(Warning: contains religious ideas which some may find offensive. No apologies offered.)
I was recently introduced to a philosophical idea called “Critical Theory” by a correspondent, Stacey Durham.
CRITICAL THEORY Chances are that you have never heard of it – or just recently. It is time for all lovers of liberty and followers of Christ Jesus to become familiar with Critical Theory because it is affecting almost everything in the Fifty States (and perhaps the world) today. (For those who are christians, the Lord expects us to “discern the signs of the times” (Matthew 16:3). For lovers of liberty in general, we must pay attention to signs indicating threats to our lives and liberty. This is one of those signs.)
Critical Theory is a philosophy that criticizes and blames society and culture for all social problems. It suggests that problems such as poverty and crime exist because people are trapped in circumstances imposed on them by society. It seeks to solve all such problems by redistributing power and wealth from those who have them to others who do not. This results in the destruction of existing social structures and the creation of new ones. It in essence is an abdication of personal responsibility for anything (and everything).
Critical Theory also classifies people as either oppressors or oppressed persons. These classifications are made collectively rather than individually. So then, an individual is deemed to be an oppressor not because he has oppressed someone else but because he belongs to a group that is considered to be oppressive.
For example, Critical Race Theory (the racial version of Critical Theory) classifies people with white skin as oppressors. Therefore, any white person (in the eyes of the beholder) is an oppressor even if he has not personally oppressed anyone. Even if the “white person” themselves been subject to oppression – or had an ancestor who was oppressed.
This very sketchy description makes it clear. The impact of Critical Theory on current events is evident. All social problems in the Fifty States are blamed on America’s culture, heritage, and history. Every time an individual does something wrong, his offense is framed in terms of collective social circumstances.
If they are member(s) of an “oppressive class,” then his act is seen as evidence of his class’ collective guilt. If they are considered member(s) of an oppressed class, then his act (even if a crime) is due to the oppression against his class. Because the existing structures of society are blamed for what this individual has done, the reaction is to destroy those structures. Thus, there is rioting, looting, destruction of public and private property, violence, and calls for defunding police.
Lovers of liberty must see that Critical Theory (and its applications) oppose the fundamental concept of human liberty and the individual rights of all. Christians must recognize that Critical Theory and its application are opposed the most basic principles of the word of God. Foremost, social problems and all other problems are the result of aggression against others, and the products of sin. Any philosophy that fails to acknowledge this cannot arrive at the proper solution.
I admit, there are many lovers of liberty who might reject the solution I propose, or at least the second part. First we must reject any form of aggression against others. But that is, to me, a part of repentance of a poorly-led life and accepting that the real solution is freedom in Jesus Christ (John 8:32 and Romans 6:23). Moreover, God holds individuals accountable for what they do, and He does not accuse them or excuse them based on an association with anyone else. Notice Ezekiel 18:20 and other passages:
“The person who sins will die. The son will not bear the punishment for the father’s iniquity, nor will the father bear the punishment for the son’s iniquity; the righteousness of the righteous will be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked will be upon himself. “The Lord will judge each person “according to what he has done, whether good or bad” (2Cor. 5:10), and He advises us to do the same. He said, “Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment” (John 7:24), and, “Each tree is known by its own fruit” (Luke 6:44).As fundamental to libertarian political philosophy as to religion.
We should also recognize the damage that is being caused by the application of Critical Theory. The collective solutions that are being proposed and implemented will not bring blessings to Americans. Including such blessings as liberty, peace, and prosperity.
There is more shared between libertarian ideals and ideas, and New Testament christianity. The universe, as created by and sustained by God, is governed by a key concept, or rule. That is, reaping and sowing (Galatians 6:7). Anyone who fails to understand this basic rule of cause and effect, find themselves “punished” – without reward if they will not abide by it (2nd Thessalonians 3:10).
If Americans reject this rule by taking away the fruit of one person’s labor and giving it to another, then we institutionalize theft.
If Americans adopt a policy of partiality and privilege for certain classes of people, then we embrace injustice (Exodus 23:3, 6; Leviticus 19:15).
If Americans tear down social structures such as cooperation and respect for one another, and marriage and families, which God has designed for our good, then we destroy ourselves.
Therefore, understand Critical Theory as the fallacious and evil philosophy that it is. It promises equality, freedom, and justice, but it delivers theft, injustice, and destruction. Those who are promoting this philosophy generally suffer from some combination of ignorance, deception, anger, greed, corruption, and madness. Let it not be so with us, but rather let us reject Critical Theory as yet another empty, dishonest philosophy of men (See Colossians 2:8), and strive for liberty with responsibility in keeping with the way the universe functions.
Originally published on 19 September 2020; reprinted with minor edits.