Jeffrey Friedman watch

His latest essay argues that Trump supporters are flag-waving nationalists, not sheet-donning racists. He winds up,

Trumpism represents not a monstrous perversion of modern politics, but an expression of some of its most blandly familiar features.

Mick Jagger sang, “He can’t be a man ’cause he doesn’t smoke the same cigarettes as me.” Let us abbreviate “he can’t be a man” as HCBAM.

Nationalism is HCBAMist toward citizens of other nations, and Friedman would like to talk Trump supporters down from that. But people who take great pride in their opposition to Trump have become HCBAMist toward Trump supporters, and Friedman would like to talk them down from that.

I fear that HCBAMism is very much a part of human nature (recall my recent post on politics as religion). Friedman says that just because behavior is instinctive does not make it right.

We can drop our arbitrary group attachments for rational reasons.

Yes, but a more pessimistic outlook is that when we drop our arbitrary group attachments we then pick up other arbitrary group attachments that have the same consequences, or worse.

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25 Responses to Jeffrey Friedman watch

  1. Tom DeMeo says:

    You seem to be extremely sloppy in distinguishing between group attachments based on values and ideas, vs. more trivial cultural familiarity (i.e- he doesn’t smoke the same cigarettes as me).

    The cultural cues that Trump throws off do not match up with his supporters in any way whatsoever. He oozes bluster, tacky wealth and a NewYork City vibe.

    This is pure BS. This is about values. This is very real.

    • Octavian says:

      “The cultural cues that Trump throws off do not match up with his supporters in any way whatsoever. He oozes bluster, tacky wealth and a NewYork City vibe.”

      This doesn’t really prove anything. Vulga, plebeian New York ‘culture’ arguably has a lot more in common with vulgar, rural/’heartland’ culture than either does with heavily manicured, patrician, ‘elite’ culture. It’s not a regional dichotomy, but ‘vulgar vs. patrician’ cultures. (I’m aware that Trump is extremely wealthy, but that doesn’t make him culturally patrician).

      Additionally, whether voters specifically identify culturally with Trump isn’t really even that relevant: the point was that they identify with Americans rather than foreigners, and that this is the appeal of Trump’s visceral nationalism, it is being argued (I think).

      • Tom DeMeo says:

        I’m not buying a ‘vulgar vs. patrician’ narrative. There just aren’t a large enough number of patricians to explain anything. And the discomfort for foreigners is remarkably mild for people from the UK, Canada and Australia.

        Are you really arguing that Trump, “smokes the same (metaphorical) cigarettes” as the majority of his supporters?

        Trump supporters are voting for more tradition and less cultural and economic change. Within that, a concerning segment sees a loss of “whiteness” as a problem.

        • asdf says:

          Canada and Australia have the RACIST immigration policy that Trump has proposed. If they are so OK with foreigners why is their immigration policy designed to keep lots of them out.

          • Tom DeMeo says:

            The argument was that America was expressing nationalism, not racial or ethnic prejudice.

            My point was that “we” are perfectly comfortable with “them”, when other nationalities seem culturally familiar.

            I’m not making any claim about how they see these issues.

        • Octavian says:

          Immigration from the U.K., Australia, etc. is negligible, so they aren’t perceived as a threat to American culture or “our jobs.”

  2. Asdf says:

    Except these attachments aren’t arbitrary. They go deep into genetics and culture. They can’t be changed.

    I wish people would stop saying that it’s arbitrary to be against invasion of the first world by the third world.

    • Octavian says:

      I wish people would learn the definition of the word ‘invasion.’

      • asdf says:

        Coming in massive numbers. Using violence and politics to flood urban centers and carve out little fiefdoms for themselves. Using their ever growing voting and power to influence government policy to their benefit at our expense. Eventually becoming a majority and dictating to us any terms they like.

        NAMs will never assimilate and have no net value to add to society, which makes them different from past immigrant groups.

        • SMV says:

          So you not only don’t understand invasion, but misunderstand immigration as well.

        • Octavian says:

          NAMs? Don’t know what that means.

          Anyway, most immigrants work and produce goods and services, adding value to society. Most also aren’t criminals. These things you’re just making up.

          But you’re totally right; they’re not at all like past immigrant groups. I mean, Italians and Irish never had notable criminal elements. Who’s ever heard of an Italian criminal? And ditto for assimilation. We’ve got all these Mexican and Puerto Rican neighborhoods, but I’ve never heard of a ‘Little Italy’ or ‘Little Poland.’

          And their politics? Good point. I can’t for the life of me understand why those villainous scum won’t vote politicians who do them the service of trying to inform them that they’re villainous scum; indeed, they have the gall to repay the kindness by voting for their opponents! The ingratitude!

          • asdf says:

            Non-Asian Minorities

            Hispanics in America and Muslims in Europe don’t work and produce enough to add to society. They are also disproportionately criminal. This is a provable hypothesis with reams of data to back it up. It’s because of their genes and it can never be fixed.

            What’s the crime rate for Italians and Irish? Is the Little Italy in your city some sort of crime ridden no go zone like the Puerto Rican neighborhood in the town over from where I grew up? Mafia movies are fun, but this is a testable hypothesis. Get real about the evidence.

            Republicans have been pushing their pro immigrant race neutral agenda for a long time. It’s resulted in zero minorities voting majority Republican. All of the cuck posturing, all the purges, all of it failed to bring about the state of affairs they promised. After 40 years of failing to make Hispanics “natural conservatives” its time to admit its a failure that did nothing but import Democratic voters on welfare roles.

  3. Tom DeMeo says:


    “Except these attachments aren’t arbitrary. They go deep into genetics and culture. They can’t be changed.”

    I think the evidence suggests that expansion of cultural attachments forms one side, while contraction forms the other. This is actually the pivot point between Trump supporters and those that find Trump repulsive. So, the answer is that these attachments can be changed among large numbers of people, but it will be a slow, often divisive process that probably will never becomes universal.

    This does go deep into culture. I’m sure I won’t ever convince you of this but your insistence on this also being a deep feature of genetics is clearly wrong. There are endless volumes of people of different races that have successfully adopted cultural norms not associated with their origins.

    This is not a matter of surface tastes. It is a fundamental approach to life, and it should not be dismissed as superficial.

    • Roger Sweeny says:

      Tom DeMeo, are you saying that Trump supporters are whites who can’t identify with non-whites or that they are Americans who can’t identify with non-Americans. Or something different?

      • Tom DeMeo says:

        @Roger Sweeny

        With the caveat that there are no clean lines of delineation here, I’d say some of each. Perhaps the biggest split is with other Americans, who don’t seem anchored in the same cultural attachments.

        I’d also say that they are primarily organizing around a feeling of cultural slippage, and as a consequence of that, a slippage of values. They expect to see an occasional black or brown face in town. Things become uncomfortable when identity jobs go away, and when unfamiliar religion, food, music and culture in town starts to erode their feeling of place.

    • asdf says:

      People of all races who have professional level IQs and are willing to abandon their native cultures beyond the folk hobby level have been able to hold down professional employment in the first world and generally not commit crimes or cause disorder. I say generally because they still remain isolated in terms of living patterns and who they prefer to hire when they have the opportunity to do so.

      Beyond that anyone below a certain IQ threshold has been completely unable to adapt to Western society in any meaningful way or contribute to the betterment of its society on net. This makes up the majority of immigrants amongst NAMs. It makes up a majority of human beings alive in the world today, and those numbers just get worse and worse over time given current demographic trends.

      Any fundamental approach to life that means national suicide I’ll pass.

      • Tom DeMeo says:


        Anglo Saxon whiteness is just a meaningless racial perception. They have been racially and culturally more “polluted” more than almost any other racial/ethnic group due to geographical and historical chance.

        I’m half German, and my pure Anglo Saxon grandmother pretty clearly had Asian racial characteristics as part of her racial makeup. Read a history book, for god’s sake.

        Northern Europe is a triumph of racial and cultural mixing.

  4. djf says:

    Through the smug and silly HCBAM acronym, Arnold reveals his lack of understanding of people who don’t want their own culture replaced in the place where they live – something true of just about all people everywhere except in the West over the last 50 years or so (for some reason, nobody calls Mexicans “Nazis” or other names based on Mexico’s restrictive immigration policies). People who do not want to see their own culture replaced, and worry about the negative economic effects of excessive immigration on themselves and their children, are not disputing the humanity of people of other cultures – they just want their own culture to survive in their own country, and to avoid those economic effects.

    What Arnold seems not to understand is that opposition to excessive immigration, and conservatism in general, is intended to preserve something positive – the country’s existing culture – not primarily to stave off “barbarism.” Latin Americans, for example, are not “barbarians,” they just are not “Americans” (in the sense of being part of US culture) and inundating the country with unlimited numbers of them will change the culture in ways some of us don’t want. Attachment to one’s own culture is part of human nature, it is not some sort of pathology nor is it “arbitrary” or “irrational,” any more than love of one’s own family.

    Those who want to flood the West with non-Western immigrants see nothing wrong with being attached to their own smug, affluent, flamboyantly “progressive” subculture – which the immigrants do not yet threaten. In fact, they seem to want the immigration more as a way of destroying the despised general, middle-class culture than to glean the benefits of the “enrichment” supposedly brought by unskilled peasants from the Third World. Arnold at least has the insight to recognize the hate on the open-borders side of the debate.

    And, it should be obvious by now that Trump’s immigration-restrictionist posture is an act. And his hardcore fan base supports him because they find his act entertaining, not because they care so much about his administration achieving anything. So the open-borders crowd should be thrilled with Trump – he seems to be finishing off the possibility of any effective opposition to their agenda.

    • asdf says:

      Yes, people want to preserve something positive. However, the Know-Nothings wanted to do that too. So why were they wrong about Germans or Irish (who were able to assimilate to WASP norms thus preserving what they wanted to protect)? The main reason is that with all we know now Germans and Irish aren’t that genetically different from WASPs.

      However, NAMs are much genetically distant, so that’s why it makes sense to both belief the earlier threat was overblown while the new one is real. It’s important that we recognize the barbarian nature of the new immigration, otherwise people will just point at 1900 and go “you were wrong about it last time”.

      As for Trump, cucks have had since 1980 to stop mass third world immigration and they failed every time. They also openly despise the average whites, and Kristof and others neocons are on record saying they want to replace them. With a track record like that, most people figure they will roll the dice on an unknown.

    • Octavian says:

      The family analogy doesn’t work in your favor, unless you believe members of your family are exclusively entitled to any and all land their ancestors ever held (regardless of whether they sold or abandoned it).

      It’s also a stupid analogy. People love their adopted children and in-laws despite not being blood relatives. Beyond that, I have no more ‘connection’ to a stranger in Dearborn than one in Seoul.

      Well, if nothing else these last few months have reconfirmed that nationalism is usually the psychological refuge of those who need to hide behind arbitrarily defined collective identities from their lack of individual accomplishments.

      • djf says:

        Octavian, you’re attributing to me a lot of crap I never said. I said nothing about limiting immigration to people of the same “blood.” I certainly never said anything about people of the same “blood” being entitled to keep all the land they ever occupied. All I said was that it was rational and nonarbitrary for people to want to preserve their own culture in the place where they live, and to avoid levels of immigration that harm themselves, and equally legitimate for the government to formulate immigration policy to satisfy that desire on the part of its citizens. That does not mean no immigration (probably like most people who read this blog, I’m descended from non-British post-Civil War immigrants) – just immigration at levels that does not threaten to displace the existing culture. (This was obviously easier to do back when the government, academia, the media and industry were not officially committed to promoting “diversity.”) If you think it is arbitrary and irrational to desire to preserve one’s own culture and to pass it on to one’s descendants, and to keep immigration at levels that does not cause economic harm to most of your fellow citizens, your problem is with human beings as they actually are, not with me. If open-borders types would take a break from their perennial self-congratulation and engage in a bit of self-reflection for a change, they would realize that they’re comfortable with unlimited immigration because it has not yet had negative effects on the subculture of their own affluent bubbles. And, as I said, and even Arnold seems to recognize, the push for open borders is largely motivated by the hatred of the “enlightened” affluent for middle class American culture.

        The libertarian open-borders position depends on the argument that it is somehow morally wrong to keep out anyone, from anywhere on Earth, who wants to move here. I suppose it is based on the strict libertarian that the use of force is only ever moral to prevent force or fraud or, perhaps, public health hazards. I have never heard a convincing argument for that position. In fact, it is the libertarian position that I would call arbitrary and irrational. Perhaps that’s ad hominem, but so is most of the snooty derision of immigration restrictionists coming from people like Jeffrey Friedman and yourself.

      • Roger Sweeny says:

        nationalism is usually the psychological refuge of those who need to hide behind arbitrarily defined collective identities

        I’d be interested to know what “collective identities” you think are not arbitrary. Are there any?

        • asdf says:

          He think all non-chosen identities are arbitrary because he is a blank slatist. It’s a necessary pre-condition to being a radical individualist.

          This debate is always a waste of time because you’re either acknowledging reality or your not. It’s frustrating when people who know better call something arbitrary when they damn well know it isn’t arbitrary.

          • Octavian says:

            Given your forays into discredited eugenics I do t think you’re in induction to admonish others abou reality.

            The debate is probably a waste of time. Either you have a conscience or you don’t.

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