With the cultural issue of whether Critical Race Theory should be taught in grade school taking a prominent role in our current political discourse, we are once again seeing a familiar trend. Namely, the same group of Never Trumpers who have previously decided that winning is really icky are once again stumping to lose.
Yes, even something as fundamental as parents influencing their children’s curriculum via their elected representatives is just too out of bounds for these people.
(related The Delusion of Never Trump)
Here’s David French delivering a tortured thread on how it’s somehow dangerous to ban garbage ideology in schools.
The bills are typically crafted in such a way that they're both over-inclusive and under-inclusive. For example, is this TN provision "banning CRT"? Nope. It's prohibition would sweep up even a teacher critiquing communism (a "creed"). /2 pic.twitter.com/HTEmCVtr7Y
— David French (@DavidAFrench) June 11, 2021
In addition, it's better to combat bad ideas with better ideas. Is their curriculum you don't like? Advance a better curriculum. Engage locally with something better rather than simply trying to drop the hammer on opposing speech. /7
— David French (@DavidAFrench) June 11, 2021
I’m not going to bother posting the entire thing, but you get the idea. As per our usual agreement, this is once again a hill not worth dying on. Then, the next hill won’t be either, and so on and so forth, until there are no hills left.
On the merits of his argument, it’s nonsense. The First Amendment does not protect the right of a teacher to teach whatever they want. Publicly- funded schools (and privately-funded ones, via their own mechanisms) are beholden to parents, in the end. This is typically done via school board elections. At the collegiate level, publicly-funded universities are also at the mercy of taxpayers.
Further, this idea that CRT must be “replaced” with something is silly. It’s a misdirect by French to offer support for CRT — without actually having to admit he’s offering support for CRT. Racist ideologies shouldn’t be introduced in the first place. They do not need to be “replaced” with some watered-down version of CRT. For the most part, American history, including its sins, is already taught at an acceptable level. If some school districts or state legislatures want to make a point to spend more time on certain historical events, that’s up to them and their voters.
Lastly, the slippery slope argument, claiming this is a “banning” of free speech, just doesn’t make any sense. A myriad of harmful, hateful ideologies have been banned from being taught in schools. We don’t teach Holocaust denial or white supremacy in schools. Why would we teach CRT? And how exactly is saying we aren’t going to do so somehow quashing free speech?
The Bulwark’s Amanda Carpenter also got in on the act, dismissing Republican concerns around a variety of cultural issues.
CRT is transgender bathrooms is Dr. Seuss is Dr. Fauci until something sticks. https://t.co/ZbNv1y5hFX
— Amanda Carpenter (@amandacarpenter) June 11, 2021
What’s so ironic is that these are the same people who told you in 2016 and 2020 that you didn’t have to vote for Trump, and that obsessing over national politics was unhealthy. Many supposed conservative commentators (which neither of the above really are anymore) have spent years telling Republicans to fight cultural battles at the local level with a ground-up approach. Now that parents are doing that, they suddenly decide this is yet another battle that should be preemptively surrendered. Convenient, right?
Here’s the reality — The failure is the point.
Never Trumpers: "You don't have to vote for Trump. You should be seeking change locally if you want to win cultural battles. Stop obsessing over national politics."
*Republicans go nuts on CRT at the local level*
Never Trumpers: "NO NOT THAT WAY!"
The failure is the point.
— Bonchie (@bonchieredstate) June 12, 2021
Whether these people are surrendering on vaccine passports, mask mandates, lockdowns, Joe Biden’s crappy foreign policy, the biased mainstream media, big tech, or transgender ideology being pushed on kids, the trend is clear. The only thing you can get these guys to agree to fight for is corporate tax rates. There’s a reason Never Trump is quickly becoming Never DeSantis as well.
None of this is by chance. Rather, it’s calculated. Any battle Republicans might win must not be fought. The failure is the point.