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Location: St. Louis, Missouri, United States

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Good Fences Make Good Neighbors; Multiculturalism and the Nation State

Timothy Birdnow

A reading from the Book of Genesis 11:

1 Now the whole world had one language and a common speech. 2 As people moved eastward,[a] they found a plain in Shinar[b] and settled there.
3 They said to each other, “Come, let’s make bricks and bake them thoroughly.” They used brick instead of stone, and tar for mortar. 4 Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves; otherwise we will be scattered over the face of the whole earth.”

5 But the LORD came down to see the city and the tower the people were building. 6 The LORD said, “If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. 7 Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other.”

8 So the LORD scattered them from there over all the earth, and they stopped building the city. 9 That is why it was called Babel[c]—because there the LORD confused the language of the whole world. From there the LORD scattered them over the face of the whole earth.

And all the King's horses and all the King's men couldn't put Humpty together again.

This from Merriam-Webster:

Definition of EMPIRE
a (1) : a major political unit having a territory of great extent or a number of territories or peoples under a single sovereign authority; especially : one having an emperor as chief of state
(2) : the territory of such a political unit

b : something resembling a political empire; especially : an extensive territory or enterprise under single domination or control

Ah, the strange nature of Man; unable to govern himself without disturbing his neighbor, unwilling to accept a curtailing of his freedom, incapable of living in harmony. This is the sad state of the species Homo Sapiens, who is not so wise after all. Since the dawn of history Man has sought to find a political system that would maximize harmony, maximize effort and achievement, maximize order.

But there is that little thing which the Bible called Original Sin and which we know as human flaw. Men are not angels, and so require government to restrain their baser instincts. Unfortunately, those baser instincts can place government at it's service, leading to tyranny and despotism, hatred and exploitation. Such has been the way of the world since the birth of civilization, certainly, and actually long before in the ancient tribal order. There is always some jackass trying to be King...

And so the natural state of Man is Empire. When divergent groups, or nations, compete for the same resources the inevitable clash usually ends with the stronger of the two crushing and dominating the weaker. Now this domination may be subtle, such as American hegemony over Europe after WWII, or it may be direct, such as Soviet domination of Eastern Europe after WWII, or anywhere in between, but it presents a huge problem; an Empire necessitates the intermingling of different Peoples. Sometimes - as in England - the victors amalgamate themselves into the mix, although more often they remain as an alien element, separate overlords who eventually either crush the losing culture or, worse, leave it intact, thus creating a bitterness that transcends generations and centuries.

Human beings do not easily accept strangers, and different groups mixed together willy-nilly will lead to grievances, to disputes, to unfriendly competition. Therein is the trouble with modern Liberal thinking about "multiculturalism"; multiculturalism is not about variety but about alien cultures coexisting in the same space. The Left seems to believe that human beings will lose their prejudices if forced together. Make us live in a mixed-together world and we'll learn we are all the same, join hands, and spontaneously break out in a chorus of Kumbaya!

But history is very much against this salad as opposed to melting pot idea; a casual glance at much of thee world should disabuse anyone of this notion. Take the Balkans, where Serbs and Bosnians still murder each-other over the battle of Kosovo. Look at the troubles that went on for centuries in Ireland. Look at the battles between Muslim and Hindu in the Indian subcontinent. Look at the Kurds, the Turks and Armenians, etc. etc. etc.

Different cultures do not mix well.

Which makes this quite interesting; researchers studying Switzerland show that, contrary to Liberal philosophy, maintaining distinct boundaries between ethnic and cultural groups actually makes for peace.

Yes, good fences make good neighbors. Switzerland is one of the nations often touted by the Left as an example of the success of multiculturalism (along with Canada) and yet the success of both nations stems from the clear division of cultural and ethnic lines; mix them together and the fighting would start.

The article abstract reads:

Good Fences: The Importance of Setting Boundaries for Peaceful Coexistence, arXiv:1110.1409v1 [physics.soc-ph] arXiv:1110.1409v1 [physics.soc-ph]

We consider the conditions of peace and violence among ethnic groups, testing a theory designed to predict the locations of violence and interventions that can promote peace. Characterizing the model's success in predicting peace requires examples where peace prevails despite diversity. Switzerland is recognized as a country of peace, stability and prosperity. This is surprising because of its linguistic and religious diversity that in other parts of the world lead to conflict and violence. Here we analyze how peaceful stability is maintained. Our analysis shows that peace does not depend on integrated coexistence, but rather on well defined topographical and political boundaries separating groups. Mountains and lakes are an important part of the boundaries between sharply defined linguistic areas. Political canton and circle (sub-canton) boundaries often separate religious groups. Where such boundaries do not appear to be sufficient, we find that specific aspects of the population distribution either guarantee sufficient separation or sufficient mixing to inhibit intergroup violence according to the quantitative theory of conflict. In exactly one region, a porous mountain range does not adequately separate linguistic groups and violent conflict has led to the recent creation of the canton of Jura. Our analysis supports the hypothesis that violence between groups can be inhibited by physical and political boundaries. A similar analysis of the area of the former Yugoslavia shows that during widespread ethnic violence existing political boundaries did not coincide with the boundaries of distinct groups, but peace prevailed in specific areas where they did coincide. The success of peace in Switzerland may serve as a model to resolve conflict in other ethnically diverse countries and regions of the world.

End abstract.

Now, this should have been obvious from reading The Book of Genesis, or studying history in the least. Empires, where the different nations, peoples, and tribes mix together intimately and compete, have never been stable. The invention of the nation-state by Ferdinand of Spain created something new; a territory held together not just by force of arms but by common language, history, religion, governance, beliefs. Of course, Spain and her successors France and Britain slipped into the imperium by absorbing large swaths of peoples with little in common with the mother country, and those nations eventually became colonies of their own colonies to some extent. But the principle was illustrated that the nation-state was far more easily balanced than the amalgamated empires that had proceeded them.

Yet, bafflingly, the Left wants to end the nation state and impose empire. They believe that the warfare between nations would end if we were under one world-girdling empire, and were forced to commingle with each-other.

Those who support unification do so with the ultimate goal of wiping away nations and creating "citizens of the world". They know they cannot get that without an ever-decreasing belief in the uniqueness of every nation, and so they seek to create artificial constructs that will weaken patriotic viewpoints and make people feel less a part of a meta-tribe and more a part of Mankind as a mystical entity. They know that what the E.U. is is an empire, a collection of nations ruled form a central location, but they hope to transcend the old nations by mixing them together. Well, this has never worked; the Assyrians tried it, the Babylonians tried it, Alexander tried it with Hellenization of the old Persian empire he had conquered. The Romans tried it. The Spanish, Portuguese, British, and French empires all tried it with their colonial empires, and failed. In the end people cannot identify with someone on the other side of the world with a different language and culture. Or not on the other side of the world - just look at the Balkans. Some of the worst hatreds occur between people in close proximity. How about Sudan?

But that doesn't stop the liberal from trying; they believe in the perfectibility of the human condition, and have absolute faith in the ability to realign political power to achieve an earthly paradise. They think that this can be accomplished by destroying everything from the old social order - languages, cultures, traditions, religions, beliefs. To do that one must have an ingathering of power, a centralization that makes the older things obsolete. Common currency, common language, substitutions of, say, environmentalism or scientism for religion, belief in the progress of humanity and the oneness of Man rather than in the individual, the family, the community. Much like a poorly healed broken bone is rebroken and reset, so too they think they can break the old bones of our civilization and reset them into the collectivist paradise.

The reality is that those who run our government-the President and his staff, the Senate, many in Congress, and much of the bureaucracy, are not members of mainstream America. They haven`t been for a long, long time. Most of them have received Ivy League educations, have spent most of their lives working in the public sector, have some ties to internationalist think tanks and organizations. Washington is the penultimate in elitist snobbery, from the journalists to the governing class, to the menial bureaucrats. These are people who have a mindset different from our own. Most of them have been educated to believe in the coming of a new world order, and that the nation-state is growing obsolete. Of course, they would never say such a thing in public, and may even deny they believe this to themselves, but the reality is that too many of those running things have more in common with elites from around the globe than with the average American.

This does not make them evil (necessarily)-it just means they hold a view which believes that greater international cooperation is the coming thing, and that we should begin surrendering our sovereignty to multinational institutions in the spirit of the times. (Why do we keep bothering with the U.N.?)

There is an economic component to this as well; many of our leaders are successful businessmen, and they want free trade and open borders. They want cheap labor available, so are willing to dissolve the stark lines between nations to get this. They believe in internationalism because it`s good for big business.

In fact, many conservatives hold the view that economics are the only important component to life. These are the ``guest-worker`` conservatives, the people who are more interested in our economic well-being than in protecting and defending our culture. Economic considerations are an important component in any society, but they are an effect and not a cause, and it should be understood that the blessings of wealth flow from the unique heritage which our forefathers bequeathed to us. Our success comes from our liberty and morality, not the other way around. Spreading wealth does not spread liberty and morality, and anyone who doubts this should examine what the ``War on Poverty`` did to the poor of this country.

Human beings are tribal in numerous ways; anyone who attended high school knows this. Tribalism is innate to our psychology, and is (to those who believe the Bible) Divinely ordained; God confused the languages as a rebuke to ancient Globalism at Babel (which shows that Globalism is, likewise, an ancient Human desire.) Even if you don`t believe this story as anything but an allegory, it still illustrates that these principles were understood at the time the Book of Genesis was written, so they are very old, indeed. History can be understood as a battle between this dichotomy, between those who would build large, universal structures, and those who wish to remain free of such things.

Every Empire in history can be viewed as an early attempt at Globalization.

The Nation-State was a balance, an amalgamation of like-minded tribes united for mutual benefit. It has been the most successful, most stable such institution in history-only the city-states could compare, and they suffered from their inherent inability to cooperate and their relative weakness. The Nation-State has been the best flawed humanity has devised.

Empires, on the other hand, have never done all that well. Most only last a few decades. Some last a couple of centuries, but that is the extent of it; there are too many people pulling this way and that for an empire to last.

These new creations which the Globalists seek to invent have the same flaws as the old empires; they try to amalgamate disparate peoples into a large, unwieldy structure. It just doesn`t work.

Whatever happened to Yugoslavia? To Czechoslovakia? To the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics? Why didn`t the Indian Subcontinent form a single nation? Why do we see civil wars and revolutions around the globe? Because people have more in common with family, kin, church, and culture than they do with such lofty goals as commerce, international cooperation, and, yes, peace. When the chips are down, people tend to stick with their own kind.

America has been fortunate, since those who came here became ``our own kind`` of their own volition. That is what makes this whole illegal immigration business so dangerous; these invading groups are not interested in assimilation, but in their own tribalism. They are rivals, not immigrants, and our success has always depended on our peculiar form of universal tribalism, whereby out of many come one. Modern times are fracturous, and there are many (notably liberals) who would make many out of one. This is perilous, indeed!

I`ve long compared the liberal worldview to magic, despite their insistence that they are rationalists (in fact, Ann Coulter makes this connection in her book Godless.) They teach a series of myths very loosely based on history, myths such as ``the Crusades were a Christian attack on a peaceful Moslem people who were minding their own business``, or that people believed the world was flat until Columbus, or that Christianity was hopelessly against science until the brave heroes of rationality ripped open the gates of ignorance to expose the sunshine of truth.

I`ve often noticed that, whenever you argue with a liberal, he invariably tries to slip into some highly technical jargon (for whatever subject is being discussed.) Liberals love technical jargon, because it makes them sound intelligent. This is the equivalent of the incomprehensible pronouncements of the Oracle of Delphi, which had to be interpreted by a priest. It is the tendency towards magic in the liberal, towards maintaining a sacred language which only the initiates can understand.

You also have a slavish devotion to a particular worldview, or philosophy, which cannot be shaken by changing events.

At any rate, It`s important for us to realize that the current continuing crises are part of an ancient battle, one which has been fought for centuries between two worldviews. Unfortunately, our President seems to be in a camp different from Middle-America. If we are to survive as a nation, we cannot cede our national sovereignty to these globalist ambitions.

And this study suggests that the old thinking was right all along; good fences do indeed make good neighbors. Mixed together and people tend to start killing one another.

But what of war? Many commenters at the Physorg site complained that nation states were always warring. Well, how was that different than under empires? Did Rome not war against Carthage, against Parthia, against everyone else? Has that not been Man's lot from the beginning? Didn't the primitive tribes fight endless wars against each-other? The Native Americans offered scant resistance to the colonizing Europeans because they were too busy fighting with each-other.

No, the Nation State made wars less common, not more common. The warfare in Europe stemmed more from competition for empire than between peoples.

In the end, the Nation State is a compromise, one that may well be the best we can get in a fallen world. Perhaps, like the bear's beds in the Goldilocks tale, the tribe is too small, the empire too large, but the Nation State just right? Well, obviously not, but it may be the best we can do. Bigger is not always better.

The key is to celebrate each-other, respect each-other, and give each-other our space. Those who come here can become American, while those who go there should join their adoptive cultures. That doesn't mean surrendering all tradition and heritage, but be willing to adopt the best of your culture. Again, melting pots are preferable to salads; salads have to be torn apart, after all.

And some cultures are malignant; certainly the Islamic world must be restrained, as it will never willingly give the courtesies to others that it demands for itself. We must be prepared to go to war on occasion.

But in the end, do we want to force ourselves into intimate relations with them? Do we want to live cheek-to-jowl with them?

Just ask the Israelis.

Science is finally catching up with common sense.

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