Probably not even close, but Dan Henninger makes a number of thought-provoking observations in this column
Reacting to the "Bowling Alone" study, Pat Buchanan and the anti-immigration activists argue that assimilation is a higher
value than diversity. Henninger remarks:
The diversity ideologues deserve whatever ill tidings they get. They're the ones who weren't willing to persuade the
public of diversity's merits, preferring to turn "diversity" into a political and legal hammer to compel compliance. The conversions
were forced conversions. As always, with politics comes pushback. And it never stops.
True enough, I suppose, but that doesn't really answer the question. When Henninger does try to balance
the goals of diversity and assimilation, though, he uses an analogy that is almost as controversial as the problem he's addressing:
Robert Putnam [the author of "Bowling Alone"] has a possible assimilation model. Hold onto your hat. It's Christian
evangelical megachurches. "In many large evangelical congregations," he writes, "the participants constituted the largest
thoroughly integrated gatherings we have ever witnessed." This, too, is an inconvenient truth. They do it with low entry barriers
to the church and by offering lots of little groups to join inside the larger "shared identity" of the church. A Harvard prof
finds good in evangelical megachurches. Send this man a suit of body armor!
I do agree with Henninger's principle point, however, that "the diversity ideologues ruined a good word and,
properly understood, a decent notion." America needs both diversity and assimilation. The U.S. is a nation of
immigrants and much of its strength comes from the melange of values imported by waves of successive immigrants over the past
Those immigrants, however, came to view themselves as Americans (and not as "hyphenated" Americans) within
a generation or two. The church of diversity seems to have given all of us hyphens with the effect of accentuating our
differences and muting our commonalities.
A nation can be neither a monolithic singled-purposed entity, nor a set of discrete self-interested individuals.
A nation requires some core of shared values to enable the self-sacrificing virtues that make possible the idea of a common
We've spent too many years extoling the virtues of our differences and it's time to return to the value of the