The Misery of Diversity

People are doing more than hunkering down; they are fleeing

by Ilana Mercer

When an academic discovers what ordinary mortals have known for eons, it’s called science. Harvard political scientist Robert Putnam has found that diversity is not a strength, but a weakness; the greater the diversity in a community, the greater the distrust. Professor Putnam’s five-year study was reported last year by the Financial Times and is finally percolating down to others in the media and blogosphere.

In diverse communities, Putnam observed, people “hunker down”: They withdraw, have fewer “friends and confidants,” distrust their neighbors regardless of the color of their skin, expect the worst from local leaders, volunteer and carpool less, give less to charity, and “agitate for social reform more,” with little hope of success. They also huddle in front of the television. Activism alternates with escapism, unhappiness with ennui.Trust was lowest in Los Angeles, “the most diverse human habitation in human history.” Since this is all very perplexing to the “progressive” Putnam, who hangs out at Harvard, allow me to save the good professor from another future shock. People are doing more than hunkering down in these unhappy habitations; they are fleeing. In 1995, the New York Times mocked the findings of William H. Frey and Jonathan Tilove, authors of “Immigrants in, Native Whites Out.” These demographers noted that as states stretching from California to Texas were swamped by Third World immigrants, the historic population began leaving. At least those who did not reside in $16.5 million mansions, in the exclusive Pacific Heights. At its most elevated, the Times discounted the findings with the aid of the correlation-is-not-causation claim. At its most debased, the newspaper called those who tracked the trend xenophobes.