New York University (NYU) law professor Richard Epstein slammed critical race theory (CRT) proponents on Monday, accusing them of seeking to “take over the curriculum” and ensure that “nobody who disagrees with them has a chance to speak,” adding that such conduct is “the essence of totalitarianism.”
Speaking with The Glenn Show host and Ivy League economics professor Glenn Loury, Epstein warned that CRT studies have “managed to organize” and have a “very powerful target,” before explaining how such studies operate.
“What they do is they claim that the dominance lies with everybody else, and so, therefore, they’re entitled to use overt and powerful means to shut it down,” he said:
Richard Epstein and I are still talking about critical race theory, emphasizing K-12 education as the key battleground and likening this to past education disputes such as teaching about evolution. See the full discussion now at https://t.co/ZICguBvQ08 pic.twitter.com/hL0NN0EPkc
— Glenn Loury (@GlennLoury) July 20, 2021
Epstein, a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and prominent legal thinker who researches and writes on a broad range of subjects, then illustrated how talking about racism as “institutional stuff” without specifics, is how the push for CRT studies succeeds.
“In order to make this thing go, what you always have to do is to talk about racism as being institutional stuff,” he said.
“The moment you actually start to attack ‘Mr. Jones’ for being a racist, he will defend himself and will break it up — so it’s everybody, meaning nobody,” he continued, “and so what you do is you essentially abuse these anonymous people, tell [people] they’re terrible, and then you say, ‘that’s the justification for us doing what we want.’”
He then warned that the real danger was not suggesting the public consider such theories, but the aim to “take over” schools.
With school efforts to indoctrinate children with Critical Race Theory (CRT) and the growing consequences of pandemic school closures, one thing is clear — parents have had enough. https://t.co/tThy477f9s
— Breitbart News (@BreitbartNews) July 7, 2021
“If they want to basically spout things around in the general public domain, I think they’re entitled to do that,” he said, “but what they want to do is to take over the schools.”
Citing the controversy over teaching evolution and creationism in schools as an “early version of the dilemma,” Epstein admitted, “It’s a very hard question to figure out what you do,” while accusing CRT proponents of seeking much more.
“What the critical race study people want to do is they want to take over the curriculum and basically make sure that nobody who disagrees with them has a chance to speak, which is, to my mind, the essence of totalitarianism,” he said.
The discussion comes as the battle over CRT in schools has resulted in nationwide tension.
The theory, which is promoted by many on the left, claims that all American institutions — government, economy, and culture — are based on racial hierarchy, with whites on top and blacks at the bottom, and even that which appears race-neutral is, when subject to scrutiny, racist.
So much hate. https://t.co/oVwMp1LpoS
— Breitbart News (@BreitbartNews) July 17, 2021
Last month, special educator and former Democrat congressional candidate Barrington D. Martin II, called on Americans to listen to black parents who oppose CRT “indoctrination” in schools, while calling on black Americans to reject the Democratic Party’s race narrative.
Instead, Martin said, black Americans should realize “that their skin color is not a barrier to their progress,” adding that Democrats use race to galvanize black electorate support though many black Americans actually “have conservative ideals.”
Also in June, Jason Stanley, a professor of philosophy at Yale University, claimed that the Republican Party’s fight against the teaching of CRT in schools is akin to neo-fascists in Germany seeking to revise history and put an end to Holocaust education.
Follow Joshua Klein on Twitter @JoshuaKlein