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 TeasersJohn Derbyshire Blogview

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Adapted from the latest Radio Derb, available exclusively at VDARE.com

The latest terrorist killings in London got me reading up on Fishmongers’ Hall.

I’ll confess I knew next to nothing about the place, in spite of having been born and raised in England and lived five years in London. The hall existed in my mind, out on the barren, windswept borderlands of my awareness, but I had never been to it and couldn’t have told you anything about it. So I went looking it up on the internet.

It’s a pleasant old building with some fine interior spaces, just at the north end of London Bridge (which is not to be confused with Tower Bridge, although non-Brits chronically do confuse them). This is the heart of the old City of London, equidistant from St Paul’s cathedral and the Tower of London.

Fishmongers’ Hall isn’t actually that old, as buildings go in England—less than 200 years old. The Tower, half a mile away, is nearly a thousand years old; and if you’ve been there you’ll remember there are bits of the Roman wall nearby, a thousand years older than that. London’s an old city.

Fishmongers’ Hall is respectably old, though. It acquired more respectability in WW2, when it was badly damaged by German bombs during the Blitz; and there has been a Fishmongers’ Hall on that same site since the 14th century.

The hall’s proprietor, the Worshipful Company of Fishmongers, is even older than that, with misty origins back in the Middle Ages, when practitioners of some trade or craft—in this case, the marketing of fish—banded together in guilds to protect their collective interests and … I don’t know: suppress competition, probably.

Whatever, the Company and its hall are fine mementos of old England, when she was a country inhabited mainly by a distinctive race of people—the Island Race, Sir Winston Churchill called them.

Nowadays England is a multicultural, multiracial slum, its population about as distinctive as the inhabitants of an airport departure lounge. Less than half of Londoners belong to that Island Race Churchill wrote about. [Why have the white British left London?, by Mark Easton, BBC, February 20, 2013].

Change in white British population in London between 2001 and 2011—BBC

When today’s teenagers are middle-aged, less than half of England will be of that Island Race, thanks to mass immigration and differential birthrates. [RIP this Britain: With academic objectivity, Oxford Professor and population expert DAVID COLEMAN says white Britons could be in the minority by the 2060s – or sooner, Daily Mail, May 27, 2016]

And of course this is something the English are supposed to celebrate as positive—the transformation of a stuffy, dull, backward-looking population with chronic class antagonisms and lousy cuisine into a gorgeous mosaic of diversity, an affirmation of human universalism, of the absolute innate equality of all races in all the traits that matter.

If, for example, you go the website of the Worshipful Company of Fishmongers and let the wallpaper cycle once or twice, you get a picture of ten fishmongers plying their ancient trade, eight gentlemen and two ladies.

Two of the ten are indistinct; of the other eight, five, including both the ladies, are black or mulatto. Two of the guys are very black, bringing to mind—well, to my mind—what Orwell wrote about the Senegalese troops he saw in French Morocco: “so black that sometimes it is difficult to see whereabouts on their necks the hair begins.”

English people who object to this North Korean level of brainwashing, or who merely notice the downsides—the usual high black crime rate, the Pakistani grooming gangs—are ostracized as cruel and immoral, and fired from their jobs. Sometimes they are jailed.

A recent case:

Expelled student, 22, is jailed for 18 months after calling for Muslims to be ‘wiped off the face of the earth’ in vile 17-minute Facebook video rant

Louis Duxbury issued a ‘call to arms’ during the rant after terror attacks in 2017
The court heard Duxbury was first reported to police about his views aged 15
Duxbury, of York, denied inciting religious hatred but was convicted by a jury

By Sophie Law, Mailonline, December 5, 2019

Wait a minute, Derb, I hear you saying. What’s all this to you? You’ve spent most of your adult life in the U.S.A. You’ve been a citizen for seventeen years. What do you care about the Old Country?

Well, not much above the level of private sentimentality. I read news stories about England in a spirit of calm despair. The place is gone, it’s irrecoverable.

For my American kids, though, and their American kids when they finally get round to having some, I’d like to do what I can to spare this country from sinking into the dark pit that has swallowed England.

We are, as I said on the VDARE.com livestream earlier this week, we are cousin nations. Our politics proceed approximately in sync. The U.K. got principled conservative Margaret Thatcher; America got principled conservative Ronald Reagan. We got cynical grifter Bill Clinton; they got cynical grifter Tony Blair. They got Brexit; we got Trump.

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Blog post of the month

Not actually this month. This blog post is from July 20th. I only just had it brought to my attention. As usual, I’m behind with these things. Was it not from self-awareness that I once wrote under the alias The Straggler? It was.

The blog post’s author, Michael Huemer, is a professor of philosophy at the University of Colorado. The heading on the blog post is “Intellectual Conformity Is Adaptive.”[July 20, 2019]

The subject of the post, as best it can be squished down to a single word, is thinking. The link to it was forwarded to me by a friend who said it reminded him of a piece I’d written back in my National Review days, aguing that hardly anybody actually thinks very much in any coherent way.

Sample quote from Prof. Huemer’s blog post, with his footnote:

Intellectuals are a danger to society.* Why people constantly get things wrong when they reason abstractly is a topic for another time. But the evidence is pretty overwhelming that they do. They are then in danger of doing crazy stuff, or convincing other people to do crazy stuff.

(*Not me, though. Fortunately, I, unlike the other intellectuals, am generally right about things. But that is rare. Also, in modern times, people who work in the sciences generally advance useful knowledge. But people who think about the big philosophical, political, and religious issues generally get approximately everything wrong.)

For a professor of philosophy, I think that is an instance of what military types refer to as “calling down fire on your own position.” Prof. Huemer has, though, I think, attained a well-nigh Derbian level of self-awareness. He has no illusions about his role in the grand scheme of things:

Let’s keep up the inaccessible, jargony works that no one reads. Higher education is not teaching much to students or anyone else. But at least it keeps intellectuals off the streets.

I urge you to read and savor the whole thing.

Nonfiction book of the month

Prof. Huemer’s post struck me with more force than it otherwise might have because at the time it was brought to my attention I had just finished reading Michael Rectenwald’s memoir Springtime for Snowflakes.

Rectenwald taught Liberal Studies at New York University until January this year, when he retired. He was in the news, at any rate locally, three years ago, after starting up an anonymous Twitter account [@antipcnyuprof] critical of Political Correctness. Sample tweet:

I’m an NYU prof who’s seen academe become a sham bc of identity pol & liberal totalitarianism. I’ll tell all soon.

He was soon unmasked by the NYU student newspaper. After overcoming some misgivings, he gave them an interview under his real name. Sample:

Frankly, I’m not really anti-pc. My contention is that trigger warning, safe spaces and bias hotline reporting are not politically correct. They are insane.

That got him hauled up for a meeting before the Dean of Liberal Studies and the Director of Human Resources. On Rectenwald’s account (which, to be perfectly fair, they have disputed), these are exactly the kind of shifty enforcers Amy Wax came up against in her own Two Minutes Hate. Let their names be recorded: the Dean is Fred Schwarzbach, [Email him] the Director Shabana Master. [Email her] I can’t find an unambiguous picture of Ms Master, but “Shabana” is most commonly a Pakistani forename.

With the weasely cowardice typical of these academic apparatchiks, instead of having the guts to fire Rectenwald for his dissidence (he did not have tenure), the Dean and the Director simulated earnest concern for his mental health and insisted he take paid medical leave of absence for the remainder of that semester.

Springtime for Snowflakes covers these events in its first fifteen pages. The following ninety pages are memoir, describing Rectenwald’s intellectual journey.

From a working-class background in Pittsburgh he proceeded to a late-1970s apprenticeship with the poet Allen Ginsberg at the Naropa Institute, now Naropa University, a countercultural offshoot of the Beat Generation. Rectenwald: “That Allen Ginsberg was the least bizarre person around should tell you much about Naropa Institute.”

There followed years of accumulating academic credentials in literary and allied fields, leading to a 25-year career teaching Liberal Studies at American universities. Our author thought of himself as a communist, became steeped in postmodern theory, and is lucid at describing how the current “social justice” movement emerged from that intellectual background. Try his 160-word explication of the term “phallogocentrism,” for example (page 68).

For all that lucidity, Rectenwald seems to have been slow on the uptake in matters political.

As a result of the fallout from my outing as the “‘Deplorable’ NYU Prof,” I found myself besieged and attacked by leftists of all stripes. Likewise, I inevitably questioned my political commitments. Could a political isolato such as I had become be a committed communist? The communists that I had known now resembled tyrants more than anything else. I now saw the authoritarianism and embryonic totalitarianism that had been hidden beneath a thin veneer of egalitarian rhetoric. Could I be numbered among a tribe whose members were so monstrous? No, I could not call myself a communist.

Uh …

Well, well: Joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance. In any case, nobody who declares himself a lover of Tennyson‘s verse can be altogether bad. I’m willing to forgive even communism in a guy who, after forswearing that foul creed, can tell us that “SJW” stands for “Stalin, Just Weirder” (page 126).

• Category: Ideology • Tags: Political Correctness 
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Adapted from the latest Radio Derb, available exclusively on VDARE.com

My readers all know about New York City’s Communist mayor Bill de Blasio. Those of you in the great windswept spaces west of the Hudson River are probably much less familiar with Mayor de Blasio’s wife, a black lady named Chirlane McCray.

Ms. McCray is a piece of work. She exhibits all the pathologies of educated black Americans in concentrated form, all the points very highly developed. She is a Communist, of course, like her husband—they took their honeymoon in Fidel Castro’s Cuba. She has been a writer and a poet—Radio Derb actually offered listeners a sample of her poetry back in 2013, when Bill was first running for mayor of New York.

Although I have sampled Ms. McCray’s poetry, I have not ventured into her prose. Since her verse is without rhyme, meter, or even rhythm, and betrays no acquaintance at all with traditional poetic forms—is in fact verse merely in a typographical sense—I wouldn’t expect to find anything in her prose I didn’t find in her poetry.

And Googling around for commentaries about the prose it’s clear that it is indeed just like the verse: semiliterate solipsistic vaporing about her blackness, herself, her blackness, her sexuality, her blackness, her childhood, her blackety-blackety-black-black-blackness. [The Lesbian Past of Bill de Blasio’s Wife, by Hunter Walker, December 5, 2012]

And as I said, McCray ticks all the boxes for educated black American pathology. Along with the foregoing, she has allowed herself to be wafted up on thermals of white guilt into a position where she can make decisions about the disbursal of public funds.

Lots of public funds, in her case: a quarter of a billion—yes, that’s “billion” with a “b”—a quarter of a billion dollars a year. That’s the budget for ThriveNYC, a program to overhaul New York City’s mental-health welfare services, launched four years ago in 2015.

It goes without saying that Ms. McCray was not elected to run ThriveNYC, nor even selected on any kind of meritocratic job-interview basis. She was just appointed by her husband the mayor. She has never in her life managed anything, let alone anything spending a quarter billion a year.

So: four years at a quarter billion a year, that’s a neat billion dollars dragged from the pockets of working and property-owning New Yorkers by force of law. What does the city have to show for it?

Nothing that anyone has been able to identify. The actual situation for mental health issues in New York may actually be worse today than it was four years ago.[ Mental health complaints have soared since ThriveNYC launch, by Nolan Hicks, NY Post, March 14, 2019] Quote from the de-Blasio-friendly New York Times:

The biggest challenge for Mr. de Blasio and Ms. McCray has been to identify concrete results. A spreadsheet of nearly 500 data points tracked by City Hall included almost none related to patient outcomes.

[Chirlane McCray, de Blasio’s Wife, Is Questioned Over His ‘Revolutionary’ $1 Billion Mental Health Plan, by J. David Goodman, March 22, 2019]

So…how was that billion dollars of public money disbursed? Nobody really knows, as no records of spending are kept. [With opaque budget and elusive metrics, $850M ThriveNYC program attempts a reset, by Amanda Eisenberg, NY Post, February 27, 2019 ]


Of course, there was the organizing of the annual conference of ThriveNYC, held on Monday and Tuesday this last week. Two hundred mayors of American cities were invited. Just seven RSVPed in the affirmative, and all but two of them were small local sub-municipalities. [Just seven mayors to attend Chirlane McCray’s annual ThriveNYC conference, by Julia Marsh, NY Post, November 15, 2019]

But think of the postage paid on all those invitations that went straight into mayoral waste-paper bins from sea to shining sea.

Ms. McCray herself opened the conference with a talk about—can you guess?—yes: her own wonderful, ineffable, endlessly fascinating blackety-blackety-blackety-blackety-black-black-blackness.

McCray described to the audience the torment she endured as one of the only black children growing up in Longmeadow, Mass., in the 1960s: Her classmates mocked her skin color, teachers refused to have her in their classrooms, and construction workers spit at her as she rode her bike.

“I didn’t know how to handle all that,” she vividly recalled Monday during her keynote at the Thrive conference at New York Law School.

“I was afraid, I was lonely, I was anxious and so often I just wanted to die,” she said, pausing before continuing her 15-minute address.

[ Chirlane McCray recalls past depression battle: ‘I just wanted to die’ , by Julia Marsh, New York Post, November 18, 2019]

McCray’s family was, according to Wikipedia, only the second black family in the town of Longmeadow, whither her family had moved in 1964 when Ms. McCray was ten years old.

That could very well be true. Even today, Longmeadow is less than 1 percent black.

But I call b-s on the lady’s tales of being mocked and spat on, though.

“Teachers refused to have her in their classrooms”? Please. She’s lying.

For one thing, this was Massachusetts, inhabited by people of earnest northeastern Puritan stock. These people weren’t spitting on ten-year-old black kids, not even in 1964.

• Category: Race/Ethnicity • Tags: Blacks, Political Correctness 
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Adapted from the latest Radio Derb, available exclusively on VDARE.com

This week’s Main Stream Media news was dominated by the impeachment hearings going on in Congress. I haven’t had anything much to say about this, and still don’t. I’m not very interested in it, and can’t be bothered to engage with the details. Ukraine…whistle-blower…transcripts…quid pro quo…[snoring sounds].

The Democrats have gone all-out nuts. Any human being is susceptible to sour grapes after a disappointment; but when the disappointment arises not from some illegality or gross wrong, but from losing a fair contest under legal or social rules long agreed to, adult human beings swallow their sour grapes and get on with the business of life. A person who doesn’t do that is a person who has lost proper adult self-control—no different from a drunkard, a lecher, or a chronic gambler. It’s disgusting.

The current clown show in Congress has foreigners laughing at us—I know this from my personal contacts. This, they are saying, this is a serious nation? Leader of the Free World?

They are right to laugh at us. Our nation, like every other nation, has public issues to deal with, problems to solve, disagreements to sort out. Some of the issues are pressing; some of the problems, difficult; some of the disagreements sharp.

For us here at VDARE.com the most pressing issue is the National Question: matters of immigration, national sovereignty, national stability and cohesion. There are plenty of other matters our national legislature should be busy attending to, though.

We are still fighting the missionary wars of the early 2000s, even though there is near-universal agreement—Max Boot and John Bolton are the only dissenters I can think of—that those wars were futile, if not counter-productive. We are still locked into military alliances that ceased to make any sense when the Cold War ended an entire generation ago. The nation’s finances are in a sorry state: a trillion-dollar deficit and 23 trillion dollars of debt.

There are major social problems, too: homeless camps in our city streets, rising deaths from drug addiction, the increasing difficulty for young people of getting a home and starting a family, the out-of-control college rackets.

And what are our nation’s legislators concentrating their energies on? Ukraine…whistle-blower…transcripts…quid pro quo … [snoring sounds].

In contrast, here’s a news story I pulled off the wires. This is from BBC News, by Imogen Foulkes, November 14th. Headline: Switzerland’s plan to stop stockpiling coffee proves hard to swallow:

The Swiss are nothing if not well-prepared. Theirs is a country with a nuclear bunker for every household, a country that tests its air raid sirens every year, and a country that, although one of the wealthiest in the world, stockpiles thousands of tonnes of goods in case of an emergency—including coffee.

Tim the unready (L) is contrasted with Tom the ready, in this Swiss government video

But when the Swiss government proposed ending the stockpiling of coffee earlier this year, the plan was met with fierce resistance.

The drink, low in calories and with little nutritional value, did not belong, the government said, on the “essential to life” list.

But this led to a public outcry. The Swiss are among the world’s biggest drinkers of coffee, and many, it seems, do regard it as “essential.” Faced with such a public response, the government said it would reconsider.

Now that’s a country with a good sensible approach to national issues—Should the federal government stockpile coffee against a national emergency?

That’s a topic I could get interested in—way more interesting than the fine parsing of phone calls between the President and some apparatchik in some no-account junkyard country whose legislators can be bought over the counter like pounds of cheese.

The more I write about international matters, in fact, the more I wonder why the whole world doesn’t just go Swiss—I mean, adopt the Swiss model of government. We are an imitative species, aren’t we? Why don’t we all imitate Switzerland? They have a good thing going up there in the Alps.

Can you name the president of Switzerland? No, I can’t either. I had to look him up: It’s a chap named Ulrich Maurer. Don’t feel bad about not knowing that: I’m told some large number of Swiss people can’t name their country’s president either. That’s what I call having politics in the right place on your list of priorities.

Here’s the background section from the Wikipedia page for Herr Mauer:

Maurer grew up as the son of a poor farmer in the Zürcher Oberland. After a commercial apprenticeship, Maurer received a federal accountant’s diploma. He was director of the Zürich Farmers’ Association from 1994 to 2008 and president of the Swiss Vegetable Farmers’ Association and the Farmers’ Machinery Association (Maschinenring) until his election to the Federal Council.

Currently resident in Hinwil in the canton of Zürich, Maurer is married and has six children. He has served in the Swiss Army with the rank of major, commanding a bicycle infantry battalion.

You can’t help but smile. Swiss, and an accountant?

Isn’t that, like, double boring?

And “a bicycle infantry battalion“—wha’?

Well, you can smile, but there are things in there that would incline me to vote for Herr Maurer, all else being equal. He’s the son of a dirt farmer—no silver spoon there. Accounting may lack the glamor of being a real-estate mogul or community organizer, but keeping the nation’s books balanced is an essential function of government.

On the military angle: I don’t know how it is in Switzerland, but British Army folklore says that the rank of major is the highest rank at which you’re doing real out-in-the-field soldiering, before the paperwork takes over.

So without any knowledge of Swiss politics or any personal acquaintance with Herr Maurer, I must say, I like the cut of his jib.

• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Nationalism, Switzerland 
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Earlier: Immigration, Not White Suburbs, Turning VA Blue. GOP Still Can Win With Sailer Strategy—But Ultimately Needs An Immigration Moratorium

We had elections this week for various kinds of state and local positions. The results were mixed, pluses and minuses, but it looked to me like mostly minuses. On the plus side:

  • voters in Washington State rejected a measure to legalize Affirmative Action.

Specifically, a yes vote would:

allow Affirmative Action policies by the state of Washington in the areas of public education, public employment, and public contracting as long as such policies do not constitute preferential treatment (as defined) and do not use quotas.

Washington Referendum 88, Vote on I-1000 Affirmative Action Measure (2019)C

Of course the entire point of Affirmative Action is to give preferential treatment to favored groups, and quotas are the only way you can do so without risking legal trouble. Everybody understands this, but everyone has to pretend not to. Thanks to the voters of Washington State—well, 52 percent of them—for giving a good kick in the shins to the whole dishonest sham.

  • Voters in Tucson, Arizona voted down an Initiative that would have made Tucson a “Sanctuary City”—or Treason Town, as VDARE.com prefers to call them.

This initiative was in reaction to the famous law passed in 2010 by the state legislature, and signed by then-governor Jan Brewer, right, giving state law enforcement powers to help enforce federal immigration laws. Kritarchs of course struck down most of the law, but left it OK for officers to check a suspect’s immigration status. The idea of the Initiative: to kill that last surviving portion of the 2010 law—to finish the job the kritarchs left un-finished. Instead, voters killed the initiative, leaving the law standing.

This wasn’t a 50-50 decision either; more than 70 percent of Tucson voters said no to the sanctuary city idea. [Tucson voters soundly reject ‘sanctuary city’ initiative, KGUN, November 6, 2019]

Well done, Tucson! Sanctuary much!

  • Texans voted by nearly 75 percent to 25 for an amendment raising that simple majority of legislators to two-thirds, while still requiring also a majority of voters.

Texas is one of just seven states without a personal income tax. (Pop quiz: How many of the other six can you name?) The Texas state constitution says there can only be a state income tax if it’s approved by a majority of legislators and a majority of voters in referendum. So with the state constitution thus amended, now it’s even harder than it was before to get an income tax passed in Texas.

But nationwide most of the news was bad for President Trump and his party.

  • In Virginia, Democrats now control both houses of the state legislature for the first time in 26 years.
  • Republican losses in Pennsylvania inspired the Philadelphia Inquirer report to descriptives like “blue wave” and “catastrophic.” [The blue wave crashed down on Pennsylvania again, as voters from Philly to Delaware County turned left, by Julia Terruso, November 6, 2019]
  • The GOP candidate for governor of Kentucky lost, in spite of Trump having staged a big rally in his support on Monday night. He only lost by a whisker — less than half of one percent — but still … Kentucky!

There’s a pattern though, if you look for it. So at any rate says Daniel Horowitz over at Conservative Review. I’ll let him explain:

On critical issues, especially on issues like immigration and crime, Republicans are not as emphatically to the right as Democrats are to the left …

How else do you explain, on the one hand, Republican issues winning overwhelmingly in urban and very Hispanic Tucson, but on the other hand, GOP candidates losing tremendous ground in suburbs, even in red states like Mississippi?…

Voters in no way support the extreme agenda of the Democratic Party, certainly not those living in suburban neighborhoods in the south. But the Republican Party is a terrible vehicle for promoting a bold contrast.

Tucson voters DEFEAT sanctuary initiative with over 70% of the vote, November 6, 2019

I’d chop that last sentence down from eleven words to five: “The Republican Party is terrible.”

I think Daniel Horowitz has caught on to an important truth there. As the great political analyst Osama bin Laden once said: “When people see a strong horse and a weak horse, by nature they will like the strong horse.”

The Democratic Party is the strong horse here. Their ideas are wrong-headed, frequently crazy, but they pursue political victory with vigor and conviction.

The Republicans are the weak horse. They have much more sensible ideas, but they are hobbled by their globalist business donors, and they half-believe the cant out of media and the academy that national sovereignty, demographic stability, and realism about sex and race are immoral.

Democrats are bold and loud, Republicans are timid and apologetic. Strong horse, weak horse.

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[Clip: Scourby, “Behold now behemoth …”]

That’s the fine sonorous voice of Alexander Scourby reading the King James Bible, Book of Job, Chapter 40, verse 15. I just wanted to be sure I got the right pronunciation of “behemoth.” It’s not a word I use very often.

It’s a curious thing that the two big Anglo-Saxon cousin nations, America and Britain, are both facing very similar political crises. And in both nations there is a huge entrenched political behemoth—in the U.S.A., an immense multi-trillion dollar diplomatic and military establishment. In both nations there is a widespread public dissatisfaction with this monstrous beast and its preferences—especially its preferences for unlimited immigration and everlasting missionary wars. In both nations this dissatisfaction has tried to express itself through proper democratic channels. And in both nations it has been thwarted.

“If voting made any difference they wouldn’t let us do it.” I have been unable to find the origin of this saying. The usual attribution is to Mark Twain. You can actually buy a coffee mug with him saying it. Any kind of smart-alecky witticism gets attributed to Twain, though, unless it’s already had Winston Churchill’s name stuck on it. The fact-checkers tell us Twain never said it, but they don’t tell us who did.

It’s surely appropriate to our times, though. I think those words return an echo from the bosom of any Trump voter in America or any Brexit voter in Britain.

We voted for secure borders and an end to the stupid wars and defunct Cold War alliances; Brits voted to get out of the European superstate. The underlying impulse in both cases was for a restoration of national sovereignty: a wish that our national affairs be conducted in a way that puts our own citizens ahead of foreigners.

Yet here we are three, three and a half years after those votes. Foreigners are pouring across our borders in numbers unseen since New Year’s Eve of 406 A.D., when barbarian hordes crossed the frozen river Rhine into the Roman Empire. The United Nations continues to settle tens of thousands of bogus “refugees” in our towns. Our corporations, eagerly assisted by bought-and-sold politicians, favor cheap computer programmers from India over our own college graduates. The war in Afghanistan enters its nineteenth year.

Across the pond, Brexit has just been postponed for the umpety-umpth time, to January 31st next year. Meanwhile, trucks full of illegal aliens pour in across the English Channel because the British government thinks it’s too much trouble to check their contents.

The failure of conventional democratic processes to make any difference, to penetrate the hide of behemoth, to move his mighty bulk even one inch from where it squats, suffocating our liberties and our sovereignty, the failure has causes both similar and different on the two sides of the Atlantic.

The similarity of causes is in the close to fifty-fifty splits in each of our populations between blues and reds, or whatever more sophisticated vocabulary you want to use to distinguish the two sides: globalists and nationalists, cosmopolitans and communitarians, metropolitans and provincials—between the feeders and supporters of behemoth on one side, and on the other, those of us who seek to slay it—or at least, put it on a very serious and intensive weight-loss program.

Voting in the 2016 Brexit referendum split 52-48 in favor of leaving Europe. In the American Presidential election that same year the popular vote was actually 51-49 in favor of Mrs. Clinton over Trump. Trump is President because of careful safeguards built in to our Constitution to give some regional equity to our national decisions.

This is the Cold Civil War I keep telling you about: one half—on those numbers it’s almost precisely half—of us fiercely, dogmatically opposed to the other half.

It works fine for behemoth: one half of the population is defending him. Not just that, either—our nations’ centers of wealth, power, and cultural influence are massively over-represented in the half that is defending him.

But here are differences as well as similarities—mainly in matters of leadership. It’s harder for outsiders to get to the top of the greasy pole in Britain’s parliamentary system. That’s why the Brexit effort has had to be led by insiders—people whose most natural sympathies are, paradoxically, with globalist liberalism.

• Category: Ideology • Tags: Brexit, Britain, Democracy, Donald Trump 
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2020s China Equals 1950s America?

I spent most of September in China, so last month’s diary was all China, China, China. This month’s won’t be; but I do have a few afterthoughts to record.

A few days after I returned, just when I thought I’d gotten China out of my system and was ready to concentrate on America and her manifold problems, I read a very striking essay at the poli-sci website Palladium.

The essay is longish—nearly four thousand words—but with an exceptionally high ratio of insights to text. The author is Jean Fan, a young American psychologist of Chinese ancestry. She can be seen giving a TEDx talk (not about China) here.

I came at the essay loaded with skepticism, mainly on account of its title: The American Dream is Alive in China. Yeah, yeah, I thought: another puff piece from the ChiCom propaganda office. The internet’s full of those. The genre is pinned at its most risible end by the contributions of “Godfree Roberts” at Unz Review.

Titles are thought up by editors, though. An author, unless he swings a lot of weight, should not be blamed for the titles stuck on his journalism. As I read on into Ms Fan’s piece I found myself more and more nodding along in agreement with her observations.

“I grew up in America, but I go to China every year for a few weeks to visit family,” she tells us. Her essay is formed from reflections on her last visit, in March 2018.

China has, Ms Fan tells us, turned some kind of a corner.

Ten years ago, it was obvious that if you could immigrate to the U.S., you should. That mentality has shifted. One of my cousins characterized the new status quo. When I asked her whether she would consider moving to the U.S., she responded: “Why would I? Life is great here.” She’s not the only one; 20 years ago, almost all Chinese students studying at American universities would stay in the U.S. Now, they almost all go home.

I caught the same vibe, visiting China last month. There’s a widespread cheerful optimism, an élan, a general satisfaction with things as they are, along with a belief that they’ll keep getting better. National-morale-wise, it’s like 1950s America over there.

Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, I had always imagined myself living and working here …

But for the first time last March, I found myself thinking: “I might not mind living in China.” After all, Chinese cities continue to become cleaner and nicer, people’s lives become easier and more convenient, and the government competently handles more and more pressing problems.

Meanwhile, San Francisco’s government continues to struggle with worsening homelessness and public disorder. In addition, as I write this piece, millions of people in the Bay are experiencing a multi-day planned blackout. As you might expect, no one is happy about this. My current expectation is that as time goes on, this contrast between the U.S. and China will become more stark. I’ve since reflected on the idea of living in China. I think that these days, if you’re a normal person living a normal life, or even an ambitious entrepreneur, China is a good place to be. Cities are clean and convenient. Life is exciting and fast-paced. Opportunities are plentiful.

Ms Fan is not a shill or a fool. She is clear-headed about the negatives.

I do feel more comfortable navigating the relative disorder and freedom of the U.S. than being in a context where I might quickly need to come to the government-mandated answer.

She has, though, noticed something important about China that has been too little remarked on. I got an inkling of it myself last month. That’s why I responded so strongly to this essay. I had been out of China for eighteen years, though. Ms Fan, with her annual visits, has a much better feel for continuities and corners.

The common perceptions of other countries that we carry around in our heads are generally out of date. With today’s ease of travel and communication they are no longer decades out of date, as they used to be, but we are still slow to catch on when a nation turns a sharp corner, as China has recently done.

Many of the assumptions Americans make about China are pre-corner, drawn from things as they were five or ten years ago. Many of the things we think we know have ceased to be, or are rapidly ceasing to be, true.

Chinese students in our colleges desperate to get a green card so they can settle here post-graduation? No: As Ms Fan points out, more and more prefer to go home. Wealthy Chinese buying property in the West for security in case China collapses? Not really a thing any more. People still buy for investment, but they’re not thinking of bolt-holes. Horrible urban air pollution? I visited five major cities and three small towns last month—north, south, east, and west: the air was fine.

(That last observation needs some discounting for the fact that I was there in September, when the heating of homes and offices is not an issue. A relative from Zhengzhou told me air pollution is bad there, and really bad in winter.)

The last word, from Jean Fan:

In the U.S., we face an ongoing crisis of governance. We need to understand our own failures, and we need to grapple with unexpected demonstrations of success—even if they come from non-liberal societies.

China’s success challenges our implicit ideology and deep-seated assumptions about governance. It needs to be studied—not just to bring about better coordination, but because in its accomplishments, we may find important truths needed to bring about American revitalization.

No bottom, no facts

The negatives, yes. Jasper Becker, in his book about the great Mao famine of 1959-61, tells us of a reporter in China in the 1920s responding to a request from his editor for “the bottom facts.” Replied that reporter: “There is no bottom in China, and no facts.”

That caution is always worth bearing in mind. China’s a very big, very old country, with a colossal population. The edges are, as an Old China Hand of my acquaintance used to say, a long way from the middle.

My time in China last month was spent in cities or substantial towns, among middle-class professional types. These are China’s current winners. They are upbeat and doing well. I’m guessing the same applies to Jean Fan’s contacts.

• Category: Economics, Foreign Policy • Tags: China, China/America 
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Outrage of the week was surely the sentences handed down by New York Judge Mark Dwyer against two Proud Boys, Maxwell Hare and John Kinsman. Dwyer gave them four years each for defending themselves against antifa thugs who’d been waiting in the street for them after a Gavin McInnes event in October last year.

Here’s the laugh-out-loud paragraph, quote:

The victims in the case were never identified, and Antifa refused to cooperate with the investigation. Prosecutors said that if they could have located the Antifa members, they would have also been charged.

Proud Boys members get prison for brawl with Antifa protesters, by Rebecca Rosenberg, NY Post, October 22, 2019

“If they could have located them”? They were right there on the street with Hare and Kinsman.

“Antifa refused to cooperate with the investigation”? Say what? So as long as I don’t co-operate with the authorities, I won’t be arrested and prosecuted?

It couldn’t be any plainer that Antifa are the enforcement arm of the progressive establishment, with full license to do as they please, masked and hooded, against citizens with unfashionable opinions. At one point in the trial John Kinsman’s lawyer, Jack Goldberg, referred to the prosecution as the, quote, “New York County district Antifa office.” Yep, that’s what they are.

One good thing came out of this gross travesty of justice. That was the five-minute video about the sentencing posted by Gavin McInnes. I’ve known Gavin for years. He’s a witty, thoughtful, tolerant fellow. In this video he is eloquent and passionate, in a way I’ve not seen him before. In fact he is spitting mad—with very good cause.

In the name of truth and justice, and to understand the country we now live in, please watch that video.

• Category: Ideology • Tags: Antifa, Civil Liberties, Political Correctness 
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In my podcast this week, I’ve got comments on various kinds of lunacy going on (appointing illegal aliens to state policy-making boards in Gavin Newsom’s California, closing, and presumably emptying onto the streets, a prison in De Blasio’s New York) and general sense that the world is going nuts. But, trying to look on the bight side, there ae signs of resistance to the general lunacy.

I very much enjoyed this news item from the literary world. The actual literary item here is a novel, title Make Your Home Among Strangers. It came out three or four years ago. I regret to say I have not read it, so I can’t pass any literary judgment on it.

The author of this novel is a young lady named Jennine Capo Crucet. The book’s Amazon page tells us she, quote, “was born to Cuban parents and raised in Miami, Florida,” and is a graduate of Cornell University. From one of her columns at the New York Times it seems she went to Cornell in 1999 [Did I Choose the Wrong College? April 28, 2018]

As I said, I haven’t read the novel and don’t plan to. From the reviews quoted on that Amazon page, I gather that it concerns a Cuban-American girl, raised in Miami, entering a high-ranking northeastern university in 1999, struggling with issues of race and class.

So apparently Ms. Crucet [Email her/Tweet her] didn’t perform any very strenuous stretching of her imagination when writing the book. It’s autobiographical.

That’s not a crime, not even a literary crime. Wikipedia has a list of seventy-odd famous autobiographical novels, some of them worthy literary classics like David Copperfield.

This novel of Ms. Crucet’s, however, seems to have a theme of whiny resentment against white non-Hispanic America. According to her website, the novel’s Latina protagonist

…begins her first semester at Rawlings College, but the privileged environment feels utterly foreign, as does her new awareness of herself as a minority.

More recently—just this September, in fact—Ms. Crucet published another book, title My Time Among the Whites, described on her personal website as “a collection of essays on feeling like an ‘accidental’ American and the tectonic edges of identity in a society centered on whiteness.”

(Ms. Crucet appears from her picture to be a white Cuban, like Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, and Roan Garcia-Quintana, who is so white that the SPLC has condemned him.)

This kind of thing will get you on the required-reading lists of our colleges. That earlier book, the novel, is already on them. I’m betting that My Time Among the Whites, soon will be, too, if it isn’t already. How could the kind of people who compile college required-reading lists resist a title like that?

Well, one of the colleges that has Ms. Crucet’s novel on its required-reading list is Georgia Southern University. The author was accordingly invited to the Statesboro campus of that university on October 9th to give a talk about her books.

The event did not go well. In the Q&A session following her talk, several students, amazingly. pushed back against Ms. Crucet’s anti-white sentiments. Sample question:

“I noticed that you made a lot of generalizations about the majority of white people being privileged. What makes you believe that it’s okay to come to a college campus, like this, when we are supposed to be promoting diversity on this campus, which is what we’re taught. I don’t understand what the purpose of this was.”

[ Students burn author’s book outside of Eagle Village, by McClain Baxley and Sarah Smith, The Georgeanne, October 10, 2019]

After more of what Ms. Crucet later called “aggressive and ignorant comments,” several students walked out in protest against her. They congregated outside and commenced burning copies of Ms. Crucet’s books on a barbecue grill [Georgia college students burned the books of a Latina author, by Amir Vera and Natalie Johnson, CNN, October 14, 2019].

I leave you to imagine the subsequent howls of outrage from anti-white progressives. Book-burning! Nazis!

You get the idea.

I’m not a fan of book-burning, and I wish the offended students had found some other way to express their indignation at this woman’s insults to them and their ancestors. A mass walkout followed by a mass tossing of Ms. Crucet’s books into a dumpster would have made the point just as well.

Still, it’s hard not to think the lady was asking for it; and it’s hard not to smile at the thought of an anti-white Progressive getting the kind of treatment that is normally reserved for us on the Dissident Right, on the rare occasions we’re allowed on campus at all.

• Category: Ideology • Tags: Academia, Political Correctness 
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Earlier by Patrick J. Buchanan: Is China the Country of the Future?

I still have China on my mind following last month’s jaunt there. My conclusion: they’re going to eat our lunch—unless we have a “Sputnik Moment.” And even then, unlike in 1957, it’s not clear the U.S. can respond.

Look at the flap involving the NBA, the National Basketball Association. Daryl Morey, the general manager of a basketball team called the Houston Rockets, tweeted his support for people in Hong Kong protesting the ChiCom government. Basketball is big in China; the NBA pulls in millions of dollars from Chinese fans. Following the manager’s tweet, the ChiComs have cut all ties with the Rockets, and the state-run media have canceled coverage of games.

Daryl Morey has issued grovelling apologies, but they don’t seem to have improved the situation. The NBA is looking at major revenue losses.

I hate this politicization of everything. We used to be able to enjoy sports and show business without having to hear the political opinions of players, actors, and pop singers.

But what makes it double annoying is that it’s always the same message, in sports or showbiz: a message of virtuous compliance with progressive orthodoxy.

Example: in 2016 the NBA pulled its All-Star game from North Carolina because that state’s legislature had passed a bill that ticked off transgender lobbies. The following year the NBA championship winners turned down an invitation to the White House because their players didn’t like Trump.

The message from pro basketball: elected legislators in North Carolina and an elected President in the White House are beyond the pale, but an unelected dictatorship in Peking is hunky-dory.

The hypocrisy is hard to miss.

But that knee in the groin that the ChiComs delivered to the NBA is a reminder that China is a big player now, politically and commercially.

Big, and getting bigger really fast. China’s economy is roughly the same size as ours now; her population is four times ours. The ChiCom leadership operates on a long-term strategic plan to lead the world in key technologies and dominate global markets. The plan seems to be working just fine.

Razib Khan over at the Gene Expression website has also commented on the NBA fiasco. From there he proceeds to some ruminations about what he calls “the reign of feelings over facts”:

In American society, the facts at hand matter less and less, than who the people are who have their own reaction, perception, and subjective experience, of the facts. [The Chinese customer is always right, October 10, 2019]

If that’s right, and I think it is, we are converging with the state of affairs in China. Last year, reviewing Paul Midler’s book What’s Wrong with China, I noted his comments on what he calls “the collective narcissism” of the Chinese:

The most wince-inducing aspect of this national trait is the frequent announcements out of Peking that some action by some foreign government—holding a meeting with the Dalai Lama, for example—has “hurt the feelings of the Chinese people.” Poor things!

Chinese people at least have the excuse that they are, and always have been, in their schools, colleges, and media, fed a doctored version of their country’s history, with all the unpleasant bits blamed on foreigners; or, where something can’t be blamed on foreigners, it’s just left out.

I gave an example in my September Diary, writing about my visit to a museum dedicated to the 20th-century writer Lao She. In rooms full of exhibits and placards with long descriptions of the man’s life and works, there was no mention of the fact that Lao She committed suicide after being persecuted by Red Guards in the Cultural Revolution. That’s true but inconvenient to the ChiComs, and it can’t be blamed on foreigners; so…leave it out.

Likewise with the Opium Wars of the middle 19th century. Razib quotes a Chinese writer, Joe Tsai, owner of the Brooklyn Nets and co-founder of Alibaba, saying that those wars were fought by Britain and France to force opium on China.

That’s a gross over-simplification. The main aim of the British and French was to open China to normal trade; both governments frowned on the opium business. Opium had anyway been cultivated in China for centuries; most of the opium ever smoked in China was home-grown.

Those are facts, though. When an authoritarian government has monopoly control of education and the media, it can shape the facts to direct people’s feelings in desired directions. As Razib says:

John Derbyshire
About John Derbyshire

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