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 TeasersJohn Derbyshire Blogview

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Adapted from the latest Radio Derb, available exclusively on

Adding to the stock of public merriment this week was Ilhan Omar, the dimwitted Democrat Representative f rom Minnesota’s 5th District.

Ms. Omar has been rather free with remarks about how Jews are too fond of money, use their money for disproportionate influence in our politics, have dual loyalties and in some cases dual American and Israeli citizenship, and so on.

As I noted in the February 15th podcast, this is Third-Rail stuff, like talking openly about black crime rates. Also like that other Third Rail (which I guess is then a fourth rail … whatever), there’s some truth behind what she says—truth rooted in group differences.

Ashkenazi Jews have high average intelligence, so they do disproportionately well in free societies like ours. I don’t know that they are any more fond of money than the rest of us—I’m pretty fond of the stuff myself—but they make more of it per capita because of their success. And yes, U.S. foreign policy is tilted towards Israel more than it would be if none of that was the case.

This is one of those zones, along with global warming and the vaccination controversy, that I don’t venture into much. In part that’s because, like those other zones, it’s inhabited by way too many shrieking monomaniacs of one faction or another. Mostly, though, I just don’t think it’s a big deal.

Sure, we’re partial to Israel, perhaps more than we should be; but we don’t have a war guarantee with them, as we do with South Korea or our twenty-eight allies in NATO.

If Russia attacks Estonia, we are treaty-bound to go to war with Russia, a major nuclear power. If North Korea attacks South Korea, we’re back at war with the Norks, a minor nuclear power.

If Egypt attacks Israel I assume we’d take Israel’s side, with diplomatic and material support, but we’re not under any obligation to do so, and it’s highly unlikely we’d send an expeditionary force. I would certainly be against sending one.

If I’m going to lose sleep over foreign commitments, I’m going to lose it over these crazy, absurd, outdated treaty obligations we have to come to the defense of countries that are rich and populous enough to defend themselves, either alone or in local alliances.

The thrust of our foreign policy should be to press the Europeans, the Koreans, the Japanese, and the rest to be as militarily self-reliant as the Israelis are.

My foreign policy ideal is precisely the one voiced by an American Presiden t two hundred years ago, who said that America

goes not abroad in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own.

That’s where we stand with Israel, isn’t it? If it’s not, it’s where I would want us to stand. I’d also want us to stand there in respect of other free, independent nations. I really like that ideal.

So I’m not much disturbed by Ms. Omar’s indiscretions. I’ll even raise one cheer for them. She’s talking about group differences, after all. We have a taboo on talking about group differences, and I think that taboo is dumb and counter-productive.

Shouting down all talk of group differences with screams of “bigotry!” “prejudice!” “racism!” “antisemitism!” doesn’t help us towards a fairer and more harmonious society, whether the group at issue is Jews, blacks, or Somali Muslims.

And on one of Ms. Omar’s points, I heartily agree. Dual citizenship is a simply terrible idea. I don’t know why we tolerate it.

No, wait, actually I do know. We tolerate it because of a 1967 Supreme Court ruling, Afroyim v. Rusk. That’s something Congress could fix, though, if Congress were capable of doing anything more than passing vapid virtue-signaling resolutions.

When I got U.S. citizenship I heard a lot of advice from other British expats about how I could keep my U.K. passport—in effect, be a dual citizen. My stock reply to them was: “You only have one mother, you only have one country.” My old passport has long since expired, and gathers dust in a memento box in my attic. I’m an American.

We should outlaw dual citizenship.

Of course, the really fun thing about Ms. Omar’s indiscretions has been the quandary in which they put the Democratic Party.

• Category: Ideology • Tags: Immigration, Israel Lobby, Muslims 
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You all know about the Never Trumpers—those neocons and Reaganites back in 2016 who told us Trump was utterly unsuited to be President by flaws of character and errors of policy.

A few of the Never Trumpers have stayed true to that original spirit of seamless hostility to all things Trump. Most, though, have swung round to grudging support for the President. Looking at the menagerie of candidates shuffling into position for the Democratic nomination next year, you have to be as hardened, as committed a neocon as Max Boot [Email him] to not see Trump as the lesser of two evils.

What about those disqualifying character flaws? A conventional wisdom has settled in on that—I mean, among the Former-Never Trumpers. Approximately: If sixty-three million voters were willing to overlook those flaws, why shouldn’t we? Do we have representative government, or what? Trump featured regularly in the tabloid press for twenty years before he ran for President. Nobody had any illusions about his character.

My old boss Rich Lowry [Email him] illustrates the shift towards acceptance. Rich’s latest column bears the title: Why the drive to primary Trump in 2020 is utterly pointless. Rich points out that significant primary challenges to sitting Republican Presidents come from the right: Reagan in ’76, Buchanan in ’92. Sample quote:

Trump is in a stronger position in the party now than he was then. He has been a rock on judges, abortion and religious liberty. Last time, many Republicans told themselves, “Well, at least compared to Hillary Clinton, we don’t know what we’re getting with Trump.”

Now, they are grateful for what they’ve gotten.

Call this the taming of the Never Trumpers. What we have gotten from Trump looks pretty meager to me; but yes, a great many voters are grateful for it none the less. I hear from those voters in my email bag every time I call the President lazy and incompetent. I categorize them in my mind as Ever Trumpers. They’ll vote for him enthusiastically, no matter what.

Meanwhile, as Never Trumpers like Rich Lowry have been migrating over to the Trump side, however grudgingly, and Ever Trumpers are cheering the President on at rallies, a lot of us who were keen supporters of Trump in 2016 have drifted the other way, waving at Rich Lowry as we pass, headed in opposite directions.

It’s too soon to call us Former Trumpers. I can’t imagine voting Democrat in 2020; and I agree with Rich that a primary challenge is a box canyon … although I had to look up “box canyon.” Go easy on the metaphors there, Rich, for the sake of us immigrants.

Here is the shift in a nutshell, as I see it.

  • 2015 Lowry: “Trump? No way! Never! Absolutely not!”
  • 2015 Derb: “Hey, Trump’s a National Conservative! He could be the one!”
  • 2016 Lowry: (Votes for Trump through gritted teeth.)
  • 2016 Derb: (Votes for Trump with broad happy smile.)
  • 2019 Lowry: “Trump has been a rock on judges, abortion and religious liberty.”
  • 2019 Derb: “We’re still inviting, still invading. How would Jeb Bush have been worse?”
  • 2020 Lowry: (Votes for Trump with a shrug.)
  • 2020 Derb: (Votes for Trump through gritted teeth.)
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In de-platforming news this week, Amazon is now no longer selling books that present a dissident perspective.

The de-platforming here is not total, though you have to think that “not” should probably be “not yet.” As of this morning, March 1st, Paul Kersey’s books are still available: the one titled Stuff Black People Don’t Like, and the no-punches-pulled books about the decline of American cities like Detroit, Baltimore, Chicago, and Birmingham.

You can still buy Colin Flaherty’s book White Girl Bleed a Lot on Amazon, but for some reason not his other book Don’t Make the Black Kids Angry, which I think is Colin’s best-seller. Jim Goad’s book Whiteness: The Original Sin, a landmark in Anti-anti-white Studies, which I am currently reading with pleasure and instruction, is still for sale on Amazon.

Amazon’s coverage of Jared Taylor’s books is a bit peculiar. They actually have pages for only two of Jared’s books: the one on Japan he published in 1983, and the 1992 book that first brought Jared to my attention, title: Paved With Good Intentions: The Failure of Race Relations in Contemporary America. The way it came to my attention was, I saw it reviewed in National Review, to which I was a subscriber. The reviewer was some guy named … let me see … Pe-ter Brim-e-low, I think that’s right.

Jared’s later books, including his latest, the 2017 title If We Do Nothing, have no Amazon pages. They’ve been scrubbed. And yet—here’s the peculiar thing—if you go to Amazon’s Jared Taylor page, it gives a potted biography of the author that includes a list of his books. The list also omits If We Do Nothing, but it includes Jared’s 2011 title White Identity: Racial Consciousness in the 21st Century—for which there is no Amazon page!

What a mess! The most parsimonious explanation here is that the Winston Smiths at Amazon—the guys in charge of stuffing politically-incorrect books down the memory hole—just aren’t yet very good at their job. One has to assume they’ll get better with practice, and that five or ten years from now Amazon will be perfectly cleansed of any books containing Bad Thoughts. Amazon will then be white as the driven snow … although that is of course not quite the right simile here.

It goes without saying that the anti-white rants of authors like Cornel West and Ta-Nehisi Coates are available for purchase on Amazon; not to mention, as Henry Wolff points out over at American Renaissance, The Anarchist Cookbook, Osama bin Laden’s justification of terrorism, and black nationalist manifestos by the likes of Louis Farrakhan.

I predict things will get worse before they get better. Quote from a report at FIRE, F-I-R-E, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education. The report was published in January last year. Quote:

Nearly half of college students—48 percent—think that hate speech should not be protected by the Constitution, whereas 37 percent of adults think hate speech should not be protected, an 11 percentage point difference. [‘Speaking Freely’: Comparing college students’ and the American adult populations’ attitudes toward hate speech, by Kelsey Naughton, January 4, 2018]

I don’t know which is more disturbing: that educated young people are less tolerant of hate speech than Americans at large, or that the bogus, dishonest, totalitarian concept of “hate speech” is now common currency.

That’s where we are, though, and to judge by that difference between young college students and Americans at large, we’re headed deeper into the darkness.

• Category: Ideology • Tags: Amazon, Censorship, Political Correctness 
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Nightmare on Main Street

February 5th was Lunar New Year on the Chinese system. Out with the dog, in with the pig.

It was also of course Pax 10th on the Mayan calendar. This year, however, we thought we’d forgo the human sacrifice and just have a dim sum lunch and do some pre-festival shopping in Chinatown the weekend before.

Parking-wise, Chinatown—this is the Flushing Chinatown in New York City’s Queens borough, not Manhattan Chinatown—is a nightmare even on the average weekend. The weekend before Lunar New Year things are far worse.

Tooling down Flushing’s Main Street I had the glum forboding that we would spend most of the day looking for a parking spot. I even suggested to my lady that we back off to a friendly non-Chinatown subway station and ride the rest of the way. No, she said, we’d have too many bags to carry so far.

In the event we lucked out. After just two circuits of the restaurant parking lot, a space opened up as we approached. Out of car, into restaurant. Piece of cake—bean-curd, whatever.

The dim sum was great, though I made the mistake I always make with dim sum: taking everything the first couple of trolleys have to offer, leaving no room in my digestive tract for later trolleys, which of course have stuff that looks even more appetizing. There must be an art to pacing yourself through this, but in fifty years of patronizing dim sum parlors on three continents, I’ve never mastered it.

The restaurant was clean and efficient for such a big place. There is a chaotic, sharp-elbowed, Malthusian quality to Chinese social life that in certain moods I rather like; but when they want to do brisk efficiency, they sure can. Lake Pavilion Restaurant runs like clockwork.

Then, the nightmare. Back out in the parking lot I said I’d stay by the car while Mrs walked down to the supermarket for food shopping.

Off she went. There I stood. In the street just across the low wall from our car was a food stand selling snacks. It broadcast its wares with a loud ten-second message that just kept repeating: Tianjin Taohua chao xiao chi! Chao huasheng, chao guazi—xian chao! xian mai! … (“[Business name] fried snacks! Fried peanuts, fried melon seeds—frying now! buy now! …”) And repeating … and repeating …

I was stuck there waiting by the car. I didn’t want Mrs to come back loaded with bags and me not be there. I didn’t know what store she’d gone to, so couldn’t follow her.

I got into the car and sat there with the windows closed. No good: the message was too loud. I got out, walked off across the lot, keeping the car in sight. No good: the damn thing followed me. Chao huasheng, chao guazi—xian chao! xian mai! … I wished I could smoke a cigarette to calm my nerves, but I’ve quit.

Chao huasheng, chao guazi—xian chao! xian mai! … how on earth did the guy running the food stand keep his sanity? The expression Chinese water torture was making a lot of sense, vivid sense.

Tianjin Taohua chao xiao chi! Chao huasheng, chao guazi—xian chao! xian mai!

Tianjin Taohua chao xiao chi! Chao huasheng, chao guazi—xian chao! xian mai!

Tianjin Taohua chao xiao chi! Chao huasheng, chao guazi—xian chao! xian mai!

Tianjin Taohua chao xiao chi! Chao huasheng, chao guazi—xian chao! xian mai!

Mrs Derbyshire showed up just as I was trembling on the edge of homicide. “What’s the matter? You look stressed out.”

“Nothing, honey. I’ll take the bags, get in the car.”

The rest of the New Year holiday went well.

Museum of the Dog

The Museum of the Dog, from the American Kennel Club, opened Friday a couple of blocks south of Grand Central, after relocating from St. Louis, Missouri. Its 11,000-square-foot gallery is filled with pooch-centric paintings, sculptures, photos and artifacts, some going back centuries. [Museum of the Dog is a fun, fitting tribute to man’s best friend by Eric Hegedus; New York Post, February 8 2019.]

On the dog-loving spectrum, Mrs. Derbyshire is way over at the extreme right end. When she saw that story in the New York Post she near swooned. “We must go see that!”

So off we went. Yes, the place is fun. The walls are hung with dog paintings—originals, not reproductions—some from surprisingly far back in the 19th century, the dogs looking perfectly up-to-date. The only one of the artists’ names that rang a bell with me was Landseer.

I wondered if perhaps we might donate Elizabeth Cockey’s portrait of our late beloved Toby to the museum, but the Mrs doggedly refuses to let it go.

There are dog-movie posters, too: Lassie, Old Yeller, Beethoven, … And sculptures, and bronzes, and porcelain dogs; and some cute hi-tech “installations.”

The installation we liked best was one that takes your picture, listens to you bark, then tells you what breed of dog you most resemble. I am either a French Bulldog (“Adaptable, Playful, Smart”) or a Boston Terrier (“Friendly, Bright, Amusing”), depending on whether or not I am smiling.

• Category: Ideology • Tags: American Media, Political Correctness 
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Adapted from the latest Radio Derb, available exclusively on

Sub-Saharan Africans, and their descendants in the New World, are a local variety of our species homo sapiens. That they present their own particular statistical profile on heritable characteristics—which includes traits of behavior, intelligence, and personality—is deeply unsurprising. So do dog breeds; and what artificial selection in dogs has generated over a few hundred years, natural selection among humans could certainly accomplish in several hundred thousand years.

That’s all familiar stuff to readers. Is there any chance of race realism taking hold in society at large?

Not if the New York Times has anything to say about it.

Currently defending the citadel of race denialism at the Times is one Amy Harmon [Tweet her] bylined as “a national correspondent … covering the intersection of science and society.”

Ms. Harmon recently contributed two pieces for the Times on the shortage of black mathematicians.


I can speak with some modest authority to this. Touring around colleges to promote one of my math books (Prime Obsession: Bernhard Riemann and the Greatest Unsolved Problem in Mathematics) fifteen years ago I could generally find, at any given college, one member of the math faculty who was a kindred spirit and would speak honestly to me.

I should explain, on the slight chance that there are readers who don’t know it, that American college faculties lean far, far Left.

I was working for National Review at the time and was introduced in colleges as a National Review contributor.

That was too much for some of the faculty. They thought it outrageous that their campus should be blighted by the presence of someone from a bigoted, fascistic, hate-filled, neo-Nazi outlet like National Review.

No, stop laughing; I am not making this up.

As I said, though, there was generally at least one closet conservative in the math department. At the first opportunity, he would invite me into his office, carefully close the door, pour me a drink, and unload on the particular variety of far-Left campus craziness prevailing at his institution.

To be fair to these poor beleaguered souls, their strongest frustrations were directed not at their colleagues, but at the college administration. As far Left as faculty generally are, college administrators are way farther. I heard some grisly stories.

I recall one of these guys—and yes, they were all guys, of course—telling me about his experiences on the hiring committee of the math faculty. The committee was under terrific pressure to hire a black lecturer. But it wasn’t easy to find one because of the very tiny numbers of math Ph.D.s.

He said—and I still remember the precise simile he used—he said the colleges “fight like cats” among themselves to get one of those precious blacks.

In her February 20th article, Ms. Harmon gives the number of black research mathematicians as thirteen—nationwide—out of a total of eighteen hundred i.e. 0.7 percent.

With blacks at thirteen percent of the population, that is indeed a striking under-representation.

This bigoted racist bias is not just American, it seems. It’s world-wide. The math equivalent of a Nobel Prize is the Fields Medal, awarded to just sixty people since it started up in 1936. Not one of those people was black.

Ms. Harmon is scientifically illiterate about the causal factors here. She notes for example that there are people—bad people! horrid people!—who posit biological reasons for the disparity. But!!!—

They lack any genetic evidence to explain the gap in average I.Q. scores between white and black Americans that they cite as the basis of their belief.

The answer to that is the one that human-sciences blogger JayMan gives: “You don’t need to know the name of every worker in the factory to know it produces widgets.”

Here’s another piece of scientific dumbness from Ms. Harmon:

Having a parent with a Ph.D. is helpful to getting one in math, while black children are less than half as likely as white children to live with such a parent.

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The Jussie Smollett story has finally attained the point of total Narrative Collapse: The Chicago cops have charged Mr. Smollett with filing a false police report. That’s a felony that could carry jail time. Jussie Smollett is out free on ten thousand dollars cash bail.

What. A. Surprise.

Among the many, many things illustrated by the Jussie Smollett case is this one:

  • If you want a clear picture of what’s happening in our society, you should ignore the Main Stream news outlets and go to Dissident Right websites

…if you can find one that hasn’t been de-platformed, de-funded, de-Twittered, de-YouTubed, de-PayPal-ed, de-Facebooked, and so on.

While MSM journalists on six- and seven-digit salaries were gasping, swooning, and clutching their pearls, giving unqualified credence to Smollett’s story, we Deplorable bigots out here on the un-Respectable Right were calling hoax.’s Nicholas Stix—who, by the way, should you get the chance to meet him in one of our clandestine gatherings down in the catacombs, is a first-class journalist who would have been a household name back in the days when mainstream journalism meant something more than just parroting the CultMarx narrative—Nicholas Stix called hoax on January 29th, the very day it was first reported.

Steve Sailer expressed a guarded skepticism the following day:

This one is so absurd-sounding … that I’m wondering if it might not be true.

As Steve went on to point out, Smollett’s tale apparently didn’t sound at all absurd to Bigfoot media commentators and Democratic Presidential candidates. They swallowed it whole.

In my chosen lifetime mission as Sailer’s Bulldog, I took a similar line in the February 1st Radio Derb:

I’ll allow … that it might have happened, probability in the range two to five percent.

Steve and I were too cautious and Nicholas Stix’s journalistic instincts were correct: This was an obvious hoax from the start.

Cautious as Steve and I were, though, with our credence down at that two-to-five-percent level, we at least weren’t all-in gullible, like the fools who populate our Big Media outlets and political campaigns.

For them it’s Narrative, Narrative, Narrative. Facts, probabilities, and precedents [The list of bogus ‘hate crimes’ in Trump era is long, by Tamar Lapin, NYPost, February 21, 2019] count for nothing.

This is our society: an Empire Of Lies.

As far as my reading on the Jussie Smollett story has gone, I seem to be the only commentator striving to find some connection between Jussie Smollett and his only famous namesake, the 18th-century Scottish novelist Tobias Smollett, who got a mention in that same February 1st Radio Derb.

There are some mildly coincidental connections here, of the kind that would have pleased the late Arthur Koestler, a great believer in “synchronicity”.

Thus subsequently I noted the passing of British movie actor Albert Finney.

What’s the connection? Well, Finney starred in the 1963 movie Tom Jones, which was based on a novel by Henry Fielding, a coeval of Tobias Smollett. And no, “coeval” does not mean a person one has done evil things with. It means a person of the same age.

For bookish young Brits of my generation—I was a freshman college undergraduate when the movie came out—Albert Finney as Tom Jones was a huge hit. It got us all reading the original novel; and then, having sampled mid-18th-century picaresque fiction, we went looking for more, and encountered Tobias Smollett.

I personally didn’t get very far along that road. I have a dim memory of reading Roderick Random and thinking it not as good as Fielding. Sir Paul Harvey’s Oxford Companion to English Literature, my edition 1937, says that the story of Roderick Random is “told with infinite vigor and vividness,” although Sir Paul later tells us that “much of the story is repulsive.” I remember the vigor and vividness, but I don’t recall being repelled.

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Thank goodness St Valentine’s Day meant there was something to glow about this week. The political news just gets more depressing. I’ve been trying to hold on to some shreds of faith in our President, but he’s making it awfully difficult. This week’s fiasco, or Trumpasco, was of course the emergency funding bill out of Congress. Oh dear; oh dear, oh dear.

That funding bill is worse than bad: it’s a catastrophe.

It contains some meager funding for border fences in crucial places on our southern border; but the local authorities in those places are given a veto on the actual building of the fences! Since all the jurisdictions concerned are, at best, deep-blue Democrat, and at worst, bought-and-paid-for by the Mexican smuggling gangs, there will be no fences.

The more you look at the bill, the worse it gets. There is a flat-out Amnesty provision in it for any illegal alien resident in the U.S.A. who says they might sponsor a unaccompanied-minor border-jumper, or who lives in a household with one, or who lives in a household that includes a person who might sponsor one, or whose cousin has a dentist who plays golf with a guy whose wife thinks she might know one.

As Daniel Horowitz has tweeted:

This bill is … worse than amnesty. Amnesty is a reprieve for a transgression of the past. This bill prospectively invites 15 million illegals to engage in human smuggling in order to obtain de factopermanent status here.

Quote from Dan Stein at the Federation for American Immigration Reform: “If this bill is enacted, expect the largest surge of unaccompanied minors this country has ever seen.” [Experts: GOP/Dem Deal to Spark ‘Largest Surge’ of Young Border Crossers ‘Country Has Ever Seen’, by John Binder, Breitbart, February 14, 2019]

Enforcement is gutted by the bill, with a twenty percent reduction in detention beds and an expansion of catch-and-release.

It’s not just illegal aliens who benefit. Legal immigration is stepped up, too. Numbers of H-2B visas—that’s for non-agricultural, unskilled seasonal workers—are doubled. There’s $3.4 billion for “refugee resettlement” so we can have more Somalis and Congolese to enrich us.

And so on. This bill is awful, unspeakably awful. It’s an utter rebuff to everything Donald Trump campaigned on in 2016. Yet as we go to tape here at Radio Derb, we’re getting confirmation that the President has signed the filthy thing. [White House Confirms Donald Trump Has Signed Government Funding Bill, by Charlie Spiering, Breitbart,February 15, 2019]

Not to worry, says the President: I’ll declare a National Emergency and shuffle some funds over to pay for the fencing. He held a press conference Friday midday to tell us he was about to sign that declaration.

What’s the point, Mr. President? Friday midday you signed a declaration that will let you build a fence here and there. Friday afternoon you signed a bill that gives Sheriff Gonzalez in Wackapaloosa County a total veto on your using his land, while simultaneously ripping the guts out of immigration enforcement and showering the world with guest-worker visas.

Trump’s national-emergency declaration will anyway be lawyered to death. Trump himself seems to foresee this, but he dismissed it breezily when announcing the National Emergency declaration:

And we will have a National Emergency, and then we will then be sued, and they will sue us in the Ninth Circuit, even though it shouldn’t be there. And we will possibly get a bad ruling, and then we’ll get another bad ruling. And then we’ll end up in the Supreme Court, and hopefully we’ll get a fair shake.

Remarks by President Trump on the National Security and Humanitarian Crisis on our Southern Border,February 15, 2019

Uh-huh. How long will all that take, Mr. President? What if the Supreme Court declines to take the case? What if they take it but rule against you?

Have you noticed the Strange New Respect Chief Justice Roberts has been getting from our elites lately? [In Surprise Abortion Vote, John Roberts Avoids ‘Jolt to the Legal System’, By Adam Liptak, New York Times, February 8, 2019] And Justice Ginsburg’s back on her exercise bike.

And what about the Amnesties, and the increases in Catch-and-Release, and the H-2B visas? Will your National Emergency take care of those?

To compound his offenses, Trump has thrown Ann Coulter off the sled, though in the nicest possible way: “I like her, but she’s off the reservation … But I haven’t spoken to her. I don’t follow her. I don’t talk to her.”

The rule I heard was, you go home with the feller that brung you. Flipping the sexes round here, if there was one person more than any other that brung Donald Trump to the White House, it was Ann. Now she’s “off the reservation”—along with Steve Bannon and Jeff Sessions.

• Category: Ideology • Tags: Donald Trump, Immigration 
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February is, of course, Black History Month. So far, just one week in, the reminders are piling up. I have logged the following outrages that have black Americans cowering in fear in their tarpaper shacks.

  • Northam, the white Democratic Governor of Virginia, appeared in his 1984 medical school yearbook either in blackface, or in a Klan robe-and-hood, or neither, depending on who you believe. His picture in the 1981 yearbook of the Virginia Military Institute shows him having nickname “Coonman.” Governor Northam has been swinging wildly between denial and apology, with apology (I think) predominating.
  • The movie actor Liam Neeson, who I remember as a fine brooding Ethan Frome, explained to an interviewer how he’d worked up the anger for a film role he’s just recently performed. He’d recalled his feelings from an incident forty years ago, when a lady close to him was raped by a black man. The enraged young Neeson had gone out, presumably in London, looking for a random black man with the intent to kill him. Fortunately he calmed down before committing any violence. [Liam Neeson interview: Rape, race and how I learnt revenge doesn’t work, The Independent, February 5, 2019] He’s spent the last few days apologizing and protesting that he’s not racist.
  • January 28th in a New York Times op-ed, Daniel Pollack-Pelzner [Tweet him] who teaches English at liberal-arts Linfield College in Oregon told us that Mary Poppins is problematic—I’m sure that’s the right word, “problematic”—because in the classic movie version Mary deliberately blackens her face with soot. (Because she’s followed a chimney sweep up a chimney, but hey…) And in the original Mary Poppins books by Pamela Travers, 1930s to 1950s, characters use language about black people that we’d consider offensive in 2019, although nobody would have thought so in 1940 or 1950.


My first question, contemplating this nonsense: Are there enough grown-ups in the Democratic Party to fend off the party’s radicals?

Strike that! My second question: are there enough grown-ups in the United States to avert our apparently remorseless slide down into babbling infantilism?

And look at the implicit anti-whiteness on display in these stories. The merest, most trivial slight is taken to be outrageously offensive to the fragile sensibilities of blacks, even if from decades ago, while viciously anti-white comments go unremarked—will, in fact, get you a job on the New York Times editorial board, as it did for Sarah Jeong. (See Vox Explains Why You Can’t be Racist Against Whites,by Steve Sailer.)

I’ve been a fan of Political Science Professor Eric Kaufmann since reading his book The Rise and Fall of Anglo-America a dozen years ago. (See his debate with Kevin MacDonald.) Now here is Professor Kaufmann this week, writing in National Review: How ‘Asymmetrical Multiculturalism’ Generates Populist Blowback.[February 6, 2019]

And, yes, Kaufmann can fairly be categorized as Alt-Lite. He stays well clear of live rails—doesn’t touch race realism for example.

But he has an interesting mind, and a nice turn of phrase: “Asymmetrical Multiculturalism,” for example.


At multiculturalism’s heart … lies a contradiction: White majorities are compelled to be cosmopolitan, urged to supersede their ascribed identity. Minorities are enjoined to do the reverse.

• Category: Ideology, Race/Ethnicity • Tags: Blacks, Political Correctness 
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It can’t be just me, can it?

I recently learned from Peter Brimelow the right way to wear a scarf.

For the previous seven decades I had just draped the scarf round my neck with one end hanging longer than the other and then either (a) tossed the long end over my shoulder, or (b) tied a simple over-and-under at the throat.

The right way is: Fold the scarf in two, hang the doubled scarf round your neck, then push the open ends through the center loop. British Prime Minister Theresa May seems to know this.

How come I didn’t? How on earth did I get this far along in life without knowing such a simple thing?

Is it usual for an intelligent, well-read, well-traveled adult human being past retirement age to not know something so utterly elementary? Please tell me it is.

Non-nits mis-picked

Don’t go into the commentary business if you have a low tolerance for nit-picky readers.

I actually, honestly, appreciate them. I write a lot—way too much, in the opinion of some visitors to these monthly diaries—and inevitably make mistakes now and then. Readers email in to point out the blooper; I post a correction. It all helps keep us bloviators honest.

I now know, for example, and shall never again forget, that weasels are not rodents. I know, all right? I’ve got it—thank you! Now please stop with the emails!

Even when I think a reader has picked a nit in error—mis-picked a nit; picked a non-nit; whatever—the result is often to clarify my thought, or get me looking up stuff I otherwise wouldn’t. So … thanks! Really.

Here are two cases in point from the January email bag.

Celtic confusions

First case: A Radio Derb listener challenged my pronunciation of “Celt” with a hard “C,” as if it were a “K.” He wondered why so many Brits make “Celt” the lone exception to the rule that when an English word begins with “ce-,” the “c” is always pronounced as “s,” with a tiny handful of borderline exceptions like “cello.”

He allowed that there’s a case for the hard “c” to be made from etymology: ancient Greeks and Romans pronounced “Celt” with a “K.” But then, a Roman of the first century b.c. would have pronounced “Cicero” as Kee-keh-ro. Is that how Ipronounce it? No, of course not.

I ran off to check with my dictionaries. Both the British one (full OED, 1949) and the American one (Webster’s Third, 1993) allow both soft and hard “C” in “Celt.” To be sure, both list the soft “C” first; but I figure I’m in the clear lexicographically none the less.

My reader’s strongest point was that “Celt” with a hard “C” smells of the lamp. That is, it is fussily pedantic.

It only became hip to say Keltic about 30-40 years ago when some academics decided it was proper. This is why the Boston Celtics and the Scottish football club use the old pronunciation. Repeating the academic pronunciation seems to be an affirmation or acceptance of their superiority.

My reader’s dates are off there, at least where Britain is concerned. I’ve been hearing “Celt” with a hard “C” for as long as I can remember—about sixty years.

I started school Latin in 1956. We were taught to use the “German” pronunciation (that’s what I heard it called, I think because it had been worked out by 19th-century German scholars) when reading Latin texts aloud in class: hard “c,” “v” as “w,” and so on.

I don’t know when that style of teaching Latin was taken up in England. Evelyn Waugh wrote in A Little Learning that he and his schoolfellows were making fun of it circa (or kirka) 1916, so that was probably soon after the changeover from soft-“c” “medieval” pronunciation in Latin teaching.

Sellar and Yeatman, in their spoof history classic 1066 and All That, were still milking the topic for laughs fourteen years later:

Julius Caesar … having defeated the Ancient Britons by unfair means … set the memorable Latin sentence, “Veni, Vidi, Vici,” which the Romans, who were all very well educated, construed correctly.

The Britons, however, who of course still used the old pronunciation, understanding him to have called them “Weeny, Weedy, and Weaky,” lost heart and gave up the struggle …

Perhaps all those decades of Latin lessons—in England until the 1960s you could not be admitted to a university without an exam pass in Latin—influenced Brits when faced with uncommon words that possessed some classical connotation. “Cicero” and “Caesar” would have to count as not uncommon enough.

Or perhaps something else. The actual Celts are still numerous in the British Isles, and they seem to be the strongest partisans of the hard “C” in “Celt.” Perhaps it’s been that working its influence on the rest of the Brits.

The following tale is told of both Richard Harris, who was Irish, and also of Richard Burton, who was Welsh. Harris version:

He had little time for fools. One apocryphal story has an American wittering on to Harris about his own third-generation Irish heritage or some such, but using a soft “c,” pronouncing celt “selt”: “I’m a celt just like you,” says the American. “No sir, you are a sunt,” replies Harris.

(Burton version here.)

I note in passing that there is no soft “c” in either written Irish or written Welsh. Perhaps that has something to do with it.

The soft “C” in the name of the Glasgow soccer team remains to be explained. My guess would be that it’s part of the 1,500-year campaign by the Scots to try to make the rest of us forget they are really just Irish colonists with a better class of whiskey (or “whisky” if you’re Scottish).

• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Britain, Political Correctness 
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Originally published in Academic Questions, October, 2018 (click here for original) reposted by permission

When Charles Murray’s book Human Accomplishment: The Pursuit of Excellence in the Arts and Sciences, 800 B.C. to 1950 was published in 2003, I was assigned to review it. Forming my thoughts after reading the book, I recalled an earlier exchange I had had with the author. (We had some slight personal acquaintance by way of a private email discussion group we both belonged to.) I recorded that exchange in my review.

I once suggested to Charles Murray that the true object of his intellectual passion is not sociology, or psychology, or psychometry, but statistics. Murray: “If you had said ‘data,’ you would have been nearer to the truth.” That was when he was still at work on Human Accomplishment. Reading the book now, I see the wisdom of his reply. Murray is a master mariner of data—a datanaut, as it were. The science of statistical analysis supplies his tool kit—his sounding line and sextant—but his passion is for the numbers, and the truths that lie hidden in their dim green depths.

That is a key insight into Murray the public intellectual. I should say before proceeding, though, that it sells him short as a writer. The book about the Apollo Program that Murray and his wife Catherine Bly Cox wrote together, published in 1989, is straight reportage with very little number-crunching. It is beautifully done, a small masterpiece of journalism, and rightly received rave reviews. (Murray[1]: “The one in the Washington Post[2] is the stuff of authors’ fantasies.”) With the fiftieth anniversary of the first Moon landing coming up, Apollo: The Race to the Moon is still well worth reading, if you can find a copy.

However, it is that passion for data that most characterizes Murray as a public intellectual. Looking back on his life in a podcast conversation with science writer Sam Harris in April last year, Murray recalled the writing of Human Accomplishment very fondly. The five years he had spent on the book were, he said, “one of the great intellectual adventures of my life … a great memory.”[3]

That intellectual adventure must also have been something of a refuge. In 1994 Murray had published The Bell Curve: Intelligence and Class Structure in American Life, co-written with psychologist Richard Herrnstein, who died of cancer in the month the book was published. The Bell Curve was of course extraordinarily controversial. I shall enlarge on the reasons for the controversy further along in this article, but a key one was some passing references in the book to race differences in IQ.

Murray is a sociable and articulate man, but a private one, by no means a publicity hound. The obloquy heaped on him by detractors of The Bell Curve must have been vexing to him at the very least, perhaps distressing. It is easy to understand the pleasure he felt, working away on Human Accomplishment those five years, secluded with graphs, tables, and spreadsheets—a datanaut sailing the ocean of numbers, the howling of the mob only a distant murmur far across the waves, beyond the walls of his study.

In the years following 2003 Murray published five more books: two (first, second) offering libertarian approaches to social policy, one on education, one of life advice, and a big one—Coming Apart, 2012—revisiting the theme of The Bell Curve but restricting its attention entirely to white Americans. By mid-2016, Murray told Sam Harris, he believed he had been “pretty much rehabilitated, that the viciousness and the anger and so forth had disappeared.”[4]

Then came the election of Donald Trump to the U.S. Presidency and the rise of the “Resistance” movement and its street-fighting vanguard, the Antifa. Quite suddenly the political temperature went up twenty degrees. In the nation’s intellectual life the dull schoolmarmish conformism of the Bush and Obama years in matters relating to the human sciences gave way to a fierce, angry intolerance of all dissent from socially-approved dogma. Viewpoints that had formerly been countered with a disapproving tongue-click and a roll of the eyes were now denounced from academic pulpits with passionate zeal.

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