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The End of Diversity?

Not long after the Fort Hood shooting, General Casey said, "It would be a shame -- as great a tragedy as this was -- it would be a shame if our diversity became a casualty as well."

Most Americans, I suspect, reacted to that comment with a roll of the eyes.  Casey's comments reflect a mindset that is common among our governing class, inside and outside the military.  They have come to embrace diversity as a good in and of itself, rather than recognize that respect for a variety of points of view and ways of life is, itself, a consequence of a something larger.

I wonder if the controversy over the newly invasive screening at airports represents a beginning of the end of the religion of diversity.  As Charles Krauthammer notes:

everyone knows that the entire apparatus of the security line is a national homage to political correctness. Nowhere do more people meekly acquiesce to more useless inconvenience and needless indignity for less purpose. Wizened seniors strain to untie their shoes; beltless salesmen struggle comically to hold up their pants; three-year-olds scream while being searched insanely for explosives, when everyone -- everyone -- knows that none of these people is a threat.

We pass all passengers through the same, cumbersome screening because we want to pretend that all Americans are equally likely to be security threats.   In short, we do it to avoid profiling.  The effort does credit to the tolerance of American soceity.  On the other hand, tolerance is not the only good.  There are limits. 

What we are seeing now is, I suspect, a reflection of a frustration Americans have with the worship of what is called diversity run amok.  By pretending that all passengers are equally likely to represent a threat, we have stretched the myth of sameness past the breaking point.  The same is true in other cases.  For example, a landlord cannot tell someone from India whose cooking stinks up the hallway outside his door by cooking his native cuisine that he is in violation of a general policy against stinking up the hallway.  Were someone from anywhere else in the world to cook the same thing, however, the landlord could tell him to nock it off.  Similarly, were that same person from India to stink up the hallway one night by cooking Italian food, the landlord could say something. That's absurd.  Given how intrusive the screen is becoming, it's no less absurd not to profile.

Two further points.  Liberals might say that it is unconstitutional to discriminate in the way that profiling would lead us to discriminate.  But liberals also say that the constitution is a living document.  Why can't it "live" in that direction?

Finally, we should recall Washington's wisdom.  In his famous letter to Quakers, he noted, "

Your principles and conduct are well known to me; and it is doing the people called Quakers no more than justice to say, that (except their declining to share with others the burden of the common defense) there is no denomination among us, who are more exemplary and useful citizens."

If all religious groups claimed the same exemption that Quakers demanded, Washington recognized, the U.S. could not survive as a nation.  Americans are free to believe and to profess whatever they choose, but when it comes to action, we have to negotiate between the demands of conscience and our obligations to the good of the community (a good which, of course, includes respect for the rights of conscience).  Squaring that circle is no mean feat.  The best we can do is come up with partial solutions.  There are no completely resolved problems in politics.

Respect for diversity grew up in the wake of the civil rights movement, as part of a push to gain respect for individuals who had been deprived their rights.  It might be that the idea is reaching the end of its term of usefulness, and the anger at the TSA reflects that.  After all, in America the invdividual is supposed to come first.  The group, other than local and state government, is not supposed to have official recognition at law.

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Discussions - 26 Comments

Contrast, too, Washington's letter to the Catholics with his more famous letter to the Hebrew Congregation of Newport. "And may the members of your society in America, animated alone by the pure spirit of Christianity, and still conducting themselves as the faithful subjects of our free government, enjoy every temporal and spiritual felicity." http://www.sanctepater.com/2010/09/george-washington-letter-to-catholics.html

Actually, I think we should start demanding PROOF that diversity is good. I've seen some compelling evidence (both in social science and the historical record) that generally it is a source of social fissures and problems. The melting pot notion worked OK in this country, but that was with white ethnics who shared a common European experience and religion (and it took real time for it to work, and of course the presence of far more dissimilar people like blacks, hispanics, and asians).

Indeed, the diversity religion is so deeply ingrained that I have seen thread-starters on this blog who suffer from it. Sad. You don't have to be a "white nationalist" or a bigot to understand that massive "diversity" may not be worth the cost (although I'm sure someone will shellac me yet again with both epithets in short order).

I don't mean to chill your speech by employing the term "white nationalist." If anything I am actually recognizing that your line of argument is unduly chilled, and rarely presented other than in strawman form.

Personally my take on the issue is colored by knowing Kyle Bristow, who is more than happy to raise that banner.

I think I your comment stands as evidence that Diversity is good.

On the other hand there is a diversity of diversity, and I think that we are already in a sort of Tower of Babel situation where communication is difficult. So Diversity is bad, if it leads to a breakdown in communication.

Certainly to think about "Diversity" without understanding its diverse meanings is difficult. So you have diversity being bad when it leads to a breakdown in communication, and part of the negative consequence of this is a sort of gap filler response, in order to reach understanding.

Consider: General Casey's statement on diversity. The army is known for its intellectual diversity...not!(well you do have a lot of different MOS's specialties and schools), and folks from all walks of life.
The Army is known for its racial diversity...sure, but it is also known for its rank structure. e-1 to o-9.
The Army is without racial tensions...somewhat true.

So whatever diversity means in the Army, diversity is something else at say Ashland, at Toledo Law.

But we use the same word diversity in a sort of gap filler way.

I don't know why Dr. Adams wants to second guess the judgement of General Casey, but it could very well be the case that the mindset of a general alienated from the the concrete meaning of diversity is flawed. So you have gap-filler diversity, and concrete diversity. You have diversity that seems good, and diversity that seems horrible. Because your rank will shape how folks behave around you, its likely that General Casey sees a lot of different moving parts(people) working together smoothly to accomplish a mission. What General Casey likely means is that if Diversity suffers, then tolerance wanes, and friction waxes, the troops don't talk to the arab translators, co-ordinate with the KBR guys, deal with the pakistani truck drivers and stuff starts to fall appart. The army is a tower of babel, but it is a well ordered and disciplined tower of babel, diversity or more likely tolerance(which is the grease.) helps it keep moving.

Whatever Diversity has come to mean for General Casey is more or less a mechanical factor. I would be a little more careful in trying second guess Generals, or exporting the context and meaning of the word.

So the problem for Diversity is...assuming we have a lot of different positions, and occupations...do we really have a common language?

"For example, a landlord cannot tell someone from India whose cooking stinks up the hallway outside his door by cooking his native cuisine that he is in violation of a general policy against stinking up the hallway. Were someone from anywhere else in the world to cook the same thing, however, the landlord could tell him to nock it off. Similarly, were that same person from India to stink up the hallway one night by cooking Italian food, the landlord could say something. That's absurd."

Well there are 50 states, so I assume there is diversity!
That is, this seems plausible kinda... but before people get rilled up.

I can almost guarantee you that is not the law in Ohio.

I spent 30 minutes looking up cases on LexisNexis and found no ohio case that supported such a rule.
According to Landlord tennant law:

"(8) Conduct himself and require other persons on the premises with his consent to conduct themselves in a manner that will not disturb his neighbors' peaceful enjoyment of the premises."

ORC Ann. 5321.05

While Rahul's curry may from time to time disturb his neighbors' peaceful enjoyment of the premises, I don't think it would be severe enough to constitute a nuissance. I don't think the landlord could evict him, and I know that the landlord would not be financially inclined to do so. The landlord might take action, if the tennant being bothered by the activity decides to pay rent into escrow and obtains injunctive relief to prevent the recurrence of the conduct. If a judge rules that the smells from Rahul's curry is a nuissance, then the tennant who was bothered could terminate his lease agreement, or the landlord could evict Rahul.

While columnists like to find outrageous legal decisions, a majority of the nuissance claims seem to have reasonable and much more serious fact patterns(college student vomits in hallway+smokes pot+urinates in hallway while habitually drunk).

Appart from the uncomfortableness of confronting a tennant, a landlord is simply not likely to confront the indian, because other tennants are worse offenders. In fact these sorts of nuissance cases ballon when tolerance breaks down and folks start complaining.

In this sense I am happy to predict that a landlord might join with general Casey in saying that Diversity(technically tolerance) is good. Its good because it serves to cut down complaints. When Diversity is no longer "good" that means tolerance is down, and complaints are up. If complaints are up, harmony is fucked and there is sand in the gears.

Thankfully there is a market for the Diversity gone amock theme....The landlord can shift blame to the legistlatures, the judges, the laws... the Diversity meme. Becauses it serves the interest of the peace if the landlord can say it is out of her hands.

In this sense it is similar to what companies tell tech support to say to a complaining client. Well sir, I would love to do that for you, but I might get fired. It is out of my hands...

So what does a landlord want to be able to say: It is out of my hands! (truthfully it probably is out of her hands, because it probably isn't a nuissance...if you have a sensitive nose lick some water fountains and get a head cold! an impolitic answer!)

The likelyhood that it isn't law and is instead a landlord created urban legend increases when you note that most leases ban self-help...so if a landlord gets a complaint, the first time she tells the person she will do something...the second time she makes up a legal theory that coheres with a common meme diversity run amock.

As for Diversity with regard to the TSA. I don't agree with CK.

Don't get me wrong airline security may be a much greater hastle than it is worth.

The cost of president Obama's trip to India is not 200 million, but the cost of maintaining Air Force One is staggering. The preflight checks on Air Force One and the hand waxing of it are very expensive, and certainly the process is more expensive and more intensive than is necessary for commerical aviation.

In fact safety checks on commerical aviation are quite lax by comparison, it is a level of scrutiny and detail question. Commerical flight is a lot cheaper, we don't need or want that level of detail, and I think so long as we make airlines carry insurance for disaster...they are sufficiently motivated to decide what level of scrutiny they will put into airline safety.

We don't need cadillac(or volvo) safety if we want to pay escort price.

The problem is that the TSA is trying to give us Air Force One flight security.

If the airlines were in charge of security they would ballance the risk of terrorism, loss of plane(insurance liability could be made higher) against the dignity and comfort and flying experience of passengers.

The problem is that there isn't enough diversity, or tolerance, and folks are too afraid of terrorism(great for the defense lobby). So in the sense that I think General Casey ment diversity, comfort with diversity, and some level of risk or nuissance...once this suffers you have sand in the gears.

The TSA is providing too much security, and actually it is invading the privacy of americans. This level of security doesn't serve a compelling enough state interest to justify the invasion of privacy.(and this is the problem with ballancing state action vs. market forces ballancing commercial action.)

I don't agree with CK on the whole diversity run amock because I think the TSA is actually being smart. I agree with the MIT game theorists who think that terrorist will find a way if we make our screening too predictable.

I think the ideal security has to have a random component. When CK says: "when everyone -- everyone -- knows that none of these people is a threat."

That is his first mistake. As soon as everyone knows something complacency and fraud come into the picture.

I mean it might make you feel better, but we aren't talking about "diversity" in any sort of english high school teacher hang a motivation poster, with a zen buddhist quote on the wall...diversity.

So it has nothing to do with "political correctness" and everything to do with a potentially flawed but oftentimes ingeniously correct assumption that everything is fungible.

That is the undergrad line on the 2nd ammendment is Guns don't kill people, people kill people.

The liberal retort is no one was ever shot by malice aforethought alone.

If we were talking guns which are readily available, the danger would be people.

That is Craig(or myself, if I don't quit being an asshole) might get shot by a white nationalist.(highly unlikely, in the main they are teddy bears with strange sociology.)

But the bottleneck when it comes to making bombs is actually the materials and the technical knowhow.

Designing a small bomb out of materials that can get through airline security and cause a big enough explosion, without drawing the focus of the FBI, CIA or homeland security while acquireing these materials(no small feat).

There are a limited number of people with that kind of knowledge and skill, and most of them are not terrorists(but all of them may be on the list).

Once you have a bomb and have not given yourself away, you need to get it unto a plane.

Okay so lets say you only profiled the arabs and foreigners...well Al queda would make a bunch of dry test runs with as many different people as possible and see who got thru. They might even try to reverse engineer the methodology (which is why it has to have a random, if ridiculous component.)

In fact Al Queda might even work with say a Christian Identity member (In the end the religious aspect is a cover, and false flag premise and gives way to mechanical goal setting).

That is the effort they have to put into going undetected in making the bomb will match the effort they put in to getting it on the plane.

The bottle neck is getting the bomb...but the effort reaches equilibrium at the point where finding someone who can slip security with the bomb matches the difficulty in making it.

This is why according to game theory at least all the so called classifications of human being are fungible.

So we are saying that if Al Queda(or any terrorist group for that matter) makes a bomb, they might be willing to say give a large sum of money to the familly of someone who felt like his life was worthless(such a person could look like anyone).

So for Cadillac level security, you almost certainly don't want to do narrow profiling.

Profiling makes sense when the mens rea of the actor is the determining factor.

Guns don't kill people, people kill people.(veiled threat or Hobbesian equality?)

But sophisticated bombs? Here intent is unlikely to ever find a means of actualization.

And if you have the means of actualization, to overcome this high bottle neck, when in economic theory does a low bottleneck remain stable, and not fungible?

That is lets say I can buy a dvd for $1 in China and sell it for $15 in the U.S.

Well everyone knows to check the guy comming from China...so eventually you send it to Singapore, and then Togo and then the US. You profile the China guy, but let the togoleese slip thru, because everyone knows the Chinese have slanty eyes and aren't black.

I am not saying that the chinese don't have slanty eyes and that togoleese are not black. I don't care if you like to call folks niggers, beaners or haji, the folks responsible for enforcing intellectual property in political correctness work in PR departments.

The first ammendment has left me so jaded to slurs that you will literally have to find someone whose job it is to be offended(which is why I can completly understand the 4th circuit in Snyder v Phelps, and why I think the Court will overturn it because of the insensitive standard applied to the reasonable person.) Or someone who makes money by selling racist literature, or who makes money writting legal ethics case books, or a proffesor who studies ethonopaulisms, or someone who makes money writting columns about the end of diversity,(I am talking about CK).

That is the entire market for "Diversity" encompasses its anti-thesis.

So I repeat, Game theory as the intellectual foundation of airport security stands outside of the "cult of diversity", but where there is money to be made columnists will extend the barn roof to cover the sheep. No salesman ever turned down a paying customer because he was misinformed.

If I understand Israeli security measures properly, they are looking for what is properly human in those with criminal intent -- the body language and demeanor that sets that person uncomfortably apart from the normal. That is not about racial or even ethnic profiling.

John, I'm not talking about intellectual diversity, which is generally needed in a democracy. I'm talking about diversity of ascribed status, which doesn't come with any real payoff (at least, not without hard work on human relations and the proper social backdrop). A certain homogeneity of belief and life experience is invaluable for a nation, and the bigger the nation the more important this common warp and woof tends to be. It is very difficult for a multiethnic/religious/racial/national country to survive (e.g., Austrio-Hungary, U.S.S.R., Yugoslavia, many African nations). I find our faith (and Canada's) in the social gravity of democracy a little appalling -- like the preacher in 1953's "War of the Worlds" who wades into alien death rays holding his Bible. Touching, but really stupid.

I don't recall the Army being very concerned on the diversity issue when it came to gays or atheists. Why are members of a genocidal supremacist religion given special consideration?

As an amatuer statistician, I am pleased to see your use of the phrase "equally likely." This, to me, is the crux of the matter.

Profiling is legal, acceptable, and even desirable in certain industries. Consider:

Should a 50 year old, Buick-driving grandfather be expected to pay the same car insurance rates as a teenage male? They could both have an accident, after all.

Should a non-smoker be expected to pay the same health insurance rates as a smoker? They could both need medical care, after all.

Should someone in Atlanta be expected to pay the same homeowners insurance rates as someone in Miami? They could both be hit by a hurricane, after all.

Obviously, in each of these examples, the paired events are not "equally likely." Since profiling based on physical characteristics (age) and behavior (smoking) work for the insurance and other industries, why in the world would we not apply it to homeland security?

There are several problems with the leftie notion of diversity.
1. Diversity of races is not the same as diversity of viewpoints. On most college campusses and newsrooms, it is conservatives who are the real oppressed minority.
2. Leftie diversity encourages group identity and greivances at the expense of assimilation. We are all Americans first and foremost.
3. It is anti individualism. People are individuals first, not members of some group.
4. Profiling based on releable intel is not profiling, it is good police work.

We've gone from a melting pot (where assimilation was the norm) to a salad bowl.

Steel produced in a melting pot has good tensile strength.

Salad? Not so much.

"Diversity" is a scam, a hoax. It is part and parcel of an ideology that some refer to as Cultural Marxism.

"Diversity" is not a call for tolerance and acceptance of other people and other cultures, but rather an effort to destroy our nation as a whole by sowing discord among the many cultures that our nation is comprised of, and especially by casting the majority culture as an imaginary oppressor of all the rest. Where Economic Marxism pretends that the productive and successful are the oppressors of the idle and the failed, Cultural Marxism seeks to convince members of minority cultures that they are somehow being victimized by the majority culture. Divide and conquer is the name if the game.

Most minority cultures within the US were transplanted here from other places where they are the majority. If we were truly an oppressive nation, then these cultures would not even exist here in the first place. The existence, and acceptance, of home grown minority cultures like the Amish further disproves the lie that we are oppressors. You have to be pretty heinous in your values before we take exception to you. The Mormons were driven to Utah not because they were different, but because they were polygamists. As soon as they dropped that nonsense they were, more or less, accepted. Other fringe groups that evolved during the 19th century, such as the Shakers, were left in peace where they emerged, and some retain their unique identities to this day.

The culture of America is the result of ideas, values and traditions that have been contributed by countless individuals representing a multitude of cultures. We are not the British. We are Americans. Our roots reach back to England to be sure, but also to other nations. Ireland, Italy, Germany, France, Russia, Poland, and too many other places to mention by name, not to mention all of the native tribes that were conquered whose contributions (genetic if not always cultural) are quite significant.

The US is fairly unique in that the children and grandchildren of emigrants are as fully American as anyone else. They speak english and are a full member of mainstream culture, even if they also share in the culture of their parents and more distant ancestors. In many countries minority transplant cultures persist in a state of mutually imposed exclusion for generations, even to the point of being unable to speak the common language, or speaking it only poorly. Here in America the best ideas and values from emigrant cultures are made a part of the larger culture. At the same time, a person's identity as part of an distinct sub-culture does not diminish nor conflict with their identity as an American. This is part of what makes our nation so great.

But the left would have you believe that none of this is true. This is just another of their lies. They work to destroy us from within by setting us against one another. They work to create animosity where a sense of community would otherwise flourish.

Don't be fooled by them.

The melting concept works because it expects the neew immigrant joining the culture to adapt to the culture. Not for the existing culture to adapt to them.

The current interpretation of diversity is divisive because it expects the culture to adapt to every sect/branch/cult/ethnic group with no effort by them to adapt into the culture. Instead of joining the melting pot and merging into the wholo, there's a series of small bowls on the table whose contents remain separate.

I have a hard time understanding "diversity" in Progressive Newspeak, mostly because America is already an extremely diverse nation.

"Diversity" is nothing but a code word for affirmative action adopted in the wake of the Supreme Court's Bakke decision (read the majority opinion).

Diversity is a country's weakness. Inclusion is a country's strength.

"the body language and demeanor that sets that person uncomfortably apart from the normal. That is not about racial or even ethnic profiling"

The trouble is that under US law, the moment the method you're talking about flags persons of a speciific race or ethnic group at a rate greater than their occurence in the general population, it becomes racial/ethnic profiling, intent notwithstanding.

"Diversity" is interpreted by the left as some kind of standalone, desirable, "virtue", like "tolerance".

However, neither diversity nor tolerance is virtuous. When we "tolerate" something, by definition, we are "putting up with" something we don't necessarily agree with, find attractive or allow because intervention is seemingly more costly than to allow it to continue. Tolerance of, for example, men who wear pants below their buttocks, is not remotely virtuous.

Generally, more diversity, in most things is better. But there's a clear pattern of Asian cultural academic achievement which, of course, in and of itself is a great thing (achievement). However, that skewed achievement most certainly infringes on "diversity" in general student academics. So the disparate achievement of a group CREATES a lack of diverstiy. Is this undiverse outcome remotely "bad"?

Of course not. So any goal to create or engineer some kind of social diversity is really not at all "tolerant", is it? Is it even "liberal", in the classic sense, to think this way?

The left subscribes to many intellectually bankrupt, often incoherent, notions in an effort to somehow establish the concept that their notions of universal "fairness" represents "virtue". Happily, the TSA uproar illustrates that the public is tiring of these empty but costly gestures to appease liberal sensibilities.

J -- What group is that, besides the likely group subset of guilty bombers of a particular religious persuasion?

Americans enjoy and even celebrate a certain amount of diversity -- or rather diversity of certain types. Look at the success of ethnic restaurants or ethnic festivals in cities from Oktoberfests to Chinese New Year parades. America loves diversity of some sorts. As jag points out, uncivil or illiberal diversity gets on our collective nerves. We cannot tolerate some things. We are unfair in what we will tolerate, which is true for both liberal or conservative. There are some things we cannot live with: we just cannot include those things in an orderly social or political way. We are obviously not embracing the Wahabist's jihad in a tolerant way. It is too often impossible to be "fair" and for many reasons, so to claim that, "fairness" as a political virtue becomes absurd.

Actually, those empty and costly TSA procedures insult my liberal sensibilities.

So, just as fantasy, what would we do if Chinese drag-queens went on a terrorist rampage? Would we be looking for Chinese drag-queens or what?

It is not really a “diversity” problem, it is one of threat assessment. It is the silly elevation of “diversity” to some holy social shrine that gets in the way of doing the actual job – stopping the terrorists from boarding the plane.

The Israelis do it right, and they don’t necessarily “profile” by nationality. Instead, they get the background on the passengers, have security agents speak to them in line, wave through those who are obviously not a threat, but talk a little more to those who, for instance, purchased a one-way ticket for cash, or have visited Pakistan or Yemen recently. They often as seemingly innocuous questions like, what street was your high school on, etc., things which are unlikely to have been part of an elaborate cover story. As any cop will tell you, small talk with a guilty person can be quite revealing.

But subjecting grandmothers, toddlers, and cancer survivors to invasive and humiliating searches is being done here not for our security, but to satisfy those whose “diversity” nerves are sensitive. It makes no sense at all.

I first saw the ethnic food situation noted in a real estate advice column, when someone wrote in to ask what they could do about the situation. The expert/ columnist said that regulations against ethnic discrimination prevented a landlord from doing anything about such a case. I have spoken with other people in the business who agree with that reading of the law. It might be that this is a case where fear of lawsuit leads to rules that are more irrational than the law demands. But the fear, and the interpretation exists because the religion of diversity has gone so far. (It might also be that that's why the dversity experts who do dievrsity training tell them.) Law, after all, is more than just what courts say. It is also, in part, what people think it is and follow.

From John Lewis above:
(college student vomits in hallway + smokes pot + urinates in hallway while habitually drunk)

Which one of these three things is not like the other two?

Cultural Marxism? That's a strange term for it, considering that to the best of my knowledge Marx never made any arguments along the lines you mention here. He pretty clearly believed in the superiority of western culture, and he credited capitalism with bringing civilization to much of the world.

John is right, of course - Marx was a materialist and didn't have much to say on culture. Nonetheless, intellectuals have taken Marx' critical tenor and applied it to cultural and demographic matters (although I'm sure Karl spins in his grave when they do so).

I think it's important to note that "diversity" as a religion and route to power can happen only in Christian (or post-Christian) nations. Original "guilt" sets us up for all manner of special pleading. I'm not saying this is necessarily a bad cultural trait (there are many benefits to this kind of thinking), but it is also a vulnerability.

The essence of a filter is that it allows everything through that isn't what one is interested in. If you have to stop every molecule and examine it before you allow it to continue, the method is useless, and it only pretends to be a filter.

The new scanners and intimate pat downs, can only detect objects outside the body. So far nobody has found a reliable way to screen for plastic explosives, but the only way to set them off without metal seems to involve flames and smoke. So maybe the best thing to do is stick with metal detectors and x-raying carry-on items and just stay sharp.

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