This is a recent talk which was intended as a general overview and designed to appeal to the unconverted.
My background is in evolutionary psychology. Evolutionary psychologists study how the human mind has been shaped by the needs of survival and reproduction over long expanses of evolutionary time. When we look at how the human mind actually evolved, there are troubling implications for multiculturalism.
Social Identity Processes
There are several systems that are relevant for how people respond to others from different groups, but I think the most important one stems from social identity theory. An early form of social identity theory was stated by 19th-century anthropologist William Graham Sumner, who concluded:
Loyalty to the group, sacrifice for it, hatred and contempt for outsiders, brotherhood within, warlikeness without—all grow together, common products of the same situation. It is sanctified by connection with religion. Men of an others-group are outsiders with whose ancestors the ancestors of the we-group waged war. . . . Each group nourishes its own pride and vanity, boasts itself superior, exalts its own divinities, and looks with contempt on outsiders. Each group thinks its own folkways the only right ones, and if it observes that other groups have other folkways, these excite its scorn.
This essentially states that for humans, identifying as a member of an ingroup is a source of conflict with other groups. We are all aware that around the world there are many countries that are engulfed in conflict stemming from religious and ethnic differences—from different social identities. Right now the civil war in Syria is a good example, pitting Sunnis against Shiites, and within these larger groupings there are particular ethnic groups, such as Alewites, Arabs, Kurds, Druze, and Assyrians. Azerbaijan is no stranger to ethnic conflict, as in the war with Armenia over Nagorno-Karabakh.
In Libya, Iraq and Afghanistan, American military interventions were justified to the American people and to the world in moral terms — as promoting democracy and human rights. However, the results have done nothing to reduce the ethnic and religious divisions within these societies, and there is no end in sight for armed conflict and terrorism. After 10 years of occupation by American forces, we read about daily bombings in Iraq in which dozens of people die.
Nevertheless, the ideology that multiculturalism is a superior form of social organization is dominant among American elites and throughout the West with the result that these societies are actively seeking to have increasing ethnic diversity. Those of us who oppose this policy are labeled as “racists” and “haters,” but the belief that increasing diversity is linked to greater conflict is well established by scientific research.
There has been a substantial amount of psychological research related to groups. A study by Sherif et al. is classic. They found that when randomly chosen groups of boys engaged in between-group competition, group membership became an important aspect of personal identity. The groups developed negative stereotypes of each other and were transformed into groups of “wicked, disturbed, and vicious” children.