He tries to explain California’s dire finances by focusing on the fire department in Vallejo, the San Francisco Bay Area municipality that famously managed to go legally bankrupt in May 2008. (…) it’s also worth noting a fascinating fact about Vallejo that Lewis leaves out of his story: it’s a perfect emblem of California not just because it’s broke, but because it’s so extraordinarily diverse.
Buchanan laughingly quotes Dan Quayle telling the Japanese that “diversity is our strength.” Vallejo, therefore, ought to be the strongest city in America because it may have the most uniformly diverse population: 25 percent Asian (mostly Filipino), 23 percent Hispanic, 22 percent black, and eight percent multiracial.
So in the Quayle-echoed conventional wisdom, which Lewis doesn’t dare challenge directly, Vallejo should be paradise. (…)
And Vallejo has already arrived at that long-awaited nirvana of a Benetton commercial come to life, an entire city out from under the iron fist of White Majority Rule.
But instead, as Buchanan’s framework would predict, Vallejo epitomizes dysfunctionality. (…)
immigrants from corrupt countries like Mexico and the Philippines expect public affairs to be crooked and ineffectual, so they organize their lives around their clans and don’t try hard to be good citizens.
Third, and most fundamentally, diverse people, by definition, want diverse results—so they are more likely to wind up at loggerheads than a homogenous people.