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The Racial Equity Fallacy (Part 2): Determinism, Dogma, and the Denial of Moral Agency

Updated: Jan 11

In part 1 of my Racial Equity Fallacy series, I addressed a few of the conceptual and practical problems associated with this growing movement in law and public policy circles. In particular, the issues discussed were the problematic and improper exchange of equality to equity resulting in Constitutional incoherence, the influence of Socialism through egalitarianism, and an overall defective and diluted Constitution due to the rejection of equality practically and conceptually. Not to mention, Racial Equity's threats to the Fourteenth Amendment and the Equal Protection Clause result in a serious crisis by directly attacking the integrity of the Constitution. Collectively, these challenges combine to make Racial Equity a fundamentally flawed strategy that is legally and politically hazardous to not only race relations, but polarizing to national unity and the national interest as well.

Core to the Racial Equity argument is the assumption that American society is racially biased and systemically structured against African Americans. Racial Equity advocates argue that these structural disadvantages have created a pattern of inequitable outcomes that are historically driven, pervasive, and can only be overcome by redistributing benefits and burdens with race being the decisive factor overriding all other considerations.

One of the most common problems in the history of ideas is determinism. From psychology to biology to economics, the problem of determinism is rooted in two complex issues, causation and moral agency. Under causation, all acts, mental states, and choices are the result of some preceding cause. Hence, for example, even economic activity is explained through the lens of determinism by suggesting that everything from recessions to bull markets to poverty is caused by predetermined forces. Determinism construed in this manner cancels moral responsibility and true moral knowledge given that moral knowledge and moral truth are eliminated if there's no such thing as moral choice due to determinism. If Racial Equity Theory asserts structural determinism as the primary cause for pervasive racial disadvantage, then the conceptual issues just mentioned above will significantly challenge the efficacy and validity of this position.

Racial Equity is an outgrowth of social justice, systemic racism, and Critical Race Theory (CRT), all three of which are social critiques of policies, institutions, and cultural practices that CRT defenders argue have interlocked to create historical disparities for marginalized communities, particularly African Americans. When it comes to Critical Race Theory and systemic racism, theirs is a highly deterministic approach that makes racism ubiquitous and, in essence, baked into society and the primary or sole cause for societal disadvantage and conflict. As such, it's very much akin to the problem of original sin wherein human evil is imputed through the Adamic curse and is an inescapable reality for humanity without exception. Racism, for CRT, is a predisposition endemic to society and whiteness, and as some would argue, is constituted in the DNA of White people universally. Not only is this offensive and fallacious, it defies logic, science, and reasonableness. By reducing all instances of racial and social disadvantage to the lone issue of racism, all other considerations are ignored without rigorous intellectual scrutiny or challenge. Again, CRT's approach is irrational, anti-intellectual, and antithetical to the pursuit of truth and must therefore be rejected.

An additional problem with determinism is that it is incompatible with freedom and invalidates moral agency. By relying on a deterministic approach to race and racism, Racial Equity Theory fails to allow for human agency and the ability for any group or individual to overcome the preexisting problem of racism. You can't impose a perverse predisposition on an entire race (i.e. determinism) and then expect them to be free moral agents capable of making racially responsible choices just the same; racial determinism refutes freedom and denies moral agency and rational racial responsibility.

Perhaps Racial Equity Theory's biggest failure, when it comes to freedom, is ascription without action. In other words, Racial Equity advocates ascribe noxious racist beliefs and attitudes to an entire demographic group based on racial history and stereotype without evidence of individual racial wrongdoing. Before you can even commit racial wrongs, Racial Equity advocates have already declared Whites to be racist without proof of wrongdoing whatsoever. Racism is grounded in race rather than racist behavior, and the presumption that whiteness is predisposed to wrongness is ascribed purely on the basis of racial grievance, animosity, and stereotype.

Again, CRT's overly deterministic model is irrational, intellectually irresponsible, hostile, and unapologetically discriminatory. To argue that we live in a white supremacist society that is systematically racist is an argument that recklessly rides the rails of determinism and denies basic human agency and dignity. Without freedom, our fate results in relentless racial conflict thus making all notions of and efforts for equality and reconciliation meaningless and moot. In so doing, CRT defenders have denied a legitimate pathway to racial progress because racial injustice becomes a permanent threat to society that simply cannot be overcome because whiteness is synonymous with racism and is automatically guilty of and morally responsible for all social injustices.

As I think through this trifecta of epistemic intolerance that fuels Critical Race Theory (Social Justice, Racial Equity, and Systemic Racism), the term Dogma quickly comes to mind. Dogma is an expression usually applied to matters of religion and is often associated with sectarianism, which refers to a narrow set of "inspired" teachings that thrive on tensions between inferior and superior groups. Dogma is the handmaiden of zealots, who typically become intolerant of challenge or rebuke, especially when their belief system is attacked externally or questioned internally by disaffected followers. When something is believed through explicit indoctrination because the goal is to both explain and change the world (i.e. ideology), and this belief is grounded in a doctrinaire set of proofs, narratives, or principles that are used to sanction objectors or skeptics, devotees become dogmatic in what they believe, how they impose their belief system on others, and why they are hostile to competing truth claims. Thus is the case with CRT, where ideology and dogma go hand-in-hand, and racial determinism quickly degrades into racial dogma with little to no room for disagreement. Challenge a defender of Racial Equity on the merits and demerits of what they believe, and you will quickly be reduced to accusations of being a racist simply for using rational argument and critique. A recent story of a hit-list in Loudon County, Virginia is a perfect example of CRT dogma in action.

In the article Virginia parents threatened after criticizing critical race theory, CRT defenders turned "zealots" are highlighted and shown to be employing tactics not seen since McCarthyism. The article states,

Critical Race Theorists believe that people who they claim benefit from ‘systemic racism,’ which they declare to be the ordinary state of affairs in society, want to maintain it, which is why Critical Race Theorists say virtually everyone is racist,” writes scholar and political commentator James Lindsay.

“Regarding the anti-CRT movement, we’d like to compile a document of all known actors and supporters,” she wrote. “Please comment below with legal names of these individuals, area of residence and or school board Rep known, known accounts on social media, and any other info that you feel is relevant.”

These revelations are both appalling and alarming and are proof-positive of the dogma that is now defining the CRT movement. Here you have alienation that leads to annihilation simply because objectors publicly questioned the local school system's commitment to Critical Race Theory.

The hazards of Critical Race Theory highlighted above demonstrate how far astray we have moved from our accepted and foundational understandings of America's founding principles. Conferred by Creator God, these timeless truths are to be preserved and embraced by both government and the governed so as to further the great American experiment. These principles are hallmarks that make America exceptional among all nations.

Critical Race Theory, as I have argued, violates these very principles. Lost is any appreciation for freedom, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness and the benefits that derive from these truths, collectively and individually. By rejecting Critical Race Theory, we ensure that freedom, truth, and self determination as free moral agents define humanity as created by God thus ensuring that racism does not and will not define America. Without question, we acknowledge the wrath of racism in our history, but we MUST affirm that humanity’s inherent value is centered on the eternal truth that we are beings created in the image of God and that this essence is inviolable and incompatible with any notion of racial superiority or the derogatory treatment of racial difference whatsoever. We must affirm that through God’s grace, sovereignty, and authority, we are empowered over the evils of racism to reconcile with one another to create better realities whereby humanity can truly prosper and flourish, but we can only survive and flourish together as one race, the human race, whereby we see beauty in our uniqueness and redemption through His atonement. Critical Race Theory and all its derivatives (Social Justice, Racial Equity, and Systemic Racism) are incompatible with the ideals expressed above because these are flawed systems that thrive on and inspire the failures of determinism, dogma, and the denial of moral agency to the detriment of equality and justice before the law.

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