What is Critical Race Theory?

Critical Race Theory — it's everywhere.  It's in the news and in our schools, but what is it exactly?  Well, it seems that in politics, bad ideas never die; they are just repackaged and sold under a different name.  So it is with CRT. 

In 1848, Karl Marx developed the economical/moral manifesto on which socialism, communism, and fascism are based.  The perceived problem was the disparity of power between the social/economical classes, the bourgeoisie who created businesses (i.e., the capitalists) and those whose labor was utilized to build and maintain those businesses (i.e., the workers).  The solution, according to Marxism, was for the workers to consider their employment an act of oppression and revolt against those who employed them.  The workers would then seize the capital (both money and resources) from their oppressors and then create a more balanced and equitable society for all.  (Question for Marx: "If your society is based on the taking of resources that belong to someone else, how can you ever expect to have a just and moral society?")

The history of the twentieth century for much of the world may be accurately described as the embrace of various forms of Marxism and the inevitable tragedy that resulted from doing so.  As Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union, Cuba, China, and numerous other countries became symbols of oppression, starvation, and tragedy, it became harder and harder for the Marxists and academia to sell their ideas to the American people.  The undeniable fact was that, for all its imperfections, capitalism had proven to be far superior to Marxism as a means to raise individuals out of poverty, manufacture and distribute resources, and improve standard of living if not equally, at least universally.

Instead of abandoning Marxist ideas to the dustbin of history, along with the notion of a flat earth, alchemy, and phrenology, American academics have simply substituted "race" for "class" and relabeled Marxism as Critical Race Theory.  The "capitalists" have been replaced with "whiteness," and the oppressed are everyone else.  The 87 years in which slavery was legal in America, along with the history of segregation and Jim Crow laws, is used a "proof" of this oppression.  The Emancipation Proclamation and any improvements in race relations over the years must be ignored, and the actions of those long dead to others long dead must be the focus of everyone living today.  

Like a bacterium that is resistant to antibiotics, Critical Race Theory is even more difficult to confront than Marxism, because those who oppose Marxism can only be slandered as "greedy capitalists," while those who oppose CRT can be defamed as "racist."  Even more ingenious is the substitution of Western civilization (i.e., the ideas of science and reason that began with the ancient Greeks, was adopted by the Romans, and thus spread throughout Europe) for "white supremacy."  Thus, one cannot use reasoned arguments to refute CRT because rational thought is now considered a product of "white supremacy."  (This is also how math can now be considered "racist.")

Regardless of whether we call it Marxism or Critical Race Theory, the philosophy of setting people against one another can never lead to a moral or equitable society.  If CRT is allowed to define us today, then we can only expect that the 21st century will bring the same horrific consequences that socialism, communism, and fascism led to in the 20th century. 

Note: My understanding of Critical Race Theory is based on the research of Christopher Rufo, who has written extensively on CRT.

Image: GotoVan.

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