Christopher F. Rufo
Christopher F. Rufo
Counterrevolution #1

Counterrevolution #1

A conversation about the DEI bureaucracy and the crisis of American identity.

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Earlier this week, I hosted a lively conversation on X with the editors of the culture magazine IM–1776. We discussed the threat of DEI to military capability, the crisis of American identity, and the need for conservatives to form a counter-elite with sufficient power to reform our institutions. We were joined by special guest Erik Prince, the geopolitical strategist and founder of the military contractor Blackwater.

The following are lightly edited highlights from our discussion.

DEI in the Military

Erik Prince: It’s not about inclusion. The U.S. military should be a voracious, vicious attack dog waiting to be let off leash, so that our enemies are afraid. Our enemies are no longer afraid anywhere, and that’s a big problem.

You have 75% of the American population of military-age males, 18-to-24-year-olds, who are too fat, too drugged, too tattooed, or too mentally ill to even qualify to join the military. But when you have a president that can hardly walk across the stage, that’s a problem. And everyone around him is an amplification of beta-male nonsense. It is like they’re trying to transgender American society completely.

There is that old saying: “Hard men make for good times, good times make for soft men, soft men make for bad times.” We’re going through that cycle again, and our society’s got to wake up or it’s going to have a very, very rude awakening coming. Any big state-on-state conflict the United States gets involved in will be very sudden, very severe, and you’re going to have to fight with what you’ve got right then.

American Identity in a Time of Chaos

Lafayette Lee (contributing editor, IM–1776): There’s a load-bearing mythos about the United States that we’ve all inherited. It was from a time of peace, in which the United States was able to assert itself globally. And even though we were in the midst of a Cold War, the concept of American identity emerged from that time period very strong and resilient. There aren’t many countries like the United States, with the economic output that we have, with the history of conquest across a frontier and fighting world wars. That’s changed dramatically. We have a sectional character that seems to wax and wane in different times, when we’re going through periods of unification and when we’re going through periods of decentralization. Right now, we’re in a period of chaos. We are going to take on a more sectional character, as opposed to a mass-culture national project.

Christopher Rufo: The question of identity is still a critical one. And my sense is that there are four general identity layers. You have the individual, the ethnic group, the racial group, and then humankind, or the human universal. The only way out of the crisis of identity fragmentation is to create a common sense of obligation toward the country and to subordinate those middle registers of identity to the universal principles of what the Founders called the natural rights of all mankind. It’s going to require the obliteration of the DEI bureaucracy across all institutions and a recommitment to a common ethos of how our country should operate.

Laying Siege to the Bureaucracy

Erik Prince: The most important thing that Republicans can do is to cut off the money. Stop funding these ridiculously bloated institutions, whether it’s in education or the military. It doesn’t mean spending 2 percent more next year. It means spending 20 percent less. When COVID hit, the CIA sent 80 percent of its personnel home. Because it was not a secure environment, they were basically paid to sit and do nothing. But actual intelligence collection and reporting quality went up. The next CIA director should be able to take 80 percent of the headcount out on the first weekend.

Christopher Rufo: The 80/20 rule is a universally applicable principle. And just as Erik is saying about the government, Elon Musk demonstrated this. He went in, he fired 80 percent of the staff at Twitter and the product got better. The DEI bureaucracy is self-evidently a waste—but it’s not just the DEI bureaucracy. It’s the layer of useless administrative bureaucracy within all our institutions. This is the layer that is most easily exploited by ideology. Because if you can’t produce good products and services in the private sector, if you can’t produce good outcomes via public services in the government, your refuge—the refuge of scoundrels—is ideology.

Christopher F. Rufo
Christopher F. Rufo
Leading the fight against the left-wing ideological regime.
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