Toast

I’ve just begun reading John Derbyshire’s dour and mordantly funny new book We Are Doomed: Reclaiming Conservative Pessimism. The first chapter deals with our bizarre and destructive obsession with Diversity — a liberal viewpoint, now thoroughly hegemonic at all levels of societal administration, that Mr. Derbyshire sums up as The Diversity Theorem:

Different populations, of different races, customs, religions, and preferences, can be mixed together in any numbers or proportions at all, with harmonious result. Not only will the result be harmonious, it will also be beneficial to all the people thus mixed. They will be better and happier than if they had been left to stagnate in dull homogeneity.

Derbyshire continues:

The remarkable thing about the Diversity cult is that all the circumstances of the actual human world refute its tenets, wherever we look. I don’t think it is an exaggeration to say that there has never been an ideology so heartily and jealously embraced by all the main institutions of a society, that was at the same time so obviously at odds with the evidence of our senses. It is if the entire Western world had committed itself to the belief that human beings can fly by flapping their arms.

Exaggeration? Well, maybe just a little — let’s face it, there have been some awfully strange ideologies “heartily and jealously embraced by all the main institutions” of various societies over the long and farcical span of human history. But make no mistake: this one’s a real doozy, an all-time great — and it would be hard to imagine any ideology being more “heartily and jealously embraced” than the cult of Diversity is in American government and education today.

Reading on:

In the world at large, diversity causes nothing but problems. Open your newspaper, or scan a news website like news.bbc.co.uk or Drudgereport.com. At random from the past two years’ international news: …

Mr. Derbyshire goes on to cite news items detailing: tribal fighting in Kenya; the impending fracture of Belgium along ethnic lines; religious strife in Lebanon; race riots in Malaysia; the secession of ethnically European provinces from Bolivia in response to the consolidation of Evo Morales’s ethnocentric dictatorship; the multiculturalist indoctrination, in New South Wales, of children (including newborns!) as a response to riots between native Australians and Lebanese immigrants; violent retaliation by Tibetans against ethnic Chinese for the suppression of demonstrations in Lhasa; rampaging Muslims in Sweden; anti-white race riots in Martinique; and ongoing violent conflict in Fiji between native Melanesians and immigrant laborers from India. (It would be easy enough, of course, to extend this list indefinitely, as the reader must realize; the entire history of human life on Earth often seems to be little more than an inexhaustible archive of conflict between various racial and ethnic groups, at varying scales.)

Further:

Africa, Europe, the Middle East, Asia, Latin America, Australia, the Caribbean, and Oceania — everywhere you look, diversity is a source of discord. How does this square with the claims of the Diversity ideologues? Are the Kenyans, Belgians, Lebanese, Malaysians, Bolivians, Australians, Chinese, Swedes, Martiniquaises, and Fijians just not trying hard enough? (The Australians, at least, are plainly trying very hard indeed, with their Diversity-indoctrination programs for newborns.)

… The happy talkers tell us that diversity is a boon, making our society stronger and better. Our own lying eyes tell us that it is the source of continual trouble… rancor, disorder, litigation, and violence.

Indeed. The inculcation of Diversity is big business, too, and provides lucrative opportunities for those who can learn to work the racket:

The money is good. Michelle Obama, when she was vice president for community relations — which is to say, Diversity enforcer — at the University of Chicago Medical Center, had an annual salary of $316,962.

In short, we have come completely unmoored from reality. (A splendid example of how far things have gone, with frank commentary, is on view today at Lawrence Auster’s website, here.) We are driving full-throttle down a dark highway, so lost in our cheery daydreams of happy prospects down the road that we haven’t noticed the signs — of which there have been many already — telling us that the bridge is out, just round the bend. Mr. Derbyshire, with this book, has just posted a big, bright one. I do hope someone notices.

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26 Comments

  1. bob koepp says

    “Exaggeration?” Well, I’m sure you could identify a number of people calling themselves liberals who actually would “heartily and jealously embrace” such nonsense. Does that make it a “theorem” of liberalism? Not unless a propensity to abandon nuance and paint with broad brushes is a defining trait of conservatives.

    Have we lost the ability to criticize ideas on their own merits? Isn’t it obvious that nonsense is nonsense, regardless of the socio-political inclinations of those who spew it?

    Happy Thanksgiving!

    Posted November 26, 2009 at 11:36 am | Permalink
  2. howsurprising says

    It’s funny how Malcolm seems to think that cultural diversity– real cultural diversity– is really tolerated in the U.S.

    Try eating, serving, selling dog meat. Try having two or three spouses. Trydesignating your relatives on official documents using natively meaningful kin terms. Try jumping over people’s fences as if there was only communal property. Let a woman try walking around on main street only in a grass skirt. Hell, you can’t hardly even have cock fights, much less Spanish bull fights, or dog fights. And of course headhunting and cannibalism are out.

    The kinds of cultural diversity tolerated in this country are slim indeed. Holidays. Sure. Religion. Sure. Within limits. Cuisine. Definitely! As long as we think it tastes good, it meets our standards of safety, and doesn’t upset our notions of what kinds of food are immoral to eat or kill.

    Posted November 26, 2009 at 10:22 pm | Permalink
  3. howsurprising says

    Malcolm asks us to be civil, something I deeply appreciate. Yet, I will say this: the quality of his blog has seriously declined in the last year or two. At one time he actually engaged issues with thoughtful consideration. I hardly bother to read it anymore.

    Was it the results of the last election?

    Posted November 26, 2009 at 10:38 pm | Permalink
  4. Malcolm says

    howsurprising, the point is not that there still remain limits to the elasticity of tolerance in America (were there not, we would already have reached the point of utter anarchy); it is the bizarre notion that the maximization of diversity should be our goal.

    I am genuinely sorry that you feel that the quality of this blog has declined. I certainly don’t think I am any less inclined to give important questions thoughtful consideration, but there are some topics about which, having already given them thoughtful consideration for a very long time, I have formed definite opinions, and feel a sense of urgency. But I am always open to discussion and debate, as I hope you will agree — and if I am wrong about something I want to know it, which is why I write publicly, and invite comments, in the first place.

    It is true that I have been focusing more on social and political matters than I used to, and rather negelecting some of the other subjects in which I have an abiding interest — philosophy of mind, natural history, martial arts, music, etc. — and I do mean to focus more on those again. But it is the social and political questions that simply seem the most clamant to me at the moment; I feel that America’s future, and the future of the West, are very much in question just now. So I have been writing mostly about those. And yes, I know I do take sides, and make no secret of that. I am not ashamed to do so; indeed I think it is necessary for us to do so. The unwillingness to make judgements, to discriminate against that which should rightly be discriminated against, is one of the most enfeebling symptoms of our modern cultural disease.

    I wouldn’t say it is due to the outcome of the last election — utterly appalled by the prospect of Sarah Palin as vice-president, and with fingers crossed, I in fact voted for Barack Obama — but that does not obligate me to sit by in silence when I disagree with government policy.

    Posted November 27, 2009 at 1:04 am | Permalink
  5. Malcolm says

    Bob,

    An explicitly endorsed theorem of liberalism? Of course not. Derbyshire’s paragraph simply summarizes, and extrapolates from, the behavior we observe every day in government, business, the military, the press, and academia.

    Indeed that Theorem does strike one as obvious nonsense when expressed so explicitly, which is of course Derbyshire’s point.

    Posted November 27, 2009 at 1:14 am | Permalink
  6. JK says

    howsurprising, with the exception of cannabilism, obviously you’ve never visited Arkansas. Then there’s this:

    http://www.slate.com/id/2236442/

    Posted November 27, 2009 at 1:17 am | Permalink
  7. bob koepp says

    “the bizarre notion that the maximization of diversity should be our goal”

    As you interpret ‘diversity’, this is, indeed, a bizarre notion. In fact, it’s so bizarre that I don’t think you could identify more than a handful of “liberals” (among those able to spell their names) who would endorse it. So if you wish to attack stupidity, have at it — but don’t think that by attacking stupid liberals you’re undermining liberalism.

    Posted November 27, 2009 at 9:58 am | Permalink
  8. Malcolm says

    Bob,

    With all due respect: you cannot be serious. Everywhere you look you see paeans to Diversity — and entire departments of corporations, universities, and government agencies are devoted to its expansion, and to management of the many problems it creates. (An English cousin, upon reading this post, sent me a note saying she had just returned from a National Health Service Diversity conference.) The Chief of Staff of the United States Army recently declared that “if our Diversity becomes a casualty, I think that’s worse” than the actual murder of more than a dozen soldiers by a traitor in their midst.

    In proclamation after proclamation our leaders, in government, business, entertainment and academe, make fulsome and misty-eyed tribute to the sweet and copious blessings of Diversity in America. It is taken, as a given truth, that our strength and well-being must increase in proportion to our Diversity, though no evidence whatsoever for this stupendously counterfactual assumption is ever given.

    Posted November 27, 2009 at 12:21 pm | Permalink
  9. bob koepp says

    Malcolm – I exaggerated. I used the qualification “able to spell their names” in way that inflated it’s significance. But I still think you are not distinguishing thoughtful liberals from the knee-jerkers who just want everybody to like them. Just like thoughtful conservatives should be distinguished from Bible thumping flag wavers.

    Posted November 27, 2009 at 3:01 pm | Permalink
  10. Malcolm says

    Ah, ok then. I wasn’t quite sure I understood what you were getting at.

    I do think, however, that even “thoughtful” liberals — who presumably are the ones making social policy in the upper strata of government, the academy, etc. the tend to have a blind spot as far as this topic is concerned — though it seems clear to me that in many cases it isn’t a “blind spot” at all, but a positive malevolence toward our traditional majority Anglo-European culture.

    But many thoughtful liberals — and I am acquainted with a great many of them, both here in New York and in Cape Cod — aren’t thoughtful at all, it seems, when it comes to this subject. If there is any topic that tends to jerk even relatively unjerkable liberal knees, it’s this one.

    Posted November 27, 2009 at 3:14 pm | Permalink
  11. JW says

    From a strategic standpoint, if you were the policymaker, and given reality now and in the future, doesn’t the preaching of diversity make perfect sense? I need not tell you that people of one background instinctively hate being told what to do by people of another background. So, if you were the policymaker, you encourage the beatification of diversity, while in the background you regulate diversity according to standards of optimality not necessarily linked to standards that are preached to the public.

    I apologize if it turns out that this has nothing to do with what you intended point out in this post. :)

    Posted November 27, 2009 at 7:55 pm | Permalink
  12. Malcolm says

    I don’t think that is what’s happening here, JW, particularly because I don’t see the foreground/background distintion you make: the agenda is right out in the open. No, in this case the intention is clearly to reduce the power and influence of the traditional majority culture. What people don’t realize is that they are killing the goose that laid the golden egg; they think they can have the prosperity without the culture, indeed without any majority culture — and it isn’t going to work.

    Posted November 27, 2009 at 11:03 pm | Permalink
  13. JW says

    “No, in this case the intention is clearly to reduce the power and influence of the traditional majority culture.”

    Fascinating. Are you saying that there is a subset of members of the traditional majority culture in power who are intentionally willing to work against their own influence? I find that a little hard to believe… Or are you saying that there is a group of elite minorities powerful enough to exert this type of systematic influence against the majority culture? I find this a little hard to believe also…

    Honestly, I think you’re giving much too short shrift to the idea that diversity may just be a primary ingredient to success in *today’s* world. And I don’t suppose I have to explain to you why the big companies that depend heavily on overseas business will see diversity of the right type of people –grounded firmly in the universal virtues– in their workforce to be a net benefit *by far*. Surely you would agree that the people in power in these companies are smart enough to make diversity related decisions that at least approximately leads to the maximum benefit to be had out of such decisions? (wall street notwithstanding…)

    Posted November 27, 2009 at 11:48 pm | Permalink
  14. Malcolm says

    “Are you saying that there is a subset of members of the traditional majority culture in power who are intentionally willing to work against their own influence?”

    Yes. Those on the Left often have the same incredulous reaction when they see working-class people voting Republican. It’s a matter of values and ideology.

    “Or are you saying that there is a group of elite minorities powerful enough to exert this type of systematic influence against the majority culture?”

    Also yes, and quite obviously so.

    “Honestly, I think you’re giving much too short shrift to the idea that diversity may just be a primary ingredient to success in *today’s* world.”

    It may of course be useful for an American company that does business in Japan to have some Japanese employees on its staff, for practical reasons; it is hard for me to see how such a company would benefit from going out of its way to hire Tamil Hindus, Tarahumara Mexicans, and Somali Muslims as well.

    “Surely you would agree that the people in power in these companies are smart enough to make diversity related decisions that at least approximately leads to the maximum benefit to be had out of such decisions?”

    No, I most surely would not. American corporations have had, over the past few decades, to be dragged kicking and screaming to the altar of Diversity — by means of hiring quotas, government regulations, and anti-discrimination lawsuits. Corporations thrive on team-building, and it is a simple fact of human nature that people bond more naturally with others who are like themselves.

    And anyway, a nation is not a business: it seems abundantly clear upon any reading of history that as diversity increases within a nation, faction and strife does as well. Examples of this are beyond number, and available daily in any newspaper; counterexamples are almost entirely nonexeistent.

    Posted November 28, 2009 at 1:01 am | Permalink
  15. JW says

    “Yes. Those on the Left often have the same incredulous reaction when they see working-class people voting Republican. It’s a matter of values and ideology.”

    I have a hard time believing this, because if it was as *clear cut* as you say, that there is no chance of diversity providing significant benefits to a nation in the long term, then the odd majority culture member here and there would have no chance at all having system wide influence. Values and ideology do *not* diverge meaningfully on the issue of whether or not we want a successful future for America in the long term.

    “it is hard for me to see how such a company would benefit from going out of its way to hire Tamil Hindus, Tarahumara Mexicans, and Somali Muslims as well.”

    India, Mexico, and Africa. Forget India and Mexico. Let’s just take what one could reasonably take as the most difficult situation, Africa. You must surely be aware that China sees Africa as a HUGE opportunity and are currently in the process of investing tons and tons of resources into a region that you apparently write off as an insignificant entity in terms of deriving benefits from. And I certainly wouldn’t assume that you think that the Chinese are stupid. (I wouldn’t care if you do, however– I’m not Chinese)

    Posted November 28, 2009 at 1:34 am | Permalink
  16. Malcolm says

    “I have a hard time believing this, because if it was as *clear cut* as you say, that there is no chance of diversity providing significant benefits to a nation in the long term, then the odd majority culture member here and there would have no chance at all having system wide influence. Values and ideology do *not* diverge meaningfully on the issue of whether or not we want a successful future for America in the long term.”

    I’m afraid I have no idea what you are trying to say here.

    My point, if I must make it again, is that it is plainly not clear to all that increasing Diversity will do anything other than strengthen and enrich our nation; this is why Mr. Derbyshire and others, including me, feel an urgent need to point it out. A great many who otherwise ought to know better are ensorcelled by a Utopian fantasy in which increasing Diversity can only lead to a multiculturalist rainbow of happy harmony — a stupefying delusion that, were they able simply to acknowledge self-evident realities of human nature, or even read the international news with the slightest glimmer of comprehension, they would see at once to be glaringly false.

    A second thing to keep in mind is that there are many in government, academia, and elsewhere who quite explicitly relish the idea of bringing down the dominant Anglo-European culture, consequences be damned.

    Posted November 28, 2009 at 2:02 am | Permalink
  17. Malcolm says

    “You must surely be aware that China sees Africa as a HUGE opportunity and are currently in the process of investing tons and tons of resources into a region that you apparently write off as an insignificant entity in terms of deriving benefits from.”

    I’m afraid you haven’t understood me at all. I have never said that there wasn’t money to be made in Africa; I can’t imagine what made you imagine I had, or what that has to do with anything we’ve been talking about. We are discussing here the ethnic, racial, and cultural diversification of Western nations.

    Posted November 28, 2009 at 2:23 am | Permalink
  18. JW says

    Increasing or decreasing diversity is a matter of calibration to a level that one may judge to be the most optimal in the long term. I don’t think you will find many who will agree with the statement that “unrestricted increase in diversity is the best way”.

    My point in that paragraph — I apologize if it is badly worded, but I don’t think it is incomprehensible — it’s a very simple point. Put it to you this way — if the net negative effects of diversity ought to be abundant clear to people of reasonable intelligence and especially to those that set the national agenda — these are the two groups of people who will have most influence on the nation — then you don’t have to worry, because reasonable and intelligent people in an open democracy like America will not remain in a state of self delusion for very long given real actionable data that clearly point in one direction regarding an issue as paramount as that of the long term viability of their nation.

    Posted November 28, 2009 at 2:31 am | Permalink
  19. JW says

    “I’m afraid you haven’t understood me at all. I have never said that there wasn’t money to be made in Africa; I can’t imagine what made you imagine I had, or what that has to do with anything we’ve been talking about. We are discussing here the ethnic, racial, and cultural diversification of Western nations.”

    ??? I thought you understood me perfectly when you said a company that does business in Japan would find it in their interest to have Japanese people in their staff? If you are a japanese company trying to decide between an american company that has significant numbers of japanese people vs a norweigian company of the same skill level that has none, which would you decide to work with? Heck, you might not even had the opportunity to *bid* without those japanese employees! If we assume that businesses are all about relationships and ethnic and cultural bonds are strong,and opportunities overseas are important, is it not to a big company’s advantage to have as diverse a workforce as possible?

    Posted November 28, 2009 at 2:40 am | Permalink
  20. Malcolm says

    “Put it to you this way — if the net negative effects of diversity ought to be abundant clear to people of reasonable intelligence and especially to those that set the national agenda — these are the two groups of people who will have most influence on the nation — then you don’t have to worry…”

    Oh, yes I do. You are obviously a good deal more optimistic about all of this than I am, JW — which view, likely being representative of the opinions of a great many other people like yourself, rather confirms my fears, and makes me in turn more pessimistic.

    Posted November 28, 2009 at 3:19 am | Permalink
  21. JW says

    Actually, I wouldn’t say that I am necessarily more optimistic than you about diversity. What is certain to me is that I am *less certain* about the prospects of diversity than you are. However, I am more optimistic in the sense that the intelligent and powerful residents and citizens of America will collectively choose a course of action regarding diversity that will be in their best interest. Why do I have more confidence in the collective choice rather than in individual assertions from people like you? For the same reason that economists take extremely seriously probabilities calculated through the votes of individuals regarding a future event.

    Posted November 28, 2009 at 3:40 am | Permalink
  22. Malcolm says

    “However, I am more optimistic in the sense that the intelligent and powerful residents and citizens of America will collectively choose a course of action regarding diversity that will be in their best interest.”

    You should ask: in whose best interest? What you seem not to grasp is the most important point of all, the essential nub of the problem: that as diversity increases, the interests of the various groups diverge.

    I am looking out for the best interests of the culture I belong to. And you may be right that we will change course before we dive off the cliff (though I doubt it) — but it won’t happen if nobody sounds the alarm.

    What I am afraid will happen is that our current course will lead to a fragmentation of the US along cultural and ethnic lines. This would have been unimaginable 50 years ago, but could happen very quickly once we reach what has come to be known as a “tipping point”.

    Posted November 28, 2009 at 2:54 pm | Permalink
  23. JW says

    Interests of various groups within the US have *always* diverged to some extent — although, as I keep repeating to you, nobody desires a future state in America that is crime infested and materially poor. I learned as a child that we reached a tipping point with slavery, and yet the country managed to survive *that* without permanently breaking apart, and that was back in the 1800s when entire classes of people were classified as subhuman, and when communication and travel were far more limited thereby severely limiting the formation of criss-crossing interests. Here you are, in 2009, telling us that you feel the need to sound the alarm about *diversity*. How else am I supposed to react except with a hearty chuckle?

    Posted November 28, 2009 at 5:28 pm | Permalink
  24. Malcolm says

    Do you honestly think that to someone arriving here from Mogadishu or Tijuana, the USA seems “crime-infested and materially poor”? They will flock here glady, and bring as many of their own as they can, because even a grotesquely deteriorated America offers a vastly better life than where they have come from — for now, at least.

    The interests of various groups in the USA have indeed always diverged, but did so in the context of an ambient, dominant majority culture that provided a stablizing, binding cultural matrix. The stability of that cultural foundation, however, depends on unity, not diversity. It’s simple enough: the more diversity, the more divergence, the more “identity politics”, the more Balkanization of American society there will be — and Balkanization means conflict. To imagine that the importation of millions of poorly assimilating non-Western immigrants under the banner of Diversity will do anything other than to accelerate the fragmentation of America — indeed to imagine that the maximization of Diversity itself strengthens a nation in any way whatsoever — is simply to deny plainly evident realities of history and human nature.

    About slavery, you write:

    “We managed to survive that without permanently breaking apart..”

    Well, almost, except for that little matter of the bloodiest war in America’s history, the enormous strife and woe of the Restoration, and then a continuing saga of racial conflict and violence that has divided and bedeviled us ever since. And all that is just the result of the level of Diversity we already had in place from our nation’s founding. Why, then, would any sane person want to create more?

    That you can greet all of this simple common sense with a patronizing “hearty chuckle”, and optimistic hand-waving about the good judgment of our leaders, gives me further cause to fear for our future, and ample reason to think, I am sorry to say, that you and I have so little common intellectual ground that further discussion will be entirely unproductive.

    It is my custom, when discussions with commenters have obviously reached the point of diminishing returns, to offer them the last word. You may have it, if you like.

    Posted November 28, 2009 at 6:16 pm | Permalink
  25. JW says

    Well, if you insist. You live in NYC if I remember, perhaps the most diversely populated place on earth. I don’t suppose that the level of diversity has gone down in the past decade, but crime certainly has, and standard of living certainly hasn’t deteriorated in general.

    Are you still afraid that continued “balkanization” of NYC will send it down the toilet any time soon?

    Posted November 28, 2009 at 6:43 pm | Permalink
  26. Malcolm says

    JW, that’s such a good and pointed question that I will break my own last-word rule to say that I’ll reply to it in a forthcoming post.

    Posted November 28, 2009 at 11:44 pm | Permalink