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Critical race theory, LGBTQ ideology, and other manifestations of leftism are vying for the souls of young Americans. In the process, many are rendered deeply confused about who they are — and who God made them to be.
Allie Beth Stuckey is the host of the Relatable podcast, where she discusses culture, news, and politics from a biblical perspective, as well as the author of You’re Not Enough (& That’s Okay): Escaping the Toxic Culture of Self-Love.
After diving into topics as diverse as Big Tech censorship and Texas Democrats’ COVID-infested Capitol vacation on the most recent episode of Candace, Stuckey sat down with The Daily Wire to discuss how young people — and their parents — can wield the truth to counter the lies of leftism.
“If the self is the problem, it can’t also be the solution”
Predating the most recent movement to impress leftism on young Americans is the postmodern ideology of “self-love” — the ethos that people can find the answer to their problems and life’s deepest questions within themselves — which Stuckey’s book seeks to debunk.
“It starts with this huge, lucrative self-help industry that began long before Millennials and Gen Z came of age,” said Stuckey. “It told people: ‘If you just follow these ten steps and you make yourself better and you commit to self-improvement, your life will be better. You’ll be happier, you’ll be richer, your relationships will be better.’”
“Of course, there’s a grain of truth in all of that — I’m not against taking certain steps to make your life more successful,” she continued. “That’s all fine. But it started wedding with this New Age idea that you are your own god, and that your life is just a journey to dig down to who you really are — to find that ‘inner goddess.’”
Today, self-love is still marketed as a viable answer for young people who desire purpose. Nevertheless, it ultimately fails to deliver.
“If you look at the rates of depression and anxiety among young people, they’re much higher than previous generations. And yet we keep hearing, ‘It’s because of the self-love deficit. We just need to get young people to love themselves more, to think about themselves more, to focus more on self-care and self-rejuvenation.’ But if the self is the problem, it can’t also be the solution… I don’t buy the whole premise that we have a self-love deficit in this country. I don’t think there’s any indication in society that we lack self-focus. We are endlessly obsessed with ourselves.”
Beyond directing young people away from their purpose, self-love robs them of life’s greatest joys.
“Because we have bought the lie that self-love is the precipice, that means we’re going to throw aside anything that inconveniences us, anything that we think is going to inhibit our self-love or self-care,” Stuckey elaborated. “Yes, there’s a lot of self-sacrifice and a lot of self-emptying that comes with, for example, healthy friendships or hard work. There’s a lot of sacrifice that comes with marriage and that comes with having kids. These also happen to be some of the greatest sources of joy and stability that we can find.”
Even more so, people must find meaning in an external source — namely, the Creator of the universe.
“Our quest shouldn’t just be to love ourselves more,” said Stuckey. “I’m calling us away from self-focus and self-obsession to look to the God who created us — who tells us who we are, who sent His Son to die for us and gives us our value that we see through that.”
“You have to get some people to be self-resentful”
In addition to calls for self-love, the Left draws other young people into self-hatred. According to Stuckey, critical race theory, Marxism, and other inherently godless ideologies seek such ends.
“They try to make some kind of perfect utopia in which everyone is equal in every way,” she said. “And then finally we will be happy. There won’t be any unfair power dynamics. There won’t be any inequality.”
“In order to get there — like Ibram X. Kendi says — ‘The remedy to past discrimination is present discrimination.’ And in order to do that — to even the playing field — you have to get some people to be self-loathing. You have to get some people to be self-resentful and self-flagellating.”
Critical race theory alleges that white people harbor a unique brand of evil due to the color of their skin; however, the framework also creates self-loathing in black people: “You are told on one end that you are oppressed and on the other end that you are an oppressor. Neither of those places is desirable. You’re taught not just to hate yourself, but also to hate other people. It’s the exact opposite of the direction that we need to be going.”
Stuckey pointed out that some people even turn oppression into a business model: “People know that they’re gonna get a pat on the back, they’re gonna get snaps and applause for being the most offended in a group. It’s a race to the bottom… I think that’s what self-obsession does — it’s a race to the bottom. It’s trendy narcissism and nothing more.”
“A state of self-forgetfulness”
Christianity uniquely serves as the antidote for both toxic self-love and merciless self-hatred.
“So on the one hand, everyone is made in the image of God,” explained Stuckey. “That, of course, is the foundation of a constitutional republic — this idea that we were given rights that were endowed to us not by the government, but by an authority greater than the government, our Creator. Therefore, it can’t be arbitrarily given and taken away.”
“And because we were made by this Creator, we were all created equal. In that way, we all have equal worth. We all have equal value. Being made in the imago Dei means that every single person on earth is more valuable than any other plant, animal, or creature. We appreciate God’s work in creating our bodies, our minds, and our lives.”
“But there’s another layer to that,” said Stuckey. “The gospel itself.”
“The gospel says that you are a sinner. You can’t save yourself. God is holy, He is perfect, and you are not. Because He is holy and you are not holy, you need someone to reconcile you. You need someone to bridge that gap, to build that bridge. And that’s what Jesus Christ did.”
“And so in looking to Him and His sacrifice — His death and resurrection — and giving us His righteousness, His perfection, and His holiness so we could be reconciled to God, we see both our depravity and our inability to save ourselves. And so that gets rid of the self-adoration. But we also see how much God loved us — so much that He sent His Son to die for us. That gets rid of the self-loathing.”
The gospel allows people to move beyond “self-loathing, self-obsession, self-adoration, and self-worship.” Instead, the Christian lives “in a state of self-forgetfulness.”
“That doesn’t mean that we’re down on ourselves and things like that. It doesn’t mean that we don’t get our nails done anymore or skip different parts of so-called self-care. It just means that we are relying on Christ for our goodness, for our righteousness, and for our rest and rejuvenation ultimately as the Shepherd of our souls and the strength of our lives.”
“Young people are hungry for something substantial”
Why is the Left attempting to answer young people’s greatest questions in a way that Christianity — or, secondarily, conservatism — is not? Stuckey points to a recent push from the Right to build a movement so broad that it is indistinguishable from the world.
“A lot of people on the Right say, ‘We just want to be a big tent party’ — which means you can do whatever you want to,” said Stuckey. “There’s no moral framework, there’s no parameters, and we just want the government to be small. We don’t really have a vision of the future — it’s just kind of ‘Wild, Wild West’ and whatever we want.”
“Well, that doesn’t answer life’s questions, which is what people are looking for — especially when they reject God,” she added.
“And the Left is saying, ‘You belong in this movement that is bigger than yourself, and we are inspiring you toward a society that is heaven-like.’ Or so they say, because when they depict the future that they want, it sounds like a great vision — because it’s a cheap version of Christian eschatology, where we know that Christ will rule in perfect peace and sin really will be gone. Well, the Left thinks that they can manifest that themselves through social engineering and government policies.”
For the young person who rejects religion and still seeks for purpose, the Left begins to seem attractive.
“It has a lot of rules. For example, it has a lot of speech codes. It has religious rites. It has sanctification — doing the work of anti-racism… There’s a lot of mimicking of Christianity within leftism without some of the unpopular features — like not having sex until you’re married, or different things that are now controversial. You are free to be as degenerate as you want to be while still following these other religious rites.”
“If our counter is just ‘Do whatever you want to, we’re a big-tent party, we don’t know what we want the future to be’ — I just don’t think that’s attractive to a lot of young people who are hungry for something substantial.”
“Have the bravery to ask tough questions”
Many young Americans find themselves in contexts in which leftism is heralded and biblicism is demeaned. Stuckey’s solution? “Start asking questions.”
“If everyone around you thinks the same thing, and you’re seeing it on Snapchat, you’re seeing it on Instagram, you’re seeing it on TikTok and Twitter, and everyone seems to be saying the same thing — you should start asking: ‘Why am I only hearing one side of this? Is this really true? Is this data point true? Is it out of context?’ That’s what you need to be relentlessly asking whether you’re on the Right or the Left: ‘Is this true?’”
Perhaps the most critical question of all: “By what standard?”
“If you see someone saying ‘This is good and this is bad’ — for example, ‘Abortion is good, pro-lifers are bad, they’re just pro birthers’ — you need to be asking yourself, ‘By what standard are these people in my life saying that things are good or bad? What is their standard of goodness? What is their standard of morality?’ Start asking those questions.”
“If you’re a Christian, I would encourage you, of course, to be reading your Bible and surrounding yourself with mentors,” advised Stuckey. “You cannot ask a question — also about conservatism, but especially about Christianity — that someone else has not asked or has not wrestled through.”
“The easy thing to do would be to say, ‘Everyone around me thinks these things. Everyone around me feels the same way. I’m just going to feel that way too, and I’m not going to think about it because it’s too hard. I don’t want to lose my friends, I don’t want to offend people.’ You don’t want to wilt into a little puny person who can’t think for themselves.”
“There’s no purpose in life that way,” she added. “I would encourage you to have the bravery to ask tough questions and to dig yourself — and to not just take what everyone around you is saying or thinking or feeling.”
“There will be no sacred space for women”
Young women — for whom Stuckey wrote her book — are faced with a world that dilutes the uniqueness of femininity.
“A few years ago, we were all making fun of feminists for talking about the patriarchy,” Stuckey recalled. “It’s like, ‘Where’s the patriarchy? Women are successful. What are you talking about? Women make the same as men.’ Which is true, but that’s almost an outdated argument because now there is an industry that is run by mostly rich white men — and funded by mostly men — to push the gender-confused policies that put women at risk.”
The Equality Act is a prime example: “There will be no sacred space for women, and I guess when you deny that there are biological differences between men and women, you don’t think that’s a big deal. But there are differences, which means that women are going to be the victims. Children are going to be the victims.”
“For the person who is worried about that — first of all, I think if you’re a young woman who’s not worried about that, you should be,” said Stuckey. “It does affect you. And even if it doesn’t directly affect you, even if you never have one of those experiences, it affects children.”
“And I think especially as Christians, we’re called to speak up for the voiceless,” she continued. “And I always say that children are the unconsenting subjects of progressive social experiments. Because they are.”
“You’re not controversial for saying exactly what everyone knew five years ago — there’s a difference between male and female, and declaration and self-identification does not change that.”
“What worldview do you want your kids to have?”
How should parents disciple their children through the tumults of an increasingly leftist culture? By starting with “very fundamental things.”
“We have to teach our kids stuff that you and I probably didn’t even have to learn. Our parents didn’t have to teach us the difference between a man and a woman. But I also think it’s an exciting opportunity for parents to think through our faith. Why do we believe what we believe about gender, sexuality, abortion, God, creation, our bodies, and the government? Why do we believe these things? We can’t take anything for granted.”
Stuckey noted that everyone — from Blue’s Clues to the mainstream media — is seeking to indoctrinate children. “They’re all pushing a particular narrative about sexuality and gender — even when it gets down to it, human nature and creation. So if you’re not catechizing your children — if you’re not ‘indoctrinating’ your children, teaching your children both what to think and how to think — then someone else is.”
“They want to cultivate your child’s mind and form your child’s mind in their image — in the image of progressivism,” she explained. “They might not call themselves religious, but they are in every sense of the word. They’ve got their own dogmas, they’ve got their own kind of theology and their own worldview.”
Though pulling children out of public school is by no means a surefire way to guard against leftism, Stuckey encourages parents to seriously consider it.
“I understand it’s not feasible for every single person, but it is feasible for a lot more people than they’re willing to admit,” she explained. “There are a lot of people who aren’t quite willing to admit that really they just don’t want to make the sacrifice or they don’t want to figure it out. I’ve never heard someone — ever — I’ve never heard a parent say, ‘You know, I chose to homeschool my child or I pulled my child out of public school and I really regret it. I really wish they had stayed at public school.’ I’ve talked to plenty of parents who say, ‘I did not realize that my child was actually learning a worldview at the school that they went to. I thought they were just learning math and science. Little did I know, they were actually learning a worldview that contradicted my own.’”
“And that doesn’t mean that private schools are perfect — certainly not non-Christian private schools, they’re some of the wokest. You still have to be involved in your child’s life. You have to be the primary faith trainer of your child. No one else is going to do that for you, even at a Christian school.”
Stuckey noted that neutrality is a myth. “There is no neutral worldview. Your kids are learning a worldview when they’re watching TV. They’re learning a worldview in the classroom. What worldview do you want your kids to have?”
“If a parent is reading this, and they haven’t done this yet, all hope is not lost,” Stuckey continued. “As long as your kid is in your home, you have the opportunity to lay a foundation and a biblical worldview. You don’t have to be an expert theologian and know everything about the Bible. You don’t have to have lived a perfect life. Of course, you want to set an example of character, integrity, and godliness for your kids. But if you’re not perfect, that’s okay. Now is the time to humbly start to ask God for wisdom, ask people around you for help, and start discipling your kids in the Lord, teaching them what to think, how to think, how to dig, how to live out the faith.”
“That’s what the world needs right now. Godly, intelligent, stable people offering a stable foundation for kids, raising them to be kind, thoughtful, intelligent, and bold.”
“Speak the truth in love”
What about the child who has already ventured down the road of leftism?
“I think the best thing that you can do,” Stuckey explained, “is to speak the truth in love. Be very frank with them.”
“Just say: ‘Hey, I love you so much. I’m always gonna love you — no matter what, there’s nothing that you could do to make me stop loving you. I have your best interests at heart and I want what’s best for you. That’s what it means to love you.’”
“‘And here’s what I know about you: I know that you’re my daughter, or I know that you’re my son. I am going to speak about you in accordance with who I know God made you to be. I want you to love your body. I want you to love who you are. I want you to understand that God made you and God loves you, and He has a purpose for you. And I’m going to continue to treat you in that way. That’s how I’m going to live my life. I understand if that offends you. That is not my intention to offend you. But I am responsible to God first — and He tells me how I’m supposed to love people, which includes telling you the truth.’”
“I’m not saying that it’s going to work out and their hearts are going to be changed,” Stuckey added. “But your obligation is first to the Lord, which means it is to truth. And I always think that truth and love are intertwined. We cannot separate them.”
The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.