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Diversity: History’s Pathway to Chaos

Emphasizing diversity has been the pitfall, not the strength, of nations throughout history.

By Victor Davis Hanson

America’s successful melting pot should not be replaced with discredited salad-bowl separatism.

The Roman Empire worked as long as Iberians, Greeks, Jews, Gauls, and myriad other African, Asian, and European communities spoke Latin, cherished habeas corpus, and saw being Roman as preferable to identifying with their own particular tribe. By the fifth century, diversity had won out but would soon prove a fatal liability.

Rome disintegrated when it became unable to assimilate new influxes of northern European tribes. Newcomers had no intention of giving up their Gothic, Hunnish, or Vandal identities.

The propaganda of history’s multicultural empires — the Ottoman, the Russian, the Austro-Hungarian, the British, and the Soviet — was never the strength of their diversity. To avoid chaos, their governments bragged about the religious, ideological, or royal advantages of unity, not diversity.

Nor did more modern quagmires like Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, Rwanda, or Yugoslavia boast that they were “diverse.” Instead, their strongman leaders naturally claimed that they shared an all-encompassing commonality.

When such coerced harmony failed, these nations suffered the even worse consequences of diversity, as tribes and sects turned murderously upon each other.

For some reason, contemporary America believes that it can reject its uniquely successful melting pot to embrace a historically dangerous and discredited salad-bowl separatism.

Is there any evidence from the past that institutionalizing sects and ethnic grievances would ensure a nation’s security, prosperity, and freedom?

America’s melting pot is history’s sole exception of e pluribus unum inclusivity: a successful multiracial society bound by a common culture, language, and values. But this is a historic aberration with a future that is now in doubt.

Some students attending California’s Claremont College openly demand roommates of the same race. Racially segregated “safe spaces” are fixtures on college campuses.

Read more: VictorHanson.com



 

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