The purpose of critical theory in public schools is to make children unhappy.
Episode 49 of James Lindsay’s The New Discourses podcast, titled “The Birth of Identity Marxism as Critical Theory’s New Proletariat,” is well worth the hour and a half to listen to it, although it may leave you worried that you’re becoming a conspiracy theorist.
As the title suggests, Lindsay reviews some leftist intellectual writing from the last century, centered around Herbert Marcuse, to explore how standard class-based Marxism became the race-and-identity-focused monster of neo-Marxism we’re living with today. The summary of Lindsay’s thesis is as follows:
… Critical Theorists … hated that capitalism works. … “[A]dvanced capitalism,” as they call it, which is protected against monopoly abuses, allows the working class to “build a better life.” Having a good life, you see, stabilizes them. It takes away their revolutionary will. It makes them love their society and want to maintain it. It, in their view, turns them conservative, and this is intolerable. Prosperous, functioning societies became the target of their bid for cultural revolution in the 1960s. To execute this revolution, though, they needed a new base for revolutionary energy, a new proletariat to awaken to Marxian revolutionary anger. Herbert Marcuse, architect of the New Left, found that new proletariat in identity politics, laying the ground in which the Woke Identity Marxism of today would eventually take root.
Lindsay makes a persuasive case that the socialist/communist/progressive intellectuals planned to brainwash and agitate wealthy white students while stoking unrest among urban minorities so that they would (in the equity advisors’ popular phrase) “disrupt the system.” This is not in order to reform the system in a way that makes it work incrementally better, but to make it not work at all, thus prompting the bottom up revolt that will help a socialist elite take perpetual power.
We’re seeing this in the “equity audits” that every school district is hiring small, newly formed (or recently refocused) organizations to conduct. These suburban schools have not had any incidents or problems to justify the expense and effort; administrators are simply doing it.
The purpose, per Lindsay, is to make everybody dissatisfied so that we all fight among ourselves. If capitalism has worked and made people too comfortable for revolution, then obviously, the revolutionaries have to find a way to make us uncomfortable.
The cynical ploy doesn’t truly rely on the categories of justice on which it is currently focusing. Race and identity are just the present weapons; dissatisfaction with Western democratic capitalism is the goal. Taking away the comforts of the working class will aggravate them, and at that point, the socialist elite can simply switch horses, as it were, if that proves advantageous. People whose central strategy is undermining a successful, functioning society obviously don’t care about hurting others and will discard the radical students and minorities without a thought.
This strategy cunningly leverages an inherent imbalance. Radicals want the fight — any fight — because they believe they can take control amidst the turmoil. The other side just wants to let people go about their lives; if we fight fire with fire, then we simply create a choice between equivalences, and the radical elites can switch teams to push everything toward chaos.
We need an alternative strategy to match our alternative approach to society. (Christian charity and love have proven to be a promising approach throughout history.)
The first step, though, is always to identify the strategy and be able to explain it. In this case, the strategy we’re identifying intends to make our children uncomfortable, unhappy, and unable to function in our society. To disguise this monstrous intention, radicals promote the lie that our society is founded in “whiteness” and “systemic racism,” so that they can insist that it’s a bad thing to be able to function within it.
This is poison that they are using public schools to feed to our children. Simply pointing that out ought to be enough, if we’re not too far gone.
Featured image by Maick Maciel on Unsplash.