We’ve become a nation obsessed with diversity.

One can rarely pick up a newspaper or magazine, or tune in to radio or TV news programming without running into someone touting the value of diversity. As a nation, we’ve come to embrace the importance of recognizing different cultures, religions and ways of thinking.

This isn’t a bad thing.

Acknowledging other points of view, embracing new methods of problem solving and taking the time to consider things outside of our own realm of experience enriches our society. Failing to recognize diversity shuts us off from points of view that could conceivably offer solutions to problems and make our community a better place.

Philosopher J.S. Mill would love the diversity movement today. Mill wrote extensively on the importance of a robust “marketplace of ideas”, arguing that we need to entertain alternate opinions because ideas we find initially distasteful might just prove true.

“If the opinion is right, they are deprived of the opportunity of exchanging error for truth. If wrong, they loose, what is almost as great a benefit, the clearer perception and livelier impression of truth, produced by the collision with error.”

With all of the emphasis on diversity in the United States, I find it difficult to understand why so few people embrace the notion of state sovereignty. Why do so may American’s advocate one-size fits all policies handed down from a central authority in Washington D.C. ?

While Americans become more and more open to diverse ideas, lifestyles and cultures, our governance becomes more and more top-down and homogenous. We assume the same solutions will work for the people of Oregon as for the people in Alabama, ignoring the vast differences in culture, climate and socio-economic factors.

Perhaps it is time we embrace diversity in the way we govern ourselves, allowing states to come up with solutions to their problems at home – solutions that actually address the needs, desires and cultures of those states.

Because diversity is good, right?

Mike Maharrey

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