By: Luke D. D. Barbrick
Mr. Barbrick served as one of our distinguished 2021 Salt & Light Global Wilberforce Fellows. He studies law at Michigan State University.
What is Critical Theory? This is a question and a topic that has gained increased attention in the past few years, both in the public and private spheres. Many fear what they perceive as the divisive impact of this doctrine which has pervaded many American institutions such as schools, churches, legal jurisdictions, sports, businesses, etc. However, of particular concern is the impact this doctrine is having in schools where the minds and hearts of the future citizens and leadership are currently being formed. In this article, I will delve into the historic roots of Critical Theory and the criticisms it has raised regarding injustices committed in both America and in Western society. I will then explore particular examples of the impact which this doctrine has had within the aforementioned Western institutions and on many individuals therein. Finally, I will delve into the factual, practical, and moral implications of Critical Theory and how we as a society should respond to it.
II. Origins of Critical Theory
Critical Theory’s earliest roots go back to the Founding Father of Communism himself, Karl Marx. Marx defined human history as a conflict between the “working class (proletariat) and the wealthy business owners (bourgeoisie).” Marx wrote that the unjust abuses and exploitations of the upper class would eventually drive the working classes to overthrow their bourgeoisie overlords. The result would be an “egalitarian utopia” in which there would be no private property and only “shared land, shared labor, and shared wealth.” However, Marx’s goals did not end with the abolition of capitalism. He also sought to abolish “families,” “religion (especially Christianity),” “nations,” and “eternal Truths.” Not surprisingly, Marxism failed in every nation in which it was implemented and, according to some sources, destroyed the lives of over “100 million individuals.”
However, Marxism largely failed to take root in the Pro-Capitalist West which boasted a strong, thriving middle class and therefore did not fit comfortably into Marx’s theory of worker/bourgeoisie class struggle. Moreover, families, schools, churches, and other social institutions supported a “culture-wide narrative” that defined capitalism as a good thing and a source of the West’s success. Understanding that Western culture and politics were naturally “inclined towards capitalism,” Antonio Gramsci, a key figure in the development of Critical Theory, recognized that he and his fellow Marxists would need a different approach if their ideas were to ever take root in the West. As a key figure in the Frankfurt School, the school of “Marxist-inclined” academics who invented Critical Theory, Gramsci contended that, in order for capitalism to be successfully overthrown in the West, Western faith in capitalism would first have to be undermined. This would require an overthrow of all the aforementioned aspects of Western society that upheld the capitalist system, including Christianity. Gramsci stated, “In the new order, Socialism will triumph by first capturing the culture via infiltration of schools, universities, churches and the media by transforming the consciousness of society” (qtd. in Benop Editorial Team). In summary, Gramsci’s “Neo-Marxis[t]” approach differed from orthodox Marxism in two ways: First, Neo-Marxism focuses on cultural rather than economic struggle. Second, Neo-Marxism advocates a long-term ideological war while Marx advocated for a “quick, violent revolution” (Short History of Critical Theory).
III. Arguments and Demands of Critical Theory
To force the pace of change, adherents of Critical Theory criticize Western society for the many injustices experienced by certain groups of individuals therein (Short History of Critical Theory). According to critical theorists, oppression has occurred to certain individuals on the basis of their race, sexual orientations, religions, nationalities, disabilities, gender, etc. (Taylor). Examples of such oppressed groups include women, lesbians, homosexuals, African Americans, Muslims, etc. In other words, like orthodox Marxism, Critical Theory employs a “oppressor/oppressed dichotomy to describe [Western] society” (Benop Editorial Team). From the critical theorist’s perspective, the historic and current oppressors within Western society remain white Christian men who have “woven” the injustices we witness today, such as racism and sexism, into Western society and its institutions (Noyes).
On the topic of Western oppression, one of the most important concepts within Critical Theory doctrine is the concept of intersectionality. According to the Oxford Dictionary, intersectionality is “[t]he theory that various forms of discrimination centered on race, gender, class, disability, sexuality, and other forms of identity, do not work independently but interact to produce particularized forms of social oppression” (qtd. in Clay and Smith). Intersectionality teaches that “everyone has their own unique experiences of discrimination and oppression and we must consider everything and anything that can marginalise people – gender, race, class, sexual orientation, physical ability, etc.” (Taylor). Some individuals are members of multiple historically oppressed groups. Thus, a black gay male is considered part of two oppressed groups: African Americans and homosexuals. Additionally, a black lesbian is considered part of three oppressed groups: women, lesbians, and African Americans. The more oppressed groups that an individual is part of, the higher that person’s intersectionality and the more power and influence that person is owed. Kimberle Crenshaw, who first developed the doctrine of intersectionality in her work, Demarginalizing the Intersection of Race and Sex: A Black Feminist Critique of Antidiscrimination Doctrine, Feminist Theory and Antiracist Politics, stated,
These problems of exclusion cannot be solved simply by including Black women within an already established analytical structure. Because the intersectional experience is greater than the sum of racism and sexism, any analysis that does not take intersectionality into account cannot sufficiently address the particular manner in which Black women are subordinated. Thus, for feminist theory and antiracist policy discourse to embrace the experiences and concerns of Black women, the entire framework…must be rethought and recast (Crenshaw 140).
The only category of persons not considered part of any oppressed group is a “straight white man,” typically one who adheres to the Christian Faith. Such a person has no intersectionality according to the critical theorists. Such an individual’s power “should be diminished” (Clay and Smith). In essence, the critical theorist argues that, in order to combat discrimination and social inequality, we must employ some form of discrimination against the historic discriminators.
According to the critical theorist, those who oppose the ideas of Critical Theory, primarily the oppressors, have no grounds for doing so. As Dr. Neil Shenvi and Dr. Pat Sawyer explain in their book, Critical Theory and the Social Justice Movement, for the Critical Theorist,
[A]n oppressor’s perception of reality is necessarily distorted by his participation in structures of power. His identity, values, and sense of control are all tied up in false and oppressive social constructs. Consequently, he has both conscious and subconscious motivations to ignore and resist any challenges to his supremacy…. Conversely…an oppressed person’s perception of reality and apprehension of truth is enhanced by her social location (Shenvi & Sawyer 7-8).
In other words, the oppressor, by virtue of the systematically racist structure of Western institutions is perpetually ignorant of the oppression experienced by those in a lower position on the social ladder. Therefore, the oppressor has neither the knowledge nor the right to criticize Critical Theory as an ideology that seeks to uplift the downtrodden within society. The oppressor’s opinion is forever tainted by his or her privileged position in society and by the actions and privileges of his ancestors.
IV. Critical Theory’s Advance and Impact in Western Institutions
Despite the doctrine’s relatively humble beginnings with Gramsci and the Frankfurt School in the 1920s and 1930s, in recent years, Critical Theory has successfully infiltrated a number of prominent public institutions in the United States.
Perhaps the institution where Critical Theory’s impact has been the most obvious and successful is the American educational system. Of all Critical Theory’s teachings, Critical Race Theory (CRT) in particular has taken deep root on college campuses and within the classrooms of many public and private schools. First developed in the 1990s, Critical Race Theory is an “academic discipline” which, until recently, remained confined to universities and “obscure academic journals.” (Rufo). One advocate of CRT has defined the doctrine as a “lens through which one can critically examine social structures” (Harriot). He goes on explain why America is systematically racist in his view and why white people are so resistant to CRT.
One can’t understand the political, economic and social structure of America without understanding the Constitution. And it is impossible to understand the Constitution without acknowledging that it was devised by 39 white men, 25 of whom were slave owners. Therefore, any reasonable understanding of America begins with the critical examination of the impact of race and slavery on the political, economic and social structure of this country….
[Critical Race Theory] begins with the acknowledgment that the American society’s foundational structure serves the needs of the dominant society. Because this structure benefits the members of the dominant society, they are resistant to eradicating or changing it, and this resistance makes this structural inequality ordinary (Harriot).
In their drive for “equity,” “social justice,” “diversity and inclusion,” etc. (qtd. in Rufo), advocates of CRT typically propose the same solution as Critical Theory in general: Discrimination against the historic discriminators. For example, in 2019, the National Association of Scholars released a report in which they identified 76 schools that offered “segregated” non-mandatory graduation ceremonies in addition to their regular graduation ceremonies. Among these schools were notable universities such as Harvard, Yale, UC Berkeley, UCLA, etc. Some ceremonies included Black students only ceremonies, LGBT only students, and Latinos. In 2019, Harvard held its first “‘UndocuGraduation’” for students who were in the country “illegally” (James). However, this “‘neo-segregation’” movement, as the report calls it, goes far beyond a number of racially discriminatory graduation ceremonies. Of the 173 colleges surveyed, the report found that “‘46 percent…segregate student orientation programs’” and “‘45 percent…offer segregated housing arrangements.’” Additionally, many of these colleges offer segregated safe spaces, segregated membership programs, race conscience hiring committees, race-targeted scholarships, etc. The report argues that “‘[t]he most readily apparent harm from such segregation is that it fosters a sense of insecurity. The members of the segregated group are taught to fear other groups, especially white students’” (qtd. in Petrizzo).
Sadly, CRT teachings have proved harmful for nonminority students as well. For example, Prager University recently published a letter from an anonymous high school student to his teacher. In his letter, this student explained to his teacher how he had “reluctantly prohibited” himself from “saying certain things in class…in fear of sounding politically incorrect” (qtd. in High School Student Pens Heartbreaking Letter). He went on to say,
I see the negative effects of this toxic community in my fellow students and faculty every day. Namely, my eighth grade English teacher taught us for the first two weeks about pretty much how awful white men are. For two weeks, I did not speak a single word in her class. My fellow white male classmates left the classroom every time feeling the same way…. [T]hose teachings made me feel like…worthless scum undeserving of living…. There are girls, whom I am friends with, that genuinely believe that all men are misogynistic. I see movements on social media like #KAM which stands for “Kill all men”; people don’t realize how strongly that affects boys in an extremely negative way. Even now, I am struggling and frightened to fully express my opinion to my girlfriend who believes that most white men are oppressive beings (qtd. in High School Student Pens Heartbreaking Letter).
The student concluded the letter by thanking the teacher to whom he was writing for taking a stand and “trying to improve” his school. He told her that he “aspire[d] to be as brave” her someday (qtd. in High School Student Pens Heartbreaking Letter). Sadly, in recent years, this student’s experience has echoed across the country in many American schools and universities. In Cupertino, California, an elementary school coerced first-graders to “deconstruct their racial and sexual identities and rank themselves according to their ‘power and privilege.’” In Springfield Missouri, teachers were told to diagram themselves on an “‘oppression matrix.’” In Philadelphia, an elementary school forced fifth-graders to celebrate “‘Black communism’” (Rufo). In Seattle, the school district told their white teachers that they were guilty of “spirit murder” against black children and must “bankrupt [their] privilege in acknowledgement of [their] thieved inheritance” (qtd. in Rufo).
The spread of CRT within the education system has sparked anger and frustration amongst many adults. For example, earlier this year, a Chinese woman who lived through the brutality of the Mao-Tse-Tung regime in Communist China attacked the Loudoun County School board’s “championing of Critical Race Theory” (Berrien). She testified,
I’ve been very alarmed by what’s going on in our schools. You are now training our children to be social justice warriors and to loathe our country and our history. Growing up in Mao’s China, all of this seems very familiar. The Communist regime used the same critical theory to divide people; the only difference is they used class instead of race…. During the Cultural Revolution, I witnessed students and teachers turn against each other…. We changed school names to be politically correct. We were taught to denounce our heritage. The Red Guards destroyed anything that is not Communist: old statues, books, and anything else (qtd. in Berrien).
Recently, a Rhode Island parent, Nicole Solas, submitted a request to her child’s school district for records concerning the influence of Critical Race Theory within the district. To prevent the district from turning over the requested documents, The National Education Association Rhode Island (NEARI) requested a temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction from the state’s superior court. Nicole Solas and employees of the school district have been named as the defendants in the request. Solas told Fox News, “You cannot be employed by the state and also demand immunity from public scrutiny. That’s not how open government works in America. Academic transparency is not a collective bargaining negotiation. It’s a parental right” (qtd. in Dorman). This lawsuit is merely a taste of a growing struggle across the American education system where “frustrated parents” are seeking answers from their children’s educators whom the parents fund through taxes (Dorman). Regardless, many prominent teachers’ unions such as the National Education Association (NEA) and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) continue to oppose parents’ efforts to limit the spread of Critical Race Theory in their children’s schools. (qtd. in Dorman).
B. The Churches and People of Faith
Like the education system, Critical Theory, including Critical Race Theory, has become popular in many American churches and amongst prominent religious figures. For example, in 2019, a popular religion writer tweeted, “The cult of personality that has developed around certain theologians is evidence that white people don’t believe anything that hasn’t been thoroughly whitesplained by a white man” (qtd. in Clay and Smith). The term, “whitesplaining” refers to the belief that a white person cannot explain something beyond their “presumed privilege” and “area of personal experience.” Because a White person has presumably not experienced the same hardship common to a Black person, the White person’s life experience must be different than a Black person. These different life experiences mean that a White person presumably lacks the knowledge on oppression that is readily available to the Black person. This religious figure subsequently tweeted, “Hit dogs holler. As evidenced by the response I’ve gotten to this post. Some of these folks don’t want to be called in their nonsense” (qtd. in Clay and Smith). In other words, anyone who disagrees with this figure’s assertions concerning white privilege is comparable to a “whimpering dog” who hates to be told when they are in the wrong. Thus, given their different life experiences, any counterargument to this assertion from a White person remains inapplicable and insufficient given the challengers’ obvious lack of knowledge on the subject.
Additionally, a provost at a prominent Southern Baptist Theological Seminary stated in a recent video,
I am a racist. If you think the worst thing someone can call you is a racist, then you aren’t thinking biblically. I’m going to struggle with racism and white supremacy until the day I die and get a glorified body and a sanctified mind, because I am immersed in a culture where I benefit from racism all the time (qtd. in Clay and Smith).
Understand that the provost is not admitting to his viewers that he subscribes to any white supremacist ideology. However, he is admitting his belief that his so called “white privilege” has been engrained into his essence as a person by the outside culture and therefore he is perpetually, innately racist (Clay and Smith).
As a final example, in 2018, another “religion writer” posted against an Evangelical pastor on Facebook who had commented on race relations (Clay and Smith). This religion writer pointed out that this pastor was White and therefore obviously out of touch with current racial issues in society. In her post, this writer stated,
How INCREDULOUSLY PRIVILEGED for Keller—a RICH WHITE MAN WHOSE MINISTRY TARGETS RICH PEOPLE—to fashion himself as the judge of whether or not injustice rises to the level of OPPRESSION!!! No!!!! The only ones with divine authority to define the bounds of oppression are the oppressed themselves! (qtd. in Clay and Smith).
Because of their privilege, White guys should not even try to speak their minds on the topic of racism. The only people qualified and divinely ordained to speak on such issues are the oppressed as only they have first-hand knowledge of racism due to their life-experience (Clay and Smith).
Such views are especially ironic in light of the increasing wave of discrimination experienced by Christians in many circles of American society. One famous example of such discrimination involved a Colorado baker, Jack Phillips, who won a case before the U.S. Supreme Court in 2018 after he refused to make a cake to celebrate a gender transition. Phillips called the request “a trap” which violated his religious beliefs. During the week of the trial, Phillips told Fox News, “My experience this week has been trying at best…. We’ve closed down our bakery just so we could be in this trial. My wife had to testify, my daughter had to, I had to” (qtd. in Singman). The customer whom Phillips refused to serve, Autumn Scardina, was an attorney who requested the cake in 2017 to honor her gender transition. Phillips stated, “We told the customer [Scardina], this caller, that this cake was a cake we couldn’t create because of the message, the caller turned around and sued us…. This customer came to us intentionally to get us to create a cake or deny creating a cake that went against our religious beliefs” (qtd. in Singman). Apparently, Phillips had a conversation with Scardina in November, 2020 during she told him that “if the case were rejected or dismissed, that they would be back the next day to request another cake order and then sue me and charge me again” (Singman).
Phillips’ story, although troublesome, nevertheless fits very neatly into typical critical theory analysis. According to this doctrine, Christians are the historical oppressors while transgenders are one of the many groups historically oppressed by White Christians. If the goal is to elevate the oppressed and to humble the oppressors, such a relentless assault on people like Jack Phillips and his family, people of faith, makes perfect sense. Despite such assaults, a number of Christians have accepted the critical theorist’s framework and have come to see themselves as oppressors, deserving of hardship for the so-called oppression which their group has historically imposed upon others.
Another Western institution which has come under assault by some critical theorists is the family. For such critics, the family represents a male-dominated institution, “based on gender” with the father ruling over the wife and children. One of its primary functions is the perpetuation of “patriarchy” and gender inequality in society (Sleeter). Some critical theorists, such as Peter Blood, identify all parents as oppressors because of their so-called “adultism” by which they exercise power over their children imposing values, expectations, norms, etc. (qtd. in Neil & Sawyer). The critical theorists’ assault on the family can be traced back to their ideological roots as Neo-Marxists. For both Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, any social relations not built upon material equality remain unjust and oppressive. Engels predicted that when the great communist revolution finally occurred, both the family and the “bourgeois sexual morality” that maintained the family would be destroyed. For the orthodox Marxist, as socialism advances and as the state absorbs all traditional family roles such as caring for the elderly, raising kids, creating wealth, etc. the nuclear family will, by necessity, cease to exist (Topping).
Ryan Topping, a Fellow of the Thomas More College of Liberal Arts, explained the impact of modern society’s general lack of parenting on young children. In an age when both parents are frequently away from home, spending little to no “‘quality time’” with their family, “children transfer their allegiances elsewhere, usually to their peers.” Consequently, boys and girls become exposed from a young age to modern “‘youth culture’” in the form of “crass entertainments,” “popular music,” “expensive clothing.” Topping observes that for a home to have meaning as a home, it needs to be more than a “bus terminal” where family members are so busy with the activities in their own life that they spend almost no time together. A home and a family require “meaningful activity” which is increasingly the exception rather than the norm (Topping). In accordance with the dreams of Marx and Engels, the State is progressively becoming the closest entity to a family for many children and youth in Western society.
D. Business World
In the past few years, the influence of Critical Theory has become increasingly prominent in the business world. Internal documents obtained by Christopher Rufo, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, revealed that Disney had launched a so-called “diversity and inclusion” program known as “Reimagine Tomorrow. The goal of this program is to inform Disney employees of contemporary Critical Theory concepts such as “systemic racism,” “white privilege,” “microaggressions,” etc. Disney also encouraged its employees to educate themselves on “structural anti-Black racism” rather than relying on their “Black colleagues” which would prove “emotionally taxing” (qtd. in Kaminsky). According to some Disney employees, the corporation sends them “almost daily memos” resulting in a “very stifled” environment. (qtd. in Kaminsky). As one employee stated,
It’s been very stifling to feel like everyone keeps talking about having open dialogue and compassionate conversations, but when it comes down to it, I know if I said one thing that was truthful, based on data, or even just based on my own personal experience, it would actually be rather unwelcomed (qtd. in Kaminsky).
According to some, the promotion of Critical Theory by many so-called woke corporations has led to hardships for customers as well as employees. On the first Friday of June, 2021, an Amazon driver in her twenties, Itzel Ramirez, attacked a 67-year-old woman who was asking about her package. Although Ramirez claimed self-defense, video footage reveals that she assaulted the customer from behind, punching her in the back of her head and possibly using a key ring in the attack. During the attack, Ramirez accused the customer of having “white privilege” (qtd. in Greenfield). Sadly, this has not been the only such violent incident involving an Amazon driver. Prior to the aforementioned assault, another Amazon driver assaulted a 73-year-old man in Miami Beach using a “politically correct slur” (Greenfield).
One cannot help but wonder whether certain indoctrination initiatives and programs by the company played a role in the aforementioned assaults on supposedly privileged customers. Recently, Amazon has promoted a number of Conversation on Race and Ethnicity (CORE) events which packed thousands of Amazon employees into massive meetings. These CORE events included speakers such as Ijeoma Oluo, an “internet yeller” who wrote a book arguing that “white male mediocrity” has been a theme throughout much of history (qtd. in Greenfield). Another CORE speaker was Michael Welp who described white males as privileged and racist and Edgar Villanueva who described America as a nation based on genocide and colonization (Greenfield). Like many other corporations Amazon has bought into many ideas and subsets of Critical Theory, particularly Critical Race Theory, and has infected many of their employees with the same divisive dogma.
American sports are an area where the actions of Critical Theorists have increasingly conflicted with their goals. For example, Izzy Case, a “state-qualifying” high school track runner in Colorado, who has had to compete against transgender athletes (males who identify as female) stated, “I’m in high school now, so transgender females are not…completely developed yet…. But at the college level, if boys are competing in female events, they are a lot more muscular.” Similarly, a former high school track athlete from Connecticut, described how competing against transgender athletes during high school proved “devastating” to her confidence and opportunities (qtd. in Hoffman). In an op-ed in USA Today, Mitchell explained why she and three other athletes sued the Connecticut Interscholastic Athlete Conference (CIAC). During most of her high school career, Mitchell had competed against biologically male athletes which proved “demoralizing” to her and her fellow female athletes (qtd. in Pearce). In her op-ed, she wrote,
I’ve lost four women’s state championship titles, two all-New England awards, and numerous other spots on the podium to male runners. I was bumped to third place in the 55-meter dash in 2019, behind two male runners. With every loss, it gets harder and harder to try again…. That’s a devastating experience. It tells me that I’m not good enough; that my body isn’t good enough; and that no matter how hard I work, I am unlikely to succeed, because I’m a woman. (qtd. in Pearce).
According to Mitchell, “because males have massive physical advantages. Their bodies are simply bigger and stronger on average than female bodies” (qtd. in Pearce). Competing with transgender athletes can prove costly to female athletes and any potential opportunities for them to play their favorite sport beyond high school (Pearce). According to contemporary Critical Theory Analysis, both the transgender male and the female are historically oppressed groups of individuals. Unless the individual is also a member of another oppressed group, such as African American, both arguably merit the same level of respect as both are members of only one oppressed group. The transgender male is oppressed as a transgender and the female as a female. This creates something of a paradox for the Critical Theorist. Should the transgender male be excluded from women’s sports and thus be further victimized or should the female athlete be further victimized and demoralized by the inclusion of the trans athlete in her sport?
F. The American Justice System
One of the institutions where the impacts of Critical Theory doctrine have been most deeply felt is the American Justice System. In 2020, district attorney for Portland, Oregon, Mike Schmidt, announced that his office would “‘presumptively decline’” to prosecute hundreds of Portland protestors who had been arrested during two months of fighting with the police. Schmidt said that rioting charges would not be prosecuted unless accompanied by some other crime. Of the 550 cases referred to the DA’s office since the protests began in May 2020, 140 were felony crimes such as “assault, arson, riot and theft.” Prosecutors were reportedly “moving ahead” in only about 45 of those cases (Miller). The refusal of Oregon and Portland officials to prosecute these protestors, many of whom belonged to Black Lives Matter and Antifa, prompted Oregon state police to pull out its nearly 100 state troopers from protecting the Mark O. Hatfield US Courthouse in Portland. As spokesperson for the state police, Captain Timothy R. Fox commented, “We’re in a county that’s not going to prosecute this criminal behavior.” Fox further commented, “The Oregon State Police is continually reassessing our resources and the needs of our partner agencies and at this time we are inclined to move those resources back to counties where prosecution of criminal conduct is still a priority” (qtd. in Boyd).
Another more recent incident took place during the first full weekend of August, 2021 during which a group of “black-clad” Antifa members disrupted an outdoor prayer service in downtown Portland. As the Antifa members mocked God, threw sound equipment into the Willamette River, and physically harassed the Christians at the prayer meeting, the Portland police stood by silently (Brown). One woman attending the prayer event commented, “Antifa just rolled in like an angry mob, started throwing flash bombs at everybody, macing everybody” (qtd. in Brown). Another prayer attendee asked the Antifa group to stop throwing things at the prayer meeting crowd which included a number of children, including toddlers (Brown). Reflecting on these disturbing events, an Antifa Twitter account stated, “Remember the Spanish Civil War, when the anarchists expropriation [sic] wealth from fascist churches and gave it to the poor? Well today anarchists in Portland expropriated sandwiches and water from fascist hate preachers and gave them to the houseless” (qtd. in Brown). Portland is arguably one of the most extreme examples of Critical Theory’s impact in the American legal system. Sadly, it is not the only example and I daresay it will not be the last.
According to the American Bar Association, “The prosecutor should seek to protect the innocent and convict the guilty, consider the interests of victims and witnesses, and respect the constitutional and legal rights of all persons, including suspects and defendants” (qtd. in Stimson & Smith). As members of the executive branch, prosecutors are not called to make laws but simply to enforce the laws made by the legislative branch as interpreted by the judicial branch. Tragically, this is precisely what we are witnessing from many so-called, “progressive” prosecutors seeking to wright and apply their own rules to the American legal system. This “rogue prosecutor movement” has three primary goals in mind (Stimson & Smith). First, the replacement of “independent progressive and traditional prosecutors, who follow the law and believe in protecting victims’ rights and ensuring public safety, with criminal defense attorneys and activists who are beholden to the movement.” Second, the usurpation of the “constitutional role of the legislative branch by refusing to prosecute entire categories of crimes.” Third, the ending of “cash bail for all crimes” (Stimson & Smith). The end result of these goals will be nothing less than the sacrifice of impartial justice on the altar of so-called fairness which is exactly what we are witnessing on the streets of Portland and in other great American cities.
The education system, churches, the family, corporations, sports, and the justice system are just a few examples of the American institutions that have been affected by the spread of Critical Theory dogma in our society. Sadly, the individuals and their stories which I have enumerated barely scratch the surface of the hardships and social conflict which Critical Theory has caused in modern America.
V. The Factual Flaws of Critical Theory Doctrine
The critical theorists’ basis for dividing people into oppressor and oppressed groups remains rooted primarily in the circumstances of recent history, particularly of the last 400 years. Yet, if we dig back a little further, we find that many of the so-called oppressive groups were themselves oppressed at one time or another, oftentimes by those whom they later oppressed. Thus, such oppressions were not unique to nor inherent to White people, America, or Western civilization.
A. White Christian Men are not Historic Oppressors
As previously stated, for the Critical Theorist, the so-called historic oppressors are the white Christian males. By “White” the critical theorists refer to individuals of European descent. Relatively speaking, Europe and the West have only been at the forefront of world affairs for a little over 1,300 years. The first period of Western dominance arguably began with Alexander the Great’s conquest of the Persian Empire in the fourth century B.C. and ended with the collapse of the Roman Empire in the 5th Century A.D. (Stanton & Hyma 131-37, 171-77). The second period began a little over five hundred years ago with the era of discovery. In total, these two periods amount to a little over 1,300 years. Before Alexander’s conquest of Persia, the center of world culture and influence had, for millennia, been in the Middle East and in powerful neighboring countries such as Egypt and modern-day Turkey (Stanton & Hyma 34-39, 42-49, 74-75, 140). With a few exceptions, Europe, particularly Western Europe, was seen as a distant region inhabited by uncultured, primitive barbarians. The seeds of change were first sewn when the Persian King, Darius, and his son, Xerxes, mounted two unsuccessful invasions of the Greek peninsula which is widely regarded as the cradle of both Democracy and the West as we know them (Stanton & Hyma 122-24). These wars sparked and kindled much bitterness between the Greeks and the Persians which culminated in the Persian defeat at the hands of the king of Macedon and Greece, Alexander the Great (Stanton & Hyma 126-37). For the next 800 years, the center of world affairs would remain in Europe.
Gradually, Europe’s center of influence shifted ever westward, particularly with the rise of the mighty Roman Empire, the foremost power of its day (Stanton & Hyma 140, 148-150, 165-69). When the might of Rome ended in the late 5th century A.D., Europe, particularly Western Europe, went through a lengthy period of dark ages, marked by widespread illiteracy, disease, and foreign invasion, including from the Muslim armies of North Africa and the Middle East (228, 241-42). Out of this turbulence arose many great Western powers such as Britain, France, Spain, Sweden, Germany, etc. Why these particular nations rose to such prominence remains a detailed and complex discussion amongst scholars. However, this much is clear, the balance of power remained firmly established in Western Europe for over 400 years. By the early 20th century, two world wars had ravaged large parts of Europe, leaving many of its once great nations financially and militarily exhausted (Keesee & Sidwell 534). The result was yet another power shift. In the Western world, the United States became the dominant power and the Soviet Union in the Socialist East (Keesee & Sidwell 534, 540-541). Such would be the status quo for 44 years until the end of the Cold War in 1989 which left the United States as the undisputed super power of the world (Keesee & Sidwell 627-29). Despite the claims of modern critical theorists, the West has held sway over the world for a relatively short period of time. If 1,300 years of political and cultural dominance qualifies a group of nations as historic oppressors, then the Egyptians should be so classified as they dominated much of the known world for nearly 3,000 years and Middle Easterners who stood at the forefront of world civilization for approximately 4,000 years (Stanton & Hyma 34-39, 42-49, 140).
Like Western civilization, Christianity has stood at the forefront of world affairs for a relatively brief period of time. During Christianity’s first 300 years, Christians were subject to mass persecution and oppression at the hands of the Roman Empire. All this changed with the rise of the first Christian emperor, Constantine, who legalized the faith in the 4th century A.D. (Stanton & Hyma 180-87). Approximately 150 years later, the Western Empire collapsed and the Christian lands of the West were overrun by mostly pagan nations from Northern and Central Europe (Stanton & Hyma 190-92). Over two hundred years later, the Christian lands of North Africa and Spain were conquered by the followers of a new religion, Islam. This initial attack by the Muslims against the Christians would persist in Spain, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East as the two faiths struggled to hold one another at bay (Stanton & Hyma 239-42). Through mass conversions and acts of foreign conquest, both religions expanded their influence around much of the known world. Over time, Christianity emerged as the dominant religion of Europe and while Islam controlled North Africa, the Middle East, and large parts of Southwestern Asia (Stanton & Hyma 229-36, 239-42). Although the Christians had successfully driven the Muslims out of Spain by the late Middle Ages, a new Islamic power, the Ottoman Empire, had successfully conquered large parts of Eastern Europe following the fall of the Byzantine Empire (Stanton & Hyma 357-59). However, by the late 15th A.D., Christianity’s fortunes had dramatically altered.
As Europe experienced a massive advance in learning and technology brought on by the Renaissance, several of its seagoing nations such as England, France, Spain, Portugal, and the Netherlands embarked on a series of sea voyages ushering in an era of unprecedented exploration and discovery (Keesee & Sidwell 3-6). Through acts of foreign conquest and mass conversion, each of these nations established colonies in Asia, Africa, and the New World leading to the spread of the Christian religion to the four corners of the globe. Despite the bloody wars of religion between Protestants and Catholics, the Christian nations of Europe increasingly dominated world affairs and this would remain the case for nearly 500 years. As these events reveal, Christianity has dominated world affairs for about 650 years if you count the 150 years in which Christianity grew prominent in the late Roman Empire. This means that Christianity has only been the dominant major religion for less than a third of its 2,000-year history. Moreover, during the other 1,350 years, Christians were subjected to persecution and foreign conquest. As for the Crusades, an event for which Christians receive a great deal of criticism, critical theorists and other critics frequently and conveniently overlook the fact that it was the Muslims who first seized the Holy Land and that the Crusades were an attempt by the Christians to reclaim lands taken from them (Stanton & Hyma 242). Such circumstances do not excuse the Crusaders for the many atrocities committed by them during those wars. However, the initial Islamic attack on Christians casts severe on the modern portrayal of the Crusaders as the initial aggressors.
As for categorizing individuals as aggressors in their capacity as males, its important to note that patriarchal-centered systems, whether in the family, government, religion, or society are not unique to Western society. In large parts of the world, such systems remain alive and well. Moreover, acts of violence and oppression against homosexuals, transgenders, lesbians, etc. continue unabated in many nations. In their eagerness to criticize Western society, critical theorists fail to acknowledge that Western society was among the first to take steps to end such injustices.
In summary, the depiction of white Christian males as the historical oppressors fails on all three characteristics when examined in light of the relevant historic and current facts.
B. America and the West were Founded Against the Oppressive Spirit of Their Times
Interestingly, many critical theorists reserve their greatest contempt for the United States, a nation built, so they claim, on genocide and strengthened by land grabs from Native Americans and Mexicans. Above all, America was and remains a systematically racist country “‘only for white people’” according to a professor at Bryn Mawr College, Pennsylvania. According to this professor non-whites in America are told, “[d]on’t ask for too much, be happy that you’re allowed to be here, don’t make a ruckus, don’t say anything, don’t have a brain, don’t learn, don’t do any of those things” (qtd. in Parker). Before addressing critical theorists’ numerous attacks on America, we need to first examine the ideas upon which both America and Western Civilization were built.
Larry Arnn, the President of Hillsdale College, has called the story of Western Civilization a “grand and unique story” and “a universal story.” In ancient Athens, the Greek philosopher Socrates asked, “what is the right way for a man to live?” Not a man of a particular city or nation, but a “man as a man.” Moreover, in Jerusalem arose the “knowledge of a God for every human being, not a god of a city, not a god of a people, the God for all men and all times” (Western Heritage Course Trailer). Western civilization constitutes the union of these two ideas and, above all, a liberation of humanity from the shackles of moral relativism. Before the concepts of a Universal God and a Universal Good rose to prominence, each nation, people, and community had their own deity or set of deities. Overall, there was no concept of a universal, absolute truth which unified mankind or defined what it meant to be human. Western Civilization thus marked a turning point in history by defining what it meant to meant to be human and what is required to live a full human life.
Building off these core Western values, the Founders of America asserted that “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights” including “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness” (Declaration of Independence 5). In other words, all people remain equal on the basis of what they have in common, their shared humanity as written and governed by their common Creator. Thus, there is a universal standard of right and wrong which breaks down artificial, manmade barriers of ethnicity, religion, or nationality. Despite the injustices committed therein, Western Civilization and America were founded against the spirit of their times. In many respects, America’s story constitutes a long, never-ending struggle between its Founding principles and the idiosyncrasies of the times in which these truths were recorded and applied.
Being founded on eternal truths does not mean that America was without fault. However, this notion of America as a nation perpetually tainted by racism is both ill conceived and flawed. Take the institution of slavery which has been around for many thousands of years. Slavery did not begin with America, nor did it end with the official abolition of slavery in 1865. Heartbreakingly, slavery remains alive and well in large parts of the world. So how did slavery first come to America, the land of the free? As previously stated, the Age of Discovery opened up many new opportunities for trade and commerce with lands which Europeans had never come into contact with before, including Africa. Over the centuries, Europeans traded many commodities with the native Africans including goods and slaves. However, it is important to note that these slaves were not initially captured by Europeans but by fellow Africans during tribal wars and internal conflicts (Capture and Captives). While this does not excuse the Europeans’ perpetuation and expansion of this vile institution, we must understand that the evils of slavery are not unique to people with white skin. Moreover, not all White people approved of slavery or of discriminating against a person on the basis of their ethnicity or color.
In the first half of the 19th century, the debate over slavery boiled over into American politics and eventually culminated in the bloodiest American conflict of all time, the Civil War. Over time, the pro-slavery factions found a comfortable home in the Democratic Party, founded 1828 in support of Presidential candidate and future President, Andrew Jackson, an outspoken advocate of slavery (Democratic Party). In opposition to the Democratic party arose the Whig Party. The Whigs opposed Jackson and the Democrats on a number of important issues such as the harsh treatment of Native Americans, particularly during the Jackson administration. Although the Whigs were not a strictly anti-slavery party, abolitionists of the time, such as Daniel Webster, found that they had far more in common with the Whigs than the pro-slavery Democrats. All this changed with the passage of the Kansas-Nebraska Act, introduced in 1854 by Northern Democrat, Stephen Douglas. In a nutshell, the bill allowed the people of the territories to decide for themselves whether or not they wanted slavery in the territories, overturning the Missouri Compromise of 1850. While the Democrats remained generally united in their support of slavery, the Whigs were divided, leading the anti-slavery Whigs to form a new party, the Republicans (Whig Party).
In 1860, Abraham Lincoln and the new Republican party won control of the Presidency and Congress. In 1865, the Republican controlled Congress passed the 13th Amendment, which forever abolished slavery from America’s shores. Over the succeeding 100 years, the Party of Lincoln would continue to battle future efforts to discriminate against African Americans, culminating with the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which abolished state segregation laws. Although both parties had members in Congress who supported and opposed the bill, there was undeniably greater support for the bill, proportionally speaking, amongst Republicans. In the Senate, 69% of Democrats supported the bill as did 82% of Republicans. In the House, 61% of Democrats and 80% of Republicans supported the bill. Although controlled by Democrats, Congress could not have passed the bill without the support of Republican members and leadership (Maxam et al.).
For years, Democrats have tried to convince the American public that the two parties magically switched sides when the South went Republican. However, as the historic facts reveal, many racist Dixiecrats remained fervent Democrats to their deaths and very few joined the Republican ranks. For example, of the 20 Democratic Senators who voted against the Civil Rights Act, only one, Senator Strom Thurmond of South Carolina, joined the Republican Party. Moreover, Republican leadership has fervently and consistently denounced all Alt-Right movements from 1965 to the present (Wayne Dupree). While Republicans have certainly had racist members in their party, never once have Republicans as a party supported policies or groups akin to those formerly supported by many of their Democratic competitors such as slavery, white supremacy, segregation, Jim Crow, the KKK, etc.
One of the great ironies of our time is the fact that the party which seems to be the most sympathetic to Critical Theory is the same party that supported all the vile acts which they consistently blame on America as a whole. According to the rules of Critical Theory, Democrats are historic oppressors and therefore they should be held accountable, but not Republicans, the party of Lincoln, abolition, and African American suffrage.
America, like every other country in history has struggled with prejudice in both its laws, customs, and popular mindset. However, few, if any countries in the world have taken such enormous steps to end such prejudice and remove the racism which had for too long corrupted our institutions and laws. When one establishes a nation on eternal truths such as “all men are created equal” there will inevitably be conflict between the truths and the prejudices so inherent to human nature. In many respects, this is what the American Civil War constituted, a war between practice and principle, a conflict that continues to the present day (Declaration of Independence 5).
C. Land Grabs and Genocide
Another common accusation made by critical theorists against America is that America was built on the genocide of Native Americans and on wrongful land grabs against Native Americans and Mexico. The American Heritage Dictionary defines genocide as the “systematic, planned annihilation of a racial, political, or cultural group” (American Heritage Dictionary). In other words, though horrific in its entirety, genocide is a deliberate, carefully planned act. Despite what critical theorists claim, most Native Americans who died perished from diseases, not the white man’s swords or muskets. The lack of Native American immunity to diseases from Europe led to an estimated 90% or more reduction in population during the 16th and 17th centuries. Note that such population declines occurred at a time when a relatively small number of Europeans lived in the Western Hemisphere. Therefore, it is highly doubtful that the Europeans had the firepower or the resources to deliberately and systematically murder a population which greatly outnumbered them. In other words, the destruction of the Native population, terrible as it was, was not deliberate and therefore it cannot be counted as genocide (Keesee & Sidwell 10).
The Native American tribes were not the first peoples to experience such hardships with diseases. In the mid-1300s, the city of Caffa in the Crimean Peninsula was under siege by the fierce Mongol hoards from central Asia. While laying siege to the city, the besiegers were struck with the Black Death, a plague which had been ravaging central Asia and had begun its journey Westward. In perhaps one of the first known acts of biological warfare, the Mongols threw disease-ridden bodies of their own troops over the city walls, bringing the sickness to the defenders. The survivors fled to Europe bringing the disease with them, resulting in the death of 30% to 60% of Europe’s population (Kalu). Were the Mongols responsible for the near genocidal experience that occurred in Europe? They certainly intended to throw the bodies over the walls and spread the disease to the Caffa defenders. However, there is no evidence that they intended to kill so many of Europe’s people. Likewise, there is no evidence that the European explorers intended to kill so many Native Americans with diseases.
As for the accusation of land grabbing, it is true that many Americans took land from both Native Americans and Mexicans, despite loud protests from other Americans. However, land grabbing was not a practice unique to white people or to Americans. Land grabbing by conquest was a part of Native American history and culture. For example, the Creek took land from the Choctaws and the Chickasaws; the Comanches took land from the Apaches; and the Aztecs, Incas, and Mayans expanded their empires by conquering lands from other Native tribes. In fact, when the Spanish defeated the Aztec empire, they did so with nearly 75,000 allies from other tribes (Truthhunter). As for Mexico, the land supposedly stolen from Mexico by the U.S. was actually inhabited largely by Native Americans and therefore, by the standards of the critical theorists, this land was stolen by Mexico from the natives. As for the war with Mexico, critical theorists often fail to point out that the U.S. actually paid for the land, despite the fact that they captured the land during the Mexican War, a conflict which began when Mexican calvary attacked a group of U.S. soldiers in the disputed territories. When the Mexican government surrendered in 1848, the U.S. bought Mexico’s northern lands for $15 million. Thus, while the U.S. could have easily seized the territory after their victory, they still gave Mexico some monetary compensation. True, the U.S. was not guiltless in this war, especially when one considers the aggressive stance taken against Mexico by its Commander in Chief, Democratic President, James Polk (Mexican-American War). However, Mexico, like America, was not without fault, especially when one considers its assault on American troops.
Additionally, critical theorists claim that, since its foundation, America has been a country ruled by and for the few, namely wealthy, White property owners. While it is true that, for a time, only a small fraction of the American populace had voting rights, such circumstances were not unique to America. In late 18th century Europe, nearly all the great powers were monarchies. Voting rights only existed in a few nations and were often restricted to a certain class of people. However, in America, voting rights gradually expanded from White property owners to African Americans in the 1860s and 1870s and to women in the early 20th century. In 2020, nearly 160 million people voted in the election, revealing the great progress made in expanding American enfranchisement since 1789. Sadly, such historical facts are seldom cited by critical theorists. Instead, they focus on their same old narrative of how sexist and bigoted America is as a nation (McBride). When examining America’s story solely in light of the present and without comparing it to the story of other nations, this narrow view of our country appears convincing. Indeed, no nation, even America is faultless.
VI. The Practical Flaws of Critical Theory
Arguably, critical theorists have served an important role by raising our awareness as a society regarding our historic and current flaws as a nation. After all, no nation can improve unless it is first made aware that it needs to improve. Regardless, Critical Theory holds a number of practical flaws which prevent it from being an effective cure for problems commonly associated with America and the West. First, Critical Theory criticizes American and Western society solely from present social values. For example, critical theorists persistently accuse our society of being sexist towards women. There are objective grounds for such an argument. However, we also need to take into account that, for hundreds of years in the West, society saw the role of women as home keepers and bearers of children. From the perspective of our ancestors, and in many present non-Western societies, such a view of women is not demeaning but natural. While we can criticize such a view of women, we must take into account the social norms of different times and not examine the past solely in light of our own understanding and beliefs. Perhaps down the road, our own social values and those advocated by the critical theorists will be widely criticized by future generations. In other words, we need to examine the past from more than just an understanding of the present.
Second, critical theory shuts down all discussion and thus sows the seeds of division. As stated earlier, a common accusation of critical theorists against those who question their views is that such people lack the knowledge of the oppressed and therefore remain unqualified to express their opinions on such issues. This is actually a very clever tactic on their part to silence all discussion on a sensitive topic and thus spare themselves the inconvenience of discussion and debate. However, a fatal flaw of this approach is that it destroys the ability to have logical and reasonable discussions between people of differing views. Experience shows that if people are not permitted to discuss their differences through plain reason, a faculty common to nearly all human beings, they cannot bridge the gaps between them. In the ideal world of the critical theorist, Society remains segregated based on the level of oppression experienced by its groups. The logical conclusion of critical theory is a form of tribalism, devoid of any objective standard or Truth. In this regard, Critical Theory is both truly and innately anti-Western.
Third, in all its criticisms of Western society and demands for justice, critical theorists never specify when society’s hurts will be fully cured. They endlessly point out current and past oppressions and provide so-called oppressors with an ever-expanding list of solutions and reparations, but never tell society at what point the wrongs will be made right. Additionally, they never specify at what point America or the West will be cleansed of their sins. Apparently, the deaths of 600,000 White and Black soldiers counted for little in the way of cleansing America of her indulgence with slavery. Despite America’s recent laws protecting homosexuals and women and other oppressed individuals, our nation is still denounced as one of the great oppressors of the world. In summary, the price demanded by critical theorists essentially amounts to a blank check which will ultimately prove a sinister recipe for abuse and corruption.
Fourth, Critical Theory’s theory of intersectionality, which remains one of its core doctrines is ultimately self-defeating. As previously stated, through their theory of intersectionality, critical theorists claim that people are oppressed at various levels, depending on the number of oppressed groups to which they belong. A Black woman is twice oppressed on the basis of her gender and ethnicity While a white woman is oppressed on one level due to her gender. What happens when the interests of two equally oppressed persons conflict? What happens when a White woman playing sports loses her chances at winning a scholarship or playing in college due to participation of a White transgender male athlete. Which should society prioritize, the athlete’s womanhood or the male’s capacity as a transgender? Both are just as oppressed according to Critical Theory and yet its advocates cannot seem to arrive at a consensus on this issue and similar issues involving equally oppressed individuals.
Finally, despite what they may claim, critical theorists appear to prioritize Western victims over victims from other nations. Again, nearly all the crimes which critical theorists accuse the West of are not unique to Westerners. Abuses against women, minority groups, homosexuals, lesbians, and transgenders continue unabated in large parts of the world. Yet where are the critical theorists’ loud cries for justice for these people? Are the women of America and Europe so important that they and they alone deserve equality while their sisters in other lands do not? Are the transgenders of America so valuable that they, and they alone, should be protected? Are the Muslims of Europe and America more oppressed than those who face arguably far worse treatment in Communist China? If the critical theorists’ motivations are sincere, their cries for justice should not end with the victims of Western society.
VII. The Moral Flaws of Critical Theory
Even more concerning than critical theory’s factual and practical flaws are its moral flaws, particularly with regard to defining people as groups rather than as individuals. If one examines many of the historic and current prejudices that Critical Theory addresses, nearly all have this in common: Society judged people as members of a group rather than as individuals. A woman was judged unfit for voting or working outside the home often because she was a woman and such occupations did not meet society’s expectations for women of the day. An African American was commonly judged to be unworthy of freedom or citizenship because of the darkness of their skin and because they came from a land commonly considered backwards and barbaric. Members of non-Christian religions were viewed with great mistrust often because they did not fully conform to Western ways and remained something unusual in the popular mindset. In all these situations, society judged people on the basis of their gender, ethnicity, religion, nationality, etc. rather than as individuals, each endowed with unique capabilities and characteristics. Ironically, therein lies the great moral flaw of Critical Theory.
The process of categorizing people and defining each person on the basis of his or her assigned category remains an indispensable and demeaning practice of Critical Theory. Any and every African American, woman, transgender/homosexual/lesbian, Muslim, etc. is automatically considered part of an oppressed group on the basis of historical oppressions suffered by those groups. As the historic oppressor, the only type of person who does not fit into any such oppressive category is a White Christian male. It does not matter if an individual has or has not been oppressed or has been an oppressor during their lifetime. Whether they admit it or not, for critical theorists, the individual ultimately remains subservient to the collective. The white male is always a malicious oppressor simply because he is a white male. Thus, what Critical Theory amounts to is a modern reincarnation of every socially divisive and bigoted philosophy which has long oppressed various persons in America, the West, and around the world. In many respects, we should not be surprised at this. After all, Critical Theory does have many of its earliest roots in Karl Marx, a man who openly declared that, “The classes and the races, too weak to master the new conditions of life, must give way.” (Marx). A few years ago, a co-founder of Black Lives Matter, Patrisse Cullors, said in an interview with Jared Ball of The Real News Network, “We are trained Marxists. We are super-versed on, sort of, ideological theories. And I think that what we really tried to do is build a movement that could be utilized by many, many black folk” (Steinbuch). If Cullors was so concerned about racial fairness, why would she declare herself a follower of a man whose ideas called for the removal of supposedly weak races? Moreover, by applying their own logic, many Critical Theorists would fall into an oppressive category by virtue of their affiliations with the historically oppressive Democratic party.
If people are to be judged on the basis of historical oppressions associated with their groups and by the actions of their ancestors, then potentially every human being on the face of the earth is an oppressor. I would venture to say that no nation or people exist that have not oppressed another people in one way or another. Such group classifications are demeaning to the value of the individual and run contrary to the principles of both Western Civilization and the United States. Worst of all, such sentiments condemn the innocent along with the guilty. If you are White, your ancestors were racists and therefore you must be racist although you may be unaware of it. Such sentiments will do nothing but stifle the process of integration and co-existence which has gained so much ground in our country these past few decades. After all, why should a person be expected to fight so that his or her neighbors might have equality before the law when he or she is endlessly condemned for crimes committed by other individuals? Why do the right thing when you are blindly punished along with the guilty? To solve the problems that critical theory addresses, society must resume the age-old practice of judging people as innocent or guilty on the basis of individual deeds of the present and not on past deeds of long dead generations.
VIII. How We Stop Critical Theory
If we truly believe in the principles upon which our nation was built, that all men and women have a right to live, to be free, and to pursue their own happiness in life, as American citizens and patriots, we have a duty to stand up to Critical Theory as a doctrine that persistently demeans the individual person. The question then becomes how can we stand against such a hostile and influential political dogma. Fortunately, many parents, statesmen, and even some teachers and officials have already taken the fight to Critical Theory’s cradle, academia, and in the political arena. However, many Americans remain silent for fear of being denounced as racists and bigots by their opponents. What we need to realize is that whether we remain silent or not, we will be denounced as such due to the color of our skin, our political affiliations, our faith, or whatever our opponents perceive as threatening.
There are certain key steps we need to take if we are to successfully push back against Critical Theory. First, we need to challenge Critical Theory in all its aspects and wherever it has advanced or seeks to advance. Second, we need to turn their own arguments against them. As this article has pointed out, Critical Theory is a doctrine riddled with many factual, practical, and moral flaws. If we focus on all three while giving special attention to the moral flaws, we can show many sincere critical theorists, those who truly believe that their ideas will help people, the folly and danger of their ideas and provide them with a more just alternative. Granted, not all critical theorists will be so persuaded. In the end, we may convince few if any critical theorists at all. However, the good news is that we do not need to win over the critical theorists but their followers. In the end, Critical Theory’s strength comes from the number of its followers and of the people it can frighten into compliance. If we win over the followers, Critical Theory will once again be reduced to the incoherent ramblings of a few loud academics within a handful of universities. Third, we need to focus our efforts on those who can be won, not those who cannot. We will come across people who firmly believe in the teachings of Critical Theory and who will never stop attempting to advance their cause. Like it or not, such is their right. Chances are, nothing we say or do will persuade them to our beliefs. Therefore, we must focus our efforts on those willing to listen to our cause and who can help us swing the pendulum away from the accusations of Critical Theory and towards the eternal Truths upon which this country was founded.
The fight against Critical Theory is nothing new to politics or history. In many respects, this conflict centers around the same question faced by previous generations: Is human dignity and value found in the individual or in artificial social categories? Through many political struggles and cultural turmoil, our country and the West, for all their faults, have successfully reasserted time and again the self-evident truth that people have a God-given right to be judged on the basis of their individuality, not on the color of their skin, their religion, their ethnicity, nor any other manmade designations. Such categorization was tried in Nazi Germany, Soviet Russia, Fascist Italy, etc. and inevitably ended in tragedy for the people of these socialist dictatorships. Only in societies where people are judged by their own individual deeds will its citizenry progress. This truth proved crucial to the values of the American Founding, the Abolitionist movement, and the Civil Rights movement. Ironically, it is this simple truth that Critical Theory vehemently opposes. If we hope to correct the evils of racism, sexism, and bigotry in our society, we must cease in our constant organization of individual human beings into groups. A person who harms another must be judged on the basis of his or her deeds, not the basis of the aggressor’s skin color, religion, political tendencies, or the sins of the aggressor’s ancestors. Facts, not passions, must determine the outcome of justice. The choice before us in American and the West is simple, the individual or the category; civilization or tribalism; justice or oppression. The course we choose will determine the fate of our society and of our long-established institutions, Freedom and the Rule of Law. Ultimately, the whole debate boils down to this question: Do we want to leave our children a world where their fate is forever determined by socially sanctioned prejudice or one where they have the right to determine the fate of such prejudice. From our parents, we inherited the latter type of world. Duty demands that our children receive the same from us.
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