By Douglas Carswell for RealClearPolicy
Across America a radical ideology is taking hold. Critical race theory argues that the United States is founded on racial supremacy and oppression.
Instead of viewing each American as an individual, critical race theory teaches people to regard one another as either an oppressor or one of the oppressed. A form of Marxism, critical race theory categorizes society not by class, but by race. It is an inherently divisive ideology.
It is also extreme. Critical race theorists seek to overthrow the existing economic and political order that has helped make America one of the most successful nations in history.
Indeed, critical race theorists would take issue with the idea of America as a success story, preferring instead to see the United States as always in the wrong. At its root, critical race theory delegitimizes the very idea of America.
Unless countered, these ideas will not just change a few statues in one or two public squares. They will move the entire edifice of public policy debate across America to the left.
For a long time, these ideas were confined to a few academics on liberal college campuses. But the problem is that they have spread out from college campuses into the workplace, government and even the military. For decades, conservatives have meekly retreated in the face of this advancing ideological assault.
The recent election results in Virginia suggest that there is an opportunity to change all this.
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The Virginia contest saw middle of the road conservatives, unequivocally opposed to critical race theory, win state-wide contests for the first time in twelve years.
It is not just the case that school freedom — when properly presented — is wildly popular. Millions of ordinary Americans are not that keen on having their kids indoctrinated into believing that their country is intrinsically racist either.
The Virginia poll is a magnificent rebuke by middle America to those leftist ideologues who believe that they have a right to impose their “woke” agenda in the classroom.
Here at the Mississippi Center for Public Policy, we believe that we are at a pivotal moment when we have an opportunity to take on a defeat this extremist ideological agenda. That is why we have recently published a report on critical race theory in our state that looks at the extent to which this ideology is being promoted — and sets out a roadmap to countering it.
Some of our findings are shocking. For example, several departments at public universities explicitly espouse critical race theory. One, for example, refers to the way that “systemic racism” perpetuates “white supremacy.” Another teaches courses that explore “how whiteness is constructed” and looks at the relationship between white identity and “white nationalism, white supremacy, white privilege and whiteness.”
I believe it is also a cause for concern that the Mississippi Department of Education recommends teachers use professional development resources provided by organizations that clearly promote critical race theory, such as the Zinn Education Project, which has called for the abolition of Christopher Columbus Day. If the Mississippi Department of Education and our universities are participating in this, then surely the United States Department of Education and other universities are.
Our report sets out a positive agenda to help combat these divisive ideas. We published a bill to tackle critical race theory in the classroom and on campus. We also have recommendations to review the curriculum and take steps to ensure that public universities teach students a range of ideas and differing viewpoints.
Those that believe in limited government and individual liberty need to acknowledge that we should never seek to ban ideas that we find disagreeable. The way to defeat bad ideas is to replace them with better ones. The focus of our efforts should be to ensure that universities are places where different ideas are able to compete, such that the better ones prevail.
A new arrival to the United States, I believe that America is the greatest republic in human history. Why? Because the USA was founded on the principle that everyone possesses their own “inalienable rights.” That principle, however, imperfectly applied, helped to define the United States as a country that respected people as individuals.
Critical race theory stands that ideal on its head, insisting instead that we define ourselves according to immutable characteristics. This ideology is profoundly un-American and anti-American.
If we present school freedom as a way of ensuring that every American child has not just a good education, but a broad and balanced one, our movement will become unstoppable.
If you would like to learn more about our report, please visit our website at mspolicy.org or email me directly at [email protected] and I will send you your own copy.
Syndicated with permission from RealClearWire.
Douglas Carswell is the President & CEO of the Mississippi Center for Public Policy, Mississippi’s leading free market advocacy organization.
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