Kendi & the CNO take a stroll together on The Hill
Today we return to the subject of the addition to the CNO's reading list of a book that openly calls for the most sectarian view of race. Worse, it calls for the official application of racism in to official policy.
For those who have not read his book, let me pull out how Ibram X. Kendi defines things in his book, "How to be an Antiracist," the book in question.
Words mean things, and when people redefine words, you need to pay special attention;
Now operationalize that concept in your mind every time in our Navy you hear, "equity." From Flight Surgeons to Nuke Power School - operationalize the above concept and how, once people read this CNO recommended book, they move to reflect that in how we do business.
Outside our Navy, by that example everything is racist from medical school, to the NBA, cattle ranching, and the music world.
To accept that definition is to either encourage unending sectarian conflict and activated "one drop rule" discrimination based on race, creed, color, national origin, etc ... which naturally, will lead to sectarian conflict.
To inject Kendi's world view is to invite conflict. Indeed, that is exactly where it wants to go. Chaos and conflict are opportunities for those who desire power and control.
Now to yesterday's hearing.
You can watch the full hearing here or here, but below is a cut specifically to the 01:08 point where the CNO is asked about the disgraceful addition of the divisive and sectarian Ibram X. Kendi to his reading list.
It is one thing to see the obviously flustered CNO try to maneuver around his own minefield, but I think it is much more revealing to read the transcript;
Congressman Lamborn (R-CO): "Admiral Gilday, I have to ask you about something first, that I'm concerned about and a lot of people in the civilian world. I sent you a letter with two dozen people on it concerned that you recently added several books to the Navy's professional reading list promoting Critical Race Theory, and one of these books is Ibram X. Kendi's "How to be an Antiracist" and it argues that the entire American system is corrupted from top to bottom by racial prejudices which account for all differences in outcomes in out society and one sentence out of that book says that, "The only remedy to past discrimination is present discrimination. The only remedy to present discrimination is future discrimination." Now, I understand that this is a voluntary reading list, but how does exposing to our Sailors to the idea that they are either oppressors or the oppressed, and that we must actively discriminate to make up for past discrimination improves our Navy's readiness and lethality for great power competition?"
CNO Gilday: "Sir, initially you mentioned Critical Race Theory. I am not a theorist, I'm the Chief of Naval Operations, but I can tell you is factually on a substantial enough of time talking to Sailors there's racism in the Navy just like racism in our country and the way we're going to get after it is to be honest about it and that's what we're doing and that's one of the reasons that book is on the list doesn't mean I have any expectation that anybody believe or support everything that Mr. Kendi states in his book. I don't support everything that Kendi says, but the key point here is the Sailors in our Navy, we have to be able to think critically. They have to be able to look outwardly at China and Russia and they have to understand what these societies, why those societies who are potential dangers to the United States inwardly. We have to understand ourselves and we have to understand critically that we value diversity, and I thought okay..."
Lamborn: "Admiral, I agree that we should have a robust and a great discussion and any racism uprooted and taken away. I absolutely agree and I endorse that, but should we have future discrimination? Do you, don't you disagree that particular statement, do you?"
Gilday: "Sir, I have to look at the context of it. I'm not trying to be evasive, but I don't, as I mentioned, I don't support everything Kendi asserts, I don't believe everything that I read. I think that I hope, I think that everyone has to be in a position to weigh facts from fiction. Even our Sailors, they're bombarded every day from misinformation, much of it comes from China and Russia on this issue that's getting in our national psyche. I'm trying to get after it in the Navy."
Lamborn: "OK, well I hope that's one statement you don't endorse and maybe we can follow up on that."
There is so much to unpack here, and so much that is revealing. I can't cover it in one post, and if you've watched the clip and read the transcript, the problems with the CNO's response and understanding are self-evident.
Let me pick my top issues.
Theory: I'm sorry, but the CNO specifically and Flag Officers in general damn sure better be theorists. That is their job.
You have to understand and execute the practical application of theory; just war theory; deterrence theory; recruitment theory; etc. The oft mentioned, "Project Overmatch" is a theory. Alliances are based on theory. Most of what the late great Wayne Hughes taught us was theory.
Sorry, that dog don't hunt CNO.
Kendi: OK Admiral, now let's get to why of all authors you have Kendi on your list. If you don't support all of what Kendi asserts, what do you support that he asserts such that you would put it on your reading list? If you want Sailors to think critically, where are the books out there that provide a different view than Kendi on the topic of how to address racism so our Sailors can critically weigh his ideas against others? If that is your desire, then you've failed. If that isn't your desire, then it is clear what you are doing - endorsing political sectarianism - intentionally or unintentionally.
Misinformation: What specific examples of misinformation that our Sailors see daily on racism is coming from China and Russia that you think Kendi's work is helpful with? Are people entitled to state that the ideas, examples, and opinions about the USA - its people and institutions - in Kendi's book are themselves "misinformation?"
This very revealing exchange - there have been more and I hope there will be more - clearly tells us we have one of two things, or both:
1) Either the CNO is fully engaged in Kendi's view of our nation and it's people, or…
2) ...he has decided to let the Navy's branch of the diversity industry bully him in to including his and similar works so they will not raise trouble and call him nasty names.
Either answer to the above is unacceptable.
Yes it matters. The United States of American is an experiment in self-governance by a gloriously polyglot people. The only way this will work is if the people see themselves as Americans first, and believe that their government will treat them as individuals; equal to all other citizens. We've spent the entire history of our republic striving to get better at this ideal and have been more successful in this regard than any other nation in the history of the world.
As we approach the middle of the 21st Century, if we turn from the concept of judging people by the content of their character instead of their race, creed, color, national origin, or other sectarian divisions, and turning back towards lower-brainstem sectarianism, we are heading to a very dark place. No society that encouraged sectarianism amongst its people has ever survived. It always leads to division, and usually rivers of blood.
To inject that view in to a nation's military, as opposed to suppressing it, is the height of foolishness and greases the path towards self-destruction.
UPDATE:Later on in the hearing, Rep. Banks (R-IN)also weighed into the topic.
The CNO comes off even worse.