Many people who are skeptical of or opposed to Critical Race Theory and the rather distinctly neo-Maoist flavor of Wokeness more generally vociferously supported Joe Biden and, presumably in most cases, voted for him in this election. They did so on the assumption that the best way to put a halt to the excesses of the Critical Social Justice movement—by which it should be known—would be to remove the irritant in chief, Donald J. Trump, and then take to fighting the culture war against CSJ properly, with the “but Trump!” defense removed from play. I’m not unsympathetic to this argument at the level of the culture war because it is, in fact, right. I think it misunderstands the nature of how the Critical Social Justice ideology works, however.
It must be understood that Critical Social Justice is an administrative and bureaucratic ideology by its very design. It was formulated by activist academics to train not just activists but, very specifically, either people who will go on to produce the culture industry (like in media and arts) or who will become administrative bureaucrats where they can produce a kind of unaccountable policy that we find in HR departments, where pushback is irrelevant unless it’s from the top down. These sorts of people dream of positions not specifically of power and influence, like the presidency, but of training and administrative roles where they will receive relatively little scrutiny or opposition while they engage in their favorite activity of all: telling other people what to do, not directly, but through a shield of very official and institutionally binding paper.
For any of his late and thin comments about the violence that has rocked our streets for the last half of this year, Biden has given us absolutely no indication that he’s going to resist any of this bureaucratic totalitarianism. In fact, he’s done the opposite, using the language of the ideology, like saying he has a “mandate” from the voters (in an election that hasn’t yet even been decided, two weeks later) to take on “systemic racism,” and tapping individuals like Mehrsa Baradaran (who believes in full reparations) for the Treasury Department and Margaret Salazar (whose focus is on “cultural responsiveness”) for Housing and Urban Development. These come among roughly 500 more appointments to his administrative bureaucracy—so far—who allegedly express a commitment to racial justice, in line with precisely the racial equity programs touted by Biden and Harris on their campaign and now transition websites. In few domains has it been signaled that this will be more powerfully considered than in public health and the Covid-19 response, which Biden has already indicated will lead to a permanent position: “At the end of this health crisis, it will transition to a permanent Infectious Disease Racial Disparities Task Force,” we’re told on the Covid-19 priorities page on Biden’s “Build Back Better” transition site.
This renders Biden and, perhaps, Harris largely irrelevant to the “Woke” impacts of their election. They are, if you’ll accept the metaphor, “not the room.” These administrators are the room. Biden (and Harris, maybe) can be as moderate as moderate gets, and if even a modest fraction of the administrators in key departments favor the Critical Social Justice style of policy, that’s most of what we’ll get. So far, we have reason to suspect that at least an eighth of Biden’s administrative apparatus will be in that vein, including in key and powerful sectors like public health—to say nothing of apparatuses like the FBI.
What can we expect from these administrators under Biden the Irrelevant? Equity. Equity is intended to be brought into roughly every sector of the federal government, from education to jobs to banking to climate policy to public health—which will, itself, be used as a rather potent lever against the people. And what is equity? Equity is the adjustment of shares of resources in a society so as to make people or groups of people equal when certain disparities of outcomes exist. Equity is both the measuring stick and functional opposite of “systemic racism,” which is to say that which Critical Race Theory believes is the cause of all racial disparities that do not favor blacks, some Latinos (but not others), and members of other non-white races (under certain conditions).
How any of this will be resisted with entities like the Department of Education, Department of Commerce, Department of Justice, Housing and Urban Development, and so on, stuffed with people whose chief ambition in life is to order the affairs of others so that nothing against the Theory of Critical Social Justice is permissible or tolerated remains unclear. It was, in fact, for the clear-eyed, the central issue on the table in this election: who gets to control these unaccountable administrators? Someone permissive or even sympathetic, or someone who has indicated that he’s starting to understand the problem and is willing to take fair steps to stop it. And all of this goes even without considering that the Senate still hangs in the balance, its majority to be decided in Georgia’s January runoff elections.
In addition to skewing policy so that equity is a priority—indeed, Biden’s campaign website said that it will be achieved, which, in practice, will imply racial quotas, skewed admissions using diversity statements and other means, and other forms of redistribution of opportunities and resources, like preferential jobs investments into certain races but not others—we can also expect Biden will overturn Trump’s executive order that, nominally, “bans Critical Race Theory” training from the federal government and its contractors in certain capacities, though not universally. This is a curious matter, though, to anyone who has taken the ten minutes required to read the executive order itself (which is not long, not complicated, and not drowning in legalese). It’s worth lingering on the issue of this executive order, not because of its symbolic status of fealty or opposition to Critical Social Justice and Critical Race Theory, or even because of its practical effects, but because of the symbolic status that it implies about someone who wants it overturned.
First, let’s dispel a widespread and pervasive myth that seems so deliberately applied as to qualify as something simpler: a systematically pushed, disinforming lie. Trump’s executive order does not ban diversity training or racial sensitivity training, nor does it prohibit teaching the claims of Critical Race Theory in an academic fashion. This doesn’t need to be inferred, by the way. It’s actually explicitly in the order, in Section 10:
Sec. 10. General Provisions. (a) This order does not prevent agencies, the United States Uniformed Services, or contractors from promoting racial, cultural, or ethnic diversity or inclusiveness, provided such efforts are consistent with the requirements of this order. (b) Nothing in this order shall be construed to prohibit discussing, as part of a larger course of academic instruction, the divisive concepts listed in section 2(a) of this order in an objective manner and without endorsement.
Now, what does it prohibit? Teaching as uncontested fact in the workplace or academic training settings certain “divisive concepts,” as mentioned, among them race and sex stereotyping, race and sex scapegoating, that meritocracy is itself racist and oppressive, that discrimination should be acceptable, and teaching that the United States is itself an inherently racist or evil entity. The first of the listed concepts prohibited by the order is, to be clear, “(1) one race or sex is inherently superior to another race or sex.” One will notice, by the bye, that this order therefore would ban teaching white supremacy and patriarchy in addition to those portions of Critical Race Theory that do the same in a different way (which happens to be the functional core of it). This means that people who are against this order or who would overturn it—like Biden the Irrelevant—must support at least some of these things.
It is incumbent upon us, in our relative powerlessness against the administrative state that we have presumably collectively empowered, to therefore ask that question repeatedly of Biden, Harris, and everyone else with enough power to be held accountable to it. If they want to (or will) overturn that executive order, which is it that they support: race or sex stereotyping, race or sex scapegoating, believing that merit is racist, racial or sex discrimination, or that America itself is racist or evil? Which things among these do they want taught as uncontested fact, by employer mandate, to our federal employees and employees of federal contractors? And why do they want these things taught, possibly in violation of the Civil Rights Act and other laws? These questions must be put to as many officials in this administration, including Biden and Harris themselves, and many officials in other institutions and organizations, as widely and as often as possible.
So long as we’re talking about things of this kind that Biden, Harris, and others need to be pushed upon as vigorously as possible by those with the courage to do it, is what protection is offered to the everyday American who cares about the relevant issues and yet does not subscribe to the tenets of this sociological faith. Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, and liberal secular humanism all have different views about race and racism than the Critical one—all of which could rightly be called “anti-racist.” Christians see neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free; all are Muslims in Islam; Buddhists see superficial features like race as worldly illusions; and liberal secular humanists believe that race and racism are matters of individual belief and action, not complex and indescribable systems of domination and power. What protections for their beliefs exist in our workplaces, our professional societies, our schools, and our public lives to hold these admirable beliefs as is guaranteed by the First Amendment to our Constitution, the cornerstone of our republic?
Finally, on the issue of the Constitution itself, since Biden, Harris, and administration are already signaling support of and perhaps fealty to the doctrines of Critical Race Theory, they should be asked—and asked clearly and repeatedly—how it is that they intend to fulfill their oaths to the Constitution given that Critical Race Theory explicitly calls into question the very idea of neutral principles of constitutional law. In their own words, in Critical Race Theory: An Introduction, by Richard Delgado and Jean Stefancic, the authors are quite clear that Critical Race Theory is opposed to such an idea:
The critical race theory (CRT) movement is a collection of activists and scholars engaged in studying and transforming the relationship among race, racism, and power. The movement considers many of the same issues that conventional civil rights and ethnic studies discourses take up but places them in a broader perspective that includes economics, history, setting, group and self-interest, and emotions and the unconscious. Unlike traditional civil rights discourse, which stresses incrementalism and step-by-step progress, critical race theory questions the very foundations of the liberal order, including equality theory, legal reasoning, Enlightenment rationalism, and neutral principles of constitutional law. (emphasis added)
Given that this is the case—it is not mere interpretation or speculation—those who would support or install Critical Race Theory in our federal government and who would enable it within our country owe a tremendous debt of obligation to the American people to explain how they can thread the impossible needle of doing so while protecting and upholding their oath to the Constitution of the United States (if elected and sworn to do so) or its ideals (as responsible Americans mostly should). Sadly, this includes Biden and Harris, along with their administration, not to mention many lawmakers who, in having taken that same oath, should be put to the same basic American test. The questions must be asked, and clear answers must be given.
In summary, there is very little to suggest to me that the Biden administration that we have presumably elected to the highest office in the land and as the leadership of the free world for at least the next four years is prepared to safeguard its people on this issue. In fact, I see quite the opposite, based both upon knowing the Theory itself and understanding how it tends to implement itself through bureaucratic, administrative, and personnel training apparatuses. Whether right or wrong, we seemingly now have to play the game on the field set for us by anti-Woke Biden voters and do everything in our power to hold the relevant parties as accountable as possible.
This article was originally published at RocaNews.