Interview with Jannique Stewart
1. Worldview question #4 — Who gets to talk about all this?
The new kid on the worldview block is Critical Race Theory. The Big idea: All of society is structured along racial power dynamics, between oppressors and the oppressed. Indeed, the entire civilized order is infected with intrinsic racism that favors Whites and oppresses Blacks and other minorities. Guilty White people (all Whites) can never overcome their intrinsic racism; they can only practice personal negation. Only the “woke” can see the intrinsic racism throughout White society. Critical Race Theory, summarized in a worldview chart, looks like this:
- Metaphysics: Ultimate reality is socially constructed through racial power dynamics and intrinsic racism.
- Epistemology: Truth is determined subjectively from the standpoint of victims. Standpoint epistemology asserts that oppressed individuals (non-whites, gays, transgenders, etc.) have a unique ability to see truth that privileged people cannot. Standpoint epistemology, not reason or evidence, determines truth and knowledge. That is, instead of evaluating arguments with reason (which, according to CRT, is a tool of oppression), we determine truth solely from the standpoint of the oppressed. Intersectionality says that racism overlaps (intersects) with other injustices like man-woman marriage, male-female genders, capitalism, and pro-life activism— to name a few. To oppose one of these oppressive systems is to oppose them all. As a victim, standpoint epistemology grounds your moral authority in the number of intersections you can claim. For example, a black lesbian woman has more intersections with injustice than does a white female. The black lesbian has three intersections: being a woman, being black, and being a lesbian. The white woman has only one: her gender. Of the two, the black lesbian has standpoint authority over the white woman, even if the former advances arguments which fail the test of reason. If you’re a white hetrosexual male, your position is even worse. You have zero intersectionality points and thus no standing for making truth claims.
- Anthropology: There are only two types of human beings, oppressors and the oppressed. If you are white, your nature is intrinsically racist, even if you don’t know it. The white domestic housewife, for example, who helps her black neighbors with babysitting and cleaning is inherently racist just like the KKK. She cannot change her racist nature.
- Ethics: Right and wrong are based solely on racial dynamics. Only the “woke” can see the inherent racism shot through all of society. Whites, as oppressors by nature, cannot overcome their inherent racism; they can only become “woke” to it and self-negate. In short, our problem is not sin or moral shortcomings; it’s intrinsic racism. The fix is not repentance and restoration, but revolution which tears down inherently racist structures such as the nuclear family, fixed genders, objective moral standards, capitalism, the rule of law, reason, religion, etc., and replaces them with a new society grounded in wokeness.
- Cosmology: All humanity originates from racial structures that oppress non-Whites. We are headed toward revolution, a tearing down of racist structures that benefit Whites.
Applied to abortion, CRT says that women, as oppressed victims, have moral standing to speak on abortion while those opposing the practice have no intellectual or moral right to convey truth claims. Arguments are no longer sound or unsound, valid or invalid. Rather, they are evaluated solely from the standpoint of alleged victims (the oppressed).
Standpoint epistemology, however, is self-defeating. A recent classroom example is a case in point. A female professor in a CRT course told a male pro-life student that he had no right to contribute to a class discussion on abortion because he was a male in a patriarchal society. Allegedly, he had “no standpoint” from which to speak, having only the experiences and perspectives of a male. However, the sword cuts both ways. Because she only has the experience of being a woman, and does not know what it is like to be a man, how can she possibly say the male student was wrong about anything? In fact, if someone espouses Standpoint Epistemology, why is anyone from a different “standpoint” obligated to accept it as true in the first place? After all, it’s only coming from the standpoint of the CRT advocate and isn’t binding on anyone with a different set of experiences. In short, Standpoint Epistemology can’t live up to its own standards. It frames itself as true for all people regardless of standpoint, even though it tries to say there are no objective truths for all people.
CRT is not about equality. It’s about savage inequality. It says that women require special surgery (abortion) to become equal to men. In short, women of whatever skin color have attributed dignity, but never intrinsic dignity. Dignity can only be secured through special surgery.
CRT is profoundly unchristian. It is not a useful interpretive tool to aid learning; it’s another gospel altogether. It denies forgiveness, promotes resentment, and offers no hope of redemption. It adds to the gospel: It says that Jesus isn’t enough. If you are white, Christ’s blood may save you from Hell, but it cannot save you from your intrinsic racism, which you can never overcome.
2. Putting it All Together: How Worldviews Inform Thinking on Abortion
In short, like slavery in the 1860s, the underlying controversy in the abortion debate involve questions of philosophical anthropology — namely, What is the nature of human beings and what makes them valuable in the first place? That question isn’t going away anytime soon. Until it’s settled, expect controversy.
The issue is not who loves women and who hates them, but a serious philosophical debate about who counts as one of us. Either you believe that each and every human being has an equal right to life, or you don’t. Pick a side. There is no neutral ground here. That’s why abortion debates can heat up in a heartbeat.
Legally, the issue defies compromise. The state either recognizes the humanity of the unborn and thus protects them, or it doesn’t and thus permits killing them. Imagine it’s 1860 and the Supreme Court says, “We take no position on whether or not slaves are human beings. When scientists, philosophers, and theologians can’t agree on that question, the court is in no position to decide. Therefore, individual slave owners can choose for themselves whether to free their slaves or keep them.” A court that rules that way is not neutral. It’s taking the position that slaves do not deserve the same liberties free people do.
The question, “Who counts as one of us?” turns on the larger worldview you bring to the debate.
If your worldview is philosophical naturalism, a sermon on the sanctity of human life makes no sense whatsoever. The universe came from nothing and was caused by nothing. Outside of social and legal conventions, why does anything have value and a right to life?
Likewise, if your worldview is postmodern, hearing that abortion is unjust killing will trigger pushback. Who are you to judge me and my community by your personal standards? All anthropological creeds involve metaphysical starting points that cannot be proven empirically. Thus, religious approaches should not be disqualified from the public square any more than secular ones should be.
- Lesson #1: Clearing the Ground
- Lesson #2: Abortion & Worldviews
- Lesson #3: What is the Unborn?
- Lesson #4: What Makes Humans Valuable? Part 1: The Substance View of Human Beings
- Lesson #5: What Makes Humans Valuable? Part 2: Specific Academic Challenges to the Substance View
- Lesson #6: What About Those Who Bite the Bullet?
- Session # 8: Debate Review and Analysis / Prepping for Engagement