The triumph of the Critical Theory narrative over facts, history, and Constitutional Protections is widespread. I searched “white supremacy” and “linear thinking” (another bogeyman for Critical Theory) and a number of .gov sites came up. This is the stuff that the president’s recent executive order was intended to remove but it may well be that your school district is relying on Critical Theory and implementing it.
One of the several reasons that Americans ought to be concerned about the inroads being made by Critical Theory (e.g., Critical Race Theory, Critical Legal Theory) into American life is its fundamentally anti-American view of free speech. Rod Dreher highlights the latest example of such suppression of free speech in a policy proposed by the Loudoun (VA) County School District. They have spent more than $400,000 implanting a program and curriculum, using tax dollars, to teach Critical Race Theory to public schools in the district. What is “Critical Theory”? According to Helen Pluckrose and James Lindsay, “A critical theory is chiefly concerned with revealing hidden biases and underexamined assumptions, usually by pointing out what have been termed ‘problematics,’ with are ways in which society and the systems that it operates upon are going wrong.”1
Like conspiracy theory, critical theory knows that someone, somewhere is doing something to harm them. Under critical theory, the world is composed of two classes, the oppressor and the oppressed. In Critical Race Theory, the doctrine being imposed in Loudoun County, VA, the critical theorists know a priori that white people, by virtue of being white, are racist. The irony of convicting, without evidence, an entire class of the sin of racism, does not seem to have occurred to them. This is a radical redefinition of the noun racism. The redefinition of racism means that anti-racism does not mean what it used to mean. This is not the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 60s. This is much more radical movement altogether. On this problem see the resources below.
Another great problem with this movement is that it is impervious to facts. Indeed, any appeal to facts in response to CRT is deemed evidence of racism. In this, arguing with proponents of CRT is like arguing with conspiracy theorists: any dissent is taken as evidence that the dissenter is part of the conspiracy (or, in this case) racist oppression. The only way to show that one is not a “racist” is to submit and agree.
This is what is under discussion when people talk about “the narrative.” The fatally flawed “1619 Project” is a terrific example of narrative triumphing over facts. Professional historians have denounced the project as “tendentious,” “preposterous,” and ignorant (see resources below). Academics rarely use these sorts of adjectives so when they do it is intended to be splash of cold water to the face. Michael Walsh explains:
The crucial importance of narrative to the leftist project cannot be overstated. Storytelling—or a form of it in which old themes are mined and twisted—sits at the center of everything the Left does. Leftists are fueled by a belief that in the modern world, it does not so much matter what the facts are, as long as the story is well told. Living in a malevolent, upside-down fantasy world, they would rather heed their hearts than their minds, their impulses than their senses; the gulf between empirical reality and their ideology-infused daydreams regularly shocks and surprises them, even as it discomforts or kills millions who suffer the consequences of their delusions.2
Proponents of “the narrative” i.e., Critical Theory, know before they ever get to any particular situation or particular facts, what the conclusion must be. The only thing to be determined is: who are the oppressors and who are the oppressed. For CRT simply substitute “racists” for oppressors.
It is in this light that American taxpayers (e.g., property owners) should pay attention to public school policies such as those proposed in Loudoun County, VA. E.g., ”As public employees, it is important that employees are mindful of the potential impact of their behaviors and actions that occur outside of their job responsibilities and work hours.” One application of this seemingly innocuous principle, however, should alarm civil libertarians:
Employees are expected to support the school division’s commitment to action-oriented equity practices through the performance of their job duties, as the Division engages in the disruption and dismantling of white supremacy, systemic racism, and language and actions motivated by race, religion, country of origin, gender identity, sexual orientation, and/or ability.
Two things to be noted here. First, employees are expected to affirm as a given the existence of “white supremacy” and “systemic racism.” Now, given the history of Virginia, there might be a plain sense of “white supremacy,” e.g., the Klu Klux Klan. After all, a Virginia man, identified as a leader in the KKK, was recently sentenced to prison for driving into a protest. This, however, is not what they mean. White supremacy has been re-defined under Critical Theory, to include “defensiveness”—in other words, if you deny being a racist, that means you are a racist—“perfectionism,” a “sense of urgency,” “worship of the written word,” “individualism,” etc. This is not a parody. These sorts of lists are commonplace. This list is from the official State of Texas website. Second, this is a standard for employment. In other words, those who do not meet this standard may be subject to being fired.