Demographics Is Not Destiny

“Demographics is destiny” is the call sign of the alt-right. The thinking goes that the race with the most people gets to call the shots in terms of what culture and government look like. This oversimplified view of reality misses a few things, though.

One, culture does not cleave evenly along racial lines. Consider the culture of blacks freed before the Civil War, compared to those freed after the Civil War who did not make something of themselves, to blacks who emigrated to the United States from other countries. What culture did the emigrees carry with them? Not some magical culture driven by their race, that’s for sure. So within this one skin color, or race (leaving aside that skin color and race are not exact equals for the time being), we see at least three different divisions. Upon closer analysis, more would result.

But let’s examine white folks, shall we? That quite a difference exists among whites should be obvious to any student of European history. After all, Europeans are not divided on the basis of skin color, but upon culture and country, and to some degree, ethnicity. However, what real difference is there, racially, between a Swede and a Norwegian? Does race explain their differences in government? Are the differences in culture between Britain and Germany derivable from purely racial differences? So we see even among relatively homogeneous and similar racial groups, a variety in results in terms of culture and government.

Two, if race generated certain ideas and culture, then you would expect race to also resist certain ideas and culture unaided. Yet this is not something we see. Absent social norms, laws, and other cultural actions, ideas spread among all races to one degree or another. Why is English the first or second language of most of the world? Why have ideas birthed in America taken the rest of the world by storm? Race is not an originator and race is not an insulator. So we cannot depend upon race to lead to any culture in particular. Culture is adopted by a racial group or a nation, not the other way around. We can see this in the progression of Christianity, which was spread by Jews to Greeks to Romans to Indians to the British, the French, and so on, all over the world.

Third, the argument that race determines the destiny of a nation is tribalistic, not individualist. Any sort of supposition of the power of groups must deal with the inalterable reality that all people groups consist of individuals and that individuals possess charisma and independent minds which can influence many. This gives the individual great power, power enough to affect, to change, and to steer the course of nations. Examples of this abound, which the theory cannot explain.

Fourth, if race alone determined destiny, why are the offspring from individuals unique? The theory presumes that people create clones of one another, or something very close to that. It is as if alt-right thinkers were childless misanthropes, completely unfamiliar with how children develop and turn out.

The theory also ignores the psychodynamics of family, where culture – not race – is first impressed upon children in terms of customs, observations about the outside world, discipline, and ideas of right and wrong. It is curious to me how people can keep talking about demographics and destiny without really explaining how that theory works on any functional level but an extremely general and abstract one. Because they have not done this and show no willingness to do so, all that’s left is to understand this catchphrase as a blanket for racial animus.

The alt-right’s thinking is depthless. All they can do is create complicated-sounding, but ultimately meaningless phrases and arguments which do nothing but camouflage their true intent. They reason from obfuscation, cowardice, and dishonesty, as befit their completely fallacious understanding of the world and their own insecurities.

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