Critical Conversation No. 11 engages world-renowned Canadia demographer Eric Kaufman, Professor of Political Science at Birkbeck College, University of London, whose book Whiteshift is described by The Kirkus Review as “an encyclopedic treatise on ethnic identity, immigration and its consequences”.
Whiteshift argues that ethno-demographic change is reconfiguring western politics from left-right economic questions to ‘nationalist-globalist’ cultural divisions, leading to the rise of national populism. Immigration is a central battleground. Rising diversity also tends to be accompanied by the voluntary segregation of majority populations, geographically and socially.
This is occurring at a time when left-modernism, a hybrid of liberalism and socialism, has established hegemony in elite institutions. Left modernism, by restricting the range of acceptable positions (especially on immigration) that mainstream parties or candidates can espouse, created a market for national populists. Once populists emerge, left-modernism reacts against it, producing a progressive moralist backlash which can result in calls for speech restrictions against national populists. This in turn energizes populists, producing recursive polarization.
While ethnic majorities can fight change through anti-immigration politics, flee it through residential and social avoidance, and repress concerns through political correctness, a fourth response is to join the newcomers in marriage and via the assimilation process. The mixed-race population is the fastest growing one across all countries, and will form the majority of most western populations next century. I argue that this new majority will largely identify with the myths, symbols and collective memories of current white majorities leading to a blurring of racial boundaries but also a continuation of majority of ethnicity rather than the rise of a polycentric multi-ethnic society like Guyana, Dubai or Hawaii.