Divide and Conquer

You’re walking down a corridor at work. Maybe you’re on your way to a critical meeting of the Annual Picnic Planning Committee, but you nevertheless notice a new poster on the wall. Or at least you think it’s new. Maybe it has always been there.

Diversity is Our Strength!

The words appear under a group shot of people who don’t look at all alike, except for the smiles. In fact, they look a lot like the Annual Picnic Planning Committee, except for the smiles.

We’ve all been in that corridor, haven’t we? We’ve all seen that poster.

Here’s what we should have asked ourselves. Who owns that wall? Who owns that poster? Who ordered that that poster be hung on that wall?

We should have asked these questions because the answer is the answer to another question—a really important question. Who does that word “our” refer to? Whose strength is that poster talking about?

Not us, to be sure. Not ours.

Diversity enhances the strength of the people who own the wall and the poster—and who decided to rub your nose in it by ordering that that poster be hung on the wall. After all, Diversity is our Strength is just a reformulation of the old slogan

Divide and Conquer!

Divide and Conquer is what the sociologist Ervin Goffman would have called the “back stage” formulation. Diversity is Our Strength he would have called the “front stage” formulation. Divide and Conquer is what your overlords say behind closed doors. Diversity is Our Strength is what they say in the “roll out.”


* * * * *


I once read a bundle of letters written in the early days of the Civil War by young men from my hometown. They had enlisted in the Union Army as a unit, and then marched down to the Potomac in high spirits. They were all buddies. They were all from Brockport, a little place on the Erie Canal.

And then they got cut up pretty bad at the First Battle of Bull Run.

After that, there was a good deal more grumbling in the letters. And more frequent mention of the fact that the unit had enlisted for only one year. And then finally a doleful report that the Army was disbanding the Brockport unit—indeed all local units—and distributing the young soldiers into units that were, how shall I put this, multi-local and diverse.

Diversity is Our Strength!

“Our” in this case referring to the Federal government and the Union generals, who became stronger by making the boys of the Brockport unit weaker.


* * * * *

I hope the Annual Picnic Planning Committee likes your Powerpoints!  And I hope you can finally stop quarreling about the menu!

14 thoughts on “Divide and Conquer

  1. Pingback: Divide and Conquer | @the_arv

  2. Well said.

    I presume you were giving a nodding reference to Havel’s ‘poster test’


    Divide and Conquer is what the sociologist Ervin Goffman would have called the “back stage” formulation. Diversity is Our Strength he would have called the “front stage” formulation. Divide and Conquer is what your overlords say behind closed doors. Diversity is Our Strength is what they say in the “roll out.”

    I think this is correct – diversity is not, therefore, about population replacement but about creating a state of chronic, significant but containable social conflict; which will ‘justify’ continual ramping-up of surveillance and control with the aim of thought-control hence (because this is a demonic conspiracy, ultimately) massive self-chosen damnation…

    The solution could only be to go above politics to religion, to Christianity, as the basis for government.

    It is getting very late for this to happen; but it is the only hope – and no politics-level solution can do any good except to buy time – but this at the expense of allowing further corruption and inversion.

    (eg Reagan slowed things and bought time, but there was no repentance nor awakening, and the trend to secular leftism continued, deepened and spread, Trump is not even trying to do more than this since his ethics are utilitarian (not divine), hence leftist.)

    Until we awaken, repent, and begin a new dispensation then the trend will continue – with no reason to expect that it is a temporary pendulum swing… it may well be terminal (in the sense that the second coming of Christ and the end of this world might be the only thing to bring it to an end)

    • Jim Kalb brought this into focus for me, although I’d been primed for the insight by the sociologist Robert Nisbet. The state is a jealous power, and always at war with the transcendent power of God and all subsidiary powers (e.g. families, churches, communities). Its aim is a malleable mass of atomized and anomic individuals. It’s techniques remind me of what I’ve read about the techniques of manipulative boyfriends, cult leaders, and boot camp sergeants. Isolate, demean, and as you’ve so often pointed out, demoralize.

      • Liberal regimes are always necessarily sociopathic – the regimes themselves act like manipulative sociopaths, independent of the intentions or good faith of (some) individual liberals – because they have to tell everyone what to do and how to live while pretending not to tell anyone what to do and how to live.

  3. Pingback: Divide and Conquer | Reaction Times

  4. How is the master empowered by weaker servants? I mean, if there are any external threats, diversity cannot be maintained without destroying both underling and overlord. Surely at some point they realize that they have existential enemies, or that the underlings aren’t always comparable in strength. Or are the masters really so suicidal as to let the Mohammedans through the gates?

    • An atomized and anomic mass can be organized by the central power, but it has no organization (or power of organization) independent of that power. As I said in response to BC, the state treats us like recruits at boot camp. Isolate a man from all pre-existing social ties, destroy his pre-existing ego, and then mould him into whatever shape you like.

      I suppose the masters expect that Mohammedanism will weaken, even as it serves to further weaken Christianity.

  5. I don’t know if it is as simple as all that. I have personally experienced situations where diversity was a good thing and added to the richness of the experience. The Toastmasters club to which I belong comes to mind readily. Perhaps, you might say that we all share the common experience of the activities of the club and that homogenizes us to an extent. On the other hand I also understand what you are saying. This poster you describe presents a false image of diverse people coming together. It has to be an authentic coming together of diversity in order for it to create strength I suppose.

    • Perhaps we should give the name variety to the non-homogeneity you rightly appreciate. Obviously life is enriched by variety, and no one should wish to go through life surrounded by duplicates of himself. But “diversity” does not mean variety. It partly means fewer people like me, since every organization grows “more diverse” in inverse proportion to the presence in it of people like me. It partly means the absence in the organization of any independent sources of solidarity. The second part is what I’m getting at in this post. It is very hard to do, but we must somehow spread the idea that one can oppose “diversity” while welcoming variety.


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