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E-Pluribus | June 17, 2022
When "diversity" means conformity, successor ideologies, and what Chick-Fil-A can teach us about discourse.
A round-up of the latest and best writing and musings on the rise of illiberalism in the public discourse:
Richard L. Cravatts: Compelling Diversity and Punishing Dissent
Previous Pluribus roundups have included articles on the California Community Colleges’ diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives. At Minding the Campus, Richard Cravatts spells out how illiberal these programs really are, compelling conformity and punishing those who won’t play along.
In 1967, the University of Chicago produced what is known as the Kalven Report, which wisely advised against mobilizing an entire university to advance a certain ideological position, assuming that ideologies will change over time and university missions cannot and should not be absolute or inviolable. The report suggested that “a university must sustain an extraordinary environment of freedom and inquiry and maintain an independence from political fashions, passions, and pressures … and must embrace, be hospitable to, and encourage the widest diversity of views within its own community.”
It also anticipated the current debate about race and the efforts to address it when it warned that the university “is a community which cannot take collective action on the issues of the day without endangering the conditions for its existence and effectiveness. There is no mechanism by which it can reach a collective position without inhibiting that full freedom of dissent on which it thrives.” The report adds that a university “cannot insist that all of its members favor a given view of social policy; if it takes collective action, therefore, it does so at the price of censuring any minority who do not agree with the view adopted. [emphasis added]”
Combatting racism and helping to facilitate the participation of marginalized and underrepresented students in university life are noble, well-intentioned goals. But enforcing a culture of anti-racism as part of that effort, not to mention punishing and crippling the careers of faculty who fail to conform to woke doctrines about race, is both misguided and contrary to the tenets of academic freedom.
Read it all here.
Gerard Baker and Wesley Yang: The Successor Ideology and the Threat to Our Freedoms
Wesley Yang, who coined the term “successor ideology” has written much about the impact progressive ideas have had politically and culturally, as well as the backlash those ideas tend to generate. Yang recently joined Gerard Baker on his Free Expression podcast at the Wall Street Journal to discuss this and other related topics.
Wesley Yang: [Y]ou have this archipelago of non-profit organizations, I call them AstroTurf, interest groups that purport to speak on behalf of various identity groups that don't actually speak on behalf of those identity groups. And so we're seeing at the polls a repudiation of the prescriptions of that group. And, of course, that group is what comprises what I call the successor coalition. Those who are engaged in this project of moral entrepreneurialism who in order to keep singing for their supper they need the country to continue to believe that we still live in white supremacy and patriarchy. We're seeing the process by which those on whose behalf they're supposed to speak are revealing that, "No, of course, you do not speak for me." And I think that is eventually going to happen. It's going to take a few cycles of repudiation, but even at the end of it, all of these donor funded organizations can continue to exist, they're going to continue to be minting graduates of their programs who will need jobs, and those jobs will be taken as a pound of flesh from various corporations who will pay their tribute in the form of having their ideological enforcers on board. So while American electoral politics may change, you're still going to have to go to DEI training and be put through the exercises and mouth the slogans or not. That's going to continue to be a facet of bourgeois life throughout the United States, the Anglosphere, and throughout the broader West in the years to come.
Read (or listen to) the whole thing.
Reid Newton: I'm gay and I eat at Chick-fil-A
Chick-Fil-A founder Dan Cathy’s philanthropy has generated more negative press over the past few years than some third world dictatorships. Writing at the Foundation Against Intolerance & Racism’s Substack Fair for All, Reid Newton says Chick-Fil-A’s critics are missing the real lesson that everyone should learn from Cathy about how to disagree.
As anyone who frequents Chick-fil-A knows, it is closed on Sundays and always will be. The Cathy family, who founded Chick-fil-A, are outspoken Christian conservatives, and have remained insistent that Sundays are for going to church and resting, not for serving chicken sandwiches. Their profit margins would look even more favorable if the Cathys weren’t so steadfast in their faith, but they are devout and sincere. They have refused to budge on this issue for over fifty years because their belief in God comes first.
[. . .]
When asked about Chick-fil-A’s support of Republican political campaigns and donations from supposedly anti-gay institutions, Dan Cathy responded, “While we evaluate individual donations on an annual basis, our giving is focused on three key areas: youth and education, leadership and family enrichment, and serving the local communities in which we operate. Our intent is to not support political or social agendas. This has been the case for more than 60 years. The Chick-fil-A culture and service tradition in our restaurants is to treat every person with honor, dignity, and respect, and to serve great food with genuine hospitality.”
What is most striking in Cathy’s comment is the part about treating every person with honor, dignity, and respect. That is all I ask of those who might disagree with my lifestyle or believe it to be a sin. Treat me with dignity and respect, and I will do the same for you. Do I agree with efforts to delegitimize gay marriage in this country? Absolutely not. Do I have enough faith in our legal system to ensure that the will of the majority in this country (which is increasingly pro-gay marriage) is upheld by the law? Yes, I do. In my twenty-six years of life, I have learned that the best way to change someone’s mind is to get to know them, to let them get to know me, and maybe even swap stories over a chicken sandwich. We almost always realize that we have more in common than we thought. That is the beginning of building bridges and effecting change.
Read it all.
Megan McArdle responds to some Jessica Valenti comments about homelessness, poverty, feeling safe, and conditions in some of the largest cities in the US:
Conor Friedersdorf is trying to find success stories related to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion offices on college campuses. You will need to click through and navigate Twitter to see more of his conversations, but here are some excerpts:
And finally, speaking of conversation, via Heterodox Academy, some wise words on listening: