Multiculturalism

Clay Shirky clay@shirky.com
Sun, 21 Oct 2001 16:39:52 -0400 (EDT)


> Right, no problem, as long as it's okay for other people to prefer that
> tradeoff.

Sure. I am for example free to prefer that blacks not vote. I just
can't translate that preference into preventing any blacks from
voting.

> There are a lot of people in the military for example, many of whom
> like the single-mindedness, the sense of purpose, the sacrifice of
> the self to the whole.

But note that the military is specifically carved out as a separate
sphere in both law and practice. Putting what I'm saying another way,
the coercion required for military life should not be used in the
civilian sphere.

> Okay, then it should say "individuals _try_to_ maximize, given incomplete
> information, different methods of reasoning, and varying notions of
> optimality". Which seems like pretty much of a no-op to me,...

Its is a no-op in situations where the individuals have maximum
choice. This is why I am focussing on the barriers and not the people.

Many people, pursuing their goals, will bind together into tightly
knit communities, but the State has no compelling interest in
accomodating their desire for separation. In Kiryas Joel, for
instance, a Jewish community in New York state, the government
refused to provide separate accomodations such as segregated school
buses. 

This seems to me to be the right answer, namely that the State says
'Do whatever you like in religious terms, but we will not let you
extend your idea of segregation into public accomodation."

Would you advocate providing separate buses?

-clay