02m53s The Rittenhouse verdict. (Small-town America at its best.)
09m18s The Cold Civil War narrative. (Illustrated by the Rittenhouse trial.)
16m02s The Mean Lynching Crackers narrative. (Illustrated by the Arbery trial.)
21m27s In Memoriam Jake Gardner. (Let's not forget.)
26m25s The place formerly known as England. (Now Multicultistan.)
33m23s Losing Hugo's. (A tiny act of cultural destruction.)
36m07s Establishment Republicans are not our friends. (Stop 'em in the primaries.)
38m37s Boris Johnson's blather. (Politicians without borders.)
40m59s Reading your politics from your face. (AI can do it.)
43m48s Signoff. (With Leonard Warren.)
01—Intro. And Radio Derb is on the air! Greetings, listeners, from your illustratively genial host John Derbyshire, trying to make some sense of the week's news.
Which isn't easy. My brain, like yours, is the product of eons of evolution, for all but the last tiny fraction of which brains only had to cope in societies with populations down around the Dunbar Number, which is 150. That we can extract any sense at all from the social churnings in a nation of one-third of a billion people, never mind those on a planet of 7.8 billion, is little short of a miracle, and may in fact be an illusion.
We must do our best, though. One way we strive to make sense of the national scene in all its complexity is, by narratives. We construct simplified patterns—or, more commonly, borrow patterns other people have constructed—and try to make public events fit into shaped slots in the pattern. Events that just stubbornly won't fit, we ignore.
As I was following this week's news, I found myself thinking that two of the most prominent national stories in today's news fit quite exceptionally well into two particular narratives. These stories illustrate those two narratives, like made-up examples in a textbook.
I shall give these two narratives a segment each under the common heading "Narratives Illustrated." First, though, some words about the Rittenhouse verdict.
02—The Rittenhouse verdict. I join in the general jubilation among National Conservatives over the not-guilty verdicts in the Kyle Rittenhouse trial.
As well as joining in the jubilation, I also share in the hopes, expressed by many, that young Kyle takes the Nick Sandmann route and sues the bejasus out of all the politicians and media hacks who have been defaming him for the past year and a half, starting with Joe Biden.
On Kyle's behalf, I nurse the further hope that Representative Matt Gaetz will follow through on his suggestion that Rittenhouse would make an excellent congressional intern. Hire him, Matt!
Stepping back a bit for perspective, and with my following segment in mind, I'm chalking this up as a victory in the Cold Civil War—a win for normal citizens over the administrative state and all its powers. The war isn't over, of course. There are many battles to be fought yet. Still we can, and should, rejoice in our victories, and seek encouragement in them to keep fighting on.
As it happens, while following the trial proceedings at legalinsurrection.com, I was reading Tom Morgan's recent book Trial in Cooperstown. The book is a blow-by-blow account of a homicide trial in upstate New York fifteen years ago. A lot of it is just court transcripts, but the courtroom to-ing and fro-ing is artfully decorated with personal asides from the author, who was present through the whole trial.
To those of us who deal with national and metropolitan news, the overall effect of the book is soothing. You are watching the judicial system plod steadily, unimaginatively through its time-honored procedures, all governed by rules of procedure that are sometimes tiresome and sometimes hard to see the point of, but that arrive at last at a conclusion that seems as fair as it can be amid all the imperfections of human things.
This is small-town America at its best—as also, I'm inclined to think, was the Rittenhouse trial. Yes, the old values still stand; yes, the old procedures still work; and yes, justice free of the horrid curse of politics can still be found.
Where can they be found? In Otsego County, of which Cooperstown is the county seat. Population of Otsego County: 62 thousand. And in Kenosha County, Wisconsin. Population of Kenosha County: 169 thousand.
Where are they not much found? In our big cities, with their lowest-common-denominator mayors, their top-heavy administrations, their timid, diversity-whipped police, their rapacious public-sector employee lobbies (which I refuse to call "unions"), their apathetic voters, and their George Soros-funded District Attorneys.
Having just mentioned mayors, I cannot forbear noting one of the very first reactions to the Rittenhouse verdict: a tweet from New York City's communist Mayor Bill de Blasio. tweet:
This verdict is disgusting and it sends a horrible message to this country.
Where is the justice in this?
We can't let this go. We need stronger laws to stop violent extremism from within our own nation.
Now is the time.
Now is very close to the time, Comrade Bill, when you will no longer be Mayor. Oh, blessed day!
"If there is hope, it lies in the proles." So wrote Winston Smith in his diary, in Chapter Seven of Nineteen Eighty-Four. If there is hope for our country, it lies in Cooperstown, New York and in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
And yes, yes, I know: Orwell didn't think there actually was any hope. Of course he did. For him, there wasn't any: He was a dying man when he wrote the book.
America is not dying. Even taking the darkest view, we are at least not dead yet. Dum spiramus, speramus.
03—Narratives Illustrated (1): The Cold Civil War. The first narrative illustrated by recent news is the Cold Civil War narrative.
I have given my standard sketch of this narrative many times, so please excuse me for giving it again here. Quoting myself, from the January 9th podcast this year, the Cold Civil War is, like the 1861-65 fracas, quote:
Two big groups of white people who can't stand the sight of each other locked in permanent conflict: Goodwhites and Badwhites. Black Americans are sometimes hired in by Goodwhites as auxiliaries, to mind the horses and dig latrine trenches; but their only participation otherwise is to hang around at the edge of the battlefield, dodging in to rob the corpses as opportunity permits.
The Kyle Rittenhouse trial illustrates the Cold Civil War narrative very elegantly. It's an exceptionally good fit.
There are almost no black people in the story at all. Rittenhouse and the three people he shot, two of them fatally, are all white. The trial judge, prosecutors, and defense team were all white. Video shots of the actual trial showed a courtroom population as white as the audience at a chamber music concert. That's even statistically anomalous: the 2010 census showed Kenosha as ten percent black.
It's true of course that video of the trial for very good reasons did not show us the jury. We were told that the twenty people selected for the jury—twelve to actually deliberate plus eight alternates—were eleven women and nine men. Only one of the twenty was black: a man in his late twenties. I don't know whether he was among the twelve who have been deliberating this week.
So either one or zero of the twelve deliberating jurors was black. I'm not sure how black participation in the Battle of Gettysburg broke out percentagewise, but I'm sure it was down at some similarly low level. The Cold Civil War, see?
We also learned, rather late in the day, that the rioter taking a flying kick at Kyle Rittenhouse's head while Rittenhouse was on the ground, is a black man. Rittenhouse shot at him but missed, which is fortunate for the format I've chosen here. If the flying kicker had been killed, the whole Rittenhouse story would fit a different narrative, the one in my next segment.
The framing of Kyle Rittenhouse as a Badwhite was open and plain. No less an eminence than Joe Biden called him a "white supremacist." That's a common Goodwhite cuss-phrase used indiscriminately to refer to Badwhites, regardless of anything the target may be known to believe. The Goodwhite commentariat at media outlets like CNN and MSNBC, along with their black auxiliaries, followed suit.
How did Biden know that Kyle Rittenhouse is a Badwhite? Why, because the people he shot were Goodwhites! They were participating in a righteous uprising against systemic racism, striving for social justice. Why else would anyone burn car dealerships and furniture stores?
Lead prosecutor Thomas Binger in the trial didn't stop at merely asserting the rioters' goodness. The people Rittenhouse shot, and all the other vandals and arsonists on the streets of Kenosha that night, were, said Mr Binger, heroes. His actual words, quote:
Every day we read about heroes that stop active shooters … That's what was going on here and that crowd was right. And that crowd was full of heroes. And that crowd did something that honestly I'm not sure I would've had the courage to do. If I see a guy running up the street with an AR-15 and I hear he just shot somebody, my first instinct is not to approach. Anthony Huber was different. Jump Kick Man was different. Gaige Grosskreutz was different.
See? Not just Goodwhites: Herowhites! Heroes of the Cold Civil War—the good side, of course. We should erect some kind of monument to them.
04—Narratives Illustrated (2): Mean Lynching Crackers. The second narrative illustrated in the week's news is the most enduring, most cherished of all American narratives, the one dearest to our nation's heart, celebrated in song and story for decades now: the narrative of Mean Lynching Crackers.
This is the narrative of crackers—which is to say, low-class whites, Southern for preference—hunting down and killing harmless, fearful blacks. It is a key component of what I have elsewhere called the romance of American blackness.
The Arbery trial under way in Brunswick, Georgia is a perfect fit for this narrative. The defendants are three working-class white men in, of course, Georgia, the beating heart of crackerdom, for whose inhabitants the modern usage of the word "cracker" was in fact coined.
Arbery, the person they killed, was black and unarmed, so the crackers hunted him down and killed him from sheer racial malice. That's the narrative.
The actual events were more complex. The defendants believed, on circumstantial but reasonable evidence, that Arbery was responsible for some recent petty thefts in the neighborhood. They were attempting a citizens' arrest, which was lawful in Georgia at the time. Two of them, the father and son McMichaels, had law-enforcement training, and attempted to apprehend Arbery using proper protocols, to hold him until police arrived.
Arbery had very excellent reasons to not want to hang around waiting for the cops. He had felony convictions, was on probation, and had both been taking illegal drugs he should not have been and failing to take legal drugs he should have been, drugs to control violent and aggressive behavior.
Arbery thereupon attacked Travis, the foremost McMichael—a seriously dumb thing to do, as McMichael was pointing a shotgun at him. The result, as mathematicians say, followed.
So this was Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown all over again. A few words of life advice from white America to black America: We understand how much you hate us, but for the sake of your own actuarial prospects, please try to restrain yourself from attacking us WHEN WE ARE POINTING A LOADED GUN AT YOU. You're welcome.
So the question hanging over the Arbery trial is: Can it be kept within the narrative, the narrative of mean, ignorant, gap-toothed rednecks hunting blacks for sport? If it can, then it's just a show trial, run by the Goodwhite establishment to terrorize and humiliate Badwhites.
On the other hand, if too much reality leaks out into the courtroom, there might be an instance of narrative collapse, as there was with the George Zimmerman trial over the shooting of Trayvon Martin. We might get a hung jury, or even an acquittal.
That wouldn't be the end of the defendants' problems. Comrade Garland's Justice Department already has them lined up for a trial on charges of violating Arbery's civil rights.
And please note that this is not double jeopardy. The defendants are not being tried twice for the same offense, contrary to centuries of settled law. Absolutely not! Definitely not! That is a total misunderstanding of modern jurisprudence! Shame on you for even thinking it's double jeopardy!
05—In Memoriam Jake Gardner. Pedro Gonzalez, over at the contra substack on October 31st, posted to remind us of the awful case of Jake Gardner. Gardner was white and the man he shot was black, so I guess this comes under the second narrative; but it's a poor fit.
To remind you, in very brief: Gardner and his father ran a bar in Omaha, Nebraska. In the anarchist riots of May last year, a mob, mostly black men, attacked the bar. Gardner and his Dad went out to remonstrate with them. The mob attacked them, knocking Gardner Senior to the ground.
Jake Gardner brandished a handgun to deter the mob, but they attacked him anyway. He ended up face down on the ground with a black guy, James Scurlock, kneeling on his back trying to put him in a headlock. Jake fired over his shoulder, killing Scurlock.
Not even the best efforts of the Goodwhite media could portray Jake Gardner as a leering gap-toothed hillbilly. He was a Marine veteran who'd served in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Haiti. He was running a small business with his Dad.
To be sure, he'd had some minor encounters with the law: reckless driving, carrying a concealed weapon, theft and property damage, and low-level assault charges of the kind that are par for the course if you run a bar. The heaviest penalty he'd paid for any of it was a $200 fine. Jake fell a tad short of being a model citizen, but he wasn't any kind of low-life.
Scurlock, the guy he shot, was more seriously antisocial: robbery, home invasion, burglary. His maximum penalty was a 3-to-5-year jail sentence in 2015. He'd also done 90 days in jail early last year for third degree domestic assault.
As with the Rittenhouse and the Arbery defendants, the shooting of Scurlock was a plain case of self-defense. That was the conclusion of the county D.A., who declined to file charges against Gardner, just as three successive D.A.s had declined to charge in the Arbery case.
But then, as in the Arbery case, politics took over, in the ample shape of Nebraska State Senator Justin Wayne, a mulatto. The D.A. folded, a grand jury was empaneled under a federal prosecutor—black, of course—and Jake Gardner was indicted for manslaughter.
The day he was supposed to turn himself in to the authorities, September 20th last year, Gardner shot himself. He was buried in Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors. His parents have a lawsuit active against the D.A. and the federal prosecutor in charge of the grand jury investigation.
It would have been tough to squinch this case into the Mean Lynching Crackers narrative, so I'm not sure that the Goodwhite regime would have gotten a full show trial out of it.
A conviction would, however, have served to further impress on Badwhites that in cases where a white person, however much in fear of his life, kills a black person or a Goodwhite of however low a character, and no matter how stupidly reckless or juiced, there is no such thing as self-defense.
06—The place formerly known as England. You may recall the depths of depravity plumbed in May last year by Islamists in Afghanistan. Three Islamist gunmen shot up the maternity ward of a hospital in Kabul, killing two newborn babies, one midwife, and sixteen mothers. Three of the mothers were shot and killed in the delivery room along with their unborn babies.
The killers deliberately targeted the maternity ward; they'd walked straight past a number of other wards, all closer to the hospital entrance.
To any normal person that was an unspeakable atrocity. To one crazy Islamist in England this week, however, it was an inspiration.
The person thus inspired was 32-year-old Emad Al Swealmeen, an Iraqi. It's not clear when Mr Swealmeen left his country or how he came to England, but by 2014 he had been there long enough to have claimed asylum and have his claim rejected. He appealed the rejection but his appeals were also turned down the following year.
At that point he should of course have been deported back to Iraq. As I have noted before, though, there is a mighty army of so-called "human rights" lawyers always standing ready to thwart any attempt by the U.K. authorities to deport an illegal alien—so much so, the authorities have well-nigh given up even trying.
Left thus in limbo—no legal status, left un-deported—Swealmeen had a go at gaming the system. He announced he'd converted from Islam to Christianity. Living in the city of Liverpool, he got himself baptised in the Church of England at that city's grand cathedral in 2015, and changed his name to Enzo Almeni, which I guess he thought sounded less Islamic. In 2017 he went through confirmation and did some work for a local church, making cakes and selling them.
Brandishing his conversion to Christianity, he re-applied for refugee status, but again he was rejected—and again, of course, not deported.
Last Sunday was Remembrance Sunday in the U.K., with big church services commemorating the two world wars. Swealmeen was at this point living in central Liverpool, a few hundred yards from where I myself once lived, 1967-69.
Just before 11 a.m. Sunday morning Swealmeen called for a cab. The cab arrived. Swealmeen got in and uttered two words: "Women's Hospital." That's a big maternity facility less than a mile away.
When they arrived, Mr Swealmeen exploded. It seems he had a suicide vest of some sort, and had been planning to bomb the maternity ward, but the home-made device had exploded prematurely, perhaps as a result of the cab stopping too abruptly. The cabbie somehow survived the blast and got out of the car as it, and the remains of Mr Swealmeen, went up in flames.
So, another fun day in multicultural Britain. This, less than a month after a Member of Parliament was stabbed to death by a 25-year-old fan of ISIS, British-born to Somali parents.
In other U.K. news, illegal aliens, mainly from the Middle East and the Horn of Africa, continue to pour in across the English Channel from France—four thousand already this month, more than the previous record for any entire month. This year's total is almost twenty-four thousand.
Practically none of these illegals will be deported. They destroy their identifying documents before crossing the Channel, so British authorities don't know where to deport them to. Even in the few cases where this can be ascertained, the countries of origin won't take them.
The government has no idea what to do about this. Britain's vain, silly, and worthless Prime Minister Boris Johnson is not interested in the issue, and never talks about it.
Latest news is, the illegals are being provided on arrival with free mobile phones. The official reason for this is to cut down on face-to-face interviews with immigration officials. The more probable reason, according to cynics in the comment threads, is so the illegals can text back home to tell their compatriots: "Come on over! Everything's free!"
07—Miscellany. And now, our closing miscellany of brief items.
Imprimis: I didn't know, until reading the comment thread on one of Steve's posts at Unz.com, that one of the small businesses burned down in last year's riots was Uncle Hugo's science fiction bookstore in Minneapolis. Uncle Hugo's had been in business since 1974.
That struck a chord with me. I was a major sci-fi fan through my teen years, late 1950s through early 1960s—the high summer of science fiction's Golden Age.
The British sci-fi scene was of course centered on London, and on the monthly magazines New Worlds and Science Fantasy, both edited by John Carnell. Carnell was also involved in some way I have forgotten with a sci-fi bookstore in north London. Perhaps he was the proprietor, I really don't remember.
I lived in a small country town seventy miles north of London. A trip to London was a major adventure. I dearly wanted to visit that bookstore, though. Around age fifteen I heard that my cousin Michael, who was three or four years older than me, was going to London for some reason. I persuaded him to take me with him, and spent a reverential couple of hours in that bookstore.
I never was in Hugo's store in Minneapolis, but reading about its destruction stirred me more that it would the average bear. Burning down a specialty bookstore is only a tiny act of cultural destruction, I guess, but it is barbaric none the less. God damn to hell the filthy Antifa and BLM swine who did it; and may all the monsters of the Pit rise to torment that fool prosecutor in the Rittenhouse case who called last year's rioters "heroes."
Item: Cheered by the Rittenhouse verdict, I think I lurched into uncharacteristic optimism back there. Let me redress the balance. Where's my wet blanket? … right, got it.
There is much breezy talk about major Republican victories in next year's mid-terms. I wouldn't be surprised if that happens. However, for National Conservatives, hopes of Republican victories always need qualifying. Which Republicans shall we be getting?
Quote from Gavin Wax, writing at Newsmax, November 16th, quote:
What truly stands in the way of the people's recapturing of their country is not some leftist street mob or even well-heeled leftists in power.
It's the GOP establishment that will move mountains of cash and influence to undermine the legitimate demands of the grassroots.
Gavin's right. Establishment Republicans are not our friends. Sure, they'll fake it to get themselves elected; but once comfortably settled in that nice warm legislative or gubernatorial seat, it is, to borrow from Orwell again:
Back to the dear old game of scratch-my-neighbor
And writing laws that bring cheap foreign labor.
The solution is, as Gavin says, to make sure establishment RINOs don't make it through the primaries. If GOP victories in 2022 just take us back to legislatures dominated by clones of Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney, they will be no victories at all.
Item: Was I a little harsh on British Prime Minister Boris Johnson back there, when I called him … what did I call him? … oh yes: "vain, silly, and worthless"?
I submit the following in evidence. (Sorry, been reading too much courtroom transcript.)
This is from the Daily Mail, November 14th, quote:
Boris Johnson took a swipe at China and India tonight after they connived to water down a climate deal at COP26.
The Prime Minister used a televised press conference to insist that the Glasgow summit had been a "historic success" that "sounded the death knell" for coal power generation.
But he also voiced disappointment at efforts by Beijing and New Delhi—two of the world's worst polluters—to weaken efforts to abandon fossil fuels.
What a numbskull! Just taking the whole "climate change" falafel seriously is dumb enough. To imagine that nations with billion-plus populations can keep their people employed and fed, and their living standards improving, by putting up windmills and solar-panel arrays, is beyond dumb.
Did Johnson really think the hard-nosed rulers of huge Asian countries would sign on whole-heartedly to the political fads of Western celebrities?
Look to your country's own real problems, Boris. You could start with it having wide-open borders.
Item: "There is no art / To find the mind's construction in the face," says one of Shakespeare's characters to another. Well, there may be no art, but there does appear to be a science.
Longish edited quote from an abstract in Nature magazine, January 11th this year, quote:
Facial recognition technology can expose individuals' political orientation, as faces of liberals and conservatives consistently differ. A facial recognition algorithm was applied to naturalistic images of 1,085,795 individuals to predict their political orientation … Political orientation was correctly classified in 72 percent of liberal-conservative face pairs, remarkably better than chance (50 percent), human accuracy (55 percent), or one afforded by a 100-item personality questionnaire (66 percent). Accuracy was similar across countries (the U.S., Canada, and the U.K.), environments (Facebook and dating websites), and when comparing faces across samples. Accuracy remained high (69 percent) even when controlling for age, gender, and ethnicity.
Color me un-surprised. I mean, really: could Nancy Pelosi be anything other than a loopy lefty? Or Ann Coulter anything other than a rock-ribbed conservative?
Going back to the previous item: What we Badwhites really need is an app that will tell us which Republican is a sincere America First patriot and which is a treasonous Chamber of Commerce weasel. I'd pay good money for that.
08—Signoff. And that's it, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you as always for your time and attention, and heartfelt congratulations to Kyle Rittenhouse and his attorneys for handing us a victory in that one battle of the Cold Civil War. On to more victories!
For signoff music, let's hear a great operatic baritone. My regular go-to guy here is Peter Dawson. I see from the Radio Derb log that I have played Dawson no less than 23 times, only eleven of them Auld Lang Syne at New Year's. Dawson's American equivalent Leonard Warren, however, I have played only once, back in 2015.
That is shameful neglect of a great American voice, and one of those rare unfortunate stage performers who died onstage while performing: in Warren's case, on the stage of New York's Metropolitan Opera, March 4th 1960, while singing Verdi. Tragic, but … there are worse ways to go.
Here's Leonard Warren singing Rudyard Kipling's lovely poem "Rolling Down to Rio."
There will be more from Radio Derb next week.
[Music clip: Leonard Warren, "Rolling Down to Rio,"]