Ben Weingarten

The Federalist’s Ben Weingarten on the Progressive Racial Agenda and Social Justice Shakedown

May 11, 2021


Live from Music Row Monday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. –  host Leahy welcomed author and political writer Ben Weingarten to the newsmakers line to discuss critical race theory, Ibram Kendi’s call for racial division, and social justice shakedown of American’s.

Leahy: We are joined on our newsmaker line by Ben Weingarten, who writes for The Federalist and has a lot of other fantastic credentials. And, Ben, you have a great piece last month. White Terror Is as American as the Stars and Stripes: How the Left Is Answering Ibram Kendi’s Call for Racial Strife. Good morning, Ben.

Weingarten: Thanks so much for having me. I appreciate that kind introduction.

Leahy: Well, the new information ban is did you see this? Over the weekend, the governor of Washington state has signed a bill that makes the teaching of critical race theory in K-12 public schools in Washington state mandatory.

Weingarten: It’s really unbelievable. It’s an all-encompassing whole of society totalitarian push to impose what I’ve termed a ‘progressive racialist agenda’ on the country under the guise of being noble, virtuous, and just and helping America reckon with its past. So it’s a really insidious way to impose an awful ideology on us that at the same time also tear us apart at the seams by pitting us against each other through this identity politics regime that’s been created.

And that title that you mentioned of my piece was actually a direct quote from Ibram X. Kendi.  And it’s his so-called antiracist philosophy that’s at the core of critical race theory and this wokeism that we’re seeing take place around the country. And thank God millions of Americans are finally combating it.

Leahy: I found the way you phrase this in the middle of your article at the Federalist in theological terms. And I’m going to use a word here in a concept that perhaps students of early Christianity are familiar with. But not a lot of people have perhaps heard this term before. You say, Kendi’s anti-racism, let’s see if I pronounce this correctly, a Manichean concept in which the world is bifurcated into racist and anti-racist. ‘There is no in-between safe space of not racist, Kendi says, which fits neatly into the prevailing progressive or bigot binary.’ Talk about that a bit.

Weingarten: And this is what I mean about the insidious nature of this. The so-called anti-racist ideology says that you are either actively working towards anti-racist measures or you are a racist and a bigot. But the thing is, those anti-racist measures themselves prove to be racist on their own terms, which is actually what I wrote in Newsweek last week as well and can unpack that a little bit too.

But anti-racists judge, whether a policy or person is racist or not, on whether they support policies that achieve ‘equity.’ Not equality. Let’s be very clear. Equity. That’s actually something that was in one of Joe Biden’s first executive orders and at affirmatively advancing equity. So when you hear that buzzword, what does that mean?

Equity for the so-called anti-racist’s is about ensuring that outcomes in society perfectly represent the proportion of the population of each group. So in other words, it’s not about the merit of an individual that they bring to the table or their interests, skills, and ambitions. It’s about forcing a social engineering experiment on society to ensure that we all end up with representation in every aspect of society according to our proportion in the population.

And anti-racist’s themselves and I quote Kendi in this piece are perfectly fine using discrimination and bigotry to the extent it’s supporting equity. So they’re fine being racist so long as the beneficiaries of the racism accord with their equity agenda. And that points to the fraud of this and the notion that you’re either for that progressive agenda or you’re a bigot shows you what an intellectual fraud this is but that it’s a very powerful ideology, because being called a racist and a bigot is, of course, the worst kind of stigma smear that one could face in today’s society.

Leahy: Perhaps you could help unravel a bit of this mystery. Kendi’s comments about capitalism. I’ll read from your piece. Capitalism, which Kendi refers to as a conjoined twin of racism. Kendi states that ‘the origins of capitalism cannot be separated from the origins of racism.’ He suggests that capitalism is racist by dubiously questioning if markets were ever level playing fields between the races and whether plaques could ever compete equally with whites in the marketplace.

He concludes, ‘to truly be anti-racist, you also have to truly be anti-capitalist. And in order to be truly anticapitalist, you have to be anti-racist.’ That’s what the guy’s saying. Why Ben are many publicly traded Fortune 500 multinational corporations embracing the philosophy of Kendi?

Weingarten: That’s the million-dollar question or maybe a billion-dollar question if you look at how much money was raised by all these social justice so-called groups over the last year by America’s biggest corporations. I’d say there are a few explanations for it. The first is you have true believers at the top of these companies who all went to the same elite schools where they are basically inundated with this sort of woke ideology.

And so they actually believe it. There’s another cohort that I think is far more cynical. They think that they can adopt this ideology and that it will ultimately accrue to the benefit of their top and bottom lines by getting in line with these movements. And then I think there’s the third segment which is they’re cowed into submission to it.

They’re afraid that if they don’t go along with the anti-racist regime that they are going to be called a racist and they’re going to have picketers outside. They’re going to be people lobbying for regulations to target them, etc. So I would call it something of a social justice shakedown that we’re witnessing. And then the last sort of derivative of one of those buckets, whether it’s the sort of true believers, useful idiots, or the dupes or the cynics is that you have younger workforces within some of these companies, younger employees who are really pushing this hard.

And they are true believers in it. So Consequently, you add up to businesses supporting anti-capitalism with billions of dollars. It’s really a remarkable thing. They think, ultimately that the anti-capitalist crocodile will spare them if they continue to feed it. I think that’s a bad bet ultimately. And by the way, you’re going to upset and alienate half the country. And I think we as Conservatives, are waking up to the fact that we have to find a way to get around doing business with people who hate our guts.

Leahy: Where does this all go, Ben?

Weingarten: Unfortunately, the most optimistic way you can look at it and you see it with the push back on critical race theory in state and local authorities getting invested in these curriculums and putting up fights against anti-American ideology any way that they can in our schools. The best-case scenario is there’s a massive pushback from the silent majority in this country and a better ideology.

And the truly American ideology prevails over what I would argue is an anti-American ideology. I think in the interim, though, we are headed for serious societal disunion where everything is going to break along ideological lines. And I think the left has forced that upon us by pushing politics into every aspect of our society.

Pretty much every part of society is going to be an ideological battleground. Unfortunately, I think we’re going to be at each other’s throats over these arguments. But maybe they have to be hashed out and it’s better to deal with it now than 10 years down the road when it’s metastasized into something far worse and we’re far further behind.

Leahy: Well, you know what? I wish I had a more optimistic view of the future on these issues Ben, but I share your perspective. I really appreciate you coming on to talk with us about this. Come on back again when there are more developments here. Ben Weingarten, thanks for joining us.

Weingarten: Thanks so much for having me and I hope I have better news next time.

Leahy: (Chuckles) We do, too.

Listen to the full second hour here:

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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to the Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.
Photo “Ben Weingarten” by Ben Weingarten.