"We are lucky that we are so different," Thomas Sowell writes, "so that the capabilities of many other people can cover our limitations."
But more than this, Sowell argues, the inequality of abilities (or "diversity," one might say) we see in human beings can save lives and enhance "everyone's well-being."
Yes, human beings are created equal, as the Declaration of Independence so appropriately notes.
This fact of life affirms the ontological worth and significance of the human being. It expresses the basis upon which people are to be respected by the powers that be and not steamrolled by big government, big business, big media, big "ministry," big Hollywood, big "science," or big anything.
Thus government, business, ministry, and so on, are created to serve man. Man is not created to worship and serve any of these entities.
But note: Human beings are created equal in their individuality, as well. All of us have fingerprints, and yet every set of fingerprints is unique. In the human being, therefore, both unity and diversity are equally affirmed.
When diversity -- or inequality, properly understood -- is respected, our lives are enriched (in creativity, achievement, healing, wealth, and so on). Vive la différence.
The opposite is equally true. When diversity (or inequality) is disrespected, our lives are impoverished. Freedom, ideas, speech, excellence, and creativity begin to disappear as society is herded down the road to serfdom, to borrow a phrase.
Diversity can also be deified. But this is a bad move because, as an idol, diversity breeds chaos -- even if it is well marketed ("Diversity is our strength!").
Chaos in morals and politics is, of course, unlivable. And so the temptation comes: Let us organize our lives around "unity."
But when unity is grasped as a final solution, when it is deified in reaction to the totalizing god of "diversity," the real-world result is uniformity and oppression. The individual is smashed in the name of equality (or "fairness," "tolerance," etc.).
All too quickly, a people faces an elitist steamroller of presidential pens and phones, of federal laws and regulations, of dog-whistle peer pressure seeking to impose pretended absolutes enforced by those who hold power at a particular moment in history.
How do we move forward to achieve individual and corporate balance? By realizing that both unity and diversity are gifts from the Creator. They are too wondrous and powerful to be left in the hands of politicians.