At this rate, it does not seem that the conservative movement is up to fighting the battle over Critical Race Theory (CRT) in a way that will produce results. Let’s face it. If the right continues using its current strategy, we are going to lose yet another cultural battle.
It seems that every single day conversations and debates over Critical Race Theory are dominating the news cycle – at least in the world of conservative media. Many right-leaning commentators like myself have been discussing the theory, which is steeped in Marxist thought. Conservative influencers have railed against the ideas that come from CRT, pointing out how many teachers are using them to indoctrinate the nation’s children.
Numerous Republican leaders, lawmakers, and pundits have publicly denounced CRT, condemning its use to further divide America. After Critical Race Theory became part of the national conversation, conservatives and Republicans responded by pushing for bans on the material in public schools. As of this writing, 21 states have introduced legislation designed to ban or limit critical race theory.
However, the question that nobody seems to be asking is: “What happens after the theory is banned? What then?”
It’s a question we should all consider because if we assume for one second that banning Critical Race Theory will destroy this ideology we will be in for a rude awakening. As conservatives, we know that the government is rarely the solution to a problem, so using the government to silence an idea should not be seen as the end-all, be-all.
Even when it is banned, Critical Race Theory will still be disseminated to the American masses and most will be persuaded by at least some of its ideas. (It just won’t be called Critical Race Theory.) The reason why is simple.
Racial disparities when it comes to income, wealth, education, healthcare, and other areas still exist in this country. These are glaring problems that need to be fixed. While several factors play into these disparities, it cannot be denied that government policies in the past – and some even now – have been responsible for ensuring that white Americans are placed ahead of blacks and other minorities.
The hard left, through Critical Race Theory and other ideas, has put forth a solution they claim will reverse the impact of the policies that were designed to keep black Americans behind whites. They contend that by adopting these ideas America can finally solve these problems
On the other hand, the right has responded by essentially pretending the issues don’t exist or not significant enough to matter. Too many conservatives are willing to ignore the fact that policies like Jim Crow, redlining, housing discrimination still affect people living today despite being made illegal decades ago. They assume that once these practices and policies were outlawed, the problem vanished.
And this is why the right always loses the debate on race in America. One cannot win a battle they are not willing to fight.
The problem lies in the fact that Democrats who espouse the tenets of CRT are at least suggesting a course of action that could remedy the issues. While it is clear that the way they use these theories is divisive and counterproductive, it is far easier to persuade the populace when there are no competing thoughts on the battlefield of ideas.
If conservatives truly see CRT as a threat, then they must realize the only way to defeat a bad idea is not by relying on the state to squelch them, but by putting forth better ideas. The best way to combat bad speech is with more speech, isn’t it?
And no, ignoring the issue of racial disparities is not an example of putting forth a better argument. Indeed, this amounts to nothing more than a feckless surrender to the hard left and a betrayal of conservative principles.
Instead of developing conservative free-market individualistic solutions and selling them to the culture, we have done what we always do: Criticize the left’s ideas without offering a viable alternative. This is why the so-called progressive crowd has succeeded in dominating the conversation on race.
We know that there are ways to use the free market to revitalize black communities. Conservatives realize that less regulation, lower taxes, school choice, and other ideas work better than relying on government largesse and pretending everything is racist. Regrettably, we have failed to use these principles to come up with actual solutions to close the racial gaps in wealth, education, income, and other areas.
We can no longer afford to stick our fingers in our ears and whistle “Dixie” when issues concerning race and racism arise. Fleeing from the battlefield of ideas is not an option.
It is easy to think that simply banning the idea will keep America safe. However, what happens when the hard left continues its campaign to convince enough Americans to accept critical race theory? As the problems continue to persist, people will want answers, and if at the end of the day, the left is the only party with something to offer, people will become more open to their ideas since they do not have an alternative.
The Critical Race Theory bans that we are touting right now will be easily overturned once the Marxist crowd changes enough minds, which they eventually will.
As I’ve stated previously, if conservatives are going to win more victories in the culture, we must move from being the opposition to being the competition. Banning the theory is a band-aid that will be ripped off the skin. But if we want to have a definitive victory over these divisive ideas, we must arm ourselves with the only weapon that can ensure complete victory: Better ideas.