"E Pluribus Unum: Diversity and Community in the 21st Century" [PDF]is the title of Putnam's five-year study, which makes hash out of the politically correct cliché, "Our diversity is our strength."
After 30,000 interviews, Putnam concludes and reports, against his own progressive convictions, that ethnic and racial diversity can be devastating to communities and destructive of community values.
The greater the diversity the greater the distrust, says Putnam. In racially and ethnically mixed communities, not only do people not trust strangers, they do not even trust their own kind. They withdraw into themselves, they support community activity less, they vote less.
"People living in ethnically diverse settings appear to 'hunker down,' that is, to pull in like a turtle," writes Putnam.
They tend to "withdraw even from close friends, to expect the worst from their community and its leaders, to volunteer less, give less to charity and work on community projects less often, to register to vote less, to agitate for social reform more but have less faith they can actually make a difference, and to huddle unhappily in front of the television."
Writes columnist John Leo, "Putnam adds a crushing footnote: His findings 'may underestimate the real effect of diversity on social withdrawal.'"