‘Diversity,’ ‘Tragedy,’ and the Army
From a New York Times story: General George Casey Jr., the Army chief of staff, said Sunday in an interview on CNN’s State of the Union, with regard to a possible anti-Muslim backlash in the Army in the wake of the Fort Hood shootings: “It would be a shame — as great a tragedy as this was — it would be a shame if our diversity became a casualty as well.” And on ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos, he said: “A diverse Army gives us strength.” The Times said (not directly quoting General Casey) that this was “an indication of the Army’s effort to ward off bias against the more than 3,000 Muslims in its ranks.”
As I’ve said many times in the affirmative-action context, there’s nothing wrong with diversity, but its advantages are greatly exaggerated, and they certainly do not justify the discrimination that routinely takes place in its name. Likewise, even if there are some nice things about having a diverse Army, it is hardly “a shame” if the Army becomes somewhat less diverse in order to keep our soldiers from being killed. “A diverse Army gives us strength” only if it is non-diverse when it comes to things like loyalty and reliability. This does not mean that Muslim soldiers are inherently disloyal or unreliable — of course that is not true — but it does mean that the scrutiny of soldiers’ loyalty and reliability ought not be discouraged because it has, horrors!, a politically incorrect “disparate impact” on some demographic groups. And nobody should be intimidated from doing the right thing because someone may say it’s discrimination.