Monday, August 13, 2007

Who needs it?

Diversity that is.

It is a shame that the Phibian is out doing whatever he is doing now-I really need his take on this.

Trip over here was fine. Getting down to Osan was OK. I've been here just over 24 hours and I am already depressed. And that is without the rain that seems to be a daily occurrence here it seems.

However, a very cute looking stewardess on the ANA flight over gave me a copy of the Financial Times to read on the plane. That was right before she gave me a very tasty beer I might add. So I read it from front to back. I was planning to read more Hitchen's book, but it occurred to me as we were rolling down the runway, that reading a book that denies the existence of God while riding in an airplane that might, in extremis, rely upon the benevolence of an all powerful deity for its salvation from an aircraft accident-was probably not the most prudent thing to do.

This FT had a great little column in it by a guy named Christopher Caldwell. Who had the courage to make a statement that should be made over and over again within the hallowed halls of the Pentagon:

Racism and certain other forms of exclusion corrode a society morally. But diversity, as an ideology, is not a matter of avoiding those occasions of sin. It is an active, ruthless and crusading belief system. Its effects resemble those of "meritocracy" on the community life of London's Bethnal Green, as described in Dench, Gavron and Young'sThe New East End. It involves identifying, discrediting and breaking up close-knit communities in the interest of mixing them more easily into some new ideal of the nation.

In an indirect way. Mr Caldwell was able to codify a feeling that I had been having difficulty putting into words. Namely that by being so hell bent for "diversity", companies and the US military are turning their back on the thing that makes mission driven organizations succeed-namely a unity of identity.

Mr Caldwell points out:

People trust people like themselves more than they trust people unlike themselves. Life is short and diverse groups waste precious time arguing over ground rules. Once a certain level of diversity is surpassed, a community ceases to be a community. What makes "the gay community" and "the
African-American community" communities, at least in politically correct jargon, is that they are not diverse.

That does not mean that there should not be people within the military who are black, Muslim or any other identity group. However talent and qualifications should be the deciding characteristic. Not a desire to obtain a "critical mass" of a certain group quickly."

Within the military, I believe, his hypothesis is being proven out. When the US Navy had to integrate women into sea going units in the early 1990's-it initially made a very correct decision. That it would only access into squadrons women who were at the beginning of their careers and therefore would have to meet all the wickets and pay all the dues as their male counter parts. This effectively boxed out a whole group of women pilots and flight officers who were Senior LT's and LCDRS's. As you might guess, they whined. About fairness.

Which I found confusing since for men, fairness was never an overriding criteria when it came to the selection of one's aircraft that one was going to train in. Which was why, in order to ensure that all aircraft communities got some number of higher quality officers, people who finished well in their flight training were sent to aircraft they did not choose in order to ensure the community did not become a body of able bodied morons. Why were they able to get away with this? Because the value that we each attached to being a part of an exclusive club out weighted the value of giving every one what they wanted.

The needs of the many and all that................

I agree with Christopher Caldwell. Come back Phib and chime in!


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