Tuesday, June 29, 2021

For My LDS Readers: Critical Race Theory As A Secret Combination

PJ Media recently ran an article by Bryan Preston, "Leaked Docs: Critical Race Theory Seeks to Undermine Equality and the Constitutional Order," that lets the proponents of critical race theory (CRT) describe themselves and their aims. The documents weren't secret, but neither were they intended for public dissemination. What the documents state is of no surprise to anyone that has spent even a modicum of time studying the movement, but at least it is in their own voice. And, as Preston reports, "In its own words, critical race theory seeks to overthrow America’s system of government."

    The documents in question are from Iowa’s Mississippi Bend Area Education Agency (MBAEA) but probably are similar to documents and lesson plans distributed to other educational agencies. Preston writes:

    The document clearly separates CRT from “traditional civil rights,” saying it “questions the very foundations of the liberal order, including equality theory, legal reasoning, Enlightenment rationalism, and principles of constitutional law.”

    This helps explain the sudden shift in rhetoric away from equality and toward “equity.” This massive moving of the goalposts is based on CRT’s principles.

    According to documents leaked to Benny Johnson of Turning Point USA and Newsmax TV, the MBAEA is forcing hundreds of teachers into this training at taxpayer expense. Not only is it designed to fracture and undermine our entire basis of law, it’s openly racist and it’s politically vindictive.

    Among the terms the MBAEA’s training insists are “white supremacist” are “colorblindness,” celebrating Columbus Day, believing that “we’re just one human family,” and, of course, “Make America Great Again.”

You can view some of the slides from the training presentation here

    In October 1961, then Apostle Ezra Taft Benson gave a talk titled "Secret Combinations." He begins by noting that America and, more specifically, the United States, had been specially set apart by the Lord. Among the points he noted:

    Sixth: Having declared America to be a land of liberty, God undertook to raise up a band of inspired and intelligent leaders who could write a constitution of liberty and establish the first free people in modern times. The hand of God in this undertaking is clearly indicated by the Lord himself in a revelation to the Prophet Joseph Smith in these words

    “…I established the Constitution of this land, by the hands of wise men whom I raised up unto this very purpose....” (D&C 101:80.)

    Seventh: God declared that the United States Constitution was divinely inspired for the specific purpose of eliminating bondage and the violation of the rights and protection which belongs to “all flesh.” (Ibid., 101:77-80.)

    Eighth: God placed a mandate upon his people to befriend and defend the constitutional laws of the land and see that the rights and privileges of all mankind are protected. He verified the declaration of the founding fathers, that God created all men free. He also warned against those who would enact laws encroaching upon the sacred rights and privileges of free men. He urged the election of honest and wise leaders and said that evil men and laws were of Satan. (Ibid., 98:5-10.)

    Ninth: God predicted through his prophets that this great gentile nation, raised up on the American continent in the last days, would become the richest and most powerful nation on the face of the earth; even “above all other nations.” (See 1 Nephi 13:15, 30; Ether 2:12.)

    Tenth: Concerning the United States, the Lord revealed to his prophets that its greatest threat would be a vast, worldwide “secret combination” which would not only threaten the United States but also seek to “overthrow the freedom of all lands, nations, (Ether 8:25.)

He continued:

    Where do we stand today? All over the world the light of freedom is being diminished. Across whole continents of the earth freedom is being totally obliterated.

    Never in recorded history has any movement spread its power so far and so fast as has socialistic-communism in the last three decades. The facts are not pleasant to review. Communist leaders are jubilant with their success. They are driving freedom back on almost every front.

    It is time, therefore, that every American, and especially every member of the priesthood, became informed about the aims, tactics, and schemes of socialistic-communism. This becomes particularly important when it is realized that communism is turning out to be the earthly image of the plan which Satan presented in the pre-existence. The whole program of socialistic- communism is essentially a war against God and the plan of salvation—the very plan which we fought to uphold during “the war in heaven.”

Benson's was famous (or infamous, depending on your point of view) for criticizing communism and socialism, but his antipathy was not without precedent. On July 3, 1936, the First Presidency of the Church issued a statement concerning communism:

WARNING TO CHURCH MEMBERS

    With great regret we learn from credible sources, governmental and others, that a few Church members are joining directly or indirectly, the Communists and are taking part in their activities.

    The Church does not interfere, and has no intention of trying to interfere, with the fullest and freest exercise of the political franchise of its members, under and within our Constitution which the Lord declared: “I established . . . by the hands of wise men whom I raised up unto this very purpose,”(D&C 101:80) and which, as to the principles thereof, the Prophet, dedicating the Kirtland Temple, prayed should be “established forever.”(D&C 109:54)

    But Communism is not a political party nor a political plan under the Constitution; it is a system of government that is the opposite of our Constitutional government, and it would be necessary to destroy our government before Communism could be set up in the United States.

    Since Communism, established, would destroy our American Constitutional government, to support Communism is treasonable to our free institutions, and no patriotic American citizen may become either a Communist or supporter of Communism.

    To our Church members we say: Communism is not the United Order, and bears only the most superficial resemblance thereto; Communism is based upon intolerance and force, the United Order upon love and freedom of conscience and action; Communism involves forceful despoliation and confiscation, the United Order voluntary consecration and sacrifice.

    Communists cannot establish the United Order, nor will Communism bring it about. The United Order will be established by the Lord in His own due time and in accordance with the regular prescribed order of the Church.

    Furthermore, it is charged by universal report, which is not successfully contradicted or disproved, that Communism undertakes to control, if not indeed to proscribe the religious life of the people living within its jurisdiction, and that it even reaches its hand into the sanctity of the family circle itself, disrupting the normal relationship of parent and child, all in a manner unknown and unsanctioned under the Constitutional guarantees under which we in America live. Such interference would be contrary to the fundamental precepts of the Gospel and to the teachings and order of the Church. Communism being thus hostile to loyal American citizenship and incompatible with true Church membership, of necessity no loyal American citizen and no faithful Church member can be a Communist.

    We call upon all Church members completely to eschew Communism. The safety of our divinely inspired Constitutional government and the welfare of our Church imperatively demand that Communism shall have no place in America.

First Presidency:

HEBER J. GRANT

J. REUBEN CLARK, JR.

DAVID O. MCKAY

Nevertheless, as D. Michael Quinn carefully documents in his article, "Ezra Taft Benson and Mormon Political Conflicts," Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Vol. 26, No. 2 (Summer 1993), pp. 1-87, Benson faced considerable backlash from others for his anti-communist stance, including high ranking officials within the Church. Most notably among the criticisms leveled against him were his close ties to the John Birch Society and his claims that communism was active in the civil rights movement and was infiltrating academia, including student groups. 

    Quinn's piece certainly portrays Benson as almost paranoid and delusional about communism and its linkages to key social movements, and perhaps from the perspective of 1993 it may have seemed that way. Of course, now we know better. Benson has not only been vindicated by history, but in retrospect may not have been harsh enough.

    First, it is well established that communists were involved with the nascent civil rights efforts of the 1920s and 1930s and later. (See, e.g., these articles from WikipediaNPRCommon Places, and the Atlantic). In fact, the latter article from the Atlantic relates:

    ... In 1932, for instance, Dmitri Moor, the Soviet Union’s most famous propaganda poster artist, created a poster that cried, “Freedom to the prisoners of Scottsboro!” It was a reference to the Scottsboro Boys, nine black teenagers who were falsely accused of raping two white women in Alabama, and then repeatedly—wrongly—convicted by all-white Southern juries. The case became a symbol of the injustices of the Jim Crow South, and the young Soviet state milked it for all the propagandistic value it could.

    It was part of a plan put in place in 1928 by the Comintern—the Communist International, whose mission was to spread the communist revolution around the world. The plan initially called for recruiting Southern blacks and pushing for “self-determination in the Black Belt.” By 1930, the Comintern had escalated the aims of its covert mission, and decided to work toward establishing a separate black state in the South, which would provide it with a beachhead for spreading the revolution to North America.

Certainly the FBI believed that Martin Luther King, Jr., was a Marxist or sympathetic to Marxist beliefsThe Communist Party USA proudly proclaims that "[t]hroughout the 1960s, Communists continued to champion the Black freedom movement—in the streets, workplaces, and campuses. Many Communists worked with and within mass civil rights organizations like the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and the Black Panther Party (BPP), while also building left-led formations such as the W. E. B. Du Bois Clubs." The post goes on to highlight the connections between the communist party and the BLM movement. 

    Second, as documented in Brian Burroughs's book, Days of Rage: America's Radical Underground, the FBI, and the Forgotten Age of Revolutionary Violence, radical student and black revolutionary groups of the 1960s and 1970s were, in fact, mostly populated by self-avowed communists that were primarily inspired by the writings of Mao and Ho Chi Minh, whose blue-print of revolution was the Cuban Revolution, and whose icon--their saint, so to speak--was Che Guevara. 

    Third, it is obvious to all but the most blind that the neo-Marxists have, in fact, taken over not only academia but much of our government, and is now working on the military--conducting a political purge, as Tucker Carlson puts it. This is all derived from "critical theory" which can be directly traced back to the Frankfurt School and its avowedly Marxist intellectuals. As Michael Walsh described them in his book, The Devil's Pleasure Palace:

Don Quixotes of the mind, their philosophy giving unholy birth to the "sniveling brats" of the contemporary nasty, sneering Left, gibing at both the traditionally masculine and feminine virtues and appurtenances, desperately trying to relegate the ur-Narrative to the realm of secondary myth and legend, to bedtime stories for the gonzo Bones of postwar America: Such was the Frankfurt School. Having seized academia, they left a legacy in the cancerous growth of "studies" departments (gender, race, queer, whatever) that infest the modern university at the expense of classical learning. They have turned prominent institutions of what used to be called "higher learning" into reeducation camps of lower learning, populating them with "diversity" commissars and political officers, blunt fists in tweed jackets, sucking taxpayer money to fuel their own employment, forcing the larger population to subsidize their own theory of destruction. 

In Jim O'Neill's article, "Liberal Treason Explained: 'The Kindergarden of Eden',” he relates:

    Moving right along, let me next touch on the decline and fall of American education—triggered in no small part by members of the Frankfurt School. Most readers are at least somewhat familiar with the Frankfurt School—that group of German Marxists who were welcomed into the United States during the Nazi’s rise to power in the 1930s. Members of the Frankfurt School repaid America’s largesse by stabbing her in the back and spreading an especially virulent form of anti-Americanism throughout US academia. Perhaps the most infectious carrier of their disease was Herbert Marcuse (1898-1979).                                         

    “Sex sells"is a well known advertising axiom, and Marcuse hit upon the diabolically clever stratagem of combining sex with soft-sell Marxism. In 1955 Marcuse published his book “Eros and Civilization,“which lit the fire that would erupt into “the sexual revolution"of the 1960s (aided and abetted by the bogus “scientific findings"of pervert extraordinaire Dr. Alfred Kinsey—“Marquis de Sade with a research team"as Selwyn Duke describes him).                           

    “Eros and Civilization“popularized the concept of polymorphous perversity (a term coined by atheist and hater of Judeo/Christian tradition Sigmund Freud). Polymorphous perversity was put into the vernacular in the 1960s as “If it feels good do it.“Skillfully hidden within the “if it feels good do it"camouflage, Marcuse included anti-capitalism, anti-freedom, anti-American Marxist propaganda.

Another author, Pedro Blas Gonzalez, explains:

In the twentieth century Marxism attempted to re-make itself by undermining emerging industries, technologies and new forms of work. The advent of critical theory and cultural studies is the brainchild of so-called neo-Marxists. In these disciplines of intellectual contortion, Marxist social engineers saw a powerful vehicle to showcase their perpetual slander of work, industry, and ultimately – human reality. Their program of misinformation, Marxists were confident, would be most effective if diligently applied to all aspects of human life. The media and cultural institutions would eventually be made to serve not as purveyors of what human reality is, but rather as a forum to forge the Marxists vision of what reality ought to be. This has proven to be a diabolically effective strategy. In the twentieth century, this is the story of the Frankfurt School.

And he adds:

    At the heart of Marxism in the twentieth century, we encounter the work of social-engineers like Antonio Gramsci (1891-1937), Theodor Adorno (1903-1969), Max Horkheimer (1895-1973), Herbert Marcuse (1898-1979), and many other self-styled cultural theorists. They insist that in order to destroy capitalism, it is necessary to influence the masses through their culture. This includes religious belief and family life. This also means that music, art, philosophy, sex, sports, agriculture, technology, health – education at every level – and the way that people communicate must become the target of Marxism. In other words, no aspect of human existence can be left out of the grasp of Marxism’s all-engulfing program. Spontaneity must be obliterated.  All aspects of human existence must be made political. In this fashion, metaphysical and existential aspects of man are made to be filtered through a social-political prism. Marxism hopes to organize society by creating a priestly caste of elite intellectuals who rule over their subjects with bureaucratic planning. This is one reason why Marxism must castrate man’s appeal to God on a moral and spiritual basis. God is an obstacle in the creation of the new Marxist man.

    The Frankfurt School, in turn, was heavily influenced by Antonio Gramsci, a Neo-Marxist philosopher and a founding member of the Italian Communist Party, who developed the theory of Cultural Marxism.

    Marx had argued that the owners of the means of production maintained their position primarily through political and economic force, though other elements in society such as religion also contributed to their control over society. Gramsci expanded on this idea, arguing that the bourgeoisie maintain power primarily through their cultural hegemony, that is, their control over all facets of the culture and the promulgation of their values, and this explains why the proletariat revolution that Marx predicted had not happened. In effect, the workers have adopted bourgeois values as their own, seeing them as common sense, even though they run counter to their own interests. For change to happen in society, the working class needs to develop its own culture based on its own self-interests. To do this, it needs to form alliances and compromises with other groups. The ideology it develops thus must extend well beyond narrow economic interests and address the moral and spiritual needs of people. Only when it develops such a counter-hegemony that can challenge and ultimately replace the cultural hegemony of the bourgeoisie will the communist revolution succeed. Gramsci further believed that meaning comes from the interaction between human activity and larger historical and social processes. Knowledge is fundamentally social, that is, it is based on the relationships between people who hold the ideas. This comes very close to the postmodern view that truth is a social construct. The bottom line here is that for social progress and the liberation of the worker to occur, the current culture and value system must be attacked and replaced with a new one that reflects the interests of workers and, more broadly, the oppressed. Establishing this new “truth” is critical to human liberation. It thus fits well with the trends we saw in the last article dealing with postmodernism. 

    Gramsci’s ideas influenced the Frankfurt School, an approach to social theory and critical philosophy originally centered in the Institute for Social Research at Goethe University, Frankfurt, Germany. 

Returning to Gonzalez's article, after discussing Gramsci, he turns to the Frankfurt School:

    The creation of the Frankfurt School is a significant turning point in Marxism’s attempt to destabilize Western culture in the twentieth century. The purported critical component of the Frankfurt School’s praxeology launched Western Marxist intellectuals into unprecedented territory. The secular messianism of the Frankfurt School declared war on God, truth and other objectives that were now re-packaged and vilified as being the tools of capitalism. The Frankfurt School made it fashionably expedient to disregard truth, data, information – in essence – any verifiable aspects of human reality that did not conform and promote Marxists causes and ideology. All members of the Frankfurt School were atheists.

    Historically, the Frankfurt School serves as the intellectual pillar of today’s cultural war. In order for Marxism to stretch its talons as a social-political theory of human reality, it needed to take command of the popular psyche. This meant the creation of popular, social-political myths that would encompass the whole of human life. Marxism is an ominous ideology because every aspect of human reality and the human person must be viewed through a social-political spectrum. This is why post-modernity’s destruction of objective values has no precedent in human history. Rather than paying heed to historical periods – what has worked and what great suffering bankrupted ideas have brought about in the past – post-modernity pretends that history begins with the life of every individual. If everything is relative and human existence is no more than a social-political power play – then everything is permitted.

    The legacy of Marxism that informs post-modernity circa 2018 is tantamount to a chameleon-like reworking of Marxism in the twenty-first century. The ability for Marxism to re-invent itself on demand is its great strength.  Because reason is only an illusion of Western thinkers, violence, both physical and intellectual, is condoned by Marxism. Post-modernity has proven itself to be infatuated with theoretical and intellectual violence, while decrying their physical offspring. Let us be cognizant of what is meant by post-modern:

“Modern debates were over truth and reality, reason and experience, liberty and equality, justice and peace, beauty and progress. In the postmodern framework, those concepts always appear in quotation marks. Our most strident voices tell us that ‘Truth’ is a myth. ‘Reason’ is a white male Eurocentric construct. ‘Equality’ is a mask for  oppressions. ‘Peace’ and ‘Progress’ are met with cynical and weary reminders of power-or explicit ad hominem attacks.” 

    Kenny Xu, in "Critical Race Theory’s Poisonous Roots Trace Back To Harvard University," published in The Federalist, traces CRT's origins thusly:

    ... Critical race theory emerged from one of America’s foremost institutions: Harvard University. Tracing the history of critical race theory reveals just how intimately connected it is with America’s most prestigious university.

    In the wake of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, legal scholars grappled with how the sweeping legislation would affect America’s racial struggles. By the 1970s, it was clear that anti-discrimination law and racial integration had not fully healed the nation’s race relations. This frustrated many civil rights advocates, who after Martin Luther King Jr. died in 1968 lacked a moral lodestar to underpin their faith in American democracy to solve racial problems.

    Borrowing from Italian Marxist philosopher Antonio Gramsci, who posited a theory of “cultural hegemony” by the capitalist ruling class, a group of Ivy League law professors developed a school of thought called “critical legal studies,” synthesizing Gramsci’s theory of hegemony with racial classification. The most important thinkers of the group of critical legal theorists were all Harvard Law professors: Derrick Bell, Roberto Unger, Duncan Kennedy, and Morton Horwitz.

    The main tenets of the philosophy included that justice is inherently subjective, the law is nothing but a political tool, and the system will only ever provide good outcomes for the wealthy and privileged. Their proposed solution was to overthrow Western liberal society. ...

    To sum up, CRT is derived from the Marxist theories espoused by Gramsci and the Frankfurt School. It is atheistic, seeking to supplant God and religion with worship of man and state, and to constrain human freedom and thought. It is, in short, "hostile to loyal American citizenship and incompatible with true Church membership."

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