Thursday, February 05, 2004

U.S. and Them

Nations like Japan, Norway, or Sweden that are mostly monocultural tend to provide their citizens with a markedly higher level of social services than countries like the U.S. in which nationality does not coincide with ethnicity. I don’t believe ideological debates about free market mechanisms versus social justice have much to do with it. If you look at the window and see us instead of them, you’re going to want to take care of your own, though you might have a variety of ideas about the best way to do that. I don’t think it was an accident that the New Deal took place a decade after drastic limitations were placed on immigration or that the rise of the hard right has correlated with increasing immigration from non-European countries. In-group loyalty and spite to the others are two sides of the same clan morality.

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