Why Diversity Is Not the Issue

by Kenneth E. Hines on May 28, 2013

In a recent visit to New Hampshire Rand Paul exhorted the GOP,

“The main thing is not to talk about me so much but about how to grow the party,” the senator told a press conference before the dinner.

Diversity and the GOP

And that is what he focused on at the podium.

“We need to be like the rest of America,” Paul told the gathering. “We need to grow bigger. If you want to be the party of white people, we’re winning all the white vote. But we’re a diverse nation,” he said, to a crowd that was almost entirely white. “We’re going to win when we look like America. We need to be white, we need to be brown, we need to be black, we need to with tattoos, without tattoos, with pony tails, without pony tails, with beards, without.”

There can be no doubt that a lack of diversity is a problem for the GOP. A 2010 Gallup Poll Report found that only 2% of blacks and 5% hispanics identify as Republican. Whereas, 88% whites say they identify with the GOP. Of those 47% say they are highly religious and 41% less religious. I’m all for a lot more participation by minorities in the Republican party.

But is diversity (or the lack of it) really the issue? I don’t think so.

Our country was forced to recognize the equal rights of blacks during the civil rights movement. Social structures enforced by segregation laws were torn down. In addition, America became more diverse in the decades following the sixties with immigrants coming from countries all over the world at a rate rivaling pre-depression numbers.  White Americans felt their way of life being threatened.   They were forced out of their comfort zone. Neighborhoods and schools were integrated. Companies began hiring and promoting from all ethnic groups. As art imitates life Hollywood began including diverse portrayals in movies and on TV.

Conservatives are known for “conserving” traditional institutions. This can include things that should be jettisoned as well as things worth conserving. Many resisted the cultural changes of the sixties. As a result different ethnic and racial groups felt unwelcome by conservatives. Yet, it’s ironic that they felt rejected. Following the Civil War, the huge majority of blacks became Republican, the party of Lincoln, when they were emancipated. Since that time, multitudes of people have come to America for the freedom our country offered. Yet most of these immigrant groups feel marginalized by the very people who scream the loudest about freedom and liberty. This is because most conservatives and establishment Republicans have been unabashed hypocrites. They preach freedom and liberty but they practice control, power politics, and crony capitalism – an attractive, welcoming message this does not make!

It’s not only conservatives who have been unwelcoming to diverse groups. It was the liberal-progressives who during the early 20th century made it a key part of their ideology that those of white European descent were superior to all others. Just consider the eugenics movement. And it was southern Democrats that were behind the Jim Crow laws and resisted integration in the South during the civil rights movement. Yet, despite this history and in an ironic turn, the Democrats have become the party of diversity. How did this happen? They shrewdly changed their political strategy by pandering to minorities with a “cradle-grave” big government message, reinforcing the victimhood meme, and framing the “Republicans-are-racist” narrative.

This is exactly the problem with the “we need to become more diverse” form of political organizing. It leads to replacing the ideals of freedom with notions of multiculturalism. And becoming more “inclusive” by catering to as many groups as possible leads to pandering.  This is the reason the Liberal-Progressive-Democratic Party has more diversity than the GOP does. The Democrats unashamedly pander to minorities through “identity politics” by exploiting their disadvantages and the injustices they have experienced. Seeking diversity as the primary goal of a party leads demanding “equality of outcome” instead of “equality of opportunity” by favoring one group over another usually defined as the “haves” and the “have nots”.

What is needed is not pandering to minorities and discrimination against the so-called “privileged” but a radical, laser-sharp focus on complete and unfettered freedom of opportunity – which not only includes the freedom to succeed but also the freedom to fail. What is needed is a message of personal responsibility rather than the demeaning and paralyzing narrative of victimhood. And a message that includes a full-throated rejection of favors to prosperous individuals, companies, and industries in the form of exemptions, loopholes, subsidies, and regulations.

Diversity, multiculturalism, inclusion, political correctness are all concepts that have come to dominate America’s cultural and political landscape. Diversity has become the cardinal American virtue. As long as diversity is embraced and promoted nothing else matters. The idea of diversity has become more important than the values of freedom, justice (vs. “social justice”), equality (of opportunity vs. outcome), faith, love, ethics, and personal responsibility.

The message of freedom and liberty, personal responsibility, equality of opportunity and justice before the law must be restored. And the notion of diversity must be ignored! It is not the issue.

This was the incredibly effective message of Rand Paul’s father, Ron Paul. Ron never pandered. His message was the same wherever he went and to whomever he was speaking. He didn’t talk about making the liberty movement more diverse because he didn’t have to – it was diverse as an natural result of the message of liberty. When people of any gender, age, race, ethnicity, religion, or sexual preference hear and understand what true freedom and liberty are all about they respond in droves.

I agree with Rand Paul, we of the Liberty movement, Republican or otherwise, need to reach out to all people no matter their identity. But it is critical how we do it. We don’t need to pander or preach victimhood. We need to keep our focus on the basic American principles of liberty: freedom, liberty, equality of opportunity and justice.

Unfurl and raise these values to the top of the pole. Let them ring across the land and practice them in our lives, our communities, and our laws. We won’t be defined by inclusion or exclusion because that won’t be the issue. The issue will be the freedom of each and everyone of us  to live our lives as each of us see fit without inference from others who think they know best for us -regardless of gender, ethnicity, race, creed or color.

I welcome your comments. What do you think about diversity in the modern political scene?

  • Dan Duncan

    Rabbi Hillel defined the territory thus:

    “If I am not for myself, who will be for me”
    And if I am only for myself, what am I?
    And if not now, when?

    This is the true basis of social conscience.
    To postpone or deny it as “socialistic” is delusional and immoral.

    • http://www.KennethEHines.com Kenneth E. Hines

      Thanks, Dan! I would agree. Jesus also said, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Part of the greatness of America is the free association of individuals and communities to voluntarily help and serve those in need. It is only socialistic when the state coerces people to do what it thinks is best.

  • Richard Rutledge

    To say that promoting diversity in politics is not a positive factor is Pure idiocy!!

    Yes I agree that pandering to a group is not the answer but neither is
    the simple toleration of “non whites” because of who and what they are we see in
    much of the GOP. What we need is to look past the color of some ones
    skin and into who and what they are at the core.

    You see I am a Constitutional Conservative white guy who lives in a 75% black City. I
    have more support frankly politically in my home area from Conservative
    blacks than whites. We connect on the level of what Fredrick Douglass
    espoused here as his LIFE-EMPOWERING Values.

    Douglass’ LIFE-EMPOWERING values: (1) Respect for the Constitution; (2)
    Respect for Life; (3) Belief in Limited Government; and (4) Belief in
    Individual Responsibility.

    I also agree with Douglass on immigration.

    “We shall spread the network of our science and our civilization
    over all who seek their shelter, whether from Asia, Africa, or the Isles of the
    Sea. We shall mould them all, each after his kind, into Americans; Indian and
    Celt, negro and Saxon, Latin and Teuton, Mongolian and Caucasian, Jew and
    gentile, all shall here bow to the same law, speak the same language, support
    the same government, enjoy the same liberty, vibrate with the same national
    enthusiasm, and seek the same national ends.”

    There is an ARMY of individuals in this nation who are not Lilly white and
    believe in the Constitution, hate Obama because of what he stands for and do not
    block vote Democrat.

    The GOP as a national Party now treats them like dirt, demonizes them as a race and only lightly tolerates those who do join so they have no political home. WE (http://home.conservativepartyusa.org/ ) on the other hand want them not
    just to tolerate the “outsiders” but embracing those with a common core philosophy as brother and sisters in a cause. We invite those who have a common philosophy regardless of skin color, income level, sex or any other BS faction creating label to join hands with US and fight back..

    Fredrick Douglass

    “Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet depreciate agitation, are
    men who want crops without plowing up the ground. They want rain without
    thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its
    waters. This struggle may be a moral one; or it may be a physical one; or it
    may be both moral and physical; but it must be a struggle! Power concedes
    nothing without a demand. It never did, and it never will. Find out just what
    people will submit to, and you have found out the exact amount of injustice and
    wrong which will be imposed upon them; and these will continue until they are
    resisted with either words or blows, or with both. The limits of tyrants are
    prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.”
    Thomas Jefferson
    ” The issue today is the same as it has been throughout all history, whether man shall be allowed to govern himself or be ruled by a small elite.”

    Sincerely

    Richard Rutledge

    Chairman Conservative Party (Alabama)

    http://www.conservativepartyal.org/

    • http://www.KennethEHines.com Kenneth E. Hines

      Richard,

      I had to go back and re-read my own post to see where I said that “diversity in politics is not a positive thing”. I couldn’t find it. It’s not there because I don’t believe that nor do I think you can get that from what I wrote. Even if I had, your ad hominem name-calling doesn’t lend itself to the kind of civil discourse that leads to mutual understanding at least much less winning someone over to your argument.

      Interestingly, you then begin your remarks by saying you agree with me that “pandering to a group is not the answer” and that we should look beyond skin color. So you do agree with me!

      That said let me clarify what I evidently failed to make clear in my post.

      I do think diversity in politics is a positive thing because I believe first and foremost that ALL people are made in the image of God and have intrinsic value as well as something to offer the public discourse. Additionally, I am committed to the proposition in the Declaration of Independence that says, “All men are created equal and are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights”. And I believe in the motto on the Seal of the United States, “E Pluribus Unum” – out of many, one. One of the many reasons our country is so great is that we are diverse and we welcome all to take an active role in their citizenship.

      The point of my post is that it is a mistake for a political party (the GOP in this case) to make some kind of goal or agenda out of becoming more diverse. When diversity itself is made the goal it inevitably will lead to pandering and the principles of freedom of liberty and all which that entails will be compromised. If the GOP, or in your case, the Conservative Party, makes it’s message of Liberty the main focus and promotes it in the marketplace of ideas then it will attract lots people of diverse backgrounds because freedom appeals to many, many people. In other words, a healthy form of diversity will come as a result of the message instead of being a result of pandering. (Of course, there are also lots and lots of people who care more about what they can get from the public dole and couldn’t care less about freedom – that’s why pandering works so well.)

      I think your beef is with the GOP not me or my post (which is why I’m confused by your “idiocy” remark). I’ll grant that you may have a point about Republicans simply tolerating ‘non-whites’ and the demonizing comment but I wonder how much you’ve bought into the mainstream media anti-Republican narrative and propaganda to believe that.

      In any case, thank you for taking the time read my blog and to comment. I appreciate you furthering the conversation. I also love your Frederick Douglass quotes and summing up his LIFE-EMPOWERING values. Awesome!

      I hope you’ll continue reading and chiming in!

      • Richard Rutledge

        Kennith yes I do have a beef with the GOP leadership in my area you are correct. I was once very involved but always have had a good number of very close friends who were like myself also very Constitutionally conservative but were non white. I was consistently embarrassed at how they were treated when i took them with me to GOP events in Alabama. That was the major factor that drove me permanently from the GOP.

        After rereading you initial post I feel I misjudged it’s intent. When you began getting into the diversity issue I misread the way that you were presenting your argument. In particular the section below

        “Diversity, multiculturalism, inclusion, political correctness are all
        concepts that have come to dominate America’s cultural and political
        landscape. Diversity has become the cardinal American virtue. As long as
        diversity is embraced and promoted nothing else matters.”

        I have heard that basic argument given in a totally different spirit to many times I guess and judged your intent to quickly.

        I think after carefully rereading your initial post we are mostly in agreement here on the issue.

        This for example is a direct quote from the 2013 Conservative Party Alabama State platform that you should find of particular interest.

        Conservative Party Alabama Rejects The Entire Concept of ANY
        Protected Groups or Class. Conservative Party Alabama Condemns Current HATE Crime Laws and Opposes Passage Of Any New HATE Crime Laws .
        Conservative Party Alabama Supports And Promotes The Concept Of Absolute Equality for ALL People Under The Law And Rejects The Concept That Special Protections Are Warranted For “Only” Specified Groups!

        Conservative Party Alabama Fully Supports And Endorses the Concept Of PERSONHOOD For ALL Humans Including The Unborn.
        Sincerely

        Richard Rutledge.

        • http://www.KennethEHines.com Kenneth E. Hines

          Richard, Thanks for re-reading my post. From your reply I would agree we are in agreement. And I think we both have a better understanding of each other. I appreciate the quote from your party platform. Well said! Hope to hear more from you on future posts.

Previous post:

Next post: