President Trump is taking on the odious ideology known as critical race theory, or CRT. Kudos. But the right must prepare for a long war.
Following my investigative reporting (including in The Post) shedding light on taxpayer-funded hard-left brainwashing in federal agencies, the president issued an executive order to prohibit the US government from using CRT as part of personnel training. More recently, the White canceled a training at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that framed “racism as a public-health crisis” and blamed “systemic racism” for COVID-19’s disparate impacts.
These trainings, based on neo-Marxist notions, treat “whiteness” as a moral blight and malign all members of that racial group as complicit in oppression. Universities, corporations, churches and nonprofit organizations across the country have adopted them.
The ideology and racial narrative that underly these programs pose a grave threat to the ideal of colorblind justice under the law enshrined in our constitutional system. If CRT’s charges against America were true, then the vicious violence of antifa and Black Lives Matter protests would be justified.
In fact, the charges are slanderous. Yet conservative leaders have largely failed to recognize the severity of the problem. Many on the right have been slow to oppose the demands of groups such as BLM, either out of fear of being labeled racist or because they don’t understanding the ideological agenda of these groups.
Instead, conservatives have continued to “fight the last war” against old-fashion liberalism or socialism, not recognizing that a different, and arguably more virulent, form of socialism now animates the political left.
It is imperative that conservatives properly understand the core premise of CRT: The neo-Marxist left now treats members of alleged oppressor groups (whites, males, Christians, Jews, conservatives, etc.) as inherently guilty by virtue of their group membership; conversely, members of alleged victim groups are considered as necessarily morally innocent by virtue of their victim status.
By this “logic,” claims of victimization must be believed — and members of oppressive groups are prejudged guilty by virtue of their group membership (recall the calls to “believe all women” in the Brett Kavanaugh hearing). Due process, fair play, treating individuals as individuals — all these bedrock American principles are stumbling blocks on the road to a new, radically different country. Stumbling blocks to be demolished.
There is a direct line from the CRT trainings in government, corporations and universities to the recent unrest on the streets. Those committed to the CRT narrative are deeply entrenched in many US institutions, including some of the most privileged members of the elite and emerging leaders in the Democratic Party. Institutional elites, in other words, are prepared to apologize for the street-level violence — that is, when they themselves aren’t the bomb-throwers.
Thus, absent a strong response, the crisis is unlikely to simply fade away. If married to a concerted political push in Congress or the administrative state, the unchecked riots of the last three months could open the door to a radical transformation of our constitutional system. It could spell the end of the colorblind application of the rule of law — especially if the party that has permitted and even encouraged the violent protesters regains power at the national level.
Trump and other GOP leaders urgently needs to inform their base — and the nation — about what is actually at stake. To do so, they must identify, expose and critique the ideology that animates broad swaths of our elites — and the Democratic Party. As long as leftist advocates accuse others of racism, without having their own premises and the basis of these accusations subjected to scrutiny, they will continue to place the rest of us on the defensive.
On the bright side, as the president and others begin to push back, the accusations will begin to lose their power. Few Americans really believe that all members of any group are inherently innocent while those of another are inherently guilty.
The president and other GOP leaders must make this case insistently — now — while there is still a chance. If they succeed, the American center may yet hold, and the racial obsession of the neo-Marxist left may begin to lose its grip.
This piece originally appeared at New York Post
Christopher F. Rufo is a contributing editor of City Journal, documentary filmmaker, and research fellow at the Discovery Institute’s Center on Wealth & Poverty.
Photo by Anna Moneymaker-Pool/Getty Images