I’m a big fan of Richard Hanania’s writing as he always has something interesting and provocative to say. Last time I critiqued his essay ‘Russia as the “Great Satan” in the Liberal Imagination’. Here I critique his latest article, titled ‘Diversity Really is Our Strength’.
Posted this response on Notes before Noah graciously granted me a subscription. Reposting here:
I talked to some economists about this, they said regardless of what Heritage says, the US is more economically free than almost all other developed states. Even Heritage agreed until a few years ago. And this is especially true when it comes to labor markets, which I think is most important. I also checked against historical spending as percentage of GDP, and US still comes out looking more capitalist.
It’s interesting to note that Kevin MacDonald, a white nationalist, has, in addition to his infamous writings about Jews, also written about the egalitarian psychology of whites that lends itself to collectivism. But it’s also true, as you point out, that whites are individualistic. While we may be able to hack a few elections by being open to immigrants, it’s also true that these choices are irreversible. Hopefully, an enlightened elite of East Asians, Asians and whites will join forces to maintain economic liberalism. The idea that whites need immigrants to save us from ourselves seems a bit ironic given that it was whites that made Western lands worth immigrating to in the first place. There is also irony in the fact that economically literate intellectuals like Hanania completely overlook the massive externalities of a lost homeland (a type of consumer good) because it doesn’t feature in basic Econ texts in our PC world. In that sense, Hanania is like economist Paul Samuelson, who argued that gambling was a waste of money because the house always wins (i.e. he ignored the fact that people enjoy gambling, which is its own reward).
Quoting Noah: "Hanania’s argument is summed up in the article’s subheading: ‘Immigration destroys social cohesion. Good.’ The reason this is good, he argues, is that social cohesion makes people more willing to support redistribution, and redistribution is bad for economic growth."
But what if it could be shown that, under certain conditions, redistribution could be good for economic growth? Here are two linked papers showing how that could be made the case:
All one needs to know is that under a graduated expenditure tax people are progressively taxed on their personal consumption, not their income or wealth. Thus the higher the marginal tax rate, the greater the incentive to save and invest. Under such a regime it becomes easier, not more difficult, to amass a dinastic fortune with all the prestige and power such a fortune confers.
Hanania's economic argument is very weak in my view. America certainly is richer than almost all European countries in terms of GDP per capita, but that's hardly new. America was richer than the wealthiest European countries already in 1913 . In that period America was roughly 90% non-Hispanic White . So what's diversity got to do with it?
His main argument is that immigration erodes national cohesion, which is good because it makes people less supportive of welfare statism. So, for example, Sweden has faced massive increases in violent crime due to immigration [3,4]. But that’s Good Actually because it will cause social trust to collapse, and so maybe the Swedes will abolish their welfare state, and maybe that will make them richer. Is anyone convinced by this? The immediate harms of mass 3rd world migration clearly outweigh the possible benefits of maybe making the country less socialist.