The Diversity Regime
by Bruce Frohnen
Diversity pervades American public life. It is a policy, an ideology, and a regime. That is, diversity is a full governing system its proponents want to spread throughout society, with its own rules, goods, rights, and duties. The goal is revolutionary—establishment of a new way of life in which chosen “differences” are affirmed and valued for their own sake and for the kind of society they shape. What this means in practice is that groups, habits, images, and practices (both public and private) associated with mainstream American culture are to be de-emphasized and de-valued so that what diversity proponents see as the homogeneous vision of an “Ozzie and Harriet” lifestyle may be eliminated. The alternative proposed is something new, more fragmented, and predominantly populated by formerly less visible and valued groups and practices. The revolutionary change is demanded largely on the grounds of justice, and it is undeniable that grave injustices were committed, and still are committed, in the name of America, abstractly defined. But the goal is not an end to abuses; it is, rather, an end to our pre-existing way of life and its replacement by a very new one.
Diversity is very much about appearances—about making institutions and communities “look like America,” by which is meant consisting of a specific mix of ethnic, racial, and gender groups. But the diversity regime also entails rejecting the “liberal” values of individual virtue and merit, and of constitutional procedures and protections many had thought compatible with both individualism and more “progressive” ways of ordering public and private life.
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