Professor Zbigniew Janowski, in his essay “Equality’s Third Wave,” (January 2022 Chronicles) has hit the nail on the head. Equality isn’t good enough, but equity and diversity should prevail. Quality and merit are gone; second-rate is now good enough. We have watered down our core values to the lowest common denominator!
—Lynn Paskow Savits
Professor Janowski replies:
I am grateful to Ms. Lynn Savits for her comments on my article, “Equality’s Third Wave.” I wholeheartedly agree with her that “Equality isn’t good enough” and that “quality and merit are gone,” but I will take the liberty of disagreeing with her saying that “diversity should prevail.” In contrast to “equality,” which has a positive role to play in the legal system (as in equality before the law), I find it difficult to ascribe any positive role to “diversity”—at least in the form today’s partisans of diversity understand it.
I admit that it is more interesting to live in a neighborhood where there are many different ethnic restaurants—even if I never go to them—than in a neighborhood where there are only McDonald’s restaurants. I also admit that someone who is interested in studying flora is likely to be better off visiting Madagascar or Brazil rather than Siberia or Alaska, since warm climates are more conducive to the growth of greater varieties of plants. Such understanding of “diversity” is uncontroversial, and we all should be supportive of it.
However, in most human endeavors, such as art, architecture, or engineering, diversity either has a limited application, or no application at all. In designing something, we do not look for diversity but unity of composition; and when we break that unity, we have a bad artwork or a bad piece of mechanical equipment. You will not build a good car out of diversity, even if your diverse parts are all top quality: a beautiful frame from a Jaguar, combined with an engine from a BMW, a bumper from a Volvo, seats and steering wheel from a Mercedes, and the headlights from a Rolls Royce, would still be an automobile for Frankenstein.
Politics, social life, employment, and education operate in a similar way. A school is not good because it has a “diverse” staff. If it is good, it is because it employs teachers who teach well. Saying that diversity in employment matters is like saying that the reason why my dishwasher is working well is the fact that the manufacturer has a diverse work force. Such a work force may be good window dressing for companies in some cases, in certain situations, in certain places, but it is always a compromise which we strike for a reason.
In intellectual life, however, we do not and should not strike compromises, because the object of our pursuit is not profit or social recognition but Truth. Even if I disagree with my colleagues, whose opinions are the opposite of mine, civility requires that I act in a gentlemanly way. Alas, that was the case many decades ago. Visit an American college or university today and you will find a very different situation. American educational institutions are echo chambers, and if someone happens to express a different view, the reaction of his colleagues is as if they are participating in Orwell’s Two Minutes Hate.
As it is often the case with all ideological projects that aim at transforming societies, we need the language which will seize the hearts of the populace. Such is “diversity.” However nice it sounds, “diversity” has been chosen not to promote greater plurality of views. Rather, it obfuscates the real intentions of the proponents of a totalitarian world, which I discuss in my book, Homo Americanus: The Rise of Totalitarian Democracy in America. The effect of “diversity” politics has not been a world with more competing views, but one with intolerant ideological minds.
The Feminized Force
As a 35-year retired police and Army officer, I endorse the realistic wisdom of Anthony Esolen in his article, “The Problem With Women’s Sports” (January 2022 Chronicles).
Feminist hypocrites use their collective political power to enable women to join the police, fire, and military. To do this it is necessary to toss out physical and other traditional performance measures for acceptance. When women cannot vault walls, the walls are lowered. Now, when all remaining natural gender distinctions are erased, females shriek like banshees when biological men, pretending to be women, carry home the gold medals in sports competitions.
Most females lack the size and upper body strength of males. A woman, at her peak condition, is physically equal to a 15 year-old boy. Fire departments complain women cannot drag victims from fires or carry hose up ladders.
Women are often hesitant to grab a violent suspect and take him down to control him as females rarely engage in contact sports in school. They make fewer arrests and await male backup while the situation escalates.
Women are more likely to shoot a citizen then are male police officers. Their “escalation of force” continuum goes from verbal to deadly, with no options between. There is no “nice” way to arrest a dangerous and combative suspect. Swift, aggressive, and violent action is sometimes required. A suspect, confronted by a small female and realizing she cannot hurt him, resists.
Common sense and thousands of years of evolution tell us women should not be in combat. Men go out in packs and hunt; women care for the kids, gather fruits and vegetables, and shop. Women fight only when their men are dead. Permitting them to fight is an affront to feminine dignity and simple decency. Amazons, a tribe of Scythian warrior women, do not exist in sufficient numbers to form military units. So our politically-correct woke generals and politicians must invent them.
A sensible approach to hiring females in the police and military is to accept those meeting time-tested qualifications for the job. Instead, equal outcomes—numbers wearing the uniform without consideration for an ability to accomplish the basic job—become the standard. Do away with qualifications and hire by gender and race. Then sue the taxpayers when the results of your folly get people injured and killed…
—Max K. Hurlbut
The excellent commentary by John Francis Devanny, Jr., on antebellum Southern advocate John Calhoun (October 2022 Chronicles, “Remembering John C. Calhoun), spurs me to comment on the subject which recent authors have argued was the most immediate cause first of secession and then domestic warfare. I refer to the long 19th century pre-Civil War history of the U.S. tariff, then the major source of federal revenue, and its disparate regional impact.
The North gained the most from the ensuing infrastructure investment, while the South paid most of the bill. Twice before, once in the early 1800s and then again in the 1830s, secession had been threatened because of the tariff issue, and both times it was averted by meetings and negotiations with the Jeffersonian and then the Jackson administrations. But the Buchanan administration chose differently and sent warships to Southern ports to enforce the Morrill Tariff.
It was Calhoun who then changed his strategy from compromise on the tariff issue to withdrawal from the Union, and it was Lincoln, the next president, who then responded with military force.
Long ago, in my grade-school years, the next generation was first being taught that the Civil War was all about slavery, but recent historic scholarship and publications have presented a different chain of events, which could have been avoided.
Authors ranging from Eugene Genovese and Ulrich Bonnell Phillips to [former Chronicles editor Thomas] Fleming and John Majewski have published recent studies offering findings pointing to the fact that slavery was on its way out anyway as it became less economically viable. Unskilled forced labor was declining in profitability of as antebellum agriculture became mechanized—the first mechanized two-row cotton harvester patented in 1850 was advertised for its ability to replace 20 field hands. The fugitive slave problem also imposed real costs on Southern plantation operations, as did and English resistance to more costly imports.
All of these facts argue that the costs of the Buchanan-Lincoln “solution” to the problem of U.S. slavery—resulting in about 700,000 casualties, a quarter of the nation wrecked, costs ranging from $7 billion to as much as $12 billion (when all 3 million slaves could have been bought and freed for less than $3 billion)—made the Civil War unjustified.
—Martin S. Harris, Jr.
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