We have become so used to hearing that everything must be “diverse” that it’s good to remember that it wasn’t always so. In this article, Michael Barone reflects on the fact that the Manhattan Project (our effort at building the atomic bomb before the Nazis did) was remarkably un-diverse.
Barone writes, “The Manhattan Project didn’t look like America. If undertaken today, it would be criticized for failing to meet diversity and inclusion guidelines.” More than criticized, no doubt; it would be hamstrung by demands that every group be “represented” on the project. Academic research “proving” that diverse teams result in better results would be cited to show why we must not have too many people from certain “dominant” groups and need the insights of people from historically oppressed groups.
As we know, however, “diversity” encompasses only a very few aspects of human diversity — sex, race, and ethnicity. You never hear the diversity crowd demanding “inclusion” for people based on religious beliefs, their musical tastes, their body mass indexes, height, family size, pet preferences, and so on.
One suspects that the diversity advocates don’t really believe their theory but only use it as a cudgel to gain political power. Barone asks if Ibram X. Kendi would insist on a “diverse” medical team if he needed complicated brain surgery. I think that “diversity” ceases to be a consideration once humans have to worry about the consequences for themselves of deciding whom to choose on grounds other than demonstrated competence.
What if we were faced with the need for something akin to the Manhattan Project again? Suppose that we discover a massive asteroid on a collision path with the earth, sure to hit in 40 years. We need to find a way of preventing that collision or face the extinction of life on our planet. If the U.S. government were to assemble a team to accomplish that task, would it set aside the diversity mania? Or would time and money be squandered on making the research team appropriately “inclusive”?