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Archive for April 4th, 2019

Implications of diversity – diversity and security

Posted by picard578 on April 4, 2019

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Human society is built on commonality. Greek ἔθνος (ethnos) comes from ἔθω (éthōI am accustomed, wont (to something)), but its meaning is “group of people: tribefamily“. Latin natio means “related to place of birth”, and originates from nascor (to be born); it can mean “nation”, “people”, “race”, “class”. It can be seen that civic nationalism is thus an aberration; original, actual meaning of nationalism is exclusively ethnic one.

Consequences of dominance of civic nationalism can be seen above. While diversity of peoples, cultures, races etc. is extremely useful – it is one of main drivers of progress – it can also be damaging. The question is one of borders. Common culture, mentality and characteristics allow people to live together without having to walk on eggshells all the time. It allows society to direct its energies outwards, towards a common goal.

Conversely, a society that is internally heterogenous will divide itself into multiple subsocieties. It will spend its energies on internal friction instead of directing them externally. And if friction is significant enough – if society is diverse enough – then society will eventually destroy itself. This friction can take various forms, depending on nature and intensity: from people ignoring each other, to different groups forming their own exclusive communities, to members of particular group being pushed out of certain areas, to open conflict and even civil war. All except the last are in evidence in the Western Europe.

The only solution to this was one employed by the Roman Empire. Now, unlike what BBC would like to portray, the Empire was not racially diverse, being almost exclusively Caucasian, as can be seen from Septimius Severus’ reaction to seeing a black soldier at Hadrian’s wall:

“After inspecting the wall near the rampart in Britain… just as he [Severus] was wondering what omen would present itself, an Ethiopian from a military unit, who was famous among buffoons and always a notable joker, met him with a garland of cypress. And when Severus in a rage ordered that the man be removed from his sight, troubled as he was by the man’s ominous colour and the ominous nature of the garland, [the Ethiopian] by way of jest cried, it is said, “You have been all things, you have conquered all things, now, O conqueror, be a god.” “

(Post murum apud vallum visum in Brittannia… volvens animo quid ominis sibi occurreret, Aethiops quidam e numero militari, clarae inter scurras famae et celebratorum semper iocorum, cum corona e cupressu facta eidem occurrit. quem cum ille iratus removeri ab oculis praecepisset, et coloris eius tactus omine et coronae, dixisse ille dicitur ioci causa: Totum fuisti, totum vicisti, iam deus esto victor.)

(Historia Augusta, ‘Septimius Severus’, 22.4-5)

However, the Empire was culturally and ethnically diverse. The manner in which it dealt with the issue was twofold. First, it made certain to reduce cultural diversity to minimum. Latin was the official language, and peoples of the Empire were made to gradually accept certain tenets of Roman culture, such as religion. Second, along with common culture came the Roman identity – akin to what would today be called civic nationalism, but also much more than that. To be Roman was not to be a barbarian, and this sense of national and cultural superiority helped define and hold together the Roman Empire until the fall of Constantinople in 1453. Third, diversity was strictly on the level of the Empire – individual communities were not diverse, and were given wide autonomy in return for loyalty.

Medieval Roman Empire – also called Byzantine Empire – proved even more resillient than Roman Empire of antiquity, in part because it added Christian faith to already existing common ground of Roman identity and Greek culture. It was also less diverse, especially after losing its African and Levant territories in the aftermath of the Battle of Yarmouk. More recent example are United States, which are based on common culture and belief in God. This is why Americans are often so religious – fervent nationalism and pronounced religiousness are used to compensate for the lack of common ethnic basis.

All of the above has significant military-security implications. Strength of the military is based largely on strength of the society. Strong society produces strong military, weak society produces weak one. Multicultural society is inherently fragile, and is thus easily subverted from within. Further, there had been cases in history where countries had been conquered without firing a shot, merely through mass immigration. This was the case in large areas of Roman Empire after the battle of Yarmouk, and later after the battle of Manzikert. In both cases, battles served as a trigger; but Battle of Manzikert in particular was not, on its own, necessarily catastrophic. What proved catastrophic was the dissolution of the thematic system during the previous century, but especially after the death of Basil II in 1025. Unlike the situation from 7th to 10th centuries, in late 11th century thematic system was in disarray, and people were unable to defend their lands without the presence of full-time professional army which had just been destroyed at Manzikert. As a result, within ten years after Manzikert, Seljuks had conquered – through war and immigration – 78 000 square kilometers of Roman territory.

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