becoming anglo-saxon

update 10/17: some extra notes in the comments about the gss data here and here. thanks for the thought-filled comments, guys! (^_^)
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bennett and lotus (in America 3.0) have the very right idea that anglo-saxons have been living in absolute nuclear families and behaving very “anglo-saxony” for centuries, but they’ve got, imho, the very wrong idea that if other peoples, non-anglo-saxon peoples, just start living like anglo-saxons in absolute nuclear families, they will — via some sort of cultural osmosis or something — start behaving all anglo-saxony, too. i’m not convinced. where, i would ask, is the evidence for this?

in the comments to one of my previous posts on this subject, i pointed out that, for example, italian american families, most of which have been in the u.s. for multiple generations now, are mostly absolute nuclear families — at least they appear to be on the surface. however, italian americans are really strongly attached to their extended families in ways that anglo-americans simply are not. here’s what i said (or, rather, what i quoted):

from “Community and Identity in Italian American Life” in The Review of Italian American Studies (2000) [pgs. 250-251]:

“Family gatherings…are still part of Italian American life….

“Italian Americans, even the more affluent, remain in inner-city enclaves more than other groups do. When Italian Americans do move, many times two or more generations are involved in the exodus to a new suburban residence. If they do not locate together, Italian American family members find residences within short distances of one another. When upwardly mobile children leave their inner-city parents for the suburbs, they visit them more than any other group. When leaving the extended family, Italian Americans most often move into some modified extended family arrangement characterized by continual economic and social exchanges. Similarly, Italian American middle- and working-class children are more likely to take geographical proximity to the family into account when considering college attendance. Contemporary Italian American youth spread their wings, but not too far.

“Although crude survey data indicate that Italian Americans are increasingly intermarrying, these measures miss the reality that many times it is the non-Italian marriage partner who is drawn into the powerful magnet of the Italian American family. In addition, intermarriage need no diminish the ethnicity of the Italian American partner nor does it mean necessarily that the offspring will not be reared in the Italian American way. Italian Americans are more entrepreneurial than most; family businesses, by definition, provide not only income and independence from outsiders but also keep the family together. Socially mobile Itlaian Americans are willing to sacrifice some career and employment opportunities in order to stay within the orbit of family life.”

and from The Italian American Experience (2000) [pgs. 210-211, 373-374]:

“For a long time, it was believed that this sequence was inevitably moving toward the complete absorption of Italian Americans….

“While intermarriage rates have remained lower than for other groups, exogamy among Italian Americans has greatly increased. Divorce rates, even for the most recent generation, remain very low compared to all other ethnic groups. Italian Americans still maintain a pattern of relatively frequent family contacts, with some studies actually indicating an increase in visiting among relatives for later generations. The strength of family ties has been identified as a deterrent to residential mobility and as a factor in the maintenance of Italian American neighborhoods….

“For Italians, family is an all-consuming ideal as is expressed by Luigi Barzini, among many others. For Italian Americans, ‘families’ usually include grandparents, whose influence on family life can be great….

“*L’ordine della familia*, which connotes precise boundaries, role expectations, and clear values for right and wrong behavior, is taught at a very early age and includes:

“- Always respecting parents and grandparents;
– Placing family needs first, staying physically and psychologically close to other members;
– Not talking about the family to outsiders;
– Sometimes maintaining secrets between family members to maintain personal boundaries; other family members do not need to know everythings, particularly if it will cause harm;
– Showing respect for authority outside of the family, but not trusting it;
– and Working hard, but also enjoying life; livining well is sharing food, music, and companionship with those one loves.”

yeah. just like in every sopranos episode that you ever saw. (~_^) why, then, don’t italian americans behave just like anglo americans? they’ve been in the u.s. a pretty long time now … and they live in absolute nuclear families. ‘sup?
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so i thought i’d check the gss (General Social Survey) to see how anglo-saxony italian americans are. unfortunately, the gss numbers for italian americans with all four grandparents born in the u.s. (in other words, being at least third generation or more, which ought to make one really american, right?) are really tiny. dr*t.

so, i decided to look at german and irish americans instead in comparison to english/welsh americans — to see how anglo-saxony those two groups have become (quick answer for those tl:dr folks out there [SPOILER ALERT!]: not very).

before we start, though, t. greer recently pointed out the ever-present problem in these self-reported sort-of surveys and that is that we’re relying on how the respondents “identify” ethnically. how “german” are any of the “german americans” in the gss? who knows? however, the same problem should apply, i would think, across the board here with the self-identified english/welsh, german, and irish americans (i purposefully have NOT used the “just american” category since i want to get at how anglo americans behave), so it should all even out (i hope).

i’ve picked out questions that related to: “civicness” (see previous posts here and here for more on what that is), because the english are VERY civic-minded; “familism” (see here and here), because the english are NOT very familistic; and a couple of ones related to ideas about government and the u.s. that i thought sounded pretty anglo-saxony and that i just found interesting. let’s start with those.

for all of these questions, i’ve shown the results for respondents with all four grandparents born in the u.s. AND for all respondents — just because i can (and i thought it might be interesting to compare). for ethnicity i selected the “COUNTRY OF FAMILY ORIGIN [ETHNIC]” parameter. [click on charts for LARGER view.]

should we “Allow public meeting protesting the government” [PROTEST 1]?:

gss - anglo saxons - allow public meetings protesting government 02

england/wales: n=455 for all/n=244 for 4 grandparents
germany: n=604/n=248
ireland: n=412/n=151

should we “Allow publications protesting the government” [PROTEST 2]?:

gss - anglo saxons - allow publications protesting government 02

same n’s as above.

“How close do you feel to America” [CLSEUSA]?”:

gss - anglo saxons - how close do you feel to america

england/wales: n=262/n=205
germany: n=367/n=242
ireland: n=245/n=170

wtf german americans?!

so on those three questions there’s anywhere from a four to a fourteen point spread between the responses of german and irish americans versus anglo americans, with anglo americans consistently being more pro allowing protests against the government of different sorts and more pro american. i agree, four points is not much of a difference, but fourteen is — and, as you’ll see below, this is a consistent pattern, i.e. that third+ generation anglo americans are more anglo-saxony than either third+ generation german americans or irish americans.
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the familism questions (again, see previous posts on familism here and here). for all of these:

england/wales: n=96/n=72
germany: n=150/n=100
ireland: n=106/n=70

“How often does R[espondent] contact uncles or aunts [UNCAUNTS]?”:

gss - anglo saxons - how often contact uncles aunts

“How often does R contact nieces or nephews [NIECENEP]?”:

gss - anglo saxons - how often contact nieces nephews

“How often does R contact cousin [COUSINS]?”:

gss - anglo saxons - how often contact cousins

the differences in the familism scores, then, are not that great. still, with the exception of “how often contact nieces/nephews”, both the german and irish american scores reflect greater familism on their part than on the anglo americans. slightly greater, but greater nevertheless.
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finally, the civicness questions (again, see previous posts on civicness here and here). for all of these:

england/wales: n=96, n=72
germany: n=150, n=100
ireland: n=106, n=70

“Participated in a charitable organization in past 12 months [GRPCHRTY]”:

gss - anglo saxons - charitable organization

“Participated in activity of a political party [GRPPOL]”:

gss - anglo saxons - political party

“Participated in activity of a political party [GRPUNION]”:

gss - anglo saxons - trade union

“Participated in activity of church in past 12 months [GRPCHURH]”:

gss - anglo saxons - church

“Participated in sports group in past 12 months [GRPSPORT]”:

gss - anglo saxons - sports group

so, again, with the exception of participation in a sports group, the anglo americans score higher than the other two groups on all of the questions. the differences range from just two points to eighteen. in the case of sports, german americans scored just a tad (one point) higher in participation than anglo americans and irish americans four points, but anglo americans are out in front on the other four civic behaviors.

you might be thinking that the not-all-that-great differences in civicness scores between these three groups illustrates that german and irish americans are, in fact, becoming more like anglo americans. (why it should be taking so long is curious though — these are THIRD+ generation groups after all.) however, if we look at the very same questions from the world values survey (2005-2008 wave), we find the SAME pattern!: great britain ahead of germany on all the civicness metrics. (unfortunately, ireland was not included in this wvs wave.) (see also previous post.)

great britain: n=1012-1035
germany: n=2039-2050

note that non-whites are included in these figures. ethnicity was, apparently, not asked in germany, because … well, you know … everybody’s the same, so i didn’t parse out non-whites from the results for britain, either. doesn’t seem to make much difference to the scores — one point here and there — since there are not that many non-whites included in the british survey.

gss - anglo saxons - wvs civicness metrics

as you can see, same patterns again: great britain ahead of germany on all of these civicness measurements. and the differences between the two populations — the (mostly) anglos in britain and the (mostly) germans in germany — are very similar to the differences between the two populations in the u.s. — AFTER THREE+ GENERATIONS of being in the u.s.!:

– charitable organization: u.s.=11%, euro=21%
– political party: u.s.=6%, euro=6%
– trade union: u.s.=5%, euro=8%
– church: u.s.=3%, euro=1%
– sports group: u.s.=1% (higher in germany), euro=5%

i strongly suspect that german americans are not becoming like anglo americans, or if they are, it’s NOT happening very quickly. german americans:anglo americans::germans:anglos. nor do i see any reason to think that other groups like the irish or the italians are becoming anglo-saxons either.
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the evidence i’ve presented is not conclusive. obviously. (it’s just a blog post!) Further Research is RequiredTM.

anglo-saxons — or the english of today — have been living in absolute nuclear families for a very long time, but this is more of a symptom of anglo-saxonness than its cause (although there undoubtedly has been feedback between the family type and societal structures). it took the anglo-saxons a looong time to get from being a kindred-based germanic “tribe” to the anglo-saxony individualistic-collectivistic english society that we know today (and have known since about the 1200s-1400s). it’s going to take other societies a similarly looong time to get to the same place — if they will even ever get to exactly the same place — since we are talking about biological processes here including the selection for certain behavioral traits. simply plunking germans — let alone italians (especially southern italians!) — down in absolute nuclear families will NOT turn them into anglos overnight. apparently it won’t even turn them into anglos in three+ generations.

no. anglo-saxons are exceptional. innately so. we should try not to destroy that, since it benefits so many of us.

previously: the anglo-saxons and america 3.0 and the saxons, the anglo-saxons, and america 3.0 and civic societies and civic societies ii and hispanic family values and familism in the u.s. of a.

(note: comments do not require an email. mustachioed bird!)

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41 Comments

  1. I think atomic families were beneficial once as it allowed the creation of modern nation states. Today maybe not so much as economic competition in declining economies heats up, it puts Anglos at a disadvantage .

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  2. Who would want to turn Germans into “Anglos,” anyway? We see which population is doing better overall (to be fair, the Germans will be wiped out demographically as well despite being a higher-IQ and more productive population than the “Anglos”; now, that sucks).

    It’s over for the “Anglos,” no matter how much their cheerleaders dislike it. Such is life. :(

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  3. via some sort of cultural osmosis or something — start behaving all anglo-saxony, too. i’m not convinced. where, i would ask, is the evidence for this? SO Then how is it that whitey or anglo or whatever has no problem to start behaving like ghetto thug black dumbed down culture….you know white kids acting like wiggers…is this thru some kind of African American juju of osmosis….LMFAO!…knome watt im sayin yo yo yo…iz that beez raciss and sheeeet! LMFAO!

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  4. @mike – “SO Then how is it that whitey or anglo or whatever has no problem to start behaving like ghetto thug black dumbed down culture….you know white kids acting like wiggers…”

    acting is the key word there, i think. kids just acting in a certain way.

    the behavioral patterns i’m talking about that are connected to the anglos’ absolute nuclear family and individualism-collectivism are much less transient than clothing styles or musical tastes or use of slang. i’m talking about corruption (or the comparative lack of it in the anglo world), the ability to maintain (more or less) liberal democracies (fwiw), relative lack of nepotism, general trust, etc., etc.

    what you’re talking about is just flash-in-the-pan stuff. i’m talking about what builds societies — what builds different societies.

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  5. @loleurope – “We see which population is doing better overall….”

    i wouldn’t want to live in a germanic society. too much pressure for conformity for my tastes (ORDNUNG!). but that’s just me. (growing up in the midwest prolly didn’t help.)

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  6. “before we start, though, t. greer recently pointed out the ever-present problem in these self-reported sort-of surveys and that is that we’re relying on how the respondents ‘identify’ ethnically. how ‘german’ are any of the ‘german americans’ in the gss? who knows? however, the same problem should apply, i would think, across the board here with the self-identified english/welsh, german, and irish americans (i purposefully have NOT used the ‘just american’ category since i want to get at how anglo americans behave), so it should all even out (i hope).”

    Actually, no, I don’t think you can make that assumption. As Greg Cochran notes, certain “ancestries” have been more fashionable than others at different times. So we can’t conclude that “English” Americans are just as English as “German” Americans are German.

    Worse still, in a country where most Whites are basically Euro-mutts, there may be systematic differences between those who choose to identify as “English” as opposed to “German” despite both being perhaps equal mixes of each. As fun as it is to look at, this sort of analysis is largely useless, sadly.

    If we were to get some genetic data, that would be different. ;)

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  7. @jayman – “As fun as it is to look at, this sort of analysis is largely useless, sadly.”

    perhaps. and, of course, i’d rather have the genetic data, too! (^_^)

    but, then, if self-identified english- and/or german-americans aren’t really english and/or german, it’s even more curious that the civicness, etc., patterns should be the same in the u.s. AND in europe (not to mention around the world — as i showed in my previous civic societies posts, anglo societies everywhere are more civic than all the other european societies). perhaps that’s just a coincidence, but i think likely not.

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  8. we can try to get at a better understanding of gss respondents’ ethnic backgrounds — at least as the respondents understand them — by looking at the responses to the ethn1, ethn2, and ethn3 questions.

    in the “ethnic” question (the one that i used in the post), the respondents are asked the country of origin of their family. however, their first, second, and third responses are also recorded (if they have that many — if they have more, i guess those are not recorded). then, i suppose, the respondents are asked to settle on just one country of origin (their response to the “ethnic” question).

    i just looked at the responses for ethn1, and here is what i found for england/wales [n=72]:

    – 81% said england/wales as their first response
    – 8% said germany
    – 7% said ireland
    – 1% said either france, hungary, or mexico

    65% mentioned a second country of origin and 35% mentioned a third.

    amusingly, nearly two-thirds (64%) of those who DIDN’T say england/wales as their first response — i.e. those who responded germany, ireland, france, hungary, or mexico first — were NOT members of a charitable organization (the question i looked at for these numbers), whereas exactly 50% of those who responded england/wales first ARE members. same pattern again! if the other civicness questions show similar results, that would start to be too many coincidences for me. i can check into this further, but not this evening (alas, alack!).

    edit: so that means that the percentage of people with anglo background who say they are members of charitable organizations actually goes UP — from 47% to 50% — when i remove those who did not respond england/wales as their first response. heh!

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  9. Do we know anything much about these German-Americans’ background? Lutheran or Catholic? Working class or middle class? Which particular regions of America they were drawn from?

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  10. From what I’ve heard German is the most common ancestry in America, but those resonses you mention there are 10 times as many of English ancestry. This suggests that it’s socially desirable to be English.

    Since many Americans are mutts (as Jay pointed out) it may be that liberals in general, being less into family and more civic-minded, will think of themselves more as English because of a cultural and ideological affinity – and just plain snobbery.

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  11. @staffan – “…those resonses you mention there are 10 times as many of English ancestry.”

    those numbers were just the first responses of people who ultimately said that their family origin was from england/wales.

    i haven’t looked (yet) at the first repsonses of those whose family origin is from germany.

    to be clear (sorry, i was tired yesterday — oh, and this morning now, too (~_^) ) … there are four questions altogether:

    ETHNIC – country of family origin
    ETHN1 – first response to country of family origin
    ETHN2 – second response to country of family origin
    ETHN3 – third response to country of family origin

    i don’t know how the questions are structured/asked (i shall have to find out), but i imagine that the interviewer asks: what is your family’s country of origin? and, then, the respondent rambles off one, two, three, four, etc. — however many — countries of family origin. then, i’m guessing, the interviewer must ask the respondent to pick one — the one they most identify with, i guess. or, perhaps, the one from which most of the person’s ancestors came from. dunno.

    (did that make any sense? (*^_^*) )

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  12. @chris – “Do we know anything much about these German-Americans’ background?”

    good questions, thanks! since i was back rummaging around in the database, i figured i’d pull out the numbers for the anglo americans, too.

    @chris – “Lutheran or Catholic?”

    germany:
    74% protestant
    21% catholic
    3% other
    3% none

    england/wales:
    85% protestant
    9% catholic
    0.5% orthodox (1 person)
    1% other
    5% none

    so, more catholics amongst the german americans.

    @chris – “Which particular regions of America they were drawn from?”

    these are the census designated areas.

    germany:
    NEW ENGLAND = 2%
    MIDDLE ATLANTIC = 6%
    E. NOR. CENTRAL = 19%
    W. NOR. CENTRAL = 19%
    SOUTH ATLANTIC = 13%
    E. SOU. CENTRAL = 8%
    W. SOU. CENTRAL = 15%
    MOUNTAIN = 8%
    PACIFIC = 10%

    england/wales
    NEW ENGLAND = 3%
    MIDDLE ATLANTIC = 11%
    E. NOR. CENTRAL = 17%
    W. NOR. CENTRAL = 1%
    SOUTH ATLANTIC = 28%
    E. SOU. CENTRAL = 14%
    W. SOU. CENTRAL = 8%
    MOUNTAIN = 7%
    PACIFIC = 11%

    no big surprises there, i think.

    @chris – “Working class or middle class?”

    there’s some data for income which is … ehhh … not really that helpful. it sorta breaks down the various degrees of low-income groups and then shuffles the rest into a <$25,000 group. but here they are, fwiw:

    germany:
    $0-$9,999 = 9%
    $10,000-$14,999 = 5%
    $15,000-$19,999 = 3%
    $20,000-$24,999 = 6%
    $25,000 or over = 72%
    refused = 4%

    england/wales:
    $0-$9,999 = 6%
    $10,000-$14,999 = 9%
    $15,000-$19,999 = 7%
    $20,000-$24,999 = 9%
    $25,000 or over = 65%
    refused = 6%

    more $25,000 or over in the german american group, then. again, no surprises there (esp. given the regional distribution of the anglo americans).

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  13. @jayman – “As Greg Cochran notes, certain ‘ancestries’ have been more fashionable than others at different times. So we can’t conclude that ‘English’ Americans are just as English as ‘German’ Americans are German.”

    i’ve thought about this some more, and i can’t really see why european americans might “systemically” prefer an english ancestry over a german one today.

    in the past, yes, some people may have gone with a euro identity if they could. like greg cochran suggested, a lot of mixed euro+mexican americans might’ve preferred to emphasize their euro ancestry, while today, of course, the reverse is very much true. today, if you’ve got one great-great-grandparent who was cherokee — hallelujah! — you’re native american. (~_^)

    but, unless i’m missing something (which has been known to happen (~_^) ), i can’t see why today an anglo american would prefer to “identify” as a german american — or vice versa. in fact, i would think that with the removal of all the mixed euro+mexican americans, etc., who perhaps exaggerated their euro ancestry in the past, we might now be left with actual euro americans in the survey.

    note that all of the familism and civicness questions above were from the 2001 survey (the Social Relations and Support Systems 2001 ISSP module), so we’re not comparing, say, “anglo americans” from 1972 with those from today. the other questions related to the government came from the 2006 survey (the Role of Government IV 2006 ISSP module).

    we’re still left, of course, with the problem of self-assessment. i think we can try to evaluate their self-assessments a bit better with the ETHN1-3 responses, but still — how anglo are these anglo americans really? without genetic data, hard to tell. however, i don’t think the gss data are AS bad as they might first appear.

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  14. @HBD Chick:

    “i’ve thought about this some more, and i can’t really see why european americans might “systemically” prefer an english ancestry over a german one today.”

    Staffan touches on what I’m getting at. Regardless of the underlying ethnic mix, people with certain personalities (and IQ level, etc.) may be more inclined to identify as one nationality over others.

    Indeed, my own investigation into the matter suggested that this was the case:

    A follow-up: Ethnicity and Politics | JayMan’s Blog

    There was a paucity of political moderates among “English” Americans, and an abundance of them among “German” Americans. Audacious Epigone found that political moderates are the least intelligent alignment. This suggest that folks identifying as “English” are a higher IQ group. Razib Khan’s findings would seem to confirm this.

    Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying you haven’t found anything here, especially in lieu of the WVS findings. It’s just that we’re not sure.

    On the WVS findings, even ignoring the effect of immigrants, could the findings be a result of the apparent East-West split in Germany? Maybe a regional breakdown is in order?

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  15. “Italian Americans, even the more affluent, remain in inner-city enclaves more than other groups do. When Italian Americans do move, many times two or more generations are involved in the exodus to a new suburban residence. If they do not locate together, Italian American family members find residences within short distances of one another. When upwardly mobile children leave their inner-city parents for the suburbs, they visit them more than any other group. When leaving the extended family, Italian Americans most often move into some modified extended family arrangement characterized by continual economic and social exchanges. Similarly, Italian American middle- and working-class children are more likely to take geographical proximity to the family into account when considering college attendance. Contemporary Italian American youth spread their wings, but not too far.”

    I wonder how much of this applies to Ashkenazi Americans?

    Reply

  16. @jayman – “There was a paucity of political moderates among ‘English’ Americans, and an abundance of them among ‘German’ Americans. Audacious Epigone found that political moderates are the least intelligent alignment. This suggest that folks identifying as ‘English’ are a higher IQ group.”

    hmmm. but i’ve got more german americans with higher incomes than anglo americans which would suggest the opposite. -?-

    @jayman – “Razib Khan’s findings would seem to confirm this.”

    a large percentage (nearly one third) of my england/wales respondents are from the south (remember i’m looking at just third generation+ ’cause i’m interested in how assimilated these groups are). those are the lowest scorers out of the brits in razib’s study.

    i think i’m looking at quite different sub-groups here.

    @jayman – “It’s just that we’re not sure.”

    oh, yeah. agreed! (^_^)

    @jayman – “On the WVS findings, even ignoring the effect of immigrants, could the findings be a result of the apparent East-West split in Germany? Maybe a regional breakdown is in order?”

    not sure what that would tell us wrt german americans. -?-

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  17. @luke – “BTW, if might be more informative if you could break down those charts in terms of standard deviations.”

    yeah! i can do that (i think). unfortunately, it’s not going to be today (busy!). or even tomorrow. sometime next week, maybe…? (^_^)

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  18. While looking at HLA alleles of different European-American groups in an attempt to find something on German-Americans, I stumbled across a population with a very strange HLA profile. Does anybody know anything about the origins of the European-derived population of Bethesda, Maryland? Sorry for being off-topic.

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  19. If the people who select a specific national identity were distinct from those who selected “just american” then shouldn’t you expect them to match their original national group i.e. does the group who label themselves “just american” contain all the people who have assimilated into the Borg or are the results from that group still very distinct also?

    .

    “anglo-saxons are exceptional. innately so. we should try not to destroy that, since it benefits so many of us.”

    Peoples survive or not on their own merits.

    For any anglos reading this blog who have been going along with PC insanity because you genuinely believed you were creating a better world you need to understand – you’re wrong. The Star Trek Federation fantasy in your head can only work if each wave of immigrants is genetically modified enough (via not marrying close relatives for long enough) and fully culturally assimilated into the Borg before you accept the next wave.

    (numbers * difference) / time

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  20. “plunking germans — let alone italians (especially southern italians!) — down in absolute nuclear families will NOT turn them into anglos overnight.”

    Plunk?

    Overnight?

    You are not attributing this to us, are you? Did you read what we said about the process of assimilation? See, e.g. pp. 53-56 of our book.

    You have shown here that cultural traits among Italians are still apparent after three generations. This is no surprise and no rebuttal. Cultural traits last centuries, as we note. That’s much of the point of the book, the enduring nature of culture. Look at our bibliographic essay for cites to Italian cultural traits.

    The real question: How different are third generation Italian-Americans from Calabrians who never left? Closer to median Americans, or closer to Calabrians on whatever measure of clannishness you want to choose? Betcha the Italian Americans would be horrified by the N’Dranghetta, and not have some genetic impulse to see it as normal.

    And if Italians are biologically determined to be clannish, how come they have changed as much as they demonstrably have in three generations?

    Not seeing it.

    This:

    “no. anglo-saxons are exceptional. innately so. we should try not to destroy that, since it benefits so many of us.”

    What do you mean? Are you suggesting that “Anglo-Saxons” in 2013 not interbreed with others i in the USA? Fat chance. There are too many cute girls from other ethnic backgrounds to keep them on the ranch.

    The last person who tried to make this case in any public way, so far as I can tell, was Josiah Strong. See his book Our Country: Its Possible Future and Its Present Crisis (1885). It was already way too late, even it had been a good idea, which it wasn’t particularly.

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  21. @michael – “Are you suggesting that ‘Anglo-Saxons’ in 2013 not interbreed with others i in the USA?”

    no, of course not. i don’t care who marries whom. that is up to the individuals concerned.

    but i do think it would be a good idea not to allow tens of millions of central americans — or tens of millions of any other population — to immigrate, either legally or illegally, to the u.s. … or britain or canada or australia. especially when we HAVEN’T fully assimilated previous waves of mass immigration — waves which came here over 100 years ago!

    you say on pg. 55: “In particular, the nuclear family seems to be an appeal to many people who come from more tightly bound, extended families.”

    but that’s just not true for italian americans, for one — you should also check out mexican americans who have been here for generations. there is a LOT of research out there on familism in different sub-populations in the u.s. which belies your conclusions that after a few generations in the u.s., immigrants adopt anglo nuclear family ways and all that goes with that. they don’t. they carry on being familistic.

    @michael – “How different are third generation Italian-Americans from Calabrians who never left?”

    i don’t know, but at least i’ve made a (small) attempt to find out (although, unfortunately, like i said in my post, i couldn’t actually use the gss data on italian americans).

    you’re familiar with todd, so you should know that southern italians live(d) in egalitarian nuclear families. this can make it appear on the surface as though italians/italian americans are living their lives like anglos, but it doesn’t have to mean that. if you dig a little deeper, you’ll see that italian american life is all about familism. just like back in italy.

    it takes a long time for peoples to change. not millions of years. not even necessarily thousands of years. but three or four generations is definitely not enough.

    Reply

  22. @michael – “Closer to median Americans, or closer to Calabrians on whatever measure of clannishness you want to choose? Betcha the Italian Americans would be horrified by the N’Dranghetta, and not have some genetic impulse to see it as normal.”

    you don’t have to jump all the way to mafia organizations to see populations behaving clannishly, btw. did you pay attention to chicago politics when you lived there? (~_^) look at the irish in chicago — the daley dynasty — machine politics all the way — just like they do it back in ireland. and several other clannish european american populations took to it like ducks to water: italian americans, polish americans, ukranian americans, etc. no explanations required.

    clannish, clannish, clannish. looking after their own all the way. despite the fact that they’re all living in nuclear family households…and have been for multiple generations since arriving in the u.s.

    Reply

  23. @michael – “Did you read what we said about the process of assimilation? See, e.g. pp. 53-56 of our book.”

    i did read that, yes. what you didn’t provide, though, was any data demonstrating that all these different groups have, in fact, assimilated to an anglo way of life.

    in direct contrast to the idea that immigrant groups to the u.s. assimilate after three or four or five generations are studies like Albion’s Seed or colin woodard’s American Nations which demostrate that there are great differences within the u.s. — differences connected to the ethnic (or even regional english) backgrounds of the sub-populations in question. differences that haven’t gone away even after multiple generations.

    and, like i said, there is a ton of research out there on things like familism in different american populations that also indicates that the various immigrant populations have not fully assimilated to anglo ways of living. plus there is the gss which could be rooted around in some more. a LOT more.

    the data is out there which would help us to find out if and/or how much immigrant groups have assimilated to anglo-american life. i think it would be a good idea to take a look at that data.

    Reply

  24. @grey – “If the people who select a specific national identity were distinct from those who selected ‘just american’ then shouldn’t you expect them to match their original national group i.e. does the group who label themselves ‘just american’ contain all the people who have assimilated into the Borg or are the results from that group still very distinct also?”

    i could be wrong, but i would’ve thought that today, those identifying themselves as members of a particular euro-american ethnic group would be being pretty accurate about themselves, although they might be forgetting about/skipping a grandparent or great-grandparent here and there who was from another ethnic background. it certainly doesn’t pay today to be three-quarters mexican-american and one-quarter anglo-american and try to “pass” as anglo-american, so those sorts of individuals must be largely eliminated from the white ethnic groups in the gss. the problem is, how anglo are the anglo-americans, or are they all really half german-american, too? i have a hard time believing that could really be a problem. the thing is, though, we just don’t know. (dr*t!)

    the audacious epigone says that most of the “just americans” in the gss are scots-irish. can’t remember why he says that. i’ll have to ask him. i should also take a look at the “just americans” responses to see what they look like.

    Reply

  25. It would nice if we could get a group people who are genetically Italian, but cut off from other Italian Americans as a test case, because culture is still an obvious confound. Even if Italian Americans are living in nuclear families, if they are still displaying traits of familism (having frequent contact with family members) then you can’t eliminate culture as a factor.

    How confident are you that if I were to swap a group of italian babies at birth with english babies (this thought experiment isn’t ethical I know) then they would display significant differences in adulthood on various measures of clannishness?

    Reply

  26. @alexander – “How confident are you that if I were to swap a group of italian babies at birth with english babies (this thought experiment isn’t ethical I know) then they would display significant differences in adulthood on various measures of clannishness?”

    i would bet money on it. $1.00! no, $1.50!! (~_^)

    actually, i’m so confident of this, i’d bet anybody a six pack. THAT’S how much i think it to be correct. (^_^)

    edit: if adoption studies show that iq doesn’t change (much) when culture is controlled for, i can’t see why other traits — personality, behavioral — should change if babies were switched at birth.

    Reply

  27. “i can’t see why other traits — personality, behavioral — should change if babies were switched at birth”

    Really? If an Anglo baby was switched as birth with an Italian baby, surely you would expect that the Anglo baby would display higher levels of clannishness than an Anglo baby born in England. ie. the genetically English baby in Italy would contact relatives more frequently and have more family reunions.

    Or to use a ridiculous example: do you think that culture affects whether or not a baby grows up to Catholic? Because Italian american babies sure do tend to grow up to be Catholics at a high rate despite living the US which is dominated by Evangelical Christianity. The question therefore is whether or not clannishness is more like Catholicism or more like IQ*. Clearly culture does affect some things so proper controls are important (and merely living in the same country is not a good control).

    *I’m taking your word on this.

    Disclaimer: If I sound like I’m disagreeing its only because I want to know what the strongest evidence for the genetic nature of clannishness is. I think I’m leaning towards your side but I couldn’t defend that view adequately with the data I’ve read on your blog.

    Reply

  28. @ChrisDavies09. Maryland is of course well known as a colony founded as a refuge for Catholics. But then the name Bethesda is used by non conformist Protestants, particularly Congregationalists, for their chapels. The inference is that Bethesda would be a place apart from mainstream Maryland. It’s a big place. The origin must be known.

    Reply

  29. Wikipaedia says Presbyterian and quite late. No obvious reason, other than extreme wealth and education levels for it to be anomalous.

    Reply

  30. @alexander – “If an Anglo baby was switched as birth with an Italian baby, surely you would expect that the Anglo baby would display higher levels of clannishness than an Anglo baby born in England. ie. the genetically English baby in Italy would contact relatives more frequently and have more family reunions.”

    well, i dunno. that’s the question! (^_^)

    @alexander – “do you think that culture affects whether or not a baby grows up to Catholic?”

    yeah, i would say that culture absolutely affects whether or not a baby grows up in a certain faith, and that’s usually dependent upon his parents, of course. what’s more biological/genetic in origin is whether or not certain individuals feel religious at all. i was raised a roman catholic — and both of my parents are religious (my mother very much so) — but i’m not religious at all (i’m agnostic). i just don’t have any feelings or any sense of anything spiritual whatsoever. that’s just me! and the wider culture couldn’t have had much to do with it, because i went to catholic schools and everything — grade school, high school, AND college. culture didn’t have much of an impact on me there!

    i think that “clannishness” (as i call it) is a set of behavioral traits (see this post) that are at least partly (i think mostly) attributable to our natures, so i think it’s more like iq than catholicism. i really don’t think that on average english people raised in italy would behave clannish in the ways that italians do (particularly southern italians). i could be wrong, though!

    @alexander – “I want to know what the strongest evidence for the genetic nature of clannishness is.”

    me, too! i don’t think there’s much out there, unfortunately. not many (any?) researchers looking into the genetics of clannishness or the effects of inbreeding on ingroup/outgroup altruism as far as i know. at least not yet.

    Reply

  31. Thanks! That was a most unexpected and thought provoking response. You’re right, why people feel religious at all is a much more interesting biological trait and its wouldn’t be that surprising if there was a genetic basis for that.

    Unrelated, but perhaps the most interesting idea I picked up this blog (other than the idea of clannishness) is that there might not be a One True political system. Democracy might just not work in some societies.

    Reply

  32. @alexander – “Unrelated, but perhaps the most interesting idea I picked up this blog (other than the idea of clannishness) is that there might not be a One True political system. Democracy might just not work in some societies.

    that’s my conclusion, too, after thinking about this for a couple of years now. not only might democracy just not work in some societies, it might be downright harmful, and it really concerns me that the west keeps trying to foist democracy on everyone. at least liberal democracy as we know it.

    i think it would be better for some societies to either work on adopting or developing some other form of democracy that would work better for them … or just do something else entirely. i think most people everywhere want to have some sort of say in the running of their society, but it doesn’t have to take the form of liberal, parliamentary democracy. how’s that working out for the egyptians, for example? their society is simply not structured for it. at least not at this point in time.

    Reply

  33. @hubchik
    “i could be wrong, but i would’ve thought that today, those identifying themselves as members of a particular euro-american ethnic group would be being pretty accurate about themselves”

    Yes we’re agreed on that. My point was what percentage of 3rd or 4th generation Italian-Americans had stopped labelling themselves as such and joined the “just american” group. I agree with the thrust of your point except i think it is (or was in the past) an erosion type process i.e. the more clannish the original population the *slower* the process of assimilation but it would still occur (at least if there was a majority culture and pressure to conform to it which no longer applies.)

    So i was thinking it would work something like
    5% of Italians / Greeks per generation
    10% of Irish / Poles / Southern Germans per generation
    15% of Northern Germans / Dutch per generation

    (or 2%, 4%, 8% or whatever numbers it turned out to be in the past)

    That was just an assumption on my part. I could be wrong in which case it’s worse than i thought.

    Reply

  34. Micheal Lotus
    “You have shown here that cultural traits among Italians are still apparent after three generations. This is no surprise and no rebuttal. Cultural traits last centuries, as we note.

    The real question: How different are third generation Italian-Americans from Calabrians who never left? Closer to median Americans, or closer to Calabrians on whatever measure of clannishness you want to choose?”

    Both you and hbdchick are describing a rate of change.

    You’re saying it’s fast. Hbdchick (with some data) is saying it’s slow. But either way there’s a rate of change.

    For the sake of argument assume there’s something important in this clannish to associative spectrum hbdchick has been proposing on this blog then whether it is cultural or genetic or a mashup of both then you could model the situation as a bunch of differential equations showing the change over time for each ethnic group based on how clannish they were to start with and the rate of change (which might be the same for all groups with just different starting points or the rates might vary between different ethnic groups also).

    If you also had the rate of immigration from each of those groups you could calculate if their rate of assimilation outweighed their rate of immigration.

    The sum total from all the individual groups would tell you if your society as a whole was going to become more clannish over time or remain associative.

    #

    And going back in time would the rate of assimilation have outweighed the rate of immigration without the 1920s pause?

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  35. “an erosion type process i.e. the more clannish the original population the *slower* the process of assimilation but it would still occur”

    That wasn’t clear. What i mean is there are two models.

    a) You start with 100 people from group A who score 1 out of 10 on the clannish to associative spectrum and each generation they bump up 1 so after 4 generations the whole group now score 5 on the scale.

    or

    b) You start the same way but each generation x% of the group break away and become “just american” while the rest stay *exactly the same*. So say x was 5% then after the 1st generation you get 5 just americans and 95 who are the same, 2nd genration it’s 10 and 90, 3rd generation it’s 15 and 85 etc.

    If the 1st model is correct then your data implies no change at all. If the second model is correct then your data may only be the “stayed the same” group and there is missing data on the x% inside the “just american” group.

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  36. Alexander Stanislaw
    “If an Anglo baby was switched as birth with an Italian baby, surely you would expect that the Anglo baby would display higher levels of clannishness than an Anglo baby born in England. ie. the genetically English baby in Italy would contact relatives more frequently and have more family reunions.”

    One of the simplest mechanisms i can imagine for this which has a big if at the front of it but which ought to be testable is

    If through linkage effects close marriage increases familial resemblance on average then people from those backgrounds ought to be able to more easily recognize self in their close kin.

    if there are traits that drive hostility, trust, friendliness etc towards others based on the level of self-recognition then outbreeding populations would need those thresholds to rise as the level of self-recognition declined.

    so i think a switched anglo baby might well be more *naturally* associative than clannish although that might not prevent the cultural layer from dominating.

    i think it might vary depending on which way round it was. for example a baby from a clannish population with lower fight or flight thresholds (if that turns out to be correct) might have a much harder time adapting to an associative environment away from their close kin whereas a more associative baby might be less stressed by being surrounded by non-kin.

    there was some interesting research done on the varying baby behavior of different ethnic groups. i wonder if that is connected to this somehow?

    #

    “is that there might not be a One True political system. Democracy might just not work in some societies.”

    Yes, quite a big deal if correct.

    Reply

  37. @grey – “My point was what percentage of 3rd or 4th generation Italian-Americans had stopped labelling themselves as such and joined the ‘just american’ group.”

    right. t.greer brought up that point, too. and that is tricky.

    like i mentioned, the audacious epigone is convinced that most of the “just americans” are scots-irish, but i can’t remember why he concluded that (although i vaguely recall reading his argument…). i must ask him to refresh my memory. (^_^)

    there might be a way to get at this — and also if people are “forgetting” that grandma was german and not italian like the rest of the family — by looking at the responses to the ETHNIC 1, 2, and 3 questions: what did the respondent say first, second, and third versus what they “settled” on. but i still haven’t figured out how to go about digging into those responses — not sure what i should be looking at/for. -?- (if anybody has any suggestions, lemme know!)

    Reply

  38. @grey – “And going back in time would the rate of assimilation have outweighed the rate of immigration without the 1920s pause?”

    the other thing, too, about assimilation is that it’s probably a two-way street. italians don’t just immigrate to america which has an anglo culture and, eventually, behave in anglo ways. it’s likely that they also change american culture — primarily because they don’t enitrely lose all of their own culture/innate behavioral traits.

    this is the potential problem (afaiac) with too much immigration from any one group into any other population (and by “too much” i mean like we have in the u.s. — tens of millions of individuals entering a nation of a few hundred million).

    Reply

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