Guest editorial: Critical Race Theory is an existential threat

Michael Smith
Chair, Summit County GOP

The Summit County and Utah Republican Parties oppose Critical Race Theory and its radical and false iteration that teaches skin color defines the person. CRT is certainly a threat to Utah’s children and is AN existential threat – but not THE existential threat; it is merely the latest symptom of a more insidious disease to garner the attention of the public.

That disease is postmodernism.

Postmodernist thought implies that there is no objective truth, that truth is based solely on the experience and perception of the individual. Under postmodernism, conflict is always guaranteed, and that conflict translates into the opportunity to capture political power. Michel Foucault is generally credited with the birthing of philosophical postmodernism, “a movement characterized by broad epistemological skepticism and ethical subjectivism, a general suspicion of reason, and an acute sensitivity to the role of ideology in asserting and maintaining political and economic power.”

If you confront me and tell me that I must respect your “truth” and your “lived experience”, what about my “truth” and my “lived experience”?

If you claim the United States is racist because you feel that is your “truth” and yet I see no evidence of such, is my truth and lived experience somehow less than yours? If your “truth” and “lived experience” is different from mine, wouldn’t it seem that one of us must be wrong? How is it possible that anything can be defined under a philosophy that claims nothing can be defined or that a philosophy can exist when the very basis of it is that nothing is objectively true?

Postmodernism rests on three things: 1) relative truth, 2) the absence of discernment and 3) pluralism.

Relative truth means exactly what you think it does. It is the basis for the idea there is any truth apart from the truth. Frederick Nietzsche called it “perspectivism”, which can be summed up for our times in the Costanza Rule: if you believe it, it is not a lie.

The absence of objective and absolute truths render discernment impossible, and everything becomes a matter of personal interpretation. To the postmodern thinker, the author of a book or the giver of a speech does not possess the correct interpretation of their own work; it is the reader or hearer who determines what the book or speech means. Unsurprisingly, given that there are multiple readers and hearers vs. a singular author or speaker, one can expect there are multiple interpretations. This is also why definitions and “truths” change to fit the agenda of the individual.

Pluralism means absent of objective truth, right and wrong do not exist because without discernment and truth, there is no basis for classifying anything as “right” or “wrong, and all beliefs must be considered equally valid. This idea of pluralism means that whatever the largest minority says, is what goes.

Postmodernism is the response to the failure of the empiricist modernist school of thought to improve mankind through human reason alone. One of modernism’s beliefs was that absolutes do indeed exist, so postmodernism seeks to “correct” things by eliminating absolute truth and making everything (including the empirical sciences and religion) relative to an individual’s beliefs, desires and “lived experiences”. In a stunning example of illogic, postmodernists decided that it was not the modernist approach that failed, it was that objective truth simply does not exist.

Defeating those who aim to teach the racism of CRT in our schools is a laudable of goals and would be a significant victory – but it is merely a game of “Whack-A-Mole” because another avatar for a postmodernist/Marxist future will arise.

Postmodernism is the root cause of our issues in America today. As a matter of objective fact, it is the root, trunk, and branches of the entire problem tree. That tree must be torn out of the ground and that is the work people of good will must take upon themselves.

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