With his talk today cancelled by the courageous President of Williams College (“hate speech!”), Derb has posted his planned talk “The National Question: Race, Ethnicity, and Identity In the 21st Century“. It’s so full of hate and speech, that it’s uber-Hate-Speech!
Derb frames his talk on the National Question, and pivots around Samuel Huntington’s seminal book “Who Are We?:
Let me come at my answer indirectly by stating the un-conservative approach.
This un-conservative approach says: We, Americans, are a proposition nation. That is to say, we are a nation by virtue of our agreement on a set of propositions about the place of individuals in society, the relationship of the individual to government, and the proper scope of governmental powers.
It’s rather easy to mock this concept of a proposition nation. Suppose I were to trek up into the highlands of Ethiopia, get myself invited into the hut of some illiterate Amhara goatherd, and explain our founding documents to him; and suppose he were to respond with enthusiastic agreement. Did he thereby instantly become an American?
What is a nation, then?
Let me work my way round the back of that by proceeding to the next few words in the title of my talk.
Race, ethnicity, identity. The three nouns “race,” “ethnicity,” and “identity” name three concepts that overlap considerably; whose main difference in fact is not so much in meaning as in provenance—where they come from.
The word “race” comes from biology; the word “ethnicity” comes from sociology; the word “identity” comes from psychology. What they all have in common is the notion of an individual belonging to a group.
Derb goes on to discuss ethnicity as perceived kinship (i.e., the propensity to favor kin over non-kin), the logical fallacy known as “Hitler’s Revenge” (i.e., since despotic ethnonationalism generated the Holocaust, ethnonationalism is therefore evil), the collapse of universalism and the current rise of transformative nationalism.