Critical theory

Source: Wikipedia.

The words critical race theory make for an odd phrase. The meaning they are meant to convey is not readily apparent. Also, their literal meaning is not what you might guess, if you were guessing. To understand the phrase requires preparation and a dose of history. You must learn the secrets before you can practice the craft.

First, you must learn that Critical Race Theory is a special application of Critical Theory. Then you must learn that Critical Theory is a radical departure from traditional theory in the social sciences. Whereas the traditional approach relied upon scientific methods to understand and explain the features of human society, the critical approach sought to critique and alter society as a whole.

It could do this because it assumed the Hegelian dialectic (thesis, anti-thesis, synthesis) was objectively the driving force of history and human events. The critical theorists didn’t need the scientific method because their law of gravity had already been discovered. Thereafter they could earn their wages as mere analysts, or critics of the passing scene.

Thus, Critical Theory “is an approach to social philosophy that focuses on reflective assessment and critique of society and culture in order to reveal and challenge power structures.” (Wikipedia)

And thus, Critical Race Theory “is an approach to social philosophy that focuses on reflective assessment and critique of race in society and culture in order to reveal and challenge power structures.”

If it has occurred to you that CRT resembles a cult, you aren’t far off. More accurately, it is an occult discipline complete with initiation rituals, repudiation of outside knowledge, service requirements, and enforced sexual mores.

That CRT can be called anti-white racism is a consequence of its structural features.

11 thoughts on “Critical theory

  1. God what babble!

    Should students learn in their study of U.S. History that the middle class black people of Tulsa OK were burned out of their homes and murdered en masse by their white neighbors? Yes or No.

    Should students learn in their study of U.S. History that the black GIs were systematically cheated out of the benefits that built the white middle class? Yes or No.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes to both questions. CRT is unnecessary in both cases, as well as counterproductive.

      Students should learn how to think, not what to think.

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      1. You have no idea what CRT is. Maybe because, as you say, it is a very odd expression with no obvious meaning.

        You say CRT is not needed. Of course not. But the answers to the questions that you gave are derived from CRT which says that if we are to understand where we are, we need more facts about where we have been.

        You maintain that CRT is nothing but racism and yet you have still not even tried to offer an alternative theory to explain the continuing economic, social and legal inequality endured by African-Americans.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. There is no economic, social or legal inequality. The only unequal value is the lack of pursuit of equal opportunity. There have been too many programs to count that target black integration into successful careers but they aren’t being taken advantage of. Police, for example, are begging blacks to sign up but where are they?

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      2. RE: “But the answers to the questions that you gave are derived from CRT which says that if we are to understand where we are, we need more facts about where we have been.”

        CRT is a framework for interpretation. Traditional theory in the social sciences is a better framework.

        Critique is an imaginative process, which is to say that its products are imaginary.

        If you want an explanation of the “continuing economic, social and legal inequality endured by African-Americans,” my best recommendation is Thomas Sowell’s essay, “Black Rednecks and White Liberals.” It is a good example of traditional theory in social science.

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        1. While the Essays are in print as a book, there are quotes from the 6 essays gathered at

          https://www.goodreads.com/work/quotes/1323864-black-rednecks-and-white-liberals

          and they are well worth reading.

          Among them

          “No one chooses which culture to be born into or can be blamed for how that culture evolved in past centuries.”

          and, for those who claim force to affect political change is always wrong

          “What was peculiar about the West was not that it participated in the worldwide evil of slavery, but that it later abolished that evil, not only in Western societies but also in other societies subject to Western control or influence. This was possible only because the anti-slavery movement coincided with an era in which Western power and hegemony were at their zenith, so that it was essentially European imperialism which ended slavery. This idea might seem shocking, not because it does not fit the facts, but because it does not fit the prevailing vision of our time.”

          It was the cannon of the British Navy that ended the slave trade worldwide.

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  2. For those of you who are interested, Marx’s (and let’s not give short shrift to Engles) dialectics are very different from Hegel’s. Hegel was an idealist, dealing mostly with the individual, his thoughts, ideas, and theories. Marx, and later the Frankfurt School (from where we get the term CT), said the material world is very real and is not only the main driver behind history, but of the individual man’s thoughts and ideas. It is a different way of interpreting history and dispenses with teleology, or “Whig History”, which posits history is a continuous arc toward progress. We’re constantly evolving and all of history could only lead us here.

    Historical Materialism or Dialectical Materialism posits conflict between those with power and those without it as the driving force of historical change. Critical Theory attempts to critique those in power, the institutions and structures they build, and the narratives they attempt to feed the rest of us. In this sense, it is very much a rejection of those who would tell us “what to think.” Anyone can, of course, disagree with the tenets of Marxism or CT, but to dismiss them whole cloth shows that you need some sort of (lowercase) ct most of all. Our ruling class has spent the last century telling us the Reds are our mortal enemy and you’ve absolutely swallowed the hook.

    P.S. If you’d prefer to engage with the more Positivist aspects of Marx, read Capital.

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