Bryan Caplan  

Is Self-Assertion a Free Lunch?

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Steve Sailer has an interesting reaction to yesterday's post on Asians' Democratic leanings:

Bryan has the psychological dynamics 180 degrees backwards. The Republicans problem with Asian and Latin voters is not that Republicans don't respect the newcomers enough, it's that Republicans don't insist effectively upon respect for the whites who back up the vast mass of their party. If Republicans pushed through reforms insisting upon equal treatment by race -- e.g., abolishing affirmative action, ending the special "ethnicity" that only Hispanics possess, and so forth -- then lots of Latins and Asians would decide that they are more or less white and thus are natural Republicans.

Instead, when Republicans act ashamed of being largely white, newcomers rapidly figure out that they are likely losers in the coming struggles, so they put the boot in, too.

His model, as far as I can tell, is that self-assertion is a free lunch.  When you assert yourself ("insist effectively upon respect"), you simultaneously inspire admiration and get a better deal for yourself.

I can believe this works occasionally, but it's not a plausible general story.  It's not plausible on a personal level: People who loudly demand respect often provoke resentment and resistance instead.  And it's not plausible on a group level, either.  Asian Americans, for example, rarely demand more respect or better treatment from mainstream Americans.  This may mean that Asians get a bad deal on affirmative action.  But it also means that whites feel very comfortable around Asians, leading better job opportunities and high intermarriage rates.

Self-assertion is at best a high-risk strategy.  You can try it with your boss today.  Maybe you'll get a big raise and a corner office, but you're more likely to lose your boss's goodwill and move to the top of his list of people to fire.

My prediction: If someone like Steve ever addresses the Republican presidential convention, it will make Republicans less popular with Democratic-leaning groups.  If someone like Steve ever becomes the most prominent Republican in the country, it would make Republicans far less popular with Democratic-leaning groups.  Given the negative reactions Steve often inspires, I wonder how he could think otherwise.



COMMENTS (53 to date)
Foseti writes:

And if someone like Professor Caplan ever becomes a prominent Republican, the Republican Party will become indistinguishable from the Democratic Party.

A contest to see who can respect a minority group the most is race to the bottom in terms of governance. (The Game bloggers have a derogatory term for this strategy with women - white knighting).

Discussing Sailer's comment in terms of "models" and "free lunches" is a cop out. Professor Caplan's "model" posits that hyper-respect is a free lunch. What have we learned from this? Nothing. It's a totally vapid statement.

Ending racial preference would be costly (though not very costly given minority voting patterns) as would demonstrating respect. What is served by ignoring this?

In Democracies across the world and throughout time, one party has always used racial division to increase its share of the electorate. This is nothing new. Don't pretend otherwise. Your time is much better spent reading Lee Kuan Yew on this issue than anyone else.

david writes:

Every ethnic nationalist dreams that if only my race would stand with me, our nation will be strong.

So, yes, I daresay he does believe assertion is a free lunch.

Steve Sailer writes:

Benjamin Franklin said that if you want somebody to like you, get them to do you a favor.

Since the Nixon Administration, the Republicans have been following Bryan's strategy instead.

What we now call Hispanics were just white on the 1950 and 1960 Censuses, because that's what LULAC wanted. Before the 1960s, it was better to be considered white than nonwhite in America, just as the whiter somebody is in Latin America or India today, the better off they tend to be. (That's why so much skin whitening lotion is sold in those lands.)

The Nixon Administration then created the federal government's modern racial/ethnic categories and started affirmative action, not just for the historical victims of America, blacks and American Indians, but for immigrant groups as well.

Wise statesmen have typically practiced "divide and conquer," but Nixon started a policy of "unite and submit," creating on paper an Oriental (later Asian) category out of fractious nationalities such as the Japanese, Chinese, and Filipinos. Similarly, Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, Cubans, and others were told to identify as "Hispanics" to qualify for special favors.

One mistake Nixon forgot to make was to classify South Asians as nonwhite. SoIn 1982, the Reagan Administration, in answer to petitions from immigrant businessmen wanting low interest minority development loans from the SBA and affirmative action advantages in government contracting, switched Indians, Pakistanis, and Bangladeshis from White to the more favorable Asian category.

How's that working out for the GOP?

Brandon Berg writes:

People who loudly demand respect often provoke resentment and resistance instead.

Think of it in terms of signalling. When you loudly demand respect, you're signalling that you don't have the respect that you think you deserve. This signals low status. High status individuals don't demand respect, they assume it.

Steve Sailer writes:

Here's the response that a famous shrinking violet recently received in the American Capitol:

"Israeli Prime Minister Gets 29 Standing Ovations in Congress"

http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2011/05/israeli-prime-minister-gets-20-standing-ovations-in-congress-sends-message-to-white-house/

Steve Sailer writes:

Benjamin Franklin said that if you want somebody to like you, get them to do you a favor.

Since the Nixon Administration, the Republicans have been following Bryan's strategy instead.

What we now call Hispanics were just white on the 1950 and 1960 Censuses, because that's what LULAC wanted. Before the 1960s, it was better to be considered white than nonwhite in America, just as the whiter somebody is in Latin America or India today, the better off they tend to be. (That's why so much skin whitening lotion is sold in those lands.)

The Nixon Administration then created the federal government's modern racial/ethnic categories and started affirmative action, not just for the historical victims of America, blacks and American Indians, but for immigrant groups as well.

Wise statesmen have typically practiced "divide and conquer," but Nixon started a policy of "unite and submit," creating on paper an Oriental (later Asian) category out of fractious nationalities such as the Japanese, Chinese, and Filipinos. Similarly, Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, Cubans, and others were told to identify as "Hispanics" to qualify for special favors.

One mistake Nixon forgot to make was to classify South Asians as nonwhite. So, in 1982, the Reagan Administration, in answer to petitions from immigrant businessmen wanting low interest minority development loans from the SBA and affirmative action advantages in government contracting, switched Indians, Pakistanis, and Bangladeshis from White to the more favorable Asian category.

How's all that working out for the GOP?

Steve Sailer writes:

The Republican Brain Trust (e.g., Karl Rove) has been of one mind with Bryan on this. How's that working out for them?

To survive, the GOP needs to do the opposite -- eliminate all the advantages that accrue to asserting a nonwhite identity. Put everybody on an equal legal footing in American society.

1. "Hispanic ethnicity" -- In current federal policy, the only ethnicities that are recognized for disparate impact lawsuits, minority development loans, government contracting affirmative action, and so forth are "Hispanic" or "non-Hispanic." Either let everybody have an ethnicity and file disparate impact discrimination lawsuits to make sure every ethnicity is represented, or remove the concept of ethnicity from federal law.

2. At minimum, move South Asians back to Caucasian, as they were until the Reagan Administration lumped them in with Orientals to make them eligible for racial preferences.

3. Better, get rid of all racial categories other than African-American (descendant of slaves in the United States -- e.g., Michelle Obama but not Barack) and official members of recognized American Indian tribes.

4. Shut down mass immigration to cut family ties.


8 writes:

The success of game suggests otherwise. The success of the civil rights movement suggests otherwise. The success of gay marriage, a total non-issue to 90%+ of Americans, suggests otherwise. In fact, find an issue where not being assertive gets attention. East Asians do get the shaft in affirmative action because they haven't played the game.

Also, I think you are misrepresenting Steve's point to some extent. It isn't that whites need be openly "pro-white" and fight for their race, it's that they should be assertive in the arena and, for example, reject the label racist. He's not talking about acting assertive in a vacuum, he's saying they need to push back against the assertiveness coming their way.

If your boss treats you like garbage and you tell him to shut up/stop it, he might fire you, but he might also shut up and respect you. Either way, at least you can respect yourself.

Sid writes:

I read through the comments in your previous post and didn't see this point brought up.

I want to emphasize how damaging the "Obama's birth certificate is illegitimate" crowd is/was to the Republican brand. When we see polls that over 40% of Republican voters believe Obama is an illegitimate president, when elected Republican officials hem and haw over whether the President's a true citizen, we get the message loud and clear: You're not one of us.

Steve Sailer writes:

Freud's concept of "projection" is a very helpful one in explaining much of current American discourse.

For example, Mitt Romney ran a squeaky clean campaign on race, yet, ever since he lost, Republicans have been widely denounced as deserving to lose because they are so racist. (How can you tell that they are racist? Just look at them!)

In reality, the only thing that holds the Obama Coalition together emotionally is identity politics animus against people like Romney.

Dan writes:

Bryan,

Self-assertion is not a free-lunch and Sailor did not claim it was. Rather self-assertion would allow the Republicans to take a principled stand and make a political argument consistent with the fundamental notion that America is a Republic and not a nation of competing factions. It was this concept that made the Republican party legitimate in the first place.

Republican pandering to identity politics is such a lose-lose proposition it is no wonder the parties enemies are so thrilled to see them do it. More than half of voters don't like the political choices offered by the two major parties. If the GOP decides it should become the light beer equivalent of the Democratic party by what reasoning can anyone argue that voters will find the Republican brand more filling?


efalken writes:

I think Sailer chose a bad phrase in 'demand respect', when what he should have said was they merely stop apologizing for their ethnicity. Most whites don't have any ethnic pride, but also don't like, let alone want to celebrate, the ethnic pride in others.

jc writes:

Fwiw, many Asians I know don't pay as much attention to Republican Party *leaders* as they do to party *members*. Top-down platforms, statements, and shows of inclusivity, etc., are like drops in a bucket that do little to dilute the broader sentiment they perceive; and this inclusiveness is perceived as strategic rather than sincere, anyway.

They don't care for Democrat leaders either, or even associated policies that might benefit them personally. And values-wise, they fit in better w/ Republicans. What it boils down to, though, is this: they simply don't want to align themselves w/ folks that look down on them and make them feel less than welcome.

To them, Republicans are rich white people that think the U.S. is only for whites. It will take a while to change that sentiment, and it will take more than just lip service or policy changes from folks at the top; the rank and file have to perceived as being genuinely on board. (And quite frankly, many older Asians may never change their minds.)

Dan writes:

Maryland is one of the most liberal states in the union. Below I have listed the most powerful politicians in that state. They have one thing especially in common. They all look like Steve Sailor!

Martin O'Malley (Governor)
Douglas Gansler (Attorney General)
Peter Franchot (Comptroller)
Michael Busch (Speaker of the House)
Mike Miller (Senate President)

Can we thus rule out any argument that voters care what their elected representatives look like? Voters want a fair deal. If they don't have confidence they can get that then they want a deal that is in their favor. No party is making a good argument on a fair deal. On the question then of who can give more with someone else paying the Democrat party is the champs.

Alex Nowrasteh writes:

"How's all that working out for the GOP?"

Compared to the previous 40 year period from 1930-1970, I'd say it's looking pretty good for the GOP!

Tom West writes:

eliminate all the advantages that accrue to asserting a nonwhite identity

But we don't have to worry about any of the *disadvantages* that accrue, do we?

Or is the idea that if it isn't official government policy to discriminate, then it's not the government's problem?

Ritwik writes:

Steve, who is normally a strong, if not always correct,thinker, is off-base here. His theory is built around status games of race, while Indians are more likely to place status games of profession.

Do Indians use skin-lightening products to look fair? Sure they do. Like in many other societies, light skin is associated/correlated with a genetic history of lack of manual labour, and hence with a family history of high status professions. But this is only true if the universal set itself has strong genetic and racial similarity. The fairest Indians would probably be as fair as your typical Spaniard, so in the US they're not going to engage *primarily* with status games of skin colour, whether of being white OR non-white. In the universal set, we're all brown.

The real question is profession. No white assembly line worker at Ford will command an Indian immigrant's respect. A VP of manufacturing at Ford, however, will.

Note that Indians are still more likely to identify with whites because a typical white American is more likely to be in professions that we consider high-status than a typical Hispanic (white/ non-white) or a typical African-American. Coupled with the fact that Indians really dislike high taxes due to the terrible experience back home means that Republicans ought to be the natural constituency. This is further heightened by the fact that since many Indians have at least an intellectual idea of what true, acute poverty looks like, the moral case of taxing big to remove $20,000 per annum poverty is simply not that compelling to most Indians. Someone like Theodore Dalrymple resonates a lot with many of us, and so would Charles Murray if he wasn't so obsessed about the *white* cause.

What prevents this from happening? My guess is :

1) Bryan is broadly right. The Dems have gone more out of the way to accord respect.

2) Republicans carry anti-immigrant, anti-science stains, fairly or unfairly. (There's almost nothing that is lower-status in the mind of a highly educated Hindu Indian - even if he is a 'believer' - than Abrahamic creationism.)

3) Indians, even highly successful ones, are less likely to be individualists and at some deep level, their metaphsysics is fundamentally deterministic. The periodic outbreaks of Ayn Rand-ism on the economic right do not appeal to Indians, even though standard fiscal conservative/pro-market planks may.

What may yet swing it for the Republicans? If Dems are perceived to go soft on Pakistan/Palestine, that'd be anathema to your typical Indian immigrant, even if he/she is a wannabe Northern democrat/ SoCal techie.

[minor comment edit with commenter's permission--Econlib Ed.]

Tom West writes:

I find Steve Sailer and the Republican leadership share some interesting characteristics. I don't know if Steve is racist ala "I dislike someone on the basis of his skin color", but I highly doubt it.

However, he makes a living through his blog largely based on continuously revisiting sentiments (usually based on some sort of study or statistics) that continually reinforce his audience's perception of the inferiority of blacks and Hispanics.

Each individual post's racist sentiments are plausibly deniable - you might bring up the same information (along with appropriate caveats about accuracy, etc.) once in a policy discussion among friends, etc., but the over-all agenda of the blog is perfectly clear to the readers, as is well evidenced in the comments.

Moreover, Steve can't risk losing his commenters (who are his paycheck) by expressing disgust at the more outrageous comments (although he wouldn't actually endorse them, and if pressed, he might even say he doesn't entirely agree).

Like Steve, the Republicans may depend on the financial and volunteer support of a large number of people whose sentiments they don't necessarily fully agree with, but can't actually survive without.

However, unlike Steve, the Republican party can't win in the long-term by simply serving a niche, and the fact that everyone can see the Republican 'commenters' and the lack of disgust with which the more outrageous sentiments are met, makes it clear that non-whites won't be joining in droves.

(Of course, both Steve and the Republicans do garner a few non-white supporters, who either accept the racial superiority/inferiority subtext or enjoy the non-racial aspects of the site/party enough to overlook the racially oriented aspects.)

Ted Levy writes:

SS: "Israeli Prime Minister Gets 29 Standing Ovations in Congress"

Steve seems to think the "special relationship" between the US and Israel is a result of the fact that Israel's Prime Ministers are not "shrinking violets." Yeah...that's the most reasonable explanation...

Dan writes:

@Tom West,

What is the end game for the progressive idea that each and every "minority" race, culture, religion and sexual persuasion deserves financial and legislative privilege?

At some point the "white man" will no longer be the plurality. Then what? Whose ox gets gored next?

Ravi writes:

Sailer is correct. Anyway, you accord respect to somebody by treating them as an equal rather than treating them to special favors because they are inferior. The minority groups who take the favors are not interested in being treated with respect as much as the benefits that accrue from being bestowed special treatment.

I don't know which party started the policy of awarding federal contracts to minority businesses but I know a few Indian businessmen who run outsourcing companies here in US, with a prominent signature(letter head) that states they are a minority owned company. These are businessmen who make significant amount of money . Some start businesses with their wive's name to get it called a minority owned business. To what end?

If you want to look at the race to the bottom you can look at India's own policy of Equal Opportunity. At some point, in some states( it possibly is true even now) people who are favored( reservations in Indian lingo) were allocated more than 75% of the seats, jobs, etc. The supreme court had to rule they cannot be more than 50%.

Ken B writes:

Steve Sailer:

If Republicans pushed through reforms insisting upon equal treatment by race -- e.g., abolishing affirmative action, ending the special "ethnicity" that only Hispanics possess, and so forth -- then lots of Latins and Asians would decide that they are more or less white and thus are natural Republicans.

This is part of what I found a bit disturbing about SS. When he says things like this it in one sense looks like we should judge men by the content of their character. Yet it never really does seem to be meant that way.

Anthony writes:

I believe Pat Buchanan is the closest recent example to someone like SS being high-profile in the Republican Party. I don't think it's gone particularly well in terms of getting Democratic-leaning groups, but perhaps someone else will have more information about this.

Mercer writes:

"Asian Americans, for example, rarely demand more respect or better treatment from mainstream Americans. This may mean that Asians get a bad deal on affirmative action. "

Bryan assumes that what works at the micro, personal level also works at the macro political level. The Asian example shows otherwise: they do well in job markets but get screwed when it comes to elite college admissions. Politics and elite college admissions are zero-sum games where the squeaky wheels get greased.

I think Sailer advocates a nationalist style politics with only blacks getting affirmative action. Nationalism has proven to be very popular around the world and in US history even though it currently disfavored by US elites. It has a far better record of getting votes then the Randian wealth worship rhetoric the current GOP frequently uses.

Floccina writes:

I have to say that I strongly agree Steve Sailer on this:

Better, get rid of all racial categories other than African-American (descendant of slaves in the United States -- e.g., Michelle Obama but not Barack) and official members of recognized American Indian tribes.

Yes why should more recent immigrants get treated differently from anyone else. AA for Hispanics seems absurd.

On the topic there was a black pride movement, I think that is a demand for respect starting with self respect. It did seem to help.

This is a little of topic but:
Interestingly in Obama's arguments for universal pre-school there seems to be something opposite to black pride. It is like he is saying "Save our black Americas from their bad parenting and life style choices. Take our children earlier and encourage them adopt more white attitudes."

Mad Mat writes:

The speculation is one thing, but this flip has actually happened in South Africa. Since there was crushing legally-enforced racism against non-whites under apartheid, asians (first Japanese and then Chinese) campaigned successfully to be classed as "honourary whites". Then when apartheid ended the discrimination inverted. Asians campaigned (again successfully, at least in the case of Chinese) to be classed as black for the purposes of Black Economic Empowerment laws, which are South Africa's equivalent of affirmative action.

It's not really about respect, it's just about what classification is most advantageous to you. In the US like post-1994 South Africa there is legally mandated racism in favour of everyone-but-whites, so of course incoming groups don't want to end up in the "honourary whites" category. Now for sure, if you put whites in the best Official Racism category *and* steadfastly refuse to class asians as honourary whites or something similar, they will resent and oppose the government, and you can't make everyone an Official Special Snowflake, so these policies are a zero sum game.

That said, asians are already discriminated against by affirmative action in the US - at least in university admissions - even more so than whites are. So there still is an open question why asians support the parties that advocate more of these policies.

Mercer writes:

" why asians support the parties that advocate more of these policies. "

The current GOP talks very little about affirmative action. It frequently uses Christian rhetoric that turns off the many Asians who are not Christian.

Jake writes:

Bryan,

You're confusing "demanding respect" with commanding it. The former is counterproductive. The latter begins with respecting oneself.

Hazel Meade writes:

I really like Brandon Berg's comment on signalling. So true. It reminds me of the role of "respect" in organized crime and for street thugs. I also think this is a problem for many blacks, because they feel they are not respected, and consequently display a lot of resentment and do a lot of demanding that people respect them more, which only signals low status and causes people to disrespect them more.

That said, there are certain explicit benefits to be obtained by identifying as non-white. And that has nothing to do with "respect" or the lack there of. That's just people responding to financial incentives. In a way, it's a bit of a trap. I must identify as this low-status group in order to obtain my minority benefits, but by identifying as a minority, I lower my social status. Even if you don't think that identifying as minority "lowers your status" it has definite costs - you differentiate yourself from others and thereby create social distance that makes it more difficult to network across racial lines.

So there's kind of a tradeoff for minorities that in corrals them into identity politics, where their prospects become a matter of what group benefits they can gain through the group identity and group benefits, but they are also limiting themselves by creating this identity group barrier around themselves. It's quite insidious.

Hazel Meade writes:

East Asians do get the shaft in affirmative action because they haven't played the game.

But East Asians are very financially successful in America, DESPITE getting the shaft in college admissions. In professional and management occupations, Asians earn more on average than whites.

So how exactly are East Asians getting the shaft by not "demanding respect", segregating themselves into an identity group, and playing identity politics like Blacks and Hispanics?

Objectively speaking, Asians are doing far better economically than either Blacks or Hispanics, who are certainly playing the identity politics game.

Steve Sailer writes:

Dear Hazel Meade (from Heinlein's "Rolling Stones"?):

Well said.

There are a few other subtleties that are worth pointing out about how race and class interact. For people at the top of society, being able to plausibly identify as a favored minority is hugely advantageous.

For example, Barack Obama was raised and expensively educated to be a diplomat. As Obama told David Maraniss in 2011, up through age 24, he was on track for a career at the State Department, the Ford Foundation or other high class NGOs, or be a professor of international relations. Maraniss documents that Obama's close friends from 18 to 24, none of whom were black and most of whom were either foreigners or State Dept. offspring, saw him as not being African-American. Instead, Obama's friends considered him "international" or "multicultural."

Then in 1985 Obama rebelled against his mother's and grandparents' guidance and moved to Chicago to participate in the Council Wars, with the hope of someday succeeding Harold Washington as a black mayor of Chicago. His next 15 years of attempts to get black Chicagoans to see him as black enough were frustrating. For example, he wrote a 150,000 word autobiography, "Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance" weirdly emphasizing the father who had played so minimal a role in his life. Why? To prove he was Black Enough, but very, very few South Side blacks read his endless literary self-absorption. This era culminated in his humiliating rejection in the 2000 House primary by black voters.

This plunged him into a depression that lasted for many months. Eventually he came to realize that while he'd never be black enough for black voters to back him for mayor of Chicago, that white people loved him for being, technically, black yet not being black acting enough for blacks. So, he gerrymandered his state senate district to include rich white lakefront districts and set off to get white people to elect him to the Senate.

So, everything worked out wonderfully for Obama. But, played out at the bottom of society, our culture's constant messages that whiteness is shameful and blackness is superior encourages the kind of behavior that Chicagoans read about every Monday morning in the articles summarizing all the shootings over the weekend.

Hazel Meade writes:

The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, actually.

But I don't think that black street thugs demanding "respect", has anything to do with some idea that whiteness is shameful and blackness is superior. Quite the opposite.

There are benefits to be obtained by identifying as a minority, but those benefits are discrete academic and financial benefits. They are detatched from social status, and in fact, claiming those benefits lowers your social status. That is my point.

Mercer writes:

"claiming those benefits lowers your social status."

How has claiming minority benefits hurt the Obamas or Sonia Sotomayor. Do you think they have low social status?

jdgalt writes:

So what if assertiveness makes Republicans less popular with Democratic-leaning groups?

I agree with David Horowitz that we lost the last round of elections by being too nice. Democrats are more than willing to smear, shout down, and express virulent hatred toward Republicans, as well as telling distorted versions of what Republicans believe. But Republicans don't have the courage to do any of those things in return.

Except for the distortion, we should do them all.

I'm still waiting for Bryan to provide actual examples of the (D) party 'respecting' Indian-Americans. (Was it when Hillary Clinton as First Lady visited India and wore a sari and a red dot on her forehead? I seem to recall something like that...was that it? Is that all it took?)

Since I'm aware of no such tangible, material examples of the (D)s 'respecting' Indian-Americans a whole lot (unless it really is the sari thing), Bryan's posts parse to me as basically asserting that Indian-Americans are stupid and delusional. Wouldn't they have to be, to think that the (D)s 'respect' them so much more, when there is diddly-squat actual evidence of this that anyone can point to?

Does Bryan genuinely think so poorly of Indian-Americans?

Again, if that's not what Bryan means to say, an actual example or elucidation of this mythical 'respect' would help to clarify as much.

8 writes:

The current GOP talks very little about affirmative action. It frequently uses Christian rhetoric that turns off the many Asians who are not Christian.

Yes, because being an anti-Christian bigot in America is OK.

Steve Sailer writes:

Hazel Meade says

"There are benefits to be obtained by identifying as a minority, but those benefits are discrete academic and financial benefits. They are detatched from social status, and in fact, claiming those benefits lowers your social status."

Can't get much lower in social status than POTUS, I guess.

Tom West writes:

I'm still waiting for Bryan to provide actual examples of the (D) party 'respecting' Indian-Americans.

I think it comes down to the perception that if you privately expressed the opinion that America would be better of it if had no visible minorities, the reaction of the vast majority of Democratic financial and volunteer supporters would be disgust and the reaction of the majority of Republican supporters would be to ignore it.

Fair or not (and let's face it, it's not a surprise that Steve Sailer is a Republican supporter, and I haven't heard any claims from Republicans that his sentiments are antithetical to what the party stands for), that's a perception that's not going to go away easily.

So, perhaps 'respect' from the D's should interpreted more as an expectation of disgust by the D rank & file at racial intolerance.

Tom West writes:

I should say that while I can't see how the Republican party can extricate itself from its current hole, ed from the previous thread is right. The Canadian Conservative party has managed to gain a lot of recent immigrant support that traditionally voted Liberal to help it secure a majority.

As a Liberal supporter, I'm somewhat dismayed, but there's no denying reality. Perhaps there's a lesson in it for the Republicans, although I can't put my finger on the tactics the Conservatives used. However, I'm going to takea wild guess and say that it didn't involve a lot of Conservative supporters harping on the racial inferiority of blacks and Hispanics and complaining how awful life is for whites.

Dan writes:

Giving people free things does not garner respect. Telling people platitudes does not garner respect.

The GOP does not garner respect because its leadership is unprincipled. They are pushovers for the media and the Democratic leadership and they will sell out their constituents at any and every convenience.

Those who see government as a provider have no need to bargain with the GOP. They can go straight to the Democrats. The Democratic leadership overpromises and underdelivers but it is willing to play the game.

Tom West,

I think it comes down to the perception that if you privately expressed the opinion that America would be better of it if had no visible minorities, the reaction of the vast majority of Democratic financial and volunteer supporters would be disgust and the reaction of the majority of Republican supporters would be to ignore it.

Is it your contention that Indian-Americans have this 'perception'? Where did they get it, exactly - based on what tangible thing(s)? And how do you know they have this perception, how many have you spoken to? Or are you just saying, like Bryan (to me) seems to be, that you think/assume Indian-Americans are generally stupid and delusional?

So, perhaps 'respect' from the D's should interpreted more as an expectation of disgust by the D rank & file at racial intolerance.

Note: I have never in my life heard any non-infinitesemal number of people state that 'America would be better of it if had no visible minorities', let alone enough times to form some intuition about how Republican vs Democratic supporters 'would react' to hearing such a hypothetical statement by a hypothetical 'you'.

More to the point: I do not buy for one moment that most Indian-Americans have, either. Yet your whole theory relies on the notion that Indian-Americans are voting, substantially, based on how they *think* the respective parties' supporters 'would react' in this *pointless* hypothetical situation they (mostly) have not encountered nor will ever encounter nor even if they did, would it matter to anything. In short, you believe that Indian-Americans vote based on whoever they think 'would' show more Hypothetical Disgust in a trivial situation of no import.

But that's another way of saying they're not only stupid and delusional, but vote based on weird psychological criteria. It gives them no credit whatsoever for an ability to form sincere, well-thought-out political views. No?

Fair or not (and let's face it, it's not a surprise that Steve Sailer is a Republican supporter, and I haven't heard any claims from Republicans that his sentiments are antithetical to what the party stands for), that's a perception that's not going to go away easily.

Especially if Indian-Americans are indeed as stupid and delusional as you and Bryan seem (to me) to be implying they are. Yes, you're right, irrational and baseless impressions formed by stupid/delusional people probably won't go away easily. Ah well then. If you guys are right, Indian-Americans (and for that matter anyone else who forms political views based on such stupid criteria as you guys think Indian-Americans do) should just be written off.

But is that REALLY what you guys think of Indian-Americans? Because that kind of offends me. If that's not what you think of Indian-Americans, feel free to substantiate why any rational people anywhere would form all these purported views and psychological hang-ups that you guys are (based on nothing substantive that I can see) ascribing to them.

Tom West writes:

Crimson, first my caveat - I don't have a lot of exposure to Indo-Americans, my comments are based on my more general perception of how members of various minorities I've talked to in the US perceive the Republicans, plus my exposure to racist sentiments on the Internet, the claimed affiliation, and how often such sentiments are publicly repudiated by the rank and file members (not the leadership, the members).

Second caveat, yes, these are my *opinions*. This is a blog, for Pete's sake. It's based, no surprise, on my experience and the experiences communicated to me by others, directly, through blogs, read, TV, etc.

Third, can we get real? We both know that for the most part, someone spouting anti-Evangelical Christian sentiments isn't going to get booted out of the Democratic district office. People won't necessarily agree, but they'll keep silent and take his money and his hours. Do you think he'd be welcome in a Republican district office?

There's no real surprise that Evangelical Christians don't feel welcome (in large numbers) in the Democratic party. It's not that the leaders are denouncing them, etc. But the undercurrent among some proportion of the membership is very real. Of course there's plausible deniability for any of this, but we both know it's exists. People have eyes and ears and they aren't stupid. They can put two and two together, even if nobody has big posters up reading "4!".

General feelings and perceptions of parties, which have a *huge* influence on how people vote, are often influenced by the the behavior of people who claim affiliation to one party or another. Sorry, that's not insulting to humanity, it's just life.

Now as a counterpoint to my theory, the one element that doesn't quite fit is that the sentiment that everyone making over $x has earned it unethically (where x can range from 100K, 500K, 1M or upward) is one that will be overlooked in the Democratic party (probably with some eye rolling, but the volunteer would be accepted nonetheless) but wouldn't be welcomed by the Republicans. Yet there are large numbers of upper-middle class who feel welcome by the Democrats. I haven't figured out why that particular exception.

Hazel Meade writes:

The Republicans definitely need to lose the Evangelical Christians themselves. Or at leats make them not to prominent in the party.
Part of the NATURE of evangelical Christianity is that it requires it's members to proselytize. And that makes it unwelcoming for non-Christians. If they could just stop proselytizing that would go a long way. They should ban all religious activities at Republican party events. Stop praying Christian prayers. Stop people from handing out bibles or religious pamphlets. Just secularize the whole party.

Tom West,

'Getting real' is precisely what I'm asking you guys to do, by substantiating these claims about Indian-Americans. Has not happened yet.

Apparently now Indian-Americans fear they would/might? get 'booted out of the [Republican] district office' for saying something (like what?) anti-Evangelical Christian. Why do so many Indian-Americans want, in your view anyway, to say so much anti-Evangelical Christian stuff in local 'district offices' of major political parties? Odd. You sure think some awfully strange things about Indian-Americans.

Anyway, I do agree that 'general feelings and perceptions' of parties play an important role. One thing I'm trying to illustrate here is that, all too often, these are based on diddly squat that is tangible. This presents a problem for those trying to use those feelings as advice for what parties should/shouldn't do. How is one supposed to correct 'general feelings' that are irrational and stupid and have no basis in tangible fact?

But the other thing I'm trying to illustrate here is that, as of now, there's zero reason to believe that Indian-Americans are actually motivated in any significant way by the delusional and baseless 'general feelings' you and Bryan ascribe to them. The main people in evidence voicing those groundless and fact-free 'general feelings' about which party 'respects' them or whatever, are you guys.

That famous (D)-party 'respect' for Indian-Americans in action:

http://www.buzzfeed.com/zekejmiller/joe-biden-are-you-indian-man-american

Ghost of Christmas Past writes:

Hazel Meade, Steve Sailer,

It didn't hurt Elizabeth Warren's social status to be thought an Amerind. It didn't hurt Angelo Mozilo's social status to be mistaken for a Mexican. It hasn't hurt Obama's social status to be mistaken for a descendant of antebellum slaves.

In today's America, social status depends largely upon wealth,* to a large degree wealth depends upon cronyism, and cronyism is frequently channelled through programs which ostensibly benefit "minorities" but really serve to disguise the trading of favors.

So people who have status are happy to recognize the status of others clever enough to participate in the big charade.

*In America status has always been for sale, but there was an American high-WASP echo of the old English upper-middle class which could enjoy social status without wealth (I think Florence King explained it most accessibly). Anyway, such WASP status has been fading for a while.

Tom West writes:

Part of the NATURE of evangelical Christianity is that it requires it's members to proselytize. And that makes it unwelcoming for non-Christians. If they could just stop proselytizing that would go a long way.

I have to say, that feels a little more out of central casting than at least my personal experience with rank & file evangelicals. My experience has been that religion was mostly a non-issue in my day-to-day dealings with them, same as with the non-evangelicals, as with believers of any other faith.

That the leadership of both Evangelical churches and the Republican party work together to keep certain church-related social policies in the forefront is a different story, however.

Tom West writes:

The main people in evidence voicing those groundless and fact-free 'general feelings' about which party 'respects' them or whatever, are you guys.

Absolutely true, but if we kept to provable fact here, nobody would have posted. A topic like this is mostly an enjoyable exploration of people's beliefs about the issue. On something as nebulous as this, you're not going to have any facts to aid you, although more comments from the actual community might add a veneer of 'factiness' :-).

At best, you produce a reasonably structured narrative that seems plausible enough that others may embrace it, or more likely, incorporate it into their own narrative.

Brandon Berg writes:

Any explanation for the Democratic leanings of Asians that involves Republicans being too Christian has to explain the fact that Koreans are one of the most Christian ethnic groups in the US.

Alistair writes:

Someone should do a piece on the great White-Asian racial harmony; an unusual and revealing acheivement in the field of US racial politics.

Steve Sailer writes:

If you want to see the advantages of self-assertion in action, check out the annual AIPAC conference that begins in Washington on Sunday.

Keith Beacham writes:

Listening to insecure white folks talk race cracks me up!

Taeyoung writes:

I don't think he's urging Whites to behave like strident African-American or Hispanic ethic/race advocates. I think he's just urging White Republicans not to be so pathetic and whinging about their own culture and history. You lot have -- or had -- a glorious heritage, and you ought to take some pride in it.

Strident self-assertion inspires resentment and contempt, sure, but self-respect is a precondition for real respect.

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