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JANUARY DIARY: [14 ITEMS] Race Realism Primer; the Four Ws of Wokeism; Remembering Kathy Shaidle, Etc.
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A race realism primer

Race realism is of course deeply taboo. Expounders of race realism are mere squeaking mouse voices off in a corner of the room, inaudible in society against the roaring and shrieking of race denialism. Even in the dwindling number of social spaces where some limited dissent from ideological orthodoxy is still allowed, you will not hear race realism. Tucker Carlson will never have Jared Taylor as a guest on his show, nor any of the names in the next paragraph, nor me.

Race realism is true none the less, rooted in the desire to understand the world, while race denialism is a lie, rooted in the desire for social approval. All honor and glory, therefore, to those scholars who, driven by the love of truth — that “faintest of all human passions“—have labored to improve our understanding of race as a biological phenomenon: Greg Cochran, Richard Lynn, Helmuth Nyborg, Tatu Vanhanen, E.O. Wilson, Michael Woodley of Menie, and others no longer among us, notably the late J. Philippe Rushton.

Given the fierce obloquy and sometimes violent physical assault that comes upon any academic working in this area, it’s remarkable that our understanding has made any progress at all. It has, though, and Ed Dutton, Professor of Evolutionary Psychology at Asbiro University in Łódź, Poland, has given an excellent up-to-date summary in his book Making Sense of Race.

Ed himself wrote a column for the book here at VDARE when it came out a few weeks ago, and that column gives the general idea: the book is a primer of race realism. You should buy a copy of your own, though. It’s available on Amazon, although for how much longer in the current climate of intensifying censorship, I wouldn’t venture to speculate.

(Can anyone tell me why in America we pronounce “primer” as if it were spelled “primmer“? Or is that just an impertinent question from an obnoxious immigrant old-timmer? Never mind.)

I read Making Sense with pleasure and instruction. It filled in many gaps for me—things people ask to which I didn’t know the answer.

For instance: According to Rushton’s application of Life History Theory to our species, human populations living for thousands of generations in harsh Arctic conditions will, from dealing with the challenges of their environment, perforce evolve to higher intelligence than others more comfortably situated. This, according to Rushton, accounts for the mean-IQ difference between Northeast Asians (Chinese, Japanese, and Korean, mean 105) and sub-Saharan Africans (mean 70).

Hold on there, though. “Arctic peoples” (by which Ed means Eskimos) have mean IQ only 91, well below Europeans, and even further below Northeast Asians, to whom they bear a strong physical resemblance. What’s up with that? Ed’s answer, which I found plausible, is on pages 117-118.

If we lived in a sane country, Ed’s little primer would be on the recommended-reading list for high-school seniors nationwide. Instead they get Robin DiAngelo and Ibram X. Kendi. Heaven help America!

In hora mortis nostrae—Remembering Kathy Shaidle

Still with Ed Dutton: In a January 28th post here at Ed used the term “mortality salience,” which I had never seen before. A respectable psychology website describes mortality salience as “a psychological state in which a person is consciously thinking about his or her own death.”

Personally, I’m not in that state very often, and would be content never to be in it at all. Other people’s deaths can be food for thought, though.

Kathy Shaidle died early this month. James Fulford posted a notice here at on the 9th. It includes Kathy’s own self-written obituary, which shows a spirit of cheerful resignation. I always admire that.

And envy it. It is unfortunately not granted to many of us to know, with our mental faculties all intact, that we shall die at some point in the near future. Some of us will go unexpectedly, more or less instantaneously: stroke, heart attack, accident. Others will sink into drawn-out senility, until neither death nor anything else has much meaning to us. That was the fate of my own poor parents.

To have time to compose yourself, to put your affairs in order and prepare a dying that accords with the way you have lived—that seems to me ideal, at any rate since modern drugs came up to suppress the final pains.

If you do have that time, the alternative to cheerful resignation is angry defiance of the kind Dylan Thomas urged on his father:

Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Sorry, Taff, I don’t see the point. Sure, it’s honorable to give Death the defiant finger; but that’s what Kathy Shaidle was doing too, just with more class.

I don’t recall ever meeting Kathy, but we knew a lot of the same people and were e-friends from, according to my email log, early 2013 on, with many exchanges.

Back in 2015, preparatory to quoting her on Radio Derb, I emailed to get the correct pronunciation of her name. Did that first vowel sound rhyme with “hay” or with “high”? Or, I asked, given the Canadian connection, with “eh”? Was the “dle” done with lateral plosion or as “dul”?

Kathy told me “Shaidle” rhymed with “cradle.” Apparently not minding my unkind quip about Canadians, she added: “Please send me the link to the audio and I will post everywhere.”

A lady, and a fellow dissident. RIP, Kathy.

My first ChiCom shill

These diaries get cross-posted to The Unz Review, which carries comment threads. Any time I post something about China, as I did last month, it brings out the ChiCom shills, mocking me for my ignorance of China, praising Mao Tse-tung, and scoffing at those fairy tales of massacres and famines.

I can’t be bothered to engage with these types. The truth is out there in plain sight for anyone who wants to know it. Head to your local library, or mix with Chinese people of the older generations.


However, as a kind of oblique riposte, and in hopes of showing that there is more here than just sloth on my part—that my acquaintance with ChiCom shills stretches so far back I can be forgiven for no longer wanting to bother with them—I thought I would just record for posterity my own very first encounter with a ChiCom shill.

Time: Early 1966.

Place: Friends’ Meeting House in Euston Road, London WC1.

Dramatis personae:

Derb, 20 years old, final-year student of mathematics at University College, London.

Han Suyin, 48 years old, bi-racial (Chinese father, Belgian mother) novelist, mainly famous for her 1952 novel A Many-Splendored Thing, which spun off a 3-Oscar movie and a chart-topping (Billboard No. 1, 1955) pop song.

• Anonymous Londoner, possibly a China scholar from the nearby School of Oriental and African Studies.

• Audience, a hundred or two gentry-liberal types.

Ms. Han had recently published an autobiographical book, The Crippled Tree, to favorable reviews in the British press (well, the segment of it that I patronized). I had read the book and liked it. Now the author was doing a promotional tour for the book. One of the events was a talk at Friends’ Meeting House, five minutes’ walk from my college. I went along to hear what Ms Han had to say.

I was not intensely political—higher math doesn’t leave much mental energy for anything else—but left-wing in the 1960s student-ish way: a member of the college Socialist Society, vaguely approving of the U.S.S.R., very critical of America’s rising involvement in Vietnam, had actually attended one of the earliest antiwar demos the year before.

I knew next to nothing about China, but in accord with my general opinions as above, assumed that Mao Tse-tung was a Good Thing, on the right side of history, lifting up his country from poverty and chaos to justice and harmony.

Han Suyin was already a cheerleader for the ChiComs. Having spent her childhood and some of her young-adult years in the disorderly, corrupt Republican China of the 1920s and 1930s, she regarded the communists as a cleansing force, banishing old evils and lifting up the poor. It wasn’t an unusual point of view among people at a low information level—people like me.

Han Suyin herself can’t be excused for lack of information, though. One of the obituaries — she died in 2012 at age 95 — tells us that:

She had been invited regularly to China since 1956, when she had her first of many private meetings with Premier Zhou Enlai.

She must have known about the atrocities at some level, but had willed herself to discount them. Can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs, y’know. Or, as my own dear mother used to say: “There’s none so blind as those who don’t want to see.”

There were other ChiCom shills doing the rounds at that time, although I didn’t know their names until later: Australian journalist Wilfred Burchett and sinologist Joseph Needham were among the most prominent. In 1965, the year before this event, Needham had co-founded SACU, the Society for Anglo-Chinese Understanding, an early British prototype for the ChiCom-promoting Confucius Institutes that plague American and European universities today.

The crowd at the Friends’ Meeting House event was overwhelmingly on Han Suyin’s side, dominated by gentry liberals — some of them likely already SACU recruits. This is not at all surprising. There is a lot of Higher Ed. in WC1: not just my college, but Birkbeck College, Bedford College (where I studied Mathematical Logic under Professor Kneebone)**, the British Museum, the administrative buildings and main library of the University of London, and many lesser institutions. For historians of literary culture, WC1 is a near synonym for Bloomsbury.

Furthermore, China was not newsy. We heard very little about it.The communists kept the country closed; there was little trade and no tourism. The only Westerners getting visas were those sympathetic to the regime, who could be depended on to write favorably about it in the Western press—people like Burchett, Needham, and Han Suyin. Mao’s Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution did not get under way until later that year. (When it did, Han Suyin was a loud cheerleader for it. Needham, who was much more intelligent and had a stronger attachment to traditional China’s high culture, fell into disillusion.)

So Ms Han had a mostly sympathetic audience that evening at Friends’ Meeting House. Fifty-five years on, my own memory of the event is naturally very dim. I recall the speaker as earnest and humorless, but have retained nothing of what she actually said in her address.

The way human memory works, though, discord and embarrassment register much more strongly than harmony and ease. So it was here. In the Q&A that followed Ms. Han’s address, I clearly recall a few moments of awkwardness when an audience member asked her about the rumors of a great famine a few years earlier. Was there any truth to those rumors? he asked.

I don’t know who that audience member was. Among those lesser institutions I mentioned as being in the neighborhood was SOAS, the School of Oriental and African Studies, which had some real China experts on its faculty—scholars who had been studying China their whole lives and had access to good up-to-date information, for example from diplomats and refugees. I have often wondered, without any way of knowing, whether that speaker was one such scholar.

Whoever he was, he was polite but persistent. In some to-ing and fro-ing with Ms. Han following his original question, he spoke with quiet authority and seemed well-informed. We now know, beyond any doubt, that there had indeed been an appalling famine in the years 1958-62 as a result of misguided government policies. It had hardly been noticed in the British press, though. I can’t recall having read any news of it at the time of Ms. Han’s address.


This questioner seemed to know all about it. Under his polite insistencies she was visibly uncomfortable, fumbling with the words of the approved Party line: “Natural disasters … bad harvests … American propaganda …” Then she found a footing. The government had, she said, instituted a nationwide system of food rationing to alleviate suffering. Yes, there were difficulties; but amidst them all, everyone in China was adequately fed! She clung grimly to that for two or three more exchanges until the questioner sat down amid murmurs of disapproval from the surrounding gentry.

So now I shall tell you that my eyes were opened and my undergraduate leftism, at least in regard to China, fell away, never to return—right?

Of course not. That’s not the way our minds work. I left Friends’ Meeting House that evening as well-inclined to Ms. Han and the ChiComs as when I had entered. I didn’t engage with Chinese people at any significant level until two years later; I didn’t live among them until my Hong Kong years, 1971-73.

Then, in those latter years, I heard about life in Mao’s China from people who had lived it and escaped from it. These weren’t hired shills talking for money from a memorized script in some ChiCom playbook. They were small, unimportant people—teachers, workers, nurses—speaking freely about their own or their parents’ lives. I listened, and started to do some serious reading.

I’ve continued that reading down to the present, half a century on. I’ve lived in China, traveled all over the place, and gotten to know dozens of Chinese people well enough to evaluate what they tell me.

That’s how I got my China knowledge. The shills are not for me. They’re for gulls and useful idiots.


** Bedford College is nowadays Regent’s University.

Introduction to The Four Ws

In all that reading of and about Chinese communism, I picked up the habit of thinking as ChiCom propagandists do, in terms of numerically-tagged slogans.

Opening my copy of Kwok-sing Li’s Glossary of Political Terms of the People’s Republic of China (The Chinese University of Hong Kong Press, 1995) a few times at random, I find:

  • The Two Basic Points (两个基本点),
  • The Three Togethers (三同)
  • The Four Olds (四旧),
  • The Five-Anti Campaign (五反运动),
  • The Six Political Criteria (六条政治标准),
  • The Seven Evils (七害),
  • The Eight Model Plays (八个革命样板戏),
  • The Nine-Point Policy (九条方针), and
  • The Ten Major Relationships (十大关系).

It doesn’t stop at ten: There are The Nineteen Questions (十九个问题), The Fifty-Word Line on Party Building (五十字建党方针), and many, many more. Sometimes two numerals are jammed together in one slogan: The Three Rules of Discipline and Eight Points for Attention (三大纪律、八项注意).

You wanna be a good commie, you gotta know your numbers.

Mulling over some of the doctrinal and rhetorical aspects of our own nation’s current state ideology the other day, it dawned on me that the major themes thereof could all be tagged with words or phrases whose initial letter is a “W.” The rather silly term “woke,” which I think is wearing out rapidly from over-use, is only the most prominent case.

For the general enlightenment therefore—you’re welcome!—and in that numericized ChiCom spirit, I’m going to give over the next four segments to The Four Ws of today’s Cultural Marxism.


The charge of Whataboutism has, by a kind of of rhetorical jiu-jitsu, undergone an inversion.

When I first came across it, Whataboutism was a way of mocking totalitarians.

Soviet citizen to commissar: “Tell me, comrade, is it true that an engineer in America makes four times the salary of an engineer here in the Soviet Union?”

Commissar: “What about it? In America they lynch Negroes!”

Now the totalitarians themselves have picked up the term to use as a cudgel against the badthinking enemies of orthodoxy.

Badthinker: “Why all the drama about a few clowns breaking windows in the Capitol? Last year Antifa and BLM were burning city centers.”

Goodthinker: “Feugh, you’re just peddling Whataboutism. That was mostly peaceful protests. This was an assault on the People’s House! An assault on democracy!”

Setting aside the particular issues there, and setting even further aside the fact that if a mob were to burn the U.S. Capitol to the ground, a great many of us would not mind very much, this is a small rhetorical victory for the totalitarians.

Look on the bright side, though: When you hear the word “Whataboutism” emerge from the mouth of some talking head on TV or the internet nowadays, you know to stop listening right there.


I have previously—in fact more than once—advertised my fondness for the late ChiCom leader Hua Guofeng and his Two Whatevers doctrine.

We will resolutely uphold whatever policy decisions Chairman Mao made, and unswervingly follow whatever instructions Chairman Mao gave.

There is an argument to be made, by someone much better versed in theoretical political science than I am, that all systems of total power trend towards, and eventually arrive at, Whateverism in a more general sense: State dogma is whatever the rulers say it is this week.

Current Chinese state dogma has certainly reached a pure form of Whateverism. Marx? Lenin?

I met one professed Marxist over dinner in Beijing a couple of years ago, a pleasant fellow who taught Marxist-Leninist doctrine at the Communist Party’s cadre school. His daughter had just graduated from a top American university, and he asked me if I could help her get a job on Wall Street. [You Will Be Assimilated: China’s Plan to Sino-Form the World by David Goldman (2020), page xiv.]

The literary archetype of a totalitarian state ideology is of course Ingsoc, the Party dogma in Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four. Is Ingsoc Whateverist? It surely is. As that link tells us:

Ingsoc is a word that can mean whatever the Party wants it to mean at any given moment: it has been severed from its historic roots.

The slogans of Ingsoc are: WAR IS PEACE, FREEDOM IS SLAVERY, IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH. The first two of those are frank assertions that words mean whatever the rulers say they mean, and you’d better not argue — brazen Whateverism. The third slogan has been a staple of totalitarian statecraft since the Tao Te Ching, a classic of Chinese philosophy, was written down in the fourth century B.C. (probably).

Thus under a wise man’s rule
Blank are their minds
But full their bellies.

The globalist-progressive ideology now being enforced on the U.S.A. is not — not yet — Whateverist. It actually has some doctrinal principles. There are, for example, the anti-white dogmas of Critical Race Theory, now standard teachings in our schools, colleges, and big corporations: White people are bad, black people are good.

There are some Whateverist tendencies, though—on immigration, for example.

Progressives used to be immigration restrictionists. Bernie Sanders was still carrying that torch as late as 2015. “Open borders? No, that’s a Koch brothers proposal …” Then Bernie got a call from the Center; now he’s for open borders. Whatever.


If there is Whateverism in our future, Who We Are-ism is now a fixed feature of our present. Like Whataboutism, though, it has been undergoing some interesting rhetorical transformations.

Who-We-Are-ism is almost always invoked negatively, some politician or licensed bloviator telling us that such-and-such a thing, generally some manifestation of hostility to the ruling class, is Not Who We Are.


The January 6th disorders at the Capitol brought forth a flood of these Not-Who-We-Are-isms from the Great and the Good. I missed a lot of it, mainly because I find it more and more difficult to engage with the news, or “news.” I did catch Joe Biden’s Not-Who-We-Are-ing that afternoon, and I think I saw Nancy Pelosi drop a Not-Who-We-Are on TV that evening, but that was it.

Ibram X. Kendi was more diligent, as befits one of our leading public intellectuals. Writing at The Atlantic January 11th, Prof. Kendi logs Not-Who-We-Ares from Senator Ben Sasse, Representative Nancy Mace, and ex-President Jimmy Carter.

Strange to say, Who-We-Are-ist-in-Chief Barack Obama was mute. So far as I’m aware, he didn’t issue a single Who We Are, either positive or negative. Ctrl-F tells me that not one of Prof. Kendi’s 2,600-words is “Obama.”

This may be just a case of Obama’s having exhausted his ammo. Perhaps, after eight years of telling us Who We Are (or Are Not), he has just run out of Who We Ares. Isn’t there some kind of recharging station in D.C. where he can load up?

Prof. Kendi, however, is practicing more jiu-jitsu in that Atlantic piece. Political violence, he says, is Who We Are, along with corruption, terrorism, assassination, mass incarceration, and of course white supremacy. The U.S.A. is a really awful place, so unlike those honest, peaceful, non-oppressive black-run countries!

The carnage has no chance of stopping until the denial stops. This is not who we are must become, in the aftermath of the attack on the U.S. Capitol: This is precisely who we are. And we are ashamed.

This illustrates the fact that the progressive left is rhetorically quite agile; not what you’d expect from people promoting theories of human nature based on child-like magical thinking.

Not that non-progressives are totally bereft of rhetorical agility. Here was Mike Pompeo tweeting on January 19th, his last full day at the State Department:

Woke-ism, multiculturalism, all the -isms — they’re not who America is. They distort our glorious founding and what this country is all about. Our enemies stoke these divisions because they know they make us weaker.

The New York Times was outraged by that, probably feeling that Pompeo was stealing their progressive clothes: Hands off, pal! Who-We-Are-ism is OURS, not yours.

Sorry, guys, but Who-We-Are-ism has gotten away from you. I expect to see more people from outside the radical left Not-Who-We-Are-ing against social phenomena they don’t like.

And why not? In a nation with constitutionally-enshrined freedom of speech you can’t keep nifty rhetorical figures caged up as the exclusive property of one political faction. That’s Not Who We Are.


For a full set of W-isms, I should add a few words about Who-Whom-ism.

According to Wikipedia, Lenin got the Who-Whom ball rolling on October 17th 1921, so we are coming up to the centenary. That original usage of Lenin’s, though, was less memorable than Stalin’s chiselled-down 1929 version. Lenin seems to have been speaking of success in competition; Stalin reduced it to conquest and domination: Who gets to be the master over Whom?

(I note in passing that in the matter of seizing and keeping total power, it was no small achievement to have been more reductionist than Lenin.)

In the context of today’s U.S.A., Who-Whom-ism is the practice of assigning commercial or civil rights and criminal-justice outcomes based not on stale, outmoded white-supremacist doctrines of so-called “civic equality,” nor on anything a citizen may have done, but on what he thinks.

If you have bad thoughts, as indicated by the company you keep or by your spoken, written, or online utterances, then companies can deny you access to their goods and services, the government can curtail your rights, the media can malign you, and the courts will deal harshly with you. Contrariwise, if your thoughts are reasonably well-aligned with ruling-class ideology, then no company will shun your custom, government will zealously defend your rights, the media will smile on you, and you will get a pass from the courts.

They—corporations, the government, the media, the courts — are the Who, the ones who can do stuff to others; you are the Whom, the one to whom stuff is done.

It’s in the court system that Who-Whom-ism is most glaringly apparent, thanks to our politicized law schools and Soros-funded prosecutors. We at have reported on many instances: the 2017 inaugural riots (the trial of the rioters sabotaged by a radical judge), the four-year sentences on two Proud Boys for defending themselves against Antifa thugs (Antifa thugs not charged), the barbaric 419-years-plus-life sentence on James Fields (Charles Holliday-Smith not charged), the prosecution of the McCloskeys (for defending themselves), and so on.

It’s all being played out again in the case of the Capitol Hill intruders. They should certainly be charged with damaging public property (as of course should those defacing or destroying statues), and with whatever the offense is for entering a government office without permission, but does anyone think the charges will stop there? I doubt the courts will go full James Fields on them, but they will be handing down double-digit sentences. Never mind what the intruders did: These people have bad thoughts!

Yet the intruders did no harm, other than to the dignity of our congress-roaches, who cowered under their desks while unarmed guys with face-paint and weird costumes capered and took selfies. That, I guess, is the point.

Meanwhile Antifa and BLM burn and loot with impunity. Every day, every damn day, I’m looking at reports like these.

Jovanni Garcia, of Beaverton, Ore., was arrested last year at a violent #antifa protest but those charges were dropped.

On #J20, he was arrested again at a riot & charged w/attempted assault. He was released without bail & had his charge dropped again.

Also arrested at the #J20 BLM-antifa Portland riot:

Christopher Arthur Lundrigan, 26: charge dropped … Andre Marks; charge dropped … Trevor D Colter, 26: felony riot, resisting arrest & more; immediately bailed out

Who, whom? Equality before the law is a fast-fading memory. If you hold opinions much to the right of Angela Davis, you are an enemy of the people—a terrorist!—in today’s U.S.A. In tomorrow’s, if current trends continue, you’ll be in a camp.

Exit minimalism

One more on preparing yourself for the arrival of Azrael.

January 13th the feds executed 52-year-old Lisa Montgomery for a horrible crime she committed in 2004. This was the first federal execution of a woman in nearly 70 years.

The detail that got my attention was Ms Montgomery’s last words—actually just word. The New York Times reported that:

Shortly before Ms Montgomery’s death, a female prison staff member gently removed Ms Montgomery’s face mask and asked if she had any last words, to which Ms Montgomery responded, “No,” according to a report from a journalist in attendance.

I guess you could argue that Ms. Montgomery’s simple negative was just as defiant, in its own minimalist way, as the approaches displayed by Kathy Shaidle and Dylan Thomas.

A sane transsexual

Speaking of Welsh people: In my December 4th podcast I noted the passing of the Anglo-Welsh writer Jan Morris, originally James Morris. James made a full transition to Jan in his/her mid-forties, surgery and all. She then wrote a book about it: Conundrum (1974). I confessed that, although a fan of Morris’ writing, I had not read that particular book.

That preyed on my mind for a couple of days, so I up and bought the book.

It is of course well-written. Morris comes across as a likable person, and an invincibly good-natured one. She has the cold eye, too. Her book is not an advertisement for sex-reassignment surgery.

I do not for a moment regret the act of change. I could see no other way, and it has made me happy. In this I am one of the lucky few. There are people of many kinds who have set out on the same path, and by and large they are among the unhappiest people on the face of the earth.

So what did I learn about transsexuals from reading Conundrum? Mainly, the thing that I’d expected to learn from it, being well-acquainted with Morris’ travel and historical writing. I learned that a sane, clever, well-read, civilized, socially-useful person can honestly believe him- or herself to belong not to his physical sex but to the other one.

Doesn’t transsexualism encompass a lot of much less appealing types, too? It surely does. Morris herself refers to them:

… the poor castaways of intersex, the misguided homosexuals, the transvestites, the psychotic exhibitionists, who tumble through this half-mad world like painted clowns, pitiful to others and often horrible to themselves.

Naturally those are the ones who get our attention and form our common prejudices. The Jan Morrises, normal in all but that one inward thing, pass by unnoticed.


I should however confess that along with improving my attitude to transsexuals, Conundrum also stirred a different mild prejudice of mine. This is a common and very old prejudice among the English—around 1,500 years old, I’d guess. It came to mind when I was typing those lines from Dylan Thomas.

What is it? Just that there is something a bit … peculiar about the Welsh.


If you haven’t read anything by Morris, my main recommendation is his** three-volume history of the British Empire.

It’s a big read—1,318 pages of narrative, not counting introductions, tables of contents, indices, and so on—but not at all dry. There are many odd facts and personalities. My favorite of the latter is of course John Derbyshire, who in the 1890s “travelled to the Kimberley diggings [i.e. diamond mines in South Africa] from the Natal coast on a tricycle fitted with a triangular sail.” (Vol. II, Ch. 6).

If that’s too many pages, and you’re not interested in transsexualism, my secondary recommendation would be Manhattan ’45, a neat evocation of New York City in 1945, when American civilization was at, or close to, its zenith. Plenty more odd facts. Did you know that the executive dining room of the New York Times used to have a custom grace printed up for guests invited to lunch?

O Lord, the Giver of all Good,
In whose just hands are all our Times,
We thank thee for our daily food,
Gathered (as News) from many Climes.
Bless all of us around this Board,
And all beneath this ample roof; —
What we find fit to print O Lord
Is after all the pudding’s proof.
May those we welcome come again,
And those who stay be glad, Amen.


** Or “her.” The first two volumes are copyright James Morris (1973, 1968; and no, I don’t know why Volume Two was copyrighted first). The third volume, Farewell the Trumpets is copyright Jan Morris (1978). Amazon lists the trilogy in hardcover as by James, but the individual paperbacks as by Jan. Changing sex makes for a lot of complications.

Math Corner

Solutions to last month’s brainteaser are as usual posted on my personal website.

Outrage. Before teasing your brain again I have an outrage to report. Several readers sent me this.

What did I think? they asked. Is it even legal?

To the first question: As a long-time recipient of the AMS monthly Notices, I am deeply unsurprised. The AMS is now a temple of Cultural Marxism. I’ve been grumbling about this for years: see here, here, here, here, and here.

To the second question: Is it legal? Of course it is. In fact, if it fawns on black people, insults white people, and carefully omits to mention East Asian people, it’s not merely legal in the U.S.A. today, it’s compulsory.

For more on this particular issue, my mathematician pal at the posttenuretourettes blog has a post here and a follow-up here. From the comment thread to that follow-up, I particularly liked this VDARE-relevant sentence from commenter “STEM Caveman”:

“Diversity” rhymes with “H-1B,” as Google HR has noticed, and pays the regulators to not notice.


Brainteaser. I’m not sure I have a true brainteaser for you this month. Let me explain that.

I belong not only to the AMS but also, for my sins, to the MAA, the Mathematical Association of America. Every month I get the MAA Monthly. This is more seriously mathy than the AMS Notices. Once you get past the Letter from the Editor on page three, it’s pretty much all hard math.

Not that the Monthly doesn’t make clear it’s on board with wokeness. The only picture of a human being in the January 2021 issue is this one, on the inside front cover. The editor is of course a female; in fact she tells us in her January Letter that she will be handing off the editorship in 2022 to another female. Inexplicably, both females are white. I hope this won’t inspire a BLM fire-bombing of MAA headquarters.

These minor virtue signals aside, the MAA Monthly is, as I said, solidly mathematical. Among its treasures is the “Problems and Solutions” section at the very back of each issue. Seven (usually) problems are proposed by readers of the Monthly. After that come seven (usually) worked solutions to problems proposed in previous issues.

The time lag between a problem’s being posed and its solution being posted is considerable; average about fifteen months, I think. So if you are stumped by a problem in this January 2021 issue, you’ll probably have to wait until Spring of 2022 to be destumped.

If I were to tell you that I work diligently at solving all seven of each month’s problems, I’d be telling an untruth. To be perfectly honest, most of them are too hard for me, and much harder than my typical Diary brainteasers. If, at peril of my life, I had to attempt solutions to all seven, I could probably crack them all, but it would take me every waking hour of the month and leave me hospitalized in a condition of utter mental exhaustion.

Sometimes a problem catches my fancy, though, and I fiddle with it for a couple of hours. My batting average for these occasional efforts is around .500. For the ones I don’t solve I have, as previously explained, to wait a year or so for the worked solution … by which time I’ve usually forgotten all about my unsuccessful assault.

Hence my perplexity as to whether this is a real brainteaser. It’s one of the problems in the January issue of MAA Monthly, submitted by Jovan Vukmirovic of Belgrade, Serbia.

(Most of the submitters give foreign addresses or have seriously foreign — mainly East or South Asian — names: five of the January seven, four of December’s seven, six of November’s seven, six of October’s seven, … For reasons I don’t understand, Romania punches well above its weight: six of the twenty-eight submissions in those four issues were from Romania.)

OK, here is Jovan Vukmirovic’s submission.

Problem: Let x1, x2, and x3 be real numbers, and define xn for n ≥ 4 by xn = max{xn−3, xn−1} − xn−2. Show that the sequence x1, x2, … is either convergent or eventually periodic, and find all triples (x1, x2, x3) for which it is converegent.

Well, that caught my eye so I fiddled with it for a couple of hours … and got absolutely nowhere. Usually I can at least glimpse a way to the solution, even when I can’t be bothered to slog my way through to the end. Here I got no handle on the thing at all.

So now I have to wait until next year for a worked solution, unless some reader more mathematically adept than I am—not a high bar—can help me out.


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 has had two books published by com: FROM THE DISSIDENT RIGHT (also available in Kindle) and FROM THE DISSIDENT RIGHT II: ESSAYS 2013.

(Republished from VDare by permission of author or representative)
• Category: Ideology • Tags: China, Political Correctness 
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  1. Equality before the law is a fast-fading memory.

    Yep, it’s been replaced with “equity, before the law.”

    • Replies: @SMK
  2. I missed December’s brainteaser, but looking at the solution I’m reminded of a problem I solved a few years ago.
    The hour, minute and second hands of the clock coincide at noon (or midnight, take your pick).
    Outside the range 11:59 – 12:01, when are the three hands closest together, and what angle do they subtend at that moment?

  3. The difference between American English and English English is frustrating and merciless. For example, why is a substance “flammable” instead of “inflammable”? How would it sound if your doctor told you your wound is “flamed” instead of ” inflamed”?

    Similarly, surely one jumps into a pool instead of jumps in a pool?

    Wasn’t there a song about this?

    I enjoy your posts Mr Derbyshire. Keep well.

  4. Svevlad says:

    I say it’s all about disease load, or better said, population density. Lower disease load = higher population = more competition = higher intelligence.

    Africa had a ridiculously low population density all the way until we got them modern medicine. Not really much to select from then, is it?

    The only problems arise if you enter a high level equilibrium trap like India, which needs I guess one more bottlenecking to have an actually competent majority.

    Two exceptions are Americas (no working animals means hilariously high labor costs and lower population, if they got a batch of horses let’s say in 1000BC the place would look radically different today) and Australia (completely worthless, crap climate, no resources for primitives, generally fucked)

  5. We now know, beyond any doubt, that there had indeed been an appalling famine in the years 1958-62 as a result of misguided government policies.

    Horse shit.

    As we now know beyond any doubt the misguided government policies were US Government grain embargoes, imposed in hopes of starving China into submission, in the midst of the worst El Nino event in history (it also wiped out half Canada’s prairie wheat crop).

    But, as we now know beyond any doubt, the embargoes failed thanks to the CIA’s 30-40,000 Chinese spies. Here’s the Agency’s report from the two worst years:

    April 4, 1961: The Chinese Communist regime is now facing the most serious economic difficulties it has confronted since it concentrated its power over mainland China. As a result of economic mismanagement, and especially of two years of unfavorable weather, food production in 1960 was hardly larger than in 1957, at which time there were about 50 million fewer Chinese to feed. Widespread famine does not appear to be at hand. Still, in some provinces, many people are now on a bare subsistence diet, and the bitterest suffering lies immediately ahead, in the period before the July harvests. The dislocations caused by the ‘Leap Forward’ and the removal of Soviet technicians have disrupted China’s industrialization program. These difficulties have sharply reduced the rate of economic growth during 1960 and have created a severe balance of payments problem. Public morale, especially in rural areas, is almost certainly at its lowest point since the Communists assumed power, and there have been some instances of open dissidence.

    May 2, 1962: The future course of events in Communist China will be shaped largely by three highly unpredictable variables: the wisdom and realism of the leadership, the level of agricultural output, and the nature and extent of foreign economic relations. During the past few years, all three variables have worked against China. In 1958, the leadership adopted a series of ill-conceived and extremist economic and social programs; in 1959, there occurred the first of three years of bad crop weather; and in 1960, Soviet economic and technical cooperation was largely suspended. The combination of these three factors has brought economic chaos to the country. Malnutrition is widespread, foreign trade is down, and industrial production and development have dropped sharply. No quick recovery from the regime’s economic troubles is in sight. [Prospects for Communist China. National Intelligence Estimate Number 13-4-62]

    The government had fed million-man armies on the march, under fire, for 25 years, and were masters of logistics, so nobody starved to death.

    • Troll: Lot, Achmed E. Newman
  6. AceDeuce says:

    ….”human populations living for thousands of generations in harsh Arctic conditions will, from dealing with the challenges of their environment, perforce evolve to higher intelligence than others more comfortably situated.”

    “I’ve got no use for a man who’s never been snowed on.”

    19th Century railroad tycoon James J. Hill.

    Who also said:

    “Give me Swedes, snuff and whiskey, and I’ll build a railroad through Hell.”

  7. That was one of your best, Mr. Derbyshire, and that’s saying a lot. I appreciate the 2 pieces of humility in here too:

    1) I see you asked for help on a math problem, rather than presenting one, haha! I will be of no help on this, though I will say that Mr. Macumazhan’s clock hand problem has enough reality to it, and to me, that I think I could do it. Is it not a calculus problem with a single combined function to be minimized? (oops, minimised, dammit!)

    2) It takes humility to admit one didn’t learn anything from what should have been a good lesson, in your case, from the guy at the meeting who brought up the Chinese famine to Speaker Han*. I would like to say that I did better myself, having been a Conservative/Libertarian my whole life. It’s true that I have, but it’s not totally due to my having a personality without the normal overly-open-minded, fall-for-anything, “the elders are stupid” attitude at a young age. It’s also because my Dad taught me right.


    * BTW, I capitalized “Speaker” as just an example of another big Chinese thing, such as the numbering of whatevers that you wrote about again. I’d read in one of my books on China that the occupation of a Chinaman (or Chinawoman) is important enough to where people were (maybe still are?) addressed that way, like Chairman Mao, Teacher Luo, Sanitary Sewage Plant Manager Ho Li Xiat, Pundit Der bei xir, etc. Before you put out some writing on this, give Peak Stupidity a chance. I can see some funny stuff right now.

  8. The classic and important communist Who? Whom? formula – i.e., Who is our choice to win? Whom shall we destroy? – seems indeed to have been enunciated by Lenin in 1921, but then in turn also by Trotsky in 1925 before Stalin upheld it in 1929

    So it was the full communist trio for кто кого?, kto kogo?, deservedly emphasised by Steve Sailer in his postings on the loony fake ‘leftism’ of our times

    Sad that Derbyshire seems so accepting of the USA barbarism of the death penalty, that he makes a joke about a woman being put to death … but then Derb grew up in a Britain still hanging people, including three or so women, the UK also hanging a young man who killed nobody, but was the companion of a too-young-to-be-executed boy who shot a policeman, that story dramatised in the film ‘Let Him Have It’

    The USA hanged two people in the 1990s, in Joe Biden’s Delaware and in Washington State … a barbaric way to kill, as death is usually by slow strangulation even when the long drop breaks the neck to induce a coma … but that is not reliable, and some are conscious as they strangle for nearly an hour before dying, such as the petite women hanged in Iran these days

  9. SMK says: • Website

    Re: the execution of Lisa Montgomery. The horrors and abuse she endured as a child and adult -gang rape by her father and his friends, sadistic beatings by her father and two husbands, 16 years of enslavement, abuse, misery, and debasement in prison, and and much else- were so hellish that her execution by lethal injection was an act of mercy and compassion.

    Death is oblivion, nothingness, the cessation of consciousness, the end of pain and suffering, liberation and surcease from the “hell that is other people,” to quote Sartre, the annihilation of a lifetime of memories in which (for most people, including myself and far more so for people like Lisa Montgomery) the bad and worse far exceed the good and better. Death is like falling asleep, with no dreams, and not waking.

    • Replies: @Notsofast
  10. Notsofast says:

    to die, to sleep – to sleep, perchance to dream- ay, there’s the rub, for in this sleep of death what dreams may come…

  11. I like how you selectively disapprove of much of official history and what the media feeds us in general. And then you selectively approve of the official, All-American, CIA-approved narrative about the Chinese famine.

    This is always the hypocrisy of you guys. Look, if you’re going to disbelieve the media, you have to disbelieve all of it. Or else you are either a hypocrite or a liar or suffering from severe cognitive dissonance.

    • LOL: 36 ulster
    • Troll: Ian Smith
  12. Before printing type was denominated in points, there were customary names for type sizes. “Long primer” was the equivalent of 10-point, and “great primer” (or “grand primer”) was 18-point. These size names came from the books customarily printed in them – a “primer” was a child’s first reading textbook. In similar fashion, the name for 8-point was “brevier,” alluding to the breviary, a book in which were printed the daily offices said by priests and monks.

    The book and the type size are pronounced “primmer,” with a short I.

    In other uses, e.g., to describe the percussion cap set in the head of a small-arms cartridge, the word is pronounced “primer,” with a long I.

    I don’t think Mr. Derbyshire will find any Americans that refer to the ammunition component as a “primmer.” At least I’ve never heard one do so.

    • Replies: @Mackerel Sky
  13. What is ‘wokeism’ about? It should really be called Wokewicz.

    It’s about Judeo-Abnormativity. That Jews, the 2% Other, should be ruling a goy order is most unnatural and abnormal. For that reason, to make the abnormal the ‘new normal’, Jews must invert everything. So, powerful Jews are weak and defenseless. So, criminal blacks are victims. So, degenerate trannies and decadent homos are arbiters of morality. So, the Jewish-run propaganda machine preaches about ‘fake news’. So, you goy must reject your identity but respect the Jewish identity.

  14. Totalitarian?

    More like Cabalitarian.

  15. jamie b. says:

    Which spelling is better: “Wokism” or “Wokeism”?

    • Replies: @Macumazahn
  16. unwoke says:

    “Doesn’t transsexualism encompass a lot of much less appealing types, too? It surely does. Morris herself refers to them:
    … the poor castaways of intersex, the misguided homosexuals, the transvestites, the psychotic exhibitionists, who tumble through this half-mad world like painted clowns, pitiful to others and often horrible to themselves.
    Naturally those are the ones who get our attention and form our common prejudices. The Jan Morrises, normal in all but that one inward thing, pass by unnoticed.”

    They hardly pass by unnoticed, as you & others have shown & Mr. Morris himself wrote a vain book about it to make sure he got noticed. How can you be normal even if (assuming) you are normal in every other way, if you are not normal in the one inward thing which matters most? Maybe you could get your woke friends to explain that to us. Even though the woke seem to prefer the more misguided, psychotic much less appealing types to celebrate in order to wave their wokeness in our faces, it applies to the Morrisses too. Once you accept any of these painted clowns, you’re on the slippery slope to accepting the whole horrible lot.

  17. Elijah says:

    Yes, there certainly is something peculiar about the Welsh. Also, we never cared for you either. Free Wales, if you please.

    • Replies: @Achmed E. Newman
  18. On ‘primer’ as primmer; I remember very vividly that – in my neck of the woods – the first post-kindergarten grades were Primer 1 and Primer 2 – pronounced primmer. This was just prior to our family moving to Australia in 1972; I was a kiddie at Spotswood Primary School in New Plymouth.

    It went “Primer”-pronounced-primmer, then “Standard”… and the big kids had “Form”.

    Primers and Standards taken together comprised primary school; Form I and II made up Intermediate (I did Form II in 1976 at Hawera Intermediate, while spending a year back in NZ with my grandparents); Form III onwards was High School.

    Nowadays I see that Spotswood refers to “Year 1” – “Year 6”. Primer-pronounced-primmer is lost to the ages.

  19. SafeNow says:

    Kane Tanaka, the world’s oldest verified living person (118) attributes her longevity to practicing math, so stay with it Derb! (Also sleep, and good food.) I am wondering if modern medicine with all of its new neural imaging and the like can prove that she is onto something.

  20. Here is a helpful point on the math puzzle: the implied mapping from R4 to Rinfinity is linear. So consider any R4 vector (x1,x2,x3,x4) which maps to an Rinfinity vector (x1,x2,x3,y4,y5,…). If we multiply input x by any scalar alpha then output y is also multiplied by alpha. So you only need to solve the stated problem on the interval (-1,+1) and it is solved implicitly for all of R4. For any starting values outside this range, you can easily map down to the equivalent starting values in the interval.

    It looks like a chaotic mapping, at first glance.

  21. @Godfree Roberts

    I present Chi-Com shill Exhibit A, Your Honor.

    Though the sub-shills have not appeared on this thread yet, we can always count on Godfree Roberts, a man who is such a huge Communist (and sack-hanger on Chairman Mao) that even the Chinese Communist Party won’t let him in to the country, to spout his obvious bullshit. Thanks for the link to some more obvious bullshit of yours, too, BTW.

    Except for the unexpected “Horse shit” remark here, I gotta say that Mr. Roberts is by far the most polite of the shills (Redmudpooch, D. Dan, Deng, Showmethereal, Chinaman, D.B.Cooper*, and occasionally Biff). That’s what takes one by surprise. Who knew that there were polite Communists? (They don’t usually stay that way …)

    I know someone whose grandfather on her mother’s side, (gong gong) starved to death during this time. People had resorted to eating grass and tree bark. This was due giving absolute power to an individual, in this case Chairman Mao. I’m sure Mao loved the Chinese people and was doing what he thought was best for the country. That’s the problem with absolute power though. Mao’s stupidity, with his commanding of the economy got 30 to 40 million people starved to death. Peak Stupidity formula from our own math corner: Stupidity + Absolute Power = Evil.

    Oh, and about Mr. Roberts’ continual rants about “the embargo, the embargo!”: Damn, man, you know Red China was our enemy during this time. I don’t read many complaints from Americans about Nazi Germany in 1945 “bastards embargoed all the jet engines and ballistic missiles!”


    * Who has never told me what he did with the 200 grand, demonstrating that he has appropriated the American handle he uses with not even the slightest bit of effort.

    • Replies: @Godfree Roberts
  22. @Elijah

    Free the Whales!
    Save those snails.

  23. My explanation for the comparatively low iq of eskimos(Inuit, whatever is pc these days) is that they are a small population isolate that broke off 10000 years ago. Larger populations are needed for more mutations to occur. They are in equilibrium with their environment.

    That said, their iq of 91 is not that that low. It’s still much higher than that of Africans and comparable to Asian populations like Philippinos from which they likely derived. There is a lot of iq variation within Europe and Asia. Cold weather is a mechanism, not a guarantee. For example, Irish average iq is about 95(also a comparatively northerly group), while ashkenazi Jewish iq is as high as 115 in some studies. That 20 point spread is higher than that between the Eskimos and any other Asian group. I imagine Lapps have a similar profile to eskimos. Does anyone know anything about the Lapps?

  24. Mike Tre says:

    “She has the cold eye, too. Her book is not an advertisement for sex-reassignment surgery.”

    See, this is the perfect illustration of the.. what would you call it… cognitive dissonance perhaps? of older pundits who spend quite a bit of time lamenting over the slow and painful loss Western values and standards that they themselves have stood by and watched happen for 20, 30, 40, 50 plus years. They often pontificate on the “how did we get here” aspect of our current degenerating civilization.

    Well, I’ll give one reason that relates specifically to the above quoted text:

    “Jan” Morris is not a woman. “Jan” Morris is a man. A male. The correct pronouns to assign to any reference made to him, are him, his, and he. To refer to “Jan” Morris as a female in any way, is a concession, but more accurately a surrender, and certainly a validation, of the progressive left’s efforts to completely redefine language to suit their political framing and their narrative.

    A huge factor in the progressive left’s success in this century long culture war was/is their ability to invent, redefine and or replace the terms of every single issue. For example:

    Marriage: redefined
    Racist: invented
    (Insert victim group term here)phobia: This is both invented terminology as well as a reversely engineered misdefinition; The “transphobe” is labelled as someone with an irrational fear of transsexuals, when in reality that person merely sees transsexuals for what they actually are: mentally ill sexual degenerates.
    Gender: perpetual redefining
    African American: replaced black which replaced negro
    Gay: redefined

    Etc, Etc, Etc.

    JD et. al, perhaps unintentionally, contribute to the progressive left’s success in controlling the language every time they choose to use the language the left promotes. In that sense, it doesn’t matter what his point of view is on whatever the topic is because his reader sees that he accepts the language his opponents insists he uses. Using your opponent’s language is essentially making your opponent’s argument for them. To take a step further, you become controlled opposition whether you realize it or not.

    • Agree: Charles
    • Replies: @Charles
  25. Set the three cells A1, A2, and A3 in excel all equal to the functional expression +rand()-rand(). This expression generates random numbers between -1 and +1. In cell A4 put the formula +max(a1,a3)-a2 and then copy this formula down for two thousand rows. Draw a bar chart of the eight cells a1993,a1994,a1995, a1996,a1997,a1998,a1999,a2000 and place this bar chart right near the top of the excel spreadsheet.

    Keep hitting the F9 key to randomly change the first three entries. The sequence converges to a periodic four-element vector for every random draw.

    I suspect that this sequence is convergent almost everywhere (measure one) to a periodic four element vector, but this is “the Russian method” not proper mathematics. Just a guess based on fooling around in excel.

  26. SMK says: • Website
    @The Alarmist

    Albeit Tucker, Hannity, Laura, Limbaugh, and all others on Fox News and talk-radio are not only race denialists but will also never disclose and address the realities of black-on-white violence and criminality, the totalitarian left wants to censor and “cancel” them for their “limited dissent from ideological orthodoxy” and “political correctness” on a few matters. And they’re angry and fearful, justifiably, since the left has never had more power and has never been more repressive and totalitarian.

    The irony is that the left wants to do to them what they and the left have done to race-realists, white advocates, and those who oppose an invasion of tens of millions of legal and illegal aliens and their offspring because they’re race-realists and white advocates.

    In defense of Tucker and others at Fox News and on talk-radio, their overseers and bosses and sponsors wouldn’t allow them to have Jared or the Derb as guests on their shows even if they wanted to interview them at length or even for a few minutes, which I doubt.

  27. @Achmed E. Newman

    I know someone whose grandfather on her mother’s side, (gong gong) starved to death during this time. People had resorted to eating grass and tree bark.

    Good. Let’s get real here.

    What’s her name? Where did her grandfather on her mother’s side live? How old was he when he died?

    Yes, people did resort to eating all kinds of things to stay alive, but excess deaths were confined to people over 60 years of age–when life expectancy was 58.

  28. I have no idea of the name even if my close Chinese source told me. You expect me to remember the Chinese name? This was way out in Yunnan province or north of there, and her mother’s side grandfather lived on the other side of the province and survived. 3 out of 4 of her grandparents survived, but starvation is starvation, no matter what age. Maybe you could chalk it up to COVID-59, I dunno.

    Face it, Godfree, you can’t revise this history. Too many people know. Too many people have relatives that starved to death. The Totalitarian Communist system of your beloved Chairman Mao killed them. The reason even Mr. Winnie-the-Pooh what’s-his-name will never go full Commie economically is because they all know still people who remember how miserable it was, with shortages even in the capital city Peking. Maybe you’ll get lucky, and they’ll forget.

  29. @jamie b.

    I vote for the latter. The former makes me think of a stir-fry pan.

    • Replies: @jamie b.
  30. The “maths puzzle” converges to a four-element repeated sequence of the form
    (A, B, -B, A-B)

    For any A,B obeying:

    A>0 and 0<B<1/2 A.

    Once it hits any two values of A,B obeying these two conditions and produces this four-element sequence, it repeats endlessly.

    Presumably this is a contraction mapping which forces any other sequence of values to converge to a repeated four-sequence of values obeying these conditions. I cannot prove that. Back to the day job!

    • Replies: @blake121666
  31. @Achmed E. Newman

    Ooops, I’m not gonna blame it on the software. This comment was in reply to Cadre Roberts.

  32. Charles says:
    @Mike Tre

    Using words truthfully is the most important weapon in fighting totalitarianism. Orwell’s “Nineteen Eighty-Four” makes the point that thought is expressed by words; conversely, when it is forbidden to SPEAK truths that are forbidden, eventually it will be impossible to THINK those truths. An obvious example is the degrading effects of Negro behavior on White societies. The truth of Negro behavior – in crime statistics, school performance, and a laundry-list of other attributes – is plain to see by anyone who wants to know. Many Whites, however, literally cannot form a thought which connects Negroes to the ills of Negro culture.

  33. Anonymous[329] • Disclaimer says:
    @Godfree Roberts

    I am only layman-knowledgeable about the history of post-1949 China, but I know considerably more about the history of China in the late 19th century and first half of the 20th as part of my research into the rise of Japan and how from being an ally of the West it became a bitter enemy in the space of less than one generation, in large part due to events in China, and when I read John Derbyshire referring to China in the 1920s and 1930s as “disorderly,” I cock my head back, squint with one eye and raise an eyebrow. That’s how the disingenuous mention things that contravene their worldview.
    But then Derbyshire has asserted that PTSD doesn’t exist on the strength of the fact that he knows a person — one — who went through harrowing events and doesn’t suffer from it — Derbyshire asserts this on evidence he does not adduce. All the research on PTSD going back to the US Civil War is thus hand-waved away by him.
    He also asserted in a recent podcast that he had read some article claiming the aircraft carrier was obsolete and that it had convince him — one article! — while ignoring the fact that China, intent on developing a blue-water navy, plans to have six aircraft carriers in operation by 2035 and that Japan has committed to building its second full-size (not helicopter-) aircraft carrier. Maybe they will prove to be obsolete in the next war, but lots of people in the know are betting quite a lot that they won’t be. Derbyshire hand-waves away their views — if he knows them.
    In any case, regarding China, Derbyshire is, as he has said, an Englishman born and bred, and the English did great harm to China for generations, something he seems to prefer to overlook, and he is, after all, only a former ESL teacher with no academic credentials or useful understanding of the country. John K. Fairbank he is not.

    • Replies: @Godfree Roberts
  34. jamie b. says:

    But wouldn’t that be “wokkism”?

  35. @Anonymous

    Agreed. I envy Derb’s skill with the quill, but he tends to be shallow and overconfident about many things.

    As to PTSD, friends who fought in Vietnam have told me that being shot at (but not hit) by a .50 cal machine gun ‘changes your life forever’. Others who were wounded laugh at the idea of ‘making a full recovery’. No-one, they say, ever makes a full recovery from such trauma. At best, you get on with your life.

    Life is not the movies and China is not what we would like it to be.

    • Replies: @vinteuil
  36. @Achmed E. Newman

    Too many people have relatives that starved to death. The Totalitarian Communist system of your beloved Chairman Mao killed them.

    Name one. Just one.

    As to Mao killing them:

    • Replies: @Achmed E. Newman
  37. Thoth says:

    I don’t see why people cling to Rushton’s Cold Weather theory for both the creation of, and differences in IQs of, races.

    Neanderthals were y living in colder climates long before homo sapiens left Africa, probably before homo sapiens existed. Although Neanderthals had larger brains than homo sapiens, their brains wereless complex and therefore dimmer. So where is the selection pressure to become smarter once homo sapiens entered colder climates? The dim Neanderthals had been functioning in the same cold climate with the same hunting and gathering lifestyle for thousands of years.

    Also, cold weather doesn’t neccessarily require greater inteligence to survive. Evolving in the Australian outback would be just as difficult.

    Agriculture is likely responsible for IQ differences. It takes certain mental skills to plant something and wait for months for it to grow. Building have to be constructed. Language, math and engineering skills develop. Once an agrarian society gets going it outbreeds surrounding hunter/gatherer exponentially. Civilization started at a band of latitude where agriculture was possible

  38. @Godfree Roberts

    Liang Wei
    Xiao Jing
    Tang Sun
    Zhang Min
    Han Gang
    Luo Ming
    Ma Yong
    Wang Chao
    Guo Tao
    Zhou Ping
    Wu Jei
    Wang Chung

    That’s just a dozen of ’em. Ron Unz’s edit window doesn’t leave enough room for the rest. Multiply this dozen by 3 million, and you’ll see the extent of the problem. By your bar graph, are you implying that the UN had insight into what was going on in deepest yellowest China during the darkest years of Mao’s terror? I’m just not sold on your bar graph, Godfree.

  39. By your bar graph, are you implying that the UN had insight into what was going on in deepest yellowest China during the darkest years of Mao’s terror? I’m just not sold on your bar graph, Godfree.

    the bar graph in question, again:

    It wasn’t just the United Nation who were fooled. China’s #1 enemy, with 30,000-40,000 spies on the ground in China, were fooled too.

    The US National Institutes of Health found that life expectancy under Mao “Ranks among the most rapid, sustained increases in documented global history. These survival gains appear to have been largest during the 1950s, with a sharp reversal during the 1959-61 Great Leap Famine, followed by substantial progress again during the early 1960s”. Note that survival gains–not the population–suffered the reversal.

    Historian Han Dongping, who lost two grandparents during the Great Leap, later visited the sites of the worst shortages, Shandong, and Henan Provinces. Yes, farmers told him, the abundance of 1958 had led to carelessness in harvesting, consuming, and storing food, for they had assumed that the communes relieved them of responsibility for their food security. “I interviewed numerous workers and farmers in Shandong and Henan and never met one who said that Mao was bad. I talked to a scholar in Anhui who grew up in rural areas and had done research there. He never met one farmer that said Mao was bad nor a farmer who said Deng [Mao’s successor] was good”. As historian Gwydion Williams dryly observed, “The peasants, heavily armed for the only time in history, took no action. Had their faith in Mao been shaken, would the survivors have shown the enthusiasm for his Cultural Revolution that they demonstrated from 1966 onwards?”

    But you know better, of course. You’re a troll. You bring nothing to the table.

    • Replies: @Achmed E. Newman
  40. @Godfree Roberts

    OK, you’ve got the good word from a couple of farmers who talked to Historian Han. “Starvation, errr, shit happens. Mao good. Deng bad”. Great stuff, Godfree.

    History tells more than that anecdote. Chairman Mao was under the impression that, being all powerful, he was also all-knowing. He decreed that steel-making be done in small operations in the countryside, to get those all-important 5-year plan numbers up to compete with those evil Capitalists bastards that were just getting lucky with their steel production.

    Besides the fact that, to try to make production goals, farmers were melting down farm implements (kind of gaming the system, don’t you think?), these farmers were kept from working the crops as was all they knew and what the economy (it being a “market” not this one know-it-all in Peking) needed them doing. What do you expect would happen? It was a disaster.

    Only a complete Mao sack-hanger like you, and their aren’t many, would think he can post bullshit about known history and convince anyone. You still think the guy is in there, his Maosoleum, when he is actually in hell.

    • Troll: Godfree Roberts
  41. vinteuil says:
    @Godfree Roberts

    …friends who fought in Vietnam…

    So you’re about 70 years old?

    • Replies: @Godfree Roberts
  42. Now, with that very symmetric conversation between me and Propagandist Roberts completed, I did want to complement you on the insight with the 4 W’s too. I can’t come up with great writing like that, but if you did want a 5th “W”, I suggest When-Was-It-Exactly-That-Your-Mom-Dropped-You-Head-First-On-The-Concreteism. I am a big proponent of that one.

  43. @Crawfurdmuir

    Extraordinary. I didn’t believe you on this. I checked Oxford’s online dictionary, and they said ‘primer’ (as in ‘timer’). Fortunately, I cross-checked against the Cambridge online dictionary, and they said ‘primmer’, noting that the usage was ‘US, old-fashioned’.

    Just another instance of why I’ve always preferred Cambridge anyway!

    Thank you for teaching me something.

  44. @Peter Johnson

    It’s simple but tedious to prove this by induction.

    Assume you’ve entered into your 4-element periodic sequence (A, B, -B, A-B) and are at A-B. Then you can show that the next number you get is A because

    A-B = max{A, -B} – B (because A > -B)

    So now you are at A.

    Then the next number will be B because:

    -B = max{A-B, B} – A (because A > 2B)

    Then the next number will be -B because:

    B = max{-B, A} – (A – B) (because A > -B)

    So now you are at -B.

    Then the next number will be A – B because:

    A = max{B, A-B} – (-B) (because A > 2B).

    To get your answer, assume it (a 4-element period) and prove it inductively at step X_sub(N) ( = your “A” here).

    You’d need to show that the sequence will always fall into the suitable (A, B) of course. To do that you’d need to consider the 4 separate conditions that arise – which is too tedious for me to bother with. I’m sure Derb can handle it though.

    • Replies: @Peter Johnson
  45. @blake121666

    Yes, that is correct. Are there any other, perhaps unstable, solutions? Also, proving this three-step sequential rule is a contraction mapping (forcing the process to converge) in some neighborhood of each four-element solution set seems difficult.

    I used strong inequalities in my description when they should be weak inequalities, “less than or equal to” rather than “less than.” Easier to type I guess.

  46. Derb,

    Can’t really help you explain the share of submissions by fellow Romanians; maybe it has something to do with that soup? 😉

    But maybe I can help with the Serbian gentleman’s submission. Did you consider a change of variables that may disentangle the conditions to some extent? I suggest (A-B+C,A+B,B+C). A pattern should emerge in a finite number of steps. Seven steps, maybe less, I’m still figuring this out.

    I will post another hint tomorrow.

  47. If we thought of (xn−3, xn−2, xn−1) as a “state”, a point in 3D space, the mapping from the current state to the next state is given by

    (xn−3, xn−2, xn−1) -> (xn−2, xn−1, max(xn−1,xn−3)-xn−2)

    From here on I’ll refer to the state vector as (x, y, z), z being the most recent value of the sequence. What I noticed (thanks MATLAB!) is that, regardless of the initial conditions, eventually the state reaches a region in 3D space and then stays there forever. The region is bounded by 3 planes (x-y+z=0, x+y=0, y+z=0). Of the 8 unbounded polyhedra defined by these planes, our region is the one that includes the first octant (x>0,y>0,z>0).

    You can see this region if you go to and paste the following code in the input box (next to the plus sign):
    Execute({“O=(0,0,0)”,”A=(1,-1,1)”,”B=(2,1,-1)”,”C = (-1,1,2)”,”Pyramid(A,B,C,O)”})

    You’ll see a truncated version of the region, but you can rotate the 3D model and get a better idea of its shape. Interestingly, the sequence of states not only eventually reaches this region and remains there, but it seems that it eventually reaches the boundary of the region.

    I know what you’re thinking. A change of coordinates, of course. Coming soon.

  48. Like Derb’s, my approach is very much like breaking rocks, perhaps with a better hammer. MATLAB instead of Excel. I look at where the state trajectories go, describe the pattern that I see, then try to prove it. I’m sure people with better mathematical insight or ability to see 3D transformations can do much better.

    First, a change of coordinates from “old” (x, y, z) to “new” (u, v, w):

    (u, v, w) = (x-y+z, x+y, y+z)/3
    (x,y,z) = (u+2v-w, -u+v+w, u-v+2w)

    In the xyz space, the state recursion is (x, y, z) -> (y, z, max(z,x)-y). If we apply the change of coordinates above, the recursion becomes:

    (u, v, w) -> (max(0,v-w), w,max(0,w-v)+u) [‘0’ is zero, unfortunate font]

    In the following, (+++) denotes the region (u>=0, v>=0, w>=0) and bd(+++) denotes its boundary. Here are my observations:

    O1. The state reaches (+++) in at most 3 iterations.
    O2. Once in (+++), the state remains there.
    O3. The state eventually reaches bd(+++).
    O4. Once the state reaches bd(+++), it continues on a periodic trajectory. The period is 4.

    With the exception of O3, these are not difficult to prove:

    O1. After one step, u becomes >=0 positive because max(0,v-w)>=0. After the second step, w becomes >=0 because max(0,w-v)+u >= u >=0. After the third step, v becomes >=0 because w>=0.

    O2. If the current state is in (+++), then u>=0, v>=0, and w>=0, then all the coordinates of the new state (max(0,v-w), w, max(0,w-v)+u) are >=0, so the next state is also in (+++).

    O4. Breaking rocks again, I just listed all the possibilities and calculated the next 4 states. There are only 6 possible permutations of (0, a, b), where 0<=a <= b. I'll list the state sequence just for one of them:

    (0, b, b-a) -> (a, b-a, 0) -> (b-a, 0, a) -> (0, a, b) ->…

    The remaining step, O3, is more difficult. Once again I listed all 6 permutations of (a <= b <= c) and calculated the next few states. In 3 of them the boundary was reached in one step, in two of them in two steps, but no such luck for the remaining one, (a, c, b).

    While fiddling with O3, which turned out not to be true, I noticed one more thing:

    O5. Some state trajectories never reach bd(+++), but come arbitrarily close to the origin.

    …and then read the problem again. Periodic or convergent, hmm… More thoughts in my next post.

  49. Grrr, the site is mangling both math and code in my comments. It really doesn’t like plain text. So:

    1. If you want the code to work, you have to replace the smart quotes from my comment with plain quotes.

    2. In O4, the sequence should be:

    (0, a, b) -> (0, b, b-a) -> (a, b-a, 0) -> (b-a, 0, a) -> (0, a, b) -> …

  50. Final thoughts. I restate my O3 observation as:

    O3: Most state trajectories eventually reach bd(+++). The exceptions lie on the line passing through the origin and the point (λ^2, 1, λ), where λ=0.6823… is the real solution of the equation λ^3 +λ -1 = 0.

    A sketch of a proof: Since the next state is given by (max(o,v-w), w, max(0,w-v)+u), the only way it can reach bd(+++) is if max(0,v-w)=0. Assume this never happens. The next state is then always given by (v-w, w, u). This is now a linear mapping, described by the following matrix:
    0 1 -1
    0 0 1
    1 0 0

    This matrix has a real eigenvalue λ (defined above) with an associated eigenvector (λ^2, 1, λ). Since λ <1, applying this mapping to the entire uvw space “squeezes” it towards the origin in the direction of the eigenvector. Repeated applications of the mapping squeezes the space arbitrarily close to the plane (P) that passes through the origin and is perpendicular to the eigenvector.

    We’re only interested in the (+++) octant though. All the points in this octant that lie on the line defined by the eigenvector will remain on that line and converge towards the origin. All the other points eventually reach bd(+++) because the plane (P) is outside (+++), except at the origin. (End of sketch of proof.)

    The result from uvw space can be converted back to the xyz space and then to the original context as follows:

    If the initial condition is proportional to (1, λ, λ^2), the sequence proceeds in a geometrical fashion (1, λ, λ^2, λ^3, …) and converges to zero. Here λ=0.6823… is the real solution of the equation λ^3 +λ -1 = 0.
    Otherwise the sequence is eventually periodic.

    Clearly not a full rigorous proof. I did not bother because the more I dug into it the more I was convinced that there must be a better way. Considering the audience, I wouldn’t be surprised if somebody tried quaternions.

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