A useful word: asabiya

Asabiya is the capacity of a social group for concerted collective action. Asabiya is a dynamic quantity; it can increase or decrease with time. It is sometimes translated as esprit de corps or as “social cohesion”, but it is more than that, it is also about getting things done.

From the fourteenth century Arab historian Ibn Khaldun, via Peter Turchin, via Steve Sailer (an explanation in French of asabiya can be found here).

I could have used asabiya when I wrote about the Scandinavian welfare states and the willingness to fight.

Incidentally, Steve Sailer writes,

Turchin is not the first to notice this tendency of empires to arise on the margins. This is sometimes known as the “marcher lord” theory. A “march” is a margin, a border land. The term “marcher lord” is the English version of what the Germans call a “margrave,” and marcher lords are the tough guys who who rule out on the frontier, like the Tudors on the Welsh border in the 15th Century, keeping the outsiders out and often bullying their way to take over central power themselves.

The word march is also found in Marquis and in Denmark, the border areas belonging to the Danes, bordering the Germans. Since the Scandinavian nations are small, with large neighboring nations, Germans and Slavs, it it perhaps not surprising that they developed a capacity for concerted collective action. Nowadays this capacity manifests itself in the welfare state, but there is also a long history of warfare. For a fairly recent example, see the Winter War.


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