Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Update on All One in Christ

Recently I was interviewed by Steve and Becky Greene on The Catholic Conversation about my book All One in Christ: A Catholic Critique of Racism and Critical Race Theory.  You can listen to the interview here.  Author Gavin Ashenden and teacher Katherine Bennett discuss the book at the Catholic Herald’s Merely Catholic podcast, judging it “an absolute must-read for all Catholic educators.”  Meanwhile, at the Acton Institute Powerblog, Sarah Negri kindly reviews the book.  From the review:

This book is perfectly subtitled in that it spends significant time evaluating both the church’s denunciation of racism and the incompatibility of Church teaching with CRT… Readers who seek a thorough overview of the church’s statements and position on racism will find it here, and Christians who have ever experienced confusion as to whether CRT obtains as a remedy for it will come away with the understanding that Christianity and critical race theory rest on entirely different first principles; indeed, they present irreconcilable worldviews

Despite the subtitle’s giveaway that Feser will ultimately reject CRT as contrary to church teaching, his exposĂ© of its tenets is impressive.  Drawing mainly from Ibram X. Kendi’s and Robin DiAngelo’s bestselling popularizations of the theory, he takes time to lay out the claims of CRT’s popular proponents with precision and a fair amount of objectivity

Perhaps the most satisfying chapter in this book is when Feser bombards that worldview with the artillery of logical principles.  He proceeds down a long line of logical fallacies committed by popular critical race theorists

Other highlights of All One in Christ include a refreshing discussion of nationalism, patriotism, immigration, and integration, all of which pertain to any serious analysis of race and ethnicity…

The book also makes a social scientific case in support of alternative theories to CRT that align better with church teaching.  Feser provides evidence from economics, history, sociology, and psychology to counter CRT proponents’ unempirical claims and offers other explanations (such as cultural factors) for the supposed racial discrimination at the root of socioeconomic disparities

Feser is overwhelmingly convincing in his contention that, while racism is a grave evil and remains a painful reality in our own day, a faithful Christian (or any reasonable person who cares about human flourishing) should not espouse critical race theory as a viable solution.

Negri’s main criticism of the book is the following:

One rather wonders whether Feser, out of the principle of charity, which he accuses CRT proponents of violating, ought to have engaged the academicians who promote CRT rather than its popularizers, since he demolishes the assertions of the latter so effectively.  It would have felt more like a fair fight.  But in choosing to dismantle the popular arguments of CRT, he does send in his troops where the attack is thickest, since most people’s understanding of CRT comes from its more popular version.

In response, I’d point out that these remarks are a bit misleading insofar as I do in fact also quote from and discuss the work of academic critical race theorists like Derrick Bell, KimberlĂ© Crenshaw, Alan Freeman, Richard Delgado and Jean Stefancic.  But it is true that there is a special focus on popularizers like Kendi and DiAngelo, and for precisely the reason Negri says.  I defended this approach in a recent article.

Other reviews of and interviews about All One in Christ can be found here, here, and here.

16 comments:

  1. You do push that book on this blog an awful lot.

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    1. What do you expect an author to do at his blog?

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    2. I am with Anonymous. I come here to read Dr. Feser's writings, not to read Dr. Feser's writings.

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    3. I was thinking the exact same thing. This blog is nothing but Feser, Feser, Feser.

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  2. Dr. Feser, you have nothing to regret with respect to the way you handle your blog. Please do continue to share news about your excellent books here, as well as other extremely edifying posts. I, like many others, learn a great deal from you. Just keep up the fantastic work, and pay no heed to this sort of off-the-mark criticism.

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  4. The responses you have gotten to this book sure have been fun to listen to (for certain definitions of "fun" anyway).

    When it is repeatedly asserted that all your objections to CRT aren't objections to "real" CRT and we cannot look at any of the popular conceptions to draw conclusions about it, one can't help but see the similarities in these arguments with those claiming that "real socialism has never been tried!"

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    1. The hipster objection. "Ugh, you're on mainstream CRT? You should have gotten it on vinyl."

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    2. @Infinite_Growth

      I saw CRT open for Marxist Critique at the Hollywood bowl.

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  5. Well, you push it over and over. And it's a hit piece and not llike your excellent philsophical books.

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    1. Nonsense. All I have done is posted reviews and interviews about the book as they have appeared, and I have done exactly the same thing with every other book I have written. The fact that you are annoyed by this in the case of this particular book alone is evidence that the lack of objectivity re: CRT lies in you, not me. Nor is the book a "hit piece." I characterize the view fairly, with extensive quotes from original sources, and provide a battery of arguments against it. And the book is written in a non-vituperative style. The only "hit piece" is your gratuitous and undefended accusation.

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  6. A balanced view of CRT
    https://www.ncronline.org/news/justice/explainer-what-critical-race-theory-and-not

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    1. No, it's a puff piece. Here are the facts:

      https://www.catholicworldreport.com/2022/08/22/countering-disinformation-about-critical-race-theory/

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    2. I read that link. We can trade links all night and settle nothing. CRT is here to stay. Happy Thanksgiving.

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    3. I love that Anon* can easily pass from "actually, the truth is this" to "we will win anyway!" so easily.

      The truth is not the goal, right?

      *assuming it is the same guy

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    4. "CRT is here to stay."

      Bogus nonsense is not going away soon, although what it is called. and what nonsense it proclaims, and what wrong it promotes on behalf of whom will shift with regularity until the end.

      Tom Cohoe

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