20 comments on “Why I Left Twitter

  1. Hi Jeff

    White nationalism is dangerous even if it doesn’t involve directly incite violence. Its logical conclusion is to use institutions and policies that keep the current socioeconomic order, in which white people have disproportionate power. This leads to minorities lacking social mobility and opportunity. Which leads to despair and violence.

    Have you read Ta Nehisi Coats 2014 classic, “The case for reparations” ? To me, it’s a great dissection of the dangers of white nationalist thinking.

  2. Hi Tami — thanks for the note.

    I’m sure WN would do just that if it ever got power. Fortunately there’s basically zero chance of that happening since there are so few people who believe in WN.

    I haven’t read any of Coates’ books but I’m somewhat familiar with his thinking from reading his columns. Probably not surprising that I vehemently disagree with basically everything I’ve ever read from him.

  3. Can you explain what “pluralistic ethno-nationalism” is supposed to mean? Since ethno-nationalism is nationalism based on a shared ethnicity, it seems kind of like a contradiction in terms, doesn’t it?

    • An ethnicity can be made up of multiple races and many different kinds of subcultures, as long as they are all united by a common language and core cultural beliefs. I think this describes the US in the late 20th century, and also Israel.

      I’m probably butchering the terminology, but I got the idea from Yoram Hazhony’s “Virtue of Nationalism”.

    • Not necessarily a contradiction in terms.

      Indeed Israel has at least Mizrahi, Ashkenazi, Sephardic Jews.

      Great Britain (which I think is Northern Island, England and Wales?) might be another successful example — uniting as Anglo, Protestant Christian, English-speaking British under a constitutional monarchy?Though subsuming fractious subgroups like the Scots and Irish into a national United Kingdom was obviously more difficult…

      All in all, seem it takes little more than a country of different races or subgroups identifying broadly, strongly, or chiefly with their collective national identity — as Cubans or Brazilians or Argentinians, rather than Negros, Anglos, or Indigenous, for example.

      AMERICA is great example of course.

      Must Read: “Albion’s Seed: Four British Folkways in America”

      https://www.amazon.com/Albions-Seed-British-Folkways-cultural/dp/0195069056

      A phenomenal examination of the Anglo settlement of America.
      It’s relevant today, too! Many of the settlements, folkways, even behavioral/political tendencies examined seem to have been surprisingly persistent.

      Greatly added to my understanding of America past, present and future.

      • I like that you mentioned Albion’s Seed, because it reminds me of another reason I find it so annoying when people talk about “white privelege” or “white guilt” or any other thing like that — “white” isn’t a race, it’s at least four of them, and their histories are very different, as well as their complicity in the various bad business that went on in the old days.

  4. Jeff,

    You are indeed correct — white nationalists are an extremely small population.
    Not only that, they are even more rare among the educated, and those in elite positions.
    Whether you count or weigh, white nationalists are laughably tiny and powerless

    This is a good essay to point those who exaggerate the threat.
    A most thorough and helpful quantification of the problem:

    https://slatestarcodex.com/2016/11/16/you-are-still-crying-wolf/

    One wonders what would happen if your hysterical critics applied the same standard to Islam / Koranic verses/Mohammad’s behavior that they do to White Nationalism/Trump supporters?

    The Koran can have numerous verses that, if they came out of the mouth of Trump, would have liberals seeing a mushroom cloud. Yet Mohammedans — who believe the Koran to be the literal word of God — are shielded from criticism. It would be outrageous to suggest they be denied tenure — as a I see some have in your case.

    Alternatively, Trump is a white nationalist and responsible for violence — not for direct inciting it (as stated above) or explicitly supporting it– but because he “gives oxygen to”, “creates an atmosphere”, emits “dog whistles”. And the corruption is contagious. His supporters are “complicit” even if they don’t agree with everything.

    Why are imams or the Koran and its worshipers not then responsible for “creating an atmosphere of violence”?

    If your more extreme, hysterical liberal critics were to hold Mohammedans to the same standard they hold you, they’d find themselves supporting a “Muslim” ban.

    God be with you, sir.
    Weary not in well-doing or speaking the truth.

    (Do keep the page updated should the time ever come when you need financial assistance.)

    • I really wish someone would enlighten white liberals about American black nationalism.

      Take, e.g., this amazing footage of Mohammed Ali: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_6WrNI35VxM

      The tribal, ethnocentric, and frankly racist proclivities of the rest of mankind are read out of existence.
      I get the sense the new “wokeness” is really an intra-racial status competition where whites jockey for prestige and power over each other. Minorities are convenient totems and tokens. They are rapidly entering a purity spiral, where progressively stronger virtue signals are needed to differentiate and dominate their peers. It would take someone like Obama to step in and say, “Shut up, honkey. You’re being ridiculous.” But this gaggle of fools can’t keep trying to be more Catholic than the Pope.

      Of course, while white, urban liberals’ self-conception is cloyingly cosmopolitan, the narrowness of their perspective and the poverty of their understanding of human nature couldn’t be more appalling.

      (the sort of breathtakingly clueless who put pronouns in their twitter bios and variously hallucinate themselves having anything in common with the working-class unionmen of Dearborne, Rev. King, or the Founding Fathers)

      If these dumb honkeys wanted to hear some cask-strength “racism”, they’d eavesdrop on the frank, private conversation of black people talking about Blacks! You’ll never hear more racialist complaints, stereotypes, and n-bombs. (And no — I’m not talking about the sort of benign, fraternal use of that word! In an not altogether dissimilar way, very instructive to hear “misogyny” from women complaining candidly about women; dykes denigrating fags; fags denigrating dykes. etc)

      My lord, have you ever heard the way mulattoes talk about darker blacks? Or vice versa?
      Blacks are racially prejudiced against other blacks!

      If your average Hillary voter knew how Dominicans felt about Haitians, her head would explode.

      And Asian attitudes toward Africans? To call it racism would imply they care — imply an animus toward a lesser human. But they’re so utterly indifferent, they couldn’t be bothered to passionately hate. Unless you’re dating their daughter.

      White people’s narcissistic virtue signalling blinkers them to the true complexities of fallen human nature.

      They’ve created a caricatured morality play populated by magical, Morgan-Freeman noble negroes and cartoonishly racist white villains.

      They don’t seem to realize that, yes, while whites have perpetrated enormous evils, they are not uniquely evil. And that, moreover, other races are very much capable and tempted to enthusiastically turn the tables, as they are unburdened by white people’s historically atypical lack of ethnocentricism.

  5. Hi everybody. I would describe myself as a ‘True Believer that the President is an Evil Naughty Person’. I’m also someone who has known Jeff personally and professionally for years, and agrees with him that politics on social media is a ‘soul-crushing hellscape’.

    I wrote a thing on my blog in support of Jeff. It’s directed toward people in my political tribe on the left, who may not know Jeff personally and who therefore judge him in way that they would not if they knew him and saw his actions in real life.

    Cheers, Jeff. Hope this helps you.

    https://rohanmaddamsetti.weebly.com/blog/i-support-jeff-morris

  6. Pingback: Let’s talk | The Antisocial Darwinist

  7. I think there is a common flaw that you have in your arguments about ethno-nationalism as you call it and the states that roughly match that moniker. People are not arguing that they don’t exist. You seem to be suggesting that the existence of states that value racial constructs in their identity means that it is a fine position to hold. The other side’s argument, as with many other issues, is that evolving PAST this is the better way to go for national stability and humanist concerns. (So as not to dismiss this, one argument for this point of view is that the developed nations that are more resistant to doing this–South Korea, Japan, Italy–are the ones that are both aging and losing competitiveness.) Anyway, the existence of a phenomenon in humanity and its history does not mean it is a good way of going about things, for example: slavery, murder, institutionalized rape, circumcision…etc. I hope this is a constructive addition to your discussion, as you asked for.

    • Well, I tend to agree with you. As I’ve said, I advocate civic nationalism. I do believe that it’s important for nations to develop some sort of unique character that inspires their people’s loyalty, but I agree that it’s better for that to be based on culture, language, history, etc than “race” — although we might be getting into the weeds here about the definition of “ethnicity”.

      That being said, the trend around the world for the past 30 years seems to have been to move away from civic nationalist ideas toward either ethnonationalism or some sort of borderless globalist cosmopolitanism. Most western powers have tended toward the latter — but everywhere else, as the superpowers receded after the cold war, ethnonationalist regimes have often replaced them. 30 years ago, the struggle around the world was between capitalism/democracy and communism/socialism; now it’s between particularism/nationalism and globalism/cosmopolitanism. In my opinion, if you value diversity, (civic) nationalism is the way to go.

  8. Thank you for your thoughtful reply. I am interested in what you think of people also trying to move away from nationalism based on culture/history/language…etc.? Nationalism based on these things tends to be divisive, whereas there are less divisive things people can believe in that bring them together, such as liberal democracy and/or keeping our capitalist-socialist hybrid developed nations whirring along through science- and research informed-policy. Being tribal is also one of those things that is a feature of humanity that though existent can also be moved away from. Is there anything beyond nationalism that you would espouse and support?

    Good governance–for example–is what can easily be shown to be the variable that can make or break a state/a people, whereas these others are much muddier.

    • Those are interesting points. I tend to think you can’t really get away from something like nationalism and still maintain a free society. People have to feel that they are connected to their neighbors somehow in order to be willing to sacrifice their own immediate gain for the “greater good”. The fewer organic ties a society has, the more the government has to rely on coercion to maintain order, and eventually you reach a tipping point where totalitarianism (or collapse) is the only answer.

      I also agree that nationalism CAN be divisive, but I would make two points. First, it doesn’t HAVE to be — for instance, and I can’t find the quote, but Trump has alluded to the idea that every country should be nationalist, and should respect and appreciate the sovereignty and character of every other one. That’s a strong argument for diversity, imho. Second, dissolving smaller-scale identities like national or ethic identity in favor of more globalist identities doesn’t get rid of conflict — it just moves it down to the individual level, sort of an atomized Hobbesian war of all against all. In other words, as much as nationalism seems to underlie conflict, in my thought, it might actually be the only reason conflict ever stops.

      • All that being said, I think there are interesting alternatives to nationalism in the modern, tech-infused world. Neil Stephenson’s “Diamond Age” has some pretty wild examples worth talking about.

  9. Thanks again for taking the time and for the respect. I of course have more questions, mostly those which come from our vastly differing experiences I am sure. I was thinking about people grouping together on the virtual level as well! Also, how are you doing? I read about you in the news and it must be extremely stressful, I don’t know how well I could take it.

    Ok, I am not sure how one gets to the conclusion that not having ethnic identity leads to conflict. There are many successful places made up of many groups. Do you think people essentially cannot care for others on a human level? Do you essentially care more for someone you don’t know if they have your same skin tone? I don’t think you do and I imagine it would defuse these things in your if you pointed that out to what broader audience is taking an interest in you. As far as a state needs its citizens to be similar to exist, you must admit it is a highly fluid concept–what counts as in-group and out-group. People certainly have shown that they can and have evolved in their ways of “othering”. Look how those in power’s views on and acceptance of people who are not male, gay, Jewish, and many others have changed very recently. There are people whom my grandfather would just as soon have killed or deported that I now lovingly call family members. If the trend is toward everyone accepting people as a human, would simply being human not be enough commonality for a state? (I am a linguist by trade and training and can tell you that linguistic diversity does not unwind a government, especially in the modern world.)

    This also just popped into my head and may or may not be totally relevant…In my experience, I feel like nationalism often is what makes people less free, and forced to be a type. Many people I grew up with are the children and grandchildren of people who escaped the yoke of fascism (I first wrote “yolk” there :)) and they are terrified of anything that institutionalizes conformity. I am glad to hear about your embrace of diversity and imagine people don’t know how much you value everyone.

    • Well, first of all, I am doing okay I guess, thanks for asking. It is pretty stressful. I’ve been maliciously misquoted all over the internet and am having my entire past drug out for examination, which is weird. But I’ll live.

      Let me tackle your other points in turn.

      “Ok, I am not sure how one gets to the conclusion that not having ethnic identity leads to conflict. There are many successful places made up of many groups.”

      Well it depends on how you mean “many groups”. The US definitely has a ton of different kinds of people and any number of subcultures or ethnic groups. But (at least at some point in history) they nearly all shared a core identity that united them, and it’s not just the fact that they all lived on the same dirt. Without that core identity, the different groups are much more likely to come into conflict. Truthfully I think that’s behind a lot of what we’re seeing today.

      “Do you think people essentially cannot care for others on a human level? Do you essentially care more for someone you don’t know if they have your same skin tone? I don’t think you do and I imagine it would defuse these things in your if you pointed that out to what broader audience is taking an interest in you.”

      You can definitely care for others on a human level, and no, I don’t care more for one person over another because of their skin tone. However, I do care more for my relatives than for, say, random people in Fiji, and I think most people feel that way, and should. Doesn’t mean I dislike people in Fiji, or people who aren’t related to me, just means I’m biased towards kin. Can I imagine a world where people weren’t biased towards kin? Yeah, and it’s kind of nightmarish — it’s the world Orwell wrote about in 1984. There’s no way you can love “humanity” the way you love your mom or your kids.

      As far as defusing things, I doubt there’s anything I could say that would do that. The people that are dragging me have no interest in nuanced positions. They just want a witch to burn.

      “As far as a state needs its citizens to be similar to exist, you must admit it is a highly fluid concept–what counts as in-group and out-group. People certainly have shown that they can and have evolved in their ways of “othering”. Look how those in power’s views on and acceptance of people who are not male, gay, Jewish, and many others have changed very recently. There are people whom my grandfather would just as soon have killed or deported that I now lovingly call family members. If the trend is toward everyone accepting people as a human, would simply being human not be enough commonality for a state? (I am a linguist by trade and training and can tell you that linguistic diversity does not unwind a government, especially in the modern world.)”

      Well, based on your definition, there really would be only one nation, right? If we’re all just humans then all a country is, is just a patch of dirt I happen to live on. I don’t think that’s a good way to be and I think it would be very difficult to live in a world like that. I think there needs to be a lot of diversity in government styles, cultural practices, languages, morals, and so forth, and it’s pretty important that people have the option of living somewhere where they can live out these kinds of lives in public without constantly coming into conflict with each other. A great example is the yearly conflict over public celebrations of Christmas. Because we have to be inclusive of every possible kind of person who lives in the US, we can’t have public religious holidays. That’s tough for people who really care about those holidays. So you get resentment all around, in a way you wouldn’t if people had some way to physically sort themselves out into communities of like-minded people.

      I mean, there’s not a lot we can do about our home-grown ideological conflicts, other than to rededicate ourselves to the federalism that used to define America — let Texas be Texas and let Massachusetts be Massachusetts. But when we’re thinking about immigration, it seems obvious to me that our first goal should be to let people in who LIKE the way things are here, and want to live the way we live. Skin color definitely doesn’t matter, but things like religion and culture definitely do, and the fact is that if we pick immigrants who have similar cultural attitudes to ours, there are large parts of the world that are, for the most part, going to get left out.

      “This also just popped into my head and may or may not be totally relevant…In my experience, I feel like nationalism often is what makes people less free, and forced to be a type. Many people I grew up with are the children and grandchildren of people who escaped the yoke of fascism (I first wrote “yolk” there :)) and they are terrified of anything that institutionalizes conformity. I am glad to hear about your embrace of diversity and imagine people don’t know how much you value everyone.”

      This is a great point — I think the way people are using the word “nationalism” today is a lot different than how it was used in the past. Anybody that’s interested to know how us Trumpsters think of the word should check out Yoram Hazhony’s book “The Virtue of Nationalism”. Again, I strongly believe that borders and national identity preserve and create diversity, not the other way around.

  10. Ok, I’m glad that you’re doing as well as can be expected.

    While I don’t agree with you on most of this and can’t understand how you come to many of your conclusions (kin is not nation-state, neither is culture, language or history, state is a result of power and successful ones were arrived at via many avenues. You can care for people you know more than others, regardless of what nation-state they are from. I have lived many places in many countries and do not value any person in those countries less than people in the U.S. I certainly care for friends and family more than any of them though. This is certainly possible for everyone and very frequently the case. This does not preclude allegiance to your government and belief in its ability to be dynamic and strive to create economic and social rules that are the best for everyone. As we live and die by our government’s ability to maintain itself (as the government has an interest in its citizens), we all have an inherent interest in it, apart from culture/group…. I could go on and on but that’s not the point here….) ) BUT I hope that you have and can recognize support and value yourself. No one should be subject to such a widespread public pile-on as it does no one any good, particularly a graduate student who is already inherently so powerless under the whims of advisors and admin. If you are in a dark place and have thoughts of self harm or anything such as that, please reach out to someone (there are many great free social services) or even me, I can give you a contact avenue. There are also mental health support groups which are such an anxiety reliever and life saver.

    And I am very interested in any research that shows varying holidays or fashions (in the broader sense) greatly disrupting a state (where I’ve worked they just have floating holidays for everyone to take them when they want and it’s been fine) or people needing to be with others of their kind to be united. Look at all the incidents of people forced together by history and creating strong bonds and expanded technologies. This as much as homogeneity is the history of the world. (Homo Sapiens even merged with Neanderthals, though to what degree and in what manner are anyone’s guess–it may well have been amicable in some circumstances as with tribes forming alliances. It was just a fun thought that came to mind.) Also, if homogeneity creates violence and hate, why do you think the crime rate in New York City so much lower than in rural Alabama where I live where almost everyone is white? I know, it’s poverty and there are other variables but that’s the point, there are so many variables.)

    But once again I could just go on and on as these topics and the conversation are so engaging. The main point is that you are all right.

    A thought–maybe write a post about how you think a state should function. That could show you’re not a white nationalist and maybe let a few people who would pay attention know you’re not full of hate. Perhaps something about how you don’t think people should be grouped by race or culture but rather by having a common interest or goal.

    AND unrelated, I have been reading this website that has some good science journalism for a generalist audience, if you need a distraction: https://undark.org/ Though maybe you’ve heard of it.

    • Thanks for the concern — my psychological health is fine, barring some stress and loss of appetite (I need to lose a few pounds anyway). And for the record I’m not a powerless grad student, I’m actually in my last year before tenure as a professor. I guess the thought of having to live “in the closet” politically for the rest of my life was just too much for me!

      Re: homogeneity and conflict — look, my position comes from the evolutionary theory of kin selection. What I was talking about with homogeneity is the idea of taking a bunch of different kinds of people and mixing them up at random. Maximizing “shannon diversity” is another way of putting it — there’s a lot of diversity, but very little spatial structure to it. Sure, that might work, but it creates the most difficult possible environment for the spontaneous organization of cooperation, because it breaks down all the “organic” ties that unify a society. Hence the difference between NYC and Alabama. But cities have problems all their own unrelated to any of this, and like you say, I could go on and on and on about how awful big cities are.

      Regarding writing a post about how I think a state should function — I could do that, but I don’t think it would change anybody’s mind about me. They already think I’m a Nazi because I support limiting immigration. Can’t imagine that expanding on my political philosophy would do anything but throw gasoline on the fire. In any case, I’m not sure I have a solid idea of a solution to the predicament the world is in right now. There might not be one, and we might be heading into a dark age no matter what we do. I mean, the old world powers are unravelling at an alarming rate, while a gigantic, ethnically homogenous totalitarian superpower rises quietly in the East. I bet they don’t have conversations like this in China…

      Thanks for the website suggestion, and thanks for the thoughtful comments. I’ve really enjoyed them!

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