There was a worldview evening several weeks ago at Covenant Grace Church* in Roseburg. Pastor Jeff Scott showed two videos explaining what Critical Race Theory is, where it came from, and the danger it poses to our nation and within the church at large. A discussion followed. Among the teachers attending were Dr. Kester, Mr. Ritchey, and myself. We all found the information very helpful, and very alarming! We thought that our Geneva parents should also be familiar with the outlines of Critical Race Theory.
Critical Theory is shaping public discourse and has taken over the universities and public education systems. It guides Hollywood entertainment and mass media. It is the system of thought behind Black Lives Matter and the current teaching of U.S. history to American children. If you wonder how 20 somethings can believe and even shout out nonsense in their street demonstrations and TikTok rants, you need to know about Critical Race Theory.
What we’ve decided to do is write a three-part series, with Mr. Ritchey taking the lead. He will explain the Marxist source of Critical Theory. Dr. Kester will then relate how Marx’s successors brought their ideas to the United States, and what those ideas were. It will be the “contact tracing” of the virus. In the last piece, we will address the danger Critical Race Theory poses to our country and to the church.
For those of you looking for the exit door…stay! This is exactly the kind of discussion we prepare your children to have in their high school years. These kinds of topics intertwine history, economics, the Scriptures, and politics. This is affecting our nation right now! Being informed is wise, for we may thereby be better parents and witnesses of the gospel.
-Brian Turner, Headmaster
Here is Mr. Daniel Ritchey’s article:
It is the 1840s and Europe is being rocked by social and economic upheavals as waves of the industrial revolution come crashing upon its towns and countrysides. Where once were well-worn patterns of life shaped by agrarian rhythms and feudal systems, stream engines and electricity were muscling in and replacing work in the home, planting in the field, or craftsmanship in the shop. Labor moved to cities and factories. Cities near natural or labor resources grew at intense rates.
In those cities, it was a time of unprecedented change and, for some, great opportunity and optimism. The optimists believed new technologies and machines were about to create a land of plenty; they would usher in a utopian paradise of previously unimagined proportions.
However, between the commencement of an endeavor and its realization there is a lag, and in that lag lies the work, effort, discomfort, sacrifice, etc. As one might surmise, the bigger the endeavor, and the greater its goals and promises, the longer the lag wherein lies the cost and as yet unrealized benefit. This applied to the anticipated promises of the first waves of the industrial revolution. There was indeed much hardship endured by many in the early (and later) industrial revolution. Many volumes have been written about the very real and terrible working conditions of factory workers in this period and about the disruption of social norms within the family. Others wrote about the dissolution of the human soul which strove to find meaning and identity in a sea of machines. In 1854 the Transcendentalist Henry David Thoreau wrote, “Men have become the tools of their tools.” But, I have got ahead of myself!
Onto the stage, to feed upon the very real despair and pain of the laboring classes, stepped one Karl Marx. In 1848 he wrote The Communist Manifesto. In that work, in so many words, like so many politicians, Marx says, “I feel your pain.” And, of course, he knows how to fix “IT.” His answer in The Communist Manifesto is “Workers of the world, unite!” Unite that is to overthrow those in power, a.k.a. those who have economic means, who control capital, who own the factories, who run the system.
Marx was like other humanistic technophiles of his age who agreed that technology could usher in the utopia humanity had long waited for. Yet we needed economic egalitarianism and wealth redistribution to secure this utopia. “From each according to their ability to each according to their needs,” Marx would say. However, there was an evil in the world that would prevent the masses, the proletariat, from realizing their goals. The evil in the way of achieving this was the bourgeois class of peoples. This was a class of society that could be described as being the upper-middle class who supported the ultra-rich and powerful. If this higher middle class could be converted or overthrown in a revolution, all the wealth and power held by those which had it would come flowing down the hill to the “proles.” UTOPIA REALIZED!!!
Marx saw the world as a zero-sum economic system where if one person or class of people obtained economic wealth and power, then they had to have taken it from, or deprived others of it. Exploited workers should overthrow capitalist oppressors and distribute the means of production fairly. Private property was too easily hoarded; things should be owned collectively. Leveraging class envy, the followers of Marx would use his ideas to overthrow governments and form new communes on “fairer” terms.
I should point out that Marx was a materialist atheist, who considered religion the opium of the masses. Thoughts of God were harmful, for they distracted laborers from their true meaning (themselves in their labor); Christianity was a tool used to manipulate them. A communist state has no need of the Jewish or Christian God. There should be no higher authority than the will of the collective. Communist government leaders always claim to be the voice of the collective; there is no authority higher than the state.
Marxism puts people in continuous, irresolvable conflict as there are always those who have economic power in any society. It has NOT brought social peace and tranquility anywhere it has been tried - quite the opposite. Just recount the Marxist histories of Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin in Russia, Mao Zedong in China, Ho Chi Minh in Vietnam, Fidel Castro in Cuba, Pal Pot in Cambodia, and Haile Mariam in Ethiopia, and we have over 100 million dead in the name of bringing humanity a godless UTOPIA. And, this without including the German National Socialism of Hitler and the Italian Fascism of Mussolini, which are simply other forms of Marxist Socialism.
Karl Marx died in 1883. Despite the horrendous record of his philosophies turned to action, there is a strong current within the West attempting to resurrect his worldview under new guises. However, we will leave that for the next installment in our series. I will end with this: Perhaps if we had read Thomas More’s Utopia, which was written in 1516, and if we had learned our Latin, we would know the “U” in Latin mean “NO” and “Topia” means “PLACE.” Thomas More was telling us that there is no such place on earth. Nevertheless, with Cain, Nimrod, and Pharaoh, . . . etc., people keep trying to build the perfect civilization, without God, without THE CORNERSTONE.
*For those interested, Covenant Grace Church is a Presbyterian Church that meets Sunday mornings at 10:30 at 3510 Douglas Avenue (the Turning Point Adventist building). It is part of the Orthodox Presbyterian denomination.