Diversity is not a Virtue

Reprinted below is an article by a neo-conservative bemoaning the loss of the "color-blind" ideal in America at the hands of liberal multiculturalists.

Most White Nationalists would view the demise of the "color- blind" integrationist ideal as the inevitable consequence of integration itself, and the opportunities that integration creates for channeling racial hostility for political advantage.

An invisible hand operates in politics as well as economics, and few white liberals are going to restrain themselves for the sake of preserving Western civilization's inclusionary and individualistic values when confronted with the opportunity to reap short term political gain from organizing and exploiting the natural racial and ethnic animus of non-whites.

As long as European-Americans remain a majority, this process of arousing non-white demands is likely to produce primarily political struggles for advantage and preferences in our legislatures and bureaucracies.

When European-Americans cease to be a majority, there is no reason to believe that the struggles will not blossom into more direct and satisfying expressions of racial animus of the kind that occurred in Haiti in 1798-1803, or in so many other parts of the World since.

The grim message of multi-culturalism, and the shock to the very souls of the neo-conservatives, is that democratic capitalism is no guarantee of tolerance. If tolerance cannot be defended even in the prosperous circumstances of the United States, then what hope is there that democratic capitalism will spread notions of tolerance through the rest of the World's multi-racial empires?

The author, Mark Helprin, despairs of a personal by-product of this process; - that of becoming a European-American.

For becoming a European-American implies a new identity for him and millions like him compelled by the need for self-defense.

YGGDRASIL SAYS behold the anguish of a neo-conservative being mugged by reality:

Nov. 25, 1994 Wall Street Journal p A8

Diversity Is Not a Virtue


Of all the divisions in the politics of the Western world the clearest and most consequential are those between corporate or communal rights and the rights of the individual. Though other questions may be all consuming, they are often restatements of this fundamental issue.

Socialists steadfastly champion central planning despite its monotonous failures because they cannot abide individual liberty even if it accomplishes their goals of material advancement. And proponents of the free market who rest their case upon its performance forget that ultimately they are its advocates not because of its operational superiorities but because it is a necessary precondition of free society.

* * *

Though the Soviet apparatus disintegrated, the communalist ideal escaped. It is still with us, harbored by the old guard in the East and the intellectual elites of the West, who, now that their enthusiasms seem no longer a matter of national betrayal, are more fervent than ever. A Dangerous Principle

At the founding of the nation, in the Civil War, and in the authentic struggle for civil rights, the corporatist idea was found wanting and the rights of the individual affirmed. Once again we are faced with the same choice, but today the churches, the president, the universities and the press endorse rather than condemn the idea that we are most importantly representatives of a class, a tribe, or a race and that we treat others and expect to be treated as such.

They do so to make amends and to "celebrate diversity," without concern that the recipients of their largesse may not themselves have been wronged. As they see it, they need only find people of the same type, and the deed is done. And what amends! To atone for having wrongly judged people by race, they will now rightly judge people by race. To atone for segregated accommodations, they offer separate dormitories. To atone for having said "colored people," they say "people of color." What they do now is as wrong as it once was-not merely because of the effect, but because of the dangerous principle that individuals do not transcend the accidents of birth.

Almost every scholastic body in the country now considers itself a kind of Congress of Vienna with the special mission of making its students aware of race and ethnicity. Though they are forced to dwell on half a dozen categories, told that this is diversity, the reduction of 250 million individuals to a handful of racial and ethnic classifications is not a recognition of differences but their brutal suppression.

* * *

A long way from equal justice under law are the debit or credit now furiously assigned to membership in various communities; the federal laws that in requiring complex racial assessments embarrassingly parallel Hitler's Aryan Decree; the virtual numerus clausus in the American university, this time directed against Asians; the regrowth of racial segregation; and the computerized homelands of Congressional redistricting.

Many well-meaning liberals now deal carelessly with the stock and trade of Nazism and apartheid, and what they advocate is racism plain and stupid, no different from the laziness of mind and deficiency of spirit of the old-time segregationist--' There goes a white one, there goes a black one, that one's an octoroon."

They are comfortable with what they once abhorred, because it is part of the good work of promoting communal rights, and in the past few years they have expanded their purview with the voraciousness they attribute to corporate raiders. Accelerating far beyond the relatively simple matter of race, they have included absolutely everyone in their systems of grievance, publicity, manipulation, and reward.

* * *

This damage having been done, the next step is the promotion of diversity as a political value, and the institutional proclamation of ethnic differences ("We're so proud to have Melanie in our class, because she's an Eskimo"). Even were this somehow to further diversity neither diversity nor unity are virtues, and should be left to find their own balance without stilted prodding. Freezing acculturation to keep each contributing element pristine would have been impossible even in the age of steam, much less now, when things change faster than we can register. Why then the useless, shallow and patronizing acclaim for the great tributaries of this new stream that goes its own way and will not be made to back up? Why the interminable school programs in which parents are forced to listen as their hostage children sing Indonesian Christmas carols? Am I really a European-American? The hell I am.

All the hyphenation and saccharine praise of differences (in which any politically useful subdivision becomes a "culture") is to organize and divide the otherwise unmanageable, unplannable chaos of a society of individuals, and thus augment the power of the state. When you want to control a complex social situation the first thing you do is make categories and award privileges. But, as in any statist system, for every entitlement there is an equal and opposite obligation. When, in the flush of class action, entitlements are compassionately granted to groups, obligations are cruelly drawn from individuals. Over all, the state is the decisive arbiter, its power increasing as it manufactures new rights and new relations, shifting them in an ever changing shell game in which the players have the illusion that they are winning but it is the dealer who goes home with the money.

* * *

A portent of Fascism

They always mean well- Communalists, multiculturalists, the politically correct always want to do good, but they always, always require power to do so, and as their appetite for doing good is limitless, so is their capacity for acquiring power. Intent, as history shows, is a poor bulwark against despotism, and as a nation we have never failed to understand this, rightly refusing to accept either a benign despotism or one that is pernicious, for at heart they are the same.

If I have not done so already, let me make myself absolutely clear. The contemporary passion to classify and divide the American people is a portent of fascism both red and black. Where the communal approach rules (Yugoslavia, the Middle East, Northern Ireland, Soviet Central Asia, Hitler's Germany, Stalin's Russia) blood flows and no one is treated fairly. We, on the other hand, have fought many times for the sake of being apprehended not as classes of people but as individual souls.

Six generations ago, my forebears left Russia after the Kishinev Pogrom, left behind the weight of a thousand years, for a future that they thought sparkled and shone like a diamond, because it was fair, because the great, euphoric gift of America -- its essential condition, its clarity, its purity, and its decency-- was that it took them for what they were, just as God would, looking past the accidents of birth and the complications of history. I cannot imagine that we would willingly leave this behind, and I, for one, will not.

Mr. Helprin, a novelist, is a contributing editor of the Journal. This is adapted from a speech he delivered Monday at the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington.

[The quotes above are a part of a longer article that you can obtain through Dow Jones News Retrieval.]

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