On September 4, Office of Management and Budget (OMB) director Russell Vought sent a memo instructing the heads of all executive departments and agencies to terminate programs “training government workers to believe divisive, anti-American propaganda.”
Taken at face value, this directive seems like it should be uncontroversial. Sadly, nothing is uncontroversial in our sharply partisan society. Thus, the almost comically knee-jerk New York Times headline, “Trump Moves to Cancel Contracts for Government Sensitivity Training,” over an article referring to the canceled programs as “efforts that often focus on promoting awareness of racism.”
Critical theory is a belief system that has come to dominate academic social science; critical race theory applies it to racial issues. The fundamental idea guiding critical theory is that all existing social structures—family, employment, faith, government, etc.—represent exercises of raw power.
In critical theory, an individual’s actions and beliefs are insignificant. Your lot in life is determined by the group to which society has assigned you and the power relationships governing that group. Social structures emerge when one group declares its right to dominate or exploit another group.
Thus, for example, the Marxist class struggle between bourgeoisie (i.e., capitalists, or the rich) and proletariat (i.e., labor, or the poor) is a natural outgrowth of the way that economic structures preserve a manager’s right to exploit workers. And, according to critical race theory, the structures defining American society were all developed to preserve “white privilege.”
The OMB memo is absolutely right. Critical race theory is inherently divisive. It splits American society into racial groups and insists that the tension between them cannot disappear until we’ve eliminated all existing social structures. Thus, the platform of Black Lives Matter—a movement nominally focused on race-based police brutality—demands the end of the nuclear family; in critical theory, the family is a tool of exploitation.
Critical race theory is also inherently anti-American. It rejects the Judeo-Christian morality and the Anglo-American legal tradition that underpin our Declaration of Independence and Constitution. It rejects the centrality of individual liberty and personal responsibility to the human condition. It concerns itself with power relationships among groups, rather than the actions of individuals.
When used as the basis of human resources training—like the programs OMB director Vought ended—critical theory teaches that all “white people,” “cisgendered males,” Christians and Jews are oppressors, while all “people of color,” women, Muslims and anyone under the LGBTQ umbrella are oppressed. “Justice,” in critical theory, requires elevating members of oppressed classes while denigrating, defaming, disadvantaging and debilitating oppressors.
In a twist that feels both ironic and inevitable, Jews—consistently the American minority most targeted in hate crimes—are held in particular contempt. College campuses, where critical theory reigns supreme, have become the epicenter of the anti-Semitic “Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions” movement, shockingly hostile to Jewish students and faculty.
Critical theory has determined that Jews—who, in living memory, were almost completely eradicated for not being white—possess the most rarefied form of “white privilege.”
And it’s determined that Israel—a miracle of indigenous self-determination and a beacon of liberalism, tolerance, democracy and equality—is a uniquely illegitimate, colonial pariah state.
And it celebrates the genocidal terrorists seeking to destroy Israel and target innocent Jews around the world—while maintaining brutally repressive societies that lynch people accused of being LGBTQ and practice “honor killings” of their own daughters and sisters.
It’s impossible to imagine an ideology further from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream of a color-blind society. In fact, critical theory academics deride “color-blind” as a racist term; leading Black Lives Matter apologists attack MLK for his refusal to pursue violent disruption. It’s appalling that such a debased worldview has taken hold across Western society. Private sector “diversity training” has yielded endless anecdotes of heightened divisions and hostile environments. It’s unconscionable that taxpayers have been paying to have it drummed into government workers.
Anyone with a sense of decency and compassion, anyone with a modicum of sensitivity and awareness and anyone genuinely opposed to bigotry should cheer President Trump’s move to purge critical race theory from the federal workplace.
Dr. Bruce Abramson is a Principal at JBB&A Strategies, a Director of the ACEK Fund, a founder of the American Restoration Institute and the author most recently of American Restoration: Winning America’s Second Civil War. Jeff Ballabon is the principal of B2 Strategic and a veteran government relations and media consultant.
This article was originally posted at Newsweek.