There’s news on the diversity front-according to a study by Robert Putnam, the Harvard professor who gave us “Bowling Alone,” diverse communities are not the melting pots we hoped them to be. Daniel Henninger writes about this in today’s Wall Street Journal:
“‘Inhabitants of diverse communities tend to withdraw from collective life, to distrust their neighbors, regardless of the color of their skin, to withdraw even from close friends, to expect the worst from their community and its leaders, to volunteer less, give less to charity and work on community projects less often, to register to vote less, to agitate for social reform more, but have less faith that they can actually make a difference, and to huddle unhappily in front of the television.’The diversity nightmare gets worse: They have little confidence in the ‘local news media.’ This after all we’ve done for them.”
Before you go all Pat Buchanan on us, Henninger has a good explanation for this phenomenon:
“The diversity ideologues deserve whatever ill tidings they get. They’re the ones who weren’t willing to persuade the public of diversity’s merits, preferring to turn ‘diversity’ into a political and legal hammer to compel compliance. The conversions were forced conversions. As always, with politics comes pushback. And it never stops.
“The harvest of bitter fruit from the diversity wars begun three decades ago across campuses, corporations and newsrooms has made the immigration debate significantly worse. Diversity’s advocates gave short shrift to assimilation, indeed arguing that assimilation into the American mainstream was oppressive and coercive. So they demoted assimilation and elevated ‘differences.’ Then they took the nation to court. Little wonder the immigration debate is riven with distrust.”
Henninger puts forward an alternative to diversity, as a theory, that could most likely lead to diversity in reality-it would also make the immigration debate less bitter:
“My own model for the way forward in a 21st century American society of unavoidable ethnic multitudes is an old one, a phrase found nowhere in the Putnam study or any commentary on it: the middle class. Its assimilating virtues may be boring, but it works, if you work at getting into it.
“Of course Hillary Clinton believes this can’t happen here because the middle class has been ‘invisible’ to George Bush. As with diversity, progress is always just beyond the horizon.”