It’s not really a “theory” at all. It is a social movement, akin to a religion.
The movement’s critics describe it as “woke” or “Cancel Culture.” (Pluckrose and Lindsay use the less judgmental term “Critical Theory.”) The movement rejects any name for itself. Because the movement rejects any name for itself, it is The Movement That Must Not Be Named.
Demonstrate fealty to the movement, or lose your job.
For the past several years, the movement has been systematically purging all positions of influence in our society, and removing any and all individuals who fail to vocally support the movement’s political agenda.
Political dissenters are being relentlessly culled from corporations, civil institutions, and media. And this pogrom is only accelerating.
This is our world today. And we stand idly by, believing we must accept it, and do as we are told… or else. And the worst of it is, most of my friends and family seem to believe this is a good thing!
Instead of debating ideas, this culture of intolerance rejects individual people who are brave enough or creative enough to think outside the box.
The movement’s fanatically obsessive online thought-policing preferentially targets small-time moderates, most of whom you will never hear about: people who don’t make the news when they get canceled, because they’re not high-profile, but who are left embittered and polarized and deprived of employment opportunities after they find themselves targeted by extremist Left-wing trolls, usually over remarks that are not objectively offensive.
The movement’s angry intolerance actively pushes moderates towards extremist positions. In doing so, the movement’s intolerance has become the greatest driver of the divide in our society. It no longer matters if the movement was originally well-intentioned. It’s no longer even relevant if you think some of those people might have deserved to get canceled. Mob justice is injustice. We have laws for a reason. The movement itself has become a serious threat to our fundamental liberties: and the worst part of this problem, is that we’re all scared to death of even acknowledging it, because if we do, then the movement might come after us next.
And yet, most liberals, including most of my friends and family members, are active supporters of this movement and its “theory,” despite knowing little or nothing about the movement’s underlying ideology: because they have been told via social media that if you don’t support the movement, then you’re a racist. That allegation is propaganda, like the rest of the movement’s loud proclamations: and it is untrue.
If you are among my friends and family members, then this post is going to be very difficult for you to read, because it contradicts your assumptions and all the propaganda you have been fed through social media for the past several years. Rather than question your assumptions and all the snarky self-righteous memes you’ve seen on Facebook, you’re likely to immediately jump to the conclusion that there must be something wrong with me. I understand. You have been indoctrinated and conditioned to react this way. We all have.
Ask yourself: what do you actually know about this movement and the “theory” it wants so badly to teach in public schools? You think it has something to do with “history,” but (beyond some dubious allegations against political opponents) you can’t really supply any details. You don’t, in fact, know much at all about the movement, other than, you think you have to support if you want to be a decent human being.
I assure you: you are a decent human being. And you will continue to be a decent human being, even if you begin to question the philosophy and the motives of The Movement That Must Not Be Named.
The Big Secret
Before we go on, I would like to point out that the information I’m presenting here is based on personal experience as well as reliable academic sources. My wife is an ardent supporter of the movement, so we have several of the movement’s books around the house, and I have taken the time to read enough of those primary sources to grasp their message. Furthermore, I was my local district’s Democratic candidate for the Oregon State House of Representatives in 2022; and I ran for the local School Board in 2023: and in the course of those political campaigns, I encountered and listened to many political activists, several of whom expressed support for disturbingly extremist ideologies (authoritarian, anti-democratic, and even pro-violence — if that was a “joke,” I was not amused). On top of all that, I was active on Twitter from 2017 to 2020: and that particular social cesspool repeatedly exposed me to the worst of the worst ideas that are currently in circulation. Disturbed by what I read in my wife’s books and heard from political activists and from extremists on social media, I sought out alternative perspectives. I found a number of books and articles that helped me understand the situation (I have provided links throughout this post). Contrary to what you probably assume, some of the books were written by women who self-identify as liberal feminists; and many of the books and articles were written by African-Americans. Based on all of this, I believe I have a well-rounded basis for the following assertions.
Are you ready for this?
Here’s what the memes don’t say. Here’s the real reason why conservatives are up in arms about the movement’s ideology being taught in public schools. (Although Florida’s DeSantis is not doing the movement’s other critics any favors by threatening teachers with arrest for simple possession of books that he disagrees with: that kind of authoritarian behavior only feeds the movement’s self-righteous victim mentality.) Here is why, after running for the Oregon State House of Representatives as a Democrat, I’m prepared to leave the Democratic Party over the party’s formal endorsement of the notion that the movement’s ideology should be incorporated into course curricula at public schools:
The movement utilizes indoctrination, disinformation, and propaganda for subversive purposes, to build public support for violent revolution and the overthrow of our democracy, with the end goal of creating a totalitarian state.
Violent revolution. That’s what Ibram X. Kendi is talking about when he endorses the “unnatural” end of capitalism. That’s what it means to “smash the patriarchy.” It’s not about voting in better representatives, or asking people to be nicer to each other in the workplace, as you have incorrectly assumed. The movement’s ideology is founded on the notion of using violence to replace “end stage capitalism” with neo-Marxist authoritarianism. It’s all right there in the literature. Sometimes (as with Kendi) the language of violence is cloaked in obscurely cryptic and coded terminology; and sometimes (as in Beaudrillard, who praised terrorism) it is discussed quite bluntly and openly: but if you follow them closely, the threads always lead back to Marxism and violence. And that’s not even the worst of it! The worst of it is, the movement’s own literature states clearly and repeatedly that the movement’s ideology rejects our core value of equality under the law (because in their view the legal framework of a Constitutional democracy is just part of the system of structural oppression). Therefore the movement’s ideology and goals are incompatible with life in a free and democratic society.
Obviously, most of the movement’s supporters do not think of it in these terms. Most of my friends and family support this movement. Like most of the movement’s supporters, they are “fringe members.” Fringe members habitually click “like” on a few memes, and might even occasionally join in a mob shaming of some political enemy who has been framed as an evil wrongdoer (sometimes for cause, sometimes not). Fringe members are not privy to the inner teachings that are only available to the devoted circle of insiders. Just as in Scientology and the Latter Day Saints, the movement’s insiders are a much smaller core group of hardliners whose demonstrated devotion has granted them access to the movement’s true teachings: the deeper meaning of the movement’s ideology. Insiders write the books, create most of the memes, teach the college-level classes on these subjects, and make most of the speeches; and insiders know damn well that the movement’s end goal is the violent downfall of America’s democracy, which they term “the structure of racist capitalist patriarchy.”
Speaking to my friends and loved ones: You want to create a world in which all people are equal, where everyone has access to opportunity, where we all treat each other with tolerance and live in dignity and grace. But this movement’s ideology will not achieve that goal.
More to the point, most of the people I’ve spoken to seem to believe that this movement’s ideology should be taught in schools. That is where we disagree most strongly: and I believe it’s because you haven’t fully considered the implications of the movement’s ideology. What you want, is for all children to learn our core value of tolerance; and you want to be sure our public schools are not “hiding” America’s history of slavery. The movement’s ideology (specifically, Critical Race Theory or CRT) is not the appropriate solution for achieving these goals, for one overriding reason: The movement’s doctrine is irrevocably Marxist. Again and again, the movement’s textbook doctrine calls for the violent overthrow of capitalism. That ideology absolutely does not belong in public schools. Even if you happen to share that extremist ideology, it still doesn’t belong in public schools: because public schools should be ideologically neutral; they must not officially endorse partisan politics.
I understand, all this contradicts much that you’ve been told for the past five years or so. Please, take a moment to consider an alternative viewpoint.
You Have Heard Propaganda
Unless you have spent a lot of time reading primary sources, then most of what you think you know about this movement is propaganda.
This propaganda is part of a campaign of subversive destabilization.
In their propaganda, the movement’s insiders systematically misrepresent the movement to outsiders. Many of the public statements made by insiders about the movement itself, its beliefs, and its activities, are misleading or deliberately false.
- The movement’s insiders deny that the movement exists (“There’s no such thing as Cancel Culture” – popularized by memes, this line has been spoken to me in conversation by people close to me)
- The movement’s insiders proclaim that true history can only be taught through the lens of the movement’s ideology (I heard variants of this claim from several people during my recent run for School Board)
- The movement’s insiders claim that the movement’s ideology is not being taught in schools (among many, many others, United States Congressional candidate Jamie McLeod-Skinner repeated this line, “Nobody is teaching CRT in schools,” at a rally for supporters at Coolidge-McClaine Street Park here in Silverton in the summer of 2022. Jamie was a good candidate, and my guess is that she was only repeating what she had been told to say by her political advisors. Nonetheless…)
All three of those claims are false statements. In fact:
- The movement most certainly exists, and it is arguably the most powerful social movement in America today. This movement is a serious problem for our society: not only because its intolerant vindictiveness is inconsistent and unpredictable, but also because nobody is holding the movement’s activist insiders accountable when they target innocent people and self-righteously harass them to death.
- True history was taught in schools for decades before the movement ever emerged; whereas the movement’s ideology distorts history for political purposes – we’ll come back to this below.
- And while it’s not universal, the movement’s ideology is most certainly being taught in some classes in some schools: not just in big city Orange County, California, but even right here in little old Silverton, Oregon.
The Movement That Must Not Be Named brings an all-or-nothing approach to social issues. According to the movement’s propaganda (and the activist thought police on social media) if you support our core values of equality, tolerance, and diversity, then you must support every single detail of the movement’s doctrine; and if you disagree with any particular detail of the movement’s ideology, then they accuse you of rejecting our core values of equality, tolerance, and diversity. This all-or-nothing framing is mind-game propaganda, designed to force you to accept extremist ideology out of fear that you will be called names: names like “racist,” which is currently the worst word you can possibly be called in our society. Nobody wants to be racist! So if Ibram X. Kendi says that you have to actively dismantle capitalism in order to be “anti-racist,” who are you to disagree? You’re a free human being and not subject to these sorts of malevolent mind games, that’s who you are. You don’t have to accept everything you’re told by extremist activists: even if you agree with some of the other things they say. Nuance is relevant. You can oppose racism and also oppose Marxism, despite what the extremists claim.
With its relentless rage over identity issues, the movement is creating a culture centered on racism, sexism, and intolerance. The movement wants you to think that it is the cure for these problems: but the opposite is true. The movement’s self-righteous intolerance is making things worse. Our society has made advances in the past few years despite the movement’s message of hatred, blame, and shame. Any improvements we have made are because most people generally want to make the world a better place. Meanwhile, the deepening divisions in our culture are a direct response to the movement’s extremist ideology.
The Haze of Intentional Obscurity
Due to the fog of misrepresentation, as an outsider, it’s difficult to grasp the movement’s actual ideology.
Most of what you have heard about the movement was from social media; and most of the movement’s statements on social media are doublespeak posturing propaganda: a form of psychological warfare.
You can only begin to grasp the underlying meaning by reading primary sources – but even these tend to be heavy on the posturing and light on the underlying meaning. Thus, even if you have read primary sources, you would have had to read them very carefully to understand the real meaning behind the often impenetrable postmodernist prose, and all the fancy words that have been confusingly redefined to mean something other than what they appear to mean.
The only way to get past the haze of intentional obscurity is either to very “critically” read the works the movement’s insiders have written for other insiders; or else to read an analytical digest of those works: the most comprehensive and accessible of which so far is the one by Pluckrose and Lindsay. (I also recommend Professor McWhorter for a consideration of issues specific to race, and Dr. Soh for a consideration of issues specific to gender and sexuality.)
The First Rule of Fight Club
The movement’s insiders reject any name for their movement. Just as in Fight Club, the first rule is, you’re not supposed to talk about it: to the extent that you’re not supposed to even acknowledge the movement’s existence.
This imperative has repeatedly been made directly, explicitly clear to me. As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, I have repeatedly received email communications from a professional political advisor, specifically instructing me never to speak the movement’s name.
That’s some pretty serious mind games right there.
And that’s no accident. The social movement in question relies heavily on deception, mind games, doublespeak, and disinformation.
The movement’s end goal is to achieve power by using subversive tactics to undermine our social, economic, and political systems until it has built sufficient public support to mount a violent revolution.
That’s why some of this movement’s most well-known catchphrases are demonstrably false statements.
Denying its own existence
Probably the most famous of the movement’s lies is the one that goes: “There’s no such thing as Cancel Culture.” Yeah, right.
If you hear someone quote this line (or some variant of it) then you know you’re talking to one of the movement’s insiders or sympathizers. This line serves as a loyalty test.
In my analysis of extremist movements on both sides, I have reached the conclusion that a follower’s willingness to repeat obviously false statements (for example, “The Earth is flat” on the far Right, or “There’s no such thing as Cancel Culture” on the far Left) serves as a loyalty test.
If you question these obviously false statements, then insiders immediately know that you’re an outsider and should be treated as a potential enemy. If you’re willing to repeat whatever you’re told to repeat, even when you know perfectly well that it’s a false statement — and especially, if you’re willing to argue and argue and argue in defense of the false claim, and possibly even convince yourself that you really believe it — then you prove to other insiders that your commitment to the movement is greater than your commitment to the truth: and therefore the other insiders can rely upon your support in their crusade against their political enemies.
The Movement That Must Not Be Named is “Intersectional.” It’s not just about race. It’s a whole mishmash of propaganda regarding identity issues that also include gender, sexual orientation, the history of Western civilization (as distorted by a warped lens of anti-Americanism), and even obesity. So I don’t just object to CRT: I object to the whole movement.
A Conflict of Values
The movement’s ideology promotes a Narrative about “structural oppression” which disregards economic factors in favor of identity markers.
Viewed through this lens, for example, a homeless man may be seen as “privileged” while a wealthy woman is “oppressed,” to the homeless man’s benefit: because according to the movement, the male gender is higher up on the pyramid of structural oppression. That’s just… backwards. Once you disregard economics in favor of identity, none of this makes the least bit of sense. Therefore, I reject the movement’s ideology.
I came of age in the 1990s. I was brought up to believe that we are all equal. I was brought up to believe that discrimination is bad. The Movement That Must Not Be Named teaches that discrimination is good, depending on who you’re discriminating against. (Kendi states this repeatedly.) The movement teaches that equality under the law in a democracy is a form of “structural oppression.” The movement’s message is in direct conflict with my core values. Therefore, I reject the movement’s ideology.
The movement preaches that you are either privileged or oppressed based on your identity (race, gender, sexual orientation, and disability status). (Remember, according to the movement you can be terribly impoverished and still be “privileged;” and you can be very wealthy and still be “oppressed:” because this is primarily about identity, not economics.) It’s shameful to be privileged; therefore your value as a human being is proportional to your identity as a victim. The movement teaches that everything about American society, economics, and government is part of a system of structural oppression, and no new laws, court rulings, or policy tweaks could ever possibly hope to compensate for that oppression, because democracy itself is part of the system of structural oppression; so “our” only hope is to complain about it constantly to spread this doctrine, and ostracize any heretics who reject this dogma, until “we” have built up sufficient public support to mount a neo-Marxist violent revolution and overthrow the system of partiarchal-race-capitalism. Personally, I think a revolution would be bad: mostly because killing people is bad; but also because in the past, Marxist revolutions have always made things worse for every country that has ever mounted one. Although exact figures are hard to come by, between the mass murder of political opponents under ruthless regimes such as Stalin (Great Purge), Mao (Cultural Revolution), and Pol Pot (Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge); not to mention mass starvation caused by disastrous communist so-called “reforms;” and the bloody deaths caused by a number of wars in various places around the world: the number of people killed by Marxism in the twentieth century is comparable to and perhaps greater than the number of people killed by Fascism. The evil of the one is comparable to the evil of the other. Are you sure this is something you want to support? Not me! I reject the movement’s ideology.
The movement preaches that if your identity is classified as oppressed and marginalized, then there’s little hope of you ever succeeding in life, so you shouldn’t even try to succeed, and instead you should spend all your time and energy complaining I mean promoting the Narrative of structural oppression: making people with privileged identities feel ashamed of the way they were born so they will center you in their work and conversation; explaining to people with privileged identities why you should be allowed to discriminate against them based on their race, gender, and sexual orientation; and ostracizing any heretics who reject this dogma. And, since discriminating against people based on race, gender, and sexual orientation in the name of fighting “structural oppression” is deeply hypocritical and probably illegal, your one overriding responsibility is to repeat this message over and over and over until the movement has built up sufficient public support to mount a violent revolution and overthrow the Constitutional democratic system of patriarchal-race-capitalism. Therefore, I reject the movement’s ideology.
The movement preaches that if your identity is classified as privileged, then you don’t deserve any good things in life, and you should spend all your time engaged in self-flagellation, feeling bad about the plight of the oppressed and marginalized identities, because after all their situation is your fault because of your inherited guilt based on the way you were born, so you must center and elevate them in all your work and conversation and always put them first, and don’t aspire to do anything significant with your own life because if you did then you would be taking away opportunity from a marginalized person. Since no laws or policy tweaks will ever be sufficient to correct the problem of our inherently broken system, you must devote yourself to evangelizing this dogma, and converting all the other privileged people, and ostracizing any heretics who reject this doctrine, until The Movement That Must Not Be Named has built up sufficient public support to mount a violent revolution and overthrow the Constitutional democratic socioeconomic system of patriarchal-race-capitalism. Therefore, I reject the movement’s ideology.
And that’s not all.
It’s a Religion
A proper “theory” can be discussed philosophically, and people on different sides of the issue can be civil and cordial with one another and go out for drinks afterwards. Not so with the “theory” we’re talking about here. Dissent is not tolerated. You must recite the canonical dogma, or else you will be shamed, tormented, and excommunicated for your heresy. That’s not a philosophy. That’s a religion.
The movement believes in inherited guilt. The movement practices ritual shaming. The movement has an apocalyptic “end times” mythology (the violent revolution which will overthrow the structure of patriarchal-race-capitalist-democracy, commonly abbreviated to “smash the patriarchy”). The movement has a belief in a future Utopia which can only be attained when everyone on Earth shares the movement’s faith. The movement is, essentially, a religion: and we don’t teach religion in the public schools.
And yet, I received an email from the Principal of one of our local public schools, explaining to me that the movement’s “lens” is being “applied” to the curriculum of the entire History department.
And for the past five years, the official Education Caucus Platform of the Democratic Party of Oregon has formally, publicly called for the application of the movement’s ideology to public school education curricula.
Misdirection #1: History
As I experienced during my recent School Board campaign, if you object to The Movement That Must Not Be Named, its followers hit you with the false argument, “Don’t you think we should teach history in schools?”
That question is an exercise in misdirection; but it demands a response nonetheless.
First of all, history, true history, including the uncomfortable truths about slavery and segregation, was taught in public schools for decades before this movement ever emerged. I learned about these subjects in school in the 1980s. Although it has earlier roots, the movement in its present form didn’t really begin to coalesce until the early 2010s. Therefore, you don’t need the movement’s ideology to teach history.
But this rhetorical accusation-in-question-form is not intended to be a reasonable argument. It is simply a manipulative misdirection.
Personally, I have never heard anyone say that we shouldn’t be teaching history. Probably someone out there has said it; but I have literally never once heard anyone say that. In my campaign for State House I even had a memorable conversation with a registered Republican who was very candid about America’s history of slavery and racism.
Like most people on both sides, I believe we should teach the complete truth about American history in our schools: including uncomfortable truths about slavery and the mistreatment of Native peoples; as well as the struggles of the women’s suffrage movements, the labor movement, and the Civil Rights movement.
I also believe we should celebrate our successes: including the end of slavery, the granting of women’s suffrage, the minimum wage and the 40-hour work week, and the end of segregation. You can’t possibly teach those successes without first acknowledging the problems: but the success is a crucial part of the story. Ignoring or denying those successes presents a false narrative.
The movement’s Narrative presents a twisted, distorted, biased, invented version of history. The best-known example of this is The 1619 Project, which has been repeatedly debunked. But chances are, you’ve never heard that it was debunked until just now: because The 1619 Project’s conclusions suit the movement’s Narrative, and the historical reality does not.
The movement’s Narrative employs “history as a weapon,” as Smithsonian Secretary Lonnie G. Bunch III described it in a January 2023 magazine article: a weapon that incites resentment, blame, and hatred. Decent people do not use weapons on children. This ideology has no place in schools.
The movement does not want to teach true history. The movement wants to indoctrinate children with an ideology that distorts history for political purposes. That’s why this is a problem. That’s why this issue came up during my run for School Board. And that’s why this is worth fighting about.
Misdirection #2: Oh, those fancy words and their newfangled redefinitions
We are all equal. All human beings are alike; and every single human being is unique. Every one of us is at the center of our own universe of awareness. Our sensory perception revolves around our individual physical selves. Our thoughts and our memories all tend to be extremely self-focused. To you, you are the most important person in the Universe. And that’s okay, so long as you remember that everyone else feels exactly the same way.
So it is reasonable to want our business and governmental institutions to be as inclusive as possible.
If everyone has their own perspective and knowledge, then we should want to be sure to include as many of those perspectives as we can: including people from a broad variety of racial and ethnic backgrounds; a reasonable balance of both genders; and people of different sexual orientations, political orientations, religious orientations, tastes in music, and so on.
The best way to do this is to ensure that everyone has access to opportunity, so that every person can pursue the life path that seems most interesting and create a life doing work that is fulfilling, meaningful, and rewarding.
In a more fundamentally basic sense, as decent human beings, we should want everyone to feel welcome, regardless of their personal characteristics.
But that’s not what the movement means when they use their favorite words. The movement has hijacked these terms, and given them new definitions.
You know who redefines words? Cults.
Cults redefine words.
For an example of how all this plays out in the public sphere, I invite you to log in to your Twitter account (or whatever it’s called now) and do a quick search for “cis het white dudes” or similar terms.
If you trouble to do so, you will see for yourself that in our modern culture, one specific category of human being has become the frequent target of extremist, self-righteous, Left-wing hate speech.
The Movement That Must Not Be Named effectively functions as a hate group: and the specific target of the movement’s hatred, is people who look exactly like me. The movement’s ideology openly advocates discrimination against one specific minority segment of the population based on such identity characteristics as race, gender, and sexual orientation.
If you believe in tolerance and equality, then this should bother you: because that’s not inclusive at all!
Left-wing hate speech is exclusionary: and that should be disturbing to anyone who values the notion of equality in a free and democratic society.
For another example, consider the political activist group “Run For Something” out of Portland. The homepage of their website candidly states that their mission is to promote candidates who are not, and I quote, “overly educated, straight cis-gender white men.” My MBA degree and I find that quite offensive. I believe the activists in question owe me an apology.
I am here, in the present! I cannot be held responsible for what someone else may or may not have done in the distant past. That’s completely unreasonable. (The notion that I should accept responsibility for what someone else did in the past, just because I happen to be the same race and/or gender as that other person, is called “inherited guilt,” and it is a religious doctrine: it is neither logical nor reasonable.)
I believe that I deserve equal access to opportunity in the present, just like you and everyone else; and, more importantly, I believe that my children deserve to have equal access to opportunity in the future!
By way of contrast, it sounds to me like the organizers of “Run For Something” (and the larger movement’s many minions on social media) are trying to make the argument that I shouldn’t seek political office, or attempt to do anything else of significance with my life, for the reason that someone else of my race and gender held political office or owned a business in the past. And that argument is simply offensive.
Please don’t get me wrong. (You are getting me wrong already. I understand: you have been conditioned to lump all arguments into either “with you” and “against you,” and since I’m not entirely “with you” then…)
Please don’t get me wrong. I deeply believe that Black lives matter. The disproportionate use of lethal force by police against any minority should sicken us all: and I am proud to live in an America where we can recognize this problem and begin to intentionally address it through legal reforms and through criminal justice that holds bad cops accountable. Let’s do more of that.
I also believe that every human being matters, equally and without exception. But in this day and age, you can get fired for saying “all lives matter.” (The Dean in question should have used the word “and” in place of the word “but” – although that likely wouldn’t have changed the outcome.) That’s counterproductive, folks. Firing people who say “all lives matter” will not bring us together as a society. If we want to create a truly inclusive society, then we have to promote the idea that all lives matter! We can’t go around firing anyone who says it out loud.
Black lives DO matter, and the police reform movements of these past few years have been very important: and we still have a ways to go.
Everyone’s life DOES matter, and canceling people who say so, will not create the equitable future of which we dream.
Let’s create opportunity. That’s the way forward. Let’s create a culture of tolerance. That’s the way forward.
But The Movement That Must Not Be Named is a culture of intolerance. The movement is a step backward. It is a step in the wrong direction. The movement is not the answer: it is just another problem.
Where I live, the most significant minority population is Hispanic. Like most other minority populations, the Hispanic people in the area where I live tend to work low-wage jobs, often performing grueling manual labor. Few of them attain college degrees. Very few of them own businesses. And almost none of them have positions in the local government.
Back in the day when I used to work manual labor, my Hispanic colleagues were some of the hardest-working people I have ever met. If they’re not financially secure, it’s because our society does not pay living wages to people who work in manual labor positions. And that’s more of an economic problem than it is a problem of ethnicity. I can state this with absolute confidence because, regardless of my own ethnicity and gender, I experienced the exact same problem, too, when I worked for those same kinds of wages: and the only reason I was able to escape that life, is because my wife and I both obtained university degrees.
And let’s face it: as far as “centering” is concerned, Hispanics are largely excluded by The Movement That Must Not Be Named. For the most part, the movement completely ignores them. For example: my bank; my family’s favorite big-box retailer; and other large corporations I could name, have all been redecorating their public spaces with new movement-approved signage: signage that systematically removes any imagery that might appear to portray men of Caucasian descent. And yet, of all the faces these corporations so proudly display on their shiny new signs, almost none are Hispanic: even though people of Hispanic descent constitute a quarter or more of the local population in parts of this district, based on the demographic research I conducted for my State Rep contest. Once again, the movement’s agenda fails to align with reality.
But regardless of which professional models get their photos printed in supersize, the simple fact remains: Putting new signs in corporate lobbies is not going to improve the lives of the local Hispanic population.
Raising the damn minimum wage will make their lives better. Providing their children with encouragement and opportunity to get a college degree and/or start their own business, will make their lives better.
But that sort of practical “solutionism” is anathema to The Movement That Must Not Be Named: because if we were to actually succeed in making people’s lives better, then people would be content with the status quo, in which case we wouldn’t be building public support for a violent revolution. And that’s what this is really all about.
Misdirection #3: Statistics
Consider that everyone’s perspective is valid. You feel oppressed, and you’re certain it’s because of your identity, and you can offer some examples of the mistreatment you have suffered. I don’t deny your experiences. What I can say, is that pretty much everyone in the whole world has gone through some bad experiences at some point in their lives. That’s not to discount your experience: it’s to offer a broader perspective. If we’ve all been through some rough times, the question then becomes: Should we sit around dwelling on how bad life has been to us; complaining about our misfortunes; comparing our injuries and trying to prove that “my life has been worse than yours” (or vice-versa), and blaming our problems on the people (and the society) who have hurt us? Or are we going to take a meaningful step forward and try to make our own lives and the whole entire world better, starting now? It’s tempting to focus all our energy on blaming social structures; but it doesn’t get us anywhere. For a current personal example: My primary occupation presently involves housework and childcare; my business presently generates very little revenue; and my professionally successful spouse, who is a woman, is the primary income earner for our family. If I had a different identity, I would probably be blaming the system for my situation. And yet, as a heterosexual male of Caucasian descent, according to the movement’s doctrine I’m a member of the one and only category of human being who’s not allowed to blame “structural oppression” for any of my problems. Therefore, I must conclude that “structural oppression” is an inadequate explanation for the problems that people experience: and I further suggest that if you look at “structural oppression” closely enough, it begins to look a lot like a conspiracy theory.
You’re offended that I would describe “structural oppression” as a conspiracy theory. “What about Jim Crow laws?” you ask. “What about all these other things?” I recognize your point. However, we are not living in the 1950’s. The Jim Crow laws were repealed, overridden, and/or declared unconstitutional decades ago. Police reforms have been instituted in the wake of the murder of George Floyd. Discriminatory practices in banking, housing, and employment are generally illegal. No, the world is not perfect, and there is always room for improvement. But if the legal framework of discrimination has already been dismantled, then whatever discrimination remains is no longer “structural.” That’s the wrong word.
Yes, Republicans, especially in the Old South, are hard at work trying to restrict voting access in ways that disproportionately impact communities of color: and that is arguably a form of structural oppression in the present. But it’s not universally true, and it certainly fails to prove that our entire democracy is part of a system of structural oppression. Quite the contrary: if democracy is oppressive, then why would those Republicans try to restrict voting access? It’s precisely because democracy represents liberation! Claiming otherwise is, in fact, a conspiracy theory. The Narrative of “structural oppression” is a conspiracy theory.
You’re still offended that I would describe “structural oppression” as a conspiracy theory. “Why, just look at all these statistics!” you say.
Recall what Mark Twain famously said about statistics: “There are lies, damned lies, and statistics.”
I see a lot of statistics online, and about 95% of them are purely made up out of thin air. (For example, I just made up that statistic to demonstrate the point.)
Even when they’re accurate, statistics are often misleading, because they don’t tell the whole story. They may be able to show a correlation, but they can never definitively prove causation.
Where’s the Call for Equality in Homelessness?
Most homeless people are men.
Think about that.
If we are truly concerned with systematically enforcing “equality of outcome,” then theoretically we should want the bottom end of our socioeconomic spectrum to demonstrate the same identity characteristics as the broader population. And yet, no one is calling for more women to go homeless. That would be cruel. But if we don’t address this gross gender disparity, then it will continue to persist! And I certainly don’t hear the movement calling for social programs that would specifically lift more men out of poverty.
The movement is only concerned with perceived inequality at the very top. They’re not at all bothered by this gross disparity at the very bottom.
Well, I’ve never been at the very top; but I have been there at the bottom. I experienced a time in my life when I was unhoused and uncertain where I would be sleeping that night. I was fortunate to have a car, so I slept in my car, and I did not have to resort to sleeping on the street. Nonetheless, by definition, if you sleep in your car because you don’t have anywhere else to stay, then you’re homeless. I was homeless for a brief time in my mid-twenties, shortly after I returned from overseas with a severe case of PTSD, as I’ll be discussing in an upcoming book.
So I’m quite concerned with this gender disparity at the very bottom. This inequality of outcome has affected me, personally.
Consider the possibility that there may be one specific factor that would help to explain both the disparity at the bottom, and the disparity at the top: namely, biological differences between the physical brains of people of the two different genders.
(Gender is biological. Assertions to the contrary are subversive propaganda aimed at destroying the self-confidence of men and destabilizing society. There are only two genders: male, and female. “Fluid” is not a gender. “Bisexual” is a sexual orientation, not a gender. Stop conflating your sexual orientation with your gender, it’s not the same thing.)
Why are men often paid more than women? You insist that it’s because all the Human Resources departments are sexist. That was undoubtedly true, more than half a century ago; but today? It seems so unlikely as to be laughable. I suggest there may be multiple other factors at work: chief among them, the simple fact that there are biological differences between the physical brains of men and the physical brains of women: differences which cause men to be, on average, somewhat more assertive and more prone to risk-taking. Male assertiveness pays off in contract negotiation, and male risk-taking pays off in investments, sometimes, but a couple of big wins are enough to offset many small losses. Because they are more assertive and more prone to risk-taking, men are also more likely to try to attain a position that they’re not entirely qualified for (such as when I ran for the Oregon State House of Representatives, for example): not because society oppresses women, but rather because men’s brains are physically wired to disregard reasonable hesitations.
But on the other hand, men are also far more likely to experience homelessness, for the exact same reason!
When men take too many risks that don’t pay off, then they end up living on the street. Our homeless population skews vastly, overwhelmingly, disproportionately male, for this very reason. (That’s one statistic you’re unlikely to ever hear about from the movement!)
The solution to the problem of pay disparities, then, is not to cancel all men, or to promote Eugenics via human cloning to create a future with no men in it (thank you Jurassic World: Dominion), but simply to promote pay transparency.
I’m all in favor of pay transparency — and I’m in favor of an Equal Rights Amendment, too. There’s no need to call people names and go on a tirade filled with angry accusations and conspiracy theories just to achieve these sorts of reasonable goals. Just ask for what you want. Be direct. You may be surprised how many people already agree with you.
A Post-Racial Society?
I was raised to believe in a race-neutral ideal, as preached by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
And I absorbed that message. I don’t particularly care what color your skin is. It’s not important to me.
I voted for Barack Obama twice because I liked his policies. I listen to Jimi Hendrix because I like his music. I watch Will Smith movies because I enjoy his acting. I connect with these great figures, and many others, on the basis of the quality of their work and their ideas: not based on what they look like. And I believe that’s how we’re all supposed to relate to one another.
But such a “race-neutral” world view is unacceptable to CRT activists. And that is precisely why CRT is a serious problem for the future of our society.
According to prominent CRT activists like Ibram X. Kendi, it’s racist to ignore race; and instead, we should focus on or “center” racial concerns in all of our conversations, considerations, and political policies, now and forevermore.
I came of age in the 1990s; and at that time, I learned that centering race before all other considerations is called “racism.”
Therefore, my core values are incompatible with the teachings of CRT. Forced to choose one or the other, I prefer my core values over the subversive demands and dictates of a dodgy social movement that doesn’t even want to tell me its own name.
Can we agree to disagree? No, because the movement is intolerant of dissent. If you disagree with the movement’s ideas, they attack you personally: they call you names, they subject you to mob harassment, they do their best to destroy your life and get you fired from your job. The movement does not permit disagreement. So, instead we’re going to fight.
The Movement That Must Not Be Named refuses to accept responsibility for the consequences of its actions. It blames the far Right for all the divisions in our country: but the movement itself is the far Right’s primary motivator. The movement’s self-righteous intolerance; its obsession with dividing people into antagonistic subcategories; and its self-righteous enforcement of separations between those divisions (whence the term “cultural appropriation”): these behaviors are making things worse. I was brought up on the ideal of the “great melting pot,” but that ideal is rejected by the movement’s dogma. The movement doesn’t want us all to join together in mutual acceptance: the movement wants vindictive revenge.
The movement’s propaganda is dishonest. The movement itself is anti-democratic. The movement is fundamentally opposed to our core value of equality. The movement’s extremist ideology absolutely does not belong in our public schools.
I will fight this movement as long as it continues to exert a stranglehold on the Democratic Party. Yes, a few bridges may catch fire in the process; but I hope to build new bridges in their place: stronger bridges connecting me with other moderates, people who share my concerns and my belief in our core values of freedom and equality.
Image credit: Towfiqu Barbhuiya via Unsplash.