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SEPTEMBER DIARY: Moral Conundrum At the Tire Shop; Sacking Cities; Evergreen Nazis; Etc. [12 ITEMS]
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The tire place

The Derbmobile had a slow leak on its right front tire, so Saturday morning I took it to the tire place.

My little town has a tire place everyone goes to. Perhaps yours does too. Our tire place is squinched in a short street between two bigger streets about to converge—like the bar of an upper-case “A”—in the low-commercial part of town (body shops, dry cleaners, chain drug stores, bodegas). The frontage is only about a hundred feet wide, twenty deep. There are four bays and a service-desk area.

Saturday morning they are super busy. There’s a small army of guys directing you to a parking place on the street or the forecourt, or into a bay. Under their directions, I parked at one side of the forecourt. A guy came out from the building and asked me, in a heavy Spanish accent, what was up. I told him. He jacked up the car, span the wheel, and quickly located a tiny nail imbedded in it. I was not to worry, he assured me, he could feex it, no prob-lem!

He took off the wheel and disappeared with it into a bay. I waited by the car, admiring the wonderful skill with which the choreographers, by gestures and shouting, managed the inward and outward flow of cars and customers. Skill and precision—the tire place guys deserve a mention in Simon Winchester’s book (below). Tolerance: 1 inch.

It seemed to me there must be endless possibilities for fender-benders with so many vehicles in such a small space. Does it ever happen? I asked one of the guys. “Not to my knowledge,” he replied in regular Long Islandish, never taking his eyes off the corps de ballet.

My man came back with the wheel, wet from the puncture bath. He put it back on, dzz dzz dzz, let down the car, and walked me to the service desk. Twelve dollars.

I almost like coming here: everyone working hard but good-natured, everything done so efficiently in such a confined space, fair prices, no fuss. No chicanery, either: They’ve never tried to sell me a new tire when the existing one is feex-able. The tire place is a model of useful everyday commerce.

There’s a serpent lurking in my paradise, though. A couple of streets over there’s a stretch of road where illegal aliens hang out early in the morning, looking for a day’s work. The probability that by having my tire fixed here I am participating in the cheap-labor racket I seethe and fume about on, is very high.

All sorts of questions arise. As a conscientious patriot, shouldn’t I be lobbying ICE to raid the tire place?

Or: Suppose they did raid it while I was lounging there by my car watching the forecourt maneuvers. Suppose they went into the bay where cheerful, efficient José was fixing my tire and brought him out in cuffs. Would I be, like, “Hey, wait a minute, fellers …” If José looked at me, would I look right back at him? What if ICE shut down the tire place and frog-marched the proprietors off to the bridewell?

Damn these moral conundrums! Answers: I am lobbying, in my own way, trying to bring my own particular limited abilities to the issue, writing internet articles deploring our open borders.

And no, I wouldn’t interfere with an ICE operation. You do the crime, you do the time—sorry, pal. It wasn’t me left the border open. Yes, I could meet his eyes. What’s right, is right. Scoffing at our laws is wrong. If ICE shuts down the tire place, there’s one in the next town over.

I do think, though, that after watching José being driven away, I’d feel a strong urge to find the nearest politician and break his jaw on José’s behalf.

Of course ICE didn’t show up. After paying the lady at the service desk, my man was hovering outside expectantly. I gave him an extravagant tip.

Passing on stage

In my September 14th podcast I recorded the passing of Indian public intellectual Rita Jitendra, who died on September 10th while being interviewed on live TV. I commented that: “Somewhere on the internet, I’m sure, there is a list of people who have died in the middle of some public performance.”

Several listeners did the due diligence I should have done, and pointed me to Wikipedia’s “List of entertainers who died during a performance.” There have been more such cases than you’d think. A general favorite with listeners was this one from 1971:

Longevity expert Jerome Rodale had been quoted as saying, “I’m going to live to be 100, unless I’m run over by a sugar-crazed taxi driver.” Soon after, he was a guest on The Dick Cavett Show. After his interview was done, Pete Hamill was being interviewed by Cavett when Rodale slumped. Hamill, noticing something was wrong, said in a low voice to Cavett, “This looks bad.” Rodale had died of a heart attack at age 72. The episode was never aired.

I think the case of Jim Fixx beats that for irony, though it doesn’t really belong in the Wikipedia list. Fixx was a leading promoter of the mid-1970s jogging craze, and wrote a best-selling book advocating running for health. He died of a heart attack in 1984, aged 52 … while jogging.

If you consider college faculty meetings to be performances, which some of my academic acquaintances surely do, a borderline Wikipedia-worthy case is that of Franz Boas the anthropologist, godfather of the No Such Thing As Race dogma. Boas died of a stroke at a Columbia faculty dinner in the arms of Claude Levi-Strauss, another crank anthropologist (but a much better writer).

My colleague James Fulford remarked on the number of stage performers who have died attempting the Bullet Catch illusion. There is even a book about this giving the precise number: Twelve Have Died.

I’m surprised the number isn’t bigger. Given the Pagliacci-style passions that swirl in the hothouse atmosphere of a troupe of healthy, highly-sexed young adult performers living and working in close quarters, especially on the road, the Bullet Catch illusion must offer irresistible temptations to jealous lovers and cuckolded husbands.

This whole business of dying while performing is fascinating. I’d write more, but I think I should go lie down. There’s this sudden pain … I … can’t breathe … I think … oh … ah …

Little acts of kindness

Just kidding there. I’m in fine shape, thanks to the miracle of modern pharmacy.

Thanks are due also to the many kind listeners and readers who’ve emailed in to ask about my health. I hope I didn’t omit to acknowledge any; and, where there’s a street address, to send out a thank-you card.

Not everybody is a fan of thank-you cards. Daniel Payne grumbled at length about them on Quillette, September 16th:

I think it is appropriate, at this late hour in human civilization, to make the case for abolishing the cult of thank you cards …

We should drop this silly convention. There is little point to it, and even less moral merit …

Well, snooks to you, Daniel Payne. You can have my stash of thank-you cards when you prise them from my cold dead fingers.


I was raised in the old English tradition of which Evelyn Waugh’s father was an exemplar. That gentleman would, Waugh told an interviewer, “write and thank people who wrote to thank him for wedding presents and when he encountered anyone as punctilious as himself the correspondence ended only with death.”

As children, if we were invited to little Timmy’s birthday party, we would be sat down at the kitchen table the day after the party and watched over by stern adults while we scrawled, “Thank you very much, Timmy …” At the time we thought of it as a chore; but “habit becomes nature” and I am glad to have acquired this particular habit.

For Daniel Payne’s benefit, here’s another thing we learned as children.

Little drops of water,
Little grains of sand
Make the mighty ocean
And the pleasant land.

Little acts of kindness,
Little words of love
Make the world so happy —
Just like Heaven above.

Wisdom of the Month

Or possibly “Twisdom.” From Iowahawk:

The three possible states of human existence, ranked in descending level of happiness:

  1. Having better things to do than Twitter
  2. Not having better things to do than Twitter
  3. Having better things to do than Twitter, but going on Twitter anyway

Sad sacks

Sometimes, just by coincidence, a single topic you hardly ever think about comes to your attention from two different sources at the same time, and leaves you thinking about that topic all day.

That happened to me recently. I’ll spread this story over two segments, one for each of the sources.

The topic here is: the sacking of cities.

This was a commonplace event down to modern times. A civilized city—merchants, scholars, priests, craftsmen, palaces, libraries—would be taken by an enemy, usually after a siege. The enemy would break in, or be let in by the city fathers as an alternative to mass starvation. Pillaging and looting would ensue. The works of the craftsmen would be smashed or carried off. The great library would go up in flames. Women would be raped. Young adults of both sexes, along with older children, would be taken as slaves; most of the rest would be killed. Persons of dignity—magistrates, priests, royalty, the wealthiest merchants—would be robbed, humiliated and tortured before execution.

These dreadful events have happened since the earliest times. I was actually reading about them in relation to the great collapse of the later Bronze Age, when it was happening all over, city after city. Many of the sacked cities were so thoroughly destroyed, they were never rebuilt. The Mycenaean sack of Troy likely belongs to this period.

So it went, down through history: Nebuchadnezzar sacked Jerusalem, the Romans sacked Carthage, the Vandals under Gaiseric sacked Rome (the earlier sack by Alaric the Visigoth was comparatively respectful), the Crusaders sacked Jerusalem, the Mongols sacked Baghdad, the Ottomans sacked Constantinople, … These are just the ones everybody remembers.

(And no, I didn’t include the Muslim taking of Alexandria and the destruction of the great library there in A.D. 641 because I got this portion of my historical knowledge from Gibbon, who pooh-poohs the whole story. “The commander of the faithful rejected with firmness the idea of pillage, and directed his lieutenant to reserve the wealth and revenue of Alexandria for the public service and the propagation of the faith …”)

Those famous sacks are the tip of a mighty historical iceberg. The sacking of cities was a commonplace thing. At random:

Several dozen people were herded like cattle or goats. Any who lagged were flogged or killed outright. The women were bound together at their necks with a heavy rope—strung one to another like pearls. Stumbling with each step, they were covered with mud. Babies lay everywhere on the ground. The organs of those trampled like turf under horses’ hooves or people’s feet were smeared in the dirt, and the crying of those still alive filled the whole outdoors. Every gutter or pond that we passed was stacked with corpses, pillowing each other’s arms and legs. Their blood had flowed into the water, and the combination of green and red was producing a spectrum of colors. The canals, too, had been filled to level with dead bodies.

That’s from Wang Xiuchu’s eyewitness account of the sacking of Yangzhou by a Manchu army in May 1645, related in Lynn Struve’s Voices from the Ming-Qing Cataclysm.

City-sacking has not been much of a feature of the modern world. Today’s artillery and air power make sieges pointless: if the city won’t surrender, you just bomb it to rubble, which is more or less what’s happening right now in Syria and Yemen. With modern communications, in any case, people have clear notice of an advancing army, so noncombatants have time to flee, as multitudes of German city-dwellers did before the advancing Soviet army in WW2.

The last classical-style siege-and-sack I can think of was the Rape of Nanking, 1937; although the capture of Phnom Penh by Pol Pot‘s Social Justice Warriors in 1975 has some of the classic elements.

Well, as I said, I was reading about that in a history book when the same topic came at me from a completely different direction.

Poem of the Month

I got The Collected Poems of James Elroy Flecker at last in a suitably atmospheric (faded, pages yellow round the edges, flyleaf signed “R.P. Wright, Cambridge, Oct. 1923″—wonder what happened to him/her?) 1922 edition. Whence my Poem of the Month.


by James Elroy Flecker

They will trample our gardens to mire, they will bury our city in fire;
Our women await their desire, our children the clang of the chain.
Our grave-eyed judges and lords they will bind by the neck with cords,
And harry with whips and swords till they perish of shame or pain,
And the great lapis lazuli dome where the gods of our race had a home
Will break like a wave from the foam, and shred into fiery rain.


No more on the long summer days shall we walk in the meadow-sweet ways
With the teachers of music and phrase, and the masters of dance and design.
No more when the trumpeter calls shall we feast in the white-light halls;
For stayed are the soft footfalls of the moon-browed bearers of wine,
And lost are the statues of Kings and of Gods with great glorious wings,
And an empire of beautiful things, and the lips of the love who was mine.

We have vanished, but not into night, though our manhood we sold to delight,
Neglecting the chances of fight, unfit for the spear and the bow.
We are dead, but our living was great: we are dumb, but a song of our State
Will roam in the desert and wait, with its burden of long, long ago,
Till a scholar from sea-bright lands unearth from the years and the sands
Some image with beautiful hands, and know what we want him to know.

One more for Toby

A last farewell. The other bed belongs of course to Boris.

Book of the month

The Perfectionists: How Precision Engineers Created the Modern World.

The title describes the book sufficiently well. It’s about precision. The story is told chronologically, and under each chapter heading is a number indicating tolerance—”the clearance by which one part [of a manufactured object] was made to fit with or into another.”

For Chapter One, where we meet “Iron-Mad” John Wilkinson boring cannon barrels in the 18th century, the tolerance is 0.1 inches. By Chapter Nine, 250 pages later, we are in the present day, with state-of-the-art computer chips, LIGO (the Laser-Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory), and the James Webb Space Telescope, currently scheduled for launch in 2021 (Winchester says 2019, but the date’s been pushed back since his book went to press). Tolerance: 0.000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 01 inches.

Winchester’s a good lively writer and scientifically literate; he trained as a geologist. I reviewed his 2009 book about Joseph Needham for The New Atlantis. Perfectionists is well worth your time if you are interested in science; especially if, like me, you believe that the average one engineer makes more of a contribution to the advance of civilization than the average 100 politicians, philosophers, lawyers, or entrepreneurs; and more, probably, than the average 10,000 economists, sociologists, Professors of Grievance Studies, or—yeah, sure, okay—internet opinionators.

As you can see, I’m somewhat in awe of engineers. I wasn’t always. At university I studied math. This was under the old English system, with no nonsense about majors or minors, just three years of math, math, math, and math. It was intellectually grueling, especially for easily-distracted types like me, and it made terrible intellectual snobs of us. The English Department? What, they’re giving you a degree just for reading novels? Hoo hoo hoo hoo! (Rather unfair, actually. In those days you couldn’t get a degree in English just by reading Virginia Woolf and Maya Angelou. Our English undergraduates had to parse Anglo-Saxon poetry in the original.)

So from the lofty heights of Math-Department arrogance we looked down on the lesser disciplines, mentally grading them as more or less worthy of some crumbs of our grudging respect. Engineers were pretty low down in the grading.

They used math, sure, but it was applied math, not the real thing. Even as applied math, engineers’ math was unimpressive—just brute calculus, really: ODE s, PDEs, zzzz. We doubted any member of the Engineering Department knew his Lagrangian from his Hamiltonian.

Engineering undergraduates didn’t help their image. They were of course all male. They cultivated an oafish, beery kind of camaraderie. Their conversation, if you could find one sober out of class, was limited to sport, girls, and the merits of neighborhood pubs. In oafish-beeriness they ranked even lower than medical students, who at least had interestingly gross stories to tell about shenanigans in the dissection rooms.

That was my undergraduate experience. With age and maturity came wisdom. I mixed with working engineers, read about their lives, and watched the contraptions they’d devised go out exploring space. I developed respect. Now, in a roomful of engineers, I stand humble and quiet, listening to their talk, from which I always learn something new.

The evergreen browns

If books about engineers aren’t your thing, perhaps you’d prefer something about Nazis?

Sam Leith, literary editor of the London Spectator, let loose with what he admits was a “peevish tweet” the other day:

Can we all stop publishing, for good and all, nonfiction books about the future, books about how to change your life, books about what it means to be/how we came to be human, and books about f—ing Nazis? For a start?

I was surprised to see books about Nazis in that list. People are still writing books about Nazis? Is there really anything left to say? Are they really that interesting?

Sixteen weary years ago, in my monthly diary for June 2002, I dropped the following literary anecdote.

The comic writer Alan Coren was sitting around one day with his literary agent, complaining that none of his books sold very well. What kind of thing could he write about to be guaranteed good sales? he asked. The agent replied that there were only three categories that were sure-fire sellers: books about golf, books about cats, and books about the Nazis.

Coren thereupon wrote a book titled Golfing for Cats, and put a big black swastika on the cover. It sold well.

Publication date on the Amazon hardcover of Golfing for Cats is October 1975. Here we are 43 years later and apparently the reading public still wants books about Nazis. (Golf and cats, I couldn’t say.)

What’s so darn fascinating about the Nazis? Their entire span of historical significance was twelve years. They left no significant political legacy: actual neo-Nazis, as opposed to the ones that populate Goodwhite fever dreams (next segment), are a tiny lunatic fringe. The main lesson the Nazis have to teach us is that even a highly civilized nation can descend into political lunacy; but we’ve known that since 1789, it’s not news.


None of Nazism’s major figures had an interesting personality, certainly not Hitler, who never said or wrote anything that was both memorable and original. Stalin, who was a player on the world stage for twice as long as Hitler, and who murdered far more of his own people than Hitler did of his, is surely more worthy of readers’ attention. And personality-wise, Napoleon beats both of them by a mile. Boney even has a math theorem named after him—how interesting is that?

Is there really still a big readership for books about these mediocrities of eighty years ago in their comic-opera uniforms? If Sam Leith says so, I suppose there must be. He’s a literary editor: he’s on all the publishers’ rolodexes. It’s just baffling to me.

The freelance life

Regarding both literary editors andGoodwhite fever dreams about neo-Nazis, here’s an anecdote from the daily life of a struggling, ink-stained freelance writer, videlicet me.

I just wrote a piece for a print outlet in which I needed to include the most hysterical review I could find of Murray and Herrnstein‘s book The Bell Curve.

Not difficult. I quickly settled on the review by sociologist Steven Rosenthal at a website belonging to Montclair State University. Sample:

The Bell Curve is a vehicle of Nazi propaganda wrapped in a cover of pseudo-scientific respectability. It is an academic version of Adolph Hitler’s Mein Kampf. The voices of millions should be raised in condemnation of the authors of The Bell Curve and their circle of Nazi-admiring friends. [Academic Nazism by Steven J. Rosenthal, 1994]

In the pre-publication to-and-fro with the literary editor—checking facts, correcting typos, arguing points of style—I suggested we add a “[sic]” after “Adolph.”

Wikipedia says that Hitler was christened “Adolphus,” but I can’t recall ever seeing the forename spelled as anything other than “Adolf.” Shirer’s Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, which is the only book about the Nazis I own (I already told you, I don’t find them interesting, okay?) uses “Adolf” throughout.

So while “Adolf” would be fine, and even “Adolphus” might pass, Rosenthal’s “Adolph” is eccentric and needs a “[sic].” So, at any rate, I suggested to the literary editor.

Whether or not he agrees, I shall find out when the piece appears; he seems to think we’ve to-ed and fro-ed enough.

Now hear this

Speaking of literary endeavors: With the 30th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square uprising on the horizon (not to mention the centenary of the May Fourth Movement), I’ve been nursing the vague idea of making an audiobook from my novel about it, if I can acquire the necessary audio skills.

As a dry run for that, I have just read the book into sound files, one per chapter, and put them on my website.** Advice and instruction will be gratefully received. Heck, give me a street address, I’ll send you a thank-you note.

(After “advice and instruction” I’d like to have added “… and movie contracts.” Movies nowadays are all politically neutered for the ChiCom market, though, so there’s not a chance. An audiobook would be neat, though.)

**No, it’s not Flash, it’s native HTML5 <audio>; I’ve purged my site of Flash.

I’m also adding <… xxtarget=”_blank”> to my hyperlinks so that clicking on them opens a separate new window instead of just replacing the current window and making you use the “back” button. I haven’t done much of this yet, and people have different opinions about it, but I’ll see how it goes.

Math corner

The solution to last month’s brainteaser is here. Note please that, as explained in the solution, I screwed up, assuming that the sequences are ascending. This gives 700 as a solution.

The problem doesn’t specify that the sequences are ascending, though. With de-scending sequences the solution is 10.

Thus chastened, I’ll forgo the brainteaser this month, and just offer some random notes.

1. Has Sir Michael Atiyah proved the Riemann Hypothesis?

I don’t know, and nor does anyone else, since Sir Michael hasn’t offered a detailed proof.

Atiyah [sic] gave a lecture in Germany on September 25 in which he presented an outline of his approach to verify the Riemann hypothesis. This outline is often the first announcement of the solution but should not be taken that the problem has been solved—far from it. [Riemann Hypothesis: Michael Atiyah Claims to Have Solved One of Math’s Greatest Mysteries by William Ross; Newsweek, October 1st 2018.]

There seems to be a general atmosphere of guarded skepticism. Guarded, because Sir Michael is a brilliant mathematician. Skepticism because

  • he has not circulated a detailed proof, see above; and
  • he is 89 years old; and
  • “Atiyah [sic] has produced a number of papers in recent years making remarkable claims which have so far failed to convince his peers.” [Riemann hypothesis likely remains unsolved despite claimed proof by Gilead Amit; New Scientist, September 29,2018.]

2. What’s up with Ted Hill’s paper on the evolutionary biology of higher male variability, which I reported on in the September 14th Radio Derb?

I’m sorry to say I have lost track. There have been lengthy debates online: Ted Hill’s Quillette piece now has 559 comments; Sir Timothy Gowers’ original September 9th blog post has 359, and Sir Timothy posted a follow-up on September 13th somewhat less critical of Ted Hill’s paper. That follow-up has a mere 144 comments, for a total of over a thousand just on those two websites.

That’s a lot to read, too much for my poor addled brain when I don’t personally know any of the principals. But by all means, help yourself!

3. Take a dry uncooked pasta noodle, grab both ends of it and bend it until it breaks. Into how many pieces does it break?

Richard Feynman, world-class physicist, bongo player, and writer of letters, once spent an evening trying to break spaghetti into two pieces by bending it at both ends. After hours spent in the kitchen and a great deal of pasta having been wasted, he and his friend Danny Hillis admitted defeat. Even worse, they had no solution for why the spaghetti always broke into at least three pieces. [Two MIT students just solved Richard Feynman’s famed physics puzzle by Scotty Hendricks; Big Think, August 18, 2018.]

As the headline tells you, two researchers at MIT have devised an apparatus that will break a noodle into just two pieces.

Science marches on.

2010-12-24dl[1] John Derbyshire [email him] writes an incredible amount on all sorts of subjectsfor all kinds of outlets. (This no longer includes National Review, whose editors had some kind of tantrum and fired him.) He is the author of We Are Doomed: Reclaiming Conservative Pessimism and several other books. He 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: Immigration 
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  1. astrolabe says:

    A tolerance of 10^-35 inches seems unlikely on its face. The diameter of an atomic nucleus is apparently about 10^-13 inches, and you can’t slice them neatly.

    • Replies: @blake121666
  2. Alfa158 says:

    I was surprised and impressed that Derb sent me an actual thank you note when I bought a digital copy of Fire from the Sun a few years ago. I think I still have the note somewhere. I like to imagine it will come to light again when future scholars publish my Collected Papers.
    (That has the same probability of happening as my wife honoring my wish to buried in a barrow on the downs with my weapons, furs, sleeping silks, chariots, jewelry, battle banners, hunting trophies, clarions and a selection of my favorite horses, concubines, slaves, hunting dogs and men-at-arms.)

    • LOL: RadicalCenter
    • Replies: @Kratoklastes
  3. @astrolabe

    You got me googling with that. Apparently LIGO claims:

    “At its most sensitive state, LIGO will be able to detect a change in distance between its mirrors 1/10,000th the width of a proton!”

    The “width of a proton” is generally taken to mean 10^-15. So LIGO claims a tolerance of 10^-19. I didn’t look into this claim to see how they determine this.

    I guess this Webb Telescope is exponentially more precise than LIGO somehow.

  4. Anon[190] • Disclaimer says:

    I still am in possession of a cherished thank note from Derb. My only brush with fame, except for seeing Arnold on 5th Ave. once.

  5. Dr. X says:

    Derb is a very perceptive and insightful guy and he rarely writes anything that isn’t well thought out, but his comments on Nazis are an exception.

    To the contrary, Nazis are endlessly fascinating. There’s several reasons for this:

    1. The cradle of classical liberalism — the UK — along with it’s progeny the United States allied with the communist Soviet Union to defeat Germany. Think about that for a moment.

    An then they prosecuted the Cold War for the next half-century.

    2. Derb is of course right that Hitler and the other top Nazis were unoriginal and derivative. Question is, who did they derive their ideas from? Late 19th century British scientists like the famed Charles Darwin and Herbert Spencer… and Houston Stuart Chamberlain and Henry Ford. Educated Victorians believed in evolution and in the supremacy of the white race. Progressives in the U.S. and Great Britain believed in eugenics and in racial hygiene. The Nazis were the first people to make this national political policy.

    What is the difference between the views of Margaret Sanger and Adolf Hitler? Not much, really. Hitler was undoubtedly the most consequential man of the 20th century because he forced the Progressive Left to see exactly what the policies they advocated would look like in practice. Hitler singlehandedly made the British and American progressive left do a 180 from white supremacy to radical egalitarianism.

    3. Finally, Derb sort of answers his own question about the persistence of books about Nazis in his segment about The Bell Curve. He quotes one Steven Rosenthal as denouncing The Bell Curve as “Nazi propaganda.”

    Well, “Duh.” Jews have a vested interest in keeping the Nazi meme alive as long as possible. Nazis enable the Jews to be eternal victims, always above reproach, lest you be a nascent Hitler-in-waiting, in which case you and your views can be safely denounced without debate — and even physically attacked.

    Fact is, Nazis were the best thing that ever happened to the Jews in the last two millenia. Sure, they suffered a lot of casualties, but they finally got their Promised Land back as a direct result of the Nazi persecution, and they’ve become pretty much immune to criticism for doing things us goyim are forbidden to do — i.e., building a border wall, deporting brown-skinned illegal immigrants, shooting protesters at the border, and forbidding gay marriage in Israel.

    So I think Derb ought to reconsider his disinterest in the Nazis… especially given the fact that the Left thinks he is one.

    • Replies: @DIscharged EE
    , @Wally
  6. dearieme says:

    “They left no significant political legacy”: well, Derb old fruit, the land of your birth is now lumbered with an anti-semitic socialist party that might well win the next General Election. History does provide the handy abbreviation ‘Nazi’ for such a party.

    • Troll: byrresheim
  7. John

    From the photo it looks like the filthy stinking reeking New York Avenue. New York Avenue wasn’t always a filthy stinking reeking MS-13 fucking toilet. Blame the homo-friendly Catholic Church and the Long Island Business Roundtable-Long Island Business News for the racial transformation of New York Avenue.

    New York Avenue for years was a safe affordable NATIVE BORN WHITE AMERICAN WORKING CLASS community. If you can google photos:New York Avenue in the 1950’s had a Happy Days malt shop look and feel….as did Westbury…’s a surreal experience to look at the photos and talk to people who went to high school with Billy Joel and Bill O’Rielly.

    There was, and still is, no economic case for race-replacing THE HISTORIC NATIVE BORN WHITE AMERICAN MAJORITY WORKING CLASS. The Chamber of Commerce Types harbor open genocidal rage towards the White Working Class.

    I blame all the former Reagan Youth who voted for the filthy cockroach with black-Oxford-show polish in his hair……..rubbed lovingly into his scalp every morning by Nancy….no wonder we ended up being governed by a potted plant from 1984-1988……..for transforming New York Avenue into an M13-shooting range and transforming Huntington-Northwell Hospital into a fucking M-13 birthing clinic.


    After 60 thousand miles, keep on eye on the alternator. I would replace it….alternators expire at the worst possible time. Water Pumps also…..onto the starting motor…..

  8. 12 dollars are a clear indication that you did profit from illegal labor since there’s the snake of reason in consumer’s paradise and this snake knows how to calculate.

  9. John

    The Atiyah-Singer Index Theorem has its conceptual roots in a complex analysis onto Rieman-Roch….. onto the rank-nullity theorem for N by N matrices…Perhaps you will write a history of the Atiyah-Singer Index Theorem for the masses….You know John….Contemplating the history of THE ATIYAH SINGER INDEX THEOREM!!!! at night will help you distract yourself from thinking about that depressing fucking MS-13 toilet bowl up the street from you on New York Avenue…

    I read an interview with Michael Atiyah a few years back….Atiyah spoke about how he met a Roboticist at a conference who told Atiyah that K-theory is used in Robot Navigation problems. So in other words, K-theory has been implemented into real world Robot Navigation Problems…….just think about it:K-theory could have played significant role in the mechanization of agriculture…..and…..get this….never having to import Mexican-Salvadoran Scab Labor=NEW YORK AVENUE REMAINING MAJORITY NATIVE BORN WHITE AMERICAN WORKING CLASS!!!…As the late great Wigner once wrote:the incredible effectiveness of Mathematics…I suppose this is a paraphrase……think about it:Linear Algebra…..basically……could have played a major role in keeping California 90 percent Majority Native Born White American….PERHAPS this is what Denis Kearney and Samuel Gompers were thinking about in 1888:K THEORY!!!!

    • Replies: @Alden
  10. @Dieter Kief

    What you wrote is beside the fundamental point….which is:America could have, and should have, remained labor self-sufficient post-1945, because America being labor self-sufficient=1)high real wage for THE HISTORIC NATIVE BORN WHITE AMERICAN WORKING CLASS MAJORITY….and 2)post-1945 America=90 percent NATIVE BORN WHITE WORKING CLASS MAJORITY…….John Derbyshire’s fundamental point is that this is a preferable state of affairs for Americans of European Ancestry…..and you raise a microscopic fucking niggling point….

    • Replies: @Dieter Kief
    , @F0337
  11. Regarding the first segment about the illegal aliens at the tire shop, what you wrote is nothing but,
    “Hate the sin, but love the sinner.”* Are you sure you’re not religious after all, Mr. Derbyshire? You may be without knowing it.

    Ron Unz, can you please let (or ask) Mr. Derbyshire to have these segments split up a bit? How about just a single link to the whole thing without comments, but then some small “1”, “2”, etc. links to the different segments with APPROPRIATE comments?


    * OK, a little bit more like “Hate the instigators, but love the people caught up in all the stupidity therefrom.”

  12. Math puzzle for the day:Prove that there is no isomorphism between California 1945 and California post-1965 2018…..and that they are not homotopically equivalent either…….

    • Replies: @Achmed E. Newman
  13. Thank you very much for your inspiration, too, John. As I read about your tire repair, I had meant to tell you that you can do this job yourself. That is, so long as the tire is not punctured in the sidewall, which it couldn’t have been if the guy didn’t have to sell you another.

    I wrote “inspiration” as you inspired me to write a quick post just now on DIY Tire Repair with Cheap China-made Crap. It was embarrassing, but writing it down makes it all better for me.

    Really, I did get inspired by your nice remarks about engineers to think about doing more of that. It’s not like I don’t LOVE that kind of work, in the right circumstances, but I have been waylaid from it. Your kind words and appreciation made me think even harder that it’s what I should be doing … if I weren’t spending so much time on unz.

    This leads me toward another one of your segments, Iowahalk’s quip about twitter. Count me in the top category for life:




    • Replies: @Dissident
  14. @War for Blair Mountain

    Hey, that was funny! BTW, I don’t agree with you on the alternator replacement. You can see that one coming. Timing belts – that’s another story!

  15. Mr. Derbyshire, we talked before about the book by Mr. Winchester The Man Who Loved China. I have your Atlantic review open in another tab and will read it later on today. I’m sure his book on engineering and decreases in manufacturing tolerances will be good too (waiting for the library to get it).

    That brings up the “bullet catch illusion” thing. I had to go to your link, as I’d never heard the term. Yes, I’ve fired different calibers into phone books, of course. (That is one thing that DOES NOT work in today’s on-line era!) That site you linked to had me smiling at the stupidity. Even the Mythbusters would do a better job at least guessing on what variables may change the outcome. 50 Caliber!? Really? “Well, it worked fine with the .22 and I was 2 ft. closer then.”

    As for Mr. Coren’s book, that was the 1970’s. You’d wanna go to youtube now, you know, make your own channel, etc. I don’t think you could go wrong with a Cats with cute military hats – golfing fails! channel. “First 50 commenters will get a roll of SWA-stickers for the kids.”

  16. “… the earlier sack by Alaric the Visigoth was comparatively respectful ….”

    Alaric did a couple stints as a Roman General, principally working for the Eastern Emperor, but was generally not treated well by them, so his sacking of Rome was a form of seeking recompense.

    • Replies: @The Alarmist
  17. @Achmed E. Newman

    JESUS CHRIST!!! Achmed…why wait past 60 tousand…that’s how we Irish pronounce it…..miles?

    Why wait for the lights to dim after 60 thousand? Alternator Belt<45 thousand…have the mechanic check the hydraulic assembly for the fan belt assembly also….

    • Replies: @Achmed E. Newman
  18. @The Alarmist

    BTW, Alaric and the Goths are a stellar example of the perils of embracing immigrants too enthusiastically and in great numbers.

  19. Paul Kearsey

    Don’t go there Paulie……Ben Shapiro is not allowed to use my Nephew and his Girlfriend….US ARMY…as CANON FODDER for ((( BEN SHAPIRO’S))) precious (((JEWISH ONLY ISRAEL!!!))) in Syria…..Stop playing clever debating games with the tapeworm parasite Ben Shapiro…..

  20. @War for Blair Mountain

    It’s the current year, WfBM, not 1975. We don’t have “alternator belts”, we have serpentine belts that go around as many as 10 pulleys or idlers. One can easily see the condition of that belt – if your engine is situated transversely, God help you with changing it yourself. (Or go to youtube, at least.) If your alternator is going, you’re gonna know ahead of time if you have a volt or amp gauge and/or idiot lights.

    Yes, they make some cheap-o refurbished stuff to sell you at the auto parts stores straight outta China. However, when you’ve got a good one, leave it alone! I told you, it’s not like the timing belt. You can’t inspect that one easily on most cars. When it goes, you are either going to be on the side of the road, or on the side of the road with a ruined engine (non-interference vs. interference engine*)

    * This is in reference to whether the pistons will hit the valves or not once the camshaft quits turning.

  21. @Achmed E. Newman

    I meant serpentine belt…..

    Auto parts have have an expiration date…after which it is impossible to predict the time of failure….

    • Replies: @Achmed E. Newman
  22. @War for Blair Mountain

    I see. I wouldn’t have risen this nigglin’ subtle point if John Derbyshire himself would not have dug into it. So – no offense here. I agree on the basics – if not, I wouldn’t have wanted to contradict for fear of stirring up -bad feelings.
    Sorry from abroad.

  23. @War for Blair Mountain

    Auto parts have have an expiration date…after which it is impossible to predict the time of failure….

    Yes, and they can expire before this date just as well. Timing belts ARE fairly predictable at 100,000 miles or so. One can look at a belt and tell if it’s not about to fail anytime soon (other than via failure of another part, such as an accessory pulley locking up. In this case, it doesn’t matter how new the belt is.)

    I’m sure Mr. Derbyshire didn’t write this post to ignite a debate on auto parts, but I’ll say this to you. I have a water heater that is 3 decades old. I’m not replacing this American quality-made unit until I see signs of trouble (I’ve put a new anode in and flushed it out twice). Granted, it may fail catastrophically, but then, my friend’s unit, in the attic(!), failed after 7 years – the whole house was 7 years old. Why mess with success?

  24. @Dieter Kief

    Sorry for being McNasty to you Dieter….It is now one minute before midnight for the Demographic Racial Tribe that you and I belong to. The Enemy smells blood…and they are going in for the kill….And Our Demographic Racial Tribe still allows the Enemy to get away with making an economic case for demographically murdering OUR PEOPLE. I want my Comrades to never let The White Liberal Greedy Cheating Class to get away with this. I want my Comrades……with rabid-pit-bull-violence…….to tear this lie to pieces…..

  25. “Why mess with success”…You got it…And this is the whole point of Paul Kearsey’s comments about the US Space Program:What’s wrong with being Majority White?(
    press Majority Huwhite if you are Jared Taylor)…..Answer:Absolutely nothing!!!

  26. @War for Blair Mountain

    Although (((JEFFREY TOOBIN))) does seem to have a big problem with the great success of the majority NATIVE BORN WHITE MALE US SPACE PROGRAM……..My strongest gut feeling tells me that (((JEFFREY TOOBIN))) has no problem with a majority Jewish Male Astronaut Israelie Space Program….

    Hopefully….. very soon…..Steve Sailer will make a post about (((JEFFREY TOOBIN’S))) recent public outburst of genocidal rage!!…oh wait….that’s GENOCIDAL RAGE!!!!!! towards Working Class Native Born White American Males…..

  27. Barbara Tuchman mentions what has to be the all-time ‘death while performing’ fiasco.

    If I recall aright, around 1900 the German General Staff was having its annual New Year’s bash; part of the festivities included a talent show. It was not open to the public.

    One elderly general was doing a turn as a ballerina, complete with tutu. He dropped dead of a heart attack…in the tutu.

  28. There’s only one death during a performance that matters:

    1995: Beat Farmers singer/drummer/guitarist Country Dick Montana suffered a massive heart attack and died three songs into the band’s set at the Long Horn in Whistler, BC, Canada.

    He died a happy boy.

  29. There are lots of videos of Eric Cline and 1177 BC on Youtube for those who don’t want to read the book. He draws parallels between the Late Bronze age Collapse and our present circumstances.

  30. Re: Sacking of Cities.

    I’ve wondered why this has gone out of fashion and I think it is because 80% of wealth in places like the US and Germany is “intangible capital” or “human capital.” See World Bank wealth of nations studies.

    For high income OECD countries, on page 48 of the latest study, “human capital” is 75-80 percent of total wealth and “produced capital” accounts for most of the rest.

    There was a test of this after WWII when the Russians looted East Germany to the bare walls and the West put the Germans back to work in the Mittelstand.

    So what would be the point of looting a high income country? All the wealth is between the ears of its people.

  31. Truth says:

    Derb, did you ever acknowledge fatherhood of the son you produced from that one-night-stand 48 years ago?

    Looks like he’s voting the wrong way…

    • Replies: @Alden
  32. @Dr. X

    Dr X:
    I think your comment merits consideration by (philo-semitic) Derbyshire.
    btw: you misued the adjective when I think you meant uninterested….

    disinterested party is one who can give objective advice because that party had no conflict of interest. It does not mean lacking interest.

    • Replies: @Dr. X
    , @F0337
  33. Alden says:
    @War for Blair Mountain

    You do know that Denis Kearney was a member of the homo Irish Catholic Church you hate so much don’t you?

  34. Alden says:

    You’d think their moms would make them wear a button down business shirt at least.

  35. @Alden

    Your real point is that you wish the 1888 Chinese Legal Immigrant Exclusion Act had never been passed. The 1888 Chinese Legal Immigrant Exclusion Act protected Native White Workers and kept California Majority White…..And this is why the 1888 Chinese Legal Immigrant Exclusion Act was WONDERFULL pro-Native Born White American Legislation.

  36. Dr. X says:
    @DIscharged EE

    Of course you’re correct.

    Thank you.

  37. @Alfa158

    That has the same probability of happening as my wife honoring my wish to buried in a barrow on the downs with my weapons, furs, sleeping silks, chariots, jewelry, battle banners, hunting trophies, clarions and a selection of my favorite horses, concubines, slaves, hunting dogs and men-at-arms.

    How is that probability not ‘1’? Is your wife unwell? Sorry to hear it.

  38. M_Young says:

    I can go to Costco and get a tire w/ a nail fixed for $25.00. I know the labor is legal, a lot of their externalities (like healthcare costs) are internalized by Costco, and I don’t have a guy pestering me for a ‘tip’. Plus I’m not contributing to crowding of schools, increased traffic, and the like (more externalities).

    So I’ll go to a legal, corporate establishment, thanks.

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
  39. @War for Blair Mountain

    What’s wrong with being Majority White?

    What’s wrong with being completely white? That’s what West Virginians thought when they seceded from the Commonwealth of Colour.

  40. Clarkson College of Technology (now “University”) retired a president back in the 1970s, bumping him upstairs to an honorary position of “chancellor”. At the ceremony inaugurating his successor, he and his physician were among the luminaries on the stage.

    Sometime during the rite, the old prez fell over forward. The doctor came forth to administer CPR.

    Both men died right there.

  41. Claude Levi-Strauss, another crank anthropologist

    You might be amused to know that Levi-Strauss wrote an applied algebra paper with the help of math god Andre Weil. The marriage customs of some South Pacific tribe had several simple rules on who could marry whom, and one strange and complex rule. Weil pointed out that the marriage rules had the mathematical structure of a group and the strange rule was exactly what would make the group commutative.

    habit becomes nature

    The saying “habit turns into nature” exists in other languages. Is there an ancient source for it in Chinese?

  42. @M_Young

    So I’ll go to a legal, corporate establishment, thanks.

    One that tears down churches to expand parking lots, and donates enormous amounts to leftist politicians.

    No thanks.

  43. The Qarmatians sacked Mecca and Medina in 930 AD, evidently because the locals had made the places impure somehow.

    Oh, and Napoleon also has a game of solitaire named after him. And the site of his second, remoter exile:

    Now that’s immortality.

  44. The guy who feexed your tire is a working class guy. Like me. I’m glad you gave him a tip. It was neither he nor I nor any working class person that threw open the border. It was rent seekers at the Chamber of Commerce and their corrupted politicians that left the door open.

  45. ‘…as multitudes of German city-dwellers did before the advancing Soviet army in WW2…’

    …and multitudes did not. Konigsberg, for example, still had a civilian population of one hundred thousand when it surrendered to the Russians — twenty five thousand of whom survived to be expelled to the West some months later. Breslau was also surrounded, rendering escape impossible, and Berlin was cut off as well. I don’t know the figures for these and other cities taken by the Red Army, but we seem to have most if not all the classical elements of the good old fashioned sack ‘n seige. There’s looting, rapine, wholesale slaughter, and even ye olde leading away of survivors into slavery. What more could you ask?

  46. Jett Rucker says: • Website

    It sets my teeth on edge to see (as on the cover shown above of Twelve Have Died) a “bullet” flying through the air – as though fired from a gun – complete with the casing that every cartridge has on it when it is loaded into a gun, or lying around loose before that point.
    People drawing such pictures (they are plentiful) evidently suppose (unconsciously?) that the casing accompanies the bullet somehow through the barrel and out, presumably, all the way to (or near) the target.
    Anyone who has ever handled and fired a gun, of course, knows that the casing either stays in the gun (revolvers) or is ejected at the end of the shot (automatics). As for what goes flying out the muzzle, that might be seen as conjectural, since it isn’t visible in flight, and is normally not viewed after its flight is over. So maybe the appearance or constitution of the projectile is not fully obvious except to one who has recovered one after its deceleration in a soft medium (e.g., water).
    But the ignorance (or thoughtlessness) implied in such illustrations, and the wide acceptance of them, I find deeply disheartening somehow.
    And no, I can’t recall myself having recovered a fired bullet anywhere, nor dissecting a cartridge, either (rather dangerous for people like me, lacking experience in this most unusual process).

  47. F0337 says:
    @DIscharged EE

    I like people who insist upon traditional, unconfused meanings.


  48. F0337 says:
    @War for Blair Mountain

    I remember you, before the methamphetamines.

    You always had a lot to say–most of it coherent.

  49. F0337 says:

    All this talk of rape and pillage has me in mind of a question, though it should be noted in passing that the mention of slaves is Badthink (everyone knows the only slaves that ever existed were Black Americans, who are actually still in slavery and will be until they can have slaves of their own), and it is this: When was the last time that the Bad Guys ever won a war? Doesn’t it seem amazing that all the wars you can think of were won by the Good Guys? That is, us and our buddies? Weird huh?

    That James Elroy Flecker is masterly, by the way. About the Bell Curve, I’m lately discovering that in general-interest forums one may no longer refer to a normal distribution unless one actually uses the phrase “normal distribution” and even then it’s risky. The book’s infamy is such that any reference to the shape of the graph brings cries of “Nazi Nazi” and further discussion is terminated or at best derailed.

    The breaking spaghetti reminds me of a couple of my favorite physics facts, both of them quite incredible, but this comment is already long enough.

    • Replies: @Achmed E. Newman
  50. @F0337

    Before the twenty cups of organic Columbian…….starting a 5 AM…..much more potent and safer than speed….my blood pressure is completely normal…haven’t had a stroke yet doing 4×200 intervals once a month…..

    • Replies: @F0337
  51. Sean says:

    Brandon Lee? Weirdly, dad Bruce’s posthumously competed film Game of Death had a altered plot of a movie star being shot in a filming accident when the gun supposed to have blanks had a live round with bullet (in reality such fully ammunition is never allowed on a film set).

    Maybe the stunt people had overdone the caffeine that morning, anyway. Brandon’s death was complicated. Because the tip of a revolvers’s bullets can be seen from the front view of a revolver’s cylinder, dummy film ammunition inn revolvers has bullets so as look right. Apparently some dummy ammunition was needed quick, and adapted, but not supposed to have a primer (what the firing pin hits to set of the propellant) ; when the trigger was pulled the bullet was knocked into the barrel of the revolver during filming The pop was heard but the situation was not part of things to be checked for safety procedures, and the possibility of the bullet being in the barrel was not understood, or at least checked for. When the same revolver was used with a blank with a propellant during filming the bullet was blasted out the barrel with lethal force. The film, which was about someone who returns from the dead was then completed to become posthumous.

  52. F0337 says:
    @War for Blair Mountain

    Mmmm…….think I’ll get some now. Clearly I need to catch up.

    (What does “doing 4×200 intervals once a month” mean?)

  53. @F0337

    (everyone knows the only slaves that ever existed were Black Americans, who are actually still in slavery and will be until they can have slaves of their own.)


    It’s gonna get to where we can’t even make mention of bells of any sort. “Free at last! Free at last! Good Øb☭ma Almighty! Free at last! Ring the church thingies!”

  54. EdwardM says:

    If the tire place is really busy on Saturday morning, why do you go then? One of the perqs of “the freelance life” (alongside all of its downsides, as you remark later in the column) should be that you set your own schedule, isn’t it?

  55. Wally says:
    @Dr. X

    Derbyshire said:

    “Stalin, who was a player on the world stage for twice as long as Hitler, and who murdered far more of his own people than Hitler did of his”

    And what people did Hitler supposedly murder?
    There is simply no proof of the allegations against Hitler. Revisionists keep asking for it and it is never presented. We know why

    As even ‘holocaust historian Raul Hilberg stated:

    “we’ve often fantasized about drawing up an indictment against Adolf Hitler himself. And to put into that indictment the major charge: the Final Solution of the Jewish question in Europe, the physical annihilation of Jewry. And then it dawned upon us, what would we do? We didn’t have the evidence.”

    Here are books ‘about the Nazis’ which contain informative, cognitive dissonance producing facts, Derbyshire has been hopely propagandized.

    Holocaust Handbooks, Documentaries, & Videos

  56. Dissident says:
    @Achmed E. Newman





    I detest the idiocy of Twitter and various forms of instant messaging, etc.

    Mr. Derbyshire has my respect for defiantly resisting the infernal smartphone.

  57. Among the frivolities is a tired gloat about Jim Fixx dying of a heart attack while running (or jogging) at age 52. His father, a Time editor and Whittaker Chambers colleague named Calvin Fixx, had two heart attacks and died at 43.

  58. My impression is that Hermann Goring was the most sympathetic and intriguing of the leading Nazi politicians – I really can’t speak about the military men. As to Hitler, perhaps Derbyshire should try:

    R. H. S. Stolfi’s
    Hitler: Beyond Evil & Tyranny

  59. Anon[682] • Disclaimer says:

    There are places in my town that repair tires caused by nail holes perfectly well. The guys who do the fixing are white, working class men. I live in a very white city.

    It’s not just Mexicans who can fix tires, Derb. In fact, there are many jobs that white, working class guys do better than Mexicans, and they will be perfectly happy to prove this to you . . .

    . . . if you bother to give them a job, instead of giving all the working class jobs to Mexicans, so you can underpay them.

  60. Embargoes replaced sacking. Same effect without the mess says Madeline.

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