by Bruce Bawer
At long last, the president tackles the “critical race theory” infecting the federal workforce.
To be a freedom-loving individual in the year 2020, and to have a proper understanding of modern history and current events, is to be terrifyingly aware of just how much the liberty, prosperity, and stability of America and the free world depend on one thing and one thing alone – namely, the continued physical and intellectual health of a certain preternaturally brave, brilliant, and energetic 74-year-old named Donald Trump.
Rarely have so many owed so much to one extraordinarily dynamic and world-historical figure. And rarely has a head of state been so outnumbered by his enemies.
The Democrats are against him. The media and academy are against him. The deep state, which is to say officials in government departments and agencies and bureaus that are nominally under his own control, is against him. An increasing number of corporate leaders are against him. And even most of the members of his own party are against him – either that, or they’re cowards and careerists who, aware that no one else can fill his shoes, are hedging their bets, waiting to see whether he prevails or not.
Ever since Trump began running for president, the odds against his prevailing have seemed steep. In the 2016 Republican primaries he ran against a stage full of political veterans armed with researchers, speechwriters, focus-group results, and poll-tested talking points. He felled them all.
In the general election, he faced a candidate who had been cast by the blue-state establishment as the inevitable first woman president to follow the first black president. In the greatest upset in American history, he beat her, too.
During his campaign and well into his presidency, his predecessor plotted with deep state higher-ups and media cronies to bring him down. He survived—and they have yet to pay the price for their crimes.
The newest challenges against him take the form of riots in American cities—Minneapolis, Seattle, Portland, Kenosha, Rochester. There is vandalism, arson, and worse by fanatical socialists who, brainwashed by an ideological abomination known as critical race theory, view themselves as crusaders for racial justice.
The entire Democratic Party, which in recent years has been radicalized beyond recognition, is behind these riots. Democratic mayors and governors refuse to criticize them, let alone to suppress them (or to allow Trump to do so). Meanwhile, the media either portray the riots as “largely peaceful” or, perversely, blame them on Trump.
Critical Race Theory
But these riots are not the most menacing challenge to Trump. Far from it. Just as the greatest danger coming from Islam to the West is not the occasional act of terrorism but the relentless daily pressure on Western societies to adapt to Islamic social and legal norms, the greatest threat to Trump is not the fights and fires in the streets but the quiet, steady, behind-the-scenes institutionalization of critical race theory across America.
Take the New York Times’ duplicitous “1619 Project,” which, drawing on critical race theory, seeks to convince Americans that their country was founded not on freedom and equality but on slavery and racism. Propaganda materials based on the Times’ project have since been distributed for use in schools around the country. White children are being taught that they’re privileged oppressors. Black children are taught that they’re born victims. The idea of America as a land of opportunity for all, where little white and black kids can talk and learn and play together without constantly thinking about race, has been jettisoned.
Meanwhile, this same critical race theory is being forced on employees of innumerable companies and colleges at compulsory “training sessions” reminiscent of Communist Chinese reeducation camps. White employees are required to issue statements in which they confess to racism. These “training sessions,” we learned recently, have also been given to federal government employees under a policy apparently instituted under the Obama Administration.
It’s ironic. In 2008, Americans elected their first black president, who had spoken loftily during his campaign of “one America” that was neither blue-state nor red-state, neither black nor white. After he entered office, he launched aggressive reeducation initiatives predicated on the assumption, central to critical race theory, that white Americans—the people who put him in office—are profoundly racist.
Nothing could be more divisive, more dangerous—more un-American—than critical race theory. It’s not just wrong about the way ordinary, decent people think and feel. It’s an insidious attempt to undermine the view of race advanced by Martin Luther King, Jr.
Dr. King called on Americans to treat people as individuals and to judge one another by the content of their character and not by the hue of their skin. He held up the bright possibility of post-Jim Crow redemption and reconciliation—the hope of building a multiracial (not multicultural) society in which people of all colors live together in harmony and work together towards ever-greater freedom, peace, and prosperity.
By contrast, the proponents of critical race theory paint an unrelentingly grim picture of America. Theirs is an America in which, no matter what we may feel or think or say or do, we are all eternally trapped in the cages of our racial groups and all, consequently, eternally divided into oppressor and oppressed, villain and victim.
The Real Pandemic
A society that buys into this view of itself thereby sets itself on a road to increasing fragmentation and—ultimately—destruction. For months, Americans have been worried about the COVID-19 virus. But the spread of “critical race theory” is the real pandemic.
Which is why actions taken by Trump in the last few days are so important. His moves come in the wake of a warning by the Discovery Institute’s Christopher Rufo, who told Fox News host Tucker Carlson on September 2 that “critical race theory has become the default ideology of the federal bureaucracy and is now being weaponized against the American people.”
Rufo spoke of Treasury Department employees forced to attend a seminar at which Caucasians were denounced as white supremacists and pressured to confess their prejudice. The vile ideas propounded at such events, asserted Rufo, are utterly at odds with “core traditional American values” and represent an “existential threat to the United States.”
He’s right. It is immensely heartening, then, that Trump, who retweeted a video of Rufo’s appearance on Carlson’s show, has now ordered federal agencies to cut all this malignant nonsense out.
In a memo issued last Friday, Russell Vought, director of the Office of Management and Budget, wrote that these “training sessions” run “counter to the fundamental beliefs for which our Nation has stood since its inception” and “engender division and resentment within the Federal workforce.” The president, added Vought, “has directed me to ensure that Federal agencies cease and desist from using taxpayer dollars to fund these divisive, un-American propaganda training sessions.”
Vought called on all agencies “to begin to identify all contracts or other agency spending related to any training on ‘critical race theory,’ ‘white privilege,’ or any other training or propaganda effort that teaches or suggests either 1) that the United States is an inherently racist or evil country or 2) that any race or ethnicity is inherently racist or evil.” Vought’s memo concluded with this paragraph:
The President, and his Administration, are fully committed to the fair and equal treatment of all individuals in the United States. The President has a proven track record of standing for those whose voice has long been ignored and who have failed to benefit from all our country has to offer, and he intends to continue to support all Americans, regardless of race, religion, or creed. The divisive, false, and demeaning propaganda of the critical race theory movement is contrary to all we stand for as Americans and should have no place in the Federal government.
In a word: bravo.
The Mendacious Media
Of course, in a sane world all of this would be a no-brainer. Alas, America being what it is at present, the mendacious mainstream media were quick to depict Vought’s directive – which is rooted in an understanding of these matters that can be traced directly to Martin Luther King, Jr. – as racist.
In a commentary presented as a news story at the CNN website, Caroline Kelly cynically framed Trump’s action as “the latest overture to his political base,” one that would provide “another talking point for his reelection campaign as it seeks to highlight culture war issues.”
At NPR, which gained attention recently for its uncritical promotion of a book entitled In Defense of Looting, Matthew S. Schwartz appeared to take for granted that Trump was shutting down noble initiatives: “While many conservatives applauded the move, others decried the continuing racism that they see pervading many aspects of American society, including the awarding of government contracts.”
At the Washington Post, Josh Dawsey and Jeff Stein cited claims by “experts” to the effect that “racial and diversity awareness trainings are essential steps in helping rectify the pervasive racial inequities in American society, including those perpetuated by the federal government.”
One such “expert,” M. E. Hart, said that “If we are going to live up to this nation’s promise—‘we hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal’—we have to see each other as human beings, and we have to do whatever it takes, including taking whatever classes make that possible.”
To their credit, Dawsey and Stein admitted that Hart “has run hundreds of diversity training sessions for businesses and the federal government.” Ka-ching! They did not acknowledge, however, that such sessions routinely make a goal not of equality but of “equity”—i.e., of a society in which an extensive system of preferences is in place to ensure the supposed redress of racial injustice.
Finally, USA Today’s Jason Lalljee contextualized Trump’s order by explaining critical race theory. How did he explain it? By uncritically quoting critical race theory hustlers, who, of course, made the whole thing sound innocuous and valuable.
One such hustler, Princeton’s Imani Perry, claimed to be “unaware of any critical race theory ‘training’ for federal employees” and said she was “not even sure how that would function.” Perhaps Perry should ask M. E. Hart. Or else she could ask this year’s most successful author, Robin DiAngelo, who got rich giving such training sessions (for $12,000 a pop) before getting even richer on sales of her book White Fragility.
Like many others who reported on the OMB memo, Lalljee included in his article references to Trump’s supposed opposition to “anti-racist demonstrations” (no, he opposes riots) and repeated the now-familiar calumny that Trump described white nationalists at Charlottesville as “very fine people.” But that’s all par for the course, needless to say.
A Double Bogey
But wait. This Labor Day weekend, Trump made a double bogey. Not content to take on these “training sessions” in the federal government, Trump followed up the Friday memo from the OMB with a Sunday tweet in which he broke some exceedingly welcome news. The Department of Education, he announced, would henceforth be under orders to defund any California schools found to be making use of the reprehensible “1619 Project.”
Double bravo. Needless to say, CNN was on the job, representing the “1619 Project” – which was criticized roundly by respected historians for its outrageous distortion of history – in a flattering way while characterizing Trump’s action as yet another move by the White House to “disparag[e] attempts to process or reckon with the country’s fraught racial history.”
With these two bold steps—which of course will have to be followed up with aggressive action – President Trump has yet again proven his utter indispensability, giving further hope that all may not yet be lost.
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Bruce Bawer is the author of While Europe Slept, Surrender, and The Victims’ Revolution. His novel The Alhambra was published in 2017.