I thought this excerpt from the book might be of interest:
The glorification of racial permanence has caused the left to abandon
narrow rationales for affirmative action in favor of the doctrine
of multiculturalism. The diversity argument—which, by the way, is
only used to defend favored groups; Asians and Jews almost never
count toward the goal of diversity—is an argument for the permanence
of race and identity. In other words, if the left has its way,
racial preferences will no longer have anything to do with redressing
past wrongs (except when such preferences are under attack).
Rather, the pursuit of diversity will become the permanent license
for social-engineering bean counters to discriminate against whatever
group they see fit in order to reach the desired “balance.” For example,
quotas unfairly kept Jews out of universities to help white
Protestants. Now quotas unfairly keep Jews (and Asians) out of universities
to help blacks and Hispanics. What’s different is that now
liberals are sure such policies are a sign of racial progress.
Diversity depends on, and therefore ratifies, racial essentialism.
Not only do rich (and, increasingly, foreign-born) blacks count as
much as poor ones, but the argument now is that mere exposure to
blacks is uplifting in and of itself. The policy is condescending and
counterproductive because it assumes that blacks come to school not
as Tom Smith or Joe Jones but as interchangeable Black-Perspective
Student. Professors turn to black students for “the black point of
view,” and students who don’t present the party line are counted as
inauthentic by condescending white liberals (that is, most faculty
and administrators) or by race-gaming blacks. I’ve been to dozens of
campuses, and everywhere the story is the same: blacks eat, party,
and live with other blacks. This self-segregation increasingly manifests
itself in campus politics. Blacks become a student body within
a student body, a microcosm of the nation within a nation. Ironically,
the best way for a white kid to benefit from exposure to a black kid,
and vice versa, would be for there to be fewer black students or at
least no black dorms. That way blacks would be forced to integrate
with the majority culture. But of course, integration is now derided
as a racist doctrine.
You might say it’s outrageous to compare the current liberal program
to help minorities with the poisonous ideology of fascism and
Nazism. And I would agree if we were talking about things like the
Holocaust or even Kristallnacht. But at the philosophical level, we
are talking about categorical ways of thinking. To forgive something
by saying “it’s a black thing” is philosophically no different from
saying “it’s an Aryan thing.” The moral context matters a great deal.
But the excuse is identical. Similarly, rejecting the Enlightenment
for “good” reasons is still a rejection of the Enlightenment. And
any instrumental or pragmatic gains you get from rejecting the
Enlightenment still amount to taking a sledgehammer to the soapbox
you’re standing on. Without the standards of the Enlightenment, we
are in a Nietzschean world where power decides important questions
rather than reason. This is exactly how the left appears to want it.
One last point about diversity. Because liberals have what Thomas
Sowell calls an “unconstrained vision,” they assume everyone sees
things through the same categorical prism. So once again, as with the
left’s invention of social Darwinism, liberals assume their ideological
opposites take the “bad” view to their good. If liberals assume
blacks—or women, or gays—are inherently good, conservatives
must think these same groups are inherently bad.
This is not to say that there are no racist conservatives. But at the
philosophical level, liberalism is battling a straw man. This is why
liberals must constantly assert that conservatives use code words—
because there’s nothing obviously racist about conservatism per se.
Indeed, the constant manipulation of the language to keep conservatives—
and other non-liberals—on the defensive is a necessary tactic
for liberal politics. The Washington, D.C., bureaucrat who was fired
for using the word “niggardly” correctly in a sentence is a case in
point.64 The ground must be constantly shifted to maintain a climate
of grievance. Fascists famously ruled by terror. Political correctness
isn’t literally terroristic, but it does govern through fear. No serious
person can deny that the grievance politics of the American left
keeps decent people in a constant state of fright—they are afraid to
say the wrong word, utter the wrong thought, offend the wrong constituency.
If we maintain our understanding of political conservatism as
the heir of classical liberal individualism, it is almost impossible
for a fair-minded person to call it racist. And yet, according to liberals,
race neutrality is itself racist. It harkens back to the “social
Darwinism” of the past, we are told, because it relegates minorities
to a savage struggle for the survival of the fittest.
There are only three basic positions. There is the racism of the
left, which seeks to use the state to help favored minorities that it regards
as morally superior. There is racial neutrality, which is, or has
become, the conservative position. And then there is some form of
“classical racism”—that is, seeing blacks as inferior in some way.
According to the left, only one of these positions isn’t racist. Race
neutrality is racist. Racism is racist. So what’s left? Nothing except
liberalism. In other words, agree with liberals and you’re not racist.
Of course, if you adopt color blindness as a policy, many fair-minded
liberals will tell you that while you’re not personally racist, your
views “perpetuate” racism. And some liberals will stand by the fascist
motto: if you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.
Either way, there are no safe harbors from liberal ideology.
Hence, when it comes to race, liberalism has become a kind of soft
totalitarianism and multiculturalism the mechanism for a liberal
Gleichschaltung. If you fall outside the liberal consensus, you are
either evil or an abettor of evil. This is the logic of the Volksgemeinschaft
in politically correct jargon.
Now, of course you’re not going to get a visit from the Gestapo if
you see the world differently; if you don’t think the good kind of diversity
is skin deep or that the only legitimate community is the one
where “we’re all in it together,” you won’t be dragged off to reeducation
camp. But you very well may be sent off to counseling or sensitivity