Nationalism – A Primer
by European Heathen Front
‘Nation connotes a group of people who believe they are ancestrally related. Nationalism connotes identification with and loyalty to one’s nation as just defined. It does not refer to loyalty to one’s country.’ — Walker Conner
Looking at the different uses of the term ‘nationalism’. Note, correctly defined, nationalism refers to ethnic nationalism (as explained in the quote above.)
[The following is written by a civic nationalist]
‘Liberal nationalism, also known as civic nationalism or civil nationalism, is a kind of nationalism identified by political philosophy who believe [sic] in a non-xenophobic form of nationalism compatible with liberal values of freedom, tolerance, equality, and individual rights.’
‘Cultural nationalism is a form of nationalism in which the nation is defined by a shared culture. It is an intermediate position between ethnic nationalism on one hand and liberal [civic] nationalism on the other.’
‘Ethnic nationalism or Ethnicism is a form of nationalism wherein the “nation” is defined in terms of ethnicity… The central theme of ethnic nationalists is that “..nations are defined by a shared heritage, which usually includes a common language, a common faith, and a common ethnic ancestry.”’
– People seem to have an instinct for homogeneity.
– Results are in: Diversity brings conflict.
– Finally, a scientific look at “diversity.”
– The Japanese know how to run a country.
The biological basis of ethnicity and nationality:
The major breakthrough of 2008 was the application of microarray technology to the problem of inferring ethnic ancestry.
At the beginning of this year, it may have been tenable to consider ethnic groups as mere cultural constructs, divorced from nature; at its conclusion, this opinion has been conclusively falsified.
It is now clear that ethnic groups are not only cultural-political formations, but also (at least in part) distinct biological entities, emerging naturally as clusters of similarity from the genetic continuum.
1. 300K SNP paper on European genetic substructure
2. New paper on genomic differences between Ashkenazi Jews and Europeans
3. New study on global human variation based on SNPs and CNVs
4. Huge paper on human genetic relationships based on 650K SNPs
5. 500K SNP study of Oceanian populations
6. 500K SNP Europe-wide study of genetic structure
7. Population structure in Japan with 140k SNPs
8. Genetic structure in Northern Europe with 250K SNPs
9. Geography and Genetic structure in Europe (again)
10. European population structure with 300K SNPs and 6,000 individuals
11. Genomic substructure in Finns
Here is a PCA of world populations using 250,000 markers:
A few years ago you started seeing the crest of studies which basically took several hundred individuals (or thousands) from a range of locations, and then extracted out the two largest components of genetic variation from the hundreds of thousands of variants. The clusters which fell out of the genetic data, with each point being an individual’s position, were transposed onto a geographical map. The figure [below] has been widely circulated. You don’t have to be a deep thinker to understand why things shake out this way; people are more closely related to those near than those far because gene flow ties populations together, and its power decreases as a function of distance.
Explaining ethnic nepotism through genetic similarity theory. Human beings possess an innate attraction to genetically similar others:
Genetic Similarity Theory extends Anthony D. Smith’s theory of ethno-symbolism by anchoring ethnic nepotism in the evolutionary psychology of altruism. Altruism toward kin and similar others evolved in order to help replicate shared genes. Since ethnic groups are repositories of shared genes, xenophobia is the ‘dark side’ of human altruism. A review of the literature demonstrates the pull of genetic similarity in dyads such as marriage partners and friendships, and even large groups, both national and international. The evidence that genes incline people to prefer others who are genetically similar to themselves comes from studies of social assortment, differential heritabilities, the comparison of identical and fraternal twins, blood tests, and family bereavements. DNA sequencing studies confirm some origin myths and disconfirm others; they also show that in comparison to the total genetic variance around the world, random co-ethnics are related to each other on the order of first cousins.
A new theory of attraction and liking based on kin selection suggests that people detect genetic similarity in others in order to give preferential treatment to those who are most similar to themselves. There are many sources of empirical and theoretical support for this view, including (1) the inclusive fitness theory of altruism, (2) kin recognition studies of animals raised apart, (3) assortative mating studies, (4) favoritism in families, (5) selective similarity among friends, and (6) ethnocentrism. Specific tests of the theory show that (1) sexually interacting couples who produce a child are genetically more similar to each other in blood antigens than they are either to sexually interacting couples who fail to produce a child or to randomly paired couples from the same sample; (2) similarity between marriage partners is most marked in the more genetically influenced of sets of anthropometric, cognitive, and personality characteristics; (3) after the death of a child, parental grief intensity is correlated with the child’s similarity to the parent; (4) long-term male friendship pairs are more similar to each other in blood antigens than they are to random dyads from the same sample; and (5) similarity among best friends is most marked in the more genetically influenced of sets of attitudinal, personality, and anthropometric characteristics. The mechanisms underlying these findings may constitute a biological substrate of ethnocentrism, enabling group selection to occur.
Genetic similarity theory: Beyond kin selection [Abstract only]
We present genetic similarity theory (GST), which incorporates the kin-selection theory of altruism under a more general principle. GST states that a gene ensures its own survival by acting so as to bring about the reproduction of any organism in which copies of itself are to be found. Rather than behaving altruistically only toward kin, organisms are able to detect other genetically similar organisms and to exhibit favoritism and protective behavior toward these strangers, as well as toward their own relatives. In order to pursue this general strategy, an organism must, in effect, be able to detect copies of its genes in other organisms. We order several data sets with this theory including (a) kin recognition studies in animals raised apart, (b) assortative mating, (c) intrafamilial relations, (d) human friendship and altruism, and (e) ethnic nepotism. We discuss a strong and a weak version of GST and offer some predictions for future research.
Establishing the true basis of identity-group psychology (national loyalty, ethnocentrism, etc.): in-group love and out-group hate are NOT the same. It’s a common misconception that the latter is simply the ‘’dark side” of the former.
(When does in-group love lead to out-group hate and when does it not? The simple answer is that when people think of a situation in competitive zero-sum terms, they are likely to highly correlate.)
Men exhibit a stronger tendency to favor the in-group over the out-group compared to women. We examined whether this male-specific “coalitional psychology” represents in-group love or out-group hate. One hundred thirty-three college freshmen played a prisoner’s dilemma game with a member of their own group and a member of another group. Both groups consisted of same-sex participants. An in-group bias (cooperation with the in-group at a level higher than cooperation with the out-group) based on expectations of cooperation from the in-group was observed for both men and women. When such expectations were experimentally eliminated, women did not show any in-group bias, whereas men still exhibited an in-group bias. This male-specific in-group bias was found to be a product of intragroup cooperation (in-group love) rather than a product of intergroup competition (out-group hate). These findings suggest that the male-specific coalitional psychology caters more toward the promotion of within-group solidarity than aggression against the out-group.
[Beware that the following study uses an incorrect and completely made-up definition of nationalism. All forms of nationalism would be subsumed under what they call patriotism.]
People reacted to the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in a number of different ways. One reaction was to display the American flag on one’s home, car, or person. The goal of this research was to understand the underlying motivations that led to this widespread behavior. Specifically, to what extent was post-9/11 flag-display behavior motivated by patriotism (love of country and in-group solidarity), nationalism (uncritical acceptance of national, state, and political authorities and out-group antipathy), or a combination of both? Results of a national survey (N= 605) provided much stronger support for the hypothesis that post-9/11 flag-display behavior was an expression of patriotism, not nationalism. Other results supported the notion that patriotism can exist without nationalism, even in the context of people’s reactions to a terrorist attack.
ABSTRACT—What motivates individual self-sacrificial behaviour in intergroup conflicts? Is it the altruistic desire to help the in-group or the aggressive drive to hurt the out-group?
This article introduces a new game paradigm, the intergroup prisoner’s dilemma–maximizing difference (IPD-MD) game, designed specifically to distinguish between these two motives. The game involves two groups.
Each group member is given a monetary endowment and can decide how much of it to contribute. Contribution can be made to either of two pools, one that benefits the ingroup at a personal cost and another that, in addition, harms the out-group. An experiment demonstrated that contributions in the IPD-MD game are made almost exclusively to the cooperative, within-group pool. Moreover, preplay intragroup communication increases intragroup cooperation, but not intergroup competition. These results are compared with those observed in the intergroup prisoner’s dilemma game, in which group members’ contributions are restricted to the competitive, between-group pool.
Allport (1954) recognized that attachment to one’s ingroups does not necessarily require hostility toward outgroups. Yet the prevailing approach to the study of ethnocentrism, ingroup bias, and prejudice presumes that ingroup love and outgroup hate are reciprocally related. Findings from both cross-cultural research and laboratory experiments support the alternative view that ingroup identification is independent of negative attitudes toward outgoups and that much ingroup bias and intergroup discrimination is motivated by preferential treatment of ingroup members rather than direct hostility toward outgroup members. Thus to understand the roots of prejudice and discrimination requires first of all a better understanding of the functions that ingroup formation and identification serve for human beings. This article reviews research and theory on the motivations for maintenance of ingroup boundaries and the implications of ingroup boundary protection for intergroup relations, conflict, and conflict prevention.
‘Although we could not perceive our own in-groups excepting as they contrast to out-groups, still the in-groups are psychologically primary. . . . Hostility toward out-groups helps strengthen our sense of belonging, but it is not required. . . . The familiar is preferred. What is alien is regarded as somehow inferior, less “good,” but there is not necessarily hostility against it. . . . Thus, while a certain amount of predilection is inevitable in all in-group memberships, the reciprocal attitude toward out-groups may range widely.’
—Allport, 1954 (p. 42)
Oxytocin facilitates ethnocentrism. Oxytocin is often referred to as the ‘love hormone’ in light of its role in human bonding. When reading the following it might be worth recalling the information on genetic similarity theory and the difference between in-group love and out-group hate presented above.
Ethnic separatism consistently produces the strongest, most stable communities:
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 [EHF: true, but not a good idea: see Robert Putnam’s work on diversity below] 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.
Diversity inhibits community, trust and a sense of belonging:
In recent years, Putnam has been engaged in a comprehensive study of the relationship between trust within communities and their ethnic diversity. His conclusion based on over 40 cases and 30,000 people within the United States is that, other things being equal, more diversity in a community is associated with less trust both between and within ethnic groups. Although limited to American data, it puts into question both the contact hypothesis and conflict theory in inter-ethnic relations. According to conflict theory, distrust between the ethnic groups will rise with diversity, but not within a group. In contrast, contact theory proposes that distrust will decline as members of different ethnic groups get to know and interact with each other. Putnam describes people of all races, sex, socioeconomic statuses, and ages as “hunkering down,” avoiding engagement with their local community—both among different ethnic groups and within their own ethnic group. Even when controlling for income inequality and crime rates, two factors which conflict theory states should be the prime causal factors in declining inter-ethnic group trust, more diversity is still associated with less communal trust.
Lowered trust in areas with high diversity is also associated with:
- Lower confidence in local government, local leaders and the local news media.
- Lower political efficacy – that is, confidence in one’s own influence.
- Lower frequency of registering to vote, but more interest and knowledge about politics and more participation in protest marches and social reform groups.
- Higher political advocacy, but lower expectations that it will bring about a desirable result.
- Less expectation that others will cooperate to solve dilemmas of collective action (e.g., voluntary conservation to ease a water or energy shortage).
- Less likelihood of working on a community project.
- Less likelihood of giving to charity or volunteering.
- Fewer close friends and confidants.
- Less happiness and lower perceived quality of life.
- More time spent watching television and more agreement that “television is my most important form of entertainment”.
Below is a link to the research paper itself, but before that is political commentator John Derbyshire putting the thing in some much-needed context:
In September 2006, political scientist Robert Putnam was awarded the Johan Skytte Prize, one of the most prestigious in his field. The prize is awarded in Uppsala, Sweden, by a Scandinavian scholarly association. (Skytte was a seventeenth-century Swedish grandee.)
As usual with such events in the academic world, Putnum presented a research paper to commemorate the event. The paper is titled “E Pluribus Unum: Diversity and Community in the Twenty-first Century.” [ . . . ]
The paper has a very curious structure. After a brief introduction (two pages), there are three main sections, headed as follows:
•The Prospects and Benefits of Immigration and Ethnic Diversity (three pages)
•Immigration and Diversity Foster Social Isolation (nineteen pages)
•Becoming Comfortable with Diversity (seven pages)
I’ve had some mild amusement here at my desk trying to think up imaginary research papers similarly structured. One for publication in a health journal, perhaps, with three sections titled
•Health benefits of drinking green tea
•Green tea causes intestinal cancer
•Making the switch to green tea
Exactly. Here’s the paper:
Ethnic diversity is increasing in most advanced countries, driven mostly by sharp increases in immigration. In the long run immigration and diversity are likely to have important cultural, economic, fiscal, and developmental benefits [EHF: which he struggles to come up with examples of…]. In the short run [EHF: or perpetual short run? Also, why would the effects of diversity decline as a function of time? By magic?], however, immigration and ethnic diversity tend to reduce social solidarity and social capital. New evidence from the US suggests that in ethnically diverse neighbourhoods residents of all races tend to ‘hunker down’. Trust (even of one’s own race) is lower, altruism and community cooperation rarer, friends fewer. In the long run, however, successful immigrant societies have overcome such fragmentation by creating new, cross-cutting forms of social solidarity and more encompassing identities [EHF: they have?]. Illustrations of becoming comfortable with diversity are drawn from the US military [EHF: just send every single citizen off to war; problem solved!], religious institutions, and earlier waves of American immigration [EHF: yes, those African slaves certainly blended in well…]
Recommended academic books on nationalism: