Diversitas 1, Veritas 0.
Harvard's 'Veritas' has given way to a fake 'Diversitas'—the myth that all must think alike—or else. The truth? Harvard's 'diversity' is a fat mendacium. Tweet
Harvard is far less concerned with Veritas and much more concerned with conformatio — the fashionable, shallow version of Diversitas.
One of the benefits of living in interesting times is that we are always facing choices with far-reaching implications.
Equality of opportunity—not of outcomes—is the path that we must choose.
Truth-in-advertising ought to require that Harvard rebrand itself. Harvard’s motto is short and to the point: “Veritas”. Seven letters that capture in Latin what English captures in five: Truth.
The majority of those outside the universities agree that the pursuit of truth should be the proper purpose of a university. The person created by such an education should prioritize veritas above all other values. And to take it just another step forward, a free people who want to remain free ought to have an interest in fostering veritas’ ambitious habits of heart and mind—from pre-K to PhD.
Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan—a Harvard man—captured the common-sense foundations for a dedication to an indulgent pursuit of the truth: “We are all entitled to our own opinions,” he said, “but not our own facts.”
If “We the People of the United States” — and the World — could just let Moynihan’s thirteen words sink into our bifurcated American and global minds, our future, in the immortal words of Timbuk3, would be so bright we’d have to wear shades.
But veritas be told, Harvard is far less concerned with Veritas and much more concerned with conformatio — not diversitas. As true diversity faded, conformity rose to replace it.
If Harvard had the courage to take a blowtorch to its gate and add three letters—a D, a S and an I, Harvard could publicly announce truth-in-packaging of historical magnitude.
Because, sadly, as goes Harvard, so goes the American Mind. Harvard’s version of diversitas, is obedient only to conformity, and that has has displaced Veritas as the lodestar of our educational and cultural character.
Conformity now trumps Truth. That is a distinction worth our attention.
Translation: Conformity, the useless byproduct of Diversity, now trumps Truth. That is a distinction worth our attention.
We celebrate a varietas of colors, creeds, and sexual permutations. A diversity of exteriors but not of interiors. A false diversity, ironically one protected by enforced conformity.
In the abstract, shared thinking sounds attractive. As American as apple pie and Ellis Island, no? The diversity of the human family is connected by a shared, universal admiration of equality.
A hope of the Enlightenment was to reverse the curse of Babel; human reason pushing to the periphery the differences that divide us. Instead of reason focusing on conquering the heavens, it should put itself in service of lifting the human family.
A healthy Pluribus requires a committed Unum. To stay together requires a principle of connection.
One of the benefits of living in interesting times is that we are always facing choices with far-reaching implications. The choices that we are making now are going to bind our future—and, if you’ll excuse the platitude, “our children’s children’s future.”
My fellows, we need to make this choice very deliberately. We are in an antebellum divided-house at this moment in time. Again, equality—and the need to live up to it—finds itself against a stronger fashionable—might we say tribal?—headwind.
It our responsibility to decide for future generations whether or not our shared vision will govern our national experiment in self-government going foreword.
Unlike Baskin-Robins and European politics—there are just two choices for us, one of two paths: the path of equality or the path of tribal differences.
While down in the polls at the moment, equality is the only path forward and upward. Truth and human equality may be down in the polls, but they remain the only hopes of a free, equal and just people.
Fake diversity above all—even truth—and its fixation on ideological differences appears to be winning. Diversitas and its divisive fruit—Identity— has captured all the commanding heights and is running the show. This is not a path to greater perfection but devolution. Regression to a pre-enlightenment mean.
We need to get America’s Mojo back quickly.
We could start by reading the Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address.—a 272-word masterpiece on the case for equality in American self-understanding and purpose. Lincoln gave Jefferson’s self-evident “All Men are Created Equal” a four-score-and-seven-year defense, one that needs a retelling 12 score and 5 years later.
Our commitment to human equality needs to forever pursue an aspirational requirement that each generation do its part to make the ideal more real, not more meaningless.
Something being self-evident does not mean that once the mind is open to it, a culture and politics that is both equal and free automatically manifests itself. The Golden Rule is self-evidently true even if our track record on living up to it is bronze at best. It takes hard work, time and commitment to be a good and free people. The forever reality of human hypocrisy is equally self-evident. It takes time—and cajoling—for our practice to catch up to our principled commitments. That is the story of the idea that is America.
Equality of opportunity—not of outcomes—is the path that we must choose. This is the principle that democratic self-government and genuine diversity is predicated on. To reimagine a culture and public life that is not explicitly dedicated to equality is a bad dream that is already showing its illiberal nature.
Diversity without Equality does not unite the human family, it separates us. Diversity without equality ends in a war of all against all.
To end well, Diversity—and its focus on differences, Identity—needs to be a secondary concern to Equality and Truth. If we choose equality of opportunity, if we choose that truth instead of what we hope may someday be true, we’ll get the best case for and defense of human diversity.
The case for Equality is the only ground for real progress. Everything else is rebranded regress.
If Veritas were in vogue, we’d know this. Bono gets it and shows the way forward.
To reach Guy Shepherd contact: [email protected]
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