Saturday, October 15, 2022

On Critical Theory

Another Reddit post I thought I did well on:

Most opponents and supporters of CRT couldn't hold an intelligent conversation about it since their understanding of it is mimicking the folks they hang out with. Even mine is lacking since most of my college exposure was history professors making snide remarks about the social "scientists" on the other side of the campus since it really hadn't gained wide spread support in the 1980s.

It is also not an appropriate framework for education below the collegiate level.

Even most college students lack the maturity and intellectual background to put in proper context.

There is, in the critical method (as noted above), no need to understand these concepts or structures; only a need to pick at the ways in which they can be construed to be imperfect. The focus on identity, experiences, and activism, rather than an attempt to find truth, leads to conflict with empirical scholars and undermines public confidence in the worth of scholarship that uses this approach.

Critical theory in turn is a subset of Post Modern Philosophy where there is no objective truth.

The US Constitution is decidedly modernist -- it is based on objective truth and equality, while acknowledging we are still striving to achieve both.

Folks who think Russians have only been successful in harnessing right wing Q-Anons to sow political division are usually missing how much Post Modernism / Critical Theory that have risen rapidly in recent years in public discourse share with a very Russian like view the truth; in that there is no such thing as objective truth and everything is subjective.

Thus you can "defund the police" and those three words can mean totally different things to the same person depending on which audience they are talking to -- one that can be read literally, and another "oh no, that's just a slogan, we don't mean to change anything about the police...we just want to spend money on other stuff too."

You can measure equality -- we may get the formulas wrong, but you can keep trying to get them right.

Critical theorists want to take the blindfold off the Lady Justice statues and take away her scales because in place of objective equality they want subjective equity where you explicitly favor certain people over others. You know, like Russia. Just they promise for good and not evil.

Most folks grew up only aware of modernist philosophy and how modernism developed conventions to encapsulate religious beliefs so that they existed outside of the realm of rational debate; post-modernism shares many of religion's simple acceptance of "this is true because we believe it is true" but wraps it up in words that make you think they are trying to put forth a rational argument in the modernist mold. Which causes a problem when you use traditional modernist methods of debate based on objective truth and find engaging post modernists / critical theorists in a debate is like nailing Jello to a wall.