In a mid-length critical review of Harvard professor Michael Sandel's new tome, The Tyranny of Merit. Can We Find the Common Good? Peter Berkowitz lands a haymaker on Sandel's thesis here:
...It is pertinent to add that the anti-meritocratic argument that he employs for tactical advantage—that individuals deserve no credit for their virtues and, it follows, no blame for their vices—represents a radical break with the American constitutional tradition and the moral and intellectual sources that sustain it. Sandel's reduction of character to the remorseless laws of cause and effect or to arbitrary chance assumes the falsity of biblical faith's teaching that human beings are made in the image of God and classical political philosophy's account of natural right. It cannot be reconciled with the belief in the rights shared equally by all on which America is founded. It flies in the face of James Madison's observation in Federalist 10—reflecting the Constitution's moral and political premises—that "the first object of government" is "the protection" of human beings' diverse capabilities and qualities, and the equal protection of the unequal attainments that inevitably result. And it opens the door to authoritarian schemes of centralized social and economic control and radical redistribution....
It is not difficult to find elements of "Critical Race Theory" in Sandel's book if Berkowitz' analysis is correct. Look again at the italicized text above: "... that individuals deserve no credit for their virtues and, it follows, no blame for their vices..." which is exactly what the 'oppressors/oppressed' language of CRT is all about.
The Intellectualoid assertion here (and in CRT) is also an indirect but serious attack on traditional religion, particularly the Judaeo-Christian belief that success in living is not necessarily prosperity, but that the real success is growth in virtue to obtain a far more significant reward after death, and that Free Will (agency) is granted to humans so that they may do precisely that. But it's not only 'traditional religion;' it's also Aristotelian, under whose influence (among others) the Founders assembled the Declaration and Constitution the way they did, as Berkowitz points out.
Denying the existence of free will and agency, of course, makes tyranny inevitable, and Sandel would be perfectly happy with it. The fact that both "red" and "blue" America--to one degree or another--are revolting against precisely that tyranny today should tell Professor Sandel and all his followers that they're on the wrong track.
Think they'll pay attention?