8/5/21: James Lindsay slams wokeness, critical race theory at YAF conference
Author James Lindsay spoke to students at the Young America’s Foundation conference in Houston on Wednesday to address critical race theory and the problems with critical theory, and what they can do at this unique time in history to make a change and to make an America that reflects core values of individuality and responsibility.
“I’m going to start off by saying [critical race theory] is a belief system,” he said, declining to call it a religion specifically, but that if it were a religion, it would be a “bad religion,” that posits that “racism is the fundamental organizing principle of society and that it was created by white people for their own benefit.”
James Lindsay defines critical race theory as a “belief system” that “racism is the fundamental organizing principle of society and that it was created by white people for their own benefit.” pic.twitter.com/M6onkM6zvu— The Post Millennial (@TPostMillennial) August 4, 2021
To critical race theorists, Lindsay said, racism is the reason for the formation of society and the basis on which it was formed. “In critical race theory, there’s no progress on race,” Lindsay said. The factual progress that’s been made in the US on racism and inequality, for critical race theorists, has made things worse because it has created “hidden racism,” places for racism to hide.
Lindsay tracked through the progress of critical race theory from law school discourse straight into schools and how its worldview was presented to students as fact. “It’s race Marxism,” he said, quoting critical race theorists who self-identified as Marxists who used critical race theory to shift the conversation from class to race, to make sure that “race is at the forefront of every analysis.”
“What is critical theory?” Lindsay asked, “neo-Marxism.”
What it created, he said, is “American Marxism.” By pushing race to the center of the conversation, removing class as a defining characteristic, Marxism is able to take hold in an America that puts the individual and individual responsibility first. It picked up just enough liberal ideology to make Marxism palatable to Americans.
“It makes race consciousness the most important thing,” he said.
“Have you ever heard them say a single positive thing? Have they ever built anything? No!” Lindsay said.
Lindsay linked this to the riots of last summer, saying that critical race theorists backed the “burning of America’s cities” because “whiteness is property,” and needs to be deconstructed, and that part of the goal is “the abolition of private property.”
“‘Whiteness is property’ is the tool that critical race theorists developed to shift the entire conversation,” he said. The linking of Marxism and critical race theory is not a fabrication by Lindsay or others, but is the actual, stated goal of critical race theorists going back to 1989, when Peggy McInstosh’s essay on the “invisible knapsack” was published.
It is by digging into this, and exposing the roots of critical race theory and its intentionally Marxist scholars, that Lindsay hopes to reveal to the public the problems with using these ideas to try to remake society.
What do we have when we take class out and make race the central aspect for understanding inequality? Lindsay asked, outlining the plans for the recreation of American society by shifting the balance of power from the individual to one where government dictates all of public and private life.
The focus of critical race theorists is on outcomes almost entirely. It is through outcomes that they believe progress can be measured, without any concern for how the nation would arrive at those outcomes. Critical race theorists, such as Ibram X. Kendi, and others, want to remake America to be a “dictatorship of the anti-racists,” that puts “social justice in place of communism.”
“Empower critical race theorists and we’ll get to the utopia, that’s as deep as their plans go,” he said. The justification of critical race theorists is to give them power because the country used to be racist. The ideas don’t go further than that, Lindsay said.
“You’re actually living through one of those moments that’s going to be in the history books… you didn’t get to choose it, but here you are,” he said, telling students that they “have to get based.”
“You know when you get right with yourselves you can’t get lost in these manipulations,” he said.
“Every lie you tell in your life to fit in is a little more losing yourself to collectivism,” he said. “Every lie that you say to fit in with some social group loses a bit of yourself,” Lindsay said, “you have to know who you are.”
“Get in shape, take care of yourself, eat right, get enough sleep, enjoy yourself, be a rebel, like something about your life!” Lindsay said. “Enjoy stuff, laugh, laugh with other people.”
Lindsay’s message was to get based, to know what American values are, to “find some principles, find some values, and align your life.”
“In America, the strength of America is it doesn’t tell you how to live, the state can’t tell you how to live, find your path but align it with virtues and values, because they matter, find some skills,” he said.
Truth. Values. Excellence. “Dedicate yourself, find a goal, and do it, seek excellence, and the way you do that is by taking responsibility,” he said.
“Align with truth. Seek excellence. Take responsibility, to properly get based so you don’t get thrown around.”
“Try to build a better world,” he said. “We need a common sensibility… of what it means to be Americans. You have to know what America is about… You have to know what you want this country to be and build it in that direction,” he said.
“Get a vision, and don’t give up,” Lindsay said.
And as regards vaccine passports, he said that they “are a backdoor to a social credit system.”