I’d like to try a new feature on this Substack: an open Q&A. Please write a question on any topic here in the thread, then, next week, I will record a video responding to a handful of the most thought-provoking reader inquiries.
For those of you who haven’t commented yet, I’d love to have you join the discussion.
Looks like wokeism/Marxism replaced religion. Do you see a religious revival in American future, and do you feel it is necessary for us to win? to be "One nation under God" we have to be "under God"...
How do teachers effectively stand up against woke ideologies, disinformation, and misinformation when administration has bought into it so fervently?
One of the most fascinating, least understood, but I think absolutely most fundamental puzzles about all of this "stuff" that is going on is how the Left has been able to so successfully subvert language. They've managed to redefine words so effectively to the point that even their ideological opponents use them; which I think has the effect of conceding the ideological war even while the battle of words is underway.
Some examples of words/phrases which have now taken on completely different meanings:
* phobia (doesn't mean "fear" but "disagreement" or something like that)
* hate (now just means disagreement)
* vaccine (see the Wikipedia and CDC change of definition)
* undocumented (doesn't mean "without documents" but "without legal permission")
* "don't say gay" (refers to a bill that doesn't actually say this)
How do Republicans state legislators go about removing college system DEI administrators, guides, hiring practices documents? How should they message it and what are some tools/tips to insert budget language to remove those administrators and documents?
What recommendations (concrete steps) do you have for faculty at these woke universities to fight back?
Should we defund the Public Schools?
Should there be a database for each state that lists the alternatives to the public school system?
Private, parochial, Christian, etc.
That will throw the cat among the pigeons. This is all about power and money. Utilizing public schools for ideological purposes is intended to effectuate a power shift. It will be funded by the tax payers.
Vouchers is the logical answer. Just as "Defund the Police" was a catchy phrase that helped no one, Defund the Schools sends an even more powerful message. Many complaints will ensue with all the histrionic commentary but the "objective" data are clear: The public schools are failing.
In neo-Marxism [‘cultural Marxism’], I get the impression that anything that is considered “normative” in society is deemed “oppressive.” Anything “oppressive” must be brought down, destroyed, leveled. Therefore anything “normative” needs to be brought down, destroyed, leveled. Traditional sexual norms [such as “heterosexuality”] must be “de-normed.” Brought down. Leveled. Destroyed. The nuclear family structure must be “de-normed.” Brought down. Leveled. Destroyed. The idea of only two genders must be “de-normed.” Brought down. Leveled. Destroyed. I don’t know WHY neo-Marxists think destroying societal norms is a good thing. My question is: WHAT is the driving force behind this push toward “de-normalization” of “norms” in society, and WHAT is hoped to be gained by all this bringing down, leveling and destruction?
One 800-pound gorilla in this whole mess is the fully captured mainstream media. Their lockstep march has resulted in a large portion of the population being utterly impervious to "other" voices or messages--- i.e., those of us who see what's actually happening can all too easily be dismissed as "conspiracy theorists".
It's really difficult to combat, because one can understand the disbelief of the masses that the entire media complex is colluding to drive such ugly narratives. I'm continually shocked by the ignorance of so many otherwise intelligent people. It's the greatest mass psy-op in history.
How do we combat this aspect of the problem?
I heard you say something very alarming a couple years ago on a Manhattan Institute zoom where you discussed your research on homelessness/mental illness/drug addiction, etc and I wonder if it is still true? You said when you discussed the factors causing these with the head of Psychiatry at the largest hospital system in San Francisco, she said, "If I said those things, I would get fired." That was very frightening to me. If we can't discuss or admit the real causes of these problems and just pretend it is housing costs and availability or white oppression or other progressive suggested causes, how do we solve them? SF and other cities have since gotten so much worse and have dissolved into chaos. Thank you for all your work!
Florida has been a fantastic test for implementing sane policies opposing the "woke" agenda. What advice would you have for making incremental advancement in a Blue state where the levers of the state are in the hands of the woke foot soldiers?
I’ve been a school board warrior for two years. Our district does the equity-diversity-inclusion on the down low. It’s not often discussed and not in curriculum, but is woven throughout the day.
Any thoughts on how to gather intel from kids & moms?
Without intel, our advocacy falls flat.
The early generations of university-indoctrinated woke students have now infiltrated many professional sectors of society: government, finance (ESG), marketing, HR, media, education, etc. This fact incentivizes the next generation of young adults to conform to woke ideology to optimize their chances of succeeding in these professional institutions post-graduation. Reforming the university system is needed to return to a state of honest academic inquiry, research and teaching, but as long as those real-world incentives persist outside academia, there’s a feeling of ultimate futility to the mission. How do you think about this? Do you have any thoughts on effecting incentive shifts in the real world to make the break from woke thinking more enticing?
Chris, I would really appreciate if you could look into the ideological take-over of the school accreditation boards. For all the legislation in states for school choice, very little will change if the accreditation boards are dominated by CRT/DEI ideologues.
By the numbers, what steps do we need to take to restore the positive features of American culture, civic and otherwise?
College seniors on down to grade school - are they indoctrinated to the extent that they are heavily in favor of “fundamentally transforming the United States of America” - from what to what? Thank you.
While Gender Ideology has been widely acknowledged as a cult and a kind of secular neo-religion, no one has yet suggested that its entwinement in law and education be challenged on that basis.
As both a legal and constitutional matter, if beliefs like "gender identity" meet the threshold of religious beliefs -- which they do -- then should they not be subject to the same parameters?
What's happening presently is exploiting a perceived loophole in the First Amendment. While it's commonly agreed that "freedom of worship" is protected, the prospect of an aggressively evangelical movement seeking to circumvent church/state separation in order to use the instrument of government to indoctrinate youth, and to seize legal protections which would otherwise not exist, has been poorly considered.
Why is there no lawsuit asking the Supreme Court to do what it has unfortunately failed to do in the past, and furnish a precise definition of what constitutes a religion? Any faith based belief system, whether or not it calls itself a religion, should be both protected in their freedom of belief and constrained from being taught in public schools or having its doctrinal tenets recognized in civil law.
A Supreme Court ruling to this effect would end this madness once and for all.
Disclaimer up front, this isnt really a question about CRT and wokeism. My name is Kevin McCarville. Im an AI engineer in my early 30s and an Airborne Ranger in the Army Reserves. I think this is the most important issue facing America today and its not even close. Its at the core of who we are as a nation.
I wanna help. But I dont know how.
Can you help me? I have to imagine my career skillset would be very valuable if deployed in the right places. Would be happy to talk to whoever you think would be most beneficial to steer me in the right direction. Let me know if you need any more info or contact details from me. And I know you are awful busy so no hard feelings if you dont have the bandwidth.
Thank you for all that you do man. Please keep it up. I love this nation so much and its guys like you that make it great.
1. Is there a fairly short and simplified version of pamphlet or paper that describes D.E.I. in federal, state governments and schools and what it really is and how it is designed to destroy families, etc. That we could share and also use to push back?
2. What organizations are in which states that are working on laws like Florida to pull D.E.I. tentacles out of state school bureaucracies?
3. What about state departments of education? Like here in MO DESE is pushing D.E.I. stuff down on local districts that don't want it. It becomes money thing.
It looks like you have the support of the Florida Legislature to have the finances to enact real change at New College. Sincerely hoping you have a sound, Hillsdale type experience by the time our child is college bound. Thank you for taking on the challenge.
I am a soon-to-be lawyer, as I will be taking the bar exam in July. Ever since CRT ruined my church, I have been passionate about understanding and fighting it. Question 1: If I get a job at a law firm that pushes DEI, how can I strategically resist? Question 2: What can I do with my bar license to help fight wokeness in the courts?
can you do anything for California?
Thank you Christopher for your fight for America, this land we love, and the memory of Patriot's blood. Plowing forward into the 2024 election without first guaranteeing that Americans even have the ability to vote in a free and fair election any longer, is polishing the brass on the Titanic. I sense a lot of ignoring the elephant in the room on the part of our leaders. Cannot the same 20 representatives who successfully stalled voting in the Speaker in lieu of first safeguarding the Senate from runaway corruption do the same for our electoral system? Without the ability to have every legitimate vote count, and filter out the fraudulent votes, we no longer have a free country. No more Zuckerberg money, no ballot collection boxes, no more mail fraud, no mules.
Do you think it possible the United States can overcome the tremendous partisan divide which has so polarized our country? If so, how?
My hospital is so woke - we have Race Caucuses where staff meet monthly to share the stories of oppression and hardship.
Clearly you're trying to steer society away from going over the woke/socialist, anti-Western values, postmodern moral relativism cliff. Let's presume in 5 years, you are wildly successful in bringing your vision to complete fruition. What do we retain from what the left brings to the table, and how far right would this plebeity become? What would this ideal society look like and be galvanized around?
The misuse and abuse of language, which you have discussed in your work on Leftist ideation in the corporate academy (and their corresponding academic corporates), extends to many public intellectuals who consider themselves conservative and, in fact, have been shunned, but who are, in fact, enmired in the Leftist worldview.
As an example, many (even the warrior-thinker Dr. Robert Malone himself), continued to call it unthinkingly a "vaccine" -- a propagandistic term the CDC now intends to re-define to suit the bureaucracy's immediate needs -- when even he stated it was not a vaccine by nature and effect, etc.
The greatest error conservatives make, I believe, is ideationally living within the Leftist worldview: Their own expression fosters in others the ideas they think they argue against. As an example, many call themselves "right-wing," swallowing whole the Leftist's duality of conceptualization, us vs. them, and placing themselves squarely within the Leftist worldview.
I, for example, am politically a constitutional conservative and in aesthetic matters, which are most important to me, a traditionalist, because over 1000s of years, much wisdom and beauty and truth has been gleaned by the Artist with which to feed the soul. But I am not right wing, because I do not agree to be subsumed within the theoretical mindset of the pseudo-intellectuals whose entire purpose is to shun those who don't herd with them and mouth the blather they prostitute upon humankind.
Hence, my question: if you think the thesis above has legs (you will say, I'm sure, if you think it does not), how can these "conservatives" be made aware of their subsumation (are they unaware they are still within "the Borg?") and of the imperative of breaking out of it through accurately meaningful expression?
How do small local Republican clubs fight back against ballot harvesting? We need specific steps to understand this game and beat them at their own game - legally, of course.
What punitive actions can be taken against Blinken, Brennan, Clapper and the 50 or so other "national security experts" that knowingly and falsely convinced the bulk of American that the Hunter Biden laptop story was 'Russian disinformation"? Are there not laws to protect us from credentialed persons using their influence to materially deceive?
When are you starting a series, on "wokeness in the military and foreign policy"? Because, the forces of liberal internationalism, that considers all doemstic political opponents as fascists, are the same forces, that seeks pride parade in Kiev and Kabul, and desires to go to war to promote that ideology.
As much as I appreciate all the theoretical insights on who, when and why all the evils plaguing our society have come to be, I’m tired of them. In fact, the endless reads are a waste of precious time. I know some of it helps wake people up but ultimately who cares if we all agree on the horrors and how they came to be if we do nothing about them? All I want now is a solid, practical action plan to turn this all around. It’s high time. Can anyone at least suggest a “first step?”
I know this is a "thread", but I thought we were supposed to ask Christopher F. Rufo a question.
Folks seems to be arguing amongst themselves. I want to hear from Mr. Rufo.
Christopher F. Rufo, here is my question for you: How do you think America is going to address the out-of-control transgender-pandering nonsense that we are seeing today? Do you feel that with the election in 2024 drawing closer day by day, that we will see any common sense being forthcoming? Is this strictly a bi-partisan issue with the Democrats going along with the cult and pushing it (such as Biden), and the Republicans trying to temper the acceptance the lobby is demanding? My family has been divided and destroyed by this, and I am horrified by the ignorance of so many regarding mental illness which is at the bottom of it all. We are seeing a flood of younger, vulnerable, mentally unstable people being used and abused by the medical systems, doctors, hospitals, counselors, so-called experts, and death traps such as Planned Parenthood. All following the money. Do you see an end to this in our lifetime? (I pray that it will be resolved in favor of sanity soon, I am a great grandmother who has seen three of my beloved grandchildren fall into this fantasy, which has led to alienation and heart break.) Thank you.
(PS: Stealing from C.S. Lewis, if we see a person proclaiming he is a poached egg, we know he is insane and needs help.) Love, Indio
I have been working in the school system for 14 years, and it has become clear to me that we are in a tremendous SPIRITUAL battle. Those who are pushing this transgender mental illness on innocent and impressionable children worship not our God, but the satanic diety known as BAPHOMET. Please take a minute to google this diety image.
When you look up this demonic “god” and study its characteristics, you will see a half human- half goat creature (much like our chimera experiments). Most importantly, this human/ goat has BOTH female breasts AND male genitalia (transgenderism) In the middle of it’s lap is holding a rod with a serpent wrapped around it (interestingly, this is the SAME sign used for Red Cross, and just about ALL medical facilities in the world)
Did you know that statues of this diety Baphomet, have been put in public parks now in America (idolatry, and worshipping of false gods)? Lastly, Baphomet is often pictured with a young boy and young girl looking up to him. THIS IS A SPIRITUAL BATTLE which means we have to make prayer a regular part of our lives! To just say we are a “Christian” is just NOT enough!! We have to BE and DO as a true Christian is called to be in the Bible.
God is setting up his army right now to help others, and I don’t know about you, but I want to be a part of the GOOD that is left in this world!! We MUST be brave enough to speak up and talk to others about the love and hope that’s found ONLY in Jesus. There is no other religious figure than Jesus who has been so mocked, degraded, falsified, or cast away. And why is this? Because even satan knows that there is only ONE true God who gave His only Son up to die on a cross for you, for me, and for every man woman and child in this world.
Our children are worth rising up, praying for, and getting involved in our school boards for. This is our only way to protect our most innocent from the normalizing of pedophilia, & from political activist teachers looking to recruit the next generation of BLM and ANTIFA. Teachers without a political agenda have been bullied and chased away in our school systems. I’ve sat back and watched it happen for the last 3 years. They are hiring young teachers straight out of woke universities to replace those that have been there for many years and are teaching because they love kids, not to exploit their innocence. We as parents and concerned citizens have to be the VOICE that these school children don’t have, just as Christopher Rufo has so bravely done!
The policies and people funding this woke agenda are causing gender confusion and making children and teens turn their back on the God who created them AS THEY ARE . They must be stopped in their tracks and held accountable for the damage they have done to our kids and continue to do. Darkness is being exposed more and more each day, and we can either choose to deny it because it’s too difficult to accept, or cover it in LIGHT, PRAYERS, and GODLY ACTIONS knowing this is the only way spiritual battles are won. And win, we WILL!!! Who’s with me??
At New College, there are like Woke administration people at all levels, who will undermine every action of your leadership. Do you see the need for top to bottom cleaning house, to bring in people supporting the new direction?
Do you understand the failure to do such will doom your leadership?
Apparently the AP US history exam today was so egregiously focused on women and minorities that even the progressive zoomers were upset by it (39/55 of the multiple choice, 2/3 of the SAQs, the DBQ, and 2/3rds of the LEQs). Nothing about WWI, WWII, Cold War, Vietnam, Reconstruction, Great Depression, Manifest Destiny, etc.
Do you think this is a response to Florida saying no to AP African American History, or just the behavior of an increasingly ideologically captured institution?
My question is: When do you think we will see America wake up to the fact that boys are xy chromosomes and girls are xx chromosomes and xy cannot be xx, no matter what they cut off or add to their bodies? I’m sickened by the attempt being made to destroy women.
How can we ever get out of the mess we are in when our media, and especially the "news media," are most all simply activists for the Left more interest in furthering the Left's narratives and covering for them rather than actually reporting the news. Here is an example. Recently, in the Tulsa, OK, area, a black man named Carlton Gilford shot to death two white people who just happened to be there. One who he shot in the back of the head was on a computer monitor at the library at the time and the other was a shopper. Apparently, the motive was solely the victims' race (white). Compare the complete lack of coverage of this with the hysteria over Jordan Neely's death in NYC. Neely was the black man with 44 prior arrests who was mentally disturbed and threatening subway riders when he died apparently while being restrained by white Marine. There is no coverage of the first story and saturation coverage of the latter with virtually all of that coverage being from the angle that Neely was simply a Michael Jackson impersonator who was killed by a white oppressor.
Most k-12 schools venomously deny teaching CRT even when including SEL in their curriculum. (Our school supt. is one of them). How can the average community member convince a school board of what they are doing? Most teachers won't even believe it. It feels like the biggest losing battle there is. Unless people like you can attend all the school board meetings across the country, I'm not sure there is much communities can do.
Do you worry that school choice is a trap to get federal or state control of private education? Once the legislation for ESAs are in place, can't legislatures tighten the conditions and create endless requirements (and data collection) if you accept the funding for "independent" education? What if the real goal is to collect children's P-20 data for public-private stakeholders? Who makes parents aware of strings attached?
I belong to an organization that is experiencing some slight woke infiltration. For example, the attempt to remove gendered language from literature, and the use of "plain language" translation of original texts also to remove "outdated, and gendered language" . In trying to discuss this with people who express their support for these changes I find it difficult because most if not all supporters of these changes are totally unaware of postmodernism and things like queer theory. Does anyone who joins this woke band wagon actually know where the ideologies come from? How do you figure out if they are or aren't aware of the actual theories, and what is a kind way of explaining the origins without being condescending?
Would you send your kids to college these days? Why, or why not?
I’ve tried to do a couple of FOIA requests for emails from the DEI coordinator in our local school district. The district claimed that it would cost about 150k to do all the necessary redactions, so they’ve effectively blocked my request for information. I’ve appealed the costs to the AG here in Texas. Do you have any other suggestions on how to get this information?
Do you believe there’s a natural limit to how much leftists—or really any institutional power—can indoctrinate children? I understand there are powerful arguments against controversial topics like transgender ideology, DEI in schools, etc., but I can’t help but wonder if we’ve all forgotten what it’s like to be teenagers: chafing against authority, disobeying our parents, bristling against being told what to do. Is there reason for conservatives to be optimistic that a large proportion of the next generation will be primed to chart their own course, one separate from the woke fads currently sweeping the country and being imposed from the top down?
If you want to combat woke, you have to leave religion out of the picture. Most people are not religious and the population is becoming less religious each year.
Woke has a weakness in that there is no validity to it's claims. Social disparities are more related to deficits in capability, competence and consistency than systemic discrimination and racism.
White privilege no doubt exists but unfortunately for its critics, it is there because it was earned.
You can replace it with coloured privilege over time if you wish. All you have to do is get coloured people to exceed the ability of Euro types in fields such as banking, medicine, law, pharmaceuticals, chemistry , physics, chemical production, computing, communications, engineering, mining, refining, exploration etc.
Coloured folk already have privilege in sport and to some extent in music so it's just a matter of turning their talents to these other fields.
As far as I know minorities have access to high school and universities so, let's get cracking people.
Has anyone realized that back in the early 2000 Millenial era in Major League Baseball banned athletes who took steroids and other hormones that helped athletes perform better. How is this different than transgender athletes taking hormones to be put into women’s sports to have athletic advantages over biological women?
You know, the far left has really done a stellar job in the planning and takeover of our culture and its institutions. It was started around mid-20th century, they played the long game, and they played it well. The majority of us had no idea it was happening until it was too late, and now they're utterly intrenched in media, tech, business as a whole, and of course, education.
Over the last several years since it's dawned on me (far too late) that this was going on, I've read, watched, followed and/or supported anti-woke journalists and (hmm, what's the word? "fighters" is too strong) *activists* who have diligently uncovered and reported on this woke insanity.
I guess there has to be a discovery process, something has to be known about before an effort to combat it is mounted--I mean, you can't develop a smallpox vaccine unless you know about the existence of smallpox in the first place. Fine. I have a very strong feeling, though, that at this late date we're still focusing on discovery of, you know, "DEI documents", still trying to catalogue and describe the horrors, while we should just go ahead and stipulate that, yes, any big company or governmental/educational entity is highly likely to be lost to the woke mind virus. We don't necessarily need more video of toddler drag queen hour or someone talking about how ambition and biochemistry are racist.
My question is, what are we actually *doing*? There have been small, isolated victories, mostly on the local level (think Matt Walsh with Vanderbilt University, as an example). But what concrete, national, planned and coordinated steps is anybody taking to take our country back, involving business, political, educational and journalist leaders? Feels like not a thing to me.
The left could afford to be slow and sneaky with their attack, as we were all naïve and basically asleep at the wheel--we didn't put up a fight or really even know a fight was going on. Seems to me that, if we want to save our country, we don't have that luxury now. An entrenched and savvy enemy (let's call them what they are) is not about to loosen their grip on the levers of power. We need a French Resistance, and we need one asap. Is there any evidence at all of one?
One last thing--one of my favorite writers is of the opinion that this woke/BLM/LGBTQ(etc.)/whatever movement's ideas are too ridiculous, too absurd, too...dumb, to continue on for much longer, and that they're going to simply collapse in on themselves at some point soon. We'll see, but I disagree. They might be all of that, but what the also are is clever--the sort of folks who know how to keep ahold of power. All the more reason to switch to the action phase.
There are lots of parents groups that work to oppose social justice & DEI initiatives. Do you feel they coordinate effectively to pressure corporations & politicians?
In light of the Bud Light protests, can parents, conservatives, & like-minded organizations work together to form a single pressure group?
Mr. Rufo, what do you think are the most effective actions we can take to "disrupt and dismantle" the woke cult and its hold on our country? The work you are doing with Gov. DeSantis looks to me like the most effective route, but many of us do not have access to that level of power. In addition, here in Portland I think I would be wasting my time trying to influence local or state elected officials. I have thought about starting my own Substack, but as you have observed, the Intellectual Dark Web may not at this point be the most effective strategy for creating change. It is frustrating to want to take action but not see ways to do it.
My professional expertise is designing and implementing QA systems into hostile cultures (retired now). I, like JP & Peter Bhogossian am skeptical that you will have the necessary administrative mechanisms to block recalcitrance and identify sham compliance. This is a tough gig you have ahead and there are certain techniques around that you can copy to make your task easier. I don't think you will have too much trouble validating your measures but the error detection and feedback loops will be hard. For one thing you will need a customized audit function. You already know there will be deliberate subterfuge to continue current practices and there will be cooperative cover up. High possibility of failure or suboptimal outcomes which could undermine confidence in your project. Call me for free advice if you wish.
Gender. Why do we even need it? Locker rooms, bathrooms, Medical treatments, even the right to vote were all based on biological sex. Not gender. The left can’t even define what gender is. Personality shown thru stereotypes? Let them keep gender. It’s a Wittgensteinian language game no? Let’s focus on sex. Thoughts?
I am concerned about the banning of certain ideas on university campuses. Would it not be better to continue to teach a course on WOKE and/or the rise of LBGTQ rights and/or communism and/or marxism at universities. I come from a history background and wonder sometimes if these ideas are taking root because the present generation does not understand what communism or totalitarianism is and what its historical and terrible past is. The saying goes, if you don’t know history you are doomed to repeat it.