Although many of the claims about critical race theory made in this piece by a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center are quite debatable, his re-introduction of Isaiah Berlin's analogy of the fox and the hedgehog is interesting and useful:
"The political philosopher Isaiah Berlin turned an obscure fragment by the ancient Greek poet Archilochus ('The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing') into an intellectual’s cocktail-party game. In a famous essay, published as a book in 1953, Berlin suggested that the world is divided between hedgehogs and foxes—between those who believe in One Big Thing (one all-sufficient super-explanation), and those who are content with a more modest, irrational and even incoherent idea of history’s unfolding. Karl Marx was a supreme hedgehog: Everything, for him, was about the conflict of economic classes. Franklin D. Roosevelt was a restlessly improvising fox. The world’s hedgehog population tends to expand in times of stress and change. Lately it has exploded in the U.S. Hedgehogs are thick on the ground, all of them advancing One Big Thing or another—each peering through the lens of a particular obsession. ... The hedgehog’s trajectory may begin on the side of undeniable and important truth—for example, the truth that slavery was a great wickedness in America (as it was elsewhere in the world), and that race prejudice has been a chronic American dilemma and a moral blight that has damaged and scarred the lives of millions of black American citizens over generations. All true—a truth to be acknowledged and addressed. But hedgehogs, who deal in absolutes, are liable to get carried away. Their truth changes shape as it coalesces into a political movement and gets a taste of power and begins to impose itself programmatically. Its ambitions swell, it grows messianic.... The theologian H. Richard Niebuhr (younger brother of Reinhold) explained the fallacy thus: 'There is no greater barrier to understanding than the assumption that the standpoint which we happen to occupy is a universal one.' It is an error embedded in human nature. ... Niebuhr meant that it is an error to assume that one’s own particular fixation (whether it be money or race or class or religion or environment or animal rights or transgenderism or whatever) is the One Big Thing."
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