The subject of Critical Race Theory (CRT) is currently a hot topic in our political discourse. Fact is, it is the hottest of all political topics, as well it should be.
CRT seeks to change the greatest wealth-producing society of all time, America, root and branch, by casting this country as an evil product of the original sin of slavery. Now in truth CRT is a half-baked political philosophy just like its Marxist antecedents, and the foundational arguments which underlie it have more holes than a Swiss cheese.
Nevertheless, it has found a home among far left academics in the universities and some school teachers and administrators who insist on indoctrinating or attempting to indoctrinate the youth of America. CRT therefore needs to be defined, detected, and eliminated from our schools, and that is what we as conservatives must do in the coming months and years.
So what is CRT, where did it come from, and how did it become so pervasive, at least among progressive Democrats?
You may have heard that CRT is a Marxist philosophy, and that is absolutely correct. Actually, the trail from Marxism to CRT is an easy one to follow. It begins in the 1840’s with the publication of The Communist Manifesto, written by none other than Karl Marx himself. Those of us of a certain age who lived through the decades of the Cold War may remember the fundamental tenets of Marxism, but allow me to briefly review them for the sake of the Millennials and Gen Z’ers who weren’t around back then.
First and foremost, Marxism teaches that there is a fundamental class divide between the oppressed working class and the oppressor capitalist class. The capitalist system must eventually collapse as capitalists take more and more of society’s wealth and the working class becomes ever poorer, to the point where it revolts and destroys the existing capitalist society. Marxism always claimed, and still does for that matter, that it is based on science, so the eventual collapse of capitalism is objectively provable and the arc of history is on the side of Marxism.
To classical Marxism, add in the brutal contributions of Vladimir Lenin. Under the teachings of Marxism-Leninism, Marxists could speed up the downfall of capitalism by forming a relatively small network of conspirators tasked with undermining society by every means possible, such as fomenting class hatred and envy, perverting the use of language and argument in its propaganda, and generally attacking the moral foundation of society, etc.
And while Karl Marx never unduly concerned himself about such petty distractions as morals and truth, it was Vladimir Lenin who gave us the full totalitarian nightmare which killed tens of millions and enslaved billions more, up through the present time.
But in the years after Lenin’s death in 1924, things did not work out so well for Marxists. True, the Soviet Union had become the world’s first Marxist state, but word had begun to leak out that it was actively murdering millions of its own people and enslaving the rest, while most of its economy had collapsed and much of the population was starving.
And if the Soviet Union wasn’t on the way to becoming the workers’ paradise that Marxists had assumed was a scientific certainty, there were other problems. Marxist parties were being crushed underfoot throughout Europe and elsewhere – by the Nazis in Germany, the Fascists in Italy and several smaller Eastern European countries, and by the Nationalist Chinese in far off Asia. Even worse, the European democracies and America were apparently going to survive the Depression without falling under the spell of Marxism.
Clearly, there was a problem. Classical Marxism-Leninism needed to be freshened up, or as they say, “revised.” The Institute for Social Research of Goethe University in Frankfurt, Germany, was happy to oblige. The Frankfurt School, as it came to be known, consisted primarily of German Marxist scholars (Herbert Marcuse, Theodore Adorno, Walter Benjamin, Max Horkheimer, and others) who knew that Marxism was in trouble, so they created what became known as “Critical Theory.” Their idea was that all the social sciences (history, anthropology, sociology, economics, political science, psychology, even geography), would not just be used to describe human culture, but to relentlessly critique and undermine capitalist societies at every turn.
And one more fellow made an important contribution to their philosophy- Antonio Gramsci, an Italian Communist from the late 19th and early 20th century. Critical Theory differs from classical Marxism in that it no longer proposes that the violent revolutionary collapse of capitalist society is inevitable. Gramsci argued that state central planning and welfare had alleviated the suffering of the working class sufficiently to avoid a violent Marxist revolution. He further proposed that the state and the capitalist ruling class had successfully conspired to push their own cultural norms and values on society. His basic premise was that capitalism had figured out how to desensitize the working class to its own plight. Gramsci advocated the “March Through the Institutions,” by which communists might infiltrate the cultural centers of a country and turn them against the capitalist society.
Critical Theory adherents, using the theories and methods developed by Gramsci and the Frankfurt School, attacked and criticized society relentlessly, because Critical Theory, like classical Marxism, questioned the very foundational concepts of Western civilization, concepts like equality before the law, rationalism, traditional concepts of morality, etc. And just like all other branches of Marxism, it is still committed to the root and branch destruction of capitalist society as we know it.
The final step from Critical Theory to Critical Race Theory was taken right here in America. It is generally agreed by historians on both the right and left that CRT began in several radical law schools in the 1970’s. By the 1980’s, it had emerged as a broader movement within the universities, and many historians date its first specific application to the field of education in the 1990’s. CRT has now been circulating through our society for several decades.
CRT began with the hatred, envy, and class warfare of Marxism. Lenin added in heavy doses of ruthlessness and conspiracy. The Frankfurt School poured on the softer, less violent face of revisionist Marxist Critical Theory. All that was needed to arrive at Critical Race Theory was, of course, race. That was supplied for the most part by far left American academics in the 1990’s.
What they did was to view everything in American society through a racial lens. In effect, they combined Marxism with race hatred. CRT adherents view all aspects of American culture and daily life as a function of racism, which is pervasive throughout American society. While this view is directly contrary to the teachings of the civil rights movement over the last seventy or so years, a minor matter like that can never be allowed to interrupt the flow of history, certainly not! Concepts such as historical revisionism, systemic racism, white privilege and collective guilt, intersectionality, equity, etc., etc., are all based on Marxist philosophy.
Hence, CRT is a direct outgrowth of Marxism. It is not just an attempt to inculcate racial sensitivity into our children. It is a radical Marxist ideology that seeks to add race as another arrow in the Marxist quiver of hatred and resentment. Just look around and you’ll see that CRT is encouraging schools to resurrect troubling segregationist practices. It is promoting stereotyping by race. It consciously teaches suspicion and distrust of other races. Don’t ever let anyone tell you that CRT isn’t a Marxist doctrine!
Our earlier generations of civil rights leaders, such as Frederick Douglas and Martin Luther King, Jr., were Christian moralists who would have wanted nothing to do with CRT. If you don’t believe me, read the words of Martin Luther King, Jr:
“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”
“In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.”
– Quotes from Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. in his “I Have a Dream” speech
August 28, 1963
Here are some of the more fatuous arguments that you may hear from Critical Race Theory proponents and the simpletons who adore them. Don’t believe any of this garbage for one second!
“I’m not even sure what CRT is; I just think alternative views of history should be taught to our children.” Fine, but that issue was settled long ago. It’s perfectly OK to teach alternative historical facts and points of view, but this isn’t an argument about who was on the right side at the Little Big Horn. CRT is a broad based attack on the moral foundations of America, up to and including its right to exist as a nation today. The evils of slavery and Jim Crow have by now been taught in our schools for generations, and there have been tremendous accomplishments in this regard. To say that America is fundamentally evil and racist, that is pure CRT (and B. S.). We could never have made the gains we did since the 1950’s if that were even remotely true.
“But if we prohibit certain teachings about race, won’t that prevent teachers from having constructive discussions about race in class?” Of course not. The typical legislation prohibiting the teaching of CRT only prohibits specific teachings, for example, that one race is superior to another, or that an individual or group of living persons are collectively responsible for actions committed in the past by members of their race, or that one race is inherently racist or oppressive. These bills actually encourage the discussion of race in American history, but ban the humiliation and shaming of all racial groups.
“Critical Race Theory is just a Republican plan to divide us.” No, CRT is not a Republican plot to divide people. The fight against CRT is a conscious effort by Republicans and many others to stop dividing people on the basis of race, i. e., to stop the state funded teaching of racism. All forms of Marxism seek to divide people by class; CRT now seeks to divide people by race. We are deeply offended by such teachings, and the grassroots movement against CRT is nonpartisan, multi-racial, and mainstream.
In the coming weeks and months the LAGOP will be focused on the fight against Critical Race Theory in Louisiana. We will be holding meetings throughout the state with the aim of defining, detecting, and eliminating CRT from our schools. Please join us in this fight!