Our new race war?

In this half-hour lecture, Glenn Loury as an aside makes the point that the existence of a race depends on cultural behavior. After all, if people did not perceive racial differences, over time inter-marriage would eliminate any such differences.

If you think about it, endogamy is a necessary condition for any persistent cultural distinctiveness. If Japanese and non-Japanese were prone to marry one another, that would eventually mean the end of distinctive Japanese culture.

This in turn leads me to think about our contemporary society, in which the Highly-Educated Elites (HEEs) are endogamous. That leads to a distinctive culture, with values, tastes and linguistic patterns that differentiate them from everyone else. If this keeps up, in a few generations HEEs will seem like a different race altogether.

A few hundred years ago, aristocrats seemed like a race apart from ordinary Englishmen. They were taller. They spoke with a different accent. Endogamy was strong among the aristocratic class.

The term “race” is so loaded that people will object to anyone calling the HEEs a race. You may want to reserve the term race for differences that are visible in physiognomy. You may prefer the more typical expression “culture war.”

The advantage to calling the conflict involving HEEs a race war is that it would allow us to see the danger in where the endogamous HEEs are heading.