The way to understand the panic over Critical Race Theory is as a reactionary counter-mobilization. After George Floyd’s murder & ensuing wave of protests, a focus on racism in America took on new urgency. Fearmongering over CRT is largely a project to delegitimize that movement.
“Historians have an obligation to tell the truth about history. The good, the bad, and the ugly… You don’t need any theory [, e.g., Critical Race Theory,] to tell you that you should be honest in teaching US history.”
“We can [not] live harmlessly or strictly at our own expense; we depend upon other creatures and survive by their deaths. To live we must daily break the body and shed the blood of creation. The point is, when we do this knowingly, lovingly, skillfully, and reverently, it is a sacrament. When we do it ignorantly, greedily, clumsily, destructively, it is a desecration. In such desecration we condemn ourselves to spiritual and moral loneliness and others to want.”
Alexander Stockton and Lucy King, Death, Through a Nurse’s Eyes (“The short film… allows you to experience the brutality of the pandemic from the perspective of nurses inside a Covid-19 intensive care unit.”)
Every sector of modern life drips with the language of innovation. Technological progress, disruptive innovation, and economic growth remain unquestioned, continually parroted by entrepreneurs, city planners, educators, and countless others. In The Innovation Delusion, Lee Vinsel and Andrew Russell challenge the entire innovation narrative and make a strong case that the mundane reality of maintenance is actually what sustains economies, schools, homes, and communities in the long run.
Modernity imperils another set of virtues… I suppose I’d call them the yeoman virtues. I have in mind the qualities we associate with life in the early American republic—the positive qualities, of course, not the qualities that enabled slavery and genocide. In 1820, 80 percent of the American population was self-employed. Protestant Christianity, local self-government, and agrarian and artisanal producerism fostered a culture of self-control, self-reliance, integrity, diligence, and neighborliness—the American ethos that Tocqueville praised and that Lincoln argued was incompatible with large-scale slave-owning. Today that ethos survives only in political speeches and Hollywood movies. In a society based on precarious employment and feverish consumption, on debt, financial trickery, endless manipulation, and incessant distraction, such a sensibility seems archaic.