Words That Replace Thought

Thomas Sowell, Lew Rockwell, May 8, 2013

If there is ever a contest for words that substitute for thought, “diversity” should be recognized as the undisputed world champion.

You don’t need a speck of evidence, or a single step of logic, when you rhapsodize about the supposed benefits of diversity. The very idea of testing this wonderful, magical word against something as ugly as reality seems almost sordid.

To ask whether institutions that promote diversity 24/7 end up with better or worse relations between the races than institutions that pay no attention to it is only to get yourself regarded as a bad person. To cite hard evidence that places obsessed with diversity have worse race relations is to risk getting yourself labeled an incorrigible racist. Free thinking is not free.

The Supreme Court of the United States has ruled that the government has a “compelling interest” in promoting diversity – apparently more compelling than the 14th Amendment’s requirement of “equal protection” of the law for everybody.

How does a racially homogeneous country like Japan manage to have high quality education, without the essential ingredient of diversity, for which there is supposedly a “compelling” need?

Conversely, why does India, one of the most diverse nations on Earth, have a record of intergroup intolerance and lethal violence today that is worse than that in the days of our Jim Crow South?

Even to ask such questions is to provoke charges of unworthy tactics, and motives too low to be dignified with an answer. Not that the true believers in diversity could answer anyway.


Another word that shuts down thought is “access.” People who fail to meet the standards for anything from college admission to a mortgage loan are often said to have been denied “access” or opportunity.

But equal access or equal opportunity is not the same as equal probability of success. Republicans are not denied an equal opportunity to vote in California, even though the chances of a Republican candidate actually getting elected in California are far less than the chances of a Democrat getting elected.

By the same token, if everyone is allowed to apply for college admission, or for a mortgage loan, and their applications are all judged by the same standards, then they have equal opportunity, even if the village idiot has a lower probability of getting into the Ivy League, and someone with a bad credit history is less likely to be lent money.


None of this is rocket science. But if you don’t stop and think, it doesn’t matter whether you are a genius or a moron. Words that stop people from thinking reduce even smart people to the same level as morons.

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