From the London School of Economics’ blog on British Politics and Policy:
Are ethnically-motivated restrictions on immigration racist? Eric Kaufmann draws on new data from an 18-country survey to explain how people answered this question and how their answer affects their own support for higher or lower immigration levels.
Trump, Brexit and the European populist right herald a new cleavage between globalists and nationalists, in which immigration is a defining issue. What’s more, new survey data suggests this hinges on a fundamental difference of opinion in western societies between highly-educated liberals, who consider the ethno-communal desire to reduce immigration racist, and conservatives, who don’t. This matters greatly because to be racist is, for most people, to be immoral – transgressing the social norms which define good and evil.
New data from an 18-country Ipsos-Mori survey indicates that people’s view of whether immigration should be higher or lower is strongly linked to whether they think it’s racist for a member of the ethnic majority to want less immigration to help maintain their group’s population share.
This relationship between antiracist norms and desired immigration levels holds in virtually all countries but is especially pronounced in Europe and its offshoots. Essentially, this new ‘culture war’ revolves around whether tribal desires for less immigration represent racism or a legitimate – if illiberal – form of group attachment. …
Rigging self-government so that perfectly normal policies are considered morally inconceivable has a huge payoff these days.
New data comes from a question included in an Ipsos-Mori survey fielded (15 March 2017) covering over 14,000 respondents in 18 countries. The question probed people’s views on whether ethnically-motivated restrictions on immigration should be considered racist or not. The debate stems from an article by Shadi Hamid of the Brookings Institution in late 2016 in which Hamid contends that white ‘racial self-interest’ should be distinguished from white racism. Some forms of white racial self-interest, such as favouring whites as job applicants, are racist, but for Hamid, others – such as seeking to protect demographic share – are not. Did people in the countries under study agree with Hamid? By and large yes, but there were wide variations by education level and immigration opinion. …
Aggregated to country level, with ‘don’t know’ responses excluded, the first clear finding is that a majority of people do not think it’s racist to want less immigration for ethnocultural reasons. The proportion considering this motivation racist varies, however, from 36% in the US to 13% in South Africa (where Xhosa was listed as the preponderant ethnic group). Divides within countries also matter. In Canada, 37% of English-Canadians say the sentiment is racist – similar to the US – while just 15% of Quebeckers do. In Belgium, 32% of Brussels residents but only 19% of those in Flanders agree. …
Israel wasn’t tested, but Mexico, South Korea, and Japan were, and, not surprisingly, they weren’t all that into Huddled Massesism.
The international data don’t permit us to discern how ideology and voting divide opinion, but two Birkbeck-Policy Exchange-Yougov surveys of around 2600 Americans and 1600 Britons I conducted in December 2016 asking the same question, indicates that partisanship largely maps to this value cleavage.
As figure 3 reveals, among White Clinton voters with postgraduate degrees, support for the idea that it’s racist to want reduced immigration for ethnocultural reasons is almost total, at over 91%. By contrast, only 11.2% of Trump voters agree. Minority voters are slightly more likely to back the ‘racist’ interpretation than whites, 45-36, but this 12-point difference is dwarfed by the 62-point gap within White America between Clinton and Trump voters.
Read the whole thing there.