Speaker 1 00:00:01 Hello everyone. And welcome to the 79th episode of the Atlas society asks. My name is Jennifer on G Grossman. My friends call me Jack I'm the CEO of the Atlas society. We are the leading nonprofit organization, introducing young people to the ideas of ion ran in fun, creative ways like animated videos and graphic novels with a path for further study, uh, largely provided by our excellent faculty. Two of whom are here with me today, our very first, uh, senior scholar professor, Stephen Hicks and our newest senior fellow, uh, Robert <inaudible>. So this is our current events panel. So we're going to cover three topics that our panelists have selected. One is, uh, the election results from Virginia from about two weeks ago. Second is critical race theory, of course, connected to that first, uh, topic and whether or not Emmanuel Kant was the original woke philosopher. Um, and then finally, we're going to cover whether robots are going to steal, uh, not only blue collar jobs, but possibly white collar jobs and how we should be thinking of that and framing that, is it, is it really a negative or is it an opportunity for, uh, for liberation and, um, and development?
Speaker 1 00:01:35 So we're gonna, uh, reserve some time at the end to take some of your audience questions. So just feel free throughout the discussion type your questions into the chat on zoom, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, the rest. So thank you for joining us and let's get started with the first topic. Robert, will you set that up for us?
Speaker 0 00:01:57 All right. So we just had, uh, I I'm, I'm broadcasting from Virginia right now, uh, from central Virginia. Uh, so the great thing about what you read about politics. The great thing about living in Virginia is every year is an election year because we do our elections on the, the odd numbered off years, uh, the state level and, uh, elections, and it kind of functions then as a wake-up call to the various parties, because especially for the last couple of decades, what's generally happened is when a new president gets elected, uh, immediately one, exactly one year afterwards, somebody from the opposite party wins the election for governor of Virginia. And it's kind of a wake-up call that, you know, just because your president got elected doesn't mean the American people are necessarily endlessly loyal to you. Um, now I don't want to, I want to caution against over interpreting the results from Virginia.
Speaker 0 00:02:46 Cause there are local factors. There's the fact there's the personalities involved and all of that, that you couldn't, you can read too much into it, but I think the big thing that it has had an impact on the way we're discussing things in politics, because the message from it really, as I think about it is that if you give people a clear opportunity to vote against woke ism, they will, because what happened in Virginia is the, the election turned, uh, on one specific GAF made by Tara McCall. He was the democratic candidate and he's not a great candidate. He, he won governor the governor. He was governor before they can't serve consecutive terms, uh, because of our sort of term limits that we have here. But he had served before and then somebody else was governor for four years and he was running again. He's not a great politician.
Speaker 0 00:03:34 He really got the job before by being a Clinton hanger on for many years. But so he made this GAF where he said, I don't think parents should have control over what their kids are taught in schools. Now there's a context for it that made it a little more complicated, but it really came across as this sort of statement of the arrogance of official dub, right? This idea that the, you know, the bureaucrats and then the politicians will decide what is going to go on in your kid's school. And you don't really have any say over it as a parent you're you're powerless and he could have maybe dug his way out of that hole, but he really could never manage to, to, to dispel that, uh, impression and a part of it was because if you're a Democrat, the one thing you cannot possibly do is ever go out against the teacher's unions.
Speaker 0 00:04:20 So he actually brought the head of one of the teacher's unions in this lady named Brandy Weingarten, brought her in to campaign for him in Northern Virginia at which sort of increased the, this impression that, you know, as a politician, he represents the interests of the teacher's unions and the bureaucracy over and above the parents. Now it wasn't just about woke as him. It was also about the pandemic and the extremely poor response of the state government to the pandemic. The public schools were basically shut down and a lot of various for most of the year. Uh, you have tremendous learning loss, you know, because zoom school is not really a substitute for in-person education, especially for the youngest kids. Uh, so I mean, the oddest thing I thought about the pandemic is that the schools were closed for the youngest kids, but the colleges were open when, you know, the college is the one place where you could actually imagine people being able to learn remotely much better than they would at younger ages.
Speaker 0 00:05:15 Um, so it was all backwards. And so there was a lot of pent up frustration and anger at the public schools, but also thrown into that was the fact that you had, especially in a couple of local cases, you had cases where critical race theory and the sort of modern woke politics of race was being introduced into the curriculum. And a lot of parents were hopping mad about it. And the most interesting thing I think about it is that it's some of the interviews I saw and some of the responses I saw there were black parents and Hispanic parents who are supposedly the beneficiaries of, of all this racial politics who also didn't like it because they, you know, it, it, they saw it as reducing the quality of their kids' education, teaching them if they're victims, uh, teaching them not to, you know, work hard and learn.
Speaker 0 00:06:02 And they actually want, you know, one of the open secrets these days about their democratic party is a lot of its space. And especially the black and Hispanic people in the base of the party are not woke. Uh, they don't buy into all the latest fads and theories. And, uh, uh, they're actually much more conservative than the sort of white, upper middle class educated people who are the loudest people on Twitter and who sort of, you know, push the, the agenda, uh, from the top. So for all of those reasons, there's a huge actually swing that, that, that, uh, Glen young can, the Republican candidate benefited from a big swing of, uh, of centrist voters and even some, you know, democratic party voters over to his side because of this issue, because it sort of became without iniquity really planning it. This election suddenly became a referendum on woke ism. And, uh, like I said, if you give people the opportunity to vote against it, they will. And that's what they did. Hmm.
Speaker 1 00:07:03 Do you see that as possibly being nationalized? Um,
Speaker 0 00:07:08 I think it's definitely, I mean, people are, people are looking at it. There are some Democrats who are, who are, I think, correctly panicking over it and say, wait, we have to take this seriously. We have to dial back on a piecing the, the far left faction. Uh, and there are a lot of Republicans, you know, politicians, politicians love a formula that they can copy. You know, politicians are not deep thinkers. There are people who are out there with their feelers saying, what are the voters want me to do? What do they want me to be? And when you have somebody who puts forward a successful model and Glenn Young kid has, you know, he's a, he's a moderate unexceptionable, uh, uh, not allowed mouth kind of guy. He's, he's a very mild mannered guy. Uh, he, he sort of be admit mom, 10 years ago, he would be a Mitt Romney Republican.
Speaker 0 00:07:51 You kind of think of it in that bold. So he's not a flamboyant guy. He's just the person who took that issue that was handed to him of me, my opponents saying that parents don't have a say in the schools, the, the, uh, dissatisfaction people had with the schools, the dissatisfaction they have with this local politics, he took that made that for referendum. And I think you're going to see other people take that, that, that cue that running a, you know, this is an unpopular thing let's run against it. And politicians love when they have a formula like that.
Speaker 1 00:08:23 Well, uh, Stephen, you know, and then of course, some, um, on the democratic side are saying critical race theory doesn't exist. It's not in the school. So there's a sense of denial denial of what's happening. What, what are, what's your perspective on this?
Speaker 2 00:08:38 Well, a philosophy perspective and a resident of the state of Illinois perspective. And so in one sense, I'm very encouraged that there are states like Virginia that go back and forth on these issues. And perhaps we're sending signals to the rest of the country, even though I think, uh, Chicago dominating Illinois pops the texts. It doesn't seem to matter how bad things get in Chicago. There's not going to be significant reform in, uh, in Illinois in any time soon at the same time, I do, uh, see many parents in many jurisdictions around the country is reacting the same way the Virginia voters did react in this case. And I think it's the exact same dynamic at work. Uh, to me, it does. Now I'm going to put my, my philosopher hat on. I think what has been striking over the course of my lifetime is the power of the, uh, the moral argument.
Speaker 2 00:09:32 And the idea of public schools has had a huge moral sanction behind it. And for half a century, no matter how corrupt, how, uh, bad the outcomes are, how incompetent various people are, the moral sanction behind public schools has dominated. And they keep chugging along with the same amount of power and increased power and increased, uh, increased budgets. They had increased budgets, don't get to the teachers by the way, for the most part there's there's bloating, bloat, and other sectors. Uh, so I do think that, uh, there are some helpful signs that the, the long train of, uh, I think of it as patience and benevolence that parents have had toward public school system for the last half century, at least that what was sold to most Americans and Canadians, where I'm from as well was a kind of division of labor, but the education is complex.
Speaker 2 00:10:33 We need professionals, uh, parents, of course, you're going to do your thing at home, but we at the public schools with government dollars and the well-trained experts coming out of the, out of the best schools, we know how to educate your children. And, uh, I think most parents thought, okay, fine. We will sign onto that division of labor. It makes sense. Uh, we're getting into a more complicated society and I don't know everything. So I'm happy that there are these, uh, these well-funded well-trained experts out there who are going to educate my children, uh, and that carried the day for, for, for decades. And of course there was a lot of, uh, bloat. There was a lot of waste. There was a lot of corruption, but still the perception was by and large, the public schools are doing a good job. So what's encouraging is that I would say in the last four to five years, especially they, uh, uh, the patience is wearing thin and people are becoming much more educated and much more involved about the degrees of corruption, the degrees of nonperformance and actually anti performance, and then outright indoctrination, outright denialism.
Speaker 2 00:11:44 Uh, and so parents, I think are, are, uh, wonderfully stepping up and I hope more parents will step up, uh, start attending their local school boards, start withdrawing funding when they can. And then in this case, going to the ballot box and doing something significant about it. So I hope it is a very large tip of an iceberg that we are seeing developing, but I think it's still early days. Yes.
Speaker 0 00:12:10 The one thing I've noticed on the national stage over the last, really this is a pandemic era thing because the public school system is a terrible job, responding to the pandemic. They were very slow to adapt, uh, and very slow to go back to actually providing the service of teaching the kids. There was an Exodus to private schools. And partly as a result of that, what I've really seen in the last, you know, since the pandemic, the, one of the most sort of, it's a big thing that you don't really notice because it's bubbling in a bunch of different places is that school choice has gone from this sort of, um, niche, libertarian idea, you know, advocated by Milton Friedman years ago. But, you know, it kept chugging along. It was always out there, but it never really made much progress. And it's made an enormous amount of progress in the last, you know, year and a half, two years because of the pandemic that people have said, if the schools at the public schools, aren't going to be educating my kids, give me the money.
Speaker 0 00:13:04 So I can go find somebody who will do that. And I think that though, the campaigning us wokeness this tying into that, I think that's also going to fuel that of saying, give me the choice to send my kid to a school where I actually know what they're teaching. I have a choice over it. They have to listen to me because I'm the customer. And, uh, you know, right now we have the, the condition of the public schools is the idea that yes, they answer to the public, but they answer to the public as a collective and by the medium of a bureaucracy. And, you know, we know how that works when the government runs something and they supposedly answer to the public, but really it's a bunch of bureaucrat, you know, it's all indirect and it's all collective. And really what happens is that's the grant of power to the bureaucrats. And I think that that's what people have sort of figured out
Speaker 2 00:13:51 To piggyback on that the school vouchers and school choice movement going mainstream is an encouraging sign as well. Uh, two other encouraging signs are the mainstreaming of homeschooling. So for a couple of decades, that has been the reputation that it's a religious fanatics and kind of granola crunchy hippie types who are doing, uh, doing homeschooling. But now it's mainstream and lots of people from all walks of life and very sophisticated people are experimenting and putting together their homeschool networks.
Speaker 2 00:14:26 Experiments people with serious dollars and an interest in starting alternative kinds of schools. Uh, and so there's huge number of, uh, entrepreneurial experiments of various sorts going on. So let a thousand flowers bloom
Speaker 1 00:14:41 As wait. We're going to have to move along, um, Robert to our next topic, but I was just picking up on, um, Stephen's point that in terms of homeschooling, uh, being mainstreamed, we had an example of that at our gala with, uh, with lucky, with Palmer lucky, um, the founder of Oculus having been a shining example of, uh, of the, um, excellent results produced by homeschooling. So, Steven, um, you chose the second topic, uh, in terms of,
Speaker 2 00:15:12 And Rob suggested this one, but it's right up our alley. So,
Speaker 1 00:15:17 All right, well then I will let you to, uh, scrap over who, who wants to, uh,
Speaker 2 00:15:24 Yeah, I will tee it up, but I'm going to need to share my screen. And so, uh, I think it's a Lawrence behind scenes and, uh, I could be enabled to do so. Let me, uh, let me do that. Let me just preamble by saying, the other thing that I'm very encouraged with is, uh, uh, the fact that so many millions of people are talking about issues that millions of people never used to talk about issues before intellectual issues, political issues, uh, and, and so on. It might be a bit of a stretch of an analogy, but I'm, I'm, I'm thinking back to the Protestant reformation era when suddenly the Bible and all sorts of other books are translated into the vernacular and due to the printing press, uh, the cost of books goes way down and lots and lots of people have books. And so what you have is large numbers of people suddenly talking about religion and philosophy and politics and all sorts of things that they never talked about before.
Speaker 2 00:16:19 And of course, a lot of it was ignorant and uninformed, and it got very messy and overheated and so on. But out of that, uh, to some extent, unintended beautiful things did emerge. And so we are in some sense, so with the new media, uh, in a similar state, so even though the internet is office ugly and messy, I'm just glad that hundreds of millions of people are talking about things. And in this particular case, the, uh, the article that Rob pointed us to this is the mainstream media Washington post publishing an article, uh, making a case about the role of Emmanuel con and gender rating, this almost two centuries later phenomenon that we now call wokeness. And of course it's a controversial thesis, uh, but, uh, but let me plunge into it. So I don't want to say, uh, uh, two, this is, and let me go to, I've just got to, I want to give a couple of quotations and, uh, and then backfeed a little bit, I need to go here.
Speaker 2 00:17:18 Use live show. That's the one I want from the beginning. So the question that was posed in this Washington post article as a journalist, and he interviewed a Princeton historian, uh, who does some intellectual history, as well as civil war history on where all of this wokeness is coming from. And the guy said, well, it comes out of critical theory and German philosophy and, and sociological theory back in the middle part of the 20th century. But behind that, you really have to go all the way back to Emmanuel con in the, in the, uh, in the 1780s in the 1790s. And that's the thing that, uh, that, uh, mounts the firestorm. So we have all of the arguments over critical race theory. Uh, you know, what does it mean? Is it really, uh, in the schools? Does it mean just teaching history or is there an agenda at work?
Speaker 2 00:18:05 Where does it come from? Is it actually connected to critical theory historically this, uh, at least in, in, in mainstream discussions, a somewhat obscure group of German academics, uh, in the 1920s, thirties, and forties, who some of them made their way to the United States already that, uh, going back 70, 80 years seems a bit of a stretch, but then to say behind critical theory, there's this guy, this German philosopher who in many interpretations is the high priest of the enlightenment. If we can use that language and he is being blamed for what seems to be this very irrational activist, we hate everybody woke is kind of a, of, of, of political movement. So what I want to say, uh, whether Emmanuel Kahn is the first woke philosopher or not, uh, the answer is yes. And with some qualifications also, no, and I'm going to emphasize the yes, but recognize that there are some knows, I'll say a little bit about that, just along the way.
Speaker 2 00:19:03 So first a couple of quotations from the, the, from two people, these are two people who are widely recognized by everybody, whether you are, you're a critical race theorist or anti critical race theorists as the two most important people, founding critical race theory. One of them is this fellow here, Richard Delgado. And he was a, this is from a book first published in 1995. One of the founding texts, critical race theory and introduction published very prestigious only by New York university press. Uh, and notice what he is saying. Critical race theory amounts to these very explicit, very well-read very philosophical and historically grounded, unlike traditional, uh, civil rights. Uh, so here think of Martin Luther king, which embraces incrementalism that is to say step-by-step reform, uh, or step-by-step progress, critical race theory questions, the very foundations of the liberal order. I'm going to pause right there. Questions in academic.
Speaker 2 00:20:05 Uh, this ones always means, uh, rejects. The answer is always the answer. That question is, no, we don't like this, but it's an academic way of saying, uh, that we're rejecting this without coming out and saying, so we are questioning the very foundations of the liberal order by the liberal order. We don't need that parochial American political use. We mean modern liberalism, going back to John Locke, Sidney Montesquieu Voltaire, and the whole monopoly of, of people like that, including Adam Smith and others. So that is to say classical liberalism with all of its variations, whatever's at the foundation of that. That's what we are questioning, and we are going to reject. And he goes on to give a very thorough list of what goes into that package equality theory. That is to say that there should be one set of principles that are applied to all human beings equally without exceptions, no double standards, no class basis.
Speaker 2 00:21:01 So, so equality theory, we're rejecting legal reasoning to be thinkable the whole battery of principles that go into that evidence and forensics and a presumption of innocence and having both sides, uh, able to present their cases and critique each other's cases, we're rejecting all of that enlightenment rationalism. So the whole idea, uh, that all human beings have rationality that that's our most important faculty. And that is also the potential glory of human beings as because human beings are rational, that they should be treated as moral agents and have these, uh, these, uh, these universal rights and then neutral principles of constitutional law were also questioning and rejecting that. So critical race theory, uh, is deep. It's philosophically grounded. They know what they're standing for, and they're rejecting all of, all of these principles. Now, the next quotation I wanted to get to do, if I can, is the other, uh, major cofounder of, uh, of, uh, critical race theory is Kimberly Crenshaw.
Speaker 2 00:22:09 Uh, again, press the professor at a prestigious institution, Columbia university. And this is from the introduction again, to a 1995 book that she was the lead co-editor collecting all of the major writings on, on a critical race theory, things that have been published in scholarly journals. Uh, and so these are the important works, including some of her her own work. And I've got my thing in the way here. So let me, let me see. But the point I want to get to is critical race theory and how they chose that name toward the end of the quotation. It says indeed, the, uh, some of the people that were putting together this, uh, this anthology and the, and the, the first major workshop, bringing all of the scholars together, we chose the name because we wanted to make it clear that our work locates itself at the intersection of critical theory and race and critical theory is an well worked out, uh, academic set of disciplines, sociology, philosophy, history, psychology, and so on the, uh, the citation is down there.
Speaker 2 00:23:16 You can read this in four o'clock, but what we have then is 1995, we are critical theorists, and we're taking that general academic theory, and we are going to apply it to race and critical race theory. And there are also critical feminist theories and critical, critical ethnic theories and so on all of the different groups. So what then is critical theory for that? We go back to the guys who get my to work. There we go. One of the co-founders of critical theory, this is max Horkheimer. One of the, uh, the first directors of, uh, uh, uh, the, the, the school in, in Frankfurt, Germany, uh, before, uh, when the Nazis rise they got out of there all left wing, uh, academics, uh, before the rise of the Nazis. And they all got out of Germany, none of them, interestingly went east to the Soviet union.
Speaker 2 00:24:14 They all came to the United States and, uh, and, and to great Britain, but, uh, uh, this is a philosophically trained PhD, uh, and, uh, I've just got his habilitation dissertation from 1925. And he is writing on condoms. He's working in the Kantian framework explicitly. Uh, and then when, you know, uh, we're content, a neo-con DMT philosophy had gotten to by the early part of the 20th centuries, you know, it's that, it's that jargon, it's that whole worldview and his co-author, uh, Theodore don't be or DOR, no. And then, uh, uh, Abra often, Herbert mark HUSA is mentioned here with a slightly different angle, a little bit more Hickey. Helion more Marxist, more Heideggerian. Uh, but the point just is that these guys are deeply read in content philosophy and Neo neo-con and philosophy, and they see themselves as extending Yessi and various neo-con TN kinds of directions.
Speaker 2 00:25:12 And they will emphasize that the, that the Neo elements, they also will add some HIG Elian elements, some Marxist elements as well. They see themselves as putting together a brand new synthesis. So critical race theory then is explicitly coming out of critical theory. Critical theory is coming out of all of the major trends in German philosophy, as they were developed over the 19th, 19th century, starting with the great granddaddy of German philosophy in the modern world. And that is Emmanuel con uh, I just have another mention here. The most famous book though, that Horkheimer wrote was co-authored with Adorno shortly after world war two, and the book is called dialectic of enlightenment, the dialectic language, you know, that's the Galean language, that's Marxist language. So we're bringing that in as well as the content stuff, and we are going after the enlightenment. Uh, and, uh, so just as Richard Delgado, two quotations before set everything that the enlightenment stands for, we are rejecting all of that.
Speaker 2 00:26:13 We are all ultimately another language, a counter enlightenment Horkheimer, and Adorno are going after the enlightenment and basically blaming it for all of the pathologies of the modern world, including, uh, uh, Hitler and the Nazis and their major critique of Hitler. And the Nazis is that they were too scientific and too rational. And they were a leading fruit of a fruit of the fruit of the enlightenment. Okay. So that's to go back to, uh, to 80 years or so. And then if we go back to a, to manual conch, uh, the critique language, uh, that dominates critique of pure reason, predictor practical reason, critique of judgment. The critique is a term of art in this, in this discipline. And, uh, the point is just going to be, yes, they read their con, they think of themselves as neo-con audience, and this is where the no comes in, because I think it's fair to say that Emmanuel Kahn is the great grandfather of woke ism.
Speaker 2 00:27:11 But if you take that kind of family metaphor, seriously, he's not the only great grandfather, right? By the time you get down to multiple generations, who've got several grandmothers and grandfathers kicking around, and we do know that things evolve over the course of generations, but there is a core kernel. The, the, the, the things that we objective is most blame conned for, uh, for inaugurating, a counter enlightenment. It's exactly those things that are picked up by Hagle and Marx and nitro and Heidegger, and the Frankfurt school people, and developed and evolved and made even more sophisticated, and then be queasy to the people who are a well-placed academics in the eighties and 1990s who are founding sub schools like critical race theory. Now that, uh, then let me just say just one more thing. Um, I see critical race theory as a, as a skirmish in the overall battle.
Speaker 2 00:28:06 I don't, I don't, I don't actually think most of the critical race theorists are that serious about all their charges, about everything being racist or so on. It's largely tactical. They know that Americans and people in the west are very sensitive to race issues. And so it's a very useful rhetorical attack to try to put people on the defensive about it, but really their agenda is the broader agenda that Delgado was going after. They're opposed to reason they're opposed to principles of rationality they're opposed to principles of equality, neutral, constitutional law, and so on. They want to replace that with something else. The, the, uh, the, the racism is just one front in a more strategic, uh, philosophical and political battles. So I'll stop there for now.
Speaker 0 00:28:53 Yeah. So I wanted to throw in something that there's this whole debate about. Are they really teaching critical race theory in the school? So we came up in our previous pan, uh, thing, and I agree with you that that critical race theory as such proves find very narrowly is the skirmish. The wider conflict is really over this sense that the invite light, mid values of reason, the enlightenment values of equality, the enlightenment values of Liberty that that's, what's under attack. And that, you know, there's a racial element to it. And Steven, can you,
Speaker 2 00:29:28 Oh, yeah, I'm sorry. Thanks for the reminder.
Speaker 0 00:29:33 I did the same thing. We, you think we all be better at using zoom by now, but we get into the discussion and we get distracted and it took over my consciousness there. I wish that happened more to people. Um, so what I was gonna say is that people that, you know, on the left, when they're in the defensive on this, they kind of Gaslight us about it. Oh, no, none of this is being taught in schools. And we know, you know, my kids bringing stuff home from the 16, 19 project. I know it's at the schools and that's at a private school, but I know that's also the public schools. And I see this, you know, so this stuff is coming back. What they'll do is their fallback dose. They'll take a very narrow definition of, well, there's this guy named Derek bell. And he wrote this there's this like legal version of critical race theory, but it's specifically a legal theory.
Speaker 0 00:30:17 So the finance so narrowly, that is something that of course, is being taught to seven year olds. But what you, if you know, the whole idea of white privilege, there's a wider, that's why like woke is a myth sort of become the term that we use for lack of a better name, by the way. There's a curious thing, too, that you see there that, um, I've noticed that now a bunch of people on the left are saying stop using woke, stop using woke as a, we don't like that term. It's an accurate, you know, 20 years ago we were calling it political correctness. I think it's interesting that you have through all this time, the people in this, or we've been calling ourselves, Objectivists the whole time, we haven't felt the need. Especially as people disapprove of our ideas, we haven't felt the need to change the term we use for ourselves.
Speaker 0 00:30:57 That's right. But there's this sort of, you know, floating and there, you know, the minute you nailed them down to here's, what specifically your views are? They kind of want to wriggle out because they know how poisonous the unpopular, this is how much people disapprove of it. But I, I took, uh, I took on this issue. I've got a piece coming out, um, hopefully tomorrow or the next day in discourse magazine taking on this. And I start from putting more detail on the opposite end, the content end. And specifically, what, what fascinated me about it is I think const, the first woke philosopher one sense in particular, which is he talks an instruction. One of his works, he talks about how it was reading the works of David Hume. The Scottish philosopher, that co quote unquote woke me from my dogmatic slumber. So he's, he's, uh, he's woke.
Speaker 0 00:31:45 And that, you know, in that sort of rhetorical sense, he used the describes himself as being awakened from his slumber. But it's not just a rhetorical coincidence. If you look into what he means by being awakened, it has a lot to do with where we are right now. And so David Hume was a philosopher, came out with a sort of radical skepticism, you know, that you can't say for sure that the sun is going to rise tomorrow, that there's no cost. You know, he, he specifically focused, and this is what Kent writes about, focused on questioning cause and effect, and the idea that there's any necessary connection between the cause and the effect, and therefore sort of as deuces wild, do anything could happen? We can't say anything for sure. And this was viewed as a very radical and subversive, uh, viewpoint, which, which it is, uh, during the enlightenment. And so Kahn came in, sailed in, and sort of, I'm going to defend against this. I'm going to come up with a, I think you called that happier solution
Speaker 0 00:32:39 To the problem. And so, but he, he just got to just have to being awakened to the issue by David Hume. And what he did specifically though, was he did it's this idea of this is an awakening because his dogmatic slumber that he had before kind countering Hume, was that he thought that when I look around me, all the things that I see that, you know, the brick wall behind me, the lights in front of me, the camera, all these things actually exists. And they're real, that's the dog, but tourism that he's talking about, and the thing that awakened him from it is I heard a bunch of theories from a philosopher. Now, I think that's kind of the upside down version of awakening. That is, I mean, this is the, the, what I called the, uh, uh, occupational hazard of the philosopher that throughout history, there's been this sort of tendency for philosophers to say, my argument is more important than the world around me.
Speaker 0 00:33:34 You know, don't believe your lying eyes to believe my, my, the construction, the arguments that I've constructed instead. And this idea of putting concepts above perception, uh, putting, uh, ideas above reality. You know, this goes all the way back before even Socrates, I think as the early, uh, uh, uh, one of the earliest Greek philosophers, there were the permitted and who said change and motion can't possibly exist. We have all these theories, these proofs that we've done to show it's a possible for change or motion to ever happen. So therefore if you see things around you moving and changing, it's all an illusion. Forget about it. You know, here, look at my theory instead. So this is a long, long, long tradition and philosophy, you know, from going through the pre Socratics to Plato and eventually up to content. And that's sort of what he means by being awakened is being awakened.
Speaker 0 00:34:25 As I'm going to see the, the, the reality behind reality, uh, you know, normal people think you out there and you, you look and you think you see the things around you are real, but really as a philosopher, I know better. And so what Khan comes up with is a theory where he says, well, look trying to answer Hume by saying that we look at the objects in the world and the objects that we see, tell us the truth. That's not going to work. What we have to instead do is we have to come up with a theory where the essence of his theory is we have certain abstract conceptual categories in our mind, and those categories influence the way we perceive from the world around us and make it so that the things we perceive have to match up with our categories. They have no choice because the nature of Asana nature of our brains or our minds is shaping what we perceive so that it has to match our concepts and categories.
Speaker 0 00:35:18 And as this great quote, I don't think I have it exactly word for word, but basically how, um, our perception of the world has to match our concepts of the world. And that's a really neat setup. I mean, you know, the, the advantage of it is, uh, that you can say, well, the world's orderly and matches my concept because they have no other choice. The problem is that you then say, you're cutting yourself off from reality. You're saying, you know, the, what I see around me is entirely determined by my nature, by who I am now. And so basically it's radical subjectivism, but dressed up and sort of put in more complex language. And I think also what content is, he said, well, everybody has the same categories. So what we see as a delusion created by our minds, but we're all living in the same delusion.
Speaker 0 00:36:08 So it made it seem safer than David Hume. David humans is radical individual skepticism that you could come along and dissolve all ideas of morality and science, uh, with it, with his kind of skepticism and Cod had the idea, no, no, I'm going to keep all conventional morality. All conventional ideas are going to be safe, but they're going to be, but because, because we're all subjective, we're all stuck in the same collective dilution. Now what happened after that though, is the problem. Doesn't cot set up this idea that what you perceive the world around you, how you have all the ideas in your head are really determined, not by the world out there, not by your observing the world. It's all determined by who you are by, by your nature. And you could sort of see the leap from there to woke as them, because what they have is this idea that who you are, whether you're a, you know, if you're, uh, uh, a, uh, not, uh, what is a day, uh, uh, a, a BI, uh, gosh, what's the, what's the word they use that binary non-binary that's, if you're a non-binary person of color, you're a different person than if you're a straight white male.
Speaker 0 00:37:18 And because you're a different person that influences and perceived and distorts and changes how you perceive the world so that you perceive you live in a different world than that other person. And that's really the fundamental, the radical tack of the enlightenment that's behind woke ism is the idea. That's why they're against enlightenment rationalism or rationality is the idea that, you know, you cannot make a claim to something being objectively true. And that's actually viewed as inherently oppressive in this sort of modern woke ideology. You can make a claim that something is inherently or universally true, uh, by the nature of that is subjectively or universally true. Uh, inherent is too vague a term. So to say something subjectively and universally true is oppressive. You have to accept that everybody has their own truth shaped by who they are by the intersection of the various different kind of, uh, marginalized groups that they belong to.
Speaker 0 00:38:15 And that's what I see as what they exploited in con is this idea that, um, uh, that what we see and what we perceive and everything we think is determined by, uh, by who we are by our nature, by what our, our position is in the various power struggles in the world, you know, the inter the sort of media, the intermediate stage, there is marks of course, because he's the one who had the idea that, you know, what you think, and, and all of culture and all of the intellectual life of the, of, of a society is determined by, are you a proletarian or are you a bridge Waze? You know, and all ideas could be categorized as being proletarian or bridge was he who you are, where you are, the power struggles that determines everything you think. And so that was sort of the, the, the intermediate stage between current and the current woke ism.
Speaker 0 00:39:07 But I think what I want to end, what I really want to focus on is this idea of, of what does awakening mean? What does it, you know, cause the term woke came, you know, it was sort of adopted by the left, came from African American slang for beating, you know, you're awake and it meant you're awake to the systems of oppression and power of power depression. You're, you're see this, this reality that, that, that you didn't see before you, your eyes have been opened. And, uh, it's this idea of being awakened, not meaning, not meaning I'm awakened to observation of reality, but rather the belief that there's a reality behind reality. There's a, you know, if you have the special esoteric knowledge, you see things that, that, uh, that are other people are blind to. So for example, uh, an M the piece I'm writing, I, I found that, uh, there's, uh, just in the last couple of weeks, there's a three article series in the New York times, three whole articles in the New York times.
Speaker 0 00:40:04 It's the worlds, the nation's paper of record going into a deep analysis of the outfits worn by Senator Kristen St. NEMA of, from Arizona. Now, why would you spend three hours talking about her fashion choices? Well, because this person presumes to decode how they're all these secret messages in her fashion choices about race, class, and gender. Now, the, the obvious motivation for this is she just voted against, uh, the big, uh, uh, Biden, uh, uh, sort of omnibus, uh, social spending welfare state bill. And so she's the designated bad guy at the moment, but it's this idea that, you know, there's this secret knowledge, that address, isn't just a dress, it's the hidden message about what race, class, and gender, and that's the sort of, that's the sort of blind wokeness that you get where this esoteric theory becomes more important than the fact that it's justice address.
Speaker 1 00:40:58 Yes. Um, of course there's nothing, nothing hidden in, in my messaging, in my dress. So,
Speaker 2 00:41:06 I mean, yeah, let me jump in if I can JAG, if you say we might have to save our third topic for, uh, for next time, because I really have to piggyback on some of the things
Speaker 1 00:41:15 We can do that. Cause I also do want to get to some of the, um, some of the questions.
Speaker 2 00:41:20 So just, uh, I think Rob would give a very nice, nice summary there. Uh, what I would say is that the, the transition figures, uh, Rob rightly mentioned marks, but we also have to mention Hagle in the generation before and nature in the generation after. So, uh, you know, as, as Rob Mikey says the Copernican revolution in conscious, we go away from any sort of objectivity and reason as discovering trues out there to reason being a subjective phenomenon. And it's actually creating reality. That's the first major premise, uh, Rob nicely then points out con second premise is that reason, uh, is universal to the species is so we're all subject devising in the same way with respect to the creation of reality and normative principles and so on. It's precisely that second principle that is next going to come under attack. And from the content perspective, how do you possibly know that everybody has the same subjective categories and forms of sensibility?
Speaker 2 00:42:20 And so how do you really know that they are universal to the species? If you can't get outside of your own head to see reality as it really is as to what you see con dies in 1804 is in the next generation to Hagle starts to relativize it in one direction and then marks relativizes it in a different direction in the middle part of the 18th century, towards the end of the, uh, uh, sorry, uh, 18 hundreds towards the end of the 18 hundreds nature. Relativizes things in a different, in a different direction. All of these are genius, German philosophers, and they are dominating German philosophy and German philosophy is dominating the world. By the time we get to the turn of the, of the 20th century. And so the people who are coming along in the early part of the 20th century Frankfurt school Horkheimer and so on, and then the early postmodernists, they are all steeped exactly in this tradition.
Speaker 2 00:43:13 None of them ever has a nice thing to say about Francis bacon or John Locke or Adam Smith or anybody who's part of the British enlightenment or the French enlightenment. It's all German philosophy. And I need to share just one more slide just to bring things a full circle. I promise I will unfair when I finished showing this, but we go from conch. And then in the 1780s on through Hagle marks nature into the, uh, into the, uh, uh, the Frankfurt school and the middle part of the 20th century, then by the time we get to the late 19 hundreds, we've got these special versions of it, critical race theory being developed 1995, Delgado Crenshaw and so on. Uh, and then there's a whole outpouring of academic scholarship, uh, being published in all sorts of journals in the late 1990s and on into the two thousands.
Speaker 2 00:44:07 And one sign of the impact of this movement comes about in 2009, 2013, with the publication of these two books. These are handbooks that are meant for professional educators to be used in textbooks or as textbooks in schools of education around the United States. Handbooks for schools of education do not get published until there is a mass movement of scholars behind that, behind that particular philosophy. So what happened then is over the course of the next 15 years, it became institutionalized in lots of humanities and social science departments, and then in the schools of education. And then here we are seven, eight years later. Uh, suddenly everybody is aware what's going on in the schools. Now that we've had a generation of people trained in this, in this particular, uh, critical race theory approach, okay, I'm going to stop there. Now. That's a, that's a negative point to stop with, but at the same time, I want to say this in a way is a beautiful thing.
Speaker 2 00:45:10 And it's a Testament to the, to the power of philosophy, because when in history, has it ever happened that there are thousands and maybe hundreds of thousands of people, uh, talking about whether Emmanuel Conte has a connection to critical theory and whether critical theory generated in Germany 80, 90 years ago, as something to do with what's going on in the schools right now, we're going up the learning curve significantly. And the mere fact that this discussion is happening on Twitter, on Facebook, in the Washington post and, and here at the Atlas society. This is exactly what we've been talking about philosophy. Uh, I don't know if it quite rules the world always, but something close to that. This is our get,
Speaker 0 00:45:55 Well,
Speaker 1 00:45:56 That's a textbook example grab quickly because I want to get to our questions. Yeah.
Speaker 0 00:46:02 Oh, just to say, I'm personally thrilled by it because usually it's like pulling teeth to get people to say, look, you know, I'm going to explain to you what, what Aristotle has to do with monetary theory. And, you know, you see the eyes glaze over and you really have to work very hard. So the fact that, you know, I grow up, I log on Twitter one morning and everybody's talking about cards and I'm like, what's going on here? I gotta find out what's that. I trace it back to this op-ed so it's a huge opportunity. And you know, one of my messages on this is that critical race theory is really just a small part of constant legacy. That's bad and destructive. If we can trace this back to Cod and get rid of the rest of the legacy, uh, we'd be a whole lot better off.
Speaker 0 00:46:42 So that's kind of what I want to encourage people to do is take this, take the very root of the anti enlightened by the ideas, you know, constant, odd character. Cause he, he wrote a article, a really interesting article called what is enlightenment and was this, uh, you know, a way a booster of the enlightenment in some ways, but then he goes ahead and just cuts it all the whole thing off at the root, by saying, we can't really know anything about reality. So if people understood that and understood what those ideas were that were under cutting the achievements of the enlightenment, we know if they drew that wider conclusion, we'd be a whole lot better off in a lot of ways.
Speaker 2 00:47:16 And another beautiful thing about this on the Twitter discussions and Facebook discussions is that when people say, oh, there's this argument that sees con as not being an enlightenment figure, um, it's wrong, it's false it's and objective make that argument. So they know, well, actually what happened?
Speaker 0 00:47:36 I logged on to Twitter and I've have somebody who's a south central left guy saying, I wonder what the objectivist are saying about this. Cause they seem to have a lot of thoughts about Cod as, so I'm like, okay, asking you shall receive. I'll tell you.
Speaker 1 00:47:49 Awesome. Well, I'm going to jump into some of these questions that, that we have here at one coming in from Instagram, from someone I recognize, uh, from our Instagram takeovers is, uh, Richie rich 16. He's asking what broadly are postmodernists diametrically opposed to Objectivists postmodernism and objectivism? Are they diametrically opposed, Stephen?
Speaker 2 00:48:19 Uh, I would say yes. If you go through the metaphysical naturalism, that's objectivism, the postmodernists are anti realist. They don't think we can talk meaningfully about the nature of reality. Uh, we are pro empirical reason. They are anti empirical anti anti reason. We think a human beings are, are individuals with a high degree of autonomy. They see human beings as members of collectives informed. We, uh, we think in terms of productivity and win-win trade and being self-responsible, they don't believe in any of that sort of stuff. So, uh, postmodernism is a big sprawling movement. There's lots of sub variations and sub-strategies there, but if you abstract with the core messages, I don't think there is a stronger anti post-modernist philosophy. That's more principles and better worked out then objectivism.
Speaker 1 00:49:14 It's true in the aesthetic realm as well. The whole
Speaker 2 00:49:18 Movement
Speaker 1 00:49:19 In the arts being very derivative and meant to shock and, and kind of disquiet.
Speaker 2 00:49:26 Rob needed to say something, I think,
Speaker 0 00:49:28 Uh, just very quick thing and it's, I can get it for, to Steven as being more way more of an expert on post bonders some than I am. But my understanding is that postmodernism came out of the study of language and they're the people who really brought us the idea that language is all just a secret code. That there's all, you know, that when you say something using language, you're not really saying what you seem to be saying. There is this other layer of finding secret codes, uh, encoding the power structures of society into it. And there's a tremendous in, in practice. You can see this happening if there's a tremendous anti-intellectualism in it that you can't just go out and say, here's an argument. Let's have you respond to the argument? You respond to the secret codes that you see who you think you're finding in the yard.
Speaker 2 00:50:08 Yeah, I think that's a nice summary of the Jacques dairy dog version of postmodernism, which did come out of post-structuralism, which was a critique of, uh, a kind of a rationalistic understanding of language in the first place. If you look at Fuko, if you look at worky, it's not only focused language, that's just part of their overall argument and a true John Francois leotard, who sometimes I think he's probably the best of the philosophers of, of postmodernism. Uh, he's explicitly, uh, very deeply read in con very deeply read in marks and sees himself as kind of transcending those two, but building on that platform. But that's a good question. And lots more needs to be said about it though.
Speaker 1 00:50:55 We have a question from YouTube, Steven, Missouri asks, what is the difference between morals and ethics? Is there one or are they just, uh, synonyms?
Speaker 2 00:51:10 Well, I, I would say most people use them, including scholars use them as synonyms. Uh, some philosophers will say, no one comes out of the Greek tradition and one comes out of the Roman tradition. And so they'll, they'll, they'll, they'll say that there are semantic differences based on their historical roots and the original Greeks and the original Romans who were doing more systematic thinking about value issues didn't necessarily conceptualize the territory in exactly the same way. So at a very scholarly level, some people will tease out the differences, but, uh, I tend to use them more, uh, more synonymously.
Speaker 0 00:51:47 I would just say a pastor, a pastor talks to you about morals, a philosopher trucks, you had ethics
Speaker 1 00:51:53 Got another question coming in from LinkedIn, Zane asking, is it better to fight critical race theory and postmodernism, uh, nationwide? Or should we just go off and create our, our Galt's Gulch? And it's related to another question, uh, that we have here, which is from Instagram, Michael, asking aside from breaking critical race theory down, how are we actually fighting it in the schools and on social media?
Speaker 0 00:52:24 Right? So let me take that a little bit for a second. Cause I have some strong views on that, which is, I disagree with a lot of things that are being done in the name of fighting critical race theory. Um, there are some laws had been passed in a couple of states, basically banning critical race theory in the classroom. The problem is these last 10, not, it's kind of impossible to write these laws in a way that isn't just sort of a, you know, government is a big bludgeon, it's a big blunt instrument and you write these laws saying, well, you can't use certain words if you can't teach certain texts and it sends, it becomes sort of a censorious answer to a, the prob you know, you have, you have a group that's in favor of censorship and you're sort of answering them, but creating your own system of censorship.
Speaker 0 00:53:07 And I disagree with that. I think though, that things can be done to interesting reforms, but I think this is the point we were talking about earlier about school choice. This is the moment for school choice, because the only real answer to this that doesn't create a problem of its own is let people go choose their own schools for their kids. It's eliminating. I, uh, you know, school choices much more common actually in several European countries in like Sweden and Denmark, I think, and the Netherlands. And I sort of did a little poking on the why is that? And it came out of the religious wars in, in a religious conflict in Europe that when you had government coming in to create schools, the question is, are they going to be Protestant or Catholic schools? And there was so much hatred and division over that issue that the solution they come up with was well, okay, we'll give everybody money and you could send your kids to the Protestant school or to the Catholic school as you see fit.
Speaker 0 00:54:01 And I sorta think that's the solution we need right now in the woke wars is, okay, look, you can send your kid to a secular school. You can send your kid to a woke school. You can send your kid to a Catholic or Protestant school, um, and give that sort of openness to, to people. I think there'd be a huge demand if there, if people had the ability to choose, I think there'd be huge demand for sort of just a regular three RS approach to education where it's like, okay, we're just wanting to provide your kids with the basic skills they need and not be propagandizing them for one way or another.
Speaker 2 00:54:34 I think what Rob is saying is an important part of it, uh, forming at the public school level, uh, as Rob pointed out earlier, though, that critical race theory and other forms of, uh, wokeness and political correctness and just general bad stuff is also widespread in the private schools. So, uh, it's also then going to say, just reforming things at the political level, isn't going to solve the problem. There's still going to be the issue of the content and if the educated people, the teachers and the people who are teaching the teachers think that all of these, uh, inappropriate kinds of philosophies and indoctrination is the way they're going to do it. Uh, they're still going to do it no matter, uh, where the source of funding is coming from. So we're also going to need, uh, an intellectual set of arguments, uh, a very good critique of these ideas and more importantly, positive alternatives that are compelling and motivating.
Speaker 2 00:55:29 So, uh, to come back to the first question that you read out JAG, or the first work variation on that question, uh, I think th the right way to answer that is to say that we need a big division of labor and you know, whether you're fighting it in your local area, whether you're trying to fight it nationwide, whether you're working on reforming the existing institutions, or whether you're going to be entrepreneurial and try something else. I would say, uh, do whatever you are most interested in and whatever your resources and skillset says. And so I think it's going to need to be a multi-front battle. So, uh, and, and, uh, go in the most fruitful direction. You think you can have an impact in,
Speaker 0 00:56:12 And I want to add that as a parent of school aged kids. Um, if you go to a school school board meeting, see how many people show up, it's a tiny fraction. If you go to or at a bar, I, my kids have been private schools cause I know better. Uh, but in a private school go to the, you know, uh, go to the events at the school, get involved in the school. You'd be amazed how few parents are so active are actively engaged. You can have an impact on what's going on in your school district or in your private school. You could have some sort of say an impact on that if you get involved because you know, part of this happens and the bureaucrats get to do what they want because the people are not engaged and we're all on Twitter and we're arguing about national politics and nobody focuses on, well, what's going on in my school district. Maybe I should go one of those meetings. So people can have a big impact locally, uh, by just reading up on this, knowing what you're talking about and then paying attention to what's happening, uh, within reach of you know, of your own community,
Speaker 2 00:57:09 I would say, yeah, that latter part, that the self-education of parents is an important part of it. I think a lot of people have this sense that something is very wrong and some parents are getting educated on the support issue. It is striking though, because the school districts that I know of in this area, parents are very involved, but they tend to be involved in the sports activities. They show up in huge numbers, right? They care about their kids and their activities at that level, they show up for the musical shows and the performances. Most of them do go to their parent teacher discussions, but beyond that very little involvement. So yeah. Do get informed. And then I show up at the school board meetings and I think as Rob is suggesting, you can have a disproportionate impact.
Speaker 1 00:57:51 Terrific. Well, this and that has taken us to the top of the hour. I wanna thank, uh, Steven Hicks and Robert Sinskey. This was in a really excellent and I I'm, I'm awake. I've been awakened to, uh, to your, um, description of, of Khan's influence and, and, uh, his woke, uh, legacy. So, um, I want to thank all of you who asked these excellent questions, who suggest topics for us, uh, for our current events panel. I also want to thank all of you who make it possible for us to have these discussions with your financial support. Remember, the Atlas society is a 5 0 1 C3, so you can, uh, donate by visiting the donate section of our website. And while you're at it, please make sure you visit the events section because we have a busy day. You have a busy week here at the outlet society.
Speaker 1 00:58:49 Uh, professor Hicks is going to be turning around and, um, continuing with the multi-part course on capitalism that he is, uh, conducting for our Atlas intellectuals. Please check it out and please consider joining us on clubhouse tomorrow. Uh, professor Richard Salzman is going to be talking about some good news, some profit prof, proper profit period. So, uh, we hope to see you there. And next week for our conversation, uh, with the libertarian leader in Georgia, not the state of Georgia, the country of Georgia, which has become, uh, one of our most, um, highest engagement areas internationally, thanks to, uh, our many, many translations of our, of our resources into the Georgian language. So thanks to the both of you and we'll see you again tomorrow, new Stephen tonight. Okay.
Speaker 2 00:59:51 Okay. All right. Thanks Rob. Thanks Jake. It's been a pleasure.