by Paul Gottfried
Of late, Fox News has been hosting a series called “The MisEducation of America” featuring gatherings of critical race theory’s critics—such as Carol Swain of Vanderbilt University—focusing on the danger of teaching racially divisive versions of American history. According to Swain, a black professor of political science at Vanderbilt, forcing kids to do things like play games called “privilege bingo” are “a prime example of how CRT, has seeped down to K-12 education, and it disturbs students.” Further: “All of these critical theories with Marxist roots are destroying American education, and parents have to save their children. But they also have to work to save other people’s children.”
Although the media and our universities may choose to ignore Swain’s complaint, she is actually understating the problem she and “MisEducation” host Pete Hegseth are featuring. I’m not sure I see “the Marxist roots” of the crusade against white people and their history in quite the same way Swain and Hegseth see it. We are indeed witnessing class warfare but not of the kind that Marx foresaw. It is a war being waged by white elites against the “basket of deplorables,” the predominantly white, working-class, and small-town Americans whom these elites hate and want to divest of human dignity. Similar conflicts are going on simultaneously in other Western countries, featuring equivalent social conflict.
In none of these cases do we find Marx’s appeals to the proletariat to rise up against those who control the means of production. In fact, we are witnessing exactly the opposite. An alliance of corporate capitalists, feminists, the LGBT lobby, and black race hustlers are directing their fire on the working class, which seems to be the least affected by the hegemonic ideology of wokeness. If anything, we are now looking at what Pedro Gonzalez has characterized as “the counterrevolution of the ruling class.” If Marxist theory, which supposedly is “seeping in” has any application, it would be as an analysis of how our elites are suppressing those they are stepping on and trying through increasingly vicious hate speech to isolate.
The ruling class, which avails itself of the full rhetorical arsenal of the historical Left, happily pulls out archaic Marxist phrases to justify its actions. Thus, the transgendered or black racialists emerge rhetorically transfigured as Marx’s revolutionary class, but it is not hard to figure out what is going on here. The leftist counterrevolutionaries are not appealing to an oppressed working class but precisely to its enemies, those who hate ordinary working-class Americans because of their whiteness and the traditional social values they are thought to embody.
The last term I would use to describe listeners of National Public Radio or regular diners at the Harvard Faculty Club is Marxist revolutionaries. They are a parasitic class of haters who pretend to be supporting revolutionary change. They have all the iconoclastic freshness of the geriatric Soviet rulers before their downfall, speaking of an almost equally obnoxious group that also claimed to be promoting revolution.
I would also take issue with many of the comments I have heard from the host and guests of “The MisEducation of America.” The promoters and teachers of critical race theory are not just dividing classmates over race or distorting the intentions of America’s founders. They are stirring up racial hate, which the Democratic National Committee, the mainstream media and our (mis) educators have been politically exploiting for decades.
It’s a lot worse than just making students in the same schoolroom distrust one another. Those doing the inciting seem to loathe those they are attacking and often vent against them with intense fury. Ron Dreher has offered for our assessment a YouTube video produced by Tom Curry, a white professor of CRT at Texas A & M. In this shocking video, Curry tells us whites are racially uneducable and then suggests that many of them may have to be eliminated. Brittney Cooper, an associate professor of gender and sexuality studies at Rutgers University, put the matter succinctly in a reference to white people during a critical race forum on October 28: “We’ve got to take the motherf—kers out.”
Statements calling for human extermination come easily to the woke Left’s lips or iPhone. In 2018, former New York Times writer Sarah Jeong tweeted “Cancel White People.” Expressing this unkind sentiment not only did nothing to short-circuit her hiring at the Times, Vox editor Ezra Klein rushed to Jeong’s defense and explained that her form of expression was appropriate for describing the “dominant power structure and culture.” (Jeong left the Times after about a year.) Presumably when Hitler expressed comparable loathing for Jews, he too was just characterizing a “power structure.”
I doubt that the haters whom I have quoted are really intent on killing all white people. They are certainly not interested in wiping out the ones in gated communities, least of all those who flaunt Black Lives Matter signs and whose offspring attend Ivy League institutions. It’s the other whites they would like to destroy.
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Paul Edward Gottfried is the editor of Chronicles. An American paleoconservative philosopher, historian, and columnist, Gottfried is a former Horace Raffensperger Professor of Humanities at Elizabethtown College in Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania, as well as a Guggenheim recipient.