Due to a myriad of commitments both personal and professional, I won’t be blogging here much for the next while. However, I will try to get a quick thought out when I can.
Chateau Heartiste popularized a maxim that diversity + proximity = war. In fact, he has an entire page dedicated to this proposition that perhaps all men may be equal but they should live separately if they wish to live in peace.
It occurred to me recently that this same formula also adds up to censorship.
Diversity + Proximity = Censorship
By diversity, I don’t mean different ethnic groups. I am referring to the phenomenon that the more diverse the group, the greater the differences that exist within it, the more censorship, voluntary or not, will take place.
I’m seeing this play out on a variety of social media platforms, particularly Facebook. There, I’m a member of several religious and political groups. What I’ve seen over time is that the group splits up, people leave, or form their own splinter group because the big group is too big. There are too many people from too different backgrounds to have frank conversations.
In one group that discusses politics from a distinct theological perspective, I witnessed the men and women form their own subset groups to discuss these political concepts from a theological perspective as a man or woman. We see the same thing with race or culture.
Why? Because there are things we wish to say or discuss and can’t because it might offend somebody in the larger group. So we form smaller groups where the truth, at least as we see it, can be spoken without fear of conflict. If not, we self-censor or someone tries to censor us.
Which brings me back to my thesis; the attempt to destroy the right of association is an attempt to censor. If you can’t discriminate whom you associate with, hire, fire, form social clubs or businesses with, then you can’t actually express your beliefs. If you’re forced to hire certain types of people at your workplace and they can sue you if your speech creates, in their minds, a “hostile working environment,” then how is this anything other than censorship?
We also see this play out in the effort to make “diversity” the core mission of every organization and corporation. If diversity is the objective, as opposed to greater profits or the advancement of some noble idea, then censorship becomes a justifiable action for the sake of preserving a forced inclusiveness. You can tell people they can’t say something or act a certain way or express themselves, not because of how it hurts the bottom line, but because it “offends” someone. This is irrelevant only unless maintaining diversity is paramount.
Sadly, this is why free speech is dying. If your goal is to avoid offending anyone or evading conflict, then your only option is silence. And even then, it may not be enough.
So whenever someone says, “We need to be more inclusive,” – as opposed to “tolerant” or “open-minded” – what they probably mean is “we need seemingly legitimate reasons to shut you up.”
Beware the person who tries to make something more diverse for diversity’s sake. A censor lies within them.