Defending the Enlightenment

Latest updates will appear here temporarily as well as in the body of this page.
Under History, Sep 28-2021:
Sean Wilentz Fires Back on the 1619 Project | National Review
A liberal historian debunks the 1619 Project. The entire article on which this is based is linked as a PDF from a Czech historical magazine – which suggests to me it couldn’t be published in an American journal.

This page is a work-in-progress. The bibliography will expand and these first links will change periodically as new examples occur. Suggestions for both are welcomed.

NEA to Promote Critical Race Theory in Schools -City Journal
How the Left Turned Words Into ‘Violence,’ and Violence Into ‘Justice’ -Quillette
How the Left Weaponized Race in Its War on the West -Real Clear Politics
Critical race theory teaches that discrimination against whites is essential -Liberty Unyielding

Most links in the TOC blogroll defend the liberal values of The Enlightenment, but the links on this page particularly focus on explaining the historical and intellectual underpinnings of Critical Theory – part of a long term withering attack on rationality, individualism, democracy, and free speech. Critical Race Theory is but a topical example.

This page is intended as a jumping off point for research, and to point at the mutilation of language in service to ideas of identity politics, intersectionality, Critical Theory, Cultural Marxism, and Postmodernism: How speech is violence, why the Founding of the United States was based primarily on slavery, why mathematics is racist, why biology’s axiom that sex in humans is strictly binary is transphobic, how anti-racism became a racist term, and why Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia. It’s all connected. All of us need better intellectual ammunition to fight it.

For example, your local school board may claim Critical Race Theory is taught only in law schools, not in K-12. If you don’t believe that, it’s because you don’t know what CRT is. It’s helpful to point that you do, indeed, know what CRT is and what it is based on. Being able to point to the NEA’s approval of CRT is also useful.

Critical Theories are anti-science. They are non-falsifiable. Two examples: 1-Robin DiAngelo’s White Fragility trope includes the premise that “any denial of her theory is interpreted as proof of its validity.” 2-The multiple, manifest failures of Marxism have minimal effect on its adherents, including members of Congress.

Here are some of the people or organizations responsible for crafting and honing Critical Theory and its handmaiden Postmodernism.

The Frankfurt School
“In 1950, the Frankfurt School augmented Cultural Marxism with Theodor Adorno’s idea of the ‘authoritarian personality.’ This concept is premised on the notion that Christianity, capitalism, and the traditional family create a character prone to racism and fascism. Thus, anyone who upholds America’s traditional moral values and institutions is both racist and fascist.”

Jacques Derrida
“[D]econstruction never had meaning or interest, at least in my eyes, than as a radicalization, that is to say, also *within the tradition* of a certain Marxism in a certain *spirit of Marxism*.”

Michel Foucault
“Foucault says that in the traditional approach, by making the history of thought the ‘locus of uninterrupted continuities’, the subject is constructed in advance in a highly abstract manner, simultaneously providing ‘a privileged shelter for the sovereignty of consciousness’.”

Antonio Gramsci
“The Italian communist (1891 – 1937) … credited with the blueprint that has served as the foundation for the Cultural Marxist movement in modern America.”

Howard Zinn
Zinn’s best-selling revisionist history book “A People’s History of the United States… [f]or over a quarter of a century, … has been highly influential in shaping Americans’ understanding of the past and made him somewhat of a celebrity. By recent counts, it sold over two million copies and is used in high schools and survey American history courses in colleges throughout the country.

…his new interpretation of history amounted to an assault on the United States as the major enemy of the civilized world.”

Richard Cloward and Frances Fox Piven
Cloward and Piven outlined a strategy in 1966 to overload the U.S. public welfare system in order to precipitate a crisis. This would lead to the destruction of free markets in favor of a national system of “a guaranteed annual income and thus an end to poverty.”.

These are informational websites:
Foundation Against Intolerance and Racism

Foundation for Individual Rights in Education

Heterodox Academy

New Discourses

Stephen Hicks – where you can obtain his book Explaining Postmodernism

Vindicating the Founders by Dr. Thomas G. West, Paul Ermine Potter and Dawn Tibbetts Potter Professorship in Politics at Hillsdale College. This is an extensive collection of original historical documents of the Founders’ views and actions on slavery, women’s rights, property rights, voting rights, and other controversial issues. Here are three short podcasts based on Dr. West’s work:

And here are a couple of short videos you can start with before digging further:
James Lindsay explains Critical Theory

Jordan Peterson connects some dots

A two hour conversation with Jonathan Haidt, Jordan Peterson and Steven Pinker.
Enlightenment and the Righteous Mind


Postmodernism, the school of “thought” that proclaimed “There are no truths, only interpretations” has largely played itself out in absurdity, but it has left behind a generation of academics in the humanities disabled by their distrust of the very idea of truth and their disrespect for evidence, settling for “conversations” in which nobody is wrong and nothing can be confirmed, only asserted with whatever style you can muster.
–Dr. Daniel Dennett

This returns all the TOC posts tagged Postmodernism.

Explaining Postmodernism: Skepticism and Socialism from Rousseau to Foucault (Expanded Edition), Hicks, Stephen R. C.
Ockham’s Razor; Expanded edition (August 19, 2011). ISBN-10‎ 0983258406
You can download a free copy here
Audio version on YouTube, here.

Post-Modernism and the Social Sciences, Rosenau, Pauline Marie
Princeton University Press; 1st Edition (November 5, 1991). ISBN-10 0691023476

Cynical Theories: How Activist Scholarship Made Everything about Race, Gender, and Identity―and Why This Harms Everybody
Pluckrose, Helen and Lindsay, James
Pitchstone Publishing; None edition (August 25, 2020)
ISBN-10 1634312023


The Black Book of Communism: Crimes, Terror, Repression, Panné, Jean-Louis (Author), Paczkowski, Andrzej (Author), Bartosek, Karel (Author), Margolin, Jean-Louis (Author), Werth, Nicolas (Author), Courtois, Stéphane (Author),Kramer, Mark (Editor, Translator), & Murphy, Jonathan (Translator)
Harvard University Press (October 15, 1999), ISBN-10 ‏0674076087

Last Exit to Utopia: The Survival of Socialism in a Post-Soviet Era, Revel, Jean Francois
Encounter Books (December 15, 2009). ISBN-10 1594032645

Heaven on Earth: The Rise, Fall, and Afterlife of Socialism, Muravchik, Joshua
Encounter Books; Revised edition (April 2, 2019), ISBN-10 1594039631


Intellectuals: From Marx and Tolstoy to Sartre and Chomsky, Johnson, Paul
Harper Perennial; Revised edition (May 1, 2007), ASIN 0061253170

A Conflict of Visions: Ideological Origins of Political Struggles, Sowell, Thomas
Basic Books; Revised edition (June 5, 2007), ISBN-10 465002056

The Vision of the Anointed: Self-Congratulation as a Basis for Social Policy, Sowell, Thomas
Basic Books (June 28, 1996)
ISBN-10 046508995X

Intellectuals and Society, Sowell, Thomas
Basic Books; Revised – Enlarged edition (March 6, 2012)
ISBN-10 0465025226

Intellectuals and Race, Sowell, Thomas
Basic Books (March 12, 2013)
ISBN-10 0465058728

Race And Culture: A World View, Sowell, Thomas
Basic Books; Revised ed. edition (June 16, 1995)
ISBN-10 0465067972


The Closing of the American Mind, Bloom, Allan
Simon Schuster Trade (April 1, 1987)
ISBN-10 0671479903

Inside American Education, Sowell, Thomas
Free Press (March 14, 2003)
ISBN-10 ‏0743254082


The Creators: A History of Heroes of the Imagination, Boorstin, Daniel J.
Vintage; Reprint edition (September 28, 1993)
ISBN-10 ‏0679743758

The Discoverers: A History of Man’s Search to Know His World and Himself, Boorstin, Daniel J.
Vintage; 1st Vintage Book ed edition (February 12, 1985)
ISBN-10 0394726251

The Americans: The Colonial Experience, Boorstin, Daniel J.
Vintage; 1st Vintage ed edition (March 12, 1964)
ISBN-10 ‏ 0394705130

Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress, Pinker, Steven
Penguin Books; (January, 2018)
ISBN-10 0525559027

A History of the American People, Johnson, Paul
Harper Perennial; (February 1999)
ISBN-10 0060930349

Sean Wilentz Fires Back on the 1619 Project | National Review
A liberal historian debunks the 1619 Project. The entire article on which this is based is linked as a PDF from a Czech historical magazine – which suggests to me it couldn’t be published in an American journal.


The Image: A Guide to Pseudo-Events in America, by Daniel J. Boorstin
Vintage; 1st Vintage Books Ed edition (September 1, 1992)
ISBN-10 ‏0679741801