Bowing before the Altar of Diversity

Article excerpt

Byline: Ernest W. Lefever, SPECIAL TO THE WASHINGTON TIMES

When justifying his recent stand against race preferences at the University of Michigan, President Bush felt compelled to place a generous pinch of incense at the politically correct altar of diversity. This obligatory ritual, practiced ostentatiously by virtually all public figures, is not only vague and redundant. It subverts equal opportunity and tears at our social fabric. America is diversity, the world's melting simmering with past and present immigrants.

African-Americans whose ancestors didn't come here voluntarily are also a vital part of the rich ethnic mix - dramatically manifest each year at the Super Bowl.

Until recently, immigrants to our shores were eager to become full-fledged Americans. And our public schools that taught only English did a splendid job of assimilating them. This diversity within freedom, buttressed by talent, hard work, and opportunity has made America the envy of the world.

But today, some immigrants, notably self-appointed Hispanic activists, tend to resist assimilation. They champion bilingual education, bilingual ballots, and a bilingual lifestyle, all of which will make them less able to enrich American society. Examples abound:

* Recently, 75 Mexican immigrants in Arizona were sworn in as new citizens in a ceremony conducted largely in Spanish at the request of District Judge Alfredo Marquez.

* A 53-page, U.S. Department of Education guide, "Preparing Your Child for University," is written entirely in Spanish.

* Bill Gates' billion-dollar scholarship program to boost ethnic diversity in the sciences, launched in 1999, explicitly discriminates against whites and Asian students.

These bizarre concessions to diversity would have dismayed earlier immigrants who took pride in learning the language and ask only for a fair chance to achieve in their adopted country.

Politically correct assertions of "ethnic pride" or "victim status," if left unchecked, could tear America apart.

Diversity so understood turns e pluribus unum on its head. Teddy Roosevelt put it bluntly in a speech before the Knights of Columbus in New York on Oct. 12, 1915: "There is no room in this country for hyphenated Americanism."

A century before, John Quincy Adams said America seems "destined by Divine Providence to be peopled by one nation, speaking one language" and professing one political system. …