2007 September 15 Saturday
Mixing Ethnic Groups Produces Violence

Incompatible cultures and ethnicities lead to violent conflict.

Waltham, MA—In the last century, more than 100 million people have perished in violent conflict, very often because of local clashes between ethnically or culturally distinct groups. In a novel study this week in Science, researchers report on a mathematical model that can predict where ethnic conflict will erupt.

The study, conducted by scientists at the New England Complex Systems Institute (NECSI) and Brandeis University, can be applied to many areas and its predictions were tested on distinct ethnic groups in India and the former Yugoslavia. The researchers applied a model of global pattern formation that differentiates regions by culture. They discovered that heterogeneous areas with poorly- defined boundaries were prone to ethnic conflict.

No surprise here. In an age when intellectuals embrace universalist myths about how much all of humanity has in common we need research to rediscover the obvious.

The open borders crowd wants to reduce separation. What'll that cause?

The research asserts that in highly mixed regions, groups of the same type are not large enough to sway collective behavior toward claiming any particular public space; likewise, well-segregated groups are protected by clear boundaries identifying their space. However, the study concludes that “partial separation with poorly defined boundaries fosters conflict.”

What causes a fairly homogeneous area of consensus and peace to decay into an area of conflict? Immigration and differing rates of reproduction create subpopulations large enough to come into conflict with the former hegemonic population.

In essence, as poet Robert Frost wrote in a well-known poem, “good fences make good neighbors.” Well-defined borders help prevent ethnic tension.

"Our research shows that violence takes place when an ethnic group is large enough to impose cultural norms on public spaces, but not large enough to prevent those norms from being broken," said Brandeis researcher Dr. May Lim. "Usually this occurs in places where boundaries between groups are unclear.”

Neoconservatives and liberals don't want to face up to the consequences of their pursuit of utopia. A global capitalist market with open borders and democracy everywhere is not feasible. Attempts to impose it by force abroad are not going well. Iraq is immersed in civil war. Russia, Venezuela, and some other countries are becoming less free. Within the United States public backlash against globalism is reflected in increasing opposition to elite plans for more trade treaties and more immigration.

If the Bosnia and Albanian Muslims hadn't out-reproduced the Serbs and Croats then the Muslims wouldn't have started pushing the Serbs out of areas they had dominated for centuries. In the West the Clinton Administration and neocons portrayed the Serbs as the evil transgressors and used the Serbs as sacrificial meat to try to demonstrate to Muslims that Western countries won't always line up in favor of non-Muslims against Muslims. This is the sort of foolishness our intellectuals get into when they try to make policies based on myths. Iraq is another example of the folly that comes from belief in universalist myths.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2007 September 15 09:54 PM  Civilizations Clash Of

Jerry Martinson said at September 16, 2007 12:09 AM:


I think the problem is that the elite intellectuals live in a Utopian bubble where what you call "universalist myths" are actually the reality. For example, in the area I live and work in, the liberal multicultural utopia actually exists and works well. "Anglo" Americans are a minority where I live and it is there is no dominant ethnicity. People literally do live like this fairy tale in my neighborhood - there is very little ethnic tension and participation in public institutions is very high among all ethnic groups. Naturalization is working very well, marriages between groups are very common (almost more common than not), the kids from every group speak with a similar California accent. The industry I work in would be completely devastated if there wasn't substantial immigration and co-mingling with ethnic groups that are supposed to hate each other.

As a result it's very, very hard for me to understand why this can't be the case everywhere. What I see with my eyes everyday is a globalist multicultural utopia humming along like a well-oiled machine. I bet the intellectuals you are calling foolish live in a similar fantasy world where this all works too. Yet when you see what's happening in the rest of the world outside my little bubble, the reality is unmistakable that there are severe problems. Since my world is so different, it's easy for me to dismiss these problems as the result of simple racism, bigotry, or intolerance... but I live in an elite fantasy world.

The problem is that the "elitist" intellectuals only live and work with other "elitist" intellectuals from other traditional ethic groups. Basically their dominant ethnic identity is "nerd" rather than "white" or "chinese" or "muslim". As a result, they actually are more alike than they are different because they aren't even fully understood in their own traditional culture. My theory is that this transcendental identity only works in nerd-dominated areas. Rules and concepts that work in the nerd world just don't work so well outside it and vice-versa. My theory is not that smart people are "above" ethnic clashes, but rather when all the nerds are packed together they form a new common identity that is stronger than their racial or ethnic identity. They just then assume that everywhere else it could (or should) be the same. I can't say I speak for the neo-cons or the liberals of the world, but it is very tough to give up on this view of how things should be.

dchamil said at September 16, 2007 2:09 AM:

The Robert Frost poem was actually written in opposition to the idea that "Good fences make good neighbors," as a careful reading will reveal. The notion that Frost endorsed fences is a common misconception. However, I think that Frost was wrong and the fence-builders were right. In New England, we are told, there are places where stone walls ramble through areas which are no longer in pasture but are now heavily forested. These walls are a monument to the perseverance of those who built them.

Wolf-Dog said at September 16, 2007 5:33 AM:

Randall Parker: The word "ethnicity" is not specific enough. In this context, does this word mean race, religion, culture or all of the above? It seems to me that the Indians are assimilating extremely well into the Western culture, while the Pakistanis are not, even though they are essentially the same race. So religion (and its associated culture) seems to be the issue here.

John S Bolton said at September 16, 2007 3:43 PM:

Differences in religion are important when one of those is warlike in its essence. What especially contibutes to conflict between groups juxtaposed is a significant difference of average IQ between them. The spatial separation helps by allowing the divergent groups to have their own status hierarchies, ignoring the group which is gratingly above them. When you force widely IQ-divergent groups into close proximity though, the lower group for each piint of IQ down that they are has greater incentive to shift status competition towards ruthless, self-destructive violence, where they have the advantage.

Kenelm Digby said at September 17, 2007 2:49 AM:

Jerry Martinson,
Have a look at Robert Putnam's (a cultural Marxist) recent intensive sociological study of 'multiculturalism' - and the dire results he got - and couldn't bring himself to publish because he hated it so much.
Take a look at the dystopia of Los Angeles, California, take a look at the Mexican/black emnity there and the gangland murders, the pictures of the 'most wanted' on the LAPD website.
Consider the history of central Europe from the 18th century through to 1945, and the appalling catastrophe that unravelled there as recently as 1933-45 - a catastrophe which was in the main brought about by the Germans - a nation and people universally accorded to be the most cultured, educated (and yes) humane on Earth.
Take a look at the attitudes to the overseas Chinese in Indonesia, the Phillipines, Thailand and elsewhere, or what happened to Indians in Uganda or Kenya.
Remember the Rodney King riots in 1992? - the orgy of sheer animal hatred and violence.

No your platitudes don't measure up to what has actually happened historically or what continues to actually happen, not one little bit.

John S Bolton said at September 17, 2007 8:03 PM:

it's not wrong to say that a multicultural biology department or somewhat similar grouping of high-IQ secular types of very divergent backgrounds can get along. When you get down to the level of those covered by the dream/skil amendment( aside; will this soon be posted on, we may have another national do-or-die moment coming up within days) the story becomes quite different, and more violent for each decrement of IQ, years of education and increment of warlike religiosity, etc.

Simon Newman said at September 18, 2007 2:03 PM:

Jerry Martinson:
"As a result it's very, very hard for me to understand why this can't be the case everywhere. What I see with my eyes everyday is a globalist multicultural utopia humming along like a well-oiled machine"

I think the group having median IQ ca 120+ (at a guess) is probably the most important factor there, more than their common nerd identity.

Jerry Martinson said at September 18, 2007 10:06 PM:


I'm not saying that my little bubble that I live in is representative of the real world or the best one to observe to make policy prescriptions for the rest of the country or world. I wish it were representative and I hope it to be so but the reality is that it isn't so rosy after all. My point was that I think that wishful thinking is what the "elites" do and this is why the "elites" dismiss the problems that are happening - because in their personal world they don't see it so it doesn't seem real or serious to them. I was very impressed by Robert Putnam's recent findings and his presentation of it that was covered in a recent interview on NPR. It's a wake up call to us optimists that we've got to take the concerns about immigrant naturalization very seriously and not label it as simple xenophobia. It's unfortunate that his politically incorrect results have to be considered taboo. This is an important problem that needs to be discussed openly.


I guess I misspoke (or mistyped) when I said that it is "very hard for me to understand why...". I can intellectually understand why but it is hard for me to _feel_ why. Certainly you're right that the high IQ has something to do with it. But in other places, high IQ people from minority ethnic groups perhaps haven't reached enough of a critical mass to have a change in their identity that I'm describing. For example, there was the recent case of the presumably high-IQ doctors in the UK that were trying to blow up people and stuff with propane tank bombs (although the lack of efficacy of their terrorist skills perhaps shows that they weren't very smart after all).

James Bowery said at September 26, 2007 4:12 PM:

Here's what really happens in these "elite nerdtopias" such as Silicon Valley:

While there is a bubble, huge numbers of "nerds" from overpopulated places like India put feet on the ground in the US and everyone pretty much puts up with it.

When the bubble burst, all but one of my white cohorts who built the network revolution (Ray Ozzie) were out of work for YEARS while very few Indians lost their newly acquired jobs due to a combination of tolerance for lower wages (made possible by India's sexism) and ethnic nepotism.

While some of my cohorts are finally getting jobs in their profession again, albeit at real compensation levels lower than they were getting in 1995, the damage to the US by this literal invasion is a very significant festering pustule on the body politic. The few white "nerds" who somehow made it through (frequently by agreeing to cooperate with immigration fraudsters as well as selling their country's heritage of technological leadership down the river) are naturally prone to look down their noses at those, like myself, who resigned when told to commit immigration fraud so as to build up ourselves a new caste of American Raj. To say they are nauseating is an insult to food poisoning.

The real reason our elites hate us is they know their betters are under heel.

Post a comment
Name (not anon or anonymous):
Email Address:
Remember info?

Web parapundit.com
Go Read More Posts On ParaPundit
Site Traffic Info
The contents of this site are copyright ©