Debunking Ethnic Nationalism

If you’ve spent a lot of time dealing with racists, homophobes, and other variety’s of alt right incel scum, you probably are aware of the shallow nature of these peoples thought and the misguided character of their appeals to science. Nothing, in my opinion, exemplifies this better than their unwavering support for the ethnostate.

Diversity and Innovation

The first issue I’d like to get into when it comes to the ethnostate is innovation- one of the most important issues of our time. Given increasingly dangerous existential threats such as super volcanoes, climate change, resource depletion, etcetera, it seems evident to me that the most important tool we have to combat the biggest issues of our time is innovation. The ethnostate directly exacerbates these existential threats by stamping out a major source of innovation- diversity. For one thing, Diversity enhances innovation by allowing for a wider variety of skill sets. Studies have shown that interacting with individuals who are different forces group members to prepare better, and to anticipate alternative viewpoints resulting in a more diverse population being more adaptable and innovative. More diverse groups also create environments where outside of the box ideas are heard, leading to higher propensity for innovation. This correlation between diversity and adaptability/innovation was confirmed by Watson, Kumar, and Michealson (1993). Furthermore, Ashraf And Galor (2011) found that when a nation is overly homogeneous it innovates much slower and doesn’t adapt to technology as well, slowing growth and innovation. The correlation between diversity and innovation has been validated on a micro level as well, as Mayer, Warr, and Zhao (2017) found that pro diversity policies in the work force increase corporate innovation. Similarly, one Harvard Business Review study (Hewlett, Marshall, and Sherbin 2013) found that diversity causes groups to be much more likely to innovate, confirming previous findings regarding the positive correlation between diversity and innovation. Further research has found that more diverse groups make better business decisions 87 percent of the time, confirming that a more diverse group is stronger. Therefore, more diverse groups are more innovative, adaptable, and all around stronger- this shows that if we are to face the existential threats that currently threaten us which require rapid innovation and strong group decision making, to create an ethnostate is to move in the exact wrong direction.

Nationalism and War

Another major existential threat to our species in modern times is the threat of nuclear war. The ethnostate also inevitably exacerbates this threat. Having mutual family members, shared heritage etc with other nations grows a stronger bond between nations. Isolating culturally ethnically and otherwise to an extreme extent would therefore undoubtedly create a division with other countries and subsequently would grow international tensions. Furthermore, the ideology of nationalism functions by placing the faults of the contradictions which exist in society on other races/ethnicities/cultures- the object of dissatisfaction. Therefore, inherent to nationalism is hostility towards other nations, which of course will exacerbate conflict internationally. This is actually empirically verified, as Bingham (2012) found that there is a link between nationalism and war, which we cannot afford when we are an international community on the brink of nuclear war. The correlation between nationalism and war has also been confirmed by an overview of literature on the subject conducted by Hutchinson (2019). In another large analysis, Bertoli (2017) finds that surges in nationalism are associated with increased international military aggression. Jacobson (2012) further confirms this, finding that nationalism produces “several mechanisms” which cause more international conflict and war. As philosopher and historian Yuval Noah Harari puts it, the biggest issues of our times are ones that require massive international co operation- the ethnostate directly impedes international co operation and therefore our ability to face these issues, and makes conflict more common. In other words, the ethnostate would greatly restrain the ability of the human race to deal with its most prominent threats.

Diversity Doesn’t Harm Social Cohesion

 One of the main points people use to justify an ethnostate is the claim that more diversity leads to less social cohesion. This point is heavily contested. For example, Lipford and Yandle (2009) find that a 10% increase in diversity raises volunteerism by 1 per 100 people. A 10% increase in people with a college degree increases volunteerism by 5-6 people per 100. Alesina and Ferrara (2002) looked at the relationship between racial diversity, ethnic diversity, and income inequality, with trust. Income inequality and racial diversity each correlated weakly at -.1 with trust, while ethnic diversity correlated even more weakly at -.03. Glaeser et al (2000) found no statistically significant disparity between levels of trust among heterogeneous and homogeneous pairings of participants in a trust based experiments. Jonhson and Mislin (2009) meta-analyzed the relationship between the results of trust based experiments and how ethnically diverse the country in which it was conducted is. They found a meta-analytic effect size that was statistically insignificant and positive for trust. Moreover, let’s look at studies on diversity and social trust which ethnonationalists commonly cite. For example, one of the studies which ethnonationalists cite most frequently (Ziller 2015) found that even though more ethnically diverse regions have lower social trust, changes in these variables did not predict changes in trust over time. The same study found that at levels of economic growth above zero, the effect of immigrants on trust was positive and statistically insignificant, which when coupled with the fact that diversity increases economic growth doesn’t really make the case for an ethno state. Even Putnam (2007) another of the most commonly cited studies by proponents of an ethno state found that local ethnic diversity independently accounted for less than 1% of the variation in trust. The same study found going from an area with zero diversity to an area with maximum diversity would be predicted to lower trust by .14 points on a 4 point scale. The affect of socio economic status on the other hand is significantly more prominent. The study all in all suggests that high SES immigrants would probably increase local social cohesion even if they also increase levels of ethnic diversity. So, if trust is a good thing, why should we take no immigrants instead of high SES immigrants? It’s also worth noting that this study directly states the negative effects of diversity are short term, and in the long term diversity carries many benefits- to quote the study, “In the long run immigration and diversity are likely to have important cultural, economic, fiscal, and developmental benefits.” What’s also worth noting is that Abascal and Baldassari (2015) used the same data set collected by Putnam, and after reanalyzing it found that when it comes to distrust and diversity, most of the distrust is expressed by whites who feel uncomfortable living amongst racial minorities. One of the most significant studies to consider is Laurence et al. (2018) which found that diversity only lowers trust among those who view the relevant outgroups as threatening to begin, showing that the sometimes negative affects that diversity does have on social cohesion are due to pre conceived notions and ideology which can easily be nuetralized through a shift in cultural attitude. Assche et al (2018) found the same thing in the Netherlands. Moreover, one very notable study from Enos (2014) published in the proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in the United States Of America found that while influxes of diversity initially exacerbate exclusionary attitudes towards other races, this affect goes away with time, suggesting that the tensions that arise from racial diversity are not inherent or long lasting. Another study by Enos detailed in his book “The Space Between Us” assigned random made up categories to participants, and then examined how this affected their perception of the “out group” characterized by made up differences- the study found that 1. People perceived members of this made up out group as different, even though they aren’t, and 2. Segregating these people exaggerated the extent to which they have bias towards these out groups. This suggests that people’s bias for in groups and out groups exist even for completely made up groups, and these bias’ are completely dependent on subjective perceptional factors and proximity to said out groups, rather than being something that’s inherent and unchangeable. All in all, what the data overwhelmingly suggests is that diversity has very little, if any impact on social cohesion and to the extent that it might it’s because of culturally enforced attitudes which are in no way necessary or innate. 

Racism Is Learned

On a separate but heavily related note, ethnonationalists commonly argue that we have an innate preference for our own race, and thus an ethnostate is justified on the basis of the practicality of realizing that preference. The big flaw with this argument comes in that the evidence does not support the claim that racism is innate or unable to be overturned. Let’s look at some scientific evidence: Diesendruck et al (2013) found that among children the degree to which they have a bias towards their own race is dependent heavily on cultural influence. Mandalaywala et al (2018) found that precursors to prejudice “require ample cultural input”, and that children do not innately possess views of race which are essentialist in nature. Moreover, according to research conducted by renowned Harvard psychologist Mahzarin Banaji, racial prejudice is heavily culturally influenced, past age 10 a child’s environment begins to play a tremendous roll in how they perceive their in-group and out-group, and their perception of other races as an out group is very much able to be over turned. There also exists a complete lack of neurophysiological evidence for innate racism. In fact, not one study has ever found a gene which determines a predisposition for hatred and bigotry. Finally, Telzer et al (2012) found that the racial sensitivity of the amygdala is heavily dependent on the diversity of the peer group of the individual being studied, showing that racism is very much contingent on environmental influence. Therefore, if we are to listen to the science, racism is not inherent and can by all means be overturned by cultural pressures, so arguments you’ll hear from ethno nationalists based on our inherent racism has no scientific basis in reality.

Refuting Miscellaneous Arguments Regarding The Harms Of Diversity

Let’s look at other claims ethno nationalists use to make their point: many ethno nationalists imply that diversity harms the functionality of democracy or society at large- however, Fish and Brooks (2004) in a cross national analysis found “scant” evidence that increased diversity negatively impacts democracy. In fact, diversity inspires new thoughts and ideas while discouraging stagnation and increasing the possibilities of finding better ways to address various issues. Ethno nationalists also claim that more diversity will lead to more crime and violence: Fearon and Laitin (2003) found that after controlling for per capita income, more ethnically or religiously diverse countries have been no more likely to experience significant civil violence. It is true that some studies in the past have found that higher ethnic diversity increases violent crime. However, Soysa And Noel (2018) revisit this issue with the most updated data, the most comprehensive geographical and temporal coverage than all previous studies, and employed appropriate statistical techniques for panel data. What they found is that increased homogeneity is actually associated with increased crime rates. These racists also claim that school performance will be hurt my diversity- however, A recent report from the national center of education statistics finds that White student achievement in schools with the highest Black student density did not differ from White student achievement in schools with the lowest density.

The Marxist Critique Of Ethno Nationalism

Lacanian psychoanalytic theory asserts that the human minds works in a way which gives the illusion of fullness, a part of which covers a negative gap which can never really be filled. This is mirrored in the Marxian notion of ideology which asserts that ideology is essentially a false consciousness propagated by power structures to breed a sort of voluntary obedience and so on. What I mean is that ideology functions in a way which creates an illusion of true fulfillment if only this gap, the snake in the garden, could be done away with, and it subsequently associates this gap falsely to any given factor, in this case race. Rudolph Rocker analyzed nationalism in the context of the historical development of the state. What he found was that nationalism was the foremost ideology which the ruling class used to bind the working class to them in a tight form of voluntary submission. This is largely because nationalism inherently dusts over the concept of class division, replacing it with the concept of racial division despite the fact that historically and empirically class is more divisive than race and class division accounts for infinitely more of the issues in our society than does racial division. In this way nationalism is counter revolutionary in that through the lens of race it binds the working people to the state and to the bourgeoisie thus defending capitalism and existing power structures which I deem to be a major major issue, in that I believe capitalism and the state as it exists are to be abolished if we are going to make substantive progress, which cannot happen in a nationalistically driven society which 1. Diminishes the importance of class division and 2. Impedes the possibility international revolution through national isolation and decision. The latter is of utmost importance as well; capitalism today is an inextricably linked totality, and to be conquered it must be dealt with as such through the only correct expression of the objective conditions of the class struggle- international revolution. Ethno nationalism again impedes our ability to make substantive progress by reinforcing national boundaries.

Conclusion

Even disregarding all of the negative externalities of an ethnostate and the scientifically invalid premis’ of those who argue for it, an ethnostate doesn’t even succeed at addressing the core issue its supporters claim it would address- that being ethnic conflict. Let me give a historical example of what i’m talking about: Yugoslavia (1918-1992) tried an ethno state that functioned for a short period. However, then Croats, Slovenes, Serbians, etc. started fighting over national identity, causing further division, which lead to the destruction of the ethno state. This is because when you base a civilization around identity, even if you get rid of all people of color there will still be ethnic division which will lead to conflict if you have a society conditioned to see ethnic division as a bad thing. In conclusion, ethno nationalism as well as nationalism as a whole is a product of bourgeois ideology which obfuscates the true contradictions which lead to the agitation that gives rise to the attitudes exemplified by ethnic nationalists, that being the contradictions of class society. The rhetoric and arguments appealed to by ethno nationalists are generally misguided and have no basis. It is undoubtable that given an overview of the evidence, the idea of an ethno state would cause much more harm than it would mitigate.

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