The Diversity Fetish

by Michael Walsh

If someone can explain to me in rational terms why “diversity” — defined in neo-Marxian terms of race, sex and class — is an unalloyed, self-evident good thing in and of itself, please feel free to try. From my New York Post column today:

President Obama has said that one quality he prizes highly in his judicial appointments is empathy. “We need somebody who’s got the heart, the empathy, to recognize what it’s like to be a young teenage mom,” he told a Planned Parenthood conference way back in 2007. “The empathy to understand what it’s like to be poor or African-American or gay or disabled or old. And that’s the criteria by which I’m going to be selecting my judges.”

Alas, according to the American Bar Association, empathy isn’t good enough. Last week, news leaked that the ABA has secretly informed the White House that it rated 14 out of a potential 185 nominees for federal judgeships “unqualified” — most of them women and minorities put forth in the name of “diversity.”

This isn’t to say that “diversity” is a bad thing — it was, after all, a staple of Hollywood WWII movies, and an effective morale-building tool to unite all Americans against the Hun and the Rising Sun — but that it’s a non-factor when it comes to actual performance. Like “global warming,” it’s essentially an argument from authority, asserting wished-for facts not necessarily in evidence. 

As of August, the Senate had confirmed 97 of Obama’s federal judicial nominees; nearly half of them have been women, a fifth African-American and 11 percent Hispanic.

“The president wants the federal courts to look like America,” explained the White House counsel, Kathryn Ruemmler. “He wants people who are coming to court to feel like it’s their court as well.”

That’s the problem: By dividing Americans up into the crudest “identity” categories and apportioning spoils roughly according to favored-population proportions, the administration is fostering disunity and resentment.

The ugly underbelly of this fake high-mindedness is its unstated premise that in the past the courts were systemically and incorrigibly unfair to women and minorities and that now it’s payback time. But to say that only a woman can give another woman real justice or only a black man can judge another black man is to undermine the very foundation of the American judicial system, which proclaims “equal justice under the law.”

And speaking of diversity, how ’bout that Supreme Court?

How “diverse” were Obama’s Supreme Court appointments of Sonia Sotomayor (the Court’s first “wise Latina”) and Elena Kagan? True, they added two women to the court, but they also added two more Ivy League lawyers — Yale (Sotomayor) and Harvard (Kagan).

In fact, every sitting justice studied law at either Harvard or Yale. There’s nary a one from a state university or even from another Ivy League school. With six Catholics and three Jews, not a single member of the founding WASP establishment sits on the court. How’s that for diversity?

You see how silly this gets.

And if you don’t, stroll on over to your local college campus, where all the fashionable leftist manias (diversity, “tolerance,” speech codes) remain on full display, especially in the non-scientific disciplines — a continuing triumph of ideology over experience.

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