The 9 States of Indiana: Diversity Inside Out

July 17, 2014

For the use of the membership only (532 words)

A FRIEND RECEIVED a coveted invitation to join what at the time was an all-male club in Fort Wayne. He declined, but not for the reason you might think.

He had no objection to the club’s various exclusionary clauses, believing the right to assembly was absolute. His concern, rather, was that the club was changing its bylaws.

There was a motion on the table to admit women; he wanted to know what kind of women they might be.

The successful female applicant, as it turned out, was only secondarily interested in the club’s mission. She was mostly interested in just being there, in breaking a historic sex barrier, in shaming the old guard — Hillary Clinton, that is, not Sarah Palin.

With its membership in flux, the club lost reputation in all quarters. The friend chose a different club.

This came to mind reading a column this week by Dan Hannan, a member of the European Parliament, writing for the London Daily Telegraph. Hannan asks how can it be progress to include persons of different skin tones or sex if you insist they hold similar opinions?

“The last thing exponents want is actual pluralism,” Hannan argues. “They want more Muslims, but not Muslims who hold Islamic views about, say, the definition of marriage. They want more black people, but not black people who get ideas about prospering outside a redistributionist economy. They want more women, but not more Margaret Thatchers.”

Not so coincidentally, gentrification has become the demographic pattern of our age. Three years ago, this foundation identified and mapped nine regions of Indiana that, to a remarkable degree, are made up of individuals who are socioeconomically similar. It’s a good bet that if the study were repeated, the findings would be more pronounced.

Interestingly, in California there is a proposal headed for the ballot to split that state into six little ones, each with a more common citizenry, its own government and its own collection of elected officials, including congressional representatives.

None of this is the way it’s supposed to work, not after three generations of social engineering and diversity training. Once Washington ordered the social barriers down, we were supposed to meld into one big happy country — borderless even. Instead, we gravitate toward those regions that best match our political and social makeup.

The easy answer is that we’re still bigots, sexists, racists, partisans and greed-driven capitalists. Perhaps what is needed is for the Jesse Jacksons, the Saul Alinskys and the Debbie Wasserman Schultzes to tighten the thumbscrews another turn.

But the true problem, Hannan suggests in rebuttal, is a society that classifies diversity without honoring pluralism, that imagines that to merely treat people equally is the same as to make them equal.

Such thinking, once institutionalized, is the opposite of liberty. It commands you to accept your neighbors’ viewpoint not because it is compelling but because it is doctrine. That is why they built the Berlin Wall. That is why a Singapore works but a Yugoslavia or a Lebanon implodes.

Be grateful that in a free country — perhaps even in California still — there are options when the bylaws are changed, when the views of others are imposed by a tyranny of minority or majority.

You can join a different club.

— Craig Ladwig

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