The Republican Party’s fight against the teaching of Critical Race Theory (CRT) in schools is akin to neo-Nazis in Germany seeking to revise history and put an end to Holocaust education, according to Jason Stanley, a professor of philosophy at Yale University.
Appearing on MSNBC’s The Mehdi Hasan Show on Tuesday night, the professor blasted Republican opposition to Critical Race Theory.
"This tactic is the American version of an international tactic… it always goes with autocracy."
— Mehdi Hasan (@mehdirhasan) June 16, 2021
After the show’s host, Mehdi Hasan, discussed Republican “fear” of Critical Race Theory and a socialist take-over of America, he suggested it was all part of “fascist propaganda,” to which the professor agreed.
“Absolutely,” Stanley replied.
“What if Germany, what if AfD — the neo-fascist party in Germany that advocates ending Holocaust education — came to power and ended Holocaust education?” he asked, adding that, “We’d all be horrified; everyone in America would be horrified by that.”
Furthering the comparison, the Yale professor claimed that both the GOP and German neo-Nazis share talking points.
“They say the same talking points there … ‘We don’t want Germans to feel guilty about our past; we want people to not feel guilty about things their ancestors did,’” he said of the groups.
He then referred to the fight against Critical Race Theory as an “American version” of a similar international strategy.
“This tactic is the American version of an international tactic,” he said.
“In other countries it’s gender ideology,” he added, “so in Germany they’re targeting Holocaust education, in Hungary [and] Brazil they’re targeting gender ideology [and] cultural Marxism, and it’s the same strategy.”
Stanley also made a comparison to Turkey’s Islamist and increasingly authoritarian president, before associating criticism of the theory with autocracy.
“Everywhere you have these attacks on democratic institutions, the education system, people fomenting [and] pushing patriotic education as Erdoğan has in Turkey, it always goes with autocracy, and that needs to be borne in mind,” he said.
“I don’t know a single country where they’re attacking education systems in this way and not also destroying the electoral system,” he added.
Hassan replied by stating that such ideas have “gripped the minds of millions of Republicans and yes it is part and parcel of an autocratic attempt to change the way we think about history and education.”
The lecture comes as the battle over Critical Race Theory in schools has resulted in nationwide tension.
The theory, which is promoted by many on the left, claims that American institutions — the government, economy, and culture — are based on racial hierarchy, with whites at the top and blacks at the bottom, and even that which appears race-neutral is, on closer inspection, rooted in racism. As a result, it urges reform in virtually all of its institutions.
In an essay published in the Economist last month, Stanley claimed that the “Republican attack” on the theory’s aims is a “broadside against truth and history in education.”
Follow Joshua Klein on Twitter @JoshuaKlein.