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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.

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Jun 11, 2023·edited Jun 11, 2023Author

Thanks for the response. That may be true, but it would need to be demonstrated. Two separate indexes compiled by different thinktanks show that America has similar or less economic freedom than countries like Denmark, Switzerland and New Zealand.

But even if it is true, I don't see how it affects the argument? We'd still see the same overall pattern: diverse countries being less economically free, and countries with northern European populations being more economically free. Hence we'd still have reason to believe that making the US more diverse, and less northern European, would make it less economically free.

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I think cross-national data is generally useless except in very rare cases. Exceptions can be made when the evidence is absolutely overwhelming and the mechanisms involved are well understood, which makes me confident in saying 1) IQ matters for wealth and 2) Markets matter. Those are the only cross-National relationships I base my arguments on.

I don’t trust cross-national data on the relationship between diversity and other factors, etc. Theres too much heterogeneity in the data and there’s something called spatial autocorrelation. My view is we have no idea what the effects of diversity will be on American politics, but if we want to say anything the best way to try is to compare the US to other advanced countries and look at the specifics of American history. But again, I don’t put much confidence in the conclusion, which is why I say you shouldn’t base immigration policy based on projections of what will happen to our politics.

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Jun 11, 2023Liked by Noah Carl

This is fantastic. Substack should be figuring out how to feature and encourage debates like this.

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It seems that Hanania is making a much more fundamental error here, i.e. even if it's true that the modest amounts of diversity in the US have enhanced free market policies (or have had uncertain effects on them), this would merely imply a non-linearity in which mostly white countries (e.g. in Scandinavia) function well, and somewhat diverse countries like the US function somewhat better, but countries with sufficiently large black or Hispanic populations (e.g. in Latin America) still function relatively poorly.

Maybe you could argue (implausibly) that we just need a little more diversity, and then we can stop immigration at the peak of this nonlinear effect, but in fact we are caught in a feedback loop where more immigration induces further immigration (both because immigrants favor it, and because it's hard to refuse admitting the families of immigrants). So unless drastic changes are made to our immigration policy, the path we are on is not leading towards a Hanania-style economic utopia, but rather towards the US becoming more like Brazil or South Africa, as our demographics shift steadily in that direction.

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These comparisons are absurd. South Africa? No the US is not going to be 90% black. Brazil is 50% black and is of a completely different history and governing system, Anglo founded counties are more stable and better run regardless of demographics. You’re reaching around for comparisons but there aren’t any, which is why we shouldn’t try to predict anything about where our politics are going.

Finally, the assumption of zero assimilation is not based in reality. Second and third generation immigrants are well assimilated by any reasonable measure. Soon many aren’t even considered minorities, see the literature on ethnic attrition. You may need to keep adding immigrants just to maintain our current level of “diversity.”

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Jun 11, 2023·edited Jun 11, 2023Liked by Noah Carl

"You’re reaching around for comparisons but there aren’t any, which is why we shouldn’t try to predict anything about where our politics are going."

Just because we lack perfect comparison cases, doesn't mean we should simply throw up our hands and ignore the fact that racial/ethnic demographics are one of the best predictors we have of how functional a society will be, and that the immigration policies you support are pushing US demographics in much more unfavorable direction over the long term.

Regarding "Anglo" governing systems, we certainly shouldn't play Russian roulette with the future of the country based merely on the hope that US institutions will somehow be resilient to the drastic demographic transformation that is headed our way, particularly given that you don't have a single example of any majority non-white-Hispanic or black country that is well-functioning. By contrast, far from being an "absurd" comparison, South Africa provides a clear example of high-quality western institutions collapsing in the face of demographic change.

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Jun 11, 2023Liked by Noah Carl

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).

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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:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1WIdVnQEWdYgYYly9iKkesWCVhfINvbtwuVq2GMOxMbw/edit?usp=sharing

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.

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Even if that were true, it’s a direct attack on liberty.

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Liberty and Justice are always in an unsteady equilibrium: they don't always get along, yet you cannot have one without the other. And if you try to have one without the other, you end up with neither. At least I think that's what history shows. It's one of nature's little ironies.

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Why wouldn’t there be justice under liberty? Why is it just for the state to commandeer people’s property in the absence of a crime?

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With complete freedom, there is nothing. to prevent the strong from enslaving the weak.

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If the strong are enslaving the weak, that can hardly be called “complete freedom”. Slaves are not free.

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My point exactly. I'm talking about the real world, not some imagined utopia.

The opposite case is also instructive. What happens if you try to have justice but forget about freedom. If the Soviet Union is any guide you end up with neither.

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Jun 12, 2023Liked by Noah Carl

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 [1]. In that period America was roughly 90% non-Hispanic White [2]. 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.

1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_regions_by_past_GDP_(PPP)_per_capita#1%E2%80%932008_(Maddison)

2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historical_racial_and_ethnic_demographics_of_the_United_States#Historical_data_for_all_races_and_for_Hispanic_origin_(1610%E2%80%932020)

3. https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/5195/sweden-rape

4. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12115-019-00436-8#Sec6

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Jun 12, 2023·edited Jun 13, 2023Author

Good point about GDP per capita in 1913 – though I guess Hanania could argue that the presence of the black minority allowed capitalists to prevent the formation of a socialist movement by exploiting racial resentment among working-class whites.

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