January 29, 2014
How can we compare these groups’ accomplishments? The ultimate test of success in America is making the Forbes 400 of richest people, which remains majority northwest Europeans: 51% in 2012, according to the surname analysis by race/history/evolution notes.
Europeans with distinctive names include Italians at 4.25%, Eastern Europeans at 1.75%, and Greeks at 1.5%, and one Basque (0.25%). For most purposes of 21st-century identity politics, these 7.75% would all be lumped into the general white gentile population for a total of 58.75%.
Middle Easterners (such as Lebanese, Iranian, and Armenian) only make up 1.75%. At present, they are legally classified as white by the federal government and have traditionally been considered white by other American whites. But I’ve been noticing the initial signs of a Flight from White among West Asians who are recognizing that in 21st-century America, membership in the white category doesn’t come with the legendary Invisible Knapsack. Instead, “white” is what they call you when they’re going to try to frame you on second-degree murder charges.
East Asians number only nine of the Forbes 400, or 2.25%. South Asians represent a mere 1.5%.
The two numerically largest minorities constituted less than 1% of the Forbes rich list. The colossal Hispanic minority was only 0.5%, and blacks were represented solely by Oprah.
Judged from the lofty perspective of the Forbes 400, there are really only two main ethnic loci of achievement in the US: the large, diffuse identity group of white gentile Americans and the more concentrated identity of Jews. The rest is more or less Miscellaneous.
But Chua and Rubenfeld’s analysis looking at a number of other ethnicities as control groups is useful for comparing the two most important powerful groups in modern America.
Their foundational realization is that in 21st-century America, it’s better, all else being equal, to declare yourself a minority than to get stuck in the majority.
They argue that successful minorities benefit from three psycho-cultural blessings.
First, each successful minority cherishes its own quasi-racist Group Superiority Complex:
…all of America’s most successful groups believe (even if they don’t say so aloud) that they’re exceptional, chosen, superior in some way.
Second, they suffer an Individual Inferiority Complex: They “tend to feel insecure, inadequate, that they have to prove themselves.” They worry that they are letting down their ancestors and that the majority is out to get them.
Chua and Rubenfeld write:
It’s odd to think of people feeling simultaneously superior and insecure. Yet it’s precisely this unstable combination that generates drive: a chip on the shoulder, a goading need to prove oneself.
Third, these chips on the shoulder combine to make them more disciplined and focused than their more trusting rivals:
America today spreads a message of immediate gratification, living for the moment. But all of America’s most successful groups cultivate heightened discipline and impulse control.
Chua and Rubenfeld note that these three common traits”which I would call ethnocentrism, paranoia, and self-repression”are not liberal virtues:
Paradoxically, in modern America, a group has an edge if it doesn’t buy into”or hasn’t yet bought into”mainstream, post-1960s, liberal American principles.
And yet of the eight minorities, only Mormons are uncool enough to admit they reject liberalism.
Mormons are interesting because they are the minority among minorities”an odd group out whose members publicly aspire to being ordinary Americans, as Americans used to define themselves before the 1960s.
Being an insular sect that pretends to be regular Americans, the Mormons are the only minority that publicly dissents from the reigning worldview that minorities are inherently morally superior to the majority.
But do Mormons actually benefit financially from their strong moral culture? Or does their notorious niceness, their lack of a chip on the shoulder, their shortage of hostility toward the majority keep them from fully cashing in?
It’s not hugely clear that Mormons are particularly high achieving these days. My guess is that Mormons are strong at building a decent community in the absolute middle of nowhere, but whether they are outstanding at navigating 21st-century America is a different question. For example, a Mormon blog finds four Mormons on the Forbes 400, plus a Hungarian immigrant with a Mormon wife, so that’s barely over 1% of the total.
Back in 1981, George Gilder noted that Mormon Utah, with its orderly, self-sufficient communities, was deservedly more prosperous than neighboring Nevada, which Gilder viewed as a society of predatory grifters out to fleece passersby. Yet a generation later, grifting Vegas-style seems to increasingly strike Americans as mainstream and respectable than whatever weird family-oriented non-diverse stuff is going on in Salt Lake City.
But Mitt Romney was beaten solidly by Barack Obama’s Coalition of the Fringes. The defining feature of who voted for Obama in 2012 was identity distance from the traditional norm. The further you saw yourself from being a white Christian married parent, the likelier you were to rebel against the oppressive majority by voting for the president.
Granted, the elements of Obama’s majority of minorities don’t like each other, but a savvy political machine can goad them into hating white men who have their acts together even more.
At least for a while. But the trawling for oppressed minorities has reached the point of comedy with the recent outbreak of World War T, with the self-esteem of “transgendered” individuals becoming the new most important issue in world history.
But how many voters can still get the joke?
Until a half-century ago, it was assumed that the central trajectory of American history was toward greater majority rule. But the moral glamor of the 1960s civil-rights struggle by blacks has been hijacked by an endless string of ambitious groups claiming to be oppressed minorities, even if they make up, say, 35% of the Forbes 400.
But the present minoritarianism is not a principled position. Even when whites become a minority, as in California, there’s no relenting: instead, Hollywood simply switches into overdrive to recount the historic sins of the former majority.
Perhaps it’s time, for the good of your family, for you to study the secrets of successful minorities. Granted, they won”t make America a better country, but maybe it’s a little too late to worry about that anymore.