by Aaron Warner
Grace is often misunderstood. For most people, “grace” is the quick prayer you say before eating a meal with your family. But grace isn’t something we say. It’s something we can experience. And give to others.
Grace, when properly understood, is perhaps the most freeing reality imaginable. Like freedom, it is available to all. Grace is the very thing that could quickly and effectively heal the bitter divide we see in our world today, especially here in the US, including Vermont. However grace carries with it the implication that we all need it and to give it equally, as opposed to some of us are incapable of it while others need more than just grace.
A working definition of grace is: unmerited favor. In other words, grace is benefiting by something or from someone you didn’t deserve. Not to be confused with mercy, which is to avoid that which you deserve. For example, mercy is to face a ten year prison sentence for a crime you’d committed and only receive five years. Grace is to face a ten year prison sentence and spend no time in prison but rather have the judge give you a well-paying job and discount on your rent. Grace is not getting less of the negative consequences you deserve, it’s getting the positive consequences you don’t deserve.
Critical Race Theorists are a type of social justice warriors. Though names and titles can be confusing, especially when you ask them to clarify, their aims are not at all confusing. They seek to enact social justice for any and all past or current perceived social injustices. Perhaps the most notable is the injustice of historical slavery, specifically in the United States. Other injustices include any and all real or perceived injustices experienced or felt by the BIPOC (Black-Indigenous-People of Color) community.
In order to achieve “justice” they are set about identifying the unjust oppressors who are, for lack of a clearer way of putting it, “white”, while the oppressed are anyone who are not white. Curiously the progenitors of this theory seem either unaware or unbothered by the fact that this dialectical way of framing society is a type of literal black and white thinking, and that black and white thinking is a symptom of either mental illness or mental disorder. The simplicity of it is seemingly more attractive than its trappings, and the need to examine it critically for its potential failures is, ironically, not something they seem persuaded to do. Justice is not an outcome to be deterred by such virtues as patience.
It is a theory based on an idea contrived by looking at the recorded history of the United States, including the colonial era immediately prior to its constitutional establishment, whereby the Marxist lens of critical theory is used to establish the well-worn dialectic of oppressor and oppressed classes. In this case the oppressors are “white” people and the oppressed are “colored” people. It is an oddly binary view of life brought from a group that detests most binary categories. It hopes to be a means to social justice, however, like many well-intended left-leaning policy ideas, such as Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society initiative that has fostered massive decline in black prosperity, it not only fails to achieve justice, but creates greater injustice.
This dialectical view comes from Hegel’s teachings which offers control over outcomes for those who control the narrative. Hegel’s dialectical argument is mathematical in nature. Plotted out it appears as thesis + antithesis = synthesis. The math is not so simple, but more a type of syllogism intended to change the fabric of society. This method of both contriving the social narrative and controlling the outcome by determining thesis, antithesis and synthesis has been used successfully since its inception. Perhaps the best example is that of the ultimate Marxist aim, the New World Order.
Ever the optimists these warriors believe, as many of them do with the global climate change theory, that man has the ability and thus power to engineer the previously wild and incalculable phenomena of societal ills to create a just outcome in our present society. It is a fundamental view of mankind as somehow capable of constructing a utopia of equality and equity despite an entire history and present riddled with both equality, equity and their counterparts, inequality and inequity. Hell-bent on equity and equality and holding a loose grip on the scientific method of observation in determining this outcome, social justice theorists believe they are the arbiters of societal equity. Taking a myopic and selective view of American history they adopt this black and white thinking in order to simplify their aim. In so doing they believe in putting their perceived need of global justice over universal grace.
Marx, like so many others, virtually plagiarizes the teachings of Jesus. Jesus saw the religious leaders of His time, those entrusted with the fair handling of God’s holy people, were instead oppressing them with spiritual burdens beyond those we already experience from the vicissitudes of life and its built in struggles. Marx sees this oppressor versus oppressed paradigm more from an economic standpoint where the wealthy ruling class oppress the poor laborers. Marx sees the need for a complete overhaul of all existing structures aimed at a New World Order.
Eighteen hundred years prior Jesus said He came to destroy the works of the real enemy of the people, a spiritual enemy, who machinates behind the scenes to manipulate both oppressed and oppressors, and that this would one day culminate in an entirely new earth and new spiritual person. The divergence comes in that Marx, a deadbeat dad to five children who died by his neglect and never worked with his hands, believes it is in man to destroy the existing order and rise like a phoenix from the ashes miraculously assuming a new nature by virtue of changed societal structure and power, the epitome of naïve and wishful thinking, and Jesus explains the corruption in man is not societal but spiritual. Men, by our very nature, are physically living but spiritually dead. This explains rapacity, greed, lying, conspiring, murdering and so on. It is at the core level of the spirit where we are bankrupt. Marx’s view is painfully superficial, which informs the view of Critical Race Theorists who look only at the surface color of one’s skin.
One sees race, the other the need for grace.
Critical Grace Theory came to earth some two thousand years ago in the form of a man far more capable of diagnosing society’s ills than Marx, Engels, Nietzsche, Freud, Rand, Plato, Mohammed or all of them put together. In the ultimate act of mercy He showed us grace by offering us a way out of both our spiritual deadness and its inescapable and eternal fate. In that He showed us a kindness that is sorely missing from today’s political opponents, largely because they either don’t know what grace is or how much they need it.
No manner of self-flagellating “work” or denying of one’s immutable characteristics like color or sex will ever heal what truly ails us. One does not end the corruption in our world by superficial or philosophical means. You can’t make a dead person alive with make-up or motivational speeches. You cannot fix a broken system from the inside, it requires a capable technician who understands how to fix it from the outside. That technician came and showed us how it can be fixed.
Aaron Warner is a Citizen Columnist for Vermont Daily and a resident of Hartford, VT.