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Sep 29, 2023·edited Sep 29, 2023Liked by Christopher F. Rufo

Enemies in politics? I have a simple acid test for deciding who my enemies are: I hate bullies; all kinds....bullies on the Left; bullies on the Right; bullies in the middle. [It is a simple creed based not on any great raft of 'human rights' but just one core 'human responsibility'.... don't try to bully your fellow man.] Of course, in the early 21st century West, the great majority of political bullying is done in the name of 'Progress' but I still apply my acid test right across the political spectrum. https://grahamcunningham.substack.com/

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Sep 29, 2023·edited Sep 29, 2023

Thanks for hosting the debate. The rather forced inclusion of Christianity and religion in what I would desire to be a policy-focused pragmatic discussion is frustrating. I maintain that Haywood is new and only his money put him in such a position of prominence. I find the exclusion of so many "far right" activists that have literally lost almost everything fighting decades against things like immigration of diversity/inclusion/gender, and Haywood's sudden omnipresence very peculiar.

Even a Youtube creator like Auron MacIntyre or Dave the Distributist would've been more accurate for an actual Dissident Right position.

Religion should stay out of politics. We need to reinforce the pursuit of objective reality first, especially on gender. There is a place for religion, but not in informing policy, and this debate is one about the state and its politics, about where individual freedom/autonomy ends and where social boundaries and constraints are supposed to be drawn. Christians have shown again and again they lack the mental fortitude to not turn the other cheek and can be bullied through demands for empathy on all policies that might appear "cruel".

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author

Fair criticism. I've spoken with Auron on another occasion, as part of my book tour, and he was also spirited in his criticisms. Even where we disagreed, he supported his arguments clearly. I'm ultimately of the mind that we need limits—a policy of "no enemies to the right" without qualifications is not persuasive, either morally or politically.

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Not criticism, just observation.

I'm not a NETTR person. But I do want negotiations and diplomacy, transparently so, on the boundaries, as I would not trust Wokal or James Lindsay with drawing any lines that threaten to limit my freedom of expression. I also want a broad coalition that has democratic power and ability to win, I believe in representative (illiberal, Hungary as example) democracy, not monarchy or some other autocratic system like the NRx types I mentioned.

Limits needed, but transparent debate on where to draw limits also needed.

I am not convinced either of the 4 panelists would be good at drawing them to be honest. Wokal seems driven by fear, which is not a surprise, and he makes these ambiguous cases about evil and abhorrent views. Name them all and let's discuss each specifically. His partner was driven by Christian empathy and compassion. Not really conducive to social norms and boundaries. Haywood was largely disingenuous IMO and also ambiguous. He's a multi-millionaire. He cannot be cancelled. Just spell what you want out Mr. Haywood.

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founding

I keep hearing about "Christians" and even "Christian Nationalists" from both "Left" and "Right" commentators, and yet I do not know these people.

Who are "they?" I mean, in particular - in reality?

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author

It's a small group that is defending it as a political identity. They are arguing for more Christianity in public life and more focus on Christian ethics in public policy. I think the label is unwise, as it conjures up a left-wing connotation with "white nationalism."

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founding

I see. Thank you.

It seems to me that the Left often uses the terms interchangeably - leading me to wonder whether they even exist...

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Sep 29, 2023Liked by Christopher F. Rufo

They exist, but they're a rather tiny, almost irrelevant group. Most of them are not even practicing Christianity in an obvious, devout way, and their behaviors are often very un-Christian-like.

It does seem to me that Christianity is cynically adopted as a cover for what these people fear would be less palatable views.

One of the first persons to do it was Nick Fuentes who went all in on Catholicism and Jesus is King stuff, years ago. Haywood is late to the party.

Also, this group was never really successful within the online/dissident right, had numerous clashes with the BAP faction etc.

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founding

"They exist, but they're a rather tiny, almost irrelevant group."

That sounds right - no wonder the Left likes to conjure them up - as a kind of scarecrow.

I have no real interest in the online right, but suppose that a frank embrace of Carl Schmitt would be more forthright and defensible; the "right" has never done moralism well - that is a Left thing.

Not to mention that politics is rather far from the center of orthodox forms of Christianity (as some of my posts plainly imply - if not quite state).

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Sep 30, 2023Liked by Christopher F. Rufo

Wow, this was a very impressive debate. I learned a lot.

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Sep 29, 2023Liked by Christopher F. Rufo

I think it's just about being proportional. The problem with people like David French or Jonah Goldberg is that they claim to be of the right, and they'll criticize the left sometimes, but whenever there's a big debate over some big issue they are always focusing their fire on the right. We can criticize the right and should when appropriate, but recognize that the left is deeply evil and the bigger threat, and act accordingly.

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Neil: you seem to be suggesting that” those to the right” are somehow equated with evil. I, to the right, oppose US support and exhortation of Ukraine. I support decentralization of government to bring decision making closer to home. I support disbanding all these three letter agencies who have become enemies of freedom. I support the end of all agencies and legislation that exceeds the boundaries of constitutional authority. That would be most of it. So, where is the evil in this

On the other hand, I do support chastising, evil or unethical behavior of those purportedly on our side. Integrity and accountability requires that we hold ourselves to the same standard, that we impose on the other.

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author

I'm not sure about Neil's positions on those issues, but I'm virtually certain that he would not categorize them as "evil," even if he disagrees with them.

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I read what Neil said is that no one is above reproach. Just as ancient prophets called out “good kings” we as Christians must view all through a Biblical worldview and not just give a pass to any politician who is on the right. Ideology and theology are not parallel scales.

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In the never ending resistance to the Left as defined in the discussion we need support from all including the “odious” . The Right will never be perfect but only right in their defense against the Left. The enemy of my enemy is my friend.

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There is a lot to learn from the history of Saskatchewan (mentioned in the closing statements). There is a proven strategy there, and conservatives need to learn from what works. Part of that strategy is necessarily ensuring that institutions and corporations filter out the cluster b types.

The burgeoning research on left-wing authitarianism (LWA) reveals that there are people on the right who are similarly driven, but utilizing right-wing ideology to satisfy egoic ends instead of left-wing. By failing to filter out cluster b leaders, administrators, and educators, NETR thinking will only make the right into a photographic negative of the left. One which is defined by the same boundaries, devoid of intellectual nuance, and purely reactionary.

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author

Yes, Wokal Distance, or Michael Young, should expand on the experience in Canada, which does offer an effective strategy.

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Sep 30, 2023Liked by Christopher F. Rufo

To be clear, Saskatchewan is doing okay. But British Columbia is very far gone. The right in BC is divided and weak. The most intense Antifa activism in Canada happens here.

Moreover, our universities are much worse than American universities for neo-Marxian ideological control. For example, the University of Victoria, which ranks among the worst 3 in Canada for freedom of speech, put out one of the most wildly ignorant statements imaginable about the March 20 parental rights protests. It used all the standard tropes and jargon of the extremist left to vilify the protesters by accusing them of being a hate movement and declaring the University opposed to them.

I studied Human Dimensions of Climate Change, Environmental Psychology, and Environmental Studies there from 2014 to 2017 and while there were some outstanding people, there are openly Communist faculty and administrators in every department - even math, engineering, and nursing. Conservative students are openly shunned by professors in the humanities. Christians are denied funding by the students union for organizing clubs. During the COVID lockdown, parents were shocked to learn that entire classes in STEM fields were dedicated to anti-Trump sermons rather than presenting content in the faculty of medicine.

Interestingly, Environmental Psychology was one of the few specialties not severely contaminated by neo-Marxian ideology. So, I did an extensive literature review on the psychology of dogmatism in relation to environmental issues (see https://bit.ly/volition5). It was clear from my research that the body of knowledge on this problem was heavily biased towards the "no enemies to the left" position advocated by Herbert Marcus. Since then however, a very solid body has come out on left-wing authoritarianism, which was something I took great pains to imply necessary in my writing.

In one of my classes, I gave a presentation showing that historically, mixed economy capitalist countries had a much better track record on environmental issues than Marxist-model countries. It was strong enough for me to get an honors grade, but after I was done, the professor told me to "be a good Marxian" in front of the class when my answers to his questions did not affirm his openly Communist position. He then tried to argue that Larmarckian Evolution (the basis of Lysenkoism and the Holodomor by extension) was somehow more correct than Darwinian, which was only vaguely related to a point I had raised about communist states and disastrous agricultural policies.

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founding

Very interesting, thank you. I would like to understand this real connection between mental health, personality traits and culture/politics.

It is surely the case that the internet has strengthened the influence of disordered persons on others.

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Republicans must form a CONGRESS OF REPUBLICAN STATES: If we don’t start using our dwindling power soon, it will all be gone: https://daveziffer.substack.com/p/republicans-must-form-a-congress

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Totalitarianism is the enemy of Americans since totalitarianism seeks to destroy U.S. democracy and the U.S. Constitution. People who support any form of totalitarianism are supporting the enemy. The ideology of communism, known as Marxism, is a form of totalitarianism. Identity politics is Marxism in disguise, using race and gender as a cover instead of class. I have reviewed the striking similarities in fundamental principles between identity politics and classic Marxism in my "2026" Substack article titled "Master of Disguise" at https://2026.substack.com/p/master-of-disguise

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Any philosophy we go forward with must be delineated clearly enough to allow us to identify false flag operations by the left. That, at a minimum, means there will be some enemies on the right. It will also help put some really kooky ideas at arms length.

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Thank you, Chris, for hosting this debate. My observation is that there are right-wing reactionaries and they can be as bad as left-wing revolutionaries. Both want us to give them control so they can implement authoritarian forms of government that are antithetical to U.S. democracy. Say "no" to all forms of authoritarianism.

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Why does it have to be a choice between never attacking enemies on the Right or a free-for-all melee? Why can’t we go with the time-honored tradition of “keeping it in the family”?

In other words, fight each other as vigorously as we want behind closed doors, but, at the end of the day, recognize that we are family. And, therefore, we each have an obligation to represent the entire family’s best interest in public--to protect and promote the family’s public reputation.

Anything you do to harm the family’s public reputation is seen as a betrayal of the family. The only people who get attacked publicly are those who fail in their obligation to protect the family’s interest.

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> In other words, fight each other as vigorously as we want behind closed doors,

This requires that major strategic decisions be make behind closed doors, which carries its own set of problems.

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Do you think the opposition should be included in discussions of our major strategic decisions? Pretty sure their contribution will be counter-productive.

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That's the paradox. On the other hand, any closed door discussions will inevitably be suspected of having deep state influence.

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founding

Interesting analogy. Your focus is on the public reputation of the family rather than the domestic abuse occurring within the family. A similar analogy could be the sexual abuse of children and teenagers that was going on in the Roman Catholic Church. I'd like to see you go deeper on either analogy and focus on the victims as well as the public reputation issue. In many families as well as in the Catholic Church, the victimization could not be addressed strictly within and the solution seems to require going outside.

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The debaters essentially addressed a version of my proposal in a later part of the debate. (I was "live commenting" as I listened.) However, I don't think my proposal would lead to a situation analogous to "domestic abuse" or "sexual abuse."

For one, presumably, everyone taking part in the closed-door discussion happening on the right is an adult. If an adult knowingly enters an arena where he could get harmed, and he gets harmed, that isn't abuse. It's just what he signed up for.

Second, the analogy doesn't hold. It's not as if there is abuse going on on the right that the left would object to and put an end to if made aware of it, as was the case with the Catholic Church and the wider society. If anything, the left would only heap more abuse on the person who is supposedly being abused by the right. So if anything, a closed-door policy only reduces the amount of abuse a member of the right is liable to receive.

I'm simply proposing that every member who voluntarily enters this arena should commit to putting the interest of the entire group ahead of his or her personal interests, even if he or she does not win the internal debate over the direction of the group.

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Yep. The Carl Schmitt distinction is really getting legs in our world.

I would say that while the "far right" whackos are not enemies, they are certainly an embarrassment.

Notice that our lefty friends do not have enemies to the left -- or even embarrassments.

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author

It's concerning to me that the friend-enemy distinction is becoming more attractive to people. It signals, in part, that some of the regular parliamentary politics—i.e., the "loyal opposition" model—is straining.

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founding

The friend/enemy part of Schmitt, but also politics as theological warfare, via ideology (gnostic religiosity via "Praxis") is gaining - again.

The 20th C. was full of this idea (Soviet and Italian (Fascist) Marxists, National Socialism). Now we are succumbing - belatedly, perhaps, but still. Schmitt really can be read (as I read him) as a theorist of ideological politics, per-se.

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this comment section is all the proof you need to see that the right has failed & why it failed as a secular ideology -probably because it never was a coherent ideology, probably b/c it eschewed ideology.

IF religion is so important to you then you should find the true faith (I'll tell you what it is if you want even) and get out of politics. THAT would actually help the political struggle very mightily and for real.

but if politics suits you then leave religion out, and adopt a secular ideology i.e. adopt feudalism, the real objective politics of the right. A rightism which insists -at this stage -on religion is really "idealist rightism", "subjective rightism", it's not scientific, rigorous rightism aka feudalism (nazis are vulgar-scientific).

Right now, what is called "the right" is in a civil war b/t the "idealist" and the "scientific" factions where hopefully the "scientific" will prevail. Outside of feudalism, right-wing politics is a joke, it has no impetus, just like without marxism, left-wing politics is a joke, with no sustaining force.

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author

Feudalism? As in, a return to European-style feudalism?

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Yes.

(a long term goal albeit, but so is/was marxism)

but we must distinguish b/t absolutism and feudalism; the latter is in principle at least, decentralized,& freedom maximizing, while the former is a kind of proto-totalitarianism. For the most part, european feudalism was never absolutist.

& re: marxism vs feudalism: my idea is that whereas marxism defends the urban, relative working class, feudalism defends the absolute, ur-working class, the farmers and the workers of raw-materials. The small businessman/artisan is not, as marxsists hold, a derivative, mini-version of the decadent upper-classes, but the highest type of the working class, a literal aristocrat of labor, Feudalism shows itself then, to be superior to marxism.

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founding
Sep 30, 2023·edited Sep 30, 2023

I'm thinking there are two types of "enemies to/on/in the right" we need to be concerned about: individual operative infiltrators and group "false flag" operations. The peaceful protest on J6 that was turned into a riot/ "insurrection" can be instructive. We can watch the videos and see individuals who worked to turn the protest into unlawful activity. How many were undercover police, federal agents vs left wing Antifa types? Or maybe that distinction doesn't even always exist anymore with the entryism that has occurred? Then we learn about how much of the illegal action planning by Proud Boys and Oath Keepers was pushed by undercover fed agents.

Maintaining moral clarity must have been difficult for members of the crowd with:

1) Fence Cutter dismantling and rolling up the boundary fence separating the area allowed for peaceful protest from restricted area, and

2) Bullhorn Commander up on the tower shouting commands to the crowd to move forward when that was the worst thing they could do.

Neither of these two have ever been identified so we can assume they were affiliated with the police and federal agencies.

I think this can be a good metaphor for our situation. We need to beware more generally of those who try to destroy boundaries and/or take positions where they can give commands unchallenged.

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Charles Heywood says one thing that is correct, the enemy is the Enlightenment. However his definition of the Enlightenment is way too narrow. The key thing about the Enlightenment is that it rejects the notion of "imago viva dei," or man in the image of the creator. In this respect the Enlightenment cannot distinguish between humans and animals. The Enlightenment is the source of all the modern philosophical diseases: Empiricism, Positivism, Behaviorism, Libertarianism, etc., and it generated a similar opponent in Postmodernism, the core today of CRT.

Enlightenment has run both the Left and Right in loyal conflict opposition for most of modern history.. Classical Liberalism is from the Enlightenment, as well as Rousseau, Marx, Socialism, and Communism. The only major political person today who does not operate from the premises of the Enlightenment is Donald Trump. Thus he is able to escape the Right/Left categories of the Enlightenment. The U.S. was founded by Cotton Mather, and his protege, Benjamin Franklin as a rejection of the various forms of Enlightenment diseases developing in Europe. The inability of most people. who consider themselves conservatives, is that they are unable to distinguish the European Renaissance conception of "imago viva dei" or in the Declaration of Independence, our "unalienable rights" derived from the creator, from the Enlightenment and that is the fundamental strategic flaw of the Right.

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