Ep 258: What is Critical Race Theory? with Phil Magness


Dr. Phil Magness joins us to help us navigate the rather turbulent area that is Critical Race Theory (CRT). Phil is an economic historian; senior research fellow at AIER, as well as the Independent Institute; and author of multiple books concerning the intersection of race, political economy, international trade, higher education, and American history. We discuss if white individuals can be proponents or critics of CRT, if it is the only valid approach to understanding the problem of historical racial discrimination, the state’s role in institutional prejudice, what a critical theory even is, post-modernism, the flawed NY Times’ 1619 Project, and the downfalls of CRT in resolving modern racial issues in America.

Critical theory derived from the Frankfurt School – which has shown dedication to the tenets of “cultural Marxism.” Their development of critical theory stemmed from their desire to emancipate the oppressed masses from the oppressive nature of modern institutions or systems. However, as Dr. Magness points out, these approaches merely focus on a collective mindset or identity, rather than the individual; thus, they are theories that are not truly rooted in the desire for true emancipation. Could this collection of critical theories just be another stepping stool to the destruction of capitalism? 

It seems viable with race at the forefront of social issues in America for us to accept CRT as truth. Are we not called as Christians to strive for equality among our fellow Man? However, is it not possible that people already within power are using CRT as a tool for their own advancement, rather than for the people they are supposedly defending? But, as Doug and Phil show, true economic liberalism is the best tool to truly liberate the oppressed peoples of the world – as opposed to the current state-run attempt at economic equality. 

Show Notes: 


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