Thursday, January 16, 2003

The Big Lie

My college announced today that it was going to start hiring more disabled, non-white, and/or female people because we ought to promote diversity. The argument was that the college should reflect the diversity of the community. My question is, Are they going to hire more short people? Are they going to hire more hockey players? Redheads? People who've had several root canal treatments? Of course not, because those people aren't supposed to be angry at white males. Diversity is affirmative action in a new package aimed at attracting more adherents to the cause.

The cause is a lie. Eddie's on this today, too. The lie is to deny that if you are alive and have food and shelter and haven't been injured by anyone, you have no right to be angry, indignant or agrieved at any injustice. The lie denies that just being alive and in minimally decent condition affords one an awesome gift of an opportunity for a fulfilling life. The lie claims that a minimally tolerable life, and hence justice, requires that one's way of life, one's culture, be praised and applauded by the rest of society. If you are not morally and psychologically healthy enough to reap the full value of being alive, then you need to blame the unhappiness on the unwelcoming cultural hegemony of the established culture. You will therefore lie, saying that, as a matter of minimal decency, others have a duty to welcome your way of life and applaude it. You become an advocate of diversity because this cloaks your selfish scheme and gives you a coalition, power in numbers. If you feel shut out and excluded, of course you won't want to admit that what has shut you out is the basic gut level at which you connect to reality. It is less depressing to think that it is some oppressor. Instead of an economic oppressor, now its a cultural oppressor, a cultural hegemonist. Hiring strictly on the basis of merit, of course will not do. You will demand that hiring be done also on the basis of skin color, disability, sexual preferences, sex, etc. This is a psychopathology.

Think of blacks, gays, women, or disabled people you have known who are against such biased hiring practices. Did you notice that there was something vibrantly healthy about those people? Something calm, confident, optimistic, glad, and happy?

Can you imagine that after I leave in the Spring I may be replaced by a person in a wheelchair who was not the best applicant? The Committee on Diversity in Hiring will scrutinize the philosophy department's proposed new hire and demand that a disabled person be considered. This is insane. It's sick.