What should I ask Eric Kaufmann?

I am doing a Conversation with him, no associated public event.  I am a big fan of his book WhiteShift (perhaps the best book of the year so far?), here is my review.  Here is Wikipedia on Eric:

Eric Peter Kaufmann (born 11 May 1970) is a Canadian professor of politics at Birkbeck College, University of London. He is a specialist on Orangeism in Northern Ireland, nationalismpolitical demography and demography of the religious/irreligious.

Eric Kaufmann was born in Hong Kong and raised in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. His ancestry is mixed with a quarter Chinese and a quarter Latino. His father is of Jewish descent, the grandfather hailing from Prostejov in the modern Czech Republic. His mother is a lapsed Catholic; he himself attended Catholic school for only a year. He received his BA from the University of Western Ontario in 1991. He received his MA from the London School of Economics in 1994 where he subsequently also completed his PhD in 1998.

Here is Eric’s home page.  He’s also written on what makes the Swiss Swiss, American exceptionalism, and whether the Amish will outbreed us all.

So what should I ask Eric?


Ask him if he thought it was amusing when in The New Yorker


Isaac Chotiner is asking him about immigration and then gets obsessed with pre-1968 redlining, which of course has virtually nothing to do with post-1965 immigrants. Why does the conventional wisdom assume that the best way to make it up to old-time African Americans is to let in tens of millions of immigrants?

Geez, this is why I burn handles. The "parodies" get boring, and I have no interest in "imposter!" "imposter!" games.

So tear it up, ʕ •ᴥ•ʔ won't be me again. There are many character strings free in the world.

Most of the people who get parodied on here have it coming.

Really? It has always struck me that if someone makes a poor argument, you can address that directly, or mount data to show a converse.

It's only if arguments are strong that you must pull one of the base tricks:

- ad hominem

- misattribution

- straight up forgery

It's a sign of weakness.

Lulz. Dunning and Kruger, call your office.

There you go. When that's the best you've got, you've defined yourself neatly.

The mouse loves the race topic so much he touches himself under the table.

It's a good thing there is no such thing as race.

@Steve, Thanks for the link to the interview.

What I read is that the interviewer asked about structural racism. Then Mr. Kaufmann answered he has not seen evidence of contemporary structural racism in the US.

While a lot of people may not agree with this premise that segregation is just an outcome of free personal choices, his premise is 100% testable and falsifiable. So, whatever he's right or wrong, it can be tested.

Because this part of correcting historical racial injustice is not about segregationist policies against African Americans.

Racists like the Trumpian Eisenhower instigated Operation Wetback against American citizens (whom you claim to defend) by deporting them in the millions.

This land always belonged to Mestizos. They have a claim to the land that goes back tens of thousands of years. White arrivals, like Steve, need to understand all of the continent is theirs, to do with what they will. And yet all they ask is to move here, work freely, collect benefits, and vote Democrat.

You should be grateful. When they decide to vote to take your stolen wealth, then you have a right to complain. And Sotomayor will cry tears of joy at the final realization of racial justice.

Ha! Nice troll! Nice try!

Would be interesting to ask about the future of loyalism in Northern Ireland as its constituency shrinks... and whether there are parallels with how other declining ethnic majorities in the West will cope with a more secular and diverse future

In this interview he talks about the difference between Québec and the rest of Canada: https://lactualite.com/societe/le-probleme-des-blancs/

The difference Mr. Kaufmann describes is that Québec is implementin, or planning to implement, measures (AKA regulations) to slowdown immigration while in the rest of Canada even talking about it is deemed as racist.

Mr. Kaufmann says that the important thing is that voters have choice, it doesn't matter if voter's stance is pro or anti-immigration. His prediction is that by taking into account the concerns of citizens, such as in Québec, extreme-right movements will not arise.

So, controversy is served.

My question is how would a political scene that takes into account the concerns of the whites look like?. Is the Québec experiment enough or a more profound transformation is needed?

A second question: how to manage this policy change without empowering the 0.001% of radical and violent racists that are always looking for validation?

There is a wildcard factor here: legislation to introduce proportional representation in Quebec elections will be introduced before October 1st of this year, and actually has a good chance of passing. There is broad consensus among the major political parties. Even the holdout Quebec Liberals now seem to be coming around. Crucially, no referendum is planned — that's been the doom of many a failed reform in other provinces.

Why does this matter? Proportional representation facilitates the proliferation of less-moderate political tendencies.

It's hard to say how this will play out. The existing social democratic parties have traditionally been shortchanged under the current system. But a new system will also see the emergence of entirely new right-wing parties, as in Europe.

Mr. Kaufmann claims that western countries should encourage mixed marriages because the resulting children will identify themseves as "white". Barack Obama identified himself as "black" beside being raised by his maternal grandparents who were "white".

Plus, of course, there are institutional affirmative-action advantages to identifying as non-white.

My kids are mixed race: African. Amerindian, and white. When they ask me which should they choose when it's time to check the race box, I tell them to check whatever they want but I explain the benefits of checking the black box.

I am looking forward to the reparations free lunch. Maybe it will ease my retirement.

It is not that simple.


I second Massimo Maraziti's question, or at least a comparable version. Obama was raised by a white single mother and her white greatparents. The marriage of his mother to a Kenyan was divorced when Obama was 3 years old.

Nevertheless, he identifies himself as black, and basically, black only, not black-white 50:50 or something like that.

Is this just an anecdote or does it contradict his theory?

Ask him why he thinks Wikipedia is so obsessed with his personal ancestry and his mother's religion.

'Because people of color are obsessed with race, even though race doesn't exist.'

Not a single African I have ever known cared about 'race' at all, the white South Africans (and a white Rhodesian) excepted. Americans, however, are obsessed with the subject.

'How can you tell if a white person is white?'

Looking at how that question has been answered over several centuries of American history shows just how thoroughly the social construction of race is real, even though in these more enlightened times, we disregard Benjamin Franklin's advice on how to keep America white - by excluding swarthy Swedes, among other such non-white Europeans, like basically all Germans.

'It's all so confusing'

Well, only if one believes that race is somehow something other than a concept whose flexibility over the years remains one of its more fascinating aspects.

What about those red-haired freckle-faced people that migrated to the USA during the 1840s and 1850s and were sacrificed by the tens of thousands to free black people from slavery?

I don't think Potato famine immigrants were abnormally well-represented in the military during the Civil War.

Wikipedia is typically quite forthcoming on the ethnicity of individuals being profiled. In contrast, my 1971 edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica was more opaque on ethnicity. Some of the difference is no doubt due to Wikipedia having more length than the printed EB, but some of it appears to represent a generational change over the last half century.

Chinese in Vancouver (where Kaufmann was raised) even has a Wikipedia page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_Canadians_in_Greater_Vancouver#Place_of_origin

There's even a reality tv show about ultra rich Asian (i.e., Chinese) girls in Vancouver: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HBICtv:_Ultra_Rich_Asian_Girls

You just never know what links are filtered here - the virginia places org web site describes itself this way - 'This website is an exploration of Virginia history and geography. History helps us understand things that have happened, and geography examines the places where things have happened... or will be happening.'

It also highlights this - 'NOTE: GGS380: Geography of Virginia will be taught at George Mason University in Fall, 2019. It is a hybrid course using this online content, plus classes meeting every other week on the Fairfax Campus from 1:30–2:45pm '

That's right, this web site apparently filters a link to material actually used at GMU. Really, it is just easier to stick to wikipedia links.

I never understand your contributions to this blog.

President Captain Bolsonaro has officially been invited to visit Dallas.

All you need to understand is that Brazil and America, President Captain Bolsonaro and Trump, must together launch nukes at Red China and heathen India. If they do not, civilization will be destroyed.

It's not rocket science! I mean, except for launching the nukes, I guess.

That is the impersonator.

The commenting is so loosely and tenuously tied to identity that it's just noise. I think part of it is intentional to lower the friction for new/infrequent commenters -- so ideas flow freely. On the other hand, one does have to scroll past trolls and spam.

Exactly. President Captain opposes the so-called identity policies. He said leftist are trying to Blacks against Whites.

dallas is the capital of the American hoi-polloi

No, it is not. Former American President Bush has organized President Captain Bolsonaro's visit.

Good info keep it up

Ask him about the Sikh in Vancouver. It is an interesting situation; there was a war in their home country. There were radical elements who raised funds for the cause, not unexpected. Since there was a religious element, there was a turn among some towards fundamentalism, which manifested itself in open battles in the temples in around Vancouver and area. There were journalists shot, a passenger aircraft blown out of the sky near Ireland. The police were lost, unable to either approach the situation as it was. Essentially the Canadian Sikh community dealt with the issue themselves, the moderates taking control of the temples and communities. I consider this a very interesting situation where so much could be learned.

Second, ask him what he thinks of media using the term 'racialized' to describe minority groups. I don't know where it comes from and why, but I tend to turn them off when they start using the term.

1. Why not ask him if 'modular national identity' is BS he's trying to sell to people like him or BS he's trying to sell to politicians or BS he's trying to sell to the rest of us?

2. Why not ask him where he'd go if he were persona non grata in Britain and Canada?

3. Why not ask him where he'd live if only wage jobs were open to him?

4. Why not ask him why his stratum in society has no loyalty to the rest of us, and what the rest of us should do about it?

Well, TC did boast in his interview with Knausgard that "we like different questions here," and I doubt Kaufmann has been asked any of those on his book tour.

I might challenge him to conduct the interview with a moratorium on mentioning Trump, just to see if it might yield anything of more lasting interest.

#4: stratum? That's Latin and you spelled it correctly.

If you want to portrait yourself as "the rest of us" try using simple English and fake a spelling mistake every 10 words next time.

My questions: a) He says that data shows there is little difference between attitudes to immigrants between Scotland and England, and at the same time the Scots are more 'remain' and the English more 'leave'. What accounts for this? b) More fatuously, does he expect to see "Trumpy" sects take root in the developing world, much as Orange Orders have in West Africa? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orange_Order#West_Africa

A newly independent Scotland would face far less economic disruption if it seamlessly maintained EU membership. So pro-independence Scots tilt the scales toward remain, and that's nearly half the population.

Re a), Scotland gets fewer migrants, so it's easier to talk on the one side of the mouth about "civic nationalism" that cares about not about deep cultural values and history but about nominal acceptance of a civic credo, and on the other about deeply different "Scottish values" that the English are purported not to hold. There's no need to be consistent, as the blather is never tested by reality.

For Scots, the EU then much more becomes a opportunity for virtue signalling on internationalist values, notionally supported as suppressing the English, and a vehicle for trade benefits without having to pay the cost of mass migrations. The most significant objections come from the fishermen...

Something I read recently, about an Amish community having convened not for a barn-raising but to privately get a modern clinic opened in their midst, with a doctor well-versed in the terrible genetic disorders their children are given to (200 founder families?), made me think that perhaps, this is how a way of life begins to end. Just an unbidden passing thought.

Friends and I were going on a day trip a couple counties away. I asked tripadvisor where to eat lunch in the area. I told my husband the consensus seemed to favor a Mennonite concern. ("Hopefully they're Mexican Mennonites," he quipped.) They turned out to be ... well, Anabaptists, yes, but sort of newmade ones. That is, they had seemingly in the 70s been NYC Godspell-ish hippie Christians doing charity work, I later learned; were at work in the world, and then agreed to withdraw, had moved west and finally settled on this piece of land, made it productive and attractive, growing all their own food, etc. The women wore very ostentatiously ugly shoes, we noticed, and long skirts. It was a place of bustling commerce, long waits to get into the restaurant, several stores. True to form, no proselytizing whatsoever. Everything tidy and shipshape. No sassy church sign, an art form down here, out front. I knew immediately they were Yankees, confirming it later on their internet page (which emphasized, "We are not Branch Davidians").

Essentially, having enacted the Benedict option, back when country wasn't cool. It was a nice little tourist mecca. Not easy to pull off convincingly, though - somehow the shoes and tightly-pulled back hair (hey, we were all little girls once - we know that hurts!) jarred with everything else designed to appeal to the eye.

Kaufmann: "Insisting that whites’ ethnic attachments are racist results in far worse effects – giving power to right-wing populists such as Donald Trump – than conducting a reasoned debate about the appropriate pace of ethnic change."

This reads rather circularly to me. 'Insisting white Americans are racist results in racism by these white American racists who then briefly throw roadblocks in the way of their orderly disappearance, which is a thing most urgently to be desired.'

Does insisting on continual, constant recourse to the term "racism," or, alternatively, insisting that it is the worst of all possible sins*, make it more or less likely that we will see the preservation of any good ideas (which is all that can really matter, and I'm gonna go out on a limb - I'm not comfortable with Anabaptism being *it*) that were generated by the whites/racists? Or is the idea of racism itself that group's highest and only achievement ...?

*"Othering" in general: I noticed with this week's school shooting, the media quickly, seamlessly, perhaps even unconsciously - adopted the meme that this one was different, less horrifying perhaps, because there was something more horrifying in the frame: bullying of "trans" students.

what is the postmodern meaning of that new j.x.s. mexican gang graffiti they painted on the wall of the 17th street tunnel ?

Ask him about the recent settlement of $20 million USD by the City of Minneapolis to an Australian woman who was shot dead by a Minneapolis police officer of Somali decent. The settlement was agreed to shortly after the police officer was convicted of third degree murder.

'to the family of an Australian woman'...

Essentially, Kaufmann says that there is no way of changing anti-immigrant sentiment; don't try to convince people to accept demographic change.

Isn't he making the same mistake by asking leftists/centrists to overhaul their position stances to accommodate anti-immigrant sentiment? How is that going to happen?

I'd request to hear both Cowen and Kaufmann's basic moral view of where different people and groups the right to have an identity and a culture or on what terms they are allowed to compete for their particular identity + culture or exclude other people or identities. To Cowen particularly, do universities have a moral right to build their particular social culture and identity and privilege and exclude outsiders?

I applaud Cowen's coverage of Kaufmann. It shows genuine intellectual curiosity and openness to discuss with rival views. I hope all the immigration skeptics that flood the comments on this site appreciate this and consider Kaufmann as a potential representative of their viewpoint.

An interesting number of thought leaders on the alt-right are whites who were either born or raised in Japan. Jared Taylor is one, William Johnson is another. Over here in Australia, there is a mainstream commentator named Miranda Divine who is not alt-right herself, but holds common cause with them on some issues. She attended high school in Japan. As someone who spent his formative years in Tokyo, does Prof Kaufmann have any insights on why this might be the case?

In Kaufman’s proposed new world, how do the descendants of African slaves ever become white?

Every living human is the descendent of slaves and slavers. The history of mankind is filled with tragedy and wrongdoing that the living have forgotten.

Kaufmann discusses how the the US in the past practiced ethnic assimilation where people of other ancestry ethnically assimilated into the White Protestant core of the US.

It's actually pretty obvious how black people could join an expanded ethnic group with white people.

It seems to me that the categorization of "white people" is set up to prevent that, still after all these years.

As a first-gen Swiss-American with roots in central Switzerland (Nidwalden) and Bern, I read Eric's article on the Swiss exception and found it very interesting. I'd ask him three questions about it. First, why does his analysis not point to the military strength of Swiss cantons and their willingness to make deals to protect each other as a key part of Swiss history, akin to the shared work in the Netherlands to maintain its dikes in the late Middle Ages? The internal Swiss development of negotiation with a management of threats of violence is imho important and a lesson to other ethnic conflicts. It's also enshrined in its Catholic history by the saint Bruder Klaus. Second, Eric's piece emphasizes an organic history back to 1291 in the Alpine cantons. From my relatives, I'd ask to what extent this so-called history is a remnant of WWII propaganda that declared the inner cantons a "Retreat" against threats of German Nazi invasion. My father, who was in his twenties in the WWII period, had a very standard Goethe-Schiller education at the Einsiedeln Benedictine monastary, and in many respects the pre-WWII culture may have been fairly close to Bavaria rather than proudly and stiffly Swiss as it appears today. My father's family, which was politically strong in Nidwalden, was also deeply influenced by the experience of Napoleon's conquest and dominion over Switzerland in the late 1700s/early 1800s as well, no different in such respects from Western Germany. Has there been any research in the transformation of Swiss national identity from the resistance to Nazism and the propaganda of that period? Third, it's well known that Swiss economy has long been deeply indebted to immigrant leadership and its reputation as a refuge for foreign dissenters. For example, most of the faculty of the ETH at the turn of the 20th century was foreign, and Basel's history is filled with immigrants, from Erasmus to Calvin to Nietzsche. My last question then is if Switzerland as an economic entity was always open and one of the earliest examples of an international market economy? Certainly the mercenary economy must have made foreign money exchange a normal practice. My apologies for length here, use what you like.

White is not an ethnicity.

If you are curious and skin tone is all you got, spring for a DNA test. They are cheap, and will tell you something a bit more specific and legit than matching tones as-if at the paint store.

Please ask him how important he thinks culture is as an explanation for economic/social performance and what are the implications of this for immigration policy. (My priors (which I think overlap with yours, Tyler): I think that culture (broadly understood) is very important. The implications being that immigration can not be unlimited (in order for assimilation to work AND to avoid political backlash) AND not all immigrants are the same since some cultures are easier to assimilate than others.)

I'm curious about his thoughts on the relationship between intellectual curiosity (exploring ideas, places, history outside of one's own immediate circumstance) and major issues like migrations, climate change action, and social equity. Can a broader understanding or different moral position be realized without first-hand experience, such as the college exposure of Derek Black to different cultural norms? What does the answer imply in places where a liberal education is openly denounced or income inequalities so severe that a narrow focus on the immediate is necessary?

Wise and learned scientists inform us that race is not a useful concept. We should think in terms of populations they aver. Yet, the United States census and many government programs are built on the regulatory definitions of race. Is reform needed? What would such a reform look like?

Since racial and ethnic identity groups are defined to provide standing to advance grievances against other such groups, wouldn't such populations best be labelled "hate groups?" The sole function of identity groups today appears to be to legitimate ones hatred of other groups.

Should the United States explicitly in law or regulation disavow the one drop rule? If not, is there any reason why individuals like Elizabeth Warren should not be able to claim to be Native Americans based upon some distant ancestor?

The US higher education has fallen under the control of a fundamentalist identatarian sect that has made these unscientific categories of racial identity the center of all scholarship and social programs. This is obviously the dawning of a new dark age. How can the inevitable ratcheting up of horrors of their continued occupation of positions of power in social institutions be averted? Aren't all these notions of identity nebulous anyway and largely arbitrarily adopted and self-serving?

I took up amateur genealogy in my advanced years and discovered that I could trace my lineage back 23 generations to Constance of Castile, daughter of Alfonso VII of León and Castile. Now I get to call myself Hispanic. It would have helped to know this when I was still in the job market. But doesn't this suggest that there are serious flaws in US demographic data?

The fundamentalist identitarian sect that controls academia appears to have an invincible grasp on power. Only drastic measures will be able to restore health to the body politic. Does Paraguay offer a beneficial example? In 1814 the great visionary José Gaspar Rodríguez de Francia in farsighted anticipation of the rise of fundamentalist identity politics banned marriages between individuals of Spanish ancestry. The result is today a gloriously diverse country that is 95% mestizo. Paraguay is also frequently found to be the happiest country on Earthy. Why shouldn't the United States replicate this excellent experience and ban sex between members of the same identity group?

What does he think of the new “Dimensions: Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion” program that the Canadian government has imposed upon all colleges and universities in the country? http://www.nserc-crsng.gc.ca/NSERC-CRSNG/EDI-EDI/Dimensions_Dimensions_eng.asp

Does he find Canada's controls on speech oppressive? Are the US's informal, private restrictions on speech more or less onerous than the Canadian governmental controls?

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