February 29, 2008


The clash of peoples (Jerry Z. Muller, February 29, 2008, IHT)

Projecting their own experience onto the rest of the world, Americans generally belittle the role of ethnic nationalism in politics. They also find ethno-nationalism discomfiting both intellectually and morally. Social scientists go to great lengths to demonstrate that it is a product not of nature but of culture, and ethicists scorn value systems based on narrow group identities rather than cosmopolitanism.

But none of this will make ethno-nationalism go away. Immigrants to the United States usually arrive with a willingness to fit into their new country and reshape their identities accordingly. But for those who remain behind in lands where their ancestors have lived for generations, if not centuries, political identities often take ethnic form, producing competing communal claims to political power. The creation of a peaceful regional order of nation-states has usually been the product of a violent process of ethnic separation. In areas where that separation has not yet occurred, politics is apt to remain ugly.

While the Left would like to imagine that it is our "Imperialism" that causes violence in the world, it is actually our unwillingness (or inability) to make others more like us that results is the cause.

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 29, 2008 1:46 PM
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