Critical Race Theory is an existential threat to America, that much is true – but it is not THE existential threat. CRT is merely the latest symptom of a more insidious disease to garner the attention of the public.
That disease is postmodernism.
Postmodernist thought implies that there is no objective truth, that truth is based solely on the experience and perception of the individual.
If you confront me and tell me that I must respect your “truth” and your “lived experience”, what about my “truth” and my “lived experience”?
If you claim the United States is racist because you feel that is your “truth” and yet I see no evidence of such, is my truth and lived experience somehow less than yours?
If your “truth” and “lived experience” is different from mine, wouldn’t is seem that one of us must be wrong? How is it possible that anything can be defined under a philosophy that claims nothing can be defined? How is it possible for a philosophy to exist when the very basis of it is that nothing is true? Would that not imply that this philosophy cannot exist?
Under postmodernism conflict is always guaranteed and that conflict translates into the opportunity to capture political power. Michel Foucault is generally credited with the birthing of philosophical postmodernism, “a movement characterized by broad epistemological skepticism and ethical subjectivism, a general suspicion of reason, and an acute sensitivity to the role of ideology in asserting and maintaining political and economic power.”
Postmodernism rests on three things: 1) relative truth, 2) the absence of discernment and discrimination and 3) pluralism.
Relative truth means exactly what you think it does. It is the basis for the idea there is any truth apart from the truth. Frederick Nietzsche called it “perspectivism”, which can be summed up for our times in the Costanza Rule: if you believe it, it is not a lie.
It stands to reason (something that cannot be used in postmodernism) that when objective and absolute truths do not exist, everything becomes a matter of personal interpretation. To the postmodern thinker, the author of a book or the giver of a speech does not possess the correct interpretation of their work; it is the reader or hearer who determines what the book or speech means. Unsurprisingly, given that there are multiple readers and hearers vs. a singular author or speaker, one can expect there are multiple interpretations. This is also why definitions and “truths” change to fit the agenda of the individual.
This is where postmodernism combines with the deconstructionism of Jacques Derrida to destroy language.
Jacques Derrida invented the concept of “deconstructionism”. Deconstructionism is based on two ideas: first that no passage or text can possibly convey a single reliable, consistent, and coherent message to everyone who reads or hears it and second is that the author who wrote the text is less responsible for the piece’s content than are the forces of culture (such as language) and the author’s unconscious biases and ideology. While deconstructionism seeks to define the “real meaning” of something said or written by delving into the cultural context and individual biases and ideology of the speaker or author, one can see how it can also be used to twist meaning when the “deconstruction” is based on assumption or a willful misreading of history or context.
Pluralism means that, when there is no objective truth, right and wrong do not exist because without discernment and truth, there is no basis for classifying anything as “right” or “wrong’ because those are subjective terms, and all beliefs must be considered equally valid. Essentially this idea of pluralism means that whatever the largest majority of a state says, is what goes.
Postmodernism is the response to the failure of the empiricist modernist school of thought to improve mankind through human reason alone. In a stunning example of illogic, postmodernists decided that it was not the modernist approach that failed, it was that there simply was no objective truth. One of modernism’s beliefs was that absolutes do indeed exist, so postmodernism seeks to “correct” things by eliminating absolute truth and making everything (including the empirical sciences and religion) relative to an individual’s beliefs, desires and “lived experiences”.
Combine all the above and it is clear that postmodernist thought opens the door to Marxism.
Herbert Marcuse, a member of the Frankfurt School, taught at Columbia University, Brandeis University, and the University of California at San Diego. While Marxism was generally accepted as an economic theory (as Marx himself intended), Marcuse sought to facilitate the translation of Marxism into cultural terms. By applying Marx’s theories of oppression of economic classes to cultural and racial groups, Marcuse gave birth to a new form of class warfare based on ethnicity and race, resulting in both Cultural Marxism and Critical Race Theory.
Defeating those who want to teach the racism of CRT in our schools is a laudable of goals and would be a significant victory – but it is merely a game of “Whack-A-Mole” because another avatar for a postmodernist/Marxist future will arise.
Our current Vice President styles herself as the seeker of “root causes”, postmodernism is a the root cause of our issues in America (and across the world) today. As a matter of objective fact, it is the root, trunk, and branches of the entire tree.