Critical State Theory

I’m going to start with the conclusion of this note, because otherwise I think readers from on
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Comments

  1. Thanks Ben for the thoughtful note. I find the arguments for homeschooling salient enough for me to *nudge my wife to continue our conversation whether homeschooling is right for us.

    Somewhat unrelated but I find it interesting that white America talks about racism in the past tense (history of racism) while African Americans talk about racism in the present tense. To African Americans racism is a reality that has evolved and changed but ever present.

    It’s only words, but …

  2. I agree that words matter greatly, as we are animals of language. “Racism is” is so very different from “racism was”.

  3. Wow. Only two comments. I guess everyone is stuffed and can’t move from the couch! :slight_smile:

    Ben, I think it would be extremely beneficial for you to interview James Lindsey and (hopefully) have a thoughtful conversation. I know yall have had some dustups on twitter, but I think there is a lot of light to be gained by you interviewing/challenging him.

    And for the record, I am in the Lindsey/Rufo camp, but I respect the hell out of your perspective & would like to hear a dialogue between you and one of them.

    I think a Dr. Hunt Dr. Lindsay dialectic would be fruitful!

    Happy Thanksgiving!

    Paul

  4. I recall some press pieces immediately after the most recent Virginia election arguing that the after analysis positing that there pre-election focus that there was no ‘there’ there with Critical Race Theory! TM was a mistake, and that the focus for Dems should have been on actually hearing the parents’ concerns. That may be largely true, but I tend to think the answer to how to think through what happened, as a post mortem, is indeed a both/and, not so much an either/or, but the part about parental concerns would still dominate the majority of the blended argument. Maybe even most of it. Which I think Ben’s argument here does a great job of illustrating.

    I’m not a parent, and five plus decades on Earth now I’m almost certainly never going to be. No siblings either, so unfortunately no nephews/nieces for me to have a lifelong semi-shared experience. So for the most part, as a voter this argument does not and would not resonate for me. But I do have plenty of friends and colleagues, of course, with kids, and I listen to them so I get how the meme hit at a visceral level. I also live right next door to Virginia and work with boatloads of Virginians so I got to listen a lot to how the positions resonated or not with people in my orbit.

    Each word of the meme serves a purpose, and in different ways galvanizes a spectrum of definite, probably, possible, and even unlikely voters, to either re-enlist (so to speak), feel justified about their choice, rationalize themselves into ignoring what is happening within the GOP write large, finally find a motivation that gets them to the polls, or even feel courageously doing ‘truth to power’ and sending a seemingly ‘safe’ message of dissatisfaction to the party they just voted for in November 2020.

    Thematically, the meme can be perceived as extreme, inflammatory, a dog whistle, rational, concerning, motivational, a tipping point, and/or an opportunity, depending on who is doing the hearing. Its really quite flexible.

    At the national level every one of these themes will be used in differing combinations. In many instances, quite effectively. The Left will be challenged to craft their gameplan, which will be better organized locally than at the national level, given the multiplicity of lines of attack. Without a gameplan the meme will pull many of the politicians on the left more to the center, and in a defensive posture, which is in itself its own ‘win’, setting and reinforcing favorable conditions for debates, rallies, interviews, and ultimately, results.

    Footnote: As a lifelong student of (gasp) continental philosophy and a currently a part-time PhD pursuer in (wait for it) Critical Security Studies, outside of my day job, I did find the related and all too brief attacks and defenses of Immanuel Kant on the bird app after the election quite amazing as one sub tribe of the masses were hilariously continuing to try to either justify their use of what they think is some form of Critical Theory, or, also hilariously, think they are ipso facto’ing some definitive refutation of the authenticity of what’s happening.

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