Thursday, October 30, 2008

Barack Obama's Critical Race Theory

In July, I published an essay, "Professor Obama's Radical Syllabus," in which I noted:

Critical race theory combines activism and scholarship in legal studies. Guiding questions in the genre focus on the nexus of race, racism, power, and privilege in civil rights and American history. The field is explicitly postmodernist, in that it takes issue with "conventional narratives" and seeks to unpack the social construction of white supremacy and black oppression. Critical race theorists are inherently radical; the goal of activist teaching and scholarhip is to break down all forms of subjugation, as well as the eradication of society's materialist edifices of elite hiearchy and classism.

The significance of Obama's pedagogy should be now become apparent.

Throughout the primaries Obama was battered with eruptions and revelations of controversal relationships with people way out of the mainstream of society.

Obama, if anyone could forget, was a parishioner at Trinity Unity Church of Christ, who's pastor, Jeremiah Wright, preached a theology of black liberation, a religious tradition of Marxist-based social justice and the empowerment of the marginalized. Some adherents of liberation theology, particularly in Latin America during the Cold War,
explicitly advocated the revolutionary overthrow of conservative governmental regimes. Obama also held longstanding and troubling ties to '60s-era domestic revolutionaries, William Ayers and Bernadette Dohrn. In addition, the extent of Obama's relationship to radical groups such as ACORN are still being revealed.

The question for many people, who know little of such radicals and their front-organizations, is how could a U.S. Senator - and now presumptive Democratic nominee - have such extensive ties to extremists?
Well, it turns out that Mary Grabar has a new piece on this at Pajamas Media, "How Critical Race Theory Molded Obama":

Indicating a receptive attitude to such a view of justice, at least by his teaching and academic background, is presidential candidate Barack Obama. While at Harvard, Obama joined his professor, critical race theorist Derrick Bell, in mob pressures to hire a black female. Obama, during his richly remunerated stint as a part-time professor at the University of Chicago Law School, relied on his former professor’s writings, as his syllabus shows. (Issues of race seem to have been a specialty during Obama’s tenure, as I’ve described in previous columns.) The media points to his inclusion of a reading by conservative jurist Robert Bork, but the preponderance of far-left readings, as well as other evidence, like Obama’s contribution of a chapter to a volume devoted to the writings of radical socialist Saul Alinsky and his close ties to the New Party, strongly suggest that Obama as professor used the tactic of most left-wing professors: throw in one token conservative as a whipping boy. Obama’s academic associations and writings show him favoring theories of justice based on race, class, and gender. These have their roots in a socialist doctrine — and not in Western notions of equal and universal rights.

It takes a regular Joe (the Plumber) asking an innocent question to reveal the Democratic candidate’s ideology, which, in faith to Marxism, is to “spread the wealth.” Joe the Plumber has likely been alienated by his schooling and the double talk reigning in the classroom. He, instead, relies on his God-given reason, just the way the Founding Fathers intended. Professor Obama on the campaign trail, however, mocked John McCain’s reference to him during the third debate.

Obama has garnered the support of Christopher Buckley, who seems to have forgotten his late father’s prescient words in his book about his college years, God and Man at Yale:

Marx himself … envisaged two broad lines of action that could be adopted to destroy the bourgeoisie: one was violent revolution; the other, a slow increase of state power, to a point where a smooth transition could be effected from an individualist to a collectivist society.

Our founding principles are based on the idea of natural law, clearly expressed in such language that “all men are created equal” and “endowed by their Creator with inalienable rights.” The Marxist and critical race theory notions espoused by Obama and by those in positions as intellectual opinion-makers are diametrically opposed to our democratic foundations.

Joe rightly feels threatened by a double standard of justice. He knows that he is endowed with reason by his Creator — and not the professors.

The only response that the professors have left to give to Joe, the aspiring small business owner, is ultimately the one Chairman Mao espoused in his 1949 speech, “On the People’s Democratic Dictatorship”: “Communists the world over are wiser than the bourgeoisie.” Indeed, the professors, like Mao, have simply declared themselves smarter and excluded those who disagree with them. Unchallenged by the public or administrators, they have promulgated their ideology in the classrooms.

It is a plumber and not a Ph.D., though, who recognizes what Obama’s ideas mean for him, a small business owner, a member of the bourgeoisie: famine as a result of an ideology of “spreading the wealth” and guilt until proven innocent as a result of class-based justice.

I especially like Grabar's William Buckley quotation on the accretion of state power leading to the consolidation of collectivist society.

Understanding Barack Obama's pedagogy - not to mention his long-line of radical community activism and ties to untold left-wing personages and appendages - helps to demonstrate how Obama is not just an advocate of greater regulation or emergency relief, but of a full-blown ideological shift of power to the ideal socialist state.

The current mortgage crisis and John McCain's proposal for assistance to homeowners, reflects none of the same radical epistemology as Barack Obama's longstanding ideological program, despite how others
might try to spin it.


Anonymous said...

Your assertion that "spreading the wealth" has any connection to the writings of Karl Marx is patently false. Marx actually tended to be highly critical of visions of socialism that claimed a more equal distribution of wealth would ameliorate the suffering of the working class under the capitalist mode of production. Even a cursory glance at works such "The German Ideology" of 1845, or Marx's 1859 preface reveal Marx was concerned with how progress and human innovation in productive relationships would eventually tear society asunder, giving way to a world that is rationally and scientifically ordered. To call Obama a Marxist is intellectually dishonest, and calculated only to score cheap political points with those who are intolerant of other modes of discourse.

Unknown said...

You're really a professor? That is frightening. Your intolerance of alternate viewpoints has no place in education. Your radicalization of Obama is typical of the McCain camp - you take associations and turn them into best friends who share a common ideology. The idea that people who spent time together must share common ideology and goals would have some interesting implications. The Bush family has ties to a lot of very questionable families. Does that mean that they share the same ideologies? Not necessarily (hopefully not, in fact).

I'm not sure if you've taken any courses on the theory of jurisprudence, but most introductory law courses reinforce the indeterminacy of the law and that America's judicial decisions are not founded on any natural rights - rather that all decisions are inherently political. And this theory was initially promoted by Justice Holmes, who used it to promote classical Republican goals - justifying the striking down of labor laws. The Bush Administration took this idea to heart and tried to use it to their advantage by nominating significantly younger judges to federal positions who will hold those posts for longer.

As a professor at the University of Chicago, Obama's views on the law are in the extreme minority by a faculty dominated by the Law and Economics approach promoted by Posner and the significant majority of the faculty. So if anything, the inclusion of Obama on the faculty merely served to provide an alternate perspective on the law in the hope of providing a well-rounded legal education.