Archive for February 14, 2020

Future of One Ethno-Religious Group in USA is Not Looking Bright: 3

February 14, 2020 15 comments

In the previous part of this series, I talked about how the obsessions of a certain ethno-religious group with maintaining their public image while often behaving like assholes and mixing religion with nationalism is guaranteed to end badly. Let us now talk about why the conflation of religio-cultural identity with nationalism has a tendency to end badly and why secondary and tertiary downstream effects of such a disaster are much bigger than most people realize- especially for the group in question. But before we go there, let us quickly talk about the origins of modern nationalism and the many problems it caused in the 20th century, including a bit about how older empires and countries managed to function remarkably well (in many cases for centuries at a time) without even a hint of nationalism.

Contrary to what some of you might believe, nationalism as we understand it today is a recent phenomenon that came into being after modern nation-states came into existence. Prior to that, you could have large stable empires and even countries but without the nationalism we associate with such entities. So, an entity such as the roman empire was far more decentralized than most people today can imagine. Sure.. it did have a common set of basic laws and rules, architectural plans, lots of intra-empire trade etc. But the people within that empire (roman and non-roman) did not see themselves as part of a single nation. Rather they saw themselves as as subjects of the same empire and had considerable freedom to follow their old gods and maintain their social structures as long as they did not claim that their ways were the only correct ones.

This is why empires such as the Roman and Ottoman or the many Chinese dynasties which lasted for hundreds of years even though their populations (even in China) were much more ethnically heterogeneous than many modern nation states. To put it another way, systems of governance where there are some uniform laws and a degree of administrative commonality can function very nicely even if there is a pretty high degree of ethno-cultural heterogeneity. Which brings us to the real reason why modern nation states (after 1850s) tried to sell the scam of nationalism to their populations. It comes down to raising large armies of conscripted soldiers for fighting large wars and help expand their respective empires- something which was seen as necessary in that era. That is why nationalism, as we know it today, arose in the colonial states of western Europe and the apartheid country of USA. Yes.. that is why.

Of course, one interesting side-effect of creating bullshit national identities is that they facilitate armed conflict. There is a reason why WW1, WW2, the Armenian Genocide, Greek Genocide in Turkey, Holocaust and a ton of other wars in Eastern Europe occurred in the narrow time-span from 1890 to 1950. It is also why post-WW2 Europe is a far less nationalistic place than in it used to be between 1870-1945.But what does any of this have to do with the dim future of a certain ethno-religious group in USA? What can history teach about the results of nationalism, especially ethno-religious nationalism? Well.. for starters, the side that is numerically inferior will always get walloped by the numerically superior side- even if it takes some time and a few false starts. And this makes perfect sense once you realize that nationalism was always a tool for winning wars and conquering new territories. But it gets worse from here..

The numerically smaller side will not only be ultimately defeated, but will also lose a lot of the territory it used to hold. While technology can stave off the day of reckoning for a few decades, its spread ultimately dooms the numerically inferior side. Israel has not been able to decisively win a land war since the mid 1980s- something it could do with ease a decade before that. We known how their little 2006 misadventure in Lebanon ended. Or take the example of Armenia, whose present area is a faction of what used to Armenian-majority regions used to be prior to WW1. Or look at all the lands lost by Serbians since the dissolution of Yugoslavia. Unlike most people who will tell you whatever you want to hear, I will tell you stuff you don’t like to hear. But what is the relevance of any of this to the future of one enthno-religious group in USA?

Well.. it comes down to who they, or the more visible and vocal members of their group, identify with. Prior to 1945, the majority of this group in USA (and some other western countries) did identify with their religion or culture- more of the later than former. However the vast majority of them did not associate their identity with a physical nation or land area. But how does associating yourself with a specific area of land change anything. Well.. as it turns out, going from an almost purely ethno-religious group to one increasingly defined by association with a piece of land makes other see you as a nation. Now this is not a bad idea if there are hundreds of millions others such as yourself on an area with a decent amount of natural resources. But what if there are only a few million of you and people like yourself have not been historically a liked group?

To make a long story short, it is not advantageous for a historically disliked group with a small population size to become their own nation. It might work OK in the short term, but everything we know about nationalism and especially how it creates and intensifies conflict between groups tells us that the numerically smaller group will always lose in the end- even if it has nuclear weapons. But how does this connect with the future of that group in USA? Let me put it this way.. in prior decades people of that group supported that nation because they felt a kinship with their persecuted co-religionists. However they never stopped seeing themselves as part of the country in which they were born. Over the past twenty to thirty years, an increasing number of that group (especially the visible and vocal types) see themselves as a separate nation within USA.

More importantly, this trend has been noticed by a large percentage of people who do not belong to said ethno-religious group. It also does not help that, today, the group in question is over-represented in the category of greedy assholes. Some of you might be aware that in the past this greedy asshole category used to be full of people with WASPish surnames. Today it is.. well.. different. The guy currently trying to buy the presidency is an asshole billionaire called Michael Bloomberg. One of the most egregious examples of sexual abuse in Hollywood was allegedly committed by somebody known as Harvey Weinstein. One of the biggest financial backers for Donald Trump during 2016 is a billionaire known as Sheldon Adelson. The ex-CEO of Goldman-Sachs, whose company was behind some of the worst shenanigans which resulted in global financial Crisis of 2008, is a charming person known as Lloyd Blankfein.. the same guy who is on record as saying that his company did god’s work. I could go on..

My point is that pulling off this shit in a system which is already experiencing rapid terminal decline (USA) when you are both a small minority as well as increasingly seen by others as an actual nation within a nation might not end well. Since I do not belong to one of the monotheistic religions or believe in any other religion, I have no dog in this fight. Just making an observation based on what I can observe and my understanding of history. Might write more on topic based on responses. Have a feeling there may be a few..

What do you think? Comments?