In the last year, an 85 year old school of thought as become a commonplace term in the American political landscape. Critical Theory, or its sub-discipline Critical Race Theory, was developed at the Frankfurt School, a German school of thought in Marxist academica. Remember hat Germany at this time was being lead by a socialist-nationalist party that was focused on the working class Germans. The academics in Frankfurt saw the Nazis as an example of how Communism did not really work when it looked at the common man. Instead of really analyzing whether communist thought worked, the Frankfurt School just changed their definition of the proletariat.
Rather than a revolution between poor people and the middle class as taught by Karl Marx, Critical Theory promotes continuous revolution between any minority group and any majority group. Critical Race Theory therefore argues that racial minorities must revolt against the norms and morals of the majority to create a new society.
This idea is called a dialectic; a dialectic is when you have two opposing viewpoints and you mix them together to hopefully come up with something that is more true than either one of them. While dialectics can be a useful form of argumentation, the very method of critical theory or Marxian dialectics denies the power of logic, science, and divine revelation.
Logic, or deductive reasoning states that if something is true, it is always true.
Science, or inductive reasoning states that we can discover truths about the world around us through creating hypotheses, testing them with an experiment, and refining them.
Divine revelation states that this universe had a beginning and therefore had a beginner. We cannot know that which is outside of our world unless it is revealed by that beginner.
These three methods of thought are the foundation for modern civilization. Working them together, great minds like Newton and Einstein were able to lay the foundations for physics and higher math. Using all forms of reasoning Adam Smith and Keynes were able to formulate theories of economics.
Where in reasoning does Critical Theory, communist thought, and critical race theory fall?
Dialectics, like the Yin-Yang of ancient eastern philosophy, takes the necessary incremental thought of science and tries to apply it to logic. If something is true, it is also false. When you combine a truth and a falsehood you get a more false truth or a more true falsehood.
The fundamental problem with Critical Theory is that it takes a phenomenon like skin color and makes it an absolute moral value: black skin color is good, white skin color is an oppressor and evil.
Skin color is a phenomenon. It is not something that we can choose or change. Like the composition of air, skin color can cause different effects but there is no Truth to be derived from the simple accident of the status of your birth.
Likewise with your sex.
Or your eye color.
Or whether a rock is igneous, metamorphic, or sedimentary.
These are all basic physical facts. I am a white male born to a Christian American family in the 20th century who spoke one language in the home. Using any of those characteristics to group humans together and judge them is wrong.
Any time you are judged based on group inclusion or identity, you are not being judged on your own merits but those of another. Critical Race Theory judges for both good and ill large groups of people based on non-moral characteristics. Sex, race, nationality are characteristics we are born with. We may attempt to change them for various reasons but it does not change the fact that these are non chosen characteristics.
On the other hand, if I choose to murder someone, I am a murderer. Notice that our laws differentiate between accidents, negligence, and murder.
If I choose to steal from people, I am a thief.
Critical Race Theory says that I am a thief because of my skin color or my nationality or my religion. It says that my friends are my victims because of their skin color, nationality, or religion.
At Aletheia, we study dialectic methods of reasoning but we do not embrace the confusion that condemns or sanctifies people based on group characteristics.