April 21, 2009

"Red State, Blue State, Rich State, Poor State"

I'm participating this week in an online discussion at the Talking Points Memo Cafe Book Club on political scientist (and statistics wizard) Andrew Gelman's 2008 book Red State, Blue State, Rich State, Poor State: Why Americans Vote the Way They Do.

You can read my first contribution here. Here's an excerpt from mine:

As a little thought experiment, imagine two sisters who are completely typical except that they are identical twins: with the same nature and nurture. They graduate from college together with degrees in business administration, but then they have to split up for the first time in their lives because one twin gets a job in downtown San Francisco while the other gets a job in downtown Dallas.

Ten years later, when they are 32, which twin is more likely to be a home-owning, married, stay-at-home mom?

Common sense and Census statistics suggest that the twin who got the job in Dallas is likely to take a more conservatively-inclined path through life. Middle class Americans today tend to get married when they are ready to buy a home and have children.

That houses are so much more affordable in the Dallas metropolitan area than in the San Francisco Bay region is one reason why non-Hispanic white women in Texas averaged 15.2 years of marriage between ages 18 and 44 in the 2000 Census, compared to 12.5 years for their counterparts in California.

And why is housing so much cheaper around Dallas than around San Francisco? There are many reasons, but a fundamental one is topographic: San Francisco is surrounded by saltwater and mountains, while Dallas is surrounded by flat dirt. There is simply a greater supply of land around an inland city than around a coastal city, so, ceteris paribus, the former's homes will be cheaper.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

31 comments:

Science in Society said...

The geometric argument may be intuitively appealing for cities, but what about suburbs, which can sprawl in any direction without necessarily nucleating around a dense core? You would expect less variation in land prices if you can build pretty much as far as you like in any direction.

agnostic said...

One point that would be neat to touch on is cohort effects, something I know Andrew Gelman is interested in.

Both of you are from a mini-cohort born roughly between 1958 to 1964 (correct me if my guess about your age is wrong), who are too young to be loud-mouthed Boomers yet too old to be loud-mouthed Generation X-ers. It's another Silent Generation.

The uber-liberal, "hear the voice of a new generation" stuff caught on a lot less among this other Silent Generation. It would be cool to see the data on this discussed and illustrated with personal anecdotes from you two (or other participants who are from that cohort).

After all, not being attention whores, members of that cohort hardly get to convey to the public how different they are from Boomers and X-ers.

Steve Sailer said...

I'm not that big a fan of the power of Generational analysis, but it could be that late Boomers tend to be a little more skeptical and constrained.

The early Baby Boomers, like Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, both born in 1946, benefited from the previous Birth Dearth, which meant that there wasn't much competition from people 1 to 15 years older for the real nice jobs, like being President. In contrast, the late boomers were stuck behind a huge number of early boomers. Punk rock, like the Sex Pistols, tended to shock early Boomers with its anger, but really appealed to late Boomer elites.

Obama's a late Boomer, and there's a certain cold-bloodedness about his ambition that seems characteristic of some of our generation. Obama is the Last Yuppie.

Anonymous said...

The geometric argument is probably a part of it.

But another thing to think about is whether leftism and high population density have a deeper relationship.

First, on a practical level when you're living cheek by jowl you need more of a say in your neighbors' behavior -- and they over yours. And historically urbanization leads to abundance and internationalism...and cosmopolitanism leads to leftism.


But I've been starting to think that it goes even deeper than that.
Many people have observed that individual aspects of leftism negatively affect reproduction -- feminism, homosexuality, zoning codes, environmentalism, high taxes, anti-religion, and so on. All of these take away resources -- time, energy, money -- from nesting and childbearing.


So: what if leftism is a feedback mechanism to stop population growth in high density regions?

That would seem crazy, except:

http://www.who.int/bulletin/volumes/87/2/09-062836/en/index.html


In a 1962 edition of Scientific American, the ecologist John B Calhoun presented the results of a macabre series of experiments conducted at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).1 He had placed several rats in a laboratory in a converted barn where – protected from disease and predation and supplied with food, water and bedding – they bred rapidly. The one thing they were lacking was space, a fact that became increasingly problematic as what he liked to describe as his “rat city” and “rodent utopia” teemed with animals. Unwanted social contact occurred with increasing frequency, leading to increased stress and aggression. Following the work of the physiologist, Hans Selye, it seemed that the adrenal system offered the standard binary solution: fight or flight.2 But in the sealed enclosure, flight was impossible. Violence quickly spiralled out of control. Cannibalism and infanticide followed. Males became hypersexual, pansexual and, an increasing proportion, homosexual. Calhoun called this vortex “a behavioural sink”. Their numbers fell into terminal decline and the population tailed off to extinction. At the experiments’ end, the only animals still alive had survived at an immense psychological cost: asexual and utterly withdrawn, they clustered in a vacant huddled mass. Even when reintroduced to normal rodent communities, these “socially autistic” animals remained isolated until death. In the words of one of Calhoun’s collaborators, rodent “utopia” had descended into “hell”.3
What if leftism is an emergent way of halting population growth via feedback inhibition? As the frontier reasserts itself, growth resumes.

beowulf said...

Don't forget Ed Glaeser's "zoning tax". To use his 2002 study, at least $300,000 of the cost of the average Los Angeles home is due to zoning regulations (for San Francisco, $600,000).
http://www.heartland.org/policybot/results/10635/Landuse_Regulation_Makes_Housing_less_Affordable_Harvard_Study_Finds.html

The "zoning tax" is over and above the market price premium due to desirable climate or topographic limitations.

Steve Sailer said...

Of course, without zoning, you wouldn't get much of that famous LA sunshine falling on your backyard because of all the Blade Runner-like apartment towers.

Reg C├Žsar said...

Late "boomers" like us were more Reaganite, vs the early McGovernite cohort. (We did have a tin ear, though.) In general, though, boomers were spoiled collectively and deprived individually, while Xers were deprived collectively and spoiled individually. Follow the fall and rise of the drinking age for an example.

First, on a practical level when you're living cheek by jowl you need more of a say in your neighbors' behavior -- and they over yours. And historically urbanization leads to abundance and internationalism...and cosmopolitanism leads to leftism. -- anonymousCheck out the fourth hour of Michael Palin's Sahara video. The Casbah in Algiers is as close as human habitation gets. It is anything but liberal, and foreigners are under a general fatwa throughout Algeria and must travel with bodyguards.

Anonymous said...

"There is simply a greater supply of land around an inland city than around a coastal city, so, ceteris paribus, the former's homes will be cheaper."

I'm guessing that this explanation appeals to Steve because it's complicated and a bit unexpected. I'm a nerd too, so I love explanations of this sort.

I think that a different explanation is more likely to be true, however. Before the world wars all the power, money and social prestige of the world were in Europe. All of America was a bit provincial by comparison, but the big coastal cities were less provincial than the rest of the country because they were more easily accessible from Europe. Also, they were the oldest cities in the land. This is true of the West coast as much as it's true of the East Coast - without looking at the Wikipedia I'm sure that San Francisco became a large city before Phoenix.

There is inertia in social prestige of this sort. Rich people want to live in NYC not because it has good weather or because it's safe (well, now it is, but they still remember when it wasn't). They want to live here because lots of other rich people live here. It's hard to break that kind of a cycle, and in New York's case the cycle of prestige started up way back in colonial times. Over these centuries rich people have built up an infrastructure of their own in NYC - neoclassical mansions and townhouses, fine arts museums, an opera house, polo grounds, the Hamptons, etc.

America's earliest cities were established on the coasts. This is where the early elite settled, while simpler folk went inland to clear virgin land for family farms. Before railroads were built, the coastal cities were much easier to reach from Europe than Iowa. That meant easier access to ostrich-feathered hats, gilded monocles and the rest of it. Then inertia set in. All the best private schools were on the coast, all the society balls and period townhouses were there. When architecture went bonkers early in the 20th century, the supply of large, elegant residences became forever limited - I bet that alone was as much of a factor as Steve's 180 degree thing. All the rich people in NYC want to live in prewar buildings. Prewar is a very important word in that world. How many beautiful pre-war buildings are there in Las Vegas?

The coastline near NYC is not very pleasant. There are no beaches in Manhattan. Those parts of NYC that do have beaches are either ghettos (the Far Rockaways) or middle class neighborhoods.

Liberal SWPL types were drawn here by social prestige and trendiness, which ultimately comes from money and power residing here. Money and power settled here a long time ago, and then stayed through inertia. Wherever money and power resides, real estate prices will be high.

Captain Jack Aubrey said...

If you look at all the adantages of marriage - generally healthier lifestyles, longer life expectancies, less debt, higher average net worth, and just generally happier people you'd think that we as a people (not to mention our politicians) would be more focused on creating conditions that enable more people to get married and stayed married.

If consumption of a particular foodstuff or popular legal narcotic (ahem) had as large an affect on our quality of life government and the non-profit industry would direct huge sums of money toward increasing or decreasing its use. More people now know about the supposed benefits of dark chocolate than know about the benefits of marriage.

The early Baby Boomers, like Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, both born in 1946, benefited from the previous Birth DearthThey also benefitted pretty strongly from being oldest children.

Unwanted social contact occurred with increasing frequency, leading to increased stress and aggression.So city dwelling liberals are more aggressive. That one's sure to make the evening news.

Anonymous said...

Money and power settled here a long time ago, and then stayed through inertia. Wherever money and power resides, real estate prices will be high.

This reminds me of Venice. It looks like a giant museum yet real people live there doing normal stuff. Though not many with kids I suspect.

No idea what the overall political leanings of the place are.

BGC said...

It is clear that the instinct for women to have families is _much_ less powerful than used to be believed.

Apparently, the only thing that can counteract the low-fertility pressure of modernizing societies is religion - since only Mormons, Orthodox Jews and a very few other groups have above-replacement fertility.

Fertility reduces with increasing IQ, especially in women, and one mechanism is that IQ predicts years of education, and increasing years of education delay reproduction, make marriage less likely etc.

But clearly, if having large families was a powerful instinctual drive, then none of this would matter.

So we need to cut down the years of education. This would, in fact, be easy; since IQ testing and personality evaluations can replace educational signalling - and would probably be more accurate as well as more efficient.

Yet this vital information on the predictive power of IQ and personality is shielded from consideration, by means well known to readers of this blog.

As Geoffrey Miller says in his forthcoming book Spent:

"Is it an accident that researchers at the most expensive, elite, IQ-screening universities tend to be most sceptical of IQ tests? I think not. Universities offer a costly, slow, unreliable intelligence-indicating product that competes directly with cheap, fast, more-reliable IQ tests. (…) Harvard and Yale sell nicely printed sheets of paper called degrees that cost about $160,000 (…). To obtain the degree, one must demonstrate a decent level of conscientiousness, emotional stability, and openness in one's coursework, but above all, one must have the intelligence to get admitted, based on SAT scores and high school grades. Thus the Harvard degree is basically an IQ guarantee.

"Elite universities do not want to be undercut by competitors. They do not want their expensive IQ-warranties to suffer competition from cheap, fast IQ tests which would commodify the intelligence-display market and drive down costs. Therefore, elite universities have a hypocritical, love-hate relationship with intelligence tests."

Anonymous said...

"The Casbah in Algiers is as close as human habitation gets. It is anything but liberal, and foreigners are under a general fatwa throughout Algeria and must travel with bodyguards."

Oh, you mean people are rude, pushy, and distrustful? Like New Yorkers? New York isn't liberal leaning, is it?

Liberalism isn't about actually being nice in person. It's about screwing your neighbor and spending his/her money. If you want people who are actually nice and polite, you will have to get pretty far away from NYC. Try Texas or Montana.

"Violence quickly spiralled out of control. Cannibalism and infanticide [abortion?] followed. Males became hypersexual [PUA? Sex & the City?], pansexual and, an increasing proportion, homosexual [like, duh?]. Calhoun called this vortex “a behavioural sink”. Their numbers fell into terminal decline and the population tailed off to extinction. At the experiments’ end, the only animals still alive had survived at an immense psychological cost: asexual and utterly withdrawn, they clustered in a vacant huddled mass [I wonder how many of us this part describes. Think of the emphasis on withdrawal and asceticism in early Christianity, too]."

togo said...

AS a couple of Europeans explain, "conservatism" in the US is not really conservatism. Which tends to explain why it's in a perpetual state of disorganized retreat.
http://gatesofvienna.blogspot.com/2009/04/self-defeat-of-united-states.html
(…)
The reason that we find a strong conservatism in America and not in Europe is that American conservatives are not at all conservative but liberals to the core; French Revolution egalitarians and PC addicts with fear of “racism”, etc. European conservatism is of a essentially different kind, and totally unacceptable under the current world order. In the American mythology, which is the foundation for our current civilizational paradigm, the old pre-WWI Europe is the worst of the evils, much worse than Communism of fascism. After all Wilson and Roosevelt understood and respected Lenin and Stalin. It was the old (and vital!) Europe that was Satan itself in their eyes.(…)

http://conswede.blogspot.com/2009/04/on-self-defeat-of-united-states.html
(…)
Due to the very nature of America, and to a lesser extent, Canada, they simply cannot understand why Europeans do not go the propositional route and are deathly afraid of European nationalism, no matter how benign. Nationalism doesn’t exist in America, only jingoism and it is seen as a relatively harmless although most liberals do find it very annoying. Even the furthest of the right in America cannot be accurately described as nationalists (e.g. right wing militia groups) due to their hatred for the government. The majority of nationalists respect the role of the government even if they do not agree with it; they do not entertain paranoid conspiracy theories about what the government may be doing to them like these militia groups. Some may try to use white nationalists as a counterpoint to nationalism existing in America. I think white nationalism is a misnomer mainly because you cannot force an ethnicity into being by collecting a bunch of like minded white people from very different backgrounds and reaching a consensus on culture, language, and religion. Due to the education system and the culture of America, they can never understand the positive aspects of nationalism and always equate any right wing group in Europe that does not tow the multicultural line as fascist.(…)

Jeff Williams said...

I think that both Steve Sailer and Gelman need to keep looking at the data. Gelman seems to be coming at the data from a neo-Marxist, class warfare angle (rich vs. poor), while Sailer continues to advance his affordable family formation thesis.

But both writers should spend some time studying the cultural and ethnic regions of the United States. An excellent source is here:

http://tinyurl.com/cdg4rr

Then they might be able to answer such questions as;

"Why do people in Minneapolis and Syracuse, NY vote for Democrats when these cities are surrounded by open land?"

Or "Why did Southern whites vote for Democrats for Congress until about 1990, then switch to Republicans?"

Bonus questions:

How many of Gelman's "rich" (> $100,000) have government jobs or are wired into the government somehow?

Where are cushy, $100K+ government-dependent jobs located geographically?

Which political party created these jobs and sustains them?

Do all white ethnic groups have the same birth rates (controlling for urban/suburban/rural)?

I am sure there is also something to the idea that population density leads to reduced birth rate (except maybe among Muslims) which leads to liberal politics. People say, "I don't have any kids to take care of me when I'm old, so the state needs to do it."

Robert said...

If the price of oil keeps going up and up, it will eventually cause our cities to shrink so that jobs will be within a more affordable walking distance (similiar to European cities now). This will drive up home prices everywhere except the far suburban areas around cities, which may become run down. Will this make the country more liberal in general?

AMac said...

The TPMCafe Book Club to which Steve is contributing contains a number of really good essays around "Red State, Blue State." The site's organization isn't optimal--the best view of the contributions is probably via the TPMCafe Book Club home page. Scroll down to Lila Shapiro's April 20, 2009 introduction, and work up the page.

Gc said...

American conservatives always say how the welfare state will ruin Europe`s work moral in the long run. But why many people still support that kind of policy in the Europe is that they remember that it actually worked in the past in our countries, which of course were then different countries and had different demographies than USA. In Finland in the year 1990 we had only 3000 people who were at sametime part of the work force and had not been working at all in the previous year. So you could keep social security high and that wouldn`t mean anything, because there were 5 million of us. Of course, most of the roman people didn`t work, but they were given pensions if they wanted when they turned 18 :) Then in the nineties the recression game and state run companies where everyone could find a job were privatizied. Then after a long unemployment many of the work force have turned in to drunks and many others were not good enough for the new demanding employers. Also many of the immigrants who started to come in the ninities didn`t work also. So we had over 60 000 people in the work force in the year 2006 who had not done any work in the previous year.

Bill said...

Captain Jack Aubrey said...

If you look at all the adantages of marriage - generally healthier lifestyles, longer life expectancies, less debt, higher average net worth, and just generally happier people you'd think that we as a people (not to mention our politicians) would be more focused on creating conditions that enable more people to get married and stayed married.
That's a pipe dream. What with women's lib, the cat's out of the bag and nothing can be done to save marriage at this point. Sure, some people can make it work, but only a minority.

For traditional marriage to work in general, women would have to submit to cultural and legal "discrimination." They won't do that, and American men have neither the will nor the power to force it on them.

The only thing that could possibly change the situation is if things got so bad that women actually needed men. For now, they don't, because men are collectively taxed by various means to support them. However, if male earning power collapses enough (it's going down fast), this may put a serious strain on the single, carefree female lifestyle.

Captain Jack Aubrey said...

It is clear that the instinct for women to have families is _much_ less powerful than used to be believed...Fertility reduces with increasing IQ, especially in women, and one mechanism is that IQ predicts years of education, and increasing years of education delay reproduction, make marriage less likely etc.Men are another key ingredient in declining fertility. Men as much as or more than women want fewer children. A co-worker recently announced to me that his wife was pregnant with their third kid. He wasn't happy about it. He's getting "fixed" very soon, he said.

As for the link to years of education, I'd hypothesize that two other factors are involved:

1) Education relates to material expectations, which are higher for highly educated women. More children means less time in the workforce paying for those goodies.

2) Those years spent in college and grad school are some of the most energetic years a person has. At least physically, it's a lot easier taking care of an infant when you're 20 than when you're 30. 21-year-old women today aren't taking care of sick screaming babies in the middle of the night - they're partying.

I come from a big family (7 kids). My older siblings have stories about mom and dad being up when they got home too late then grounding them. I never had that problem. When I got home at 2 am my parents were sound asleep.

rast said...

So: what if leftism is a feedback mechanism to stop population growth in high density regions? We already had a healthy mechanism to slow down population growth -- traditional morality. Read Jane Austen.

silly girl said...

I have to agree with BGC on cutting down the years of schooling.

There is absolutely no reason for it to take 12 years to get through the amount of info taught in school.

I personally know plenty of home schooled kids who finished high school by age 16, including calculus and AP classes. It's not surprising how fast you can go without a whole class to slow you down.

I also know some public school kids who did it. However, parents have to demand it.

Educrats often want to "enrich" the curriculum for smart kids rather than accelerate it. This translates into fun and interesting busy work that entertains and which the students enjoy. It does not move them substantially ahead of peers.

Districts with lots of rich parents can't get away with this. Parents will put kids into private schools. In order to keep the smart kids, they have to offer Algebra in 7th grade or lose the kids that maintain their test scores.

The local high school hangs on to the top performing seniors by "allowing" them dual credit for classes they take at local colleges, all the while maintaining "prerequisites" for a couple of classes that only seniors can take. This ensures that the smart kids can't leave even though they are only taking 2 classes.

High Schools also use UIL restrictions and NCAA rules to keep students in high school since many like sports and don't want to be barred in college.

It is such a game. Bright students could easily be out in 10 years. But then what would the teachers do? And what would the overall student performance look like?

Coming back to the point, if smart young people were graduating at 16, how much sooner might they marry, or be able to afford a house, kids etc.?

silly girl said...

Bill said,

" What with women's lib, the cat's out of the bag and nothing can be done to save marriage at this point. Sure, some people can make it work, but only a minority. "

Really, a minority of the fecund is all that is needed.

Right now, 29% of US households have 55% of the kids. Right now the 18% of families with three children are contributing twice as much DNA and culture to the next generation as the 37% who have zero or one.

If the next generation follows their parents, births will be up because the women who are born will be more likely to be living with a mom and dad who chose to have more children for personal reasons. The culture and beliefs of the childless are more likely to die with them.

Svigor said...

All the rich people in NYC want to live in prewar buildings.Prewar neighborhoods? I mean it isn't exactly hard to build a house in a bygone style if you have money.

Svigor said...

Some may try to use white nationalists as a counterpoint to nationalism existing in America.Probably should've gone with popularity; WNism isn't exactly setting the electorate on fire.

I think white nationalism is a misnomer mainly because you cannot force an ethnicity into being by collecting a bunch of like minded white people from very different backgrounds and reaching a consensus on culture, language, and religion.Why try to force an ethnicity into being when there's one already in place? White Americans have an ethnicity already. The real word for this is "American." The only time anyone else claims it seems to be when they're trying to deny it to the actual Americans, or destroy the concept altogether, etc.

Obviously there are alternatives and subgroups. Lots of Southerners have a pretty strong ethnic identity for white folks.

Svigor said...

BUT, on the other hand, white nationalism is a misnomer. It's a strange kind of code word, the kind of thing a shrink might use to try to get through to a patient who thinks he's Napoleon or Elvis.

"White Nationalism" (A term I've dropped in favor of "ethnic nationalism" in the last few months BTW) is not conservative, or liberal, or right, or left, etc. It's about identity and ethnicity, not political systems or economic policy.

I'd take a monarchy, oligarchy, theocracy, democracy, or anything else if I thought it would better preserve my ethny. I only prefer something states rights constitutionalism because I'm an American ethnic nationalist.

So yeah, not conservative. Not liberal, either.

Anonymous said...

Svigor,

I actually wrote that comment that was quoted about white nationalism. And I am sticking with my criticism. Granted, I'm looking at this from a Eurocentric viewpoint instead of an American one (there is a difference).

I do not think that "American" is an ethnicity. You would have been able to make the case when America was still a WASP country but it hasn't been for a long time. Even if you point to the white American, how are we to classify him? Is he of Anglo stock? Germanic stock? Celtic stock? Slavic? Protestant? Catholic? Orthodox Christian? This may be an unpopular opinion but America could have developed a distinct ethnicity if it restricted immigration to Anglo countries (preferably Protestant though a smattering of Catholics wouldn't have made a big difference if they remained a minority). But that didn't happen and America left itself open to universalism with the logical conlcusion leading to mass third world immigration.

Of course I do not think a nation needs to have one ethnicity, they can have many subgroups but they need to be clearly defined. Sure, white Southerners identify with their Scot-Irish roots but not all white Southerners are Scot-Irish and you do not need to have Scot-Irish ancestry in order to be considered a white Southerner either. So on the one hand they do identify with their ethnicity but not strongly enough to the point where they will exclude other whites from the Southern label for not being Scot-Irish. Therefore, the ethnicity of Southerner becomes somewhat muddled which is basically what I am arguing is the case with the American ethnicity.

Since American does not meet my definition of ethnicity and since I believe a nationalism needs to represent a distinct ethnicity or even several distinct ethnicities that are in mutual agreement, that is why I think white nationalism is a misnomer and why nationalism does not exist in America in the same way as it does in Europe.

Another problem I have with the term white nationalism is that the definition of white can be contentious. Even if you restrict it to Europeans (I am excluding Jews and Roma from the definition of European), there will still be arguments within the group over which Euros are considered undesirable members. Just like how not every human is equal in ability, the same rule applies to Europeans themselves.

Ronduck said...

silly girl said...

It is such a game. Bright students could easily be out in 10 years. But then what would the teachers do? And what would the overall student performance look like?

Have children instead of wasting several years of their lives teaching kids who are bright enough to graduate.

silver said...

Since American does not meet my definition of ethnicity and since I believe a nationalism needs to represent a distinct ethnicity or even several distinct ethnicities that are in mutual agreement, that is why I think white nationalism is a misnomer and why nationalism does not exist in America in the same way as it does in Europe.America is composed of multiple nations. That's pretty much what "multiculturalism" (at least American style) is -- multinationalism. Most blacks seem to see themselves as black first; most hispanics identify with being Spanish speakers or of a "hispanic heritage"; a significant contingent of whites are "racial Americans" -- essentially holdovers from a time when white nationalism was easily synonymous with American nationalism; Asians seem to at least display Asian racial consciousness and racial preference. So it's not really correct to say "nationalism doesn't exist." Multiple forms of it exist at sort of subliminal level, and all the ingredients are there for it to blossom into something more strident.

Of course, there are plenty of people who don't fall into any of those groups and who are "for a strong America," or jingoists as you put it. This gets derided as "proposition nationalism" but that doesn't mean it isn't heartfelt or that people wouldn't die to defend it. Old-style nationalists seem to be blind to how willing people can be to sacrifice for ideas, even material ideas (eg communists).

Anonymous said...

silver,

I'm the same anon from above. I still disagree though I will grant you that Mexican or Chicano nationalism does exist in America. Out of all of the minority "nationalisms", that is the only one that meets my criteria of nationalism that exists in America. All of the other types of nationalisms such as white, black, and even Asian are too muddled and too complicated to endure once the majority is disenfranchised.

Even among Hispanics and Asians there are too many subgroups within each movement who are disdainful or distrusting of each other. The only thing that is keeping these coalitions together is a common enemy, the majority white population.

Black nationalism is especially tricky due to its emphasis on hard left politics and lack of consensus on what a black nationalism should entail. A separate black country in America like the NOI proposes? An endless stream of wealth distribution from the white majority to the black minority like Jackson and Sharpton propose? Who knows. Black nationalism despite its understandable appeal to many blacks still lacks the focus that various nationalisms in Europe had. The question about black identity within the black community can also be more nuanced than the one drop rule. Though, I don't have time to get into the details of that, let's just say black American nationalism would look strikingly different than say, Biafran nationalism and that it would be less effective overall.

No, "American multiculturalism" is a fraud. It should have never been suggested in the first place by the pols, and that is what led to multiculturalism we see today and the propositionalism that is espoused by the majority of Americans. If a nation flirts with universalism, expect to face the demographic consequences in the future.

silver said...

Anon,

Two points.

Firstly, I don't think there's a nationalism on earth that isn't muddled. Some nationalisms are less muddled than others, of course. But confusion is always a part of nationalist development.

Secondly, the disenfranchisement of the majority would galvanize nationalist/tribal/group feeling, not undo it. Disruptions which were previously interpreted against the backdrop of a white majority, and thus dampened or dismissed (often times by just blaming them on that majority), will acquire a new gravity. There's no way that center will hold. God, if there was ever a case of 'be careful what you wish for...'

Anonymous said...

silver,

There isn't a pure nationalism, that much is obvious to anyone. However, the state of America now, if a nationalism were to arise, it would be far too muddled to succeed. That is what I'm getting at. You need something more than whiteness to foment a successful form of nationalism. You need cultural markers, religious markers, linguisitic markers, and a common ethnic mythos. America has some of these but not all. So rallying people around being an ethnic American identity will not work in the long term. There is just too much univeralism involved in that ethnic identity and the fact that "American" ceased to mean Anglo Protestant, it only complicates matters further.

There are work arounds to this of course. If European Americans got more in touch with their real ethnic identities, and not this fake "American" ethnicity, then you could build a movement around that. Lines need to be drawn and definitions need to be elucidated.

As for the disenfranchisement of the majority emboldening the minority ethnic lobbies, well sure that is a possibility. However, due to the demographic situation and the fact that Mexican nationalism seems to be gaining more ground than any of the other mini-nationalisms in America, they will be the victors if the majority is disenfranchised. The others will simply be pushed to the side due to their lack of numbers and lack of cohesion.

And by your last line, are you assuming that I wish for this to happen? Surely, I do not. I am just pointing out the difficulties of starting a nationalist movement in America compared to starting one in Europe. I am not writing off America but merely warning people about the dangers of universalism and "Americanism" if they are left unchecked. If Americans wish to secure their demographic future, then they need to start thinking outside of the box and even question the very premises of what it means to be an American. I mean, in the end, what is more important? The Constitution or your people?

The last question isn't directed at you, but generally every American reading this.