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The Diversity Myth

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The idea that "diversity" is one of the country's great strengths is now so firmly rooted that virtually anyone can evoke it, praise it, and wallow in it without fear of contradiction. It has become one of the great unassailably American ideas, like democracy, patriotism, the family, or Martin Luther King.

The President of the United States glories in diversity. In May, 1995, in a message recognizing the Mexican holiday, Cinco de Mayo, William Clinton said, "The Fifth of May offers all of us a chance to celebrate the cultural diversity that helps to make our nation great." A few days later, when he designated May as Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month, he said, "With the strength of our diversity and a continued commitment to the ideal of freedom, all Americans will share in the blessings of the bright future that awaits us." In his 1996 speech accepting the nomination for President, he asked the audience to look around the hall and take heart in how varied the Democratic party was.

In his 1996 Columbus Day proclamation, he said, "The expedition that Columbus . . . began more than 500 years ago, continues today as we experience and celebrate the vibrant influences of varied civilizations, not only from Europe, but also from around the world. America is stronger because of this diversity, and the democracy we cherish flourishes in the great mosaic we have created since 1492."

Appeals to diversity are not just for domestic consumption. In a 1996 speech before the Australian parliament, President Clinton noted that both the United States and Australia were becoming increasingly diverse, and added, "And, yes, we [Australia and America] can prove that free societies can embrace the economic and social changes, and the ethnic, racial and religious diversity this new era brings and come out stronger and freer than ever."

Hillary Clinton feels the same way. In February, 1995, she spoke to the students of her former high school in the Chicago suburb of Park Ridge. She noticed there were many more non-whites among the students than when she was a student, 30 years earlier. "We didn't have the wonderful diversity of people that you have here today," said Mrs. Clinton. "I'm sad we didn't have it, because it would have been a great value, as I'm sure you will discover."

Diversity has clearly become one of those orotund, high-sounding sentiments with which politicians lard their speeches. Of course, the idea that diversity--at least of the kind that Mr. and Mrs. Clinton are promoting--is a great advantage for America is one of the most obviously stupid propositions ever to see the light of day.

Nevertheless there is one kind of diversity that is an advantage. A contractor, for example, cannot build houses if he hires only electricians. He needs carpenters, plumbers, etc.--a diverse work force. However, functional diversity of this kind is not what the Chief Executive is on about. He is talking about largely non-functional differences like race, language, age, sex, culture and even whether someone is homosexual. One might call this status diversity.

What advantages would a contractor get from a mixed work force of that kind? None. What are the advantages the United States gets from a racially mixed population? None.

The idea that status diversity is a strength is not merely a myth, but a particularly transparent one. Explaining why diversity is bad for a country is a little like explaining why cholera is bad for it; the trick is to understand how anyone could possibly think it was good.

In fact, diversity became a strength after the fact. It became necessary to believe in it because skepticism would be "racist." Otherwise intelligent people began to mouth nonsense about diversity only because of the blinding power of the race taboo. After diversity began to include sex, mental disabilities, perversions, and everything else that was alien or outlandish, to disbelieve in the power of diversity was to show oneself to be "intolerant" as well as "racist."

Of course it is only white societies--and white groups within multi-racial societies--that are ever fooled by guff about diversity. Everyone else recognizes the Clinton-Harvard-New York Times brand of diversity for exactly what it is: weakness, dissension, and self-destruction.

Immigration

Despite President Clinton's view that "diversity" started with Columbus, for most of its history the United States was self-consciously homogeneous. In 1787, in the second of The Federalist Papers, John Jay gave thanks that "Providence has been pleased to give this one connected country to one united people, a people descended from the same ancestors, speaking the same language, professing the same religion, attached to the same principles of government, very similar in their manners and customs . . . ."

This is not exactly a celebration of diversity, nor was Jay an eccentric. Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Paine, and Thomas Jefferson were all explicit about wanting the United States to be a white country, and in 1790 the first federal naturalization law required that applicants for citizenship be "free white persons." Until 1965, it was very difficult for non-whites to immigrate to the United States and become citizens (an exception being made for the descendants of slaves). Immigration law was explicitly designed to keep the United States a white nation with a white majority. It was only in the 1950s and 60s that the country turned its back on nearly 200 years of traditional thinking about race and began its long march down the road to nowhere.

Once the country made the fatal assumption that race was a trivial human distinction, all else had to follow. Congress abolished not only Jim Crow and legal segregation but, with the Civil Rights Act of 1964, put an end to free association as well. The Immigration and Nationality Act Amendments of 1965, which abolished national origins quotas and opened immigration to all nations, was a grand gesture of anti-racism, a kind of civil rights law for the entire world.

As has been pointed out in such books as Lawrence Auster's The Path to National Suicide and Peter Brimelow's Alien Nation, the backers of the immigration bill were at pains to explain that it would have little effect on the country. "Under the proposed bill," explained Senator Edward Kennedy, "the present level of immigration remains substantially the same. Secondly, the ethnic mix will not be upset. Contrary to charges in some quarters, it will not inundate America with

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