Professor Timothy Snyder wrote a brilliant article titled “The War on History is a War on Democracy” for the New York Times (June 29,2021). He did the public service of defining Critical Race Theory – a set of decades-old arguments about how racism works in law and society that has recently become a fixation of Republican politicians. Associated with the U.C.L.A. and Columbia Law School professor Kimberlé Crenshaw and other African American scholars, Critical Race Theory asks why discrimination did not end with the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and recommends critical scrutiny of laws focusing on their consequences rather than upon the avowed intentions of their authors.
Professor Snyder also wrote how authoritarian regimes (and now Republicans in several states) try to control what people know and think about so that they can maintain power or control society. Here is an example from the article of how Florida is making the teaching of facts illegal while attempting to confuse the issue with Holocaust denial:
the Florida Department of Education’s new policy states, “include the denial or minimization of the Holocaust, and the teaching of Critical Race Theory, meaning the theory that racism is not merely the product of prejudice, but that racism is embedded in American society and its legal systems in order to uphold the supremacy of white persons.” Professor Snyder reminds us all that truth and liberty are under attack. The price of liberty is eternal vigilance and the will to act on the truth.