A High Life columnist has got me thinking about human societies. In a recent issue of The Spectator, Taki, the magazine’s resident bon vivant, wrote admiringly of Japan, where life is so agreeable, in his view, because the social fabric is based on respect and good manners. These are the qualities that make for a successful society, Taki claimed, not inclusivity and diversity.
For Americans, the ideas of inclusivity and diversity are almost as sacred as those of freedom and democracy. We are the country made up of people from all countries. Years ago I asked a visiting German journalist what struck him most about the United States, and he said it was the fact that all these people from dramatically different cultures managed to get along, for the most part, and work together for the common good. Animosities that had existed for centuries on other continents disappeared within the confines of the U.S. border.
But now intolerance, and hatred of the Other, seem to be appearing. I say ‘seem’ because these attitudes are definitely being stoked. But it’s got me wondering if people are sadly reverting back to their more primitive natures, becoming peasants again, eyeing the stranger with loaded-gun suspicion. Has the American experiment in human evolution come to a halt? Was the ideal of inclusivity and diversity as utopian and doomed as Communism?