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Don’t worry, we aren’t even evil–though you might not want to tell your friends you’ve been here. They might not understand.
In light of the recent election craziness, it’s time for a serious discussion. First, some basic facts:
Here’s some poll data on the 2018 Election. It tells the same story.
Voting is tribal. People vote with their group, for the interests of their group–and these groups happen to correspond surprisingly well with race and ethnicity.
This pattern has been going on for a long time–blacks have voted overwhelmingly Democratic since FDR, and whites have voted Republican since 1968. Even though whites are a majority and vote Republican, Democrats have been elected president 5 times since then.
And as far as whites are concerned, the electoral situation isn’t improving, because whites don’t have a lot of babies, and democracy is fundamentally a numbers game:
The situation is true globally, as well. As Flexible Solidarity: A comprehensive strategy for asylum and immigration in the EU reports:
“In 1980, the EU-15 had more people than sub-Saharan Africa; today, sub-Saharan Africa has twice-and-a-half as many people. Within the next two generations, sub-Saharan Africa should reach 2.5 billion people, 5 times more than Western Europe.”, h/t @SomehowUWill
The Changing Demographic Landscape:
In 1900, the US was about 88% white, 12% black, and <1% Hispanic.
Today, the US is 64% white, 12% black, 16% Hispanic, and 8% Asians and others. In 1950, there were 500,000 Hispanics in the US. Today, there are 50.5 million.
According to the census bureau, in 2012, American infants were 50% white and 50% non-white–about 25% of American children are now Hispanic.
The majority of infants born in the US are non-white and have been for six years. By 2050, whites will be an absolute minority in the US.
“So what?” you say. “Race doesn’t matter. Race is just skin color. It’s what’s inside that matters.”
Ah, but you forget: we live in a democracy.
And in a multi-ethnic democracy, people vote on tribal lines.
For example, in Norway:
Studies of the electoral behaviour of immigrants in Western Europe and North America have revealed a remarkably coherent cross-national voting pattern. Immigrants from the non-Western world hold a strong preference for left-of-centre parties. This unusual expression of group voting is so stable over time that it has been referred to as an ‘iron law’. There is, however, a dearth of scholarly research on this phenomenon. This article tests two explanations for the left-of-centre preferences of immigrants in Norway. The first is that the ideological and socio-economic composition of the immigrant electorate explains the preference for left-of-centre parties. If so, these voters’ ethnic or immigrant background is not in itself decisive on Election Day. The second hypothesis is that immigrant voters engage in group voting, in which one’s ethnic or immigrant background is significant and trumps other concerns when voting. This would express itself in a coherent voting pattern that cannot be explained by other factors. We also expect those who engage in group voting to favour candidates with similar ethnic backgrounds as themselves. The group voting hypothesis finds the strongest support. The immigrant vote appears to be driven by group adherence, rather than by ideology or social background.
In Britain, the historical political divisions have been mostly class-based, with the working class voting Labour and the wealthier voting Conservative, but with mass immigration, ethnic voting patterns are now important: Labour gets the ethnic vote; Conservatives the white; and the Scottish National Party, which actually has more members than the Conservatives, is explicitly Scottish.
Ethnic voting in Nigeria:
This paper examined the election and voting pattern in Nigeria with particular reference to 2015 Governorship election in Bauchi state. … The findings of the research empirically proved that voting pattern in Bauchi state is more greatly influenced by ethnic and kinship affiliation than party, issues and ideology. On the basis of findings of this study, it is recommended that, there is urgent need for public enlightenment by appropriate authorities on the dangers of voting based ethnic consideration. Voting a candidates is supposed be based on credibility and competence of contestant not ethnicity, religion and other parochial sentiments.
In Canada, ethnic minorities vote for the Liberal Party:
Canadian politicians make a point of courting immigrant voting blocs far more than their counterparts in the U.S., Kurl said. “They haven’t really figured out marginal minority politics in the way Canadians have,” she said in a telephone interview. “The parties in Canada at least pay lip service to, or really do double down on, courting and franchising the minority vote.”
Other Angus Reid polling found Trudeau won the overall immigrant vote due to a substantial lead among recent immigrants. The agency also found that its polling category of “other” religions — including Muslim, Hindu, Jewish, Sikh and Buddhist voters — skewed heavily for Trudeau.
Canada also has a number of regional parties, such as the famous Bloc Québécois.
Do Kenyans vote according to ethnic identities or policy interests? Based on results from a national probability sample survey conducted in December 2007, this article shows that, while ethnic origins drive voting patterns, elections in Kenya amount to more than a mere ethnic census. We start by reviewing how Kenyans see themselves, which is mainly in non-ethnic terms. We then report on how they see others, whom they fear will organize politically along ethnic lines. People therefore vote defensively in ethnic blocs, but not exclusively.
Ethnic voting in Brussels, Belgium:
In recent years immigrant origin ethnic minorities have become a non-negligible electoral group in Belgian cities. … We investigate whether non-EU immigrant origin voters have a particular party preference which cannot be explained by other background variables such as educational level or socio-economic position. We also look into the issue of preferential voting for candidates of immigrant origin. According to the theory on political opportunity structures, one would expect a lesser importance of ethnic voting in the Belgian context (in which ethnic mobilisation is discursively discouraged). Ethnic voting, however, turns out to be quite important in the Brussels’ context.
The only major exceptions I can think of to this pattern are countries that are very homogeneous or have no elections.
The ideal of democracy holds that people vote for the ideas and policies they think will be best for the country. Tribalism destroys this ideal, because people start voting for whatever benefits their own group, even if it hurts everyone else. Democracy works if everyone feels like they have a stake in the system; it breaks down if people become convinced that the other side is betraying them or if they won’t vote against an obviously corrupt and incompetent leader just because he’s part of their tribe.
“Democracy must be something more than two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner.” –James Bovard
Tribal voting is why you’ve been so stressed since Trump got elected–Trump is your tribe’s enemy.
Now please imagine, for a minute, that you believe a crazy idea like “abortion is murder” or “we should talk about Jesus, a lot, in public.” I know, I know, just roll with it. These are values that really matter to Republicans, just as your values matter to you. Suppose, also, that you live in a Red State where the majority of people vote for conservative policies. This is your culture, your people, and you’re happy with things the way they are.
Now take a look at the maps at the top of the post. What happens when a few million Hispanics move into your state?
It flips from Red to Blue.
That’s what happened to California, homeland of Ronald Reagan.
“Sounds great! I didn’t like Reagan anyway.”
Yes, but put yourself in their shoes and think strategically. If the majority of non-whites vote for the Democrats, why would a Republican want any immigration from any non-white country? The perception that Democrats are trying to rig the system by importing voters only leads to increased polarization and anger on the other side.
We can reverse this thought experiment. Let’s suppose you’re a Democrat. You want Affirmative Action, gay marriage, abortion, and legal protections for trans people. And you live in a Blue State where all of this is pretty much guaranteed. You vote your conscience and you like it here.
Now suppose a few million very conservative Russians immigrate and flip the place Red. No more gay marriage. No more abortion. Affirmative Action for Russians, not blacks.
Even if you love Russians as people, you might come to the conclusion that more Russian immigration is not in your self-interest. You might even come to the conclusion that since America is your country and not Russia’s country, that you have a right to vote for a self-interested immigration policy that limits the number of hyper-conservative Russians showing up in your neighborhood.
And thus we have tribal voting.
“But that’s hypothetical Russians,” I hear you saying. “Who cares if 90% of blacks vote for the Democrats? They’re just voting for their own self-interest. I don’t care about tribal voting.”
For starters, I don’t believe you. I think you care deeply about tribal voting.
90% of blacks voting for the Democrats is usually regarded as fine and dandy. Appropriate. A logical response to white racism.
Yet 53% of white women voting Republican is not fine and dandy. As The Guardian reports:
For the past two years, the American left has been haunted by a number: 53. It is the percentage of white women who voted for Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election. In the sectors of the left where the figure and its implications have become a perennial theme, the number is treated both as disappointing and darkly unsurprising, a reflection of the conventional wisdom that white women would rather choose the racism espoused by the Republican party than join in the moral coalition represented by men of color and other women.
And that’s just women–do you think it is morally acceptable for white men to vote overwhelmingly for Trump? Or is that racist?
Even though his opponent was a white woman?
In reality, everyone is okay with tribal voting for their own side and deeply disturbed by tribal voting by their enemies: tribalism for me, not for thee.
This doesn’t happen because we’re in a democracy–once one side starts voting tribally, the other side will follow. Let’s take the simplified case where our population is 90% whites, who are split evenly between two parties, and 10% blacks, who vote Democratic. In this case, the Democrats capture 55% of the vote and win every time.
Of course, Republicans aren’t going to put up with this–they’ll change their policies to attract more voters from the middle ground. Since even conservative blacks vote overwhelmingly for the Democrats, the easiest group to win over is centrist whites. If 56% of whites vote for the Republicans, then the Republicans win.
In 2018, 77% of Asians and 70% of Hispanics voted for the Democrats. As the white share of the population has decreased relative to nonwhite populations that vote more Democratic, Republicans have had to capture an increasingly larger share of the White vote to remain electorally competitive.
(You are fooling yourself if you think the Republicans can make a more appealing offer to black and immigrant voters than the Civil Rights Act. Maybe they could pass “mass reparations,” but then they would lose most of their white base. Remember, the black voting pattern has been stable for over 50 years–if Republicans could figure out a way to attract black voters without losing whites, they would.)
But attracting a larger percent of the white electorate shifts the Republicans to an even more obviously white-favoring party, the Democrats even more obviously to the non-white party: tribalism intensifies.
As the Washington Post reports:
White votes were split between the two parties about 50-50 in the 1970s — but in elections since 2000, that has become closer to 60-40 in favor of the Republican Party.
“But purposefully trying to attract more white voters is immoral! Republicans should act morally–just resign themselves to losing, with dignity, forever.”
This is not going to happen. If you set up the rules for the game so that the only way for your opponents to win is by being immoral, then you shouldn’t act surprised when your opponents behave immorally.
In a multi-ethnic democracy, if you don’t play the tribal voting game, you lose.
“Eh, groups voting their interest all works out for the best in the end.”
Tribal voting is terrible.
Tribal voting makes people anxious. It makes people cranky. It convinces people that if their enemies get into power, they will be slaughtered. We saw this in 2016 when liberals were convinced that Trump’s election meant trans and LGBT people would be dying in the streets. Well, it’s been two years and I’ve yet to see any rivers of blood, but that doesn’t mean it’s irrational to fear your enemies getting into power.
That same anxiety was at play in the 2018 Pittsburgh synagogue shooting, when a white nationalist became convinced that Jews were promoting Hispanic immigration in order to flood the electorate with Democratic voters and responded by murdering 11 people.
Tribalism is ugly.
What happens to multi-ethnic democracies?
Do you remember Yugoslavia?
In 1980, Yugoslavia was a poor but peaceful country in central Europe (Belgrade is further west than Helsinki.) Demographically, it was about 36% Serb, 20% Croat, 9% Muslims (mostly Bosniaks), 8% Slovenes and Albanians, 6% Macedonians, etc.
Then Tito died, ethnic factions began voting, Milosevic road a wave of Serbian anxiety to power, and in a move that still confounds quick summaries, the entire country fell apart.
When countries succeed, they are beautiful. When they fail, they fail on ethnic lines.
One of the worst things to be in such a state is a market dominant minority:
A dominant minority is a minority group that has overwhelming political, economic, or cultural dominance in a country, despite representing a small fraction of the overall population (a demographic minority).
Examples of market dominant minorities include:
Ashkenazi Jews, 2/3s of whom were killed in the Holocaust.
The Tutsis of Rwanda, 70% of whom were killed in 3 months in 1994.
The Alawites of Syria, who have been under attack by ISIS (of course, ISIS attacks everyone who isn’t ISIS, but the Alawites constitute Assad’s ruling government, so if they fall, they’ll be slaughtered.)
You might have noticed a trend. Market dominant minorities do great–until they don’t.
Back to America:
In America today, Democrats are the inner party–the party of the bureaucracy, the party that runs all of the government’s actual day-to-day functions–and Democrats are explicitly “anti-racist“. This is how we know America is not a white-supremacist state.
Republicans are pro-white (in the sense of not being anti-white), but they’re the outer party. Sure, sometimes they gain control of this or that branch of government, but the inner party always thwarts the majority of their agenda. This is why, despite Trump being president and having a Republican-controlled Congress for two years, not a single issue of importance to conservative voters has passed–not Trump’s narrow “Muslim ban,” much less a complete ban on all Muslim immigration; not the wall; not a halt to illegal immigration; no abortion ban. Gay and trans rights have not been rolled back; affirmative action has not been outlawed. No one has been nuked. The Federal government has not been reduced in size until you can drag it, kicking and screaming, to a tub and drown it.
If Trump had any real power, antifa would be mowed down by tanks.
So we have a situation where whites are hurtling toward market dominant minority status and the inner party is anti-white.
This is a bad combination.
“You’re just afraid that POCs are going to do to whites all of the terrible stuff they’ve done to POCs, aren’t you?”
I am far more afraid of people whipping up irrational, unfounded ethnic hatred simply because it nets them short-term economic, social, or political benefits than I am of Native Americans accidentally infecting Europe with diseases that wipe out 90% of the population.
You know, like in Rwanda. And Germany. And Yugoslavia.
“But whites have it coming,” I hear you saying. “They deserve it for all the things they’ve done to other people. Besides, we’re a nation of immigrants.”
If you’ll excuse me, I’d prefer it not be my head on the chopping block. I don’t think you want it to be yours, either.
The idea that whites are uniquely evil on the scale of human history–that non-whites have never enslaved, conquered, or committed genocide–is ahistoric nonsense. The Mongol invasions killed an incredible 5% of the world’s population, and 1 in 200 people alive today is a direct descendant of Genghis Khan’s immediate family, but Mongolia still builds enormous statues in honor of Genghis Khan, because Mongolia isn’t sorry.
Non-whites did not simply spring from the earth fully-formed in the places they currently reside, sit down, and never move. The Inuit conquered and killed off the Dorset (the “Skraelings” the Vikings met and wrote about.) The Aztecs conquered and ate their neighbors. The Bantus are not the original inhabitants of central, western, and southern Africa–they conquered it, killing the original Bushman (San) and Pygmy inhabitants as they went. The “Taiwanese” are not the original inhabitants of Taiwan–the Aboriginal Taiwanese are, but immigration of Han Chinese since the 1600s has reduced them to a mere 2% of the island’s population.
If America is a “nation of immigrants,” then so is Taiwan, so is Japan and so is India. The Navajo and the Inuit are immigrants. We’re all immigrants because all human groups have moved around in the the past 300,000 years.
That doesn’t mean we want to be conquered.
“Wait. Wait. America isn’t going to descend into anarchy and genocide. Forget what I said earlier. We’re just going to turn into California–the progressive wave of the future!”
California is an interesting case.
I assume by “progressive utopia” you mean “a place with social and economic policies that make life better for everyone, especially the poor and oppressed.”
Unfortunately, California has one of the highest levels of income inequality in the nation. In other words, while California does have a lot of billionaires, it also has a lot of really poor people. (This explains LA’s typhus outbreak.)
Los Angeles Unified, the second-largest public school system in the country, is more than a sprawling collection of campuses — it’s one of the nation’s largest depositories of child poverty. About 80% of the more than 600,000 students qualify for free or reduced-price meals. When I heard from Supt. Austin Beutner that nearly a quarter of the students at Telfair last year were classified as homeless, I began visiting the school and the neighborhood, hoping to give some human shape to the numbers. …
But the neighborhood has changed dramatically over the decades, said fifth-grade teacher Sandra Tejeda, a former Telfair student who has taught there for 29 years. Tejeda still lives down the street from the school in the house she grew up in.
“Oh my goodness, things were beautiful,” Tejeda told me as we sat in her classroom after school one day. “People had front lawns, everybody owned their house, we knew who was in each house and we knew we were safe.” …
“It used to be single families,” said first-grade teacher Gricelda Gutierrez, another former Telfair student who stopped by Tejeda’s class to join our conversation. “Now you see multiple families in a home, in a garage, in makeshift shanties.”
California wasn’t always divided into the haves- and have-nots. Back in 1977, California (and the rest of the US) was much more economically equal. Today, California is less equal than Louisiana, the least-equal state in 1977.
But perhaps these newcomers are just starting out poor and on their way up, destined for California’s upper class? Some of them are, of course, but overall, California’s economic mobility is only average–the low immigration states of the upper great plains have America’s highest rates of economic mobility. Meanwhile, California has some of the nation’s most expensive housing–cutting its poorer citizens out of the equity game.
And let’s not forget California’s abysmal NAEP (National Assessment of Economic Progress) scores.
The only reason people think California is nice is because as the rich hoard all off the housing, the poor leave:
Over a million more people moved out of California from 2006 to 2016 than moved in, according to a new report, due mainly to the state’s infamously high housing costs, which hit lower-income people hardest. …
Housing costs are much higher in California than in other states, yet wages for workers in the lower income brackets aren’t. And the state attracts more highly educated high-earners who can afford pricey homes.
California is such a paradise that the people progressives are supposedly helping are straight up leaving, but hey it’s great because immigration flipped it Blue and put the Democrats in power.
What happens when we run out of states for people fleeing failed policies?
“Okay,” you say, “maybe there are some potential downsides, but what do you want? Closed borders? White supremacy? An ethno-state?”
Look, I’m just the messenger. I’m trying to warn people. This is like asking what to do about Global Warming. There’s not a lot you can do–besides invest in Alaska.
Even if you close the border today, major demographic shifts are already underway inside the US. Besides, the US can’t get its act together and agree to shut down the border with an actual caravan of people marching toward it.
The demographic trends point to the US becoming Mexico 2.0 within a few decades. A few whites will move to places like Idaho or Montana, but these places will remain unattractive to most because they are not economic powerhouses, and anywhere that does become an economic powerhouse will quickly attract outsiders.
I believe in Aristotelian ethical moderation, and I want neither open borders nor mass expulsions. I want to minimize ethnic tensions.
Right now, we’re fighting for seats in the lifeboats on a sinking ship when we could just fix the ship.
- Recognize that the tension/anxiety you are feeling is a result of democratic voting systems inherently dividing on ethnic lines, not a result of Republicans or Democrats being uniquely evil.
- This is a global phenomenon, not limited to the US.
- Recognize that mass immigration cannot continue indefinitely as global population keeps growing–there is a limit to how many people can fit in a country before you run out of food and water.
- Let the other side have a little space for themselves, where they can run their lives the way they want without getting in a fight with you.
- Promote incentive structures that solve human problems by aligning with good behavior rather than conflict.
“What on Earth does that mean?”
Democracy incentivizes conflict. That’s how it works. If one political party came out in favor of cute puppies and kittens, the other party would rail against rabies and dog bites. You’d have pundits on TV demanding to know why the president won’t stop the epidemic of pitbulls eating babies. The first party would demonize the other as a bunch of fanatics who want to load unwanted pets into gas chambers at the local for-profit kill shelter.
Now imagine a system where most of the day-to-day running of the local municipality is done by a local for-profit institution, similar to a university.
Most people I talk to’s strongest sense of nationalism is attached not to their country, state, or even city, but to the college or university they attended. I therefore conclude that universities are doing something that appeals to people’s basic sense of tribal identity, even though they are not democracies–maybe because they are not.
Maybe Elon Musk and Peter Thiel buy up a bunch of land, attract investors, build houses and schools, and the next thing you know, you have Irvine, California:
In 1864, an investor named James Irvine bought a big tract of California land. Over the next century, his heirs formed a group called The Irvine Company to develop it further. They got their big break in 1959, when James’ grandson Myford Irvine cut a deal with the University of California to build a college on the still mostly-empty land, virtually guaranteeing it would grow into a town. The Company planned out their ideal urban utopia, raised some money, and built it according to plan. Now Irvine is the 16th largest city in California, and Irvine Company head Donald Bren has $16.3 billion and is the 80th richest person in the US. Irvine consistently tops various “best city” and “highest quality of life” rankings and manages to balance some density (the listed density of 4,000 is probably an underestimate because of the deliberately preserved wilderness areas; other parts are much denser including a few 20-story buildings) with a very safe, suburban feel. It’s also very good at attracting tech companies: Blizzard, Broadcom, Allergan, and the US headquarters of Samsung, Sega and Toshiba are all located there. It’s also an outlier in new housing construction, growing its housing stock at (informal estimate) 5% per year – twice the rate of Austin, three times that of Seattle, and five to ten times that of San Francisco.
China is doing something that will likely turn out similarly in Africa:
Universities are nice places. Since people pay to attend them, they work hard to attract students. If students decide they don’t like a particular university, they can leave, or apply elsewhere. The ability to chose your university is powerful–and students at almost every level have many options available.
Neocameralism is a proposed political system (coined by Moldbug) in which states are essentially corporations; to the extent there is voting, it is done by shareholders to elect the CEO. There are many potential problems with such a system, I admit, (mostly the difficulty with getting the federal government to let people try it, which is why such states are most likely to be founded outside the US,) but there are also many upsides–chiefly, clear ownership.
When a thing is jointly owned by many people with no clear ownership, we end up with tragedy of the commons; in many neighborhoods, we have the Tragedy of the NIMBY.
The Tragedy of the NIMBY states that when ownership spread widely and authority is unclear, people default to doing nothing because they see themselves as more likely to suffer from wrong decisions than to benefit from good ones. If no one derives a direct, obvious benefit from development, then everyone demands the ability to veto new development–and nothing gets built. Infrastructure crumbles, new housing gets nixed, liability looms on every corner.
Neocameralism proposes to fix this problem by giving people–investors–a clear ownership stake and thus clear benefits from local improvements.
Not all neocameralist states need to look like Irvine or your local college. Some might look like Singapore, others like Vermont. There are thousands of potential state designs. Nor do neocameralist states need to be entirely independent–some sort of mutual defense pact seems very reasonable. The point is just to align people’s incentives so they provide good governance–good roads, excellent hospitals, clean air, etc.–not exacerbate ethnic tensions.