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Jonathan Haidt, uses a quote from the British public intellectual George Manbiot to make the case that, for globalists, “patriotism is indistinguishable from racism” (pg. 3). no longer than a pageAccording to Haidt, why do globalist feel this way?What is Haidt’s response to this claim that patriotism and racist are indistinguisable?What is your position in this argument? Do you agree with Haidt or not?
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When and Why Nationalism Beats Globalism – The American Interest
1/7/18, 2(58 PM

When and Why Nationalism Beats Globalism


NATIONALISM RISING
When and Why Nationalism Beats Globalism
JONATHAN HAIDT
And how moral psychology can help explain and reduce tensions between the two.
What on earth is going on in the Western democracies? From the rise of Donald Trump in the United States
and an assortment of right-wing parties across Europe through the June 23 Brexit vote, many on the Left
have the sense that something dangerous and ugly is spreading: right-wing populism, seen as the Zika
virus of politics. Something has gotten into “those people” that makes them vote in ways that seem—to
their critics—likely to harm their own material interests, at least if their leaders follow through in
implementing isolationist policies that slow economic growth.
Most analyses published since the Brexit vote focus on economic factors and some version of the “left
behind” thesis—globalization has raised prosperity all over the world, with the striking exception of the
working classes in Western societies. These less educated members of the richest countries lost access to
well-paid but relatively low-skilled jobs, which were shipped overseas or given to immigrants willing to
work for less. In communities where wages have stagnated or declined, the ever-rising opulence, rents, and
confidence of London and other super-cities has bred resentment.
A smaller set of analyses, particularly in the United States, has focused on the psychological trait of
authoritarianism to explain why these populist movements are often so hostile to immigration, and why
they usually have an outright racist fringe.
Globalization and authoritarianism are both essential parts of the story, but in this essay I will put them
together in a new way. I’ll tell a story with four chapters that begins by endorsing the distinction made by
the intellectual historian Michael Lind, and other commentators, between globalists and nationalists—
these are good descriptions of the two teams of combatants emerging in so many Western nations. Marine
Le Pen, the leader of the French National Front, pointed to the same dividing line last December when she
portrayed the battle in France as one between “globalists” and “patriots.”
But rather than focusing on the nationalists as the people who need to be explained by experts, I’ll begin
the story with the globalists. I’ll show how globalization and rising prosperity have changed the values and
behavior of the urban elite, leading them to talk and act in ways that unwittingly activate authoritarian
tendencies in a subset of the nationalists. I’ll show why immigration has been so central in nearly all rightwing populist movements. It’s not just the spark, it’s the explosive material, and those who dismiss antiimmigrant sentiment as mere racism have missed several important aspects of moral psychology related to
the general human need to live in a stable and coherent moral order. Once moral psychology is brought
into the story and added on to the economic and authoritarianism explanations, it becomes possible to
offer some advice for reducing the intensity of the recent wave of conflicts.
Chapter One: The Rise of the Globalists

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As nations grow prosperous, their values change in predictable ways. The most detailed longitudinal
research on these changes comes from the World Values Survey, which asks representative samples of
people in dozens of countries about their values and beliefs. The WVS has now collected and published
data in six “waves” since the early 1980s; the most recent survey included sixty countries. Nearly all of the
countries are now far wealthier than they were in the 1980s, and many made a transition from communism
to capitalism and from dictatorship to democracy in the interim. How did these momentous changes affect
their values?
Each country has followed a unique trajectory, but if we zoom out far enough some general trends emerge
from the WVS data. Countries seem to move in two directions, along two axes: first, as they industrialize,
they move away from “traditional values” in which religion, ritual, and deference to authorities are
important, and toward “secular rational” values that are more open to change, progress, and social
engineering based on rational considerations. Second, as they grow wealthier and more citizens move into
the service sector, nations move away from “survival values” emphasizing the economic and physical
security found in one’s family, tribe, and other parochial groups, toward “self-expression” or “emancipative
values” that emphasize individual rights and protections—not just for oneself, but as a matter of principle,
for everyone. Here is a summary of those changes from the introduction to Christian Welzel’s enlightening
book Freedom Rising:
…fading existential pressures [i.e., threats and challenges to survival] open people’s minds, making them
prioritize freedom over security, autonomy over authority, diversity over uniformity, and creativity over
discipline. By the same token, persistent existential pressures keep people’s minds closed, in which case
they emphasize the opposite priorities…the existentially relieved state of mind is the source of tolerance
and solidarity beyond one’s in-group; the existentially stressed state of mind is the source of
discrimination and hostility against out-groups.
Democratic capitalism—in societies with good rule of law and non-corrupt institutions—has generated
steady increases in living standards and existential security for many decades now. As societies become
more prosperous and safe, they generally become more open and tolerant. Combined with vastly greater
access to the food, movies, and consumer products of other cultures brought to us by globalization and the
internet, this openness leads almost inevitably to the rise of a cosmopolitan attitude, usually most visible
in the young urban elite. Local ties weaken, parochialism becomes a dirty word, and people begin to think
of their fellow human beings as fellow “citizens of the world” (to quote candidate Barack Obama in Berlin
in 2008). The word “cosmopolitan” comes from Greek roots meaning, literally, “citizen of the world.”
Cosmopolitans embrace diversity and welcome immigration, often turning those topics into litmus tests
for moral respectability.
For example, in 2007, former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown gave a speech that included the phrase,
“British jobs for British workers.” The phrase provoked anger and scorn from many of Brown’s colleagues
in the Labour party. In an essay in Prospect, David Goodhart described the scene at a British center-left
social event a few days after Brown’s remark:
The people around me entered a bidding war to express their outrage at Brown’s slogan which was finally
triumphantly closed by one who declared, to general approval, that it was “racism, pure and simple.” I
remember thinking afterwards how odd the conversation would have sounded to most other people in this
country. Gordon Brown’s phrase may have been clumsy and cynical but he didn’t actually say British jobs
for white British workers. In most other places in the world today, and indeed probably in Britain itself
until about 25 years ago, such a statement about a job preference for national citizens would have seemed
so banal as to be hardly worth uttering. Now the language of liberal universalism has ruled it beyond the
pale.

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The shift that Goodhart notes among the Left-leaning British elite is related to the shift toward
“emancipative” values described by Welzel. Parochialism is bad and universalism is good. Goodhart quotes
George Monbiot, a leading figure of the British Left:
Internationalism…tells us that someone living in Kinshasa is of no less worth than someone living in
Kensington…. Patriotism, if it means anything, tells us we should favour the interests of British people
[before the Congolese]. How do you reconcile this choice with liberalism? How…do you distinguish it from
racism?
Monbiot’s claim that patriotism is indistinguishable from racism illustrates the universalism that has
characterized elements of the globalist Left in many Western nations for several decades. John Lennon
wrote the globalist anthem in 1971. After asking us to imagine that there’s no heaven, and before asking us
to imagine no possessions, Lennon asks us to:
Imagine there’s no countries; it isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for, and no religion too
Imagine all the people living life in peace.
You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.
I hope some day you’ll join us, and the world will be as one.
This is a vision of heaven for multicultural globalists. But it’s naiveté, sacrilege, and treason for
nationalists.
Chapter Two: Globalists and Nationalists Grow Further Apart on Immigration
Nationalists see patriotism as a virtue; they think their country and its culture are unique and worth
preserving. This is a real moral commitment, not a pose to cover up racist bigotry. Some nationalists do
believe that their country is better than all others, and some nationalisms are plainly illiberal and overtly
racist. But as many defenders of patriotism have pointed out, you love your spouse because she or he is
yours, not because you think your spouse is superior to all others. Nationalists feel a bond with their
country, and they believe that this bond imposes moral obligations both ways: Citizens have a duty to love
and serve their country, and governments are duty bound to protect their own people. Governments
should place their citizens interests above the interests of people in other countries.
There is nothing necessarily racist or base about this arrangement or social contract. Having a shared
sense of identity, norms, and history generally promotes trust. Having no such shared sense leads to the
condition that the sociologist Émile Durkheim described as “anomie” or normlessness. Societies with high
trust, or high social capital, produce many beneficial outcomes for their citizens: lower crime rates, lower
transaction costs for businesses, higher levels of prosperity, and a propensity toward generosity, among
others. A liberal nationalist can reasonably argue that the debate over immigration policy in Europe is not
a case of what is moral versus what is base, but a case of two clashing moral visions, incommensurate (à la
Isaiah Berlin). The trick, from this point of view, is figuring out how to balance reasonable concerns about
the integrity of one’s own community with the obligation to welcome strangers, particularly strangers in
dire need.
So how have nationalists and globalists responded to the European immigration crisis? For the past year or
two we’ve all seen shocking images of refugees washing up alive and dead on European beaches, marching
in long lines across south eastern Europe, scaling fences, filling train stations, and hiding and dying in
trucks and train tunnels. If you’re a European globalist, you were probably thrilled in August 2015 when
Angela Merkel announced Germany’s open-door policy to refugees and asylum seekers. There are millions
of people in need, and (according to some globalists) national borders are arbitrary and immoral.

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But the globalists are concentrated in the capital cities, commercial hubs, and university towns—the places
that are furthest along on the values shift found in the World Values Survey data. Figure 1 shows this
geographic disjunction in the UK, using data collected in 2014. Positive sentiment toward immigrants is
plotted on the Y axis, and desire for Britain to leave the EU on the X axis. Residents of Inner London are
extreme outliers on both dimensions when compared to other cities and regions of the UK, and even when
compared to residents of outer London.
Figure 1. British towns that favor Brexit have more negative views of immigrants. Inner London is an outlier.
Source: Centre for European Reform, using 2014 data from Nick Vivyan and Chris Hanretty, ‘Estimating Constituency
Opinion.’
But if you are a European nationalist, watching the nightly news may have felt like watching the spread of
the Zika virus, moving steadily northward from the chaos zones of southwest Asia and north Africa. Only a
few right-wing nationalist leaders tried to stop it, such as Victor Orban in Hungary. The globalist elite
seemed to be cheering the human tidal wave onward, welcoming it into the heart of Europe, and then
demanding that every country accept and resettle a large number of refugees.
And these demands, epicentered in Brussels, came after decades of debate in which nationalists had been
arguing that Europe has already been too open and had already taken in so many Muslim immigrants that
the cultures and traditions of European societies were threatened. Long before the flow of Syrian asylum
seekers arrived in Europe there were initiatives to ban minarets in Switzerland and burkas in France. There
were riots in Arab neighborhoods of Paris and Marseilles, and attacks on Jews and synagogues throughout

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Europe. There were hidden terrorist cells that planned and executed the attacks of September 11 in the
United States, attacks on trains and buses in Madrid and London, and the slaughter of the Charlie Hebdo
staff in Paris.
By the summer of 2015 the nationalist side was already at the boiling point, shouting “enough is enough,
close the tap,” when the globalists proclaimed, “let us open the floodgates, it’s the compassionate thing to
do, and if you oppose us you are a racist.” Might that not provoke even fairly reasonable people to rage?
Might that not make many of them more receptive to arguments, ideas, and political parties that lean
toward the illiberal side of nationalism and that were considered taboo just a few years earlier?
Chapter Three: Muslim Immigration Triggers the Authoritarian Alarm
Nationalists in Europe have been objecting to mass immigration for decades, so the gigantic surge of
asylum seekers in 2015 was bound to increase their anger and their support for right-wing nationalist
parties. Globalists tend to explain these reactions as “racism, pure and simple,” or as the small-minded
small-town selfishness of people who don’t want to lose either jobs or benefits to foreigners.
Racism is clearly evident in some of the things that some nationalists say in interviews, chant at soccer
matches, or write on the Internet with the protection of anonymity. But “racism” is a shallow term when
used as an explanation. It asserts that there are some people who just don’t like anyone different from
themselves—particularly if they have darker skin. They have no valid reason for this dislike; they just
dislike difference, and that’s all we need to know to understand their rage.
But that is not all we need to know. On closer inspection, racism usually turns out to be deeply bound up
with moral concerns. (I use the term “moral” here in a purely descriptive sense to mean concerns that
seem—for the people we are discussing—to be matters of good and evil; I am not saying that racism is in
fact morally good or morally correct.) People don’t hate others just because they have darker skin or
differently shaped noses; they hate people whom they perceive as having values that are incompatible
with their own, or who (they believe) engage in behaviors they find abhorrent, or whom they perceive to be
a threat to something they hold dear. These moral concerns may be out of touch with reality, and they are
routinely amplified by demagogues. But if we want to understand the recent rise of right-wing populist
movements, then “racism” can’t be the stopping point; it must be the beginning of the inquiry.
Among the most important guides in this inquiry is the political scientist Karen Stenner. In 2005 Stenner
published a book called The Authoritarian Dynamic, an academic work full of graphs, descriptions of
regression analyses, and discussions of scholarly disputes over the nature of authoritarianism. (It therefore
has not had a wide readership.) Her core finding is that authoritarianism is not a stable personality trait. It
is rather a psychological predisposition to become intolerant when the person perceives a certain kind of
threat. It’s as though some people have a button on their foreheads, and when the button is pushed, they
suddenly become intensely focused on defending their in-group, kicking out foreigners and nonconformists, and stamping out dissent within the group. At those times they are more attracted to
strongmen and the use of force. At other times, when they perceive no such threat, they are not unusually
intolerant. So the key is to understand what pushes that button.
The answer, Stenner suggests, is what she calls “normative threat,” which basically means a threat to the
integrity of the moral order (as they perceive it). It is the perception that “we” are coming apart:
The experience or perception of disobedience to group authorities or authorities unworthy of respect,
nonconformity to group norms or norms proving questionable, lack of consensus in group values and
beliefs and, in general, diversity and freedom ‘run amok’ should activate the predisposition and increase
the manifestation of these characteristic attitudes and behaviors.

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So authoritarians are not being selfish. They are not trying to protect their wallets or even their families.
They are trying to protect their group or society. Some authoritarians see their race or bloodline as the thing
to be protected, and these people make up the deeply racist subset of right-wing populist movements,
including the fringe that is sometimes attracted to neo-Nazism. They would not even accept immigrants
who fully assimilated to the culture. But more typically, in modern Europe and America, it is the nation
and its culture that nationalists want to preserve.
Stenner identifies authoritarians in her many studies by the degree to which they endorse a few items
about the most important values children should learn at home, for example, “obedience” (vs.
“independence” and “tolerance and respect for other people”). She then describes a series of studies she
did using a variety of methods and cross-national datasets. In one set of experiments she asked Americans
to read fabricated news stories about how their nation is changing. When they read that Americans are
changing in ways that make them more similar to each other, authoritarians were no more racist and
intolerant than others. But when Stenner gave them a news story suggesting that Americans are becoming
more morally diverse, the button got pushed, the “authoritarian dynamic” kicked in, and they became
more racist and intolerant. For example, “maintaining order in the nat …
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