the suits in D.C. to put up with for long, so that they will find a way to force him out. Webb concludes:

If they succeed, it would be a bitter blow to the millions of working-class Americans who voted for Trump, folk who felt he alone among politicians understood their aspirations, and who would have been thrilled by his extraordinary, rumbustious performance this week. It would again confirm their view that the political establishment looks after its own—while the “little people” are brushed aside.

I don’t think I count as working-class. My hands are rather soft, and I only wear boots for hiking or shoveling snow. I’ll admit that I was thrilled by Trump’s performance, though, just as much as Justin Webb’s hypothetical working-class Americans.

And yes, like Webb, I worry that Trump’s don’t-give-a-damn rumbustiousness may be too much for the seat-warmers and log-rollers of Washington, D.C.—among which category I would include our intelligence agencies—to the degree that they will find some way to unseat him.

Watch your back, Mr. President-Elect. Richard Nixon was way less rumbustious than you are; but they took down Nixon.

And in case you’re wondering, listeners, “rumbustious” is indeed a word—I looked it up.

John Derbyshire [email him] writes an incredible amount on all sorts of subjects for all kinds of outlets. (This no longer includes National Review, whose editors had some kind of tantrum and fired him. ) He is the author of We Are Doomed: Reclaiming Conservative Pessimism and several other books. He’s had two books published by FROM THE DISSIDENT RIGHT (also available in Kindle) and From the Dissident Right II: Essays 2013. His writings are archived at

(Reprinted from by permission of author or representative)
Make It A Refugee Dump!

Last week, a Puerto Rican with mental problems shot up the Baggage Claim area at Fort Lauderdale airport, killing five people and wounding eight others.

You know Puerto Rico. That’s our big colony in the Caribbean, although of course we’re not supposed to call it a colony.

I’ve been grumbling about Puerto Rico for ever, I know. Why are we responsible for the stinking place? It’s a millstone round our necks.

The general level of human capital there is very low. Forty years ago, when I first made friends with a long-serving member of the New York Police Department, I expected all his most lurid cop stories would be about the local underclass blacks. There were indeed some of those. His most hair-raising anecdotes, though, were about Puerto Ricans. And those were the Puerto Ricans with enough get-up-and-go to take a plane to Los Estados Unidos. The ones back on the island are just as bad, only less energetic.’s James Kirkpatrick and Allan Wall have both called (in Allan’s case repeatedly) for Puerto Rico to become independent— “cut it loose,” as James Kirkpatrick puts it.

But don’t accuse me of crass negativity. I’ve actually made constructive, positively moderate, suggestions:

If I were running the CIA … I’d stage a Castro-style coup in Puerto Rico and install a fiercely anti-American dictator, to give us the excuse to sever ties and blockade the place for fifty years. Nobody in Washington has any imagination any more, that’s the problem.

Yeah, that’s the problem all right.

And Puerto Rico’s in the news not just for exporting homicidal lunatics:

Puerto Rico’s new governor was sworn in Monday, promising an immediate push for statehood in a territory facing a deep economic crisis …

The crowd rose to its feet and cheered as Rossello announced that he would fly to Washington, D.C., Monday to back a bill to admit Puerto Rico as the 51st state.

Puerto Rico’s New Gov Promises Immediate Push For Statehood, By Danica Coto, Associated Press, January 2, 2017

Lots of luck with that, Gov. I confidently predict that any political party in control of the U.S. government that granted statehood to Puerto Rico would never be elected to anything ever again.

Steve Sailer actually came up with another, different constructive suggestion the other day. He began by noticing that in the seven years from 2009 to 2015, Puerto Rico took in just ten (10) refugees, an average of 1.4 refugees per year. Now, it’s true that Puerto Rico has only a small population—just about exactly one one-hundredth of the U.S.A.’s. Which means that 1.4 per year would be an equivalent, for the U.S.A., of 140 per year.

The actual number the Obama administration proposes to take in during fiscal 2017 is 110,000—up from the 85,000 we took in last year.

So the island paradise is really not pulling its weight refugee-wise. Why not?

It’s not that the place is overcrowded. Population density is a tad over one thousand people per square mile—that’s less dense than New Jersey.

Hence Steve’s suggestion: Turn Puerto Rico into a refugee sanctuary. Why, after all, are we sending Somalis to the frozen wastes of Minnesota? Somalia’s actually on the equator, for crying out loud. Somalis would be much happier in Puerto Rico’s climate.

I have an alternative suggestion. The European countries have a terrible problem with illegal aliens, most of whom are unemployable. Germany alone took in 1.2 million in 2014-2015, of whom less than two percent have so far found work. [Just 34,000 migrants out of 1.2million to arrive in Germany in the last two years have found work, government reveals, By Allan Hall, and Jennifer Newton, Daily Mail, December 19, 2016] Italy last year took in 181,000. I don’t have employment figures, but I doubt they’re any better than Germany’s.

The illegals claim asylum in Europe, but not many of their claims stand up to scrutiny. There’s no way to get rid of them, though. They ditch their passports and identity papers before landing in Europe, so you mostly can’t tell where they come from. Even when you can tell, the sending countries don’t want them back, so you can’t repatriate them. They just wander loose around Europe, like the Berlin truck killer. [Berlin truck attacker Anis Amri used 14 identities, had criminal record – police,, January 7, 2017]

What the Europeans need is some remote island where they could ship these illegals to holding pens. Australia did this successfully, using small Pacific islands for the pens. [Aussie immigration architect: Europe ‘just making up excuses’, By Zoya Sheftalovich, Politico, January 7, 2017]

But Europe seems not to have any islands to spare. So let’s lease them space on Puerto Rico. If it’s our island, under our sovereignty, we may as well do something useful with it.

There’d be jobs for Puerto Ricans, as guards, cooks and so on in the pens. We’d get revenue from the leases. Europe would be rid of a problem. What’s not to like?

The food and accommodation in the pens could be of a low quality. That would be a feature, not a bug. After a few years of sleeping on boards and eating yam stew, the illegals would be begging for repatriation.

Like I said, there’s no negativity here at We’re bursting with constructive solutions to the world’s problems—bursting!

John Derbyshire [email him] writes an incredible amount on all sorts of subjectsfor all kinds of outlets. (This no longer includes National Review, whose editors had some kind of tantrum and fired him. ) He is the author of We Are Doomed: Reclaiming Conservative Pessimism and several other books. He’s had two books published by FROM THE DISSIDENT RIGHT (also available in Kindle) and From the Dissident Right II: Essays 2013. His writings are archived

(Reprinted from by permission of author or representative)
• Category: Ideology • Tags: Immigration, Puerto Rico, VDare Archives 

This is one of those weeks where the inside pages of the newspapers (for those of you who remember newspapers) grab one’s attention better than the big headlines. The story that the comment threads are talking about: the four young blacks in Chicago who kidnapped and tortured a retarded young white guy.

The blacks are in custody; their mugshots have been broadcast to the media. You don’t have to look very long at those pictures to know where we are here: on the left-hand side of the Bell Curve.

Intelligence-wise, in fact, we’re on the left-hand side of the black Bell Curve—IQs in the high seventies or low eighties.

It’s worth making the effort of imagination to see how the world seems to people like that.

So how does it seem? Well, it looks the way the images and the Narrative promoted in our Main Strea m Media and the schools portray it. These blacks, aged 18, 18, 18, and 24, grew up on a steady diet of school textbooks, TV shows, and movies keeping alive the resentments about slavery and Jim Crow.

Their teachers told them more about the underground railroad than about Thomas Edison; more about Harriet Tubman than about George Washington; more about Frederick Douglass than about Mark Twain.

If they were given any poetry it was Maya Angelou, not Longfellow. Movie producers gave them The Butler, Twelve Years a Slave, The Birth of a Nation.

All that picking at historical scabs left these dimwitted youngsters with the feeling that whatever happens to whites, they have it coming. Mix that in with the different behavioral profiles of blacks—low impulse control, high levels of psychopathology, the pack mentality—and you get events like this one.

Indeed, you get much worse: anyone remember the Knoxville Horror?

Do whites do cruel things to blacks? Yes, they do. One exceptionally cruel thing, the Charleston church murders of 2015, is still generating small news storie s on page sixteen.

The differences are in numbers and style.

Numbers: Single-offender interracial crimes of violence break five black on nonblack to one the other way. Five out of six are black on nonblack.

That at any rate was the case up to 2008—when the Department of Justice mysteriously stopped producing the relevant tables.

Style: And that’s single-offender style. I can’t find numbers for gang attacks, but my impression from news stories is that this is very much a black thing. If interracial single-offender violence breaks five to one, I bet gang attacks are at least twice as disproportionate.

Race differences in behavior account for much of this, of course. But those differences are amplified by the strange modern fashion, among nonblack educators and media creators, to nurture and inflame black hatred of whites — to keep black resentment alive.

There is a corresponding effort to keep white people hating their own ancestors, their own country, and themselves — keeping white ethnomasochism alive.

So there’s nothing very surprising here. The main interest of this story in fact is that it goes against the cherished liberal Narrative of heartless whites being cruel to soulful blacks.

Reporting on it therefore faced a headwind of fudging and equivocation from the Main Stream Media. It’s been almost painful to watch the reluctance with which respectable outlets dribbled forth the racial facts of the Chicago case.

Without that Facebook video of the torturing, they probably wouldn’t have done so at all.

The MSM air was thick with excuses and equivocation. The gem here was a 600-word piece in Thursday’s Washington Post:

If the attackers had been white and the victim had been black, the incident would have, of course, conjured America’s ugly history of white mobs committing violence against black people. There is no parallel history of the reverse happening on anything remotely approaching the same scale. [Link (to a piece about lynching in the 19th and early 20th centuries) in original]

Pro-Trump narratives converge in one awful attack streamed on Facebook, by Callum Borchers, January 7, 2017

As Steve Sailer commented on Borchers’s bizarre argument:

Obviously, if you stop and think, hundreds of thousands if not millions of white individuals have suffered violence at the hands of mobs of multiple blacks over the last 50+ years, but that’s not a Thing in our national discourse. That’s just noise. Regrettable and forgettable.

I’d like to see the actual statistics on gang attacks — in recent times, not in 1850-something. If the Washington Post were a real newspaper, instead of a preening mirror for insulated Goodwhite elites, it would have dug them up for us.

I can recall some incidents of white gang violence against blacks — the Howard Beach vigilante attack back in the 1980s, for example [Michael Griffith dies fleeing a white mob in Howard Beach in 1986,NY Daily News Flashback, December 20, 2016]. But it really doesn’t seem to be much of a thing in this century, certainly nothing like as much a thing as black gang attacks on lone whites.

Probably that’s just confirmation bias on my part, though. The truth of the matter could easily be shown by the numbers.

So what are the numbers for gang attacks, black on nonblack versus nonblack on black?

Didn’t MSM journalists used to research and publish this kind of thing so that the American public was well-informed?

Hello, MSM journalists?

Hello? Hello? …

John Derbyshire [email him] writes an incredible amount on all sorts of subjectsfor all kinds of outlets. (This no longer includes National Review, whose editors had some kind of tantrum and fired him. ) He is the author of We Are Doomed: Reclaiming Conservative Pessimism and several other books. He’s had two books published by FROM THE DISSIDENT RIGHT (also available in Kindle) and From the Dissident Right II: Essays 2013. His writings are archived

(Reprinted from by permission of author or representative)

Some random notes from the email bag on my December Diary, in reverse order from that in which the topics were diarized.

1. Brainteaser.

Eight pennies, seven nickels, and three dimes. Worked solution here.

2. Stamping out oddity.

Following the remarks about conformism—that is, about the liberal-progressive drive to flatten and homogenize our intellectual life—a friend emailed in with this, which I thought very apt.

Another thing that occurred to me during this election season is this old Radio Derb episode where you commented on Pastor Terry Jones of the Koran-burning fame:

“I nurse a strong romantic affection for the old, weird America, the America of grifters and medicine wagons, freak shows and traveling circuses, blind fiddlers and Mr. Bojangles, strange cults and charismatic preachers, sinister goings-on in rustic hollows and dark secrets under the magnolia blossoms …

“Any time I get to thinking that the old weird America has been killed off for good by the lawyers and accountants and bureaucrats and developers, paved over so we can have more strip malls and big-box stores and liberal arts colleges and wind farms, every time I get depressed thinking that, the news turns up some character like Terry Jones to tell me it ain’t so.”

Well, with Trump we got another character to tell us it ain’t so, and with a force that nobody would have thought possible until recently!

At times I’ve reflected on why I find Trump impossible not to like despite his business practices that I find distasteful (selling shoddy products with a false luster of prestige and class) or borderline, if not outright unethical (the Trump University episode).

Well, there is of course the fact that on many issues our elites are so raving mad that if someone counters them with a little straight talk and common sense, as Trump has done, it’s hard not to support him no matter what.

But on top of that, there is also that factor of the unique, flamboyant, swashbuckling character of Trump sticking it to the modern American drab, conformist, politically correct, lawsuit-wary society, and showing with his vivid example that there is still some life in Old Weird America!

In a certain way, I find that his history of garish and dubious business only completes this figure, as if it’s only fitting that such a character at some point ran his own medicine show.

Come January 20, we’ll see how much he is really able and willing to accomplish. Much like you, I am constitutionally pessimistic, but just saying the words “Attorney General Jeff Sessions” (how’s that for something that would have sounded outlandish two years ago!), it’s hard not to have some high hopes.

It is indeed. Thanks for that.

3. Refusing treatment

An oncologist writes:

I have a lot of people that refuse treatment. Unfortunately their families sue us when they die.

4. War lover.

A reader tells me the Germans have, or had, a word for it: Kampfsau. I looked that up and sure enough:

Kampf means “fight,” a Sau is a sow and a Schwein a pig. Kampfsau and Kampfschwein are terms used in sports, particularly soccer, where they are applied to players who may be technically limited, but more than make up for it by their unflagging fighting spirit, by the abandon with which they risk, not life, but certainly limbs, fighting for the ball and tackling players on the opposing team. And if their jersey is not the dirtiest at the end of the match, they know they haven’t given it their best effort.

Calling someone a Sau or a Schwein in German is an insult, and a relatively bad one. But in combination with Kampf, these words turn into compliments: Kampfsäue and Kampfschweine (those are the plurals) tend to be fan favorites. [KrautBlog, April 3rd2013.]

It’s nice of that blogger to limit the reference to sports. We WW2 babies naturally have mixed feelings here. All I shall say is that in defending one’s national integrity and demographic stability, a little of the Kampfsau spirit might not be a bad thing.

5. The end of books

From a reader who locates himself in “the belly of the beast, i.e., the book publishing world.”

Print sales are basically flat, but there is no data suggesting that they are cratering. Ebook sales have been declining about 20% per year for several years. The bloom appears off the rose.

My impression is, though, that audiobooks are booming. Everyone I know—including Mrs D—listens to the things when driving. I’ve had a longstanding notion to record an audiobook of Fire from the Sun, but the snatches of opera in the book deter me. I can’t sing.

6. Dissing Coates

Some progressives were shocked beyond measure that I should nurse disrespectful thoughts about Ta-Nehisi Coates, and should even be so hateful as to—OMG!—speak such thoughts out loud. recorded the outrage under the headline Twitter Reacts To John Derbyshire Blaspheming Ta-Nehisi Coates.”

“Blaspheming” is certainly the mot juste. Some of the comments you get in controversies like this are straight out of Afghanistan—and not the nicer parts of Afghanistan, either.

I can’t improve on the observation made by the late Larry Auster four and a half years ago:

Blacks are sacred objects, and you do not make jokes about sacred objects. But this truth, that in liberal society blacks are sacred objects, cannot be stated aloud because it would reveal too much about the liberal order. [Another naïve white momentarily forgets about the sacredness of blacks, and has her career ruined; View from the Right, July 25th 2012.]

Looping back to the business about stamping out oddity (see, my posts don’t merely have form and content, they have topology), I got into some amiable Twitter exchanges with Charles Murray on the Coates business.

Murray accused me of having gotten crabby. I replied that I have always been crabby. He came back with:

You used to be more genially crabby. Now I think you are having way too much fun pissing people off.

My reply to that was to quote Quentin Crisp at him: “Towards the end of the run you can overact appallingly.”

Crisp was a famous British oddity. Not many Americans know about him, so I attached a link to his obituary.

Peter Brimelow tells me that he and Crisp once shared the same publisher … professionally, I mean, of course.

(Reprinted from by permission of author or representative)
• Category: Ideology • Tags: Political Correctness, VDare Archives 

The long (16,600 words) goodbye. For a black view of Obama as he departs the presidential stage, you might be moved to try the article by Ta-Nehisi Coates in the current (Jan./Feb. 2017) issue of The Atlantic. [My President Was Black]

If you are so moved, best set aside an hour for the reading: Coates’ piece is 16,600 words long.That’s longer than A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Supposing you have that hour to spare, it would of course be shamefully reactionary of you to give it over to one of William Shakespeare’s productions rather than to a work by Coates, who is after all the recipient of a MacArthur Foundation “genius” grant— which Shakespeare never was!

Like Obama, Coates fits precisely into some hungry receptors in the brains of many white Americans. Different receptors: Coates is not quite the Nice Black Guy. He actually comes across as rather sour and surly, although at a low and unthreatening level.

The fit must be a precise one none the less. Coates’ books and articles are required reading in high schools and colleges across the nation. I am sure that at any given moment in today’s U.S.A., far more people are reading Coates than Shakespeare.

Coates’ appeal is even more incomprehensible to me than Obama’s. I can at least see the attraction to others of what Obama’s selling, even though I don’t buy it myself. I can appreciate Obama’s appeal at second hand, so to speak. I don’t get Coates’ appeal at all, at any hand.

A few weeks ago I did a telephone interview with an academic who was writing something about the Alt Right. We went over the usual ground amiably enough, then got stuck on something I had written somewhere that the interviewer thought was disrespectful to Coates. For some reason he thought this particular heterodoxy of mine — out of so many! — was especially flagitious.

I responded with something like:

“For goodness’ sake, Coates is an utter mountebank. He has no topic other than his own blackness, which is not interesting to me. His prose is dull and humorless. He’s not well-read, has no math or science, and possesses no original insights into the human condition. His anecdotes are trivial and frequently, I suspect, bogus.”

The interviewer asked how did I know all that, since I’ve confessed to never having gotten very far into one of Coates’ pieces. I can’t recall what I said in reply, but I hope it was something about not needing to drink a whole bottle to know the wine is corked.

After this latest Coates effort I could have added that when a “piece” is 16,600 words long, not getting very far into it can still cover a lot of wordage.

Coates has attained fame and wealth in the U.S.A., though — far above anything he could have attained in a black country. Try getting him to admit that.

Escalator race stories. Ta-Nehisi Coates’ best-known anecdote about the sufferings of blacks under the iron heel of White Privilege in present-day America is the escalator story told in his book Between the World and Me. Addressing his son, Coates writes:

Perhaps you remember that time we went to see Howl’s Moving Castle on the Upper West Side. You were almost 5 years old. The theater was crowded, and when we came out we rode a set of escalators down to the ground floor. As we came off, you were moving at the dawdling speed of a small child. A white woman pushed you and said, “Come on!”

A rude New Yorker — who could have imagined it?

As it happens, I acquired an escalator race story of my own earlier this month. It’s just as trivially inconsequential as Coates’; but since his story got him a “genius” grant and nationwide fame, I may as well make a try for the same glitttering prizes myself.

The escalator here was one at the Lexington Avenue / 53rd Street subway station in New York City. I’d taken the downtown number six train from the Upper East Side, and was changing to the downtown E train to get to Penn Station — from the IRT to the IND, for all you in the older cohort of New York subway riders. This involves going up a long escalator.

Looking up the escalator as I mounted it, I saw that it was full, with people on every step. In accordance with escalator etiquette, which even New Yorkers generally adhere to, the riders were almost all standing at the right, leaving a clear path for more energetic types like your diarist to leg it up the left-hand side.

The only riders not standing at the right were a little group of four or five twentysomething black women, occupying the full width of the escalator and in lively conversation with each other. As I reached them I said “Excuse me,” and waited for them to clear my way. They didn’t, so I just pushed my way through the group — not violently, but with some unavoidable body contact — and proceeded on up.

Their voiced reactions floated up the escalator behind me. One was particularly loud and clear. Her chosen mode was sarcasm: “WELL, AH THOTE THUH I-DE-UH OF A ESCALATOR WUZ SO’S WE COULD STAN’ HE-UH AN’ RAAHD …”

I bet that woman is telling the story to her friends in Coatesian terms: An evil old white Klansman violated her Civil Rights and abused her Black Body …

Yo, ladies: If you’re going to ride escalators, learn the etiquette; and if you stick your bad manners in a person’s face, expect to get bad manners back. And try speaking standard English: It’s “an escalator” not “a escalator.”

Could someone please pass this story on to the MacArthur Foundation for me? I don’t have their address. ?

But yes, Obama would have won. In an interview published December 26th Barack Obama claimed that if he could have run for a third term, he would have beaten Trump. [Obama Says He Would Have Defeated Trump For A Third Term,By Michael S. Schmidt, NYT, December 26, 2016 ] I think he was right.

Not that he would have got my vote. I can’t say I have ever warmed to Obama. I see no reason to add or subtract anything from the opinion I published two years ago in The Great Purge:

The U.S.A. then elected its first Affirmative-Action president, a law-school nonentity with no executive experience and nothing in his head but 1980s college-radical sociobabble and the endless rancor of the blacks.

That said, I don’t think Obama was making an empty boast in that interview. His popularity in early November was the same, within polling error, as it had been just before the 2012 election. Trump was widely disliked. His thin victory margins in key states were due to Mrs Clinton’s being disliked more. There was a lot of nose-holding in this year’s election.

Deroy Murdock got to the essence of the matter, I think, in his December 25th column at the New York Post. The current devastated condition of the Democratic Party is, says Murdock, a “repudiation … not of Obama himself, but of Obamaism, today’s Democratic gospel.” Obama himself remains well-liked.

A big part of that is Obama’s appeal to an old and deep-seated American ideal: the Nice Black Guy. This ideal dwells on one side of our national schizophrenia about race.

On the one hand we all know at some level that there is, as Abraham Lincoln said, “a broader difference” between us “than exists between almost any other two races.” (Southerners were more blunt: google “Robert Lewis Dabney.”)

On the other hand, most white people can name particular blacks they like or admire; and I’m sure the same is true in the other direction. As some white showbiz person or other — can’t find the quote — said, or sighed, of the gentlemanly black crooner Nat King Cole: “If only they were all like him!”

For a great many white Americans, although obviously not for me, Obama is a perfect fit for those mental receptor slots yearning for an attractive, unthreatening black. He’d have won easily.

The end of books. “Of making many bookes there is no end,” said the Preacher. Oh yeah? It’s beginning to look as though there is an end, and it’s not far off.

Whether there is or not, book stores are vanishing fast. A friend tells me that there is now no bookstore in New York City’s Grand Central Station. I haven’t checked, but I expect it’s true. There has for a year or so been no bookstore in the Long Island Railroad concourse at Penn Station. (I think there is still one in the Amtrak concourse.)

“Oh,” people say when you grumble about this, “it’s just that books are so easy to buy online, that’s all.”

Maybe; but I had a disconcerting experience just before Christmas that left me thinking there is something in the air — an invisible anti-book miasma potent enough to affect even me, as bookish a person as it is possible to be.

Disconcerting experience: It has been our family custom for twenty-plus years — since the kids were in diapers — to visit the local mega-mall the week before Christmas, to buy presents for ourselves and each other, and eat a family meal in the food court. The place has a big Barnes & Noble, and that of course is where I end up.

This year’s visit, though, there was something wrong. I browsed, but self-consciously: not just blithely browsing, as I’ve done all my life, but browsing while simultaneously thinking I’m browsing in a bookstore. Self-consciousness is of course the enemy of desire: I didn’t feel like buying any books at all.

However, the family would have thought it odd if I’d emerged from my Christmas Barnes & Noble visit with no books; so I concentrated, deliberated, and purchased two good-quality paperbacks, one each of nonfiction and fiction.

I had felt the icy breath of the zeitgeist on my soul, though. Without the spur of family custom to prompt me, I would have left the mall bookless. If a chronic bibliophile like me is losing interest, what future is there for books?

Middlebrow fiction of the month. So what were my two book purchases? They were Walter Isaacson’s Benjamin Franklin and Phillippa Gregory’s The White Queen.

I haven’t yet opened Isaacson’s book, which I bought on the strength of (a) having enjoyed his biography of Einstein, and (b) thinking that Franklin is an interesting guy I don’t know half as much about as I’d like to. I’ll report back.

I bought The White Queen because a friend had recommended the TV miniseries of it as being the kind of thing I’d like. That was a year or so ago. I made a mental note to look up the miniseries on Netflix but never did.

Then, seeing the book on our Christmas mall trawl, I thought I’d try that instead. I’m a sucker for historical fiction, and you can’t go wrong with the late Plantagenets, as William Shakespeare amply demonstrated.

The White Queen is good well-researched historical fiction. It’s very much a woman’s book, though, framed as a first-person narrative by Elizabeth Woodville, the wife (or possibly just Number One Mistress: the history is murky) of Edward IV, a champion of the Yorkist cause — the white rose in the Wars of the Roses.

How much of a woman’s book is it? Well, I broke off reading when Mrs D called me into dinner. How was I liking my book? she asked. I said I liked it well enough, but she might like it more, as it was written by a woman for (I assume) a mostly female readership.

After dinner I picked up and commenced reading where I had left off. The very next sentence (page 152) was this one:

He takes me as he has always done, passionately, as a dry man slaking his thirst.

No, it’s not all like that; and I’m a tolerant reader. I enjoyed The White Queen. If estrogen vapors rising from the pages of a book annoy you, though, try a different author.

The war lover. One book I seem to have lost in my travels and is now wellnigh unobtainable is Peter Kemp’s Mine Were of Trouble.

(Clarification of “wellnigh”: Amazon has no copies available. Abebooks had just one when I looked in late December, priced $269.95, “a darn nice ex-library copy.” Darn nice? For that darn price, I should darn well hope so.)

Peter Kemp (1915-93) and his autobiographical book came up in a conversation about the military virtues. “There are some guys,” I said, “who really like war. They’re drawn to it. They can’t stay away from it. If their country isn’t involved in any wars, they’ll go to some other country that is, and sign up.”

This met with some skepticism from the company (my wife, a Gen-X friend, and a couple of millennials). Could I give an example? I named Kemp. Nobody had ever heard of him. I went looking for his book in my study, but couldn’t find it. I haven’t picked it up since about 1980, several moves of residence ago, so its loss is not surprising.

Mine Were of Trouble (the title comes from a Housman poem) is an account of Kemp’s service in the Spanish Civil War of the late 1930s, in which, very unfashionably, he fought on the Francoist side until a mortar bomb blew up in his face. He was fit for combat again when WW2 broke out, performed numerous dangerous missions, and wrote a book about all that (which I haven’t read).

There is an obituary from one of the British newspapers here. It summarizes Kemp’s post-WW2 adventures thus:

He went to Hungary during the rising in 1956, nominally as the Tablet’scorrespondent, and helped some students escape to Austria. He was present during the troubles in the Congo that led to its independence as Zaire; he fought intermittently in Vietnam; he visited and reported on revolutions in Central and in South America; he could even bear to revisit Albania, where he predicted further racial clashes between Albanians and Serbs.

This human type, the war lover, used to be better known than it now is. Steve McQueen starred in a 1962 movie actually titled The War Lover.

If the type is going extinct, is that a good thing or a bad thing? I guess your answer depends on how dangerous a place you think the world is. I can’t say I’m a war lover — too fond of my own skin — but in broad, general outlook I’m with Housman, if not quite with Kemp.

Refusing treatment. My buboes were showing signs of misbehavior, so I ran off to the oncologist.

Backstory: I have an incurable variety of blood cancer, went through chemotherapy in 2012, have had no problems since, but need watching. Although mild by itself, my kind of cancer turns seriously, fatally nasty in a small minority of cases.

Tests were done. It was a false alarm, thank goodness, the beast just shifting in its sleep of remission, then settling back down into passivity. It did, though, get me looking up stuff on the internet. That’s what we do when we’re unwell nowadays, isn’t it? This must be mighty annoying for doctors — every patient an amateur diagnostician.

What got my attention this time around in all that browsing was people who refuse treatment. A surprising number do; some of them have written books about it.

There have even been reports that most physicians refuse chemotherapy for themselves when diagnosed with something terminal, though it has to be said that those reports come mostly from outfits promoting “natural” or “spiritual” cures.

I’m a skeptic about that stuff. Temperamentally I have a high level of respect for science. I share George Orwell’s disdain for sandal-wearing vegetarians and their quack cures — homeopathy, moxibustion, anything beginning with “natural.” Cancer’s “natural,” isn’t it?

So my inclination is to trust the medical professionals. Yes, some skepticism is in order on that side, too; but nothing like as much as you should nurse towards people who tell you that dosing yourself with a solution of hen’s bane diluted to a strength of one molecule per cubic mile will fix your asthma.

Sure, chemotherapy is horrible. It’s getting less horrible all the time, though. More effective, too, according to my oncologist, an upbeat fellow.

He: “The pace of new discoveries is amazing! Imbruvica! Zyledig! We’re getting great results! At this summer’s conference I was actually hearing the ‘c’ word!”

Me (puzzled): “What, ‘cancer’? Isn’t that what oncologist talk about, like, all the time?”

He: “No, no: ‘c’ for ‘cure’!”

Equipped with such a mindset, when faced with decisions about treatment I look up probabilities on the internet, feed ’em into Bayes’ Theorem, and take the appropriate course of action.

Which is still, at the end of it all, either to accept or refuse the treatment on offer. When you have people who care about you and depend on you, this can’t help but be a moral conundrum.

What if I’m inclined to refuse treatment but the Mrs. urges me to accept? I could try to explain Bayes’ Theorem to her, I guess.

Silver cloud, dark lining. An alternative, longer-term approach to ridding us of cancer is to fiddle with our genomes so that no-one any longer will inherit a predisposition to cancer.

Fiddling with genomes has been getting a lot of press recently. The current (January 2nd) issue of The New Yorker has a long article about editing genomes using the new CRISPR technology. The genomes of mice, for example, “to make them immune to the bacteria that cause Lyme and other tick-borne diseases.” The fiddlers have malaria in their sights, too — by fiddling with mosquito genes, of course.

There’s a Faust Factor — isn’t there always? Fiddling with genomes can do harm as well as good.

The authors of a report on gene drives issued this year by the National Academy of Sciences wrote, “It is not inconceivable that rather than developing a resistant mosquito, one could develop a more susceptible mosquito capable of transmitting a specific pathogen.” In other words, terrorists might be able to add to the saliva of a mosquito a gene that makes toxins, which it would transmit along with malaria. Just before Thanksgiving, the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology warned the White House directly that it is no longer difficult to imagine how somebody might, simply by editing a gene, transform a common virus into a biological weapon.

One more damn thing to worry about.

Stamping out oddity. Here’s another.

Messing with genes could WIPE OUT geniuses from the earth says this headline in the Daily Express. The argument rests on the old connection — it goes back at least as far as Aristotle — that genius and various kinds of mental oddity travel together. If we wipe out depression, schizophrenia, and Aspergers (they say), we might no longer produce a Thomas Edison or a Tennessee Williams.

I wouldn’t have chosen Tennessee Williams to make the point — his plays send me to sleep — but they’re probably on to something.

Cultural Marxists would approve. Their aim, like that of actual Marxists, has always been to stamp out every kind of eccentricity and nonconformity, to get everyone thinking the same thoughts and speaking the same words. What the gene fiddlers fear as a possible result of their fiddling, progressives hope for as the end point of their social and educational programs.

That’s why, as I keep pointing out, the diction of Cultural Marxism is so flat and lifeless. It’s a cant, intended not to stimulate thought but to discourage it, or at least flatten it out into a bland conformity.

There is an argument that liberal democracies tend naturally towards this result. The argument is made in Ryszard Legutko’s book The Demon in Democracy: Totalitarian Temptations in Free Societies. I haven’t read the book yet, only the review at From which:

The book is an intense read that argues that liberal democracies are succumbing to a utopian ideal where individuality and eccentricity might eventually be banned. As liberals push us towards a monoculture where there is no dissent, no gender, and no conflict, the unique and the great will eventually cease to exist …

Legutko’s thesis is that liberal democracies have something in common with communism: the sense that time is inexorably moving towards a kind of human utopia, and that progressive bureaucrats must make sure it succeeds.

Legutko was raised and educated in communist Poland, and taught college there. Having a personal history like that, under the strict thought control of the great 20th-century communist utopias in their prime, gives you deep insights into the relation between language and reality.

If you don’t mind my indulging a conceit, I think the same is true (though the insights not so deep) if (as I have) you’ve just lived for a few months in one of those societies, listened daily to their propaganda, taught from their textbooks, and observed their social interactions.

With the relaxing of those very strict styles of thought control over large territories — with the fall of the Soviet Union and the opening of communist China — those insights are harder to acquire. The generations that did acquire them are old (Legutko is 67) or dead.

That means there are fewer voices left to speak out against the creeping “soft” totalitarianism of the modern West, which plays the same games with language. It plays them in a less brutish way; but, as Legutko argues, with the same end in mind.

I guess that is a small price to pay for the ending of despotic totalitarianism. But it’s a price, and we’re paying it.

Math Corner. (1) I wish I could tell you that the world of mathematics remains an oasis of rationalism, insulated from the lies and nonsense that infect our broader social environment.

Alas, I can’t. To be sure, the math competitions remain strictly meritocratic, illustrating plainly that the highest achievers in math are 99 percent male and 70 percent Asian (East or South), with 29 of the non-Asian 30 percent white European. This isn’t a bad thing, a wrong thing, or a deplorable thing, and it isn’t anyone’s fault, other than Mother Nature’s; it’s just so, a fact in the world.

Yet math teachers, promoters, and administrators are as thoroughly invested in the silly “diversity” fad as any college Grievance Studies department.

Consider for example the current (January 2017) Notices of the American Mathematical Society. It features a 15-page “2017 Lecture Sampler,” previewing nine of the forthcoming presentations in the AMS’s Joint Mathematics Meetings lecture series.

Of the nine lecturers featured, five are female. Of the four males, two are black.

To drive the point home, the issue opens with a two-page editorial titled “Diversity in Mathematics,” boasting of the editors’ promotion of women and minorities.

If we can’t yet breed out geniuses by genetic manipulation, or stifle them with cant, at least we can ignore them.

(2) A brainteaser, passed on by a friend. Says she (yes, my friend is a Gyno-American): “It’s of the Diophantine variety — more unknowns than equations but with only integer solutions.”

I found pennies, nickels and dimes for a total of 18 coins. The total monetary value was 73 cents. How many of each denomination did I find?

As usual in math there is an elegant solution and a merely enumerative one. Go for elegance.

(3) As traditional in a December Diary, you are challenged to find anything interesting to say about the number 2017.

Yes, it’s a prime, the 306th. (The 2,017th prime, which I know you’re now wondering about, is 17,539. The last prime year was 2011; the next is 2027; the gaps there, average size 8, are what you’d expect, since log (2017) = 7.60936653795.)

Find something else.

John Derbyshire [email him] writes an incredible amount on all sorts of subjectsfor all kinds of outlets. (This no longer includes National Review, whose editors had some kind of tantrum and fired him. ) He is the author of We Are Doomed: Reclaiming Conservative Pessimism and several other books. He’s had two books published by FROM THE DISSIDENT RIGHT (also available in Kindle) and From the Dissident Right II: Essays 2013. His writings are archived

(Reprinted from by permission of author or representative)
• Category: Race/Ethnicity • Tags: Blacks, Ta-Nehisi Coates, VDare Archives 

When Christmas and New Year’s both fall on a weekend, that week in between is the silliest of all silly seasons in the Western world. Unless there’s a natural disaster, or some non-Western lunatic tries to start a war, nothing happens. So I’m going to write at length about the one newsy thing that did happen this week: the fuss over the U.S.A. not using its veto in the U.N. Security Council to take down a resolution critical of Israel. I don’t think it’s half as important as it looks.

To judge from my email bag and donation logs, I have a surprising number of readers in Israel. I say “surprising” because I hardly ever say anything about Israel or her affairs, and don’t actually know much about the place.

The last time I wrote at length about Israel was, I think, in mid-2010 at, and that was only by way of putting down a marker. I had just started writing regularly for TakiMag, which runs some anti-Israel stuff, and I wanted to make my own position plain:

Any fair-minded person must be an Israel sympathizer. A hundred years ago there were Jews and Arabs living in that part of the Ottoman Empire. After the Ottoman collapse, both peoples had a right to set up their own ethnostates. It has been the furiously intransigent Arab denial of this fact, not anything Israelis have done, that has been the root cause of all subsequent troubles.

Aside from being a well-wisher of Israel in sentiment, though, I agree with Steve Sailer that we pay much more attention to the place that our national interest justifies, for reasons to do with the over-representation of Jewish Americans in the Main Stream Media and the wealthy-donor classes.

From a cold-eyed view of U.S. interests, Israel isn’t very important—less important than Mexico or Japan, which get far fewer column inches. The problem is that American Jews are not cold-eyed, and their collective voice is loud.

For example: We found out by chance a couple of years ago that David Brooks, an American citizen who writes a much-read Op-Ed column in the New York Times, has or then had a son serving in the Israeli military [David Brooks’ Son Is In the Israeli Army: Does It Matter?, By Rob Eshman, Jewish Journal, September 22, 2014]—a thing that Brooks and the NYT had never told us.

Why didn’t Brooks, Jr. join the U.S. military if he felt the urge to go soldiering? I don’t know. How many other bigfoot American pundits or political donors have kids in the Israeli military? I don’t know. Do any have sons or daughters in the Mexican or Japanese military? I don’t know, but I doubt it.

And when I said the collective voice of America’s Jews is loud, I should of course have said “voices”—plural There’s a division of opinion, which this week’s ructions have highlighted:

American Jews are … overwhelmingly Democratic; Jews voted for Hillary Clinton over Mr. Trump, 71 percent to 24 percent, according to exit polls.

Yet the most influential and vocal organizations that represent Jews in Washington tend to be more conservative and supportive of Mr. Netanyahu, who has had a combative relationship with Mr. Obama, and has made little secret of his happiness over the changing of the guard that is about to take place in Washington.

American Jews Divided Over Strain in U.S.-Israel Relations. New York Times, December 29th, Link in original

The contradictions and paradoxes here have often been noted. American Jews of all positions want I srael to remain an ethnostate, a Jewish state; yet liberal Jews are horrified at the suggestion that the U.S.A. should likewise maintain a solid monoethnic core.

Alan Colmes, for example, thought it shocking when, in We Are Doomed, I quoted with approval Samuel Huntington’s words that “The [American philosophical-Constitutional] Creed is unlikely to retain its salience if Americans abandon the Anglo-Protestant culture in which it has been rooted.” (You can see him being shocked below.)

Colmes’ position is the common one among liberal American Jews: ethnonationalism for me, but not for thee.

All this has been said many times, of course. Pat Buchanan has been saying it for forty years. The sheer tiresomely repetitive quality of talk about Israel in fact deters the thoughtful commentator from writing about it.

The geopolitical situation over there is exceptionally static. It’s been the same just about forever, it seems—actually since the Six-Day War of 1967, fifty years ago this coming June. What can one say that hasn’t been said?

There’s a historical parallel here. The Irish historian Conor Cruise O’Brien raised it, and was followed by others. It’s worth resurrecting, though; and the fact that it’s not original speaks to the very point I’m making:

When Britain went into the First World War in 1914, lesser problems were put on hold. One of those lesser problems was some arrangement for Irish independence, an issue that was just coming to the boil in 1914.

When World War I was over at last, Ireland heated up again, leading to t he armed struggle for independence, then to partition and Home Rule at the end of 1921, violently opposed by the Unionists of Northern Ireland.

Winston Churchill made a famous remark about this when speaking to Parliament in 1922. The Great War had changed the whole map of Europe, he said,

But as the deluge subsides and the waters fall short we see the dreary steeples of Fermanagh and Tyrone emerging once again. The integrity of their quarrel is one of the few institutions that has been unaltered in the cataclysm which has swept the world.

Speech on the second reading of the Irish Free State Bill, February 16, 1922

That’s how most of us feel about the Arab-Israeli dispute.

Fifty years on from Israel’s astonishing victory over the massed forces of Egypt, Jordan, and Syria, the world has turned over several times. The European Union came up, consolidated, and is now disintegrating; Europe’s colonial empires have been dismantled; the Soviet Union, which looked as though it would last forever, is one with Nineveh and Tyre; the Islamic world has gone from enthusiasm for modernization, socialism, and secularism to a revival of the most primitive, most violent and passionate styles of Islam; China has shucked off revolutionary austerity for a gross style of consumer crony-capitalism; and the U.S.A. has been busily replacing its legacy population with Third World immigrants.

And as the waters of this slow and—thank goodness—mostly peaceful turmoil subside, we see the dreary mosques, temples, and churches of the West Bank emerging once again. The integrity of their quarrel is one of the few institutions that has been unaltered in the changes which have swept our world since 1967.

Secretary of State John Kerry, in his Wednesday speech in Washington, D.C., said that “Israel can either be Jewish or democratic—it cannot be both.” That caused a mild fuss, with some of the fiercer partisans of Israel denouncing it.

It wasn’t original, though. It would have been astonishing if it was, coming from an unimaginative mediocrity like Kerry. Ehud Barak had said it back in 1999. And I doubt he was the first. Barak was no enemy of Zionism, either. He was born in a kibbutz, served with distinction in Israel’s armed forces, became Chief of the Israeli General Staff, then Minister of Defense, and then Prime Minister. His opinion has some weight.

It’s arguable for all that. The arithmetic doesn’t quite work. If Israel, Jewish population 6.3 million, non-Jewish population 2.1 million, were to annex the West Bank—half a million Jews, 2.8 million non-Jews—it would then have 6.8 million Jews and 4.9 million non-Jews. So it would still be a majority-Jewish state; although at 58 percent, that’s an uneasy sort of majority. And this is assuming that if they annex the West Bank, the Israelis would be unwilling and/or unable to just expel all the non-Jews, which I think is a fair assumption.

So Kerry, if not precisely, mathematically right, is not altogether wrong. And his Wednesday speech, although way too long, is actually not bad.

Whether it’s good, bad, or indifferent makes no difference to anything, though.

Nothing makes any difference.

The Israelis will go on building settlements and ignoring the U.N.; Arabs in Gaza and the West Bank will go on harassing Israel with occasional random acts of murder; nations hostile to Israel will go on being too fearful and weak to give any military support to their Palestinian brothers; American Jews will go on using their media pulpits to keep the whole wretched business in the news; Cultural Marxists like Obama, who mentally divide the world into victims and oppressors, will go on seeing the Israelis as oppressors.

And the rest of us will go on wondering why we should give so much attention to a nation which, however sympathetic we may be to it for reasons of civilizational solidarity, is irrelevant to our national interests—and anyway seems well able to take care of itself.

John Derbyshire [email him] writes an incredible amount on all sorts of subjectsfor all kinds of outlets. (This no longer includes National Review, whose editors had some kind of tantrum and fired him. ) He is the author of We Are Doomed: Reclaiming Conservative Pessimism and several other books. He’s had two books published by FROM THE DISSIDENT RIGHT (also available in Kindle) and From the Dissident Right II: Essays 2013. His writings are archived

(Reprinted from by permission of author or representative)
• Category: Ideology • Tags: Israel Lobby, Israel/Palestine, VDare Archives 
Trump and Tillerson have the Power to Stop Them Coming Here immediately

On Monday December 19, another Muslim murderer ran amok: twenty-three-year-old Tunisian immigrant Anis Amri hijacked a big rig and drove it into a crowd of Christmas shopper s in Berlin, Germany, killing twelve and injuring fifty.

Three and a half days later, in the small hours of Friday morning, Amri was spotted by two cops in Milan, Italy. They accosted him; he shot and wounded one of the cops; the other cop then shot him dead.

Amri’s immigration history is a case study of Western stupidity and incompetence. He was one of the early boat people leaving North Africa for the Italian island of Lampedusa in 2011. While there he was arrested for robbery, and arson—he helped set fire to a holding center for illegals.

The Italians put him in jail for four years. In Italian prisons, as in British and French prisons, radical Muslims are a major organizing force among the prisoners, so Amri got radicalized.

“After his release …”—I’m quoting here from the BBC News report—”After his release he was asked to leave the country.” [Berlin truck attacker Anis Amri killed in Milan, December 23, 2016]

So I guess that went something like: “Scusi, Mr. fanatical Muslim arsonist, would you mind leaving our country now, if it’s no trouble?”

Amri did leave Italy. Taking advantage of Europe’s wide-open internal borders, he went to Germany and applied for asylum. Another quote from the Beeb:

His application was rejected by the German authorities but they were unable to deport him to Tunisia because he had no valid identification papers.

That phrase “valid identification papers” deserves a roll of the eyes all by itself. In the first place, it’s common knowledge that these illegals throw away their passports when leaving their home countries, precisely to make it difficult to deport them. In the few cases where illegals do have any papers, those papers were purchased for cash from some forgery shop in a Middle Eastern bazaar, and bear no necessary relation to the illegal’s actual nationality and origins.

There’s no way for European governments to know where an illegal has come from, nor anything else about him. Britain recently cut a deal to take in child refugees from the illegals camp in Calais, Northern France. When the kiddies arrived, they turned out to be muscular six-foot guys with three-day growths of chin stubble. [Fury at ‘soft checks’ on child migrants: Adults pretending to be children say aid workers, By Giles Sheldrick, Express [UK] October 19, 2016]

So where are we with Anis Amri? His application for asylum in Germany was rejected in June, and he was ordered deported. So he was put on a plane back to Tunisia, right?


Of course not! In Euro-speak the phrase “ordered deported” means that some low-level state clerk gives you a sheet of paper saying that you have been ordered deported, then shows you the door—the door back out onto the street. That’s all.

Mr. Amri, as it happens, was fed up with Germany. He decided to head for Switzerland. However, and here I’m going to switch sources and quote from the New York Times:

The police noted his deportation papers and detained him that weekend, but he was ordered released after 48 hours. His lack of Tunisian identity papers meant the German authorities could neither deport nor detain him.

Ordered Deported, Berlin Suspect Slipped Through Germany’s Fingers

By Alison Smale, Carlotta Gall And Gaia Pianigiani, December 22, 2016

Emphasis added

You could hardly have a clearer illustration of the complete collapse of will on the part of Western Civilization to defend itself against foreign malefactors.

This really isn’t rocket science. Sure, you can make a case for admitting some refugees from war zones into your country. But that s hould not include males of military age. There’s a civil war in your country? Pick a side and get a weapon.

Female, infant, and aged refugees aside, keep out anyone not holding a valid visa issued by your government. Keep them out—don’t let them across your borders.

If unwanted foreigners do arrive on your territory somehow, send them back where they came from ASAP.

If you can’t find out where they came from, or if the place they came from won’t take them, put them in camps and keep them there under strict guard, basic food and medical attention provided, no luxuries, cf. Israel.

Is it really beyond the abilities of European governments to institute such elementary measures for national self-preservation?

Yes, apparently it is. So people out doing their Christmas shopping—families, children—are crushed and mangled to death by a crazy Muslim illegal.

This is what civilizational suicide looks like in Europe. You’ll be seeing a lot more of it.

And of course the U.S.A. is on the same path.

In Fiscal Year 2016, which ended September 30th, we took in 85,000 so-called “refugees,” most from Syria, Afghanistan, Somalia and Iraq—countries that make Tunisia look like a suburb of Helsinki. [‘Refugee’ resettlement accelerates in Obama’s final months, by Paul Bremmer, WND, December 20, 2016]

Eleven weeks into the new Fiscal Year, the day-to-day rate of intake is higher than at the corresponding time last year. Barack Obama has set a target of 110,000 for Fiscal 2017. Eighty thousand of those will be admitted after Donald Trump takes office. It’s going to be a key indicator of Trump’s willingness to take on the bogus “refugee” rackets whether or not he shuts down the flow as he has the power to do. [Record number of Somalis entering America as refugees, but where does Tillerson stand? , by Daniel Horowitz , Conservative Review, December 14, 2016]

A key player here: Trump’s nominee for Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson. Most of the key decisions about refugee intake fall under the State Department’s purview. If Tillerson lets us down on this, and Trump lets him let us down, we’ll know the new Chief Executive is not serious about bringing sanity to U.S. immigration policy.

The parallels with Europe are plain to see. We actually do sometimes deport illegals; but since they just turn round and come right back in again, it’s hard to see why we bother. The guy who stole 86 pounds of gold from out of the back of a truck in New York City three months ago has just been identified. He’s an illegal from Ecuador who’s been deported four times.

Back to the “refugee” scams. Here is native Minnesotan Cain Pence (no known relation to Vice President-Elect Mike Pence), writing at American Thinker, December 22 2016:

For decades, liberal Europe encouraged Muslim immigration and turned a blind eye to radical clerics and segregated “no go zones.” I am afraid the same reality has happened in Minnesota. Entire neighborhoods in Minneapolis, such as Cedar Riverside, dominated by low-income public housing high rises, are almost entirely Somali. Integration and assimilation have not occurred the way we were told by charities and Somali activists. A permanent, aggrieved underclass of Muslims ripe for radicalization is now the reality in the heartland of America. The parallels to France and other nations in Europe is both real and concerning.[Minnesota: Yes to Immigration, No to Jihad]

That’s not a voice from the Alt Right, either. If anything, Pence is an immigration romantic. His article actually includes the sentence: “We are a nation of immigrants.”

He has eyes to see, though. What he sees in Minnesota is huge, permanent Islamic ghettos.

Which, again, is what you see in Europe. Last year British Prime Minister David Cameron ordered social welfare honcho Louise Casey to investigate and produce a report on the integration of minorities in Britain. That report was duly published three weeks ago. It’s officially called The Casey Review. [PDF]

It’s not an easy read, all couched in the prim, constipated diction of social science professionals. Ms. Casey—actually Dame Casey, to give her her proper title, “Dame” being the female equivalent of “Sir”—this Casey person comes across as considerably worried by what she found but, trapped as she is in the multiculti mindset, not sure why she should be worried. This gives the whole report a slightly baffled quality.

If you can’t face all 200 pages of the thing, there’s an 18-page executive summary on the internet. Just for a flavor, here’s Point 44 from that summary:

Polling in 2015 … showed that more than 55 percent of the general public agreed that there was a fundamental clash between Islam and the values of British society, while 46 percent of British Muslims felt that being a Muslim in Britain was difficult due to prejudice against Islam. We found a growing sense of grievance among sections of the Muslim population, and a stronger sense of identification with the plight of the “Ummah,” or global Muslim community.

Bottom line: Admit three million Muslims into a small, crowded, traditionalist Western country, you get isolated, concentrated ghettos nursing “a growing sense of grievance.”

Who would ever have guessed?

John Derbyshire [email him] writes an incredible amount on all sorts of subjectsfor all kinds of outlets. (This no longer includes National Review, whose editors had some kind of tantrum and fired him. ) He is the author of We Are Doomed: Reclaiming Conservative Pessimism and several other books. He’s had two books published by FROM THE DISSIDENT RIGHT (also available in Kindle) and From the Dissident Right II: Essays 2013. His writings are archived

(Reprinted from by permission of author or representative)
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Immigration, Terrorism, VDare Archives 

Our Ruling Class’s anxieties about the Russians, and their anxieties about us, have a deckchairs-on-the-Titanic quality about them. Peering forward into the middle 21st century as best I am able, there are much bigger issues looming.

Nine years ago I wrote a piece titled The Arctic Alliance.” My argument, in a nutshell, was that the north-Eurasian nations—that is, Europe (along with some of its settler nations like Australia and the U.S.A.), Russia, China, Japan, and the Koreas—shared common strengths and a common weakness.

The common strengths are high average IQ and a long record of civilizational attainment, with the aforementioned blots duly noted. The common weakness is demographic collapse—below-replacement birth rates.

I suggested that these “Arctic” nations should stop bickering among themselves and join forces in self-preservation against the ballooning low-average-IQ populations of the temperate and tropical zones. Hence the Arctic Alliance.

Now, nine years on, with millions of Sun People pouring into those Ice People nations, I think I’m entitled to at least a whispered “I told you so.”

Recently, the New York Times ran a report headlined Heat, Hunger and War Force Africans Onto a “Road on Fire”. The piece is about the Sahel: that east-west strip along Africa where the southern Sahara Desert meets the grasslands and woodlands further south. The “Road on Fire” is the road out of there, on the people-smuggling routes across the Sahara , north to the Mediterranean and Europe.

Steve Sailer n oticed the same report, and has some pithy comments about it. I can’t improve on Steve, but I urge listeners to check out the report. It’s revealing in two different ways.

  • Way One, which Steve concentrates on, is the style of the reporting, in which all the appalling problems of this region—overpopulation, poverty, the loss of trees and arable land—are blamed on the demon white man.
  • Way Two is the utter hopelessness of the situation there. As the population surges upwards it becomes ever more difficult to make a living. The land has been sucked dry. Whatever you think about global warming, it sure doesn’t look as though it’ll be getting cooler and wetter down there any time soon.

And the human capital is poor: low-IQ populations, not well adapted to modern societies, with no native industries or expertise in anything much. There has been no civilization down there in the Sahel, other than what European colonizers brought in. It’s not smug or spiteful to point that out, it’s just factual.

Yet still the populations surge. Niger, right in the middle of the strip, has a total fertility rate of almost seven children per woman, the highest in the world. Seven children per woman. Mali and Burkina Faso, to the west, are just below six; Chad to the east is a comparatively feeble four and a half.

Those numbers are way different from the corresponding numbers for Ice People. For Europe as a whole, the total fertility rate is 1.6 children per woman. Russia and China are about the same. Japan is 1.4, South Korea 1.25, North Korea … who knows?

That’s the demographic tsunami that’s been starting to come ashore in Europe this past year and a half. Set against that, our children and grandchildren in the middle of this century will look back with amazement at our intra-Arctic bickering about whether Vladimir Putin did or did not assist in releasing John Podesta’s emails.

There are ethical and ideological issues to go along with the demographic ones.

For example: How will moral universalism hold up as the demographic waters rise? Right now millions of people from these hopeless regions, and other places like Afghanistan (total fertility rate 5.22) are journeying north across the Sahara or westwards through the Middle East to break into Europe; and the Europeans, in their naïve moral universality, are letting them in.

That at least offers some relief to those swelling populations in Hopelessland. But what happens when Europeans decide, as they surely will, that while a million or two African and Muslim “migrants” is OK, ten or twenty million is not, and a hundred million is totally out of court? Africa alone easily has a hundred million desperate souls to spare.

All sorts of questions arise. Will the word “racist” continue to be a premier insult when everyone—everyone but a small rearguard of moral-universalist cranks—agrees that our Ice People nations have all the black Africans they can handle?

And how will the black population of the U.S.A. process that? Will they clamor for solidarity with their African brothers and sisters, demanding that we admit a few tens of millions of them? Or will First-Worldiness trump racial solidarity, and blacks join whites in calling for the drawbridge to be pulled up?

What about the other end of Eurasia? Will the Japanese, Chinese, and Koreans continue to keep their nations’ doors tight shut even as their populations dwindle? Will they be able to?

There’s a lot of questions there, but I don’t have any answers. When I think about these things, all I can come up with is Lifeboat Ethics. Quote from the foundational text:

So here we sit, say 50 people in our lifeboat. To be generous, let us assume it has room for 10 more, making a total capacity of 60. Suppose the 50 of us in the lifeboat see 100 others swimming in the water outside, begging for admission to our boat or for handouts. We have several options: we may be tempted to try to live by the Christian ideal of being “our brother’s keeper,” or by the Marxist ideal of “to each according to his needs.” Since the needs of all in the water are the same, and since they can all be seen as “our brothers,” we could take them all into our boat, making a total of 150 in a boat designed for 60. The boat swamps, everyone drowns. Complete justice, complete catastrophe …

Suppose we decide to preserve our small safety factor and admit no more to the lifeboat. Our survival is then possible although we shall have to be constantly on guard against boarding parties.

Lifeboat Ethics: the Case Against Helping the Poor

by Garrett Hardin, Psychology Today, September 1974

Yes, that’s bleak, but who’s got anything else to say? Who, actually—other than me—who is thinking about these issues?

Steve Sailer, in his commentary on the New York Times report, implies that we need to get Africans using birth control. Haven’t we been trying that for, like, my entire lifetime?

Like Steve, I’m a gentle soul who wishes no harm to anyone. I’m sorry for those folk in the Sahel, in their poverty and hopelessness. They didn’t ask to be born there, any more than I asked to be born in the West. I got lucky and they didn’t. It’s a shame. It’s not fair. I entirely agree.

At the same time, I very much want Western Civilization to survive; and I want my children and grandchildren to live in it, in peace and prosperity.

I really hope there is some humane way we can science our way out of this colossal problem that’s bearing down on us. But I don’t see it.

Look at our reaction to the taking of Aleppo in Syria’s civil war. The city seems definitely to have fallen this week, to the forces of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad and his Russian allies.

A good thing? A bad thing? Well, a lot of people, including a lot of unarmed civilians, have been maimed and killed. That’s bad. But then, if the fall of Aleppo means the civil war is coming to an end, that’s good. But then again, if the civil war ends with Assad and Putin the victors, that’s bad because they are both deeply unpleasant people who regard constitutional government and the rule of law with scorn. But then again again, if Assad isn’t fighting his own rebel generals, maybe he and his Iranian pals will concentrate on fighting ISIS, which would be good.

That’s all grist for ruminations in journals of geopolitical strategy. But what does any of it mean for the U.S.A.?

Not a darn thing, so far as I can see.

When the U.S.A. was having our own very bloody civil war, the great-great-grandparents of the current inhabitants of Aleppo were subjects of the Ottoman Empire. Did the Ottoman Sultan and his pashas fret over the suffering people of Atlanta and Richmond? Did the traders and craftsmen of Aleppo? I doubt it.

Nations will have civil wars, and they do tend to be nasty affairs. If you feel an urge to help the people of Aleppo, all the usual organizations are making efforts to get stuff in, though apparently with mixed success: the International Rescue Committee, Save the Children, Médecins Sans Frontières, and so on. If the spirit of charity moves you, they’ll be glad of your donations.

However, to judge from conversations I’ve had and comment threads I’ve seen, Americans are not much stirred by the Aleppo horrors. It seems to me in fact that there has been a general hardening of hearts in the West during my lifetime towards human catastrophes in the Third World.

I remember for example the Nigerian civil war of the late 1960s. I was living in England at the time so I can’t speak about American attitudes; but I recall a lot of people being genuinely distressed at all the suffering there. I’m not seeing that in relation to Syria.

Compassion fatigue? Middle East mayhem fatigue? Or were those upset Brits of 1968 just indulging in post-imperial guilt? (Nigeria had been a British colony until 1960. I can still, for some reason, remember the name of the first Prime Minister of independent Nigeria: Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, last seen sprawled in a ditch outside Lagos with a very nasty case of lead poisoning, victim of a coup.)

That’s impressionistic, and might be wrong. Still, if Lifeboat Ethics is in fact going to be the default outlook of mid-21st century Ice People, it may be that the necessary adjustment—the hardening of hearts, the averting of eyes—has been under way for a while.

The future, said Arthur Koestler, casts a shadow back into the past.

John Derbyshire [email him] writes an incredible amount on all sorts of subjectsfor all kinds of outlets. (This no longer includes National Review, whose editors had some kind of tantrum and fired him. ) He is the author of We Are Doomed: Reclaiming Conservative Pessimism and several other books. He’s had two books published by FROM THE DISSIDENT RIGHT (also available in Kindle) and From the Dissident Right II: Essays 2013. His writings are archived

(Reprinted from by permission of author or representative)

The two big stories this week: “fake news” and Russia’s alleged manipulation of our election. Actually, in my opinion, they’re non-stories.

In regard to fake news, I have a confession to make. First, some preface.

To put my podcasts together I trawl through news websites on the internet for stories of interest.

The big American broadsheet newspaper websites have mostly disappeared behind paywalls. I can’t afford more than one of those, so I subscribe to the New York Times online version—not because I like the damn thing, but because of its influence, which I need to track.

The tabloids are still free to access online; and I get the print edition of one of them, the New York Post, delivered daily because my wife likes it. Foreign tabloids are still mostly free, too: I read the London Daily Express and Daily Mail online every day.

There’s nothing wrong with tabloids. If you skip over the Elvis sightings and celebrity gossip and don’t mind bad grammar, they tell you as much about what’s going on as most of us need to know. And the opinion pieces are less rigidly CultMarx party line that those in the broadsheets.

After that I rely on secondary sites and aggregators: Breitbart, RealClearPolitics, the Daily Caller, Drudge, and some specialized sites like Asia Times for Far Eastern stuff, Discover magazine for science, and so on.

And then there are links and clips that listeners send me, some from bloggers or local newspapers. And yes, I read blogs myself. There are 26 in my feed, and they of course often link to news stories.

OK, now my confession.

A couple of podcasts ago I read a story that caught my fancy. There was a link to it in one of the blogs, and a listener—not the blogger—also sent me the same link. I did a segment on it for Radio Derb.

Fortunately, this podcast, before it goes on the air, gets scrutinized by’s James Fulford. Nothing gets past James. He spotted the source—it was a website called The Boston Tribune—as a fake news site. He cross-checked with the fact-checker site, and sure enough the story was bogus. I had to do some fast editing on the Radio Derb sound file before James would let me on the air.

That, by the way, is more journalistic due diligence from than you get at some major news outlets—a thing to bear in mind when deciding whether to (a) sign up for a subscription to one of the broadsheet newspaper web sites, or (b) donate to

There is actually a commercial rationale for the existence of these fake news websites. If, like the Boston Tribune, you can work up a good newspaperish-looking website, a lot of underpaid ink-stained wretches like me, zipping around the internet looking for stories, will be taken in during a moment of haste, distraction, or intoxication. They’ll link to your fake story, pass it on to others, and you’ll get enough clicks to make you worth the attention of advertisers, who will pay you good dollars to place their ads. [Ker-ching!] Hey, it’s a living.

But I can’t get worked up about this, or about the current “fake news” fake hysteria, because I have never held journalists in the high regard in which they hold themselves.

My general approach was expressed in a column I wrote thirteen years ago for National Review: Journalists are Scum.” In that column, I summoned up the traditional British view of the journalistic profession as the haunt of drunks, vagabonds, perverts, con artists, and scoundrels.

The canonical expression of that viewpoint was Evelyn Waugh’s 1933 novel Scoop, whose lead character, William Boot, was based on my old editor at the London Daily Telegraph, Bill Deedes. Bill was actually an honest hard-working journalist with a good nose for a story, but some of the other characters in Waugh’s novel were less scrupulous. The American reporter Wenlock Jakes, for example. Quote from Scoop:

Why, once Jakes went out to cover a revolution in one of the Balkan capitals. He overslept in his carriage, woke up at the wrong station, didn’t know any different, got out, went straight to an hotel, and cabled off a thousand-word story about barricades in the streets, flaming churches, machine-guns answering the rattle of his typewriter as he wrote, a dead child, like a broken doll, spreadeagled in the deserted roadway below his window—you know.

So yes, fake news has been around for ever. It’s probably as old as real news … maybe older. I bet someone back in Mycenae was fake-newsing the Trojan War.

That Democrats are raising the specter of fake news as something peculiar to late 2016 and the Trump campaign bespeaks a complete lack of historical and literary awareness.

Not to mention desperation.

I am likewise unmoved by the fuss about the Russians influencing our elections via leaked emails.

My reaction to this was: Duh. Of course the Russians would like to influence our elections. We’d influence theirs, if they had any that were half-way genuine. We actually did spend tens of millions of dollars t rying to influence the Ukrainian elections two years ago. [Ukraine crisis: Putin adviser accuses US of meddling,BBC, February 6, 2014]

And what did the Russians actually accomplish in the way of influencing our elections? Answer: We don’t know, since the evidence that they did anything is entirely circumstantial.

On the very worst interpretation, all the Russians did was expose the cynicism and dishonesty of Mrs. Clinton and her operatives by releasing their emails—what Judge Andrew Napolitano has referred to as “the truthful revelation of private facts.” [Did the Russians Hack Hillary?,, December 15, 2016]If you want to know how politicians and their staffers talk to each other in private, you generally have to wait a decade or two until the memoirs are published. Wikileaks—possibly with Russian help—gave us the same information without the time lag, that’s all.

I can’t see anything here to get agitated about. The main thought I come away with is: Why don’t we have hackers as good as theirs, to access Vladimir Putin’s emails, and Xi Jinping’s, and Kim Jong Un’s, and broadcast them to their people?

That would at least be playing the game in a spirited fashion, instead of hunkering curled up in a corner and whining.

What’s really going on here with the fusses about fake news and Russian interference is what I’m going to christen the Roger Lyons Strategy.

Readers of my monthly diaries here at will recall my reminiscing, in last month’s diary, about some very obscure events of fifty-three years ago, events that brought me my first real political insight.

In very brief: I was a freshman undergraduate at University College, London. The college’s student union held an election for union president. There was a Leftist candidate named Roger Lyons and a conservative candidate whose name I’ve forgotten. A ballot was held, and the conservative won.

The Leftists wouldn’t accept that result. They called endless meetings, raised endless tiny points of order. At last the mass of students got bored with it all and let them have their way. The election was re-held. Roger Lyons was elected. (He later rose to glory as a senior official in Britain’s labor movement, not without some patches of controversy.).

That’s what the Left is like, always and everywhere. They are relentless in the pursuit of power. Byron said that

Love is of man’s life a thing apart,

‘Tis woman’s whole existence.”

Something similar applies to political passion. For a conservative, politics is one feature of a many-faceted life. To a leftist, it’s his whole existence.

And the Left is anti-realist. They don’t like reality. They are in fact prisoners of the Moralistic Fallacy: the belief that anything that offends my personal sensibilities cannot be the case.

Hence all the huffing about “no such thing as race.” If there were innate race differences in personality and behavior, that would be emotionally offensive to CultMarx sensibilities. Ergo there can’t be.

Last month’s election result was a real thing, a fact in the world. So far as I can determine, there was nothing false or illusory about it. From the point of view of the Left, though, it was the wrong result. It cannot be a fact in the world because it’s wrong: that is, it has caused Cultural Marxists to experience negative emotions.

Hence all the hysteria: demands for recounts, “fake news,” Russian hacking, intimidation of Electors.

I doubt it’ll stop there. Like Roger Lyons and his supporters all those years ago, the Left won’t quit. The Trump administration, both pre- and post-Inauguration, will be pestered with allegations, inquiries, lawsuits, protests … This show will run and run.

When events hurt your feelings, they can’t possibly be real events. There was a plot, a conspiracy, covert action. Someone, somewhere, was pulling a hidden lever.

We have to find that person and punish him!

What about the larger question of whether Russia is a natural enemy of the U.S.A.? Is it?

My answer would be no, with qualifications.

Russia belongs to Western Civilization, to which they’ve made great contributions. In music and the arts, in literature, in science and math, Russia has been a major player since at least the 18th century. The MacTutor biographical dictionary of important mathematicians lists 130 born in Russia. I covered some of them in my own books about the history of mathematics.

Culturally, civilizationally, Russians are our brothers and sisters. Without their contributions, Western Civ. would be the poorer.

That said, you then have to say this: That of all the great European nations, Russia alone has never really struggled up out of medieval despotism into full civic nationhood. Politically, Russia is the problem child of the modern West.

Is there anything we can do about this? I doubt it. Nations—especially old nations with ingrained political habits—are not malleable things.

Not that we haven’t tried. Here’s Colonel Ralph Peters, in a New York Post column published December 11th. [Vladimir Putin will always be America’s enemy]

Before I get to the pertinent quote, let me just note that Peters [Email him] is a neocon, with a line in militaristic bluster that would have had the last Kaiser nodding along enthusiastically. Sample quote:

To align ourselves with Putin in 2017 would be the equivalent of allying with Hitler in 1937.

Hoo-kay, Colonel; time for a refill on the meds, perhaps.

But in among all the neocon bombast and sleight of hand, Peters writes:

I served in Washington (traveling often to Moscow) as the Soviet Union died of organ failure. Far from attempting to punish the “new” Russia, we and our European allies fell all over ourselves to indulge Moscow’s whims and encourage investment. Our State Department’s infatuation with the “new” Russia was embarrassingly extreme.

Yes, it was. We believe, in our blithe American optimism, that once a nation is shown the benefits of constitutional democracy it will leap to embrace that form of government.

In the nineties in Russia, and again in the Middle East a decade later, that belief was field-tested. The field tests did not go well.

If there’s nothing positive we can do, though, there are follies we can avoid. If we can’t actually do anything to improve Russia, we should at least not do things that stimulate their worst national characteristics.

Like, for example, moving NATO up to their borders. Colonel Peters tells us that the desire of East Europeans to join NATO is understandable, as of course it is. He cites the horrors of Soviet imperialism, quote (with links added) :

The slaughter of workers in Berlin in 1953 … The bloodbath in Hungary in ’56 … Soviet tanks rolling into Prague in ’68 …

But Peters forgets to mention that Dwight Eisenhower and Lyndon Johnson did nothing about those atrocities—and that nothing was what the American public wanted them to do.

If Russia does something similar today—to Latvia, say—we are obliged by treaty to go to war against Russia.

Plainly that’s what Ralph Peters wants. But is it what Americans want?

(Reprinted from by permission of author or representative)

I’ve been meaning to say something about Brexit, the referendum in Britain six months ago to leave the European Union. It’s still causing a huge constitutional fuss over there.

I’ve hesitated to comment, because, in the first place the little I ever knew about the British Constitution has long since drained away down the foggy ruins of Time, and in the second place I don’t think Britain’s foggy affairs are of much importance to the U.S.A.

There seems to be some interest among listeners, though. And as a true-born Englishman, with the blood of Alfred the Great flowing in my veins along with some residual traces of custard, marmite, and treacle, I ought to make an effort to pronounce authoritatively on the rights and wrongs of Brexit. So here goes.

But here’s how out of date my constitutional knowledge is: I didn’t know that has a Supreme Court.

Where the hell did that come from? They never used to have one. Court of final appeal used to be the Law Lords sitting in Parliament — in, of course, the House of Lords.

I blew the dust off my old school copy of Taswell-Langmead’s English Constitutional History, 1946 edition, and looked up some appropriate index entries. As always with that magisterial work, though, I soon got lost in the fourteenth century among the King’s Continual Council, Tallagio non Concedendo, and the Maltolt of Wools.

Of the year 1406, for example, Taswell-Langmead (who was just one guy: it’s a double-barrelled name) writes:

The political scene in fact was sombre. Scots ravaged the north; pirates controlled the English Channel; Wales was in revolt aided by French and Spanish arms and an English Earl; religious dissidents attacked the Church and alleged that Richard II was in Scotland; the king was ill and listless.

Well, who wouldn’t be? You think we have problems!

Taswell-Langmead has no mention of a Supreme Court. Britain has somehow acquired one, though.


Digging around, I see that this innovation was the brainchild of the sinister Tony Blair. In other words, it was the demon spawn of a wily mediocrity who despised his own nation and all its traditional ways, and did his utmost to swap out Britain’s d eplorably white Anglo-Saxon population f or the morally superior people of Bangladesh, Nigeria, and Pakistan.

As a result of Blair’s initiative, the Brits got a Supreme Court, independent of Parliament, in 2009. Britain is now engaged in a three-way American-style tussle between the authority of this court, the authority of Parliament, and the authority of the Executive—which is to say dithering nonentity Theresa May and her cabinet.

The constitutional point at issue: whether the Executive can take Britain out of the EU without further parliamentary debate — without the formal assent of bothhouses of Parliament, Commons and Lords, perhaps even — I’m not clear on this point — without actual legislation.

The courts — not this newfangled Supreme Court, the regular courts — ruled last month that parliamentary action was required. That’s now under appeal to the Supreme Court.

Meanwhile the Prime Minister has asked the House of Commons to approve her notifying the EU next March of Britain’s intention to leave. The Commons did so after a six-hour debate, voting 461 to 89.[ Theresa May warns delay in launching Brexit would be catastrophic for trust in politics as rebels in Commons vote threaten trench warfare, By James Tapsfield, Mailonline, December 8, 2016]

That’s not the full parliamentary action the courts insisted on, though, so the whole business is still up in the air.

To sum up: the Brits had a referendum, in which a slim majority voted to leave the EU. The House of Commons has approved the government telling the EU about this, since presumably it wasn’t reported in the newspapers over there on the Continent.

Now we just have to hear from the Supreme Court about what else, if anything, Parliament must do; also, at some point I suppose, from the upper chamber, the House of Lords.

How does all this play into the large international theme of popular will versusglobalist elites? Somewhat messily — like our own November election result, with its constitutional win for Trump against a popular vote for Clinton.

There is not much doubt about the Eurowhore inclinations of Britain’s Supreme Court justices. On the other hand, the supremacy of Parliament, with the House of Commons taking most of the weight, is not a bad principle. As suspicious as I am of the justices and their preferences, and as righteously as I loathe Tony Blair and all his works, I hope the Supreme Court will reaffirm the supremacy of Parliament.

It’s a mess, though, and the political scene over there is sombre. Still, at least Scots aren’t ravaging the north.

And what about Europe? How are they getting on over there with populist resistance to the nation-wrecker elites?

Mixed news this week, I’m afraid.

  • Italy

The Italians have been having a wee constitutional crisis of their own. I find it hard to take this seriously, just because Italian politics has been a joke for as long as I can remember … which is long. The average duration of an Italian government since WW2 has been a little over one year.

There’s plainly some deep systemic problem there. Prime Minister Matteo Renzi proposed some constitutional reforms, simplifying and centralizing the system. Whether they would have solved the problem, I’m not qualified to say. You’d think people would want something done, though.

Apparently not, not what Renzi was proposing, anyway. Last weekend’s referendum rejected Renzi’s reforms. It was a big vote for the status quo. No, Italy’s referendum is not the same as Trump or Brexit

There’s a lot of spin on nationalist websites that this was another result in the Brexit-Trump category, indignant patriots voting against globalism. It really doesn’t look like that to me, though. My personal compass on these matters is the hyper-globalist, Open-Borders, anti-Brexit, anti-Trump magazine The Economist. That magazine urged Italians to vote No on Renzi’s reforms, as they did. [Why Italy should vote no in its referendum | The country needs far-reaching reforms, just not the ones on offer, November 26th 2016]

It’s all moot, anyway. Italy has been ferrying in illegals from sub-Saharan Africa at an ever-accelerating rate: thirteen and a half thousand just last month—that’s compared with only three thousand in November last year. [Italy Breaks Immigration Record in 2016, by Thomas D. Williams, Ph.D. ,, December 11, 2016]

There’s beaucoup more where they came from, and no sign the Italians can muster the will to turn off the spigot.

If Italians think their government this past seventy years has been dysfunctional, wait till the lads from Lagos and Ouagadougou take over.

Italy’s a goner.

  • Austria

The result in Austria was more clear. This was a re-run of the Presidential election held in May. Nationalist candidate Norbert Hofer had a very narrow loss back then, and t he nation’s Supreme Court ordered a re-run. This time Hofer lost by a bigger margin, seven percent.

The New York Times was gleeful [Austria Rejects Far-Right Presidential Candidate Norbert Hofer, By Alison Smale, December 4, 2016]. They couldn’t wait to tell us that Hofer’s party, the Freedom Party, is “far-right” and was “founded in the 1950s by former Nazis.”

For goodness’ sake! Pretty much every adult in 1950s Austria was either a former Nazi or a former Communist. The Sound of Music is not a historical documentary.

  • The Netherlands

Meanwhile, Dutch nationalist Geert Wilders, leader of a major political party also named the Freedom Party, was convicted in a court of law for the crimes of discrimination and inciting hatred. [Geert Wilders GUILTY of hate crimes against Moroccans after anti-migrant rally in Holland, by Simon Osborne,, December 9, 2016]

What Wilders had actually done was to promise a rally of his supporters that if he got power, there would be fewer Moroccans in Holland.

Oh, the humanity!

No sentence has been announced, and Wilders has said he’ll appeal.

  • France

Marine Le Pen—who is not actually a leatherneck, “Marine” is her name—Ms. Le Pen, leader of French nationalists, has called for an end to free education for the children of illegal immigrants. [Marine Le Pen: No free school for illegal migrants in France, BBC, December 8 , 2016]

I am quietly amazed that this is even news. Who thinks that foreign scofflaws should be awarded public goods at the expense of native taxpayers? Well, of course, all Goodthinkful persons do—everybody except those, you know, far-right ex-Nazis.

France has an election coming up next Spring, and Ms. Le Pen is a leading candidate for President. Current polling says she’ll likely make it to the final runoff in May, but then lose big to an establishment candidate.

There you see a problem with all these European nationalist movements. There seems to be a ceiling in their support, a ceiling well below fifty percent. Most voters prefer Establishment suits like the winner in Austria.

Even where proportional representation makes coalition governments necessary, nobody wants to be in coalition with the nationalist party, because … you know. Far-right…ex-Nazi…nativist…Hitlery Hitler.

Christian missionaries in the Far East used to talk—perhaps they still do—about the twenty percent ceiling. In places where Christians have been able freely to proselytize among East Asians—places like Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea—under favorable conditions you can convert around twenty percent of the locals, but after that you get stuck.

(That’s the way I remember hearing it, anyway; although the CIA World Factbook gives South Korea as 32 percent Christian. All right: a thirty percent rule.)

Politics and religion draw on some of the same mental modules. So perhaps there is a similar ceiling for nationalist politics among white Europeans. Perhaps the nationalist parties over there are doomed never to get above thirty percent support—and so never to get power.

If that’s the case, and given the number of Third Worlders pouring in to the continent to swing the balance even further against native nationalism, Europe is toast.

John Derbyshire [email him] writes an incredible amount on all sorts of subjectsfor all kinds of outlets. (This no longer includes National Review, whose editors had some kind of tantrum and fired him. ) He is the author of We Are Doomed: Reclaiming Conservative Pessimism and several other books. He’s had two books published by FROM THE DISSIDENT RIGHT (also available in Kindle) and From the Dissident Right II: Essays 2013. His writings are archived

(Reprinted from by permission of author or representative)
John Derbyshire
About John Derbyshire

John Derbyshire writes an incredible amount on all sorts of subjects for all kinds of outlets. (This no longer includes National Review, whose editors had some kind of tantrum and fired him. He is the author of We Are Doomed: Reclaiming Conservative Pessimism and several other books. His most recent book, published by com is FROM THE DISSIDENT RIGHT (also available in Kindle).His writings are archived at

Limbaugh and company certainly entertain. But a steady diet of ideological comfort food is no substitute for hearty intellectual fare.
Once as a colonial project, now as a moral playground, the ancient continent remains the object of Great Power maneuvering