The cynics among us gladly note whenever someone stresses a particular virtue, it's a good bet he's not up to his nose in it. The current mania over "diversity" is a case in point.
The Clinton Cabinet - widely known as the focus of diversity in the modern world - is said to be diverse because it contains several women and minorities along with the usual paleface males.The assumption is that the mixture of races and genders (all two of them) will provide a variety of viewpoints from which more inclusive policies can be forged, all to the country's benefit.
This sounds good at first, but some cynics point out that surface diversity should be ignored, and that to emphasize race and gender instead of ideas is to emphasize the petty at the expense of the prime.
They also point out that race and gender are not indicative of any particular belief, all of which may lead us to believe that the pros may be trying to put something over on us.
Our cynics further suggest that if we want to get a clearer measure of the Clinton crew's true diversity, or lack thereof, we might begin by counting millionaires.
Indeed, we find that there are at least nine in the Cabinet, and while millionaires have undergone a marvelous political transformation since Nov. 3 (changing from snakes into butterflies), they are known to be somewhat undiverse in their personal habits.
We know, for instance, that if a white millionaire is given the choice of moving into a neighborhood with five poor white families or five rich black families, he will soon be living in an integrated neighborhood. In short, economic status forges bonds that transcend race and other sorts of surface differences, the sorts of differences that we are supposed to believe are so very important.
At the same time, a closer look at the assumption that a group of racially pure people will act and think monolithically does that particular assumption little good.
Bystanders will likewise have noted that Hollywood has played a major part in the Clinton coalition, yet one finds as much diversity in Hollywood as in a haystack.
Social scientists S. Robert Lichter, Linda S. Lichter and Stanley Rothman tell us that not only is television's creative elite "populated almost exclusively by white males" but that it is also monolithic in its politics - a double blow at diversity.
"Seventy-five percent describe themselves as left of center politically, compared to only 14 percent who place themselves to the right of center," this trio has noted. "No Republican presidential candidate received more than 25 percent of this group's votes.
It is good, of course, to have an "inclusive" government, if only to prove that blacks, women, etc., can run things into the dirt as well as white guys can. No doubt, the best thing this country could do would be to elect an all-woman administration (President Jeane Kirkpatrick if you're a right-winger; President Rodham if you're a leftie), and an all-black administration (President Colin Powell), all the way down the line until these concerns are behind us and we all accept this truth: It is better to have sound policies from fat alcoholic eunuchs than unsound policies from thin, teetotaling saints.