I read Paul Krugman’s NYT columns . . . well, I would say “religiously” except I’m a secularist. This morning’s column is a particular insightful — and disturbing — one: Attack of the Right-Wing Thought Police:
We here all know that “Critical Race Theory” is a concept taught only at the university level and that it’s a method for examining the history of American racism. No one teaches it, no one has suggested teaching it, at grade, middle, or high schools (though it might be a good idea).
But the right wing would-be autocrats have seized on it as yet one more tool to attack anyone they don’t like (on the flimsy excuse that critical race theory is being used to attack people its proponents don’t like). A number of states have banned it already using specious arguments about how it makes students (and more importantly, their parents, who vote, uncomfortable). Now Florida, the far right’s laboratory for testing new ways to control, is expanding on that ban.
“Certain constituencies,” of course, means certain White constituencies. They don’t care about making Black constituencies uncomfortable; if anything, they want them to be uncomfortable, afraid even, so that they know their place is at the back of the bus and down on the farm.
Nor are Blacks the only target.
Anyone who argues that the United States is or ever has been less than exceptional or successful will be told to shut up or the law will come after them.
And what about science, which after all makes all those fundamentalists (and many, though not all, evangelicals) uncomfortable?
(I’ve had the same experience: We visited a natural history museum in Livingston, Zambia, back in 2001. The guide checked with us to be sure we were OK with evolution before showing us around; he said he’d a lot of trouble with visitors who insisted it was all made up.)
Krugman also warns that the “thought police” will include vigilantes, similar to the ones Texas is empowering against abortion providers.
Revealed religions, Christianity in particular, have always had problems with dissent or doubt. It’s in the New Testament:
This is religion, fundamentalist religion, masquerading as politics. And it is an existential threat to our freedom to think — to doubt.
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