2004 March 30 Tuesday
Samuel P. Huntington On Nationalism Versus Cosmopolitanism

Harvard history professor Samuel P. Huntington, author of the recent book Who Are We : The Challenges to America's National Identity and opponent of continued large scale immigration from Mexico has a short essay in the latest edition of The National Interest on the widening split between America's elites and the majority of its people.

The views of the general public on issues of national identity differ significantly from those of many elites. The public, overall, is concerned with physical security but also with societal security, which involves the sustainability—within acceptable conditions for evolution—of existing patterns of language, culture, association, religion and national identity. For many elites, these concerns are secondary to participating in the global economy, supporting international trade and migration, strengthening international institutions, promoting American values abroad, and encouraging minority identities and cultures at home. The central distinction between the public and elites is not isolationism versus internationalism, but nationalism versus cosmopolitanism.

Huntington points out that the elites, by defying the desires of the majority on issues of national identity, are causing the government to behave in an undemocratic fashion. I have previously made this argument with regard to immigration. In poll after poll clear majorities of Americans state opinions about immigration that are in opposition to what the elites want and to what the government actually does. Because this trend shows little sign of reversing it seems to me that what is needed are constitutional reforms to install mechanisms to allow more decisions to be made by direct popular referendums. As Huntington points out, multinational corporations that are nominally American have growing interests that are in conflict with those of the American people and these corporations increasingly put those interests ahead of those of the United States. At the same time many American intellectuals have little or no loyalty to historical US customs or values. Why should the public think of these groups as members of the same polity? That is not how these other groups define themselves.

The national question is not going to go away. It is only going to become bigger. On the debate of Britain's own national question see David Goodhart's response to his critics in the new UK Prospect issue:

For, as my deputy Alexander Linklater has put it, there are many answers to the question "Who are we?" but the one answer we surely cannot give is: it doesn't matter.

See my link to the original Goodhart essay that elicited the criticism that Goodhart responds to above. Also see my links to Amy Chua's work on market dominant minorities.

I am increasingly convinced that what is advocated by those who argue for "diversity" is a society in which whoever finds themselves in the majority on some issue or cultural belief today should find themselves in the minority tomorrow subjected to the will of the new majority. So then are the advocates of "diversity" motivated by loathing of themselves or loathing of the current majority?

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2004 March 30 02:37 AM  Immigration Culture Clash

adam said at March 30, 2004 3:35 PM:

"Because this trend shows little sign of reversing it seems to me that what is needed are constitutional reforms to install mechanisms to allow more decisions to be made by direct popular referendums."

Watch out for that.... It's a solution that's worse than the problem.

Imagine all of the loud & loony liberal left "activist" groups that would monopolize that process.

Just the sort of thing our Founders hoped to avoid... the tyranny of the majority.

Instead, I'd prefer to see the 17th amendment abolished, returning the Senate to be elected by State legislators... making the Senate accountable to the States. It would also involve State legislators more in following Federal issues rather than picking on their citizens.

Randall Parker said at March 30, 2004 3:43 PM:

Adam, Almost have the states have voter initiative ballot processes for popular referendums. See this map of which states have such mechanisms in their constitutions. The lefties have not monopolised this process. They've more often been infuriated by it and have sought to use courts (often successfully in California) to block winning initiatives from becoming state law.

Dan Van Zile said at March 31, 2004 6:24 AM:

I have no objection to warnings against uncontrolled immigration (which I agree with) but I do have problems with this "elitist" nonsense, It seems to me we are hearing more and more criticism about people with differing viewpoints being called eltist. A small factory ownwer that hires immigrants in my opinion that hires immigrants does not qualify as an "elite" nor does a bilingual school teacher who wants more immigrants in order to keep her job qualify as an elite. Incidentally the people that are usually called elitist, University professors have as much right to opinions as anybody else. Its like Gearge Bush an Ivy League educated oil millionaire, criticizing a Kennedy, another Ivy League educated millionaire as bieng elitist. Its always funny when millionaires who inherited their money, criticize other Millionaires as being elitist.

James von Brunn said at April 2, 2004 9:38 AM:

17th Amendment must be repealled.
Federal Reserve Act 1913 must be declared un-constitutional.
Mass Media monopoly must be broken.

Until the abovr is accomplished USA will remain a Jew vassal state.

Bryan McGuckin said at April 26, 2004 12:45 PM:

I t is painfully obvious these days that the question of immigration is still taboo! It is perhaps one of the largest threats to our way of life next to Islamic fundamentalism. In fact the two issues are closely intertwined.I can offer no real explanation to this reckless mindset except for the feminization of American politics. It is the same mindset as that of the mother who supports her admitted criminal offspring, “Yes I know he shouldn’t have murdered those people, but he hasn’t had the easiest of lives”! There is no place for blind emotion in the arena of national security. One cannot ignore the perils of this logic or the statistical realities of immigration (legal and illegal) and its effects on this country. Too, do so is to turn your back on those principles that have made this country what it is today!(the worlds only superpower)

camilo.c.c said at October 18, 2004 7:05 PM:

professor Samuel P. Huntington, has given a lot of theories and importants point of view to the international relations theory. However, his least report shows xenofobic and racisim elements. These are, not ralistic, just out of context to this century, and it's going against the human rights. So, Mr. Huntington, what game are you playing?

Randall Parker said at October 18, 2004 7:15 PM:

Camilo C.C., What game are you playing by trotting out the standard tired moronic left-wing intellectual explanation for any point that disagrees with you as xenophobic and racist?

Huntington is highly realistic. Leftists, by denying the fact that strong ethnic loyalties still exist throughout the world, that the ethnic loyalties are a result of natural selection, and that humans are highly influenced intellectually by genes and by biological factors selected for by evolution, are very unrealistic.

Ethnic loyalties cause people the world over to put their kin ahead of others and to do so in ways that violate the Western conceptions of the rights of others. Denying human nature does not make human nature go away.

Duane E. Roisen said at July 25, 2005 8:19 AM:

As a student of ISLAMIC THEOLOGY my response is a phrase I coined a few months following 9/11: "America doesn't know who the enemy is and its not just the terrorists: ITS ISLAM STUPID." None of the Western Culture pundits I have read really know the fundamentals of Islamic theology that is taught to its followers and its not "Love and Peace". You cannot really understand Islam unless you can read the Koran in Arabic. I would recommend for your reading a book by former PH.D Professor of Islamic History at Al-Azhar University in Cairo, Dr. Mark Gabriel (not his Arabic name,) "ISLAM and TERRORISM". He tells you what the the Quran (Koran] really teaches about Christianity, violence and the goals of Islamic Jihad. Dr. Gabriel was able to quote the entire Koran by the time he was twelve years old. Raised in Egypt, in the midst of a breeding ground of Islamic terrorist, he spent his formative years deep inside the confines of Mulsim influence. His own family disowned him and tried to kill him a few times for leaving Islam. Even though his decision to leave Islam brought about imprisonment, torture and physical assaults, his love and dedication to those in bondage to Islam has remained strong.

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