Diversity and Conformity

A growing lack of personal autonomy?

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This article is about how I believe the current religion of “diversity” is actually creating a population of conformists.

I was reading an article in the Sunday Times a couple of weeks ago about the plight of  the so-called “millennials” or “Generation Y”. I feel that many young people have it far tougher than people of my generation did. I went to university in the late 1980s and early 1990s and not only was it free, I received a grant for all four years. My degree earned me entry into an enjoyable and  well-paid profession and in the mid 1990s, I could afford to buy a two bedroom flat in Greater London when I was still earning less than £20,000.

The article in question focused on the ludicrous price of property as well as the crippling rents some young professionals have to pay. It also highlighted how a degree costing a minimum of £27,000 is no longer a ticket to  a well-paid graduate level job. I think these problems are in need of urgent attention from the government. I am not going to insult young people by calling them names like so many scarily right-wing middle aged “journalists” have done over the past few years.

What struck me in particular about the article I was reading was one young lady who said that whatever your difficulties you MUST (her word, not mine) continue to show your life is going well on Facebook, Instagram and various other social media. And this, I feel, is a real problem. There appears to be an unspoken view that it is somehow compulsory to be advertising your life to people on the internet you have never met, and probably will never meet. Forgive me if I think that is nonsense.

Social media are, frankly, complete and utter garbage and to suggest that you are some kind of lesser being because  you do not indulge in this mindlessness is deeply insulting. Diversity has become something of a religion in recent years but social media do not promote diversity, they promote conformity. And conformity as dictated by some of the most unpleasant and hyper-capitalist organisations in the world.

This growing conformity is evident across Western culture. Endless reality television shows promote the lie that being famous somehow makes you an important individualist rather than the corporate shill you will be for the six months your “fame” lasts. The fashion industry appears to have an inexhaustible supply of models who have exactly the same half-starved look. When the latest advert for Britain/America/ Australia/ Timbuktu’s Next Top Model comes on, I sometimes wonder if there is a factory somewhere churning these girls out.

The trend for tattoos is another good example. Have a tattoo or don’t have a tattoo, it is your business not mine. Neither choice makes you special. But copying the ink designs of some braindead micro-“celebrity” does not make you cool, it simply makes you the conformist consumer of yet another fashion.

But it’s in the field of politics that conformism has become really disturbing. And I’m afraid it’s the apostles of diversity who are amongst those creating conformity of beliefs. I believe strongly in democracy and free speech. Look back into the past and the most stagnant societies were invariably ones where ideas were suppressed and free speech outlawed. Unfortunately, some (not all, probably a tiny minority) university students are amongst those who are attacking freedom of speech. I recall strong disagreements (drunken shouting matches?) at university but I don’t recall any of this nonsense about “safe spaces” or “trigger warnings.” People have been hounded and abused by the apostles of  diversity for not following the exact dictates of diversity. My favourite example was when the world-famous feminist writer Germaine Greer was accused of misogyny for not toeing the lines on transsexuals.

As I said, the apostles of diversity seem to be the ones demanding conformity.

This is particularly evident whenever a Hollywood film star, a singer or any other kind of entertainer speaks about politics, culture or religion. These artistic types always claim to be individualists who are interested in their art not the money and who bravely follow their own conscience not the fickleness of the mob. So why, in the name of all the gods that have never existed, do they all spout the same party line? Is it because they know their career will be damaged the moment they step outside the approved narrative? Why does every fading has-been or never-was try to reinvent themselves as a “political activist” spouting the same tired old tropes? Why do they turn so viciously on their own when they slip up, like when Benedict Cumberbatch referred to “coloured people” instead of “people of colour”? And why would anyone take seriously the subliterate ravings of a second generation “celebrity” like Lily Allen – a person entirely lacking talent, character, looks or education – if not for her fame?

Diversity is a good thing – the “spice of life” according to Irvine Welsh’s anti-hero Juice Terry – and conformity has always been the hallmark of oppressive religions and political regimes alike. So everybody needs to get out of the infantile echo chamber of social media and debate their views with people who don’t agree with them. Those people who disagree with you might learn something – and so might you.

 

 

 

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