One of the strange things about the left, born of their ideological overlay on the world, is that they are so often right in all the wrong ways.
Take diversity, for instance. (I’m not using it.)
They are forever complaining about the lack of diversity here or there or that other place, as well as trying to advance diversity by law, by dictating the “correct” proportions of people in any position or organization.
For instance I understand that new directives insist on a certain number of women on the director’s board of any corporation. We’ll revisit this.
As someone from Yale (rebellion, in the belly of the beast. I’m sorry I couldn’t find the link just now) the “diversity” the left likes to emphasize is a diversity of skin colors. To be fair to the left, though, he did them an injustice: any external characteristic will do. Look at any show they get a free hand to cast — even historicals where it makes absolutely no sense, but never mind — and you’ll find people of all skin colors, all sexual orientations, all sexual organs, (Well, I don’t know. It’s not like I ask strangers to drop trou. I presume that they haven’t yet demanded to examine sexual organs for deformations or warts as a means of making sure they have all of those, too, but I could be wrong) and if they can get them, with handicaps proportional to their existence in the population.
What they can’t seem to get is the actually important (to improved functioning of an enterprise) “diversity of thought and life experience.”
Are those really that important? Yes, within reason, and as applying to the enterprise at hand, which the left’s autistic concentration on diversity of groups only, and their belief that individuals in those groups are interchangeable widgets fails to grasp. Though perhaps it is also because real diversity that applies to the enterprise at hand is almost impossible to head-count and enforce, which means it is not amenable to their favorite top down solutions. It is more, honestly, the sort of thing you write “company management” books about, and perhaps tests to identify people who come up with different and creative solutions.
To make this a little more concrete, before I dip into the enterprise/industry I know best, and where diversity is perhaps the least well understood:
Both my grandfathers were carpenters: one of them a cabinet maker, the other a specialized carpenter who had made a study of woodwork throughout the centuries, and how to restore it. Both were very good at their jobs, and remunerated accordingly.
The first, my dad’s dad, was the one around whose workshop I grew up. He was retired –no, really, seriously — which means he only worked about normal hours (until his lungs became too bad to work at all) and usually only for people he liked. From hanging out with him, I retained a love of really good wood which served me well in buying incredibly cheap but good furniture at garage sales in the Carolinas in the late eighties. And though I never learned — the things we later recriminate ourselves for — his formulas for varnish and wood filler, which he mixed himself, or even how to use all the hand tools he owned (someday I’d like to learn, but time is growing short, now) I did know enough to refinish things so you never knew how cheap I was or that, for instance, the little colonial-village cherry desk that now holds my publishing computer (as far as I can tell built and carved in Pennsylvania sometime in the late eighteenth century) cost me $5 (And was covered in fifteen layers of paint, including the inevitable 2 metallic layers.)
I never saw my other grandfather at work — though he had a workshop, by the time I remember it, he mostly used it to hide in and read when the family was over and he didn’t want company. I did work with him on setting out my parents new vegetable garden and flower garden, after we moved, and he taught me math, and spent a lot of time telling me stories of his misspent youth — but I have visited castles, palaces and churches where he restored dry-rotted and/or broken woodwork. As you can imagine there was a lot of work of that sort in Portugal, where there’s a castle or palace every ten miles, and it was difficult, intricate and well paid. (Though he spent most of that on loose women and crazy writers. We all have our vices.)
Anyway, my paternal grandfather was a one-man enterprise at least in retirement, but I’m given to understand maternal grandfather at one time had a couple of dozen workers in his “company” (it wasn’t that, but it’s hard to explain.)
I have no clue how he arranged it, except to know being smart and a perfectionist, he probably had a diversity of specialists: People who could remove the affected portions, people who would do the rough-in, and detail carvers and guilders. For various reasons, I know he was capable of doing them all, but I’ve seen the scope of some of his jobs. One palace would have taken him most of his work life. And few people were as …. universally curious as he was about the various facets of the work.
Now, the reason I’m sure there was a diversity of specialties is because I’ve done that sort of work (where it’s too massive for one person, so each is responsible for a portion) and outside of the very roughest sort (and sometimes even then) you specialize. If you are, say, cooking 500 rissoles for a party, you have someone make the dough, pass it along to the woman who rolls it out, pass it along to the woman who puts the filling in, pass it to the woman who cuts them out, then to the woman who rolls them in egg, then to the one who rolls them in bred crumbs, and finally to one or two frying-specialists. You do not give the most clumsy and slapdash woman in the group the job of rolling out the dough, because it would be all uneven and some would burst. The same for the cutting. So you put her on the fryer and pray. (I have a long scar up my arm for failing to control the temperature properly and getting an explosion of oil up my arm, but the rissoles turned out all right and in time, so no big.)
So, grandad had specialists in various things, we can assume. But let’s say for the sake of diversity of knowledge and experience, that he considered hiring someone completely different. Say, for instance, a lawyer, or perhaps a professor of classics (which grandad who had taught himself Greek and Latin would have loved, actually, for the conversation) would that have added to their efficiency and their output?
Well…. uh…. no, because in those terms those people were basically untrained apprentices, no matter how smart or how great their knowledge. It would be like putting me in charge of rolling out the dough.
In that sense “diversity” is as absolute bollocks as the “diversity” the left preens on. Sure, it’s diverse, but it has nothing to do with the diversity needed for the actual work.
Now, if grandad had found say an archeologist or chemist who had either unearthed a workshop from the 14th century and made a study of tools and paints, or investigated bits of woodwork for “what they actually used” and been able to afford to hire him, I expect that “diversity” would have been welcomed and probably improve both their techniques and their proficiency.
From which I turn to the industry I know best.
The left is correct that diversity is preferable to a mono-culture where you have people of the same background who have all been taught the same.
And I’m absolutely sure this would be best demonstrated with some branch of science (though there the challenge usually comes from foreigners or those differently trained and on the fringes) but I know nothing about this, so we’ll go with the arts and literature.
The arts first, because where I was writing this, it occurred to me part of the issue the left has is SEEING past their training in a certain model.
At one time we lived in Colorado Springs within (if I didn’t have the car for some reason, as back then my eyes weren’t changing so fast as to make it near impossible for me to drive) walking distance of Bemis school of art. We were also doing well enough, relatively, for me to splurge on a couple of art classes a semester. Which meant sometimes there were no art classes center with my interests, or that didn’t require expensive material fees. Which means that I took everything from “how to draw naturally” to “Drawing from sculpture models.”
That later is the method taught in The French Academic period. For me, it was just, really, a way to get some practice. But at one time this was the passport to proper art. You drew classical sculptures, chosen for the proper proportions, so you learned TO SEE things that way. Which meant that if you got in someone whose features were less than perfect, your eye and hand would automatically correct.
This was of course great except for the fact that after a while the result of that school all looked the same. Van Gogh was one of people who went against that rigid frame of “seeing” (After trying to conform. Apparently he got the worst possible views of the statues, because the teachers didn’t think much of his effort) and I think we’ll all agree that we’re better for his efforts. (Well, I’ve learned to love his work because one of my sons is a rabid fan. And it has enriched family outings and discussions.)
So diversity was absolutely needed (otherwise I expect the art would have got more and more repetitive and irrelevant [though one is tempted to wonder how much more irrelevant it would get that what happened to art in the post-modern world, but that’s something else again.]) but the establishment protected itself against it.
Which is one of those unfortunate characteristics of the human ape. We’re tribal. We tend to tribe up. And tribing up is almost always a function of how alike we are.
The funny thing is for any intellectual enterprise we identify as tribe more those who think exactly like us than those who look exactly like us.
So, take traditional publishing — please, I’m not using it — which is staffed almost exclusively and increasingly by females who have all gone through the best schools, be they ivies or ivy-adjacent.
There is a trained perspective that comes with this, a way of looking at the world, a way of interpreting what you see. The fact that this is mostly the Marxist model merely reflects the academic fashion of our times. (The Marxist model enthralls universities because it’s a just-so tale that sounds profound and can be used to discover ever finer nuances in the society, which only the academic can correct (or even see) and which therefore confer a great sense of unearned superiority.)
The more this tribe controls/ed the decision makers on what gets published, be it as analysis or entertainment, the more the writers who are allowed past the gate/given large advances and vast rewards, are those who echo the characteristics and training of the ones doing the gatekeeping.
This would be fine and dandy, if — in fact– the vast majority of the American book-buying public were the same. If we’d all gone through the same ivy league schools AND BEEN CONVINCED of the same model (instead of doing barely enough pretending to “pass” while internally making rude faces and flinging bits of chewed paper at the lecturers. Not that anyone here — coff — would do that.)
Just as if all consumers of art had been trained in the Academie’s way of seeing, the art would have been right on target. But, alas, people hadn’t.
And most people who consume most reading, particularly genre books in the US (as I’ve described many times, and am not revisiting) found themselves increasingly allienated by what was being marketed to them as science fiction or fantasy or mystery. Not even, to be honest, because of the political interspersion, (for those too young to remember, even those of us who knew the game was rigged rolled our eyes at those, and took them as the price to read anything at all) but because those works often had nothing to do with what attracted us to the genre to begin with. As I’ve said before, I might love reading planet colonization stories, but they shouldn’t be a long, long, description of growing tomatoes in another planet, with very little else holding it together. And I might love fantasy, but there’s only so much I can take of magical battered wife or daughter, or whatever before I grow bored. As for mystery, is it too much to ask not to be able to guess from page one that the guilty person is the one who is rich or has conservative views? Because that’s not what mysteries are supposed to be.
And so, the vast majority of readers slow or fast wandered off.
At which point the tribe holding the offices of gatekeepers tribed up MORE and held it firmly that the only reason to reject their product (Other than low-brow preference for movies or video games, or whatever) was the LACK OF EDUCATION of all those people out there. And the next phase was to imagine themselves as martyrs for the “faith” of Marxism, seeking to “educate” the public. Like so many — far less interesting — Joan of Arcs, they clutched their hammer and sickle to their inconsequential breasts and stepped into the flames of not selling at all, FOR A GOOD CAUSE. The cause, of course being virtue signaling for their fellows from exactly the same background (no matter how diverse the external characteristics.)
And this is why indie publishing/Amazon/etc is making such a huge dent in the industry. Why? Because the industry lacked all diversity where it mattered: diversity of thought.
Had they got in a crass and brash businessman/woman (though more likely a man, since women have a different style) who would want to make money at any cost, the establishment would have resisted this very real diversity of thought, and done all they could to sabotage him into giving up, rather than changing and preserving their jobs and their industry.
So…. yep, human enterprises need diversity. Diversity of skin color? Who really cares? Unless you think with your skin, in which case you are a curious species of alien, no one really SHOULD care. Unless, of course, the job is having various sunblock systems tested on you. Or serving as models to advertise something.
BUT barring that, what you need is diversity of thought. All human enterprises, arts, schools, government…. everything periodically needs fresh blood, and a new perspective.
And because of the human ape’s tribal inclinations, all will resist it.
Nothing. It certainly doesn’t mean that the problem can be solved from top down regulation and supervision, and certainly not governmental prescription.
Why not? Well, because it would take an intimate knowledge of how EVERY field operates, which ways it’s going wrong, and what it needs. And let’s face it, the people who know the field are part of the tribe and blind to its blindspots. And the ones who don’t are likely as not to dictate that a publishing house should hire a classical violinist to oversee its Science Fiction line, or a carpentry outfit must hire a French chef.
So…. the left has a point that diversity is needed and valuable, in practically every human endeavor. What they’re wrong about is what diversity is, what type of diversity actually helps and how to fix it.
Other than that? Yeah, completely right.
What do we do about it? Nothing. See, the thing is that the narrow minded tribalism of places completely “eaten” by the Marxist left brings on their own demise.
It doesn’t matter how hard you wear the skin of the freshly-killed enterprise/area of endeavor, and demand respect; if you are unable to make it function, it will disappear and something else will arise to fulfill that function.
Which — in our day and age — given how widespread the rot is, means we have to get ready to take the impact when things start failing.
Build under, build over, build around.
Because what can’t go on won’t. But civilization must go on. Those who can must do. No matter what the establishment thinks of us.