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Diversity + Proximity = War

This post is also available in: German

In the clearest illustration yet of this infamous Chateau maxim, a new study is out showing how increased diversity in the form of bordered territory is leading to more war.

Wars steadily increase for over a century, fed by more borders and cheaper conflict.

New research by the University of Warwick and Humboldt University shows that the frequency of wars between states increased steadily from 1870 to 2001 by 2% a year on average. The research argues that conflict is being fed by economic growth and the proliferation of new borders.

We may think the world enjoyed periods of relative freedom from war between the Cold War and 9/11 but the new research by Professor Mark Harrison from at the University of Warwick’s the Centre for Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy, and Professor Nikolaus Wolf from Humboldt University, shows that the number of conflicts between pairs of states rose steadily from 6 per year on average between 1870 and 1913 to 17 per year in the period of the two World Wars, 31 per year in the Cold War, and 36 per year in the 1990s.

Professor Mark Harrison from the University of Warwick said: “The number of conflicts has been rising on a stable trend. Because of two world wars, the pattern is obviously disturbed between 1914 and 1945 but remarkably, after 1945 the frequency of wars resumed its upward course on pretty much the same path as before 1913.”

One of the key drivers is the number of countries, which has risen dramatically – from 47 in 1870 to 187 in 2001.

People like to form into competing groups. This natural impulse is encoded in every human being’s DNA. It is a deeply embedded encoding, and can’t be excised. It can only be controlled by authoritarian measures, i.e. ultimately at the point of a gun. More 20th century borders is likely the manifestation of these ancient desires seeking to congeal into ever smaller, and thus more closely related, human tribes, and now being free to do so. It should be no surprise to a realist of human nature that more borders would lead to more war.

Naturally, the hopelessly naive among you might ask, “Why not just dissolve borders like we are doing here in the USA? Fewer borders should mean less war, right?” Incorrect. What instead will happen — and what we are seeing happening today in the USA — is a chaotic scramble — a BIOLOGICAL IMPERATIVE — to form de facto borders within the essentially borderless nation. (The modern USA is the closest approximation we have to an essentially borderless nation ruled by a legitimate government. There is no way to explain the unsupervised migration of 50 million Mexicans in 30 years that starts with the premise that we have a working border mechanism in place.)

De facto internal borders are based on race, ethnicity, religion, ideology, and social status, just as hard borders. La Raza is an internal border. The Congressional Black Caucus is an internal border. Journalism is an internal border (80-90% of journalists are registered Democrats). Cosmopolitan elites are an internal border. Schools are an internal border (ever notice how students congregate in a lunchroom cafeteria? How about the quickness with which urban white elites set off for the decidedly less diverse suburbs when the kids reach schooling age?). J-Date is an internal border. NASCAR is an internal border. Libertardian blogs are an internal border. Gay Pride and Puerto Rican Day parades are internal borders. Gerrymandered districts are internal borders. Neighborhoods are internal borders. Of course, one notable group has no recognized internal border at all. And we know what happens to undefended, borderless lands: they get overrun.

Active wars of bloodshed might not be the result of such internal border-making (though don’t count your ammo before it’s fired), but all the political machinations and propaganda of hot wars are there in spades in our relatively bloodless diversity wars. The only thing missing is the stack of dead, uniformed bodies. “Uniformed” being the operative word here.

A country as (formerly) gifted with human capital as the USA can live with a little bit of diversity. But like every other nation on earth, beholden as we all are to our Darwinian overlord, it can’t live with a lot of it. We’ll soon find that out.

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