The other day, I was chatting with a business acquaintance in San Francisco. He was unburdening himself about a project that had lingered on for too long. Apparently the contractor he was using gave him what he asked for, but not what he wanted. He was going around and around with them, but they are located in Asia so it was a big hassle for him. He had to stay up late to talk with them because of the time difference and, of course, he had to go through the endless haggling that comes with using Asian firms.
He did not say it, but I suspected he had a cultural issue as well. I helpfully pointed out that Asian solutions are not American solutions. Anyone who has done business with the Chinese or Indians knows they have a very different way of looking at things. For South Asians, a solution is whatever meets the letter of the request or whatever gets you off the phone. The Chinese will tell you whatever you want to hear. It’s not lying as they don’t have enough respect for you to tell a lie. It’s dismissal through deception.
Anyway, I pointed out the cultural issue and the guy literally gasped. If he had pearls, he would have clutched them. He started sputtering about how he had “the same problem with” and then he would sputter again. He could not say the word “white” or “American” so I volunteered “white” just for kicks.The way he was carrying on, you would have thought I said “Hitler was right! Gas the Jews!” It was crazy to see someone having a physical reaction to my noticing diversity.
We have come full circle in the last 30 years. In my youth, the Boomer Progs preached tolerance to us. My first class in college, on the first day, I was harangued by a little French girl, telling all of us about how America was a racist and sexist society. Americans were intolerant! The Boomer Prog teacher nodded along until I foolishly pointed out that the word tolerance means to put up with something you don’t like. Therefore, the little French girl was telling me she did not like black people, but was willing to put up with them.
In my first adult job, I was sent off to what they called sensitivity training. Tolerance was now a bad-think word and sensitivity was the good-think word. My hunch was everyone figured out what I found to be obvious in college, with regards to tolerance. Even so, the implications of all the sensitivity talk was that anyone not a white male was prone to weird behavior and opinions. We had to be sensitive to this fact. It also meant treading lightly around them as they were easily offended and traumatized.
Eventually, of course, the Progs figured out that this was a loser so they moved onto celebrating diversity. Unlike tolerance or sensitivity, diversity has the benefit of putting everyone on the same level. One race is as good as another. Men and women can do all the same things. All cultures are the same. Modern life was going to be a celebration of the beauty and variety of life! Well, except the white parts. White people suck and they better keep their heads down, especially you, honky-man.
I suppose it is no surprise that the Progs are now freaking out about anyone noticing diversity. After all, the next stop on the train from celebrating differences is noticing differences, like the fact that South Asian engineers tend to have a strange narrowness that causes them to miss the big picture. Indian engineers will literally build a road off a cliff if that’s what the spec says to do. That’s why my acquaintance nearly had a stroke when I admitted to noticing this. Noticing is the gateway drug that leads to judging.
The internal incoherence of multiculturalism means that they will forever have to be dashing about in an effort to keep the plates spinning. One day we’re celebrating diversity and the next day we’re stoning a heretic for noting that people are different. The reason is there’s no getting around the fact that humans are just as susceptible to evolutionary pressure as every other creature. Human evolution was copious, recent and local, which means people in different places have different physical and cognitive traits.
It’s hard to know where they go from here. In Europe, even the most unhinged nutters in the ruling class have stopped celebrating diversity. In the US, a few crackpots like that dunce Elizabeth Warren will babble in public about the glories of diversity. All the signs point to them dropping this as their signature issue. At the same time, the new catchphrase “scientific racism” to describe the human sciences is ominous. It’s not hard to imagine mobs of Birkenstock-clad lunatics smashing up biology labs.
It would be ironic if Progressives meet their demise at the hand of science. After all, Progs have been using science as a weapon against Christianity and local customs for as long as anyone has been alive. It has been their go-to move in the culture war. Smug idiots on late night TV still smirk about how they are on the side of science, despite the fact they cannot count their balls twice and come up with the same number. It would be poetic if Progressivism crumpled and collapsed as it ran into the reality of biological science.