Flat White

Diversity is not a strength

3 April 2018

9:06 AM

3 April 2018

9:06 AM

Possibly the greatest myth propagated by modern Western culture is that diversity is an essential ingredient for a successfully-integrated, progressive and prosperous society. Diversity is seen as a mechanism of cultural enrichment that fosters greater cooperation and tolerance. We need more Muslims on TV, we need more women in science, we need more “people of colour” in parliament. In hiring practices, in education, the media and business, diversity has become a marketable virtue and a barometer of progress. The platform for diversity has been elevated to biblical status in public discourse and it is seldom challenged.

Even freedom of expression, the principle upon which Western democracy was built, has become subservient to the ultimate act of virtue signalling. When given the choice, 53 per cent of American College students said they would value diversity over free speech. The joint report (from Gallup Poll and the Knight Foundation) questioned over 3000 students on their attitudes toward diversity and freedom of expression. Ten per cent of students believe it is sometimes acceptable to use violence to prevent someone from speaking. Thirty per cent would support a learning environment that puts limits on “offensive speech.” Sixty-four per cent of students believe free speech on campus is secure, down from 73 per cent just 18 months ago. The results come at a time where student bodies actively demand the barring of controversial (read conservative) speakers from campus and that university administration spend more money on diversity initiatives and affirmative action programs.

A glance at the ratio of registered Democrat to Republican voting professors on US college campuses elucidates a startling rate of intellectual homogeneity amongst faculty members. Ordinarily, it would be expected that diversity devotees would be concerned with such ratios of 33:1 among history professors, 20:1 in the field of communications and 8.6:1 in law, however, they are noticeably reticent. The figures (revealed by Econ Journal Watch) shamefully represent the unilateral nature in which diversity concerns manifest and is actively undermining student’s abilities to think critically.

Administrations across the country are now locked in a power struggle with students who want control of hiring practices, housing and the curriculum. The University of Chicago was recently given a list of demands to create courses on diversity and inclusion as well as a course on the Golden Age of Islam. The University of Colorado Boulder is developing segregated halls for black students and one for “students passionate about diversity.” At Stanford, “Who’s teaching us” has demanded greater racial diversity among the faculty from administrators. It is no longer “what we are taught” that matters, it is “who we are taught by.” A balanced curriculum valuing diversity of thought has become a sacrifice at the altar of diversity politics.

In a context not too far removed from American campus culture, Australian universities also struggle to balance diversity and free expression. Research from Australia’s Institute of Public Affairs in 2017 found 81 per cent of Australian universities to be “actively hostile to free speech.” Even though most universities have “’diversity week” or branding campaigns that gloat over diverse student populations, only 8 of our 42 universities have a policy that explicitly protects intellectual freedom despite a mandate from our Higher Education Support Act 2003.

Last year Monash University became the first Australian University to introduce a formal trigger warning policy. Conservative students at Sydney University are continually charged exorbitant security fees for hosting conservative speakers. The Sydney University student union frequently attempts to ban speeches and films they don’t like. The situation on university campuses worldwide is indicative of an ideological cancer metastasizing in the minds of an entire generation.

Research from Europe however, contradicts the large body of university course material on manufactured diversity. While 58 per cent of Americans believed that increasing diversity would make their country a better place to live, Switzerland was the most optimistic out of any European country with only 36 per cent. The findings from Pew Research also found that in Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands and Poland, less than 20 per cent of people believed diversity made their country better to live in.

In the mind of intellectuals, advocates, celebrities and educators, diversity represents the utopian ideal that all humans are equal regardless of their culture. In towns, villages and cities throughout Europe, the lived experience of forced multiculturalism paints a much different picture.

What many fail to realise is that free speech is the mechanism that has lead to the greatest diversity and tolerance in society than at any point throughout human history. Without free speech there would be no Emancipation Proclamation, women would not have the right to vote and students would not have the right to conduct political demonstrations on campus.

Diversity is not our strength. It is an arbitrary, functionally insignificant virtue aimed at socially engineering the West into an ideological echo chamber. Not everything needs to be explicitly pro-multicultural or anti-racist to soothe people’s paranoia about not looking progressive enough.

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