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Author of Multiculturalism Study Afraid To Publish Results

Harvard political scientist Robert Putnam, author of Bowling Alone, recently completed a five year study on the effects of immigration, ethnic diversity, and multiculturalism and was shocked by his own results— so shocked he fears releasing the findings which could have a big impact on the immigration debate currently raging.

According to the results of Putnam’s research, immigration and ethnic diversity have a markedly negative short and medium term effect on the social capital, fabric of associations, trust, and neighborliness that create and sustain communities. According to Putnam, not only does immigration and ethnic diversity reduce social capital between ethnic groups, but also within the groups themselves. The problem isn’t ethnic conflict or troubled racial relations, but withdrawal and isolation. According to Putnam: "In colloquial language, people living in ethnically diverse settings appear to ‘hunker down’—that is, to pull in like a turtle."

Putnam is so disturbed by his findings that he told The Financial Times in October of 2006 "he had delayed publishing his research until he could develop proposals to compensate for the negative effects of diversity.” He said it “would have been irresponsible to publish without that.” Putnam has also not made details of his study available for examination by peers and the public, with only an initial summary of his findings published.

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I was alarmed, at first, when I read the first paragraph of your post. Then I got to the punch line and dismissed it as laughable.

How do Putnam’s findings add to the debate? Pardon me, but America’s diversity did not start in the past 10 years or whenever the current Hispanic crisis began. Also, how is loneliness a factor in the current immigration debate (unless it constitutes ammo for anti-immigration advocates, who will add it to their laundry list of solid anti-foreign fodder – with "they cook food that smells weird" and "they listen to non-English speaking singers" and "they don’t seem to master the English language properly"). Loneliness? That is all? One needs to look no further to the great American painter Edward Hopper and his studies of solitude in city-dwellers to understand that people in big cities do not trust ANYBODY or that Americans in general do not know their neighbors well (unless you live in a secluded cul-de-sac, which I am sure is not a site targeted by Putnam).

The conclusion of the article you cite is ludicrous. I will not pause for a second.

Why be afraid of the truth? Also, why is he optimistic for the future, when his 5-year long research has pointed the opposite direction of his optimism? If I did research on hurricanes for the past 20 years and said that this year I am optimistic we will have NO hurricanes, you would think I am crazy, right? So, why doesn’t Putnam just say: diversity is not uniting us, but reducing our "social capital." Sounds like common sense to me! A homogenous community is more likely to be united and sharing social capital. Groups with different religions, dress, and language are not likely to be getting together for much. My Muslim and Jewish coworkers are not coming to my Cuban coworkers pig-roast come Dec. 24, that’s for sure!

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