Saturday, October 19, 2002
The Nature of Diversity

The homophobia issue referred to below -- there's a host of issues related to this raised by Arthur Silber here, particularly as it relates to Andrew Sullivan -- has stirred up ideas I never got down about diversity. It just seems that a really substantial fraction of the population has really unimaginative ideas about the true nature of diversity.

Real diversity means understanding that people will display just about every attribute imaginable in every possible combination. So, there will be animal-rights-motivated vegetarians who like to wear leather. There will be black gay Republicans. There will be Baptists who like to do the frug.

I know that most of us search for consistency in our lives -- who wants to be a big old honking hypocrite? But I think that at some point we come to accomodation with ourselves that everything doesn't line up the same way. Forces of habit don't agree with analytic thought. One set of friends thinks one way about one set of issues; another, a different way -- somehow we keep them all as friends.

It's complicated. It's complicated enough. Add to that some much smaller fraction of the population that's vocal about attempting to enforce their own ideas about how all the various aspects of one's life ought to correlate, and you have a bad situation. I think it's likely that the shouters and the enforcers, while a small fraction of the population, by dint of their loudness and intensity, command a disproportionate share of attention.

Self-appointed thought police on the left and on the right are abhorent. They're so concerned with being correct -- politically or otherwise -- they miss the larger picture. There's no room for doubt, of self or others, in their framework. They're basically little Hitlers, little fans of Stalin. We should be grateful that, by and large, they have little real power.