It's Official: Diversity Not Strength
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Front page of the Financial Times today features a story that the Cassandras at called a long time ago: diversity breeds isolation and mistrust. (Study paints bleak picture of ethnic diversity, by John Lloyd, Financial Times, October 8, 2006)

This is a contentious finding in the current climate of concern about the benefits of immigration. Professor Putnam told the Financial Times he had delayed publishing his research until he could develop proposals to compensate for the negative effects of diversity, saying it "would have been irresponsible to publish without that."

The core message of the research was that, 'in the presence of diversity, we hunker down', he said. 'We act like turtles. The effect of diversity is worse than had been imagined. And it's not just that we don't trust people who are not like us. In diverse communities, we don't trust people who do look like us.'

Prof Putnam found trust was lowest in Los Angeles, 'the most diverse human habitation in human history', but his findings also held for rural South Dakota, where 'diversity means inviting Swedes to a Norwegians' picnic'.

Professor Robert Putnam, well-known Harvard political scientist and known liberal (redundant, I know) released his study only after waiting to develop proposals for dealing with the distasteful negative effects of diversity. "It would be irresponsible to publish without that," he claims. While the Financial Times doesn't spell out what kinds of compensation Putnam came up with, it does quote him as saying, "What we shouldn't do is to say that they [immigrants] should be more like us. We should construct a new us."

In other words, he still doesn't get it.

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