02:11 GOP candidates’ mass debate. (Second-hand report.)
12:43 Small earthquake in Canada. (Nobody checked?)
22:51 It’s that man again. (The only name we know.)
27:29 It’s the blecks, cont. (”Young looters” in … Harlem.)
33:30 A kindred spirit. (Well assimilated.)
38:40 Can Africa help Haiti? (Can anyone?)
41:31 They want to ban cars. (An election issue?)
42:57 No sex please, we’re anthropologists. (The proper study of mankind …)
46:08 Signoff. (For Oktoberfest.)
01—Intro. And Radio Derb is on the air. Greetings, listeners, from your cordially genial host John Derbyshire, here at VDARE.com's lavishly-equipped sound studio to bring you commentary on the week's events from a conservative point of view.
Prominent in this week's political news was the Wednesday night debate among contenders for the Republican Party presidential nomination next year. This was their second debate.
Here's what I had to say about the first debate, in August. Quote from myself four weeks ago on Radio Derb, September 1st, quote:
Watching that televised debate for the GOP candidates last week, for a moment I had the thought that I was watching something irrelevant; the acting-out of some formal ritual that no longer has any actual significance, from which nothing of any consequence will follow.
I did not actually watch this week's debate, having an appointment elsewhere. All I know about it is second-hand, from news stories, commentary, and a published transcript.
The impression I got from all that was a stronger version of the one I recorded four weeks ago. This is going to be a peculiar election, unlike any other. The phrase "Third Party" keeps coming to mind …
Clearly I didn't miss much. Ron DeSantis was the normie on stage; Mike Pence was the 20th-century conservative; Vivek Ramaswamy was the yappy kid; Nikki Haley was the Jeb Bush impersonator; Chris Christie was the comic relief; Doug Burgum and Tim Scott the more-sensible-than-average no-hopers.
Reading the transcript, there seems to have been a lot of cross-talk. To get to essentials I did Ctrl-F on "immigr." What did I get? Just six hits. The first four of them were uttered by two of the three moderators, Dana Perino of Fox News and Ilia Calderon of Univision, a Spanish-language station.
The fifth and sixth occurrences of "immigr" in the transcript are both from Mike Pence. First Pence quote, quote:
We built hundreds of miles of border wall and despite what's said here today, we reduced illegal immigration and asylum abuse by 90 percent.
Second Pence quote. For this one, if you're a regular reader of VDARE.com, you might want to sit down, or grab hold of something solid. Quote:
The truth is we need to fix a broken immigration system and I'll do that as well.
"A broken immigration system"! The stalest of stale clichés in the immigration lexicon! I tossed and gored the phrase "broken immigration system" pretty comprehensively in my August 18th podcast. There is, as I and others have pointed out, nothing broken about our immigration system. It would work fine if the ruling class wanted it to. The problem is, they don't want it to.
Six hits on "immigr" isn't many in two hours of debate. In those two hours, at the current rate, there were 575 unauthorized crossings of our border with Mexico into the U.S.A.
So let's try Ctrl-F "border." Wow: 23 hits on the transcript!
I'll ignore instances where the word "border" was uttered by a moderator, and I'll slightly edit what the candidates said—just to keep length down, without in any way changing their meaning.
Talk is of course cheap, but at this stage of the game we don't have much else to go on. Talk-wise in this debate, where immigration is concerned, DeSantis and Pence are out ahead of the pack.
Pence, however, should be disqualified for life from any federal office higher than mail delivery for having used the phrase "broken immigration system." No, that's too kind. Pence should be exiled for life from the mainland U.S.A., along with any family members he wants to take with him, to a comfortable residence in the Aleutian islands, supplied with free food, utilities, and health care plus a modest pension.
I said I'd been reading commentary about the debate. One of the things I read was a real gem.
What I'm engaged in here belongs to the sphere of human activity called "opinion journalism." The late Auberon Waugh, a British writer who committed a lot of opinion journalism himself, defined the term "opinion journalism" as, quote: "the vituperative arts," end quote.
The blogger who calls himself "the Z-man" brought forth a brilliant confirmation of Waugh's definition on September 28th: a thousand words of scathing, cynical vituperation, every word aimed with precision.
Sample, if the Z-man won't mind me plagiarizing him, quote:
Why anyone thinks people will sit through this is a mystery. They could easily solve this problem with the use of shock collars. If a performer talks over another performer, he gets enough voltage to disable him for a few minutes. Maybe employ trap doors under their feet as a sort of timeout. If the performer keeps breaking the rules, the door opens, and he falls into a garbage pit. He then has to climb the stairs back to the stage, covered in garbage, and retake his spot.
The only improvement I would make on that would be to replace the garbage pit with a latrine pit.
03—Small earthquake in Canada. A different British journalist, Claud Cockburn—although not that different: he was second cousin twice removed of Auberon Waugh—Claud Cockburn used to tell the story that when he was working as a headline-writer at The Times of London, he and some colleagues staged competitions among themselves to see who could compose the dullest headline. Cockburn claimed that he won one of those contests with the headline: "Small Earthquake in Chile, Not many dead."
That came to mind Tuesday when I was reading news stories about the Speaker of the Canadian House of Commons resigning.
All right: I didn't actually see a headline saying just that, "Speaker of the Canadian House of Commons resigns." If I had, though, I would have filed it along with Cockburn's "Small earthquake in Chile …" as one of the all-time dullest headlines. Just the word "Canadian" flips the dullness switch. When was there ever an interesting news story from the frozen tundra up there north of Niagara Falls? Eh?
This one deserves some attention, though. The dramatis personae in this story are, one, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau; two, current Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky; three, a chap named Anthony Rota, Speaker of the Canadian House of Commons, which is of course the lower house of Canada's legislature; and four, 98-year-old Yaroslav Hunka, a Canadian originally from Ukraine, who during WW2 served in combat against the savage, murderous Russian regime of Joseph Stalin.
Last Friday, September 22nd, the current Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky gave a speech to the Canadian parliament. Prime Minister Trudeau was there too, and he also gave a speech. Zelensky got a standing ovation.
Then Speaker Rota asked the assembled parliamentarians to give another standing ovation to Yaroslav Hunka, who was in the chamber as a guest, for his heroism as a Ukrainian patriot fighting the Russians eighty years ago. The house, including Trudeau and Zelensky, obediently stood and applauded.
Whoops! It quickly emerged that the unit Mr Hunka had served in was the Galician Division, Galicia is a region of eastern Europe now straddling the border between Poland and Ukraine. It has a big Ukrainian population.
When Hitler launched Operation Barbarossa in June 1941, sending his army eastward from its positions in occupied Poland to attack the Soviet Union, the whole of Galicia quickly fell under German occupation.
The Germans found themselves ruling over a lot of Ukrainians who bitterly hated the U.S.S.R. for Stalin's repressions and the terrible famine he'd unleashed a few years before—the Holodomor. The German High Command had the idea to recruit these Ukrainians to help fight the Soviets.
Such a unit was duly formed, in 1943: the Galician Division. They fought through to the end of the war, when they surrendered to the allies—some to the U.S.S.R., some to the Western armies.
That was the WW2 background of Yaroslav Hunka, the guy who got a standing ovation from Canada's parliament last Friday.
So he was a Nazi, right? Well, he was certainly fighting in a unit under Nazi command—in fact, under command of Heinrich Himmler's SS, the Naziest of the Nazis. How much Mr Hunka knew about the Nazis, or was taught in Political Education sessions during his two years with the colors, I haven't been able to ascertain.
For sure he knew he was Ukrainian; that Stalin's Russia had been beastly to Ukrainians; and that by enlisting in the Galician Division he'd have the chance to kill Russians. It's entirely possible he knew nothing more than that, or that he knew somewhat more, or a lot more … I don't know.
Did he participate in massacres of Jews, or of Russian or Polish partisans? We don't know. The Galician Division surely committed atrocities against Polish civilians who'd resisted the Germans, but I don't know whether Hunka participated. The government of Poland seems to think he did; they are making noises about extraditing him, although as of today there's been no formal request.
So: a considerable embarrassment for the Canadian parliament. How could they have been so dumb as not to check the historical background there? It took me twenty minutes on the internet. Why didn't Trudeau have someone do that? Or Speaker Rota? Or one—one, at least—of the host of parliamentarians who applauded Mr Hunka?
Most of the answer, I think, is encompassed by the word "ignorance." The key events here—events on the Eastern Front of WW2—are not generally known. I'd like to see a survey telling us what proportion of Canadian adults—of adults in any country west of eastern Europe—know that Hitler and Stalin were allies from 1939 to 1941 and that the invasion of Poland was a joint German-and-Soviet operation. I feel quite sure the answers to that survey would be deeply depressing.
And this is confident ignorance, the worst kind. Not only do people not know much about the Eastern Front in WW2, they think they do know. In all fairness, it would be surprising if people did know much. The different nations and regions there, the different ethnicities and religions, the ancient grievances and grudges, … it's all a mighty tangle.
As for massacres: the Eastern Front was a feast of massacres by all parties. There is a recent book about that by Timothy Snyder, Professor of History at Yale University. No, I haven't read it, but I can tell you the title: Bloodlands. Subtitle: "Europe between Hitler and Stalin." Bloodlands: that's the territory where Yaroslav Hunka did his military service in his late teens. You want to pass judgment? Hey.
I should add, by the way, to any listeners thinking of diving into the history here, that not only is it an almighty tangle in itself, it comes encrusted with conspiracy theories and contrarianism, as I think is the case with all WW2 issues.
If you want to get into that, you might start with the Suvorov Hypothesis, a favorite of my dear old friend, the late Boris Zel'dovich. What I've given you here is the conventional wisdom. For different accounts, consult your friendly neighborhood contrarian.
04—It's that man again. As a footnote to that segment, I'd just like to air my annoyance at the apparently endless obsession with Hitler and his Nazis as standing above all other despotic regimes in wickedness.
Yes, they were wicked, and did some dreadful things. The same can be said of a lot of other despotisms, though; some of them with us today—think of North Korea. And yes, it is particularly tragic that Germany, which around the year 1900 was a strong contender for the title Most Advanced and Civilized Nation on Earth—should have been taken over by gangster ideologues.
The Russia of Lenin and Stalin was at least as bad, though, and murdered far more of their own people. Admittedly they held power for longer than Hitler's twelve years so they had more time to do their murdering in. And admittedly they weren't as viciously antisemitic as the Nazis; although Stalin personally was an antisemite and there were signs he was turning the Party in that direction before he died. Google "Doctors' Plot."
Not much of that has filtered down into the popular consciousness, though. Wicked rulers of recent times? Hitler! Hitler! Nazis! Nazis! It seems to be all people know. Yes, the Nazis were wicked—no argument from me. I only deny that they were uniquely, supremely, head-and-shoulders-above wicked.
(A friend who has kids in British schools tells me that history lessons over there offer as key figures "the Two H's": King Henry the Eighth, and Hitler. Nobody else, he told me, gets much of a mention. I feel sure he was exaggerating, but … not totally sure.)
A side effect of this particular kind of ignorance is a vague, dimwitted anti-Germanism. German-Americans of the woke persuasion are often ashamed of their ancestry. Exhibit A: Bill de Blasio, the communist Mayor of New York City from 2014 to 2021. He was German-American through his father: father and son were both named Warren Wilhelm. He flipped to his mother's name, de Blasio, when he entered politics.
I've described myself more than once as a Germanophile. The German language was one of my better school subjects, although of course I've forgotten most of it now. German mathematics from Gauss to Hilbert is one of the Seven Wonders of intellectual history. German music is of course another. A great nation with tremendous cultural achievements.
Today of course Germany, like Britain, has sunk into decadence, self-loathing, and multiculturalism. Probably it's all over for them. Those magnificent achievements of the past still stand, though. They will stand for as long as human beings have any knowledge of our history.
Which makes it all the more depressing that, if you ask a random passer-by in New York or London to name a prominent German figure of the modern age, as often as not the only name he can give you is you-know-who … who strictly speaking wasn't even German, but Austrian.
On Tuesday, mega-retailer Target announced it is closing nine stores in several locations across the country including San Francisco, Seattle, Portland (Oregon), and New York City.
Quote from the New York Times, September 26th, quote:
Target's chief executive, Brian Cornell, said that the company [inner quote] "continues to face an unacceptable amount of retail theft and organized retail crime." [End inner quote.] He said that in the first five months of the year, thefts in its stores that involved violence or threats of violence rose 120 percent.
Executives at other retailers like Macy's and Dick's Sporting Goods have also been warning Wall Street about the impact theft is having on their business.
Then on Tuesday night a big crowd of what my Wednesday New York Post described as, quote, "young looters," end quote, roamed through Philadelphia ransacking stores: Foot Locker, Apple, Lululemon are named in the story. They were, quote, "lifting merchandise and stuffing it in large plastic bags," end quote.
Going back to the first of those stories, the one about Target closing stores, the New York City store they're closing is the one in East Harlem.
Harlem, hm. With that in mind, and after seeing news pictures of the Philadelphia looters, I'm going to be shamelessly impertinent and ask: Is there some particular characteristic of these, er, "young looters" that an impartial observer might notice, aside from their youth?
Time to re-air one of my favorite personal anecdotes. Looking back through my archives I see that I first aired this anecdote in 2013, August 2013 here at Radio Derb. That's ten years ago. Then I had a reference to it in my monthly Diary for March 2018—five years ago.
Ten years ago, five years ago: it's high time for a re-airing. I shall give you the actual original from 2013, as recorded; but first, a brief intro.
In that 2013 podcast I had just mentioned Steve Sailer's brilliant coining of the phrase "Occam's Butterknife." That's a spoof on "Occam's Razor." Occam's Razor is the logical principle that, when all else is equal, the explanation you should favor is the one that needs the fewest assumptions to support it.
Steve's perversion of that, Occam's Butterknife, says that when the simplest, most straightforward explanation—the one favored by Occam's Razor—when that explanation is unacceptable to you for social or emotional reasons, look for something more complicated.
OK, here was me podcasting back in 2013.
[Clip: I recall a fine example of Occam's Razor—not the Butterknife, now, the original Razor—from thirty or so years ago when I was doing office work in London. I had a colleague, a white guy from South Africa, who spoke with those strange flattened vowels they use. He actually pronounced the name of his country as "S'thefriceh."
Well, chatting around the office one day I mentioned a certain district of London that was plagued with street crime. At that time my youthful liberalism had not yet altogether worn off, so I was reaching for Occam's Butterknife, positing poverty, fatherlessness, lack of public facilities, and so on as the causes of all the street crime.
My Boer friend listened for a while till his patience ran out, then he cut me off with Occam's Razor.
"It's the blecks, dear fellow," he said. "It's the blecks." So it was, and so it is.]
Imprimis: In last week's podcast I tackled the question why, when apparenly honest politicians get elected on a platform of strict immigration control—Italy's Giorgia Meloni, for example—they are unable to deliver on it.
The answer, I said, is lawfare on the part of human rights lobbies backed by institutions like the United Nations Refugee Convention and the European Court of Human Rights. These lobbies—for whom unrestricted immigration, including illegal immigration, is apparently a human right—these lobbies have enough influence, enough lawyers, and unfortunately enough general support, to wage delaying tactics indefinitely against governments trying to control their borders.
Well, here's someone who's as angry about this as I am: Suella Braverman, the British Home Secretary—that's like our Attorney General, more or less. Earlier this week Mrs Braverman gave a speech to the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C. This, let me remind you, is the lady who was reprimanded earlier this year by Britain's Bar Association for referring to illegal aliens crossing the channel in small boats as, quote, "invaders," end quote.
She hasn't lost any of that good immigration-restrictionist spirit. She told the AEI gathering on Tuesday that multiculturalism has been a failure and that uncontrolled immigration was a threat to Western Civ. And, quote from the Daily Mail:
Ms Braverman called for an overhaul of the UN Refugee Convention to help end the Channel crisis—and took another swipe at the European Convention on Human Rights.
She branded the system "unsustainable," complaining that it creates "huge incentives for illegal migration."
That stirred some commentators to point out that Mrs Braverman, although born in Britain, was the child of parents from India; so who was she to speak ill of immigration? Some even more unkind people noted that her husband, Rael Braverman, is Jewish, so that presumably he is of immigrant stock too, perhaps a few generations back.
Well, yes; but Mrs Braverman—and someone should tell the Daily Mail that she is indeed a Mrs not a Ms—Mrs Braverman strikes me as totally assimilated to British norms. She still has somewhat of a sarf Landan accent, I've never seen a picture of her in a sari, and there's no dot on her forehead. She's a Buddhist, but doesn't make a public issue of it.
Another quote from the Mail:
She insisted migrants could no longer be allowed to come to the U.K. and "live parallel lives" rather than integrating.
That's a key point: the distinction between "hard" and "soft" multiculturalism.
Ed West had a very good column on all this—on Mrs Braverman, the "hard" versus "soft" multiculti distinction, and so on—at his substack yesterday. I commend it to your attention.
The place is an appalling mess, of course. Quote from the BBC, September 28th:
Haiti has suffered from gang violence for decades but the current wave of brutality escalated after the July 2021 assassination of President Jovenel Moïse.
Gangs have taken control of large parts of the country, waging terror on residents and killing hundreds.
Well, the Beeb reports that Haiti's black brethren in Africa want to help. The East African nation of Kenya wants to send a thousand police officers to, quote, "neutralise the armed gangs, protect civilians and bring about peace, security and order." End quote.
The BBC report lists some reasons to doubt that Kenya's intervention will have much effect.
So with regard to this Kenyan intervention, let's wait and see. If it's another floperoo, at least they won't be able to blame it on the white man.
Item: A core feature of current Democratic Party dogma is that we need to ban cars—cars fueled by gasoline, that is. Nine states—count 'em, nine: California, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Oregon, Rhode Island and Washington—nine states, all run by Democrats, have officially committed to ban cars by 2035.
It's surprising how little this is mentioned in political and election talk. Not only is it not popular, but as Daniel Greenfied recorded in his blog September 20th, it's been getting less popular year by year. This could be an election-changer.
I think it's nuts, like many other policies favored by what we used to call the Party of the Little Guy. Speaking for this one little guy, i.e. myself, they can have my internal-combustion-engine-powered horseless carriage when they prise it from my cold dead driveway.
Item: Finally, a note from the world of academic anthropology. You know anthropology: they're the academics who go off to live with hunter-gatherer people in remote places, master the clicks and grunts of their languages, and write learned theses about their mating customs, child-raising practices, family relationships, social organization, migratory habits, and so on.
Well, the anthropologists of the U.S.A. and Canada are having their annual conference in Toronto November 15th to 19th. The two principals in charge of the conference are the presidents of the American Anthropological Association and the Canadian Anthropology Society.
Six fully-credentialed academics, one from Harvard, arranged to have, as one of the conference events, a panel discussion under the heading "Let's Talk About Sex, Baby: Why biological sex remains a necessary analytic category in anthropology."
Their proposal for this discussion was originally accepted by the conference organizers. But then … the organizers changed their minds. The panel has now been removed from the program due to the, quote, "harm," end quote, it will cause the, quote, "Trans and LGBTQI community." End quote.
The six proponents of the panel have written a letter of protest at the cancellation. One of them, Anthropology Professor Elizabeth Weiss of San José State University in, of course, California has posted that letter of protest, along with the original notice of cancellation, at her website.
So it is now unacceptable for anthropologists to retain biological sex as a necessary analytic category. It'll be interesting to see how they now write about the mating customs, child-raising practices, family relationships, et cetera of Eskimos, Hottentots, Polynesian islanders, and tribesfolk of the Matto Grosso and the Australian Outback without talking about biological sex.
Or perhaps I should say: It won't be interesting at all …
Speaking about Germans and Germany back there, I have been remiss in not having mentioned that we are in Oktoberfest.
The dates of Oktoberfest are different each year, according to a complicated formula. This year's festival runs for 2½ weeks; we have actually been in it since it started two Saturdays ago. It officially ends this coming Tuesday, October 3rd.
So I've been double delinquent. I didn't mention Oktoberfest in either the September 15th or the September 22nd podcast. For a Germanophile, that's pretty shoddy.
I had the idea to make up for my delinquency by signing out this week with a lusty Oktoberfest song. I accordingly went to the internet and looked up the most popular Oktoberfest songs, but none of the German-language songs on that list ignited my enthusiasm.
I briefly contemplated ignoring the list and just giving you my own a cappella German-language rendering of "Lily Marlene." Then it occurred to me that the great dumb mass of Germanophobes probably think that "Lily Marlene" is Hitler-adjacent, although it really isn't. The Nazis in fact disapproved of it; Goebbels wouldn't allow it to be played on German radio stations.
I could have defied the idiots and just sung it anyway, but I don't need the aggravation. As a great German writer observed: Mit der Dummheit kämpfen Götter selbst vergebens: "Against stupidity the gods themselves struggle in vain."
So I went back to the list and plucked off number seven for your listening enjoyment. It's in English, not in German; but the singer and co-writer of the song was German-American, which I guess is enough to make him an Oktoberfest favorite. Plus, number seven is a lovely song.
Nächste Woche gibt es mehr von Radio Derb.
[Music clip: John Denver, "Take Me Home, Country Roads."]