Calvert: It's time to demystify the suicidal cult of diversity and acknowledge its evils
Myanmar's Buddhists are zestfully slaughtering their Muslim neighbors, who are scurrying to Bangladesh for safety. In Yemen, light-skinned Arabs in the north are purging their dark-skinned brethren in the south. Yugoslavia's civil war in the 1990...
Myanmar's Buddhists are zestfully slaughtering their Muslim neighbors, who are scurrying to Bangladesh for safety. In Yemen, light-skinned Arabs in the north are purging their dark-skinned brethren in the south. Yugoslavia's civil war in the 1990s led to 100,000 deaths and a million refugees. Ratco Mladic, the "Butcher of Bosnia," was recently convicted of crimes against humanity by an international court for his near-genocide of Muslims. A dozen more Third World countries are enduring violence waged among peoples who can't get along with each other.
We find ethnic friction in advanced countries, too. Quebec, Ireland, Belgium, Spain, the Soviet Union, and even California and Florida have simmering separatist movements because of differences in religion, histories, skin color, language, customers or whatever.
Steven Pinker, author of The Better Angels of Nature, says-convincingly-that the world is becoming more peaceful because of education, empathy, cosmopolitanism and other civilizing forces are increasing. But one powerful pacifying factor he misses is: ethnic cleansing.
Christopher Hitchens once observed that "the deepest hatreds are manifested between people who-to most outward appearances-exhibit very few significant differences."
Arthur Schlesinger Jr. has written that "the hostility of one tribe for another is among the most instinctive human reactions" and will erupt into violence unless "a common purpose binds them together." Freud called this the "narcissism of small differences." It's narcissistic because people tend to seize upon any difference with their neighbors to affirm their own superiority.
Yet our multiculturalists claim that ethnic diversity does wondrous things. It makes us all wiser and more tolerant, and it creates a "vibrant social fabric" that is thrilling in itself.
Research has exposed all this as a colossal fraud. The largest study of diversity has come from Harvard's Robert Putnam, whose field is "social capital," i.e., the conditions necessary for a successful community. Here is Putnam's summary of his findings:
"People in diverse communities tend to distrust their neighbors, regardless of their skin color, to withdraw even from close friends, to expect the worst from their community, to volunteer less, give less to charity and work on community projects less often ... to have less faith that they can actually make a difference, and to huddle unhappily in front of the television." In short, diversity triggers a crippling social malaise, and the more diversity there is, the worse it gets.
Yet we are endlessly commanded to "celebrate diversity!" So, we take in over one million immigrants each year, many from hostile cultures and with no interest in assimilating. Some people benefit from this. Businesses and opulent households get cheap labor, and the campuses, too, get a constant flow of ethnic students to keep their diversity inclusion empires humming. Most of us, though, are ambivalent, half-swallowing the fabrications about diversity, yet knowing intuitively that it is disruptive.
But immigration is also fueled by resentment. Many elites, especially intellectuals and artists, are alienated from the societies they inhabit. While they see themselves as an aristocracy of talent, superbly qualified to govern, they are nevertheless excluded from the ruling class. Rednecks are incharge while their betters are snubbed. The elites get revenge by sponsoring identity groups whose rivalries are sure to splinter national unity. If elites can't rule democracies, they can at least cripple them.
Historian Oscar Handlin called multiculturalism "an assault on the core themes of American education" that is "part of a wider effort to alter the country's character."
Political scientist Samuel Huntington has said that America's elites have promoted "measures consciously designed to weaken America's cultural and creedal identity and to strengthen racial, ethnic, cultural and other sub identities. These efforts by a nation's leaders to deconstruct the nation they govern were, quite possibly, without precedent in human history."
It's time to demystify the suicidal cult of diversity and acknowledge its evils. We have fought wars to defend our culture, and now our own elites are dismantling it without firing a shot.
Calvert is a retired political science teacher who lives in Fargo.