Unprecedented

[I]n his Politics, Aristotle says that “dissimilarity of stock is conducive to factional conflict,” i.e., ethnic differences in and of themselves, irrespective of disagreements over regime form (typically few versus many), can drive revolution. Aristotle seems to admit the possibility of assimilation: dissimilarity, he says, leads to conflict “until a cooperative spirit develops.” But he cites no examples, forcing one to wonder how likely it is for this theoretical possibility to be actualized in the real world. … Multi-ethnic polities are hardly unknown to history. Of these, Aristotle gives several examples—all of which ended up fighting civil wars along ethnic lines. … [W]hen the Census announced that, for the first time in American history, the white population had declined in absolute numbers, The Tonight Show’s audience cheered. No native-born population of any country has ever literally cheered its own dispossession.

Michael Anton, “Unprecedented”

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