Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Review of Rancourt's book "Fight Against Racism"

"Hierarchy and Free Expression in the Fight Against Racism" by Denis G. Rancourt, Stairway Press, 2013, pp. 180.

Book review by Prof. Anatole French [1]

As a legal academic, I have been asked by the author to review his book "Hierarchy and Free Expression in the Fight Against Racism". Specifically, I was asked to succinctly describe what is the animal in question. What is this book mainly about?

I struggled with this book because it is densely packed with radical ideas that often sound crazy on first reading. And these ideas often conflicted with my own positions on things. But, in the end, the ideas are explained well enough that I managed to convince myself that I mostly understand what this book is about.

In a nutshell, Rancourt has taken on the dominant paradigm of how a multicultural society can best fight racism. Rancourt's book is a challenge against the policy and legal analysis framework generally known as "critical race theory". Rancourt goes so far as to propose that the legal, policy, and proscriptive instruments which stem from "critical race theory" do more harm than good in fighting racism.

To achieve this, Rancourt places his entire societal analysis within a meta-framework wherein all social interactions, institutions, and struggles are understood to be intercalated within dominance hierarchies. Rancourt explains the biochemical and physiological driving forces which spontaneous create and stabilize societal dominance hierarchies, which in turn determine and are challenged by the individual.

Rancourt shows us that the dominant struggle in society, regarding oppression, is the perpetual struggle between the dominance hierarchy, naturally driven towards fascism, and the individual seeking freedom and meaning. In this struggle, the dominance hierarchy must atomize and destroy the individual, and organizes to do precisely that. Meanwhile some individuals are constantly fighting back. The result is history itself.

Rancourt explains that racism is a most powerful tool in the hierarchy's arsenal, and that to maintain its racist exploitation and domination, the hierarchy needs to select and nurture a class of service intellectuals who play an essential role -- to convince us that things are as good as they can be, or are moving forward, that justice is increasing.

Rancourt dares to advance the blasphemous position that critical race theorists are, for the most part, a facet of the service intellectual class. His argument rests in the nature of the human spirit which must express itself freely or be stifled and die. Rancourt steadfastly argues that absolute freedom of expression always works in favour of more freedom and against dominance; and illustrates the dumbing effect of hierarchy with stunning examples from science and medicine.

The book draws on the ideas of a few key figures, including Malcolm X, Mary Mother Jones, and Paulo Freire. [2]

Enjoy the read!


[1] Guest blogger Professor Anatole French is Professor of Laws, Law Society of Up Canada University, Capital City, Ontario

[2] Although Rancourt never mentions the work of "antiracist essayist" Tim Wise, I felt throughout that if Rancourt met the man in person, they would probably come to blows, or that Rancourt would simply melt into a puddle of depression?


Anonymous said...

Whoa, did you just censor your own blog? There was a really good comment on this post about why do you moderate comments on these posts if you believe in free speech (the instructions below the comment box say 'Comment moderation has been enabled. All comments must be approved by the blog author.')

I checked the blog today assuming you would respond, and instead the post disappeared. Good thing it was stored in my cache and I've saved it so I could re-read it - it made a good, if not inconvenient point. Unless there is a technical glitch, it looks like you endorse free speech unless its critical of your point of view. Which is it?

Anonymous said...

Oh wait, my mistake - it was a different post about the book. I must have refreshed the whole site and just looked at the last post. Pls disregard previous comment. Didn't have my coffee yet.