Diversity, Inclusion, Tolerance – Part 1

Contemporary culture may reject classical virtues that were nearly universal until last century, but it would be a mistake to think it rejects virtue and morality altogether. What’s happened instead is a replacement of real virtue with hollow substitutes. Faith, Hope, and Love are now Diversity, Inclusion, and Tolerance.

Importantly, whereas the classical virtues are truly Good (that is, they reflect transcendent Goodness, which is the Nature of God), the new virtues are totalitarian are are not, when understood to mean what they do to modern people, good in any meaningful sense. Lets consider each of them on their own, starting with Diversity.

The old definition for diversity is philosophical, and is the opposite of unity. It just means a collection of distinct things. Diversity in its historic sense is a description of the world, not a virtue.

Contrast this with the modern definition, taken here from a community college:

All of our human differences.

Here is the more full definition from the same site (emphasis mine):

The concept of diversity encompasses acceptance and respect. It means understanding that each individual is unique, and recognizing our individual differences. These can be along the dimensions of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, age, physical abilities, religious beliefs, political beliefs, or other ideologies. It is the exploration of these differences in a safe, positive, and nurturing environment. It is about understanding each other and moving beyond simple tolerance to embracing and celebrating the rich dimensions of diversity contained within each individual.

Diversity is a reality created by individuals and groups from a broad spectrum of demographic and philosophical differences. It is extremely important to support and protect diversity because by valuing individuals and groups free from prejudice, and by fostering a climate where equity and mutual respect are intrinsic.

“Diversity” means more than just acknowledging and/or tolerating difference. Diversity is a set of conscious practices that involve:

  • Understanding and appreciating interdependence of humanity, cultures, and the natural environment.
  • Practicing mutual respect for qualities and experiences that are different from our own.
  • Understanding that diversity includes not only ways of being but also ways of knowing;
  • Recognizing that personal, cultural and institutionalized discrimination creates and sustains privileges for some while creating and sustaining disadvantages for others;
  • Building alliances across differences so that we can work together to eradicate all forms of discrimination.

Diversity includes, therefore, knowing how to relate to those qualities and conditions that are different from our own and outside the groups to which we belong, yet are present in other individuals and groups. These include but are not limited to age, ethnicity, class, gender, physical abilities/qualities, race, sexual orientation, as well as religious status, gender expression, educational background, geographical location, income, marital status, parental status, and work experiences. Finally, we acknowledge that categories of difference are not always fixed but also can be fluid, we respect individual rights to self-identification, and we recognize that no one culture is intrinsically superior to another.

That’s a lot of content for a simple term, and interestingly enough, there’s no clear definition offered. In fact, the definition reads rather like an apologetic of “diversity” as a social imperative.

According to this definition, diversity entails acceptance, appreciation, recognition that some people have “privilege”, and the abolition of discrimination of all kinds. This makes diversity not a description of the world, but a modern virtue which must be actively pursued, and which compels total acceptance and appreciation of, presumably, all “ages, ethnicities … work experiences …” as well as other things not listed.

The definition is rife with self-referentially incoherent statements.

For example, we are to “recognize that no one culture is intrinsically superior to another”. Really? According to this definition, the modern Western “diversity” culture is vastly superior to the “discriminatory” culture it condemns.

Another example: Diversity includes knowing how to relate to members of groups we are not members of ourselves. But we must also recognize and respect the “right” to self-identification, which means group membership is fluid and essentially meaningless. All it takes to be a member of another group is to self-identify as such. If the boundaries of groups are meaningless, what does it even mean to relate to members of other groups?

Yet another example: We must eradicate all forms of discrimination. But we are also told that we must acknowledge institutionalized privilege and discrimination, which requires us to discriminate between people who have privilege and people who do not. But if we can only oppose discrimination by engaging in it, we have committed a logical fallacy.

A final example: We are told to move beyond tolerance and into embracing and celebrating people who are different than ourselves. But most people in most of the world do not hold that diversity is a virtue. In order to embrace and celebrate them and their culture, we must embrace and celebrate the idea that embracing and celebrating other opposing cultures is wrong. Another logical contradiction.

This statement was clearly not produced by a competent philosopher of ethics or religion given the multitude of contradictory demands, but by a bureaucrat or administrator at a local university. It reads like the incoherent drivel these sorts of people often write, as further evidence.

Even further than the incoherence of the modern view of diversity, though, is the fact that diversity is simply not always good. It is not good to have diverse views on adultery or murder. It is not good to have a diverse amount of competency among professionals. It is not good to have a diverse grasp of the English language when trying to write English. In these and many other areas, we should prefer merit and genuine virtue over diversity.

Consider the short definition above, that diversity is “all of our human differences”. Do we really want to celebrate, accept, and embrace all of our human differences? Like our criminal behavior? Our mental and physical illnesses? Our hatred for people?

But still further than this, diversity is rarely good in the first place. Other than among the most ardent adherents of diversity, diverse metaphysical, ethical, political, epistemological, and religious views do not lead to harmony, but disharmony. Unity on essential and important things is to be preferred. This is rarely possible to achieve perfectly, and so diversity may well describe many real scenarios where people of different belief systems and backgrounds live together. In such cases, though, there is still a requirement that everyone believe in the basic value of human life and the respect of other people. Diverse views of the value of other people or whether we ought to respect other people is not going to produce harmony.

For all these reasons, I think the modern definition of diversity can be safely rejected. You’ll notice, if you go back to the college definition, that the merits of diversity (that is, what good things naturally come about from it) is not mentioned at all. While diversity is defended in its own definition, instead of merely defined, the benefits are not listed. There are simply breathless threats that we must do this or that. The closest attempt to do so is this grammatically invalid sentence:

It is extremely important to support and protect diversity because by valuing individuals and groups free from prejudice, and by fostering a climate where equity and mutual respect are intrinsic.

I suppose in the twilight of Western civilization, you can’t expect college-educated college educators to be able to put a subordinate clause after “because” in a sentence.

But even though no good reasons are given for this worshipful attitude toward the total acceptance of everything other people do and are, it is extremely important to support and protect the concept anyway. I strongly suspect this is because there are many people who are paid to promote this material, and without protection and support, they’d need to get real jobs.

An Experiment in DNC Supremacy

A couple of stories regarding California’s wildfires and blackouts point to some broader truths.

First, this one on the Had Enough Therapy? blog (emphasis mine):

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez blames it on climate change. For someone of such limited grasp of the facts, everything is climate change. As noted here and elsewhere California’s current fires seem to have been produced by bad government policy. Especially, by bad environmentalist policy. After all, California is deep blue. There aren’t any more Republicans left to blame. Thus, blame it on the climate.

In 2016, then-Governor Jerry Brown actually vetoed a bill that unanimously passed the state legislature to promote the clearing of trees dangerously close to power lines.

Because California accounts for less than 1% of global emissions, nothing it does will make a difference to climate, but its ratepayers shell out billions for wind and solar that might be better spent on fireproofing. A generation of ill-judged environmental activism has all but ended forest management in favor of letting dead trees and underbrush build up because it’s more “natural.”

Second, this one by the Federalist (emphasis mine):

Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom and his political allies claim climate change is driving California’s increasingly intense and deadly wildfires.

That’s nearly true. Climate change assumptions drive the state’s energy and environmental policies. This has resulted in people being killed in terrible wildfires, electrical blackouts to millions of people causing $5 billion so far in lost economic activity, all while diverting limited resources to a fool’s errand.

For instance, California’s large and heavily regulated public utilities—PG&E, SDG&E, and SCE—prioritize wind and solar power, leaving little for powerline maintenance and upgrades. Simply put, the utilities are doing exactly what the regulators tell them to do. They make money for their investors on wind and solar; they don’t on powerline maintenance.

Largely because of the urban heat island effect, weather stations in California and Nevada were particularly affected. In California and Nevada, the temperature increase per decade from 1979 to 2008 was 0.04 degrees centigrade when using unperturbed sites, versus the official record increase of 0.24 degrees, a six-fold difference.

Back to the blackouts. To deflect blame from his administration, Newsom continues to point to climate change—along with capitalism, saying last Friday, “It’s more than just climate change. It’s about the failure of capitalism to address climate change.” Vox’s Ezra Klein picked up on this theme, tweeting in a pre-apocalyptic funk about the smoke and blackouts.

Both are worth reading in full, but I’m interested in the moment those “broader truths” I mentioned earlier.

California is a one-party state. Democrats possess super-majorities in both houses and even when Republicans win major elections (e.g. Arnold Schwarzenegger), they are far to the left of Republicans in other states. This situation provides a laboratory setting in which to judge the effects of a Democrat-dominated polity.

Among its myriad other problems (homelessness, illegal immigration, regulation, etc) are the two highlighted in these articles: a need for rolling blackouts, and a massive risk of forest fire. Democrats have been in complete control of the state for decades.

So what can we learn from this?

Modern liberalism, perfectly embodied in the Democrat Party, has two traits which separate are dangerous and together are catastrophic. The first is the uniform inability of modern liberals to take responsibility for their own actions. The second is an unmitigated lust for power. The first is dangerous because it prevents modern liberals from ever truly being held accountable because they will never acknowledge their own roles in whatever bad things happen. The second is dangerous because power is best wielded by those who don’t want it.

For Democrats, the operating procedure is something like this:

  1. If a bad thing happens and there are Republicans, blame Republicans. Demand more power.
  2. If a bad thing happens and there are no Republicans, blame something else. Demand more power.

This works so long as there are perks to hand out to people for votes. But eventually, probably even in California, that option will no longer compare to the sum of bad effects the Democrats have produced.

What’s striking about all of this is that it doesn’t even matter what the substance of Democrat party policy is. The party could have mostly good ideas about the world, and the traits mentioned above would still undermine all of it. But the Democrats don’t even have mostly good ideas to begin with.

Beware the Left

I have been careful for a long time not to allow my social media accounts to publicly display much politically or religiously, as I never wanted to draw more attention to myself than was necessary. Earlier this week, however, I commented on a local news website about some silly local news event, and made a critical remark of a genuinely stupid idea.

Earlier this afternoon, I discovered that a leftist had seen my comment and responded with something similar to “I’m sure your employer would love to know what you said here. You may be hearing from your HR department this week.” I’ve since vacated my public social media accounts of even a hint of interesting information about myself, and will no longer be using them publicly. Thankfully, most of what I’ve written over the years over there is private and not even accessible to all of my friends.

This is a good reminder, though, and the reason I write most of my more passionate, critical, and controversial thoughts under an alias. The Left hates everyone who isn’t as far Left as they. Your job, your livelihood, your family; everything you value is a target, and they want to destroy it and they want to destroy you. The solution, I think, is not to withdraw from public life, but to find ways to protect yourself while getting even more involved.

And so that’s my new plan. Whenever the temptation arises to use social media to share a story or thoughts of my own, it will wind up here instead.

Should the Government Recognize Marriage?

A while back in a comment section on another blog, I got into a debate with several other people about the role government ought to play in recognizing marriages. I argued that the government must be involved and was told by others that this was varying degrees of stupid, ignorant, or dangerous. The thrust was that “marriage worked fine before the state got involved” and therefore, the state ought to back off. It was “fantasy” to expect the state to honor and enforce any aspect of marriage, and I was a fool for defending the idea.

Although it might be fashionably libertarian to argue against state interaction with marriage, I don’t think anyone can reasonably defend that case. I think illustrating the situation will help, but first, some explanation.

In the West, there is a strong but recent tradition of radical individualism that sees every individual person as the fundamental unit of the society they live in. The French Revolution gave us the first taste of this, with disastrous consequences. Western tradition has a much longer-lived, deeper, and more attested view of society, however, which views the fundamental unit as the family. Instead of viewing a man, his wife, and their three children (for example) primarily as five equal individuals, this deeper tradition sees one family with a father, a mother, and children. All five are individuals, but not primarily. This is most obvious when it comes to young children, who are fully dependent on their mother and father just to survive each day. To see each person in the family as an interchangeable fundamental unit is laughable.

I think this view of family as fundamental is not just a part of Western civilization, but one of its axioms. I’d go further and say that this is fundamental to civilization itself, but I have not studied the East to the same degree or with the same interest, so I’ll hold back for now.

Marriage is the fundamental relationship within a family because marriage, by nature, bonds a father to a mother, and both a mother and father to their children.

There are two ways that the government can interact with marriage. It can either respect marriage or it can disregard marriage. In the former, the government treats the family as the fundamental unit, and outside of criminal justice, tries to deal with families instead of individuals whenever and wherever possible. The marriage relationship binds the family together, granting legitimacy to the children and – perhaps most importantly – giving the father rights over his own children.

In the latter, the government doesn’t recognize marriage at all, and simply ignores it. It treats all members of the family as atoms.

Here are two diagrams of the models. The irony here is that the people attacking government recognition of marriage are against no-fault divorce, which is exactly what the government ought to embrace if it disregards marriage. But the important thing here is that if you don’t like the government getting involved in your intimate relationships, you are making a grave mistake by inviting the government to ignore marriage relationships. It may sound like the best way to keep the government out of your marriage, but it’s quite the opposite. You all but invite them into your home:

FamilyGov1

Government involvement with internal family affairs when the government respects marriage.

FamilyGov2

Government involvement with internal family affairs when the government disrespects marriage.

A Small Game

If you are a Christian and attend church regularly, I have a small game you should play every year.

On Mother’s Day, if the church you attend has a service which honors mothers, you win the game.

On Father’s Day, if the church you attend has a service which honors mothers and tells fathers to man up, you win the game.

I’ve won the game every year since I started keeping track in 2010. Pretending to win something keeps me sane.

Feminist Eisegesis

When you encounter a command in Scripture that you don’t like, you have a few options available to you. You can reject it, accept it, or take a more creative approach and impose a new meaning on it.

Here’s an example of the latter approach.

The passage in question is 1st Corinthians 14:34:

“…women are to be silent in the churches. They are not permitted to speak but must be in submission, as the law says.”

The blogger is upfront about his bias:

It’s embarrassing because it so out of step with our understanding of equality and the value of women in our culture today.

This is a fairly loaded statement, because it implies that if anyone were to take Paul seriously and not try to read his meaning in a way that comports with our post-feminist society, that person doesn’t “value women” or “understand equality”.

He suggests that this statement, if interpreted literally, contradicts Paul’s theology, in particular his statement in Galatians that “… there is no longer… male or female”. This passage is often (ab)used to put a rubber stamp on all of the modern, often intentionally anti-Christian movements to attempt to remove distinctions between men and women. I suggest that it’s an abuse of the text, because Paul isn’t making metaphysical statements; he is saying that the Gospel is for everyone. This is obvious from the context, but if you strip that out, you can make the passage in Galatians into a Marxist toolkit.

If you decide to read the entire post, you’ll note that the author takes into account the history of Corinth, the linguistic circumstances of the day, and pretty much every piece of context that fits his case.

What he neglects, however, is the context of the passage itself as well as any parallel passages. Here’s the passage in full:

As in all the congregations of the saints, women are to be silent in the churches. They are not permitted to speak, but must be in submission, as the law says. If they wish to inquire about something, they are to ask their own husbands at home; for it is dishonorable for a woman to speak in the church.

Did God’s word originate with you? Or are you the only ones it has reached? If anyone considers himself a prophet or spiritual person, let him acknowledge that what I am writing you is the Lord’s command. But if anyone ignores this, he himself will be ignored.

Since these are Christians and Paul is an Apostle who has no problem taking badly behaving Christians to task, Paul could have said “Some women in your churches are misbehaving and talking out of turn, and talking out of turn isn’t good for order, so I do not permit them to do that.” Paul could not have been more clearly not saying that, though.

But it doesn’t stop there. We have a related passage in 1st Timothy 2:

A woman must learn in quietness and full submissiveness. I do not permit a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man; she is to remain quiet. For Adam was formed first, and then Eve. And it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman who was deceived and fell into transgression. Women, however, will be saved through childbearing, if they continue in faith, love, and holiness, with self-control.

I strongly suspect that the reason this passage was skipped was because Paul explains his rationale here, and it doesn’t fit the blogger’s interpretation. Paul doesn’t say “I do not permit a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man; she is to remain quiet. For your churches have women who are misbehaving”. If that’s what he meant, he easily could have said it. Instead he traces his reasoning to the very nature of man and woman. Eve was deceived and Adam was not – and this is a huge deal.

Finally, there’s this gem summarizes his thoughts, and I think it explains what’s really going on. A feminist, thoroughly imbibing on Marxist toxin, doesn’t like the passages in Scripture that contradict feminism and all his pet liberal causes, so he imposes new meaning on them. At least in this instance, his motive is clearly stated:

Unfortunately, since many of the dominant voices throughout church history, have been straight**, white*, males, this has meant that the church has been slow in pushing past the flimsy exegesis, and damaging assumptions of our past.

Instead of being the sexist, misogynist many have taken him for, I believe that Paul brings the challenge of feminism to the Church.

It’s worth remembering that if this is true, 2000 years of Christians were women-hating, racist, homophobic, sexists  who couldn’t understand Paul. It took secular anti-Christian feminist and sexual revolutions to get the church to finally see the light. Paul was, in his mind, obviously a far-left radical.

What I’d prefer, though, is for those who think all of these things to stop reinterpreting Paul and just say what they really think: Paul was wrong. Honesty is much better than manipulation.


* Most of the early church fathers were not European.

** I bet this blogger would also support the notion that the Bible has nothing meaningful to say about sexual ethics (except those cherry-picked portions that support feminism and egalitarianism). Who knew obedience to Christ’s commands about sexual activity was an unfortunate thing?

Tech Wars

On display today is a series of lies and deceptive statements coming from Ars Technica to maintain credibility with the (leftist) mob. Like many pop culture “magazines”, the content is a kind of distillation of trash and gossip. The end of this article is to describe why one Markus “Notch” Perssons (the creator of Minecraft) was unwelcome at party for the 10th anniversary of his game. Apparently, his comments on Twitter “do not reflect [the opinions] of Microsoft”. Or Ars Technica.

Even before the article begins, the author’s byline says everything we need to know: “Transphobia, homophobia, and racism aren’t Microsoft’s core values”. However, not a single example is provided of any of those things.

So what are Perssons’ comments? We will get to those. What’s fascinating is the author of the article, his legionary horde of commentators, and their response.

For example, Perssons apparently made the comment that people face jail time for “using the wrong pronouns”. The author of the article calls this “false”. Politifact stumbles around like a drunkard trying to explain things away, but even this far-left “fact” checking website admits that there are fines for the California version of this bill. However, Canada has a much more open-ended version of this type of legislation, which can certainly lead to jail time. And then in the UK, someone is facing jail time now for this very thing. The author is on the “right side” of this issue, and so can make bald-faced lies.

Perssons also used a slogan sometimes used by the alt-right: “It’s OK to be white”. If you read the comments, you’ll find a contradiction brewing, but no one seems to notice it. The same people who condemn the statement have a lot of bad things to say about white people, including several oikophobes who say that they are doing well because of their skin color. The comment section is full of nasty things to say about white people, who have the “white privilege” of being subject to the comments and being disbarred from responding, lest they be accused of racism.

The author of the article goes further however, and simply assumes that there are “systemic racial biases and imbalance within Western society” by saying that this isn’t something Perssons merely disagrees with, but that he fails to recognize it. The author is again on the “right side” of the issue. He can make these assumptions because the mob already makes the same ones.

Perssons seems to go too far with this tweet: “If you’re against the concept of a #HeterosexualPrideDay, you’re a complete f****** c*** and deserve to be shot.”, but a glimpse at Twitter of some of the horrific things said by the LGBT+++ crowd against Christians is far, far worse, including real death threats. Such context would not help the case that Perssons is simply an insane person who hates people, so it is not provided.

So where was the “transphobia”, “homophobia”, and “racism” that the author promised was so obvious that Microsoft couldn’t risk being associated with Perssons? The comment section has defenders of the terms claiming that “phobia” doesn’t mean or imply fear, but instead “hate” or “discrimination”. These are open-ended terms that allows anyone who even merely disagrees with the forced celebration of same-sex acts or transgenderism to be called “transphobic” or “homophobic”. These are not useful words to have in a reasoned discussion; they are insults that bullies use to shame people.

There’s a cold war in technology today between those who want the freedom to say what they believe and those who, as part of the fascistic mob, want to destroy the lives and careers of those who disagree with them using lies and deception if necessary. Notch seems to belong to the former, which is a surprise to me. Peter Bright, the latter.