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Registered User
(5/13/01 4:40 am)
Ethnicity and State
The whole relationship between ethnicity and state is one which both interests and troubles me. There seem to be several models for the relationship:

1. The Imperial model: the state explicitly accommodates diverse ethnicities, but on the basis that one ethnicity has a privileged position over all others; the others are often arranged hierarchically. The British Empire in India would be the ultimate example of this.

2. The Republican model: the state is blind to ethnicity and the institutions of the state have no ethnic reference. The traditional vision of the United States of America would appear to be an example of this.

3. The Nationalist model: the state is the incarnation of a single ethnic group. Perhaps 19th century Germany or Italy would be good examples.

4. The Postmodern model: the state is officially pluralistic, yet it seeks to accommodate the ethnicity of each group on the basis of interdependence and equality. In practice this is generally achieved by undermining whatever traditions the ethnicity might have which would rival their loyalty to the state. The European Union would seem to be a good example.

I think the above summarises virtually all of the models on offer. I do not find any of them particularly appealing.

Is there a "paleo model"?

David McClean

(5/13/01 6:25 am)
Re: Ethnicity and State
The "paleo model" would be 2. plus limited government, federalism and localism. The significance of ethnicity would then become a matter of custom, local accommodations, etc.

The reason you don't like any of the models may be that all seem to accept the state as a sort of social absolute and the position the state gives ethnicity therefore becomes an absolute as well. That doesn't seem to work, since ethnicity while in many respects objective also has gradations, is subject to interpretation, has important subjective aspects, etc. So nailing it down and giving it a fixed legal significance (or compulsory insignificance) seems to miss something.

Jim Kalb and

Paul Hun
Unregistered User
(6/3/01 2:50 pm)
It depends of course on the point of view and on the definition of "paleo" (which I understand as "conservative"), but I would disagree with your idea of the perfect "paleo" state model. I think the national issue is important. Even in our time of globalization, separate nations are the real political acteurs. A one-nation-state is something much more concrete and have a much stronger life-garantee than a state built on the basis of an ideology (USSR) or liberalism (US). With due course of time of course, a multi-national conglomerate can develope into one new nation (see ex-USSR: Moldavians which are originally ethnic Romanians want back into the union with Russia - or USA: immigrants of the last 200 years have become one nation which is already developing a feeling of "nativism" towards "alien eliments" like asians).

Paul Amann
Hamburg, Germany

(6/4/01 8:21 am)
Re: JimK
"Paleo" refers specifically to an American conservative tendency that takes American history and conditions into account, specifically:

1. The enormous size of the United States.

2. The diversity of the American population.

3. The secular, contractual, and utilitarian nature of American government, especially the federal government.

4. The history of localism, decentralization, etc.

All these things mean that the United States of America can't be a nation-state on the European model. The main way particular culture and religion can play a role in American life is locally.

I agree the contrast is not absolute. Not even the most limited of federal governments can be culture-free, and things like large-scale immigration (especially from the third world) that reduce cultural coherence make free government more difficult in America as elsewhere. Still, I think there is a difference in emphasis.

Jim Kalb and

BK Glyndwr
Registered User
(8/10/01 9:30 pm)
Re: JimK
yes, another obstacle in the way to restoration...... this obsession with the nation-state. For all that people slag off the EU (and it is an appalling organisation in certain respects, although ultimately a feeble rather than a sinister one), it may well end up accidentally producing a solution to this problem through subsidiarity leading to cantonisation. In fact, I think, Switzerland may be the best example of a good solution to this problem, where democracy is so local that a multicultural state actually works there. Of course, it helps if everyone's isolated by high mountains! Not to mention inheritors of basically identical traditions in any case......
I guess my point is that sometimes even paleoconservatives just aren't paleo enough. The nation state is just a piece of monarchist junk which replaced the far superior feudal system and has now had its day.
Surely we want to preserve the old values and attitudes themselves, rather than just go back to an arbitrary point in history and then recreate the institutions that kept them going at that particular time. You gotta change if you want to stay the same, folks............

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