I was reading "Ask Amy" yesterday, as I usually do, when her answer to a question brought me to a revelation about the nature of human segregation. That was not her intention. In fact, her intention was the exact opposite. In her answer to a particular question she argued for the moral necessity of unlike groups constantly being forced to associate with each other. In that sense she was just like one of those business-minding kooks that runs around telling others to "celebrate diversity." Although they never define what it means to celebrate diversity it usually boils down to ordering people to spend time with people of different racial backgrounds. Not wanting to spend time with people of different racial backgrounds is called "segregation" and it is universally condemned as evil. Let's consider that idea for a while today.
The question posed to Amy was, "What is the politically correct way to exclude the developmentally disabled from an organized group?" In this case the organized group was a high level bowling league and the developmentally disabled group was made up of people from an assisted living home. The bowling alley where the league played informed the league representatives that their contract to use the facility would not be renewed if they did not accept teams from the assisted living home. Quite accurately, I would suppose, the representative from the league who wrote to Amy asserted that, "If the league admits individuals with vastly inferior skill levels and low mental awareness of league bowling rules, that will greatly slow down the normal pace of play and frustrate many of our existing members." How do you think Amy responded? How would you have responded?
Amy wrote, "I can't provide a politically correct way for you to exclude these people because the very notion is so unkind that the mind reels. The heart takes a hit too." She then went on to correctly point out that the management of the bowling alley was free to do whatever it wanted to do. If the league did not like management's decision it was free to take its business elsewhere. Amy's economic thinking on the issue was correct. What threw me into an instantaneous rage was her allegation that the members of the league were hate-filled neanderthals because they wanted to preserve the quality of the competition in their league. Her response was so unkind it actually hurt my heart.
Amy's irrational insistence upon forced integration of disparate groups put me on a pathway of thought that eventually brought me to the title of today's post. Segregation is a natural and moral human desire. Most of the time we prefer to associate with those who are similar to us and that is not an immoral thing to do. Why should the members of a bowling league, who thrive on the competition they derive from playing opponents of an equally high level of skill, be morally required to introduce inferior players? Why is it immoral if they do not want to? I wonder if Amy is a member of a bridge club? If she is, I wonder what she would say if I accused her of immorality if she did not replace her bridge partner with a 12 year old child who knows nothing about bridge? Do you think it would be fair to call her unkind and heartless if she objected?
I believe it is fair to say that the desire to segregate is fundamental to human behavior. Do you want to spend a day with a NASCAR fan at the Taladega Speedway if you are a fan of the ballet? Do you want to be forced to spend a day at the local little league ball park when you despise baseball and have no children? If you are a fan of the blues why should you be deemed an evil person for not wanting to spend a day at a rap jamboree? Should a vegetarian be required to go elk hunting with a hunter? Why should a competitive bowling league be required to admit disabled players to avoid being called hateful? I could go on with thousands of examples that all illustrate the lunacy of insisting that different people should be forced to spend time together or face the stigma of being labeled evil segregationists.
I believe that all but the most hardened Type A Yuppie would agree that one of life's greatest joys is the time spent with friends. Even those who spend their time printing "CoExist" bumper stickers would agree with that assertion. Even those who believe we should celebrate diversity spend most of their time associating with their friends. And what, exactly, is a friend? Is it not true that friend is someone with whom you share a bond of similarity? Maybe you both like to hunt, or fish, or hike, or attend the ballet, or attend the rap concert, or discuss theology, or ride bikes, or any combination of these and many other activities. We don't make friends, we find them. And we find them when we discover that someone else sees the universe in a fashion similar to ourselves. But notice what happens the moment a friendship is formed. The moment two people become friends they have practiced segregation.
By definition when I have a friend everyone who is not my friend is not my friend. Furthermore, everyone who is not my friend is now separate from me and my friend. Conversely, when two people form a friendship of which I am not a part I have been segregated from them and they have been segregated from me. Now, please tell me, why is that such a horrible thing? There are millions of people in the Socialist Democracy of Amerika that I want to have nothing to do with. Statists, government worshipers, militant homosexuals, members of the Church of Satan, feminists, socialists and communists all make my list of persona non gratia. I don't want to have anything to do with them and, if they were willing to tell the truth, they would admit that they want nothing to do with me. Most importantly, we are both okay with that. So why do busy-bodies like Amy insist that we must spend time together? I don't know. I don't understand the urge or the need to control the behavior of others. I have a hard enough time trying to control my own behavior without taking on the behavior of those who surround me. Plus, it warms my heart to see people having a good time together, even if they are doing something I detest.