Mar 17 • 58M

Ep. 72: Ukraine & CSJ in the USA | Brandy Shufutinsky

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by Brandy Shufutinsky

Critical Social Justice relies on a few factors being accepted as canon without question. 

First, that CSJ ideology is the only acceptable ideology for self-defined progressives. It requires complete and total fealty by those looking for acceptance by its vanguard. Next, it does not allow scrutiny. Close scrutiny of CSJ exposes it as the paper tiger it is. Lastly, it embraces hypocrisy and double-standards… as long as both suit the CSJ narrative.  

The reactions from self-defined progressives to the invasion of Ukraine provide examples to all three factors listed above. Adherents to CSJ have been caught off guard with how to respond to the invasion of a sovereign democracy by a nation led by an authoritarian ruler. Specifically, they have no idea how to react to claims of genocide because their limited view does not allow them to differentiate between groups of people that CSJ ideology defines as “White” and “oppressors”. Because of their simplistic manner of grouping people by race and ethnicity, they cannot conceptualize that, even though both Ukrainians and Russians are Slavic, they are different… so different, that one side views the other as racially, culturally, or nationally inferior. Close scrutiny, discussion, and debate about CSJ reveals that it has zero merit when applied to real world experiences.

Besides its flawed position on race, CSJ ideology fails to meet the standards expected from progressive ideology. Specifically, the idea that questioning or debate are  microaggressions is central to critical social justice – whereas liberalism openly embraces questioning, debate, and discourse. An example of this is the blaming of entities like NATO for Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. CSJ fails to acknowledge individual agency and national sovereignty – ignoring the fact that an independent nation (Ukraine) should be able to choose which international organizations (NATO, EU) it wishes to be a part of.

The last example I will discuss is immigration. During the Syrian war CSJ-believing-progressives have shouted slogans like “no person is illegal” and called for open borders to address the refugee crisis. However, now we are hearing those same individuals and groups demonizing countries and people for opening their borders and homes to Ukrainians fleeing foreign invasion. The hypocrisy and double-standards are obvious –where CSJ advocates believe that there should be different standards for different people. 

Ultimately, what is so problematic about critical social justice ideology is not that it is ‘liberal’ or ‘progressive,’ but that it is fundamentally illiberal and regressive, based on ideas that have been extremely harmful to progress and liberal democratic values.   


In the Hold my Drink - navigating culture with a chaser of civility, and Counterweight podcast, Episode 72, we speak with Brandy Shufutinsky on the problems with Critical Social Justice in the United States as viewed through the current Ukrainian crisis. When applied to existential crises in the “real world”, CSJ ideology crumbles under the weight. As we debate the “whiteness” of Ukraine, a real catastrophe is underway that cares not for the pedantic elite allegiance to identities. All discussed with a sober chaser of civility, of course.

Hold my Drink welcomes all people with all kinds of beverages to join us as we explore the truths of a chaotic and beautiful world, together.

Find us on Apple Podcasts and Spotify, or watch the conversation unfold on YouTube, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


What Brandy is Reading:

Woke, Inc, Vivek Ramaswamy

The Other Wes Moore-One Name: Two Fates, Wes Moore

It’s Time for BDS to Stop Clout Chasing, The Times of Israel Blog, Dmitri Shufutinsky

What Jen is Reading:

Covered with Night, Nicole Eustace

This is a Uniquely Perilous Moment, The Atlantic, David French

Ukraine Faces West, City Journal, Razib Khan


Brandy Shufutinsky is a social worker, writer, researcher, and advocate. She holds a Doctorate in Education from the University of San Francisco in International and Multicultural Education and her MSW from the University of Southern California. Brandy has worked towards advancing the rights of victims and survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault within the military community through practice, education, and research. She is the Director of Education and Community Engagement at the Jewish Institute for Liberal Values. Brandy was a 2021 Scholar-in-Residence at the Institute for the Study of Global Antisemitism & Policy Oxford Summer Institute, where she worked to develop curriculum in Critical Antisemitism Studies. Currently she is working towards developing intercultural and academic opportunities to enhance liberal democratic ideals.