The Corner

Education

Exactly What Do You Mean By ‘Diversity’?

The Stanford University campus in Stanford, Calif., in 2017. (Noah Berger/Reuters)

Our “progressive” friends like to chant that they are concerned about “diversity.” They celebrate it on bumper stickers, create college offices to promote it, undertake hugely expensive campaigns to make sure there are enough faculty and administrators to represent all the diverse group (but it’s never enough), and so on. Because those of us who don’t buy their philosophy aren’t in support of such initiatives, we get accused of being against all those supposedly oppressed groups.

It shouldn’t be that way, argues Avi Woolf in today’s Martin Center piece. 

He makes the case for a conservative definition of diversity, writing, “Edmund Burke famously railed against the French destruction of its local traditions and regional identities in favor of mathematical départements. British conservatives fought for local variety in their country in the nineteenth century against the utilitarians seeking to flatten everything based on mathematical formulas. America’s own conservative movement in the ‘50s arose against the crushing political conformity of that era. All throughout, conservatives everywhere celebrated or at least tolerated a degree of human variety as a bulwark against uniformity and as an expression of human wonder and growth.”

Indeed so. While the left proclaims its dedication to diversity, in truth its statist agenda deadens the real diversity we find when free people work and live as they choose. That’s the point our side needs to make on college campuses, even if it means being shouted down.

George Leef is the the director of editorial content at the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal.

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