URLs du Jour

2021-09-14

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Since our first URL today mentions Critical Race Theory, I decided to check Amazon for an appropriate product. I was amazed at the selection of t-shirts (my favorite link type) which said completely different things on the topic.

It's like that old yarn about the blind men describing an elephant. Except that one group of describers are touching a pipe organ, the other touching a fire engine.

The virtue of the product I settled on today: I can't tell if it's pro- or anti-CRT.

  • Not I. James R. Rogers wonders: Who's Afraid of Critical Race Theory?.

    Critical Race Theory (CRT) seems to have morphed into something of a Rorschach inkblot test, with fears and aspirations being as much read into it as out of it. Even though CRT has many variants even among its proponents, CRT’s historical starting point as a distinctive academic movement, as well as its continuing motivation, derives from positing a relatively clear, parsimonious theory to explain a pressing intellectual and policy puzzle regarding the modern African American experience in the United States. The puzzle is this: Why do significant racial disparities continue in the United States? CRT posits a straightforward theory to explain the continuation of significant racial disparities in the United States: Racial disparities continue in the United States because, despite the Civil Rights policies and social programs of the 1960s, racism continues in the United States. To make the theory work, however, Critical Race Theorists had to broaden the concept of “racism.” That definitional move is where much of the contestation comes in.

     As a theory posited to explain observed phenomena, CRT can be tested—and contested—to determine just how well it accounts for the phenomena it seeks to explain. The irony is that doubling down on practices and policies aimed at making colorblind decisions, that is, decisions without respect to race—and CRT rejects the possibility, let alone the efficacy of colorblind policies—remains the best means to solve continuing racial disparities that distress not only Critical Race Theorists, but most Americans on the Right as well as the Left.

    The core of CRT lies in its assertion of “a regime of white supremacy and its subordination of people of color”. Google that phrase for a selection. It seems to have originated in this 1995 book, and has metastasized since, often without attribution to the original.

    Pro-CRTers don't purport to demonstrate that regime exists; instead, they assume it does, as a matter of faith.


  • And it's not a STOP sign. J.D. Tuccille notes the trend: Biden’s Vaccine Mandate Is the Latest Sign of the Presidency Becoming a Monarchy.

    President Joe Biden's national vaccine mandate sparked a lot of debate and set political seismometers jumping even more frantically than usual. Most commentary has focused on two issues: Is forcing people to take vaccines a good idea, and will the courts sign off on the government's authority to do so? Those are great discussions to have, though anything involving "forcing people" should be a non-starter by default. But another important question is raised by the president's gambit to displace the Afghanistan fiasco from the headlines: How, in the United States, can one guy just impose his preferred policies, whether they're good, bad, or indifferent?

    To be fair, not everybody overlooked this point:

    "There's no authority for this," former Rep. Justin Amash (L-Mich.) noted. "This is legislative action that bypasses the legislative branch. If you care about representative government—if you're consistent regardless of who's president—then it doesn't matter that you like the policy; this mandate is an abuse of power."

    Check J.D. out for some disturbing history.


  • Dubya's been sniffing too many paint fumes. Byron York takes a look at George W. Bush's 9/11 speech. "It was terrible," says Byron.

    In two ways. First, Bush's speech was as much about decrying today's political divisions as it was about remembering the events of Sept. 11. But Bush showed an astonishing lack of self-awareness of the role his own actions played in creating those divisions. And second, Bush helped widen those divisions by endorsing a Rachel Maddow-esque argument that an equivalence exists between the plane-hijacking, murderous terrorists of Sept. 11, 2001, and the Capitol rioters of Jan. 6, 2021 — a comparison that has no basis in fact but has done much to sour the national debate.

    Damn. I kind of liked Dubya.


  • A good story that happens to be true. I was cheered and moved by this, from Bryan Caplan, about his Homeschooling Odyssey.

    Six years ago, I began homeschooling my elder sons, Aidan and Tristan.  They attended Fairfax County Public Schools for K-6, becoming more disgruntled with every passing year.  Even though they went to an alleged “honors” school for grades 4-6, they were bored out of their minds.  The academic material was too easy and moved far too slowly.  The non-academic material was humiliatingly infantile.  And non-academics – music, dance, chorus, art, poster projects – consumed a majority of their day.  As elementary school graduation approached, my sons were hungry for a change.

    So what did we do?  In consultation with my pupils, I prepared an ultra-academic curriculum.  Hours of math every day.  Reading serious books.  Writing serious essays.  Taking college classes.  And mastering bodies of knowledge.

    Read on for the details; they are inspiring. My own kids are long out of school, so my interest was purely theoretical. And I understand that a lot of parents might not have Bryan's talents at education. Still, read through for the happy ending. (Or, really, just the beginning of Aidan's and Tristan's stories.)


  • Questions? We don't need no stinking questions! Michael Graham checks out a political stunt: NH Advocates for HR1 Hold A "NO-Press" Conference in Manchester.

    New Hampshire progressives gathered in Manchester Monday to advocate for an expanded federal election law at a “press conference” that featured plenty of political rhetoric…but no press.

    While the press release invitation read, “New Hampshire For the People Act Coalition Hosts Press Conference Ahead of Expected Senate Vote,” reporters arrived to discover the participants would not be taking questions from the press as part of the program. Instead, the emcee — Liz Tentarelli, president of the League of Women Voters — said journalists were free to roam among the crowd and ask speakers if they would be willing to answer questions.

    At least one speaker was not.

    Rep. Chris Pappas literally fled the scene, his aides physically blocking the press, when approached by a New Hampshire Journal reporter with a question. (“Representative Pappas, your fellow Democrat, Secretary of State Bill Gardner, says you’ve spoken to him about HR 1. Is that true?”)

    I saw this event "reported" on our local news station, WMUR. HR1 was blandly described as an "election reform" bill. The speakers sang its praises! Nary a negative word was heard. Just those mean old Republicans standing in the way!

    A supplementary article covered one of the scary speeches: NH AFL-CIO Prez: PRO Act, H.R. 1 ‘Supersede Individual Rights’

    “There are things that have to be done in this country that supersede individual rights,” [New Hampshire AFL-CIO President Glenn] Brackett told the Manchester crowd.

    Sheesh. It is of course not TV-newsworthy to point that bit out.


Last Modified 2021-09-15 5:24 AM EDT