Liberal writer Thomas Chatterton Williams recently tweeted that “The Rufos and the KendiAngelos (sic) of the world feed off of each other’s excesses for their own benefit but not necessarily for the larger society’s. We desperately need cooler, more supple, more ambivalent, more open-minded heads to prevail.”
This remark is a continuation of his coauthored New York Times op-ed arguing that the growing number of state laws prohibiting critical race theory in schools and workplaces are “codified speech laws,” which he believes are antithetical to liberal democracy. He is not the only one. Lately, we have seen a few such examples of “centrists” turning on any actual attempt to roll back the neo-racist ideology.
Needless to mention, this equivocation is fundamentally fallacious. Ibram Kendi promoting CRT in schools is not the same as Chris Rufo opposing CRT in schools, just like pushing someone towards a train and pushing someone out of the train’s way are not the same because they are both acts of pushing.
In fact, such false equivalences are at the heart of a certain type of “centrist liberalism” in its purest form, which refuses any sense of an objective social good or bad, and manifests instead as a bizarre fetish for taking the median position on any given issue. Fence-sitting in and of itself is considered the biggest virtue in this niche. Acts of debating and reasoned discussion are what is considered prestigious, not reaching a position on an issue and acting on it. In its purest form, it is a kind of detached virtue signaling.
These arguments about maintaining studied neutrality in the face of the far left’s overwhelming top-down social restructuring are at best naïve and misleading, and at worst a surrender or sabotage. It manifests a curious play observed often in pro-CRT arguments. There is always a deliberate obfuscation of the real difference between teaching about race versus implementing a race-based policy towards egalitarian end results, a motte-and-bailey rhetorical effort.
For example, there is a difference between studying racism and slavery in early American history and arguing that the founding of America was based
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