Monday, February 1, 2010

On Minorities

I have recently been reading through Allan Bloom's book "The Closing of the American Mind." It is too soon for me to say whether I agree with his particular views, though I appreciate much of his observations on both education and modern media. So far, the book has been a journey that has challenged my thinking in certain areas—the kind of challenge that tends to make one angry. That particular brand of anger is just the sort of feeling that shields us from having a more open mind. If we are not willing to read things we do not agree with, we cannot truly be open minded.

In any case, a quote from early in the book concerning minorities prompted me to write a brief article as to the what I thought he meant by it. I hope this will be mind-opening for you, even if you disagree.

"For the Founders [of America], minorities are in general bad things, mostly identical to factions, selfish groups who have no concern as such for the common good." - Allan Bloom
Minorities represent aspects of humanity which are not necessarily good or bad, just not as common as other aspects. Basically there are three kinds of minorities: physical minorities, defined by race or other physical characteristics; political minorities, defined by culture or other social and civil thought; and spiritual minorities, defined by passion of purpose or other philosophical beliefs. (As a side note, religion is an aspect of political life and is distinct from spiritual life, though one informs the other.)

Instead of creating unity by embracing commonalities which the majority (an act which might gain them more acceptance and strengthen society's understanding of natural principles), minority groups create divisions by embracing their major differences, then fighting for "equality." Inherently, they value being different for the sake of being unique, not necessarily because they are right. Therefore, they tend to disregard—as judgmental and closed-minded—those comments which might suggest they are in the wrong, because they feel such comments threaten their individuality. It is therefore ironic, that it is often the minority which is closed-minded. This, of course, makes learning impossible for the minority.

A value for differences is the opposite of unity, as unity can be founded on common ground. This common ground is what we speak of as "truth" or "natural law." Diversity is desirable not because of differences, but because of the strengthening of unity despite differences. It is the civil disagreements between individuals allied in common purpose, which tempers the resources for the battle. "Iron sharpens iron." The Founders of America understood this, according to Mr. Bloom, when they sought a system of majority rule.

Whenever any system seeks to impose arbitrary regulations to benefit the minorities, it ultimately makes the problem worse. Take, for instance, Affirmative Action: a set of rules meant to give racial and gender minorities a "fair" chance. It was meant to be a step forward in equality, but in assigning value arbitrarily to race, et al, the divide between minority groups and the majority deepened. A person's minority status became more important than his skill level or other human qualities. This also re-enforced prejudice that certain minorities were not hard workers. If it is not a person's performance, but the color of his skin or the group to which he belongs that gets him into an organization, why bother pursuing excellence?

Paradoxically, all fervor over minority inequality fundamentally disregards the fact that we are all human and therefore equal by nature, a trait that should be at the forefront of any understanding of society. Considering anything else in priority above equality by the nature of being human, is the very definition of inequality.

FEATURED MEDIA: The Closing of the American Mind by Allan Bloom, is a book about the degeneration of higher education in America.
Crash is a fictional film about prejudice in Los Angeles. Several different characters from all walks of life "crash" into each other, revealing some interesting thought nuggets on race and class distinctions.

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