Geoffrey Vaughan writes for the Martin Center about concerns surrounding a dubious American academic trend.

It is hard to fathom the extent to which American colleges and universities have been taken over by Critical Theory, race-based or not. One good indication is that French and Canadian leaders are warning their citizens about the dangers of importing these ideas from the U.S.

In an October speech about the dangers of further separation between ethnic groups in France, President Emmanuel Macron blamed “certain social science theories entirely imported from the United States.” The reference was so clear, it even caught the attention of The New York Times. According to the Times, the nation’s education minister announced that “There’s a battle to wage against an intellectual matrix from American universities.”

What the paper failed to mention is that the minister’s remarks were made in response to the murder of a schoolteacher.

In Canada, the premier of Quebec made similar statements in February. …

… It isn’t a partisan issue. At least in Quebec, opposing parties think that the ideas emanating from American colleges should be kept out. That’s the kind of bipartisanship we can get behind.

“Critical” studies of anything—critical race studies, critical gender studies, it doesn’t matter—begin with the conclusion and move backwards from there. And the conclusion is always the same. Whether it is race or gender, it is always “proven” that a group disfavored by the author (usually white men) is actively oppressing a group favored by the author (racial minorities, women, even professional athletes).

All you need to know is that “power” is used to oppress, and power can mean almost anything. The technique is infinitely malleable and will always arrive at the desired conclusion, namely that our society is irredeemably bad and must be transformed. (How you redeem the irredeemable is never explained.)

The result is that anyone can use “critical theory” to attack anyone else.