Hurry up please, it's time
What is the Successor Ideology? As Wesley Yang has not yet written his magnum opus on the topic, some people may simply say we just don’t know1. “Successor Ideology” itself is a name by-way-of metonymy2 that reveals little; I have noted on Twitter that “Successor Coalition” might be a better name.
While the exact definition of Successor Ideology may be unknown, that does not mean it cannot be discussed. To aid in that, I am giving it a name, using the standard Computer Science practice of naming arbitrary concepts after geographical places. The name is Carthage.
This is an auspicious name, for several reasons:
I was already planning a blog post about St. Augustine’s Confessions3, with an introduction about TS Eliot’s The Wasteland.
The consonance of the word starts “CRT”, which will be useful soon.
As any student of the Roman Republic will remember, Cato the Elder famously said “Carthage must be destroyed”.
Thousands of years ago, the Romans salted the earth once Carthage was conquered. There is no modern polity to object to the association.
To be exceptionally clear: this is about an abstract community4, not an organization. There is no secret Fraternal Order known as “the Carthage group”.5 Technically, it’s an entity splice to say “Carthage wants to defund6 the police”, as “Carthage” is not a predicate describing an entity capable of want. However I’m going to try to get away with it.
What is Critical Race Theory?
My working encyclopedia of Critical Race Theory has six different definitions. I only need to mention three of them here.
The first definition is “CRT is whatever Chris Rufo says it is”. I reject that definition without detailed consideration here. I don’t feel Chris Rufo wants to have an honest discussion about race in America; and don’t want to allow him to change the boundary stones out from under me.
Most properly, Critical Race Theory refers to a specific approach to what “race” means. It is a sociological definition of race, and thus one that explicitly avoids mentioning biological predicates. Derrick Bell provided six axioms, according to Wikipedia:
First, racism is ordinary, not aberrational.
Second, white-over-color ascendancy serves important purposes, both psychic and material, for the dominant group.
Third, ("social construction" thesis) race and races are products of social thought and relations.
Fourth, dominant society racializes different minority groups at different times, in response to shifting needs such as the labor market.
Fifth, "intersectionality and anti-essentialism" thesis. No person has a single, easily stated, unitary identity. Everyone has potentially conflicting, overlapping identities, loyalties, and allegiances. For example, person who has parents with different religious views, political views, ethnicity etc.
Sixth, ("voice-of-color" thesis) because of different histories and experiences to those of white counterparts, matters that the white people are unlikely to know must be communicated to them by the racialized minorities.
As a sociological theory of race, this is fairly standard; although perhaps we should call the above “Bell CRT” as it is by no means universal. If you want to debate that theory, here’s a hot potato: are “QAnon supporters” an oppressed race in America? It is also a topic that simply can’t7 be taught in schools before the 11th grade (and even then only to the advanced students); there are simply too many historical and philosophical pre-requisites.
Of course in practice, nobody knows or cares about those axioms when they talk about CRT. When people talk about CRT, they are talking about “the latest stupid thing a diversity consultant who read Robin DiAngelo’s book said”. And here you find the agents of Carthage.
Who is Carthage?
Carthage is the Revolution8. From this angle, it looks like it is mostly a Cultural Revolution.
Carthage is “Defund the Police” and insisting that the only problem with content like this is that reporters shouldn’t be platforming narratives that harm black people.
Carthage is the Twitter personality who calls you a racist and insists “my job isn’t to educate you” when you ask why.9 Carthage does not like difficult questions about its motives or desires. If you are a white man, asking questions is reactionary10. If you are not a white man, asking questions makes you a sympathizer with white patriarchal philosophy.
The people that came up with Latinx as a word live in Carthage. Many of the people who use that term have visited Carthage, though they may have done so as wanderers lost at sea.
And yes, Carthage is more than just positions on race issues. It should not be the slightest bit difficult to guess where it stands on half a dozen other topics. But that is for next time. After all, the Revolution will not be televised, the Revolution will be live.
“But what is water? It's a difficult question because water is impossible to describe. One might ask the same about birds. What are birds? We just don't know.” - Look Around You (2000s UK television series)
I always forget the difference between synecdoche and metonymy. Here, metonymy is used to mean “naming an object with an attribute” - here the attribute that it is somehow the successor to the “Democratic Party of the 2000s”, an ideology often named either “liberal” or “progressive”.
More accurately described as “the autobiography of St. Augustine”, and arguably the first autobiography in the Western Canon. While interesting from a linguistic and historical perspective, I have not found the work particularly interesting in a theological sense.
My first translation was “Platonic form”, but that apparently doesn’t mean what I think it does. In my private writings I use the word “cult”, which would be even more confusing here. Perhaps “ideal” is the closest term, or “school of thought”.
If you want a conspiracy theory, you should start with the time I discussed tactics with the Facebook Whistleblower at a secretive mountain retreat filled with card-carrying members of the Illuminati.
My spell-checker, in a demonstration of its lack of skill, thinks that “defund the police” should be corrected to “defend the police”, which is effectively the opposite meaning.
Not should not, not must not, but can not. It is not a matter of value judgment, it is a matter of impossibility.
“You say you want a revolution / Well, you know / We all want to change the world” - the Beatles
This is in direct opposition to Bell CRT’s “matters that the white people are unlikely to know must be communicated to them by the racialized minorities”.
“Questions are a burden to others; answers a prison for oneself” - The Prisoner (1960s UK television series)