Good Diversity, Bad Diversity

Much is being made of the Brexit vote as symptomatic of a rising tide of nationalism. So it is, and so much the better. Anyone who appreciates diversity — the glorious variety of human cultures, customs, and folkways — should applaud, not condemn, the natural human yearning of every people to have a homeland in which their culture can express itself freely and organically.

Where the things that make up a culture — language, moral intuitions, history, folklore, ritual, manners, customs, and all the other idioms that make the world a diverse and interesting place — are broadly shared by a nation’s citizens, then private life and the civil society naturally flow together, social harmony and public trust increase, political faction declines, and liberty — by which I mean the perception of liberty, which is its most meaningful measure — increases. If, by contrast, every nation on earth becomes a chaotic congeries of every culture, then none of those cultures can achieve its full expression, because it collides in the public square with every other culture. What remains of public life is a ‘metaculture‘ stripped to its lowest common denominator. As more — and more alien — cultures are added to the mix, that denominator is driven lower and lower, toward our most basic animal commonalities.

If, then, you really wish to see Diversity as it should be seen, in all its splendor, let every people have a homeland! As everyone everywhere used to understand, that’s what travel is for. And when you are weary of travel, the best part is: there’s no place like home.

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  1. Epicaric says

    Odds had favoured the “remain” vote. But as is common in polling and gauging national sentiment, the conservative man on the street was far less visible, and far less vocal. Few of my friends and colleagues would outwardly signal their support for Trump – or any Republican candidate for that matter – preferring to remain silent than bear the browbeating of their social betters. Aside from the most passionate Brexiters, I would assume that a large number kept their inclinations close to chest except for their closest friends and family.
    Let the English be English, and each in his turn.

    Posted June 24, 2016 at 3:30 pm | Permalink
  2. CanSpeccy says

    Now the Scotch separatists and the Londonistanis want to tear the country apart. If the globalists can’t have Britain, they’re determined to prevent the Brits from having it either.

    Things may turn very nasty in the old country very soon.

    Posted June 24, 2016 at 3:36 pm | Permalink
  3. JK says

    [T]he Brexit vote as symptomatic of a rising tide of nationalism.

    I think there’s “something” more to it though, with your the perception of liberty, I’m abit more inclined to thinking we’re at least, in the same ballpark Malcolm.

    From today’s NRO;

    In our present climate, it is customary for cosmopolitan sorts to accuse anybody who dissents from the European project of being an unreconstructed “nationalist.” Insofar as this describes the dissenters’ desire to return power to their own parliament and to ensure that their vote matters as much as it should, it is an accurate term. Outside of that, however, it is a slur, and a damnable one at that. George Orwell contended that the difference between patriotism and nationalism was that patriotism involved “devotion to a particular place and a particular way of life, which one believes to be the best in the world but has no wish to force on other people,” while nationalism “is inseparable from the desire for power.” By this definition at least, Britain’s decision to extricate itself from the EU was patriotic, not nationalistic.

    Posted June 24, 2016 at 5:58 pm | Permalink
  4. JK says

    @ CanSpeccy

    Fears of Scotland seceding are massively overblown: that shale oil has imposed ceiling on the price of oil of about $60 per barrel is the least of a number of barriers to any such move.

    The Royal Navy bases all of its nuclear ballistic submarines there and its new Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers are being built there.

    I think some time to breathe and take stock will be spent – after all the excitement wears off.

    Posted June 24, 2016 at 6:08 pm | Permalink
  5. colinhutton says

    @ Epicaric
    I have a son (Australian) based in London who works in ‘the city’. In a discussion with him several months ago I argued in favour of Brexit *and* predicted (notwithstanding the then polls) that exit would be the outcome. The reason I gave him for my prediction was pretty much the same reason you have given. (Even though he is close to 40 I will not be able to resist a hint of ‘told you so, father still knows best’, in my response to his email about the “terrible outcome”).

    With any luck the US citizenry are also now sufficiently anti-establishment to deliver what I suspect he would also (being a bit left by my standards) describe as a “terrible outcome” in November.

    Posted June 25, 2016 at 10:28 am | Permalink
  6. The sore-loser Left’s motto has always been — “It’s my way or the highway scorched earth.”

    Posted June 25, 2016 at 2:13 pm | Permalink
  7. Musey says

    The difference between you and me is that you’re talking politics, ideas, principles, but I’m not.

    The theory is always easy. It’s quantifiable and logical. The reality is difficult, messy, and most often it’s not what people want to hear.

    I just feel for the poor people who were sold a story. Funny thing, how two minutes after the vote became clear that the ramifications were spelled out, like they didn’t know before.

    I’m a north of Englander. Totally proud to be. I know only too well how the southerners think they’re a bit better, and let’s be honest, “a trip to the lakes” is as far as they ever venture up-country.

    Let me get a bit partisan here because I’m truly irritated. The cleverest people I have ever met come from Northern England. They are the wittiest, kindest, most honest people who will tell you , if you ask, that yes, your bum does look big in that. They’ll also see you out of a hard place without needing or expecting repayment.

    I was a child of older parents. My father was nearing fifty when I was born. I always felt a bit miffed, like I was having to deal with the older generation when negotiating where, and when, or even if I was allowed to go somewhere that wasn’t an issue for my friends.

    This referendum has been decided by the old but it will affect the young. It has been decided by the naive who expected overnight change, and they weren’t told that this would not happen even though they, the politicians, knew.

    I could cry but what’s the point in that?

    Posted June 26, 2016 at 2:56 am | Permalink
  8. colinhutton says

    Well said.

    It seems logical to me that a selection process analogous to Darwinian evolution operates when societies/cultures are in competition with one another. And, while the process might be value-neutral (the Universe does not care) we (Homo sapiens, a Darwinian experiment) are able to have preferences and make time-related choices. Given that ability, I view Darwinian competition and selection as an opportunity/driver for improvement and therefore beneficial over the *long* term; notwithstanding the inherent dangers.

    Existential dangers even, rather than a safe ‘metaculture’ where ‘sheeple may safely graze’.

    Posted June 26, 2016 at 8:00 am | Permalink
  9. Whitewall says

    I’m reading a lot about the Scottish Separatists elsewhere. They had a golden opportunity about a year and a half ago and ran from it. The safety of London’s coffers overcame their yearning for independence it seems. If the Separatists do whack up enough courage to bolt, then it will be to an ever corrupt and authoritarian EU that, independent of Brexit, is on borrowed time. Like the USSR, the boys in Brussels have overstepped the goal and become too heavy handed with their taste for power. This will undo the EU via corruption and unworkability the way it happened to the USSR. Then the weak member states of the EU, like Scotland if she is there, will suffer badly.

    Posted June 26, 2016 at 10:15 am | Permalink
  10. Malcolm says


    The difference between you and me is that you’re talking politics, ideas, principles, but I’m not.

    The only reason I have any interest at all in policies and principles is because they affect the lives of people.

    This referendum has been decided by the old but it will affect the young.

    Other things older people often do for younger people:

    — Build homes for them

    — Work hard and sacrifice so that they can have a better life

    — Die to preserve their freedom

    — Cherish and preserve the heritage their ancestors toiled to create for them

    It isn’t as if the youth of Britain have been sold into slavery here; they’ve simply been given their country back. They can do with it as they like.

    Posted June 26, 2016 at 10:38 am | Permalink
  11. the one eyed man says

    Now that the British have woken up to the fact that foreign goods cost 8% more than they did on Thursday; English citizens living abroad are scrambling for EU passports; London-based companies have announced their relocation to other EU countries; Scotland is poised to leave the UK; Northern Ireland may follow suit; the other EU members aren’t backing down; the younger generation is furious at the pensioners for selling their future down the river; and there is general awareness that things will get a whole lot worse as the UK heads into recession, news reports are full of people recanting their vote, stating that they would never have voted Leave if they knew what was in it or if they knew that it would actually pass. Let the recriminations begin.

    In a globalized world, you can either have prosperity or you can try to go it alone, outside of trade blocs and multilateral groups. You can’t have both. Mercantilism is so 17th Century. The U.K. has suffered, and will continue to suffer, the consequences of its impetuous and irrational choice. You can’t have a world-class economy based on tourism, Marmite, and Stilton cheese. They are making Morgans in an age of Teslas.

    But hey: let’s look at the bright side! Perhaps the citizens of the Lone Star State will finally get the hint, and we’ll have a Texit.

    Posted June 26, 2016 at 3:51 pm | Permalink
  12. Musey says

    It’s the young who will pay the price for this madness. The OEM has summed up the feelings of my children very neatly.

    All those who cast a vote expecting that border controls would be instantly restored and that the 350 million pounds that “we give to the EU every week can go into the NHS” are starting to realize their error. That was never going to happen and Boris Johnson riding on that slogan knew that very well.

    The Europeans are going to want a timely withdrawal to minimize the uncertainty. I’m not surprised at all that they’re not reacting well to a suggestion that there is no rush and the UK will set the timetable.

    Colin, you may be getting your son home sooner than you expect so that’s got to be a good thing? I really hope that he keeps his job but realistically many will not.

    The only hope for Britain is if other countries follow suit and withdraw. Otherwise they’re on their own. And Malcolm, I really, truly hope that you are right and I am wrong.

    Posted June 26, 2016 at 4:24 pm | Permalink
  13. Whitewall says

    Lifted from Instapundit a few hours ago:
    “UK STUDENTS COMPLAIN ABOUT BREXIT: “A really important decision was made for us by the older generation” . . . “Essentially people much, much older than us — and who won’t be around for the consequences — are giving us a future we don’t want.”

    On Facebook, Richard Fernandez’s response is brutal:

    Essentially people much older than you gave you what you now take for granted. They won World War 2, fueled the great boom, walked through the valley of the shadow of nuclear death — and had you.

    You didn’t make the present, nor as you now complain, are you making the future. No children, no national defense, no love of God or country.

    But that’s just it. You’ve brainwashed yourselves into thinking someone else: the old, the older, the government, the dead would always do things for you.

    If you learn anything from Brexit, learn that nobody got anywhere expecting someone to do things for him.”

    Posted June 26, 2016 at 4:39 pm | Permalink
  14. “If you learn anything from Brexit, learn that nobody got anywhere expecting someone to do things for him.”

    Another way of saying, “Free lunch is a fig leaf of the unimaginative”. You may quote me.

    But hey, there is that one exception — if you vote for another 0bamination, you may actually score a snazzy 0bama-phone.

    Posted June 26, 2016 at 5:21 pm | Permalink
  15. JK says

    One year ago today:

    Posted June 26, 2016 at 6:29 pm | Permalink
  16. JK says

    [T]he younger generation is furious at the pensioners for selling their future down the river.

    Also from one year ago today:

    Posted June 26, 2016 at 6:34 pm | Permalink
  17. Epicaric says

    The UK’s exit from the EU does not impede its ability to engage in all manner of bilateral agreements governing trade; finance; visas and travel; military and police cooperation, etc., just as the US’s lack of membership in an analogous supranational organization has not impeded its freedom to encumber itself with similar agreements, from NAFTA to the impending TPP. GATT and the WTO have effectively reduced import tariffs to purely symbolic levels for trade in the vast majority of products and services. In South America, MERCOSUR members enjoy open trade in products and services, and an avenue for the free movement of its members’ citizens.
    The sky will not fall. Never underestimate the power of economic interests to subjugate national interests when profits are in play.

    Posted June 26, 2016 at 8:37 pm | Permalink
  18. Epicaric says

    And for my colleagues on the Left, even Stalin found accommodation with national borders outside of the USSR.

    Posted June 26, 2016 at 8:40 pm | Permalink
  19. Robert Marchenoir says

    Elegantly said.

    Posted June 26, 2016 at 9:46 pm | Permalink
  20. Musey says

    Whitewall, older people have always done things for the young, obviously. The young will in turn do stuff for their children, and often for their parents as well, when the time comes. It’s how life works, the life-cycle, the natural order.

    We’ve worked hard for our children so that they could have the best possible life chances. Nearly everybody does that. What everybody does not do is take a punt on the future prosperity of the country because they want to live dangerously. Or because they want to return to the glory days of a lost empire.

    My grown up children all work really hard. They’re also very kind and generous towards others and I’m very proud, as is the prerogative of a mother. (and their father) We are not unusual. Do I think that our children owe us anything? No, I don’t. Obligation is a trickle down from parent to child. If it goes the other way that’s lovely, it probably tells you that you’ve done a good job, but it’s not compulsory.

    In my view, Brexit is a catastrophic mistake because the people who voted for it on the basis of immigration policy, now find out that nothing will change on that front. They’ll relinquish the benefits of European union and keep the downside. What a marvelous outcome.

    A while back I noticed the appearance of Robert Marchenoir on the comment pages. I didn’t say anything on a current thread because I didn’t want to out anybody especially if it was an error. Are you RM? If you are, why do you comment as one persona and then within minutes as another? If you’re a proud French man please ignore me. Tell you what though, there are a lot of coincidences here. If he’s not you, you should get in touch with him. I believe he lives in your locality.

    Posted June 27, 2016 at 3:55 am | Permalink
  21. Whitewall says

    Good morning Musey, no, I am not Robert Marchenoir though my first name is ‘Robert’. I have seen RM here a few times myself but don’t know him at all. Around the blogosphere I comment as ‘Robert’ or ‘Whitewall’. I don’t know where he lives.

    I completely disagree with your take on Brexit. No “British Empire” will return, but hopefully with Brexit, more members will follow and render the political power of that malformed empire in the making a non factor. Europe is more than two dozen different nations with their own traditions. The idea of an un accountable unelected bureaucracy in a tiny capitol in a tiny country assuming political and legal decision making for the rest, to me, would be intolerable. These nations are not like the 50 American States and they never will be.

    There are miles to go before the issues of Brexit are settled. In that time frame, I believe more member states will leave or in the case of the Club Med countries- be kicked out as liabilities against the whole.

    Posted June 27, 2016 at 7:29 am | Permalink
  22. Whitewall says

    Speaking of a country that needs its own exit while they still can…”Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos has announced that he will be leading a gay pride march through one of Sweden’s Muslim ghettos in Stockholm…”

    Sweden is dying.

    Posted June 27, 2016 at 9:03 am | Permalink
  23. Musey says

    Whitewall, I knew that you were a Robert. Your namesake is easily looked up, and he lives in North or maybe south, Carolina. Sorry! Lots of other weird similarities. The surname was the killer. How could you be Marchenoir whilst saying what you do about the English? It seemed unlikely.

    If RM is reading this, apologies for my leaping to conclusions. I’ve done it before.

    Posted June 28, 2016 at 2:49 am | Permalink
  24. Whitewall says

    Musey, my people are off the boat from England in the late 1600s. The ship landed in present day Norfolk…southeast Virginia. Some of them settled a bit there, but the better ones-naturally-wandered into what was to become North Carolina. Most of us are still here today. We are original Southerners and are believers in heritage and traditions.

    Posted June 28, 2016 at 7:06 am | Permalink
  25. Musey says

    Whitewall, you are American. My first-cousin-once-removed, died a few days ago in Palo Alto(?) I don’t know how you spell it. He was English, young, depressed, and a long way from home.

    Posted June 29, 2016 at 4:09 am | Permalink