Richard Florida mentions Bill Bishop’s new book, The Big Sort. The essential premise of the book is that as America has become more diverse, Americans have sought out homogeneity by moving into communities with people more like themselves.
This reminds me of Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash.
Maybe this is just an understandable product of increased mobility. Maybe it’s people giving up on democracy. I don’t know. Given a choice, would you prefer to live in a community with people who generally share your values, interests, culture? I wonder if this isn’t more broadly a product of the social, economic, technoscientific revolution in which we are immersed. We are really at sea about the political, social, and ethical responses we ought to make about such matters.
It is pure coincidence that the same thirty years has seen the ongoing balkanization of our discipline? How pathetic is it that when humanities are in decline and we struggle to make ourselves relevant to students and the general culture that we avoid one another? that we gather in separate intellectual enclaves rather than communicating?
I’m not suggesting that we have to agree or even really get along (heaven forbid!). But how about figuring out a way of living that does more than just hope the rest of the world doesn’t exist or won’t call.