Thursday, February 10, 2022

Diversity Thursday

A foundation stone of DivThu for over a decade and a half is this simple concept: in a multi-ethnic and multi-racial nation, the most destructive thing that can be done by leaders who value it is to encourage people to divide themselves along racial, ethnic, or other sectarian lines. No society in human history has ever prospered by doing so,

Martin Luther King Jr. was right, the only solution is to judge someone by the content of their character and not the color of their skin.

We once extended this concept to include race, creed, color and nation origin. Not only is that the only way to promote unity, and from that unity receive national strength and cohesion, but also it is fair. Regardless of what you personally do in the course of your life, you cannot change your race, creed, color or national origin. Well, honestly you can't.

It is bad enough when division is done on a personal basis, but what if it is done on a government directed basis? We've seen that before. It was ugly and hateful then, it is ugly and hateful now.

What if such discrimination isn't just promoted by your government, but is considered one of the most important things your military should be focused on?

We know that promoting sectarianism does not produce unity and peace in a nation, why would it be thought of as something that would promote good order and discipline in a military?

It doesn't, but people promoting it don't care. They have other agendas to pursue. There is a small cohort in it as well meaning but wrong people - but the vast majority are in it for the most crass reasons; a paycheck, status, or power, all woven in with resentment and grievance. The most pitiful are those who are scared of people with status and power, or are terrified they might be called a name. We've discussed at length here. New readers can click the Diversity tag below to catch up if they need to.

In the last year, as things have gone pear shaped in this area, some good news and leaders have started to appear to push back. Slowly but firmly some political leaders are stepping forward. These include Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AZ) is one, and Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI).

Both of these gentlemen are deeply involved in defense issues, and served as officers in the Army and USMC. They get the danger. They know the terrain.

I'd like you to take in Rep. Gallagher's recent speech on the topic he recently gave at Hillsdale College.

Here are a few pull quotes from the transcript. He's taking no prisoners; his first week on the job, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin ordered a 60-day stand down to confront “extremism,” forcing all commanding officers to spend a day discussing extremism using a PowerPoint presentation prepared by the Joint Staff that included Ted Talks asking “What is up with us white people?.” Austin also created a new position, “Senior Advisor for Human Capital, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.” He hired a man named Bishop Garrison for the position and to run his “Countering Extremism Working Group.” And though Secretary Austin could not define extremism when questioned by the House Armed Services Committee (HASC) five months after his extremism stand down, Bishop Garrison can. Rather than focusing on violent or illegal behavior, his past Tweets brand all those who voted for former President Donald Trump as extremists and racists. 

Well get back to Garrison at the end of the post;
The U.S. Military Academy at West Point likewise required cadets to attend a seminar on DEI and promoted presentations on “White Power at West Point” and “Understanding Whiteness and White Rage.” When questioned about this by HASC members on June 23, 2021, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley said he was personally offended by the accusation that the military is woke and he defended DEI instruction, saying: “I wanna understand white rage, and I’m white, and I wanna understand it...I’ve read Mao Zedong, I’ve read Karl Marx, I’ve read Lenin. That doesn’t make me a communist.” 
Admiral Mike Gilday, the Chief of Naval Operations, recently included Ibram X Kendi’s How to Be an Antiracist on his “Professional Reading Program,” which is supposed to help sailors “outthink our competitors.” Kendi, a “leading historian” according to one Ted Talk included in Secretary Austin’s PowerPoint on extremism, has called Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett a “white colonizer,” argues that capitalism is “essentially racist,” and warns “racism has spread to nearly every part of the body politic…threatening the life of human society with nuclear war and climate change.” Kendi also calls for the creation of a Department of Anti-racism “comprised of formally trained experts on racism and no political appointees…empowered with disciplinary tools to wield over and against policymakers and public officials who do not voluntarily change their racist policy and ideas.” When questioned by HASC members on June 15, 2021 about why he included Kendi on his professional reading list, Gilday accused his critics of “trying to paint the United States military, in this case the United States Navy, as weak, as woke…I do know this: our strength is in our diversity and our sailors understand that.”  
Milley’s and Gilday’s comments get to the heart of the matter. When Chairman Milley compared reading Woke texts to reading Mao and Lenin, he unwittingly gave away the game. We read Mao and Lenin to understand our enemies and their tactics. We do not read Mao’s Talks at Yan’an for ideas of how to better run our military. Yet that is precisely how Milley and Gilday are approaching these Woke texts: as useful tools to help better run the Pentagon because of platitudes such as “diversity is our strength.” 
Bingo. Exactly correct. We have two options here with CJCS and CNO:
    1. They don't know this, in which case they are woefully out of their depth and are being malignantly supported by their staff.
    2. They do know this, in which case they are incredibly destructive people holding responsibilities outside any sane nation would allow them to have.
It should be noted that here Milley and Gilday are not simply pointing out that America’s e pluribus unum melting pot is an asset for U.S. military recruitment and that we should be proud that we live in a diverse nation with a diverse military. Nor are they making the narrower argument that, as the recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan illustrate, a dearth of specialized linguistic and cultural skills can cause death on the battlefield, and there are certain diverse competencies such as fluency in Mandarin or facility with cyber warfare that we must further develop so we are better prepared to beat the CCP in a future war. They are instead asking us to embrace a brand of identity politics that is fashionable on the Left right now, one which judges people explicitly by the color of their skin rather than on their merits as individuals. 
Yes, it is that simple.

They are also making specific and dubious claims about racial and gender diversity based on bad social science. To illustrate this point, consider the recent comments of the chief of Navy personnel, Vice Admiral John Nowell, Jr., who suggested we need to reinstate photos for selection boards so skin color can factor into promotion. Nowell also asserted “we know that diverse teams that are led inclusively will perform better.” This claim appears to come from a “Task Force One Navy (TF1N)” report commissioned after the death of George Floyd. Though TF1N concedes the Navy is more diverse than the U.S. population, it offered approximately 60 DEI recommendations, including de-emphasizing the use of standardized academic tests for Navy recruits, “bias awareness training” for all promotion board members, and developing a “subjectivity mitigation tool” to combat unconscious biases. 

TF1N even quantifies the assertion that “diversity is our strength”, saying “diverse teams are 58 percent more likely than non-diverse teams to accurately assess a situation.” Here TF1N cites a 2014 article from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences studying price bubbles in experimental markets. The experiment used 180 strangers “trained in business or finance” whose exposure to “diversity” meant briefly sitting white traders in a waiting room with other traders, where “at least one of the [other traders] was an ethnic minority.” These test subjects then made fake stock trades alone in their “separate cubicles” through a computer terminal. So contrary to TF1N’s portrayal, the study says nothing about teams (decisions are made alone by individuals) and nothing about assessing “situations” (it is about pricing and purchasing decisions).

TF1N also claims “gender-diverse organizations are 15 percent more likely to outperform other organizations and diverse organizations are 35 percent more likely to outperform their non-diverse counterparts.” This claim is completely inconsistent with the extant literature on gender,  as recent meta analyses show 0 to negative effects for gender. Yet TF1N selectively cites a single 2015 McKinsey study called “Diversity Matters.” McKinsey’s study uses a modified version of something called “the Herfindahl–Hirschman Index (HHI)” to quantify the racial composition of company boards and claim racial diversity correlates with greater Earnings Before Income and Taxes (EBIT). Yet McKinsey’s HHI formula is such that a company with one white, one Native American, one Latino and seven black members would score as less diverse than a board with six white and four black members. McKinsey’s correlation is also likely weak because they lump their data on 366 public companies into quartiles, comparing only the bottom quartile to the top quartile and thereby conveniently omitting half the data set. 
How any serious person in uniform can support TF1N again after this simple but fact filled take down, I have no idea. I guess they can try, but I don't recommend they try it on The Hill,
It should alarm us that the same military leaders we trust to train our sons and daughters for war are building their DEI agenda upon a foundation of fringe history and shoddy social science. Their underlying assumption that we can generalize (questionable) findings from academia and the private sector to the specific business of asking young men and women to kill and be killed for their country is an assault on common sense. Furthermore, those who view DEI as a harmless addition to the many annoying, administrative things the military must do ignore recent evidence demonstrating initiatives such as implicit bias training either are ineffective or actually intensify inter-group hostility. 
There you go. One of the top people in Congress on military issues. He gets it. 

In summary;
With such a poor empirical and methodological foundation, at best DEI will waste servicemember time and taxpayer money. At worst, DEI will undermine the foundation of our modern, all-volunteer force. This force is by design an exclusive, not inclusive, organization. We are lucky to draw from a diverse population, but we do not want the U.S. military to look like a representative sample of the population. We want it to be the best and the brightest. The U.S. military is an elite and meritocratic organization where only the most fit, disciplined, and lethal individuals should thrive, regardless of skin color. For this reason, the military obsessively measures things like pullups, marksmanship, and a general ability to endure pain. Put differently, diversity may be a strength for America, but it cannot be an organizing principle for the Pentagon. Actual strength—physical strength, mental strength, and overall end strength—is our strength. 

The above are only a few paragraphs from a much longer speech. Lucky for you, we have the video.

Freshen up your coffee or adult beverage of choice, or set it up it so you can listen to it on your commute today, and watch it for yourself. As the cool kids say, "like and share."

This needs broad distribution and support. There are lot more battles to be fought to get to where we need to be. We need to reward bravery and good behavior, and support every friend we have.

A couple of additional items. Our friend Kristina Wong is writing on the same topic. Take time to give it a read.

Also, back to this Bishop Garrison character. It looks like he sees a shadow on his rice bowl. Give this summary a read, you paid for a it.

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