David Frum is an Evolutionary Psychologist

The point of my “Implicit Whiteness Sightings: Shutting Down the Government and Talk of Secession” is the well-replicated finding that people are less willing to contribute to public goods in multiracial, multicultural societies. This has a very basic evolutionary logic: there is a lot lower threshold for altruism and a higher expectation of reciprocity with people that look like you than people who don’t.

Now VDARE’s must-read Patrick Cleburne discusses a column by David Frum that has exactly the same logic (“David Frum ‘Obama Would Be a Fool to Pursue Immigration Next“). Frum notes that

the two most popular programs in the United States are Medicare and Social Security. Look at what they have in common:

1) They do not look redistributionist. All contribute something; all receive something.

2) They were launched in years of rapid economic growth: 1965 for Medicare and 1935 for Social Security. (By later estimates, the U.S. economy grew at a Chinese-like 9 percent in 1935. The unemployment rate dropped 8 points in that single year.)

3) They were launched at times when the U.S. population was evolving toward greater homogeneity. Large-scale immigration had been halted a decade before Social Security; in 1965, the foreign-born portion of the population was dwindling to the lowest point ever recorded in U.S. history.

Economic insecurity is important as well. Americans are thinking about the ever expanding $17 trillion debt and are deeply concerned that the future is unsustainable. From an evolutionary perspective based on social identity theory (see here, p. 70ff), this feeds into a circle-the-wagons mentality where ingroup/outgroup distinctions are magnified. The circle of wagons is composed of people who look like you. Frum:

It was already true even before the financial crisis of 2008 that the pace of demographic change in the United States was outpacing many conservative voters’ tolerance. Since then, two things have happened. First, Americans have come to feel much less economically secure. Second, the baby boomers have begun to retire, intensifying already intense anxieties about the sustainability of Social Security and Medicare. To add on top of that a costly new program that appears to compete with those older programs [e.g., the cuts in Medicare that are part of Obamacare] for the benefit of a different population…that’s asking for trouble.

By that same logic, the very generous social welfare programs and national health care of much of Europe would never pass today. They were passed in economically prosperous, racially homogeneous societies.

Today, White voters in those countries would be thinking about the hordes of immigrants who would be in the same line that they are for benefits like health care and subsidized housing.  They would worry that the never-ending stream of poor, uneducated, high-fertility, low-IQ immigrants—most of whom remain at the low end of the SES distribution for generations—will cut into their own prospects in times of economic difficulty. Not at all unreasonable. And it has nothing to do with hate.

It’s asking for trouble, but, as Frum notes,  “the Obama administration seems intent on maximizing such negative consequences. ‘You know that demographic change that’s making you so hostile to new social welfare programs? Let’s have a lot more of it! And faster!’”

This is playing with fire. As noted here, quoting William A. Galston, “the Republicans believe that their country has been taken away from them. They are

aroused, angry and above all fearful, in full revolt against a new elite—backed by the new American demography—that threatens its interests and scorns its values.”

These people may not be a majority any more, but they constitute a very large, angry minority. It’s what revolutions and secessions are made of.

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