Friday, July 31, 2009

Pat Buchanan's weird, weird, ideas

I made the mistake of finding Pat Buchanan's blog. On the one hand, this is good because it's one less reason for me to check out WorldNetDaily. On the other, now I have access to all of Pat's brain farts for the past several years.

Pat had one article a while ago which caught my interest, because it happened to combine two of my least favorite things: stupid neologisms, and creepy alter kocker race-baiting.

The larger issue here is the enduring power of ethnonationalism — the drive of ethnic minorities, embryonic nations, to break free and create their own countries, where their faith, culture and language are predominant.

Now, at first blush, this might seem a tad obvious. Yes, ethnic ties and nationalism have historically played a significant role in independence movements and struggles.

But wait! Pat has more.
Ethnonationalism caused the Balkan wars of 1912 and 1913, triggered World War I in Sarajevo, and tore apart the Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman empires. Ethnonationalism birthed Ireland, Turkey and Israel.
Ethnonationalism in the 1990s tore apart the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia, and broke up Czechoslovakia, creating two-dozen nations out of three. Last August, ethnonationalism, with an assist from the Russian Army, relieved Georgia of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
Russia has its own ethnic worries in Chechnya, Dagestan and Ingushetia, whose Moscow-installed president was nearly blown to pieces two weeks ago and where a Chechen convoy was ambushed last week with 10 soldiers killed.
The ethnonationalism that pulled Ireland out of the United Kingdom in 1921 is pulling Scotland out. It split the Asian subcontinent up into Pakistan, India and Bangladesh. Iran, Iraq and Pakistan are all threatened.
Persians are a bare majority against the combined numbers of Azeris, Kurds, Arabs and Baluch. Each of those minorities shares a border with kinfolk — in Azerbaijan, Kurdistan, Iraq and Pakistan.
Turkey has fought for decades against Kurd ethnonationalism.
If one were to wager on new nations, Kurdistan and Baluchistan would be among the favorites. And Pashtun in Pakistan outnumber Pashtun in Afghanistan, though in the latter they are the majority.
So now ethnonationalism is starting to become a dangerous specter, destabilizing the world? I can't tell if Pat is pro ENism or not.
The contrast between insouciant America and serious China today is instructive. China is protectionist; America free trade. China is nationalist; America globalist. China’s economy is export-driven; America’s base is consumption. China saves; America spends. China uses its foreign exchange to lock up overseas resources; America uses foreign aid for humanitarian assistance to failed states. Behaving like ruthlessly purposeful 19th-century Americans, China grows as America shrinks.
So... China is a bunch of amoral jerks, and that's a good thing we should emulate?
Where Beijing floods its borderlands with Han to reduce indigenous populations to minorities, and stifles religious, ethnic and linguistic diversity, America, declaring, “Diversity is our strength!” invites the whole world to come to America and swamp her own native-born.

Ah. Here we go. ENism is a useful bludgeoning tool. With ENism, Pat can argue for race-based determinism, showing that multiculturalism is naive at best, and national/race suicide at worst. Incidentally, Pat, America doesn't really have native-born people, that's kind of the point.
Observing the lightning breakup of the Soviet Union, the Chinese take ethnonationalism with deadly seriousness. American’s elite regard it an irrelevancy, an obsession only of the politically retarded.
Uh yeah, pretty much. After all, our country's civic culture is kind of predicated on the concept that American nationalism is not based on ethnic background.
After all, they tell us, we were never blood-and-soil people, always a propositional nation, a nation of ideas. Our belief in democracy, diversity, and equality define us and make us different from all other nations.
First of all, why does America have to be different "from all other nations?" I thought we had moved beyond bizarro Puritan "New Israel" theological views on government a while ago. Why don't we shoot for "functional democracy that respects and protects invidividual rights while also balancing them with the interests and rights of the group," and then if we wind up not being unique in that regard, so much the better? Second, yes, America IS supposed to be a nation of ideas and principles. The way in which this is potentially different from other countries is that there is no officially privileged culture, religion or ethnic group in America, as opposed to other countries that were founded specifically for a religion or people. Even from its earliest colonial days, America was being divied up by different groups-- including the French, Spanish and English (all of whom would be very suprised to be lumped in together by the likes of Buchanan).
Indeed, we now happily predict the year, 2042, when Americans of European ancestry become a minority in a country whose Founding Fathers declared it set aside for “ourselves and our posterity.”
So what, Pat? The Founding Fathers said and did a whole lot of things that aren't that relevant to today. Dueling and powdered wigs come to mind.
Without the assent of her people, America is being converted from a Christian country, nine in 10 of whose people traced their roots to Europe as late as the time of JFK, into a multiracial, multiethnic, multilingual, multicultural Tower of Babel not seen since the late Roman Empire.
That's right, it turns out that America isn't white, or Christian, enough for Pat Buchanan. Which is funny, because a lot of the illegal immigrants he bitches about are Latinos, most of whom are ethnically white and Catholic. But never mind that, Pat's mad that we aren't all WASPS, (or at least people that can pass for-- or be declared-- WASPs), anymore. Oh for the days of the 50s, where non-whites, non-Christians, and non-heterosexuals at least had the good sense to stay hidden from public view! Incidentally, Pat, maybe the reason there isn't that much immigration from Western Europe to America is that Western European countries have finally started getting their acts together (which is funny, given how much you complain about those govts' horrible pseudo-Socialist policies).

The city farthest along the path is Los Angeles, famous worldwide for the number, variety, and size of its ethnic and racial street gangs.
Yes, of course, Pat. Because we all know that diversity leads to street crime. That must be why there was never any crime in, say, lily-white England, before the 1800s, when they started getting all those immigrants in. Or why when people in England today see large groups of strapping young white lads cavorting in the street, they are filled with nothing but feelings of peacefulness and serenity.

I dig a little digging, and wouldn't you know it, Pat's been down this road to Crazytown before. Here's an article from 2008:
Muller argues, ethnonationalism may be a precondition of liberal democracy. Only after all the tribes of Europe had their own ethnically homogenous nation-states did peace and comity come. And what happened in Europe in the 20th century may be a precursor of what is to come in Latin America, the Middle East, Africa and Asia.
Really now? So how do you explain functional democracies with large numbers of different ethnic groups, like say, Brazil? And why are you ignoring that ethnonationalism seems to be the flip side of colonialism and expansionism? Maybe part of the reason the British Empire collapsed was that there was no good reason people in India would ever accept the legitimacy of a country ruling them from thousands of miles away. Maybe part of the reason Russia keeps havng to deal with breakaway republics is that the USSR's conquest of Asia and Eastern Europe was done at the expense-- culturally, economically, religiously, etc-- of the native people living there? If there are multiple causes of discontent, it stands to reason that boiling it all down to ethnic groupings is simplstic and misleading.
Americans, writes Muller, “find ethnonationalism discomfiting both intellectually and morally. Social scientists go to great lengths to demonstrate that this is a product not of nature but of culture. …
“But none of this will make ethnonationalism go away.”
Indeed, we see it bubbling up from the Basque country of Spain, to Belgium, Bolivia, Baghdad and Beirut. Perhaps the wisest counsel for the United States may be to get out of the way of this elemental force. Rather than seek to halt the inexorable, we should seek to accommodate it and ameliorate its sometimes awful consequences.
Like how, Pat? I thought you were against interventionism. Wait, don't tell me... does it involve reservations? No? How about ghettos? Miscegenation laws?

And we should look to our own land. According to Pew Research, there will be 127 million Hispanics here by mid-century, tripling today’s 45 million – and almost 100 million new immigrants. No nation faces a graver threat from this resurgence of ethnonationalism than does our own.
Look homeward, America.
Um, Pat... first off, what evidence do you have that all those millions of Hispanics are united towards any common goal other than jobs and living conditions? Second, I like that Hispanics "and new immigrants" are both seen and treated as vague omnipresent threats against America without you ever bothering to explain why. If all those different immigrants come from different places, there is no reason to assume that they will be motivated by ethnic nationalism one way or the other. This is just a rehash of the Nativist song and dance spewed 100-plus years ago about some "horde" or another attacking America's shores. Amazingly, those racist bozos were wrong. Given reasons and opportunities, immigrants will become Americans, and Americanized. Notice that this does not mean that all Americans can, or should, become the same.

One last one. Yes, it gets worse. Back in January, plugging the same professor, Pat claimed that Obama's view of a post-racial America might actually lead to the dissilution of the union and possible race war:
Barack won the African-American vote 97 percent to 3 percent over John McCain, and 90 percent to 10 percent over Hillary Clinton in the later primaries. McCain ran stronger than George W. Bush only in Appalachia, the laager of the Scots-Irish.
So... we can therefore conclude that only the Scots-Irish still see themselves as white? Or could it be that those sneaky German-Americans were really energetic in pulling for "their" candidate, seeing as he descends from Stuttgart emigres? Doesn't Obama's election (made only possible by many, many white voters casting their ballots for him) suggest that, at least in at this point in America, ethnic background may not be the primary concern when it comes to elections for higher office?
In Jerry Z. Muller’s “Us and Them: The Enduring Power of Ethnic Nationalism,” in Foreign Affairs, his thesis is summarized:
“...Once ethnic nationalism has captured the imagination of groups in a multiethnic society, ethnic disaggregation or partition is often the least bad answer.”
Disaggregation or partition, the man said.
Are we really in a post-racial America, or is our multicultural multiethnic America, too, destined for Balkanization and break-up?
No, because he said that this only happens when ethnic nationalism CAPTURES THE IMAGINATION of members of that society. So unless we start seeing large groups of Americans declaring individual states "Blackville", "Casa del Second Generation Hondurans" or "Scots-Irish Free State", I don't think we have much to worry about, as much as you enjoy being an alarmist crank.

Sorry to break it to you, Pat, but yes, the days of "Americans" being synonymous with "WASPs" are over (actually, they never really existed). And it happened a long time ago. If the Founders had wanted to stay "pure" and European, they should have all stayed on the East Coast and build a little wall around themselves, stopped having sex with Indians, stopped bringing over slaves, and oh yeah, stopped admitting immigrants in. Then we could be pure like Greenland. But shucks, that's not the way things turned out. You can whine about it, but the fight is long over. And, psst! For the record, we're better for it.

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