Some aphorisms looking at how we speculate about the future without trying to learn from what the past thought about the future.
Series: Multiculturalism & Social Trust – The Consequences of Ethnic Diversity Analysed in New Study
- 1.Multiculturalism & Social Trust: The Consequences of Ethnic Diversity Analysed in New Study – Part 1
- 2.Multiculturalism & Social Trust – The Consequences of Ethnic Diversity Analysed in New Study – Part 2
A quarter-century of scientific research into diversity and social trust leads to the conclusion that discrimination is basic to culture and society.
The question posed by the review is: ‘Does ethnic diversity erode social trust?’1 There have been many studies on the question over twenty-five years, with various findings. The meta-analysis aims to find common patterns by analyzing data from the literature covering 1001 estimates from eighty-seven studies.2
There are several definitions of social trust examined: (1) generalized social trust (strangers); (2) out-group trust; (3) in-group trust; (4) trust in neighbours.3
The ‘key debates in the literature’ are: Debate 1: Why does ethnic diversity erode trust? The question posed is as to why closer proximity with out-groups becomes more consequential for social trust?
If a high-tech corporation in the USA employs a significant number of high-tech specialists from India, and then lauds the benefits such ‘diversity’ has brought to the corporation, can it really be said that this has been caused by ethnic diversity, or rather by employing those who are especially advanced in the expertise required by the business?
A 2015 study by two of the review’s authors, Dinesen and Sønderskov, found that ‘mere exposure to people of different ethnic backgrounds erodes social trust’. This is related to the concept of out-group aversion. ‘Shared norms’ and other factors impact on this,4 and it is shared norms that are a distinctive feature of what defines an ethnos.
It is here that blood (genetic) purity, of such importance to some elements of the Right, is often of lesser importance in the formation of an ethnos than shared experience (history), although common ancestry as a binding myth is also important regardless of its reality. Whether one defines an ethnos as a biological entity based on predominant gene frequencies, or by the types of historical vitalism postulated by Yockey and Spengler, it is nonetheless a reality that works on a variety of levels, conscious and unconscious. The utopian aim of reducing everyone to a nebulous universal denominator in the name of ‘humanity’ seems highly dubious. Is the elimination of out-group aversion even a desirable goal? What are the consequences?
One might question the clichés large businesses and governmental agencies like to purvey about being ‘inclusive’, ‘diverse’, and the strength that these provide to corporate structures. If a high-tech corporation in the USA employs a significant number of high-tech specialists from, say, India, and then lauds the benefits such ‘diversity’ has brought to the corporation, can it really be said that this has been caused by ethnic diversity, or rather by employing those who are especially advanced in the expertise required by the business? Rather than there being ‘diversity’ there will be a common corporate culture, with shared corporate values and aims. Where Pascal Zachary’s ‘global me’ enters into such situations is through the ease by which individuals with the needed qualifications can be transplanted about the world in accordance with the requirements of global capital and technology. However, even at the workplace, as will be seen, Dinesen found that social trust is eroded by diversity.
The authors also refer to ‘in-group trust’ increasing when there is a perception of being ‘surrounded by more ethnic out-groups’.5 There might also arise feelings of isolation or alienation; ‘constrict theory’,6 as one becomes increasingly surrounded by ethnic aliens, some studies referring to ‘people’s inherent preference to interact with people like themselves’.7
Debate 2: Can contact alleviate the negative effect of ethnic diversity? Here ‘contact theory’8 postulates that we could all get along in a multicultural utopia if we sought friends from different races, and that the positive experiences would destroy any prejudices inherited from the bigoted generations of our parents and grandparents. ‘Positive intergroup relations’ might be built, and ‘negative stereotypes’ reduced.9
It is here where the propagandists for multiculturalism can be at their most fervent, depicting the joys of having ethnically diverse friends; where the power of friendship overcomes small-town bigotry, etc. Naturally, that ‘bigotry’ comes invariably from whites, and one does not see depictions of the ‘implicit racism’ of American blacks, Hasidim, Chinese, or Zulus. What ethnos does not regard itself as special and even chosen by God? Certainly the Chinese have done so over millennia, dialectical materialism not having dampened their self-perception of being the centre of the world. Mention of the ethnic implications of Judaism seems superfluous.
Such a mythos is the basis of inner-strength, without which a people would not survive through millennia. When ‘push comes to shove’, even liberal democracies resort to war-propaganda based on negative stereotypes on ‘Huns’ or ‘Japs’ for example.
The sociologist A. James Gregor had a paper published by The Eugenics Review in 1961 examining the persistent phenomenon of ‘racial prejudice’ over millennia and over sundry cultures. The trait that Sir Arthur Keith explained as an evolutionary survival mechanism, Gregor discussed sociologically. The antiquity and persistence of ‘prejudice’ confounds the notions that this is a result of ‘white privilege’, a white social construct, a feature of a certain era of economics, and a means by which the ‘ruling class’ divides the proletariat. Gregor pointed out that ‘anything more than a casual or temporary contact between widely diverse races, in pre-capitalistic as well as capitalistic times, provokes prejudice and discrimination and a subsequent rationalization for felt preferences’.10 This is part of man as a ‘gregarious creature’ – a social animal, manifesting according to ‘historic, social and political circumstances in which the particular human groups finds itself’.11 In Mexico, the natives eliminated the persistent trait of albinism because it departed from the norm established by the gods. In New Guinea, the Papuans held children born of lighter hue over a fire of green branches until the skin became tinted.12 The Japanese discriminate against the light-skinned Ainu. The Chinese derogatively call the European gweilo; a ‘ghost. Greeks regarded non-Greeks as ‘barbarians’. Koreans refer to Japanese as ‘monkeys’ (jjokbari). In New Zealand ‘Maori’ means ‘normal’, as distinct from all others. None of this is a ‘white social contract’ to legitimize ‘white privilege’, nor a phase specific to capitalism.
Interestingly, the authors of the meta-analysis pose the question as to whether ‘out-group trust’ reduces ‘in-group trust’. The implication is that harmonious ethnic diversity subverts in-group solidarity. Is that desirable? For the liberal ideologue, and the corporate CEO, the answer is ‘yes’.
The Nature of Discrimination
Corporations have a stated policy of ‘inclusiveness’ and ‘diversity’ as part of their charter, which now includes not only ethnicity but ‘gender’ in its increasingly myriad of forms. This diversity is claimed to bring dynamism to the corporation through the cultivation of Pascal Zachary’s ‘global me’, or Homo oeconomicus, as the New Right refers to this aspect of the globalization process. However, as alluded to above, are such contrived, artificial and limited situations really examples of ‘diversity’, or are they rather examples of acculturation within a ready-made corporate culture, into which one cannot enter without a prerequisite background that overrides all other aspects of one’s personality? The corporation becomes the ‘in-group’, and the selection process for admission is at least as stringent as admission into a tribe. The corporate recruiting process is a form of ‘prejudice’ and ‘discrimination’, without which there would be chaos. How far would or should an applicant to a symphony orchestra get without any musical background? Should a paraplegic dwarf not at least get a chance to try out for a football team? Discrimination is basic to culture and society.
Inability to discriminate is symptomatic of stunted development. The utopian liberal idyll of black and white toddlers playing as friends, is a retarded image when applied in a generalized and universal way to adults.
Inability to discriminate is symptomatic of stunted development. The utopian liberal idyll of black and white toddlers playing as friends, is a retarded image when applied in a generalized and universal way to adults. Perhaps this is why we can discern the retarded character of liberals and leftists who become histrionic in their declamations against ‘racists’ and ‘fascists’, and who are incapable of behaving rationally? The ability to discriminate is a part of childhood cognitive development. It seems that the liberal ideal is for adults to regress to the stage of ‘pre-connectional thinking’ in ‘operational intelligence’ that normally exists at the age of two, when the child does not yet have the ability to classify, but regards ‘similar objects as though they are identical in a type of muddled categorization; i.e. all men must be “Daddy”, all animals are “doggies”. … The preconcept child cannot hierarchically discriminate between oranges and apples for instance’.13
The Corporation Ideal
One becomes a corporate being through detachment from ethnic background, not because of ethnic (or gender) background, and one subsequently amalgamates into the corporate culture. One ceases to be a male, female, Caucasian, Asian, African, and takes on common traits of a corporate being; Homo oeconomicus, ‘the global me’. That is what corporate planners and their political subordinates aim for on a world a scale, the result being the antithesis of ‘ethnic diversity’: a universal corporate monoculture where, according to propagandists for the ideal such as Pascal Zachary, those ‘nations’ most willing to open their borders (for which the Left is as equally enthusiastic) will be the most successful in the process of globalization, and the individuals most successful (whom Pascal Zachary lauds as ‘mongrels’) under globalization will be those who have become most adapted to the corporate global culture, and most detached from any organic roots.
When one looks closer at the motives behind the academic condemnation of the Right as a supposed terror threat, and the ‘scholarly’ repudiation of so-called ‘racism’, behind the façade of moral rectitude is the promotion of globalist interests.
This is where one should discern the difference between the Identitarianism of the Right, and the ‘identity politics’ of the Left and its corporate sponsors, despite the confused conflation of these things by libertarians such as Dr Jordan Peterson. Hence, those most avid in opposing the ‘looming menace’ of the ‘Alt Right’ and Identitarianism, because the ideology upholds organic bonds such as binary genders and ethnic diversity, aim to deconstruct those primary organic bonds through a multiplicity of contrived inorganic identities, which are so nebulous and fractured that the end-product will not be an enriched diversity across the world, but rather the ‘global me’ as a new species of globalized humanity designed for the global economy.
When one looks closer at the motives behind the academic condemnation of the Right as a supposed terror threat, and the ‘scholarly’ repudiation of so-called ‘racism’ (as it solely applies to whites), behind the façade of moral rectitude is the promotion of globalist interests. One of the leading figures from academia in this crusade is the New Zealander, Dr Paul Spoonley, a sociologist whose claim to fame is his long redundant thesis on the ‘extreme right’ in New Zealand,14 and who is presented by the news media as an ‘expert’ whenever a smear campaign against Rightists (some real, most imagined) is required. The bottom line is that immigration is good for commerce, in terms of migrant investment and skills:
Skilled migrants make up 60 per cent of total immigrants. With these new arrivals come new business, new investment and new connections with key export markets. ‘We can calculate what they contribute and compare that to what they need in terms of benefits and healthcare,’ Spoonley said. ‘Immigrants in Auckland contribute much more to taxation and economic benefits. Therefore, their net contribution is higher than the local population.’15
Are the ‘one nation’ self-styled ‘conservatives’ any different in their outlook than liberal academics such as Spoonley, when the criteria for migration and citizenship are to work, invest, and pay taxes?
It transpires that, also behind the moralizing rhetoric, this is the primary concern for the United Nations Organization in regard to migration (which the UNO calls ‘replacement migration’) as the means of ‘replacing’ the populations of mostly white states that are undergoing a demographic crisis due to falling birth-rates (which the UNO projects will have a major negative impact on developed economies).16 However when Identitarians and Dissident Rightists warn of these trends as symptoms of wider cultural pathologies, and call the same process ‘The Great Replacement’, they are roundly castigated as terror threats.17
The meta-study cites a 2019 study by Dinesen, Sønderskov, and Thuesen on ethnic diversity and social trust in the workplace, with a focus on Denmark, where statistics are particularly comprehensive.18 Dinesen states that ethnic diversity in the workplace has the same negative impact on social trust as in the neighbourhood context. The more diverse the workplace, the greater the social distrust, indicating that ethnic diversity has a causal effect on social trust. The study on the workplace took variables into account such as educational backgrounds and types of work, and the results were consistent.19
The authors, having explained the parameters of their study, then explain the methodology of the ‘meta-analytical approach’. The aim is to go beyond the ‘idiosyncrasies’ of the eighty-seven individual studies, ‘to generate an overall meta estimate summarising the effect’, and to ‘provide a meta estimate of the relationship between ethnic diversity and social trust’.20
This cross-study analysis, which seems to be the first of its kind, although supporting the results of other analyses using different methods, shows that ‘the overall meta estimate of the relationship between ethnic diversity and social trust is negative’. The more diverse the location, the lower the social trust. In most, but not all, studies, the negative impact of diversity on social trust is significant.21
Wherever a quarter century of testing shows results suggesting that some aspect of ethnic diversity can be discerned in some manner to have a less than negative effect, this, as one would expect, is utilized as a triumphant example of the ‘success’ of some multicultural experiment, in some manner and context. As referred to above, artificial contexts do not indicate much more than that social engineering, indoctrination, and coercion might be able to distort the normal character of human relationships. Fortunately, the authors, in their definitively stating that ‘ethnic diversity is negatively associated with social trust’, and that this applies in varying degrees to all forms of social trust,22 spare the reader the moral platitudes that social scientists generally seem compelled to attach to papers where the empirical evidence does not accord with their personal biases. For example, the above-cited Putnam, whose studies are part of the met-analysis, despite his having found that ethnic diversity increases social mistrust, contended (as an obvious enthusiast for American liberal-democracy) in the face of criticism, that his studies to the contrary show that there are ‘substantial benefits of diversity, including racial and ethnic diversity, to our society’. In 2012, Putnam went as far as to file a lawsuit against several scholars of more ‘conservative’ persuasion for using his 2007 paper ‘E Pluribus Unum: Diversity and Community in the Twenty-first Century’ in a legal case involving ‘reverse discrimination’ in education. Putnam countered that ethnic diversity is not the sole cause of negative social trust, and has also considered other factors such as the role of technology in undermining ‘social capital’, causing alienation and a decline in civic participation. He also asserted that it is primarily neighbourhoods rather than schools, churches and workplaces where diversity mainly undermines social trust.23 These are all positions that the Rightist critic can readily accept without having to indulge in strained intellectual acrobatics to somehow discount the ethnic factor. As the meta-analysis of studies, including those of Putnam, showed, the neighbourhood level is indeed where social trust is most eroded by diversity; but contrary to what Putnam later insisted, the negative impact is on all forms of social trust.
In 2015, attempts were made to refute Putnam’s paper on diversity and social trust in neighbourhoods, and one suspects that he would have been pleased to have his findings refuted. The paper concluded that it is whites who feel most distrust in neighbourhoods and that this really means that such distrust merely reflects white ‘prejudice’.24 This 2015 study optimistically affirmed that ‘Our evidence suggests there is no meaningful relationship between ethnic diversity and measures of trust and cooperation’. Where social distrust is undeniable, ‘economic and social factors’ are sought. ‘Indicators of economic conditions, especially education and economic satisfaction, positively predict several measures of trust’.25
The meta-analysis examined the variables argued in the 2015 paper, which is the first source cited in the ‘references’. The meta-analysis shows that there is a ‘consistent pattern of negative relationships with diversity across social trust’, which ‘supports Putnam’s (2007) anomie (social isolation) mechanism predicting a universal decline in trust of all types in ethnically diverse surroundings’.26 The most consistent finding is the negative impact of ethnic diversity in neighbourhoods. This was seen in the USA, Spain, Britain, Germany, The Netherlands, and Sweden. The closer the proximity of the out-group, the higher the social distrust.27 This contradicts the dogma that inter-ethnic relations can be improved by personal contact with the out-group. In repudiates the notions of assimilation, and interpersonal projects designed to break down out-group distrust. The notion is also examined by the authors, as there are several studies that purport to show that proximity with out-groups encourages social trust. The authors refer to these studies as being skewered by ‘imprecise and biased self-assessments of contact’.28
The meta-analysis also considered the objections raised by the 2015 paper under the category of Debate 3: Is ethnic diversity just a placeholder for social disadvantage? The question relates to whether it is really one of ethnic relations, or of social disadvantage and crime? The answer is managed in this study by ‘controlling statistically for potentially confounding factors’, at both intellectual and contextual levels. This is difficult because of the age-old quandary of distinguishing between consequence and cause; or, as the authors put it, are these factors ‘confounders or mediators’ of ethnic diversity and social trust? In order to resolve these variables the authors allowed for social and economic status, ‘contextual socioeconomic deprivation, and ‘contextual crime’.29
Dinesen, et al. conclude by asking what policy makers might do to mitigate the erosion of social trust by ethnic diversity. What public policies or institutions are available to curb the ‘negative effect’?30
One might here wonder whether the authors, like Dr Putnam and others, are loathe to accept the implications of their own findings, and so, after such scientific rigour, retreat to ideological preconceptions? What is one to make, for example, of their suggestion that there might be a ‘gradual implementation of integration policies within countries as sources of quasi-experimental variation in the moderating variable’?31 One might wonder why a scientist whose studies consistently show that social trust is eroded by integration is advocating a policy of ‘gradualness’ as a social experiment? Are the authors suggesting a modified approach to the same failed policies that have resulted in social distrust in the hope (or faith) that the results will somehow be different? This is the resort of every failed ideology: if only the dogma can be implemented in some different manner, the result will be different; rather than questioning whether the dogma itself is irremediably flawed and will give a negative result, regardless of how it is implemented.
The final sentence of the study leaves open the question as to whether diversity and integration will increase or decrease social distrust. Despite the few qualms explicated above, the meta-analysis and Dinesen’s subsequent study on workplace diversity provide empirical tools to confound the clichés of diversity zealots.
1Dinesen, et al, op. cit., p. 1.
3Ibid., pp. 1-2.
4Dinesen and Sønderskov, ‘Ethnic Diversity and Social Trust: Evidence from the Micro-Context’, American Sociological Review, 80 (3), pp. 550–573; cited in Dinesen, et al., ibid., p. 3.
8Ibid., p. 4.
10A. James Gregor, ‘On the Nature of Prejudice’, The Eugenics Review, Vol. 52, No. 4, January 1961; I.A.A.E.E. reprint No. 3, New York.
11Ibid., p. 1.
12Ibid., p. 2.
14Paul Spoonley, The Politics of Nostalgia (Palmerston North, New Zealand: The Dunmore Press, 1987).
15‘Immigration good for NZ economy, no need for xenophobic politics: Paul Spoonley’, Stuff, 5 May 2017.
16Bolton, ‘United Nations Global Migration Compact: Origins and Aims’, Arktos Journal, 7 January 2019.
18Peter Dinesen, K.M. Sønderskov, F. Thuesen, ‘Working Together? Ethnic Diversity in the Workplace and Generalised Social Trust’, Working Paper, 2019. An interview on this paper with Dinsen can be heard at: Center for the Study of Democratic Citizenship.
19Dinesen interview, CSDC, ibid.
21Dinesen, et al. ‘Meta-Analysis…’ op. cit., p. 9.
22Ibid., pp. 9–10.
23Tom Bartlett, ‘Harvard Sociologist Says His Research Was “Twisted”’, The Chronicle of Higher Education, 15 August 2012.
24Daisy Grewal, ‘Does Diversity Create Distrust? Doubts About a Harvard Professor’s Landmark Finding’, Scientific American, 29 November 2016.
25Maria Abascal and Delia Baldassarri, ‘Love Thy Neighbor? Ethnoracial Diversity and Trust Reexamined’, American Journal of Sociology, Vol. 121, No. 3 (November 2015), p. 748.
26Dinesen, et al., ‘Meta-Analysis…’ op. cit, p. 10.
27Ibid., pp. 11–12.
28Ibid., p. 14.
29Ibid., p. 6.
30Ibid., p. 18.