Diversity is a full-fledged social dogma these days: we’re all better off individually and collectively by being around an ethnically diverse and values-diverse group than we are if we limit ourselves to hanging out with our own kind. One of the great ironies of higher education is that it is supposed to be a place of free inquiry, where ideas stand or fall on their own merits; yet diversity is set up as the source of this freedom of inquiry, as its guarantor; diversity is therefore sacrosanct, shielded from all criticism, indeed, in some cases a shibboleth to academic advancement, and those who question it find themselves under a very real but unscientifically-justifiable social stigma.
Instead of setting up diversity as the source of free inquiry, why not set up Truth instead? Oneness, unity . . . instead of plurality and fragmentation?
While I’m not an enemy of any particular ethnic group, I’m certainly against many values that are not my own. Any benefit I get from being around people holding those values amounts to the extent to which they can help me understand and strengthen my own viewpoint. Diversity says it’s better if others don’t think like I do. I don’t see how this principle of institutionalized fragmentation can bode well for societies.
Robert Putnam, a Harvard professor, has done a huge study of diversity and found it doesn’t deliver on the grandiose promises that “diversity officers” across the nation (and world) have been making for it. Read this WSJ editorial discussing it. Here are a couple of highlights.
“Diverse communites may be yeasty and even creative . . .” (YEASTY. Nice.)
A quotation from the original study:
Inhabitants of diverse communities tend to withdraw from collective life, to distrust their neighbors, regardless of the color of their skin, to withdraw even from close friends, to expect the worst from their community and its leaders, to volunteer less, give less to charity and work on community projects less often, to register to vote less, to agitate for social reform more, but have less faith that they can actually make a difference, and to huddle unhappily in front of the television.
The editorial concludes that immigration is “inexorable” but that assimilation into the middle class is the best hope for fighting against the detrimental effects of “diverse” communities. The study suggests a model for assimilation:
Here, too, Robert Putnam has a possible assimilation model. Hold onto your hat. It’s Christian evangelical megachurches. “In many large evangelical congregations,” he writes, “the participants constituted the largest thoroughly integrated gatherings we have ever witnessed.” This, too, is an inconvenient truth. They do it with low entry barriers to the church and by offering lots of little groups to join inside the larger “shared identity” of the church. A Harvard prof finds good in evangelical megachurches. Send this man a suit of body armor!
I would guess that the more doctrinally squishy of the megachurches would end up having less solid integration than the more doctrinally sound ones. But this sounds like a much-needed study to put this completely oversold and overblown concept of “diversity” into perspective. Now it’s time for universities to fire their Diversity VPs, dismantle their offices, and spend those millions of dollars on things that actually help students. Like hiring more real professors instead of armies of adjuncts.