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Nov 14, 2023·edited Nov 14, 2023Liked by Christopher F. Rufo

The most effective attack, in my view, is to expose the bogus PSYCHOLOGY that drives Leftism....and always has, whatever the supposed CAUSE it embraces....which changes to suit the fashions of the day. It is a psychology of middle class people wanting to FEEL virtuous but in a cost-free way. FEELING virtuous whilst actually carrying on with their essentially selfish personal agenda....their self-interest in other words. It has always been a mostly middle-class intelligentsia pose right from Marx and Engels.

If ever holding trendy Leftist opinions came to have painful costs to the middle-class holder of those opinions themselves (rather than costs they impose on people lower down the social scale) the whole 'woke' thing would disappear like the puff of windbaggery that it has always truly been.

https://grahamcunningham.substack.com/p/are-we-making-progress

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Yes, good point.

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Excellent summary of our nation’s current cultural condition and possible responses. Rufo’s portmanteau ‘psychology of equality’ expresses well how right now we must “fight over language, words, symbols, bureaucracy.” And the once-marginal Leftists have marched into power to control culture and institutions, their radical language normalized so the young acquire it and don’t know it’s origins. So many of us are agreeable people, willingly submitting to this authority or don’t recognize the establishment nature of the cultural threat. I have to show friends and family that the radical ideology is hard to see because they maintain a marginalized language and identity while yet commanding the cultural heights, sounding virtuous and harmless yet are transformationally dangerous. Initially from 2015-2018, I was willing yet ill-equipped to fight politically in my grad programs. I learned I have every right to be political in class contexts. I am much more prepared after becoming comfortable with discomfort of contending in class where I just wanted to learn skills and expertise. But it’s not my nature to openly counter people who so freely and rudely insult and label...so common good folk like me must learn to engage the overtly political to expose the psychological conflict raging around us. The Truth is worth risking becoming disagreeable.

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Good points. Yes, we can be firm but polite in our disagreement, but we can never be too scared to speak.

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Nov 14, 2023Liked by Christopher F. Rufo

Our Lord said to be “wise as serpents but innocent as doves”, so we should make the language work for us rather than letting the opposition entrap us. Always have a ready response/argument to give in a clear and concise manner and without anger.

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Great line.

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Yes, ‘disagreeable’ as in constructively disagreeing via respectful language, not as in becoming disruptive, rude, or demeaning. Sorry! If I might clarify, I realize I decontextualized Jordan Peterson’s ‘disagreeable’ term from his 2018 Cathy Newman ‘debate’ in which he mentions motivating people to firmly disagree so as to attain a deserved pay raise, for instance. To stand up for what we might be inclined to dismiss or pass up when normally acquiescent or agreeable. It actually describes my ability to obtain just such a pay raise in 2014, as well as withstand verbal onslaughts in my 3 grad school degrees 😵‍💫. And I think you exhibit this polite and firm ‘disagreeable’ sense in spades in each interview or article you appear in or write.

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Of course, we need to be more disagreeable in that sense!

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founding

I would err on the side of not too polite. 🤷‍♂️

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I have long been frustrated at the way the Left's bogus 'xyz-ism' and 'xyz-phobia' words (and concepts) have been unquestioningly adopted in conservative discourse.

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Yes, me too Graham. Instead of adopted, it must be understood and countered...and our own language asserted. Can you point me to where you’ve seen it adopted recently? I want to study it and publish my findings if possible! News outlets, politicians, etc. Thanks!

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I wish that were possible....but Lefty nonsense comes at you from the media so thick and fast you mostly have to just let it wash over you, don't you. I do have this essay though with some specific examples of tick-box Correct-Think used by scriptwriters in the storylines of British tv drama serials. https://grahamcunningham.substack.com/p/non-binary-sibling-is-entertaining

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‘Wash over you’ absolutely true. Thank you for the link. Your post aptly describes the identity box-checking of American media too plus its often one-sided villain roles for certain identities. Seems as a white male actor I’d have a lucrative yet Faustian career...

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Maybe we should roll with the phobia. Invoke the Americans with Disabilities Act and demand a trans free workplace.

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That's why I like to answer questions like "are you a conservative now?" with a question like "what do you mean by conservative?" Forces them to think about the meaning of these words.

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Yes! Definitions first 👍Asking for a definition delays negative knee jerk associations and reduces using a universal definition (a projection of their subjective conception or naive realism) to conduct the conversation. Their definition becomes their own, not Everyone’s or even yours...yet, and exposes whether it’s based on severe prejudice/bias, rumor, lived experience, or thoughtfulness. I also think it would reduce in-group/out-group demagoguery.

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As I tried to point out earlier in yesterday's response to Mr. Rufo, there is more going on here than "psychology." (I am not trying to criticize what wonderful work he is doing.) For those postmodernists who deny any experiential "objectivity" of the world, there is an insidious replacement of our "ordinary" world with a postmodern "constructed" 'world.' This kind of 'world' allows for making claims against the roles of physical nature e.g. biology in transgender theory, and mathematics, e. g. 2+2=4 in CRT. What an elusive 'world' this creates!

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Thank you. Along with your observation, I present another one and offer some advice. Leftists use an argument style that changes the subject away from the main topic. Most popular among these is the ad hominem attack, designed to call both you and your sources into question rather than address the issue. Leftists do this because they know they'll lose the debate. The proper response is to do what you've done here, which is to abstract yourself out of the whole argument, point out what the Leftist is doing, and then force the conversation back to the issue being discussed.

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Nov 14, 2023·edited Nov 14, 2023Liked by Christopher F. Rufo

There's nothing to talk about – that's the first trick (presuming that their discourse is worthy of engagement or rebuttal). I agree with Bret Weinstein: we have to not give sophists an inch because they are not good-faith interlocutors – all they are interested in is power, not truth. Sophists cannot be frank or logically consistent; they are discursive snakes and intellectual contortionists.

In any case, we are way past discourse at this point. All honorable patriots can do is use leftist idiocy against itself and subvert their cryptic-marxist movement through nonviolent methods of our own. And if push comes to shove, patriots got the 2A and while the woke are no strangers to hypocrisy (i.e. the woke will avail themselves of AR15s to defend a literally-marxist "autonomous zone" in Seattle) but they by and large don't exercise any right to bear arms. The "culture war" (or internationally "the grey war") is a "total war" inasmuch as everyone is a target and no one is exempt from owning up to their values and taking a stand. Woke don't stand at all (despite their social media virtue signaling that they "stand with" this or that), rather they sit. Woke is fundamentally a modality of compliance and thus self-dehumanization. As others have pointed out throughout modernity: self-dehumanized actors are capable of any thoughtless atrocity.

Robert Malone says we're in the thick of "5th generation warfare" which is primarily psychological. For sure, but I'd say we're past just "mind" – we're more importantly in a battle for the soul of the nation, and our own individual souls – it's the first battle (i.e. original Socratic imperative of "care of the soul") and the last battle. All in all, when taking the woke head on: body-mind-and-soul are all at stake nowadays!

Personally speaking, I unfortunately live in a deep-blue zip-code (people have "we believe" signs and "in Fauci we trust" lawn signs) and throughout my whole life everyone just assumes I'm woke too simply by living here. But my neighbors say the dumbest shit and I've learned firsthand how futile it is to try and discuss any of their marxist fables. I've tried, but they operate out of an epistemology of conformity, and not discourse. Inherit to the synthetic revolution is this forfeiture of thinking; they gave up thinking by believing that "only experts can tell me what to do, and I'm not an expert, and you're not an expert either!" is how my neighbors tactically "change the subject" (and yes, that is a logical fallacy of appeal-to-authority, which is often topped off or prefaced with a personal-attack fallacy to boot).

There's good reason why the ancients asserted that only true friends can engage in philosophical discourse – the woke are incapable of friendship because they see the world as a material matrix of transactional power. There is no discourse without friendship, and The West has long known: there is no Republic without friendship. The Republic is not for everyone; the woke have already handed over their God-given liberties (i.e. the "soul of a nation") that constitute a republic in the first place.

I'd say the woke can go straight to hell but I think they're already there. So it's up to patriots to take care of themselves and their good-faith friendships from here on out.

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I love the line "they operate out of an epistemology of conformity, and not discourse." Discussing any matters with woke people is difficult because they don't believe in common ground, they are very narcissistic in that way. It's quite ironic that people that claim to be for "diversity" stand for uniformity in ideology.

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Thanks, and my apologies for my longwinded screed of a comment there. But I agree: epistemology is at the core of all this insanity; at least in philosophical terms. "How do you know what you know?" is the most basic question of epistemology. The woke refuse to explore this question. And so of course "an epistemology of conformity" is not an epistemology at all, it's just dogma that necessarily restructures society into authoritarianism. It's astonishing how many "thought-terminating clichés" the woke employ, which are always logical fallacies in some variety. Woke are the Borg at a cognitive software level of nonsensical inculcation.

As an anecdote, awhile back I was talking to a young physician (about "climate change" I recall) in a public park in the Seattle area and he told me, "Either you BELIEVE in the scientific method or you don't!" And I told him, "Isn't the whole point of science (i.e. controlled empiricism) that belief is irrelevant and unnecessary for making falsifiable predictions?" He had nothing to say; clearly he was a "we believer". So much for empiricism—so much for epistemology. Both modes of inquiry must be done away with in a totalitarian regime; the tyrants "know" this much. Alas.

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I agree that the best way to deal with Leftists is to bypass them entirely. In fact: 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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I agree. But it seems that the modus operandi now is to shout down rather than engage. How do you deal with that?

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I try to call them out on it. I tend to say, “Oh, since you are shutting down without refuting my arguments, I’ll take that to mean that you can’t refute what I am saying.”

Or if they try the label move, I’ll say, “Since you are moving to attacking my character and name-calling rather than engaging with the ideas and arguments I am presenting, I’ll take that to mean that you can’t refute my arguments.”

Sometimes this moves them to continue engaging, because they don’t want to seem like they lost the debate, but sometimes they just double-down in name-calling or shutting down. But it’s still a win, because anyone else watching and reading can therefore see what’s happening. They’ll see one person who is willing to engage and debate ideas without attacking a person, and one side that falls into labeling and then the angry shut down/shut out. It reveals the character of these people to anyone watching, so it’s still a win.

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I call this "abstracting yourself". When opponents start attacking you or changing the subject, you then change the subject again by making it obvious to everyone what they're doing. Your new topic becomes your opponent's farcical debate style.

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Good strategy.

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Exactly. If it were not for wokeness, we'd have something else insane - multiculturalism, climate hysteria (with no actionable proposed solution), outright communism, whatever.

When you hire affluent young people, especially women, right out of their own "education", then give them a life free of consequences, allowing them to marinate in things like politicized fiction, you're going to wind up with crackpot nonsense.

Wokeness is incidental. The vast majority of non-STEM academia needs to go, and what remains should be publicly accessible and subject to open feedback and accountability.

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Yes, the sooner the non-STEM academia self-destructs the better. In the information-explosion digital age, anyone who WANTS to educate themselves about the humanities and psychological/social pseudo-sciences can do so. All it takes is the will to put in the hard work.

Maintaining a pointless and useless academy of spoilt-brat group-thinkers has become almost entirely counter to any advance of the goal of an educated ciitizenry.

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I hate to be the bearer of bad tidings, but STEM is increasingly politicized. Faculties of medicine, biology, etc. are sacrificing “truth“ in favor of ideology. Examples include “gender affirming care” and “racial justice” considerations in rationing medical care, and attempts to justify the concept of gender as a spectrum in biology.

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I'm aware, but the only reason this crybully nonsense gets anywhere is non-STEM academics. Get rid of them and the DEI speech police, it goes away. STEM is at least a generation behind the humanities. It can still be saved.

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Nov 14, 2023·edited Nov 16, 2023

“If ever holding trendy Leftist opinions came to have painful costs to the middle-class holder of those opinions themselves ... the whole 'woke' thing would disappear...”

This is the part that has always confused me. Middle-class White people are complicit in bringing in a system of racial preferences that will inherently handicap their own children and grandchildren. Do they think that THEIR families will somehow be immune from the effects of these policies? If so, on what basis do they believe that? Are they truly blind to the fact that destroying meritocracy will adversely affect the lives of everyone, themselves included? How can they NOT see that this ideology will cost them dearly?

I think Wokeism relies on more than merely luxury beliefs. They are clearly reacting to a deep-seated sense of guilt and/or a desperate desire for acceptance and status that these beliefs bring to them. (I suspect the status factor is more important to their adherence than the guilt factor.)

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Absolutely driven by guilt.

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I’m beginning to wonder if the guilt is the precondition, rather than the immediate cause of Woke.

If conservative opinions suddenly became the marker of “status” among the elite, would they still maintain those Woke opinions? The guilt should be the same (because guilt is an internal psychological feeling), but absent the rewards of status and belonging, how many of the “mob” would switch to whatever brought them the most “rewards”. That’s why it’s such a soulless movement; built on narcissism, hypocrisy, pretense, and lies.

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This is fair comment. In these comment threads it can be difficult to strike a balance between brevity and complexity. I should perhaps have said "perceived painful costs". There is the geographical aspect that 'woke' policies tend to have adverse consequences down stream where the 'woke' person does not live. Then there is the perceived trade off of costs and benefits eg is your feeling of being mr/ms-caring-nice-person more important to you that what problems your children might have years down stream etc etc. Then there is just plain old lack of THINKING through the consequences of your political poses. I think my polemical point was BROADLY valid but when you dig down into the details of all this it gets complicated and nuanced Yes.

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Accountability is the issue. It’s luxurious to have beliefs that are never tested in the real world. You say you want a revolution? Well you know we all want to change the world. I think the Government should provide Leftists one way tickets to Gaza with a complimentary all tunnel pass. Then they can meet their current idols and experience the thrill of resistance living subterranean with the leading revolutionaries of Hamas. I believe this would be an eye opening experience for the gender confused, the alphabet crew, the ardent feminists, and the beta soy boy safe space crowd. I’m sure they would benefit greatly from testing their postmodern theories in this real premodern setting. And they can take some of their professors with them on this field trip. I’m sure some Ivy League institution would validate the voyage with academic credits for those who survive.

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It punishes those on the right too.

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who isn't pursuing their self interests??

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Everyone Yes. I think perhaps you miss my point here. Everyone pursues their self-interests but not everyone is self-deceiving enough to also indulge in feel-good virtue-signalling (about how much they care about abstractions like 'the oppressed' etc) meanwhile still just pursuing their self-interest. That is (and always has been) the psychology of the 'progressive'.

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yes, i do miss your point and am trying to understand it better... how does this differ from the PSYCHOLOGY that drives conservatism? it is all self interests that are put first... so, yes, i am failing to understand you here..

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In simple terms it's the difference between self-awareness and self-deceipt. Anyone who does good DEEDS deserves credit for them. But just having right-on fashionable opinions that make you FEEL like a nice person; that doesn't count. If you STILL don't get it, I'm going to give up!

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Nov 14, 2023·edited Nov 14, 2023

lol.. thanks for trying graham! i don't see any difference between the psychology of the left or right here ( with regard to self interest)... i am happy to be corrected.. cheers..

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Nov 14, 2023Liked by Christopher F. Rufo

When I read Christopher's work, I so wish I were 20 years younger. This is a fight worth engaging in, worth sacrificing for, worth the long years it's going to take. Thanks for the work you're doing, Chris, in the trenches.

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Appreciate it!

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I’m almost 60 and have joined the fight. Don’t see yourself as old--see yourself as experienced and wise.

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You’re right! I’m going to try and modify my mindset about my age.

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Good! Just speak truth in love from your experience. We make progress one by one. We lose in silence.

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Nov 14, 2023Liked by Christopher F. Rufo

So thankful for your voice on all of this!

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author

Thank you!

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Nov 14, 2023Liked by Christopher F. Rufo

I have two kids at UF now and am thankful for leaders like you in Florida trying to turn this ship around!

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Nov 14, 2023Liked by Christopher F. Rufo

For awhile, during the pandemic lockdowns and a few months afterward, all this Leftism craziness was out in the open. I am a middle school teacher and the DEI person was emailing anti-Thanksgiving curriculum to all the teachers and promoting Angela Davis on MLK Day. I confronted her many times over her activism. However, she and the other activist teachers seem to have taken it more underground now. I was heartened at first, but now I feel that although the radicals are still there, contaminating our curriculum and classrooms, it's just much harder for parents who don't follow people like Chris Rufo, to understand what is going on. It troubles me and angers me that the Left is manipulating school children and it is very difficult to convince parents that, though it sounds innocuous and even worthy to learn about Aztec religion and celebrate Indigenous people Day instead of Columbus, American history, values and traditions are being lost down the memory hole.

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Frankly the right-wing push to reopen schools was a massive own-goal.

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In one sense you’re right. But even so, we have managed to get universal school choice bills passed in seven states. Big change.

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Nov 14, 2023Liked by Christopher F. Rufo

Well put. I also think about the digital realm and how much power this ideology has when you think of bots, to just make it appear that they have overwhelming support. Obviously online isn't going to be how we necessarily win, but for instance i'll go to a site like Reddit and even conservative themed subreddits will have lots of lefties or accounts appearing to be left wing. So it's a tricky thing. Even on Substack i've had interactions that were a little odd and made me wonder about bots. It's an ideology that is intolerant towards dissenting views, as you well know. So they seem to feel a need to corrupt these spaces.

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Absolutely, bots are an issue, especially on certain topics. But much of the support for the Left is authentic and that’s where we need to change minds.

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Nov 14, 2023Liked by Christopher F. Rufo

Agreed. And in some ways the authentic support seems bot-like to me in that they're unthinkingly supporting it. But also they may not have heard a good argument against it. The only idea of an opposing viewpoint they get is one where it is slandered and portrayed in a ridiculous way.

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There are in my experience plenty of Americans out there who detest or at least feel ill at ease in the presence of the radicals and their new "revamped" orthodoxy. So, you're right, if these Americans who disagree with the new normal start to vote against the policies of the radicals, we could push the synthetic commies back to the fringes where they belong.

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Our societal wealth has so far protected the leftist ideologues. They enjoy the same, if not better, quality of life as do those who actually produce. I agree that until or unless the leftists and soft socialist urbanites face hurtful consequences they will never change.

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Nov 14, 2023Liked by Christopher F. Rufo

An excellent speech. I would add that the new orthodoxy is a mutation of Marxism that has infected our institutions and spread. The new orthodoxy is Marxism applied to the culture. Critical race theory is Marxism applied to race. Critical gender theory is Marxism applied to gender. I think Marxism expert and political science professor Paul Kengor, PhD, explains this very well in the following 24-minute American Spectator video: https://spectator.org/video-marxism-culture-education-bella-dodd/

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Put all three together and it’s the new religion of our country.

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I don't know if I'd call it Marxism per say because Marxism focuses solely on anti-capitalist and western frame. I do agree with your holistic framing though, there is something tying all these leftist ideologies together. Rather than Marxism, I'd point to a combination of moral relativism and social construct theory. The hate that the Marxists had for western culture does overlap through people like Angela Davis and Herbert Marcuse. In America's Cultural Revolution, Chris goes more into depth about the evolution of these ideals starting with Herbert Marcuse.

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Herbert Marcuse was a neo-Marxist and founder of Critical Theory, a form of cultural Marxism. Angela Davis was formerly a card-carrying communist. Classical Marxism focuses on class while the later mutations of Marxism applied Marxist foundational principles to race, gender and other aspects of culture. I suggest reading this article by Marxism expert Paul Kengor that explains what cultural Marxism is and what it isn't: https://spectator.org/cultural-marxism-and-its-conspirators/

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Nov 14, 2023Liked by Christopher F. Rufo

Some historians believe that we are on the down slope of "empires rise and empires fall" and that the fall is inevitable. Maybe it was for Greece and Rome, but they did not have the ethos of individual freedom/responsibility that our nation is founded upon. I believe we can change the trajectory. I think it's no accident that candidates (like Mayra Flores for instance) are now rising, dedicated to the values of our Founders. I have to believe this is the next major development in the story of nations and freedom.

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It’s crazy to me to see how fringe ideas have become so mainstream, and how traditional values and beliefs are seen as extreme.

My youngest child calls everyone he. So the other day, my middle son told him “boys are he’s and girls are she’s”. I half jokingly told my husband, “Hopefully no one is listening to our extreme conversation.” I often feel like I’m living in the twilight zone.

Thanks for all your work. Our local school district is nutso. You wouldn’t believe (actually, you probably would) the signs that were recently put up in some of the schools. “My parents are great... at pointing out my flaws” is one of them - with a reference to a “crisis line” run by individuals with their own mental health issues - and there’s no age limit. It’s scary what they have said. Our school district is full on anti-parent - we are seen as a disease to be eradicated. My kids are homeschooled, but I still stay quite involved. It’s scary because most people have zero clue how bad it is.

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Good choice in keeping you kids at home. You’re right in sensing that speaking basic truths is now seen as “extreme.”

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Nov 15, 2023Liked by Christopher F. Rufo

My thoughts on this subject: Overcome this horrible onslaught by abandoning the need for others' agreement. Unconscious craving for others' agreement is a hard wired human psychological need, but a weakness. If you escape that mental prison; you'll never turn back. You will have power to act boldly and express without reservation. Stop caring what others think. Leftist : "That's hate speech." Response: "What you're saying is hate speech. You don't like what I'm saying, and want to shut me down." Leftists thrive on intimidation. They're well funded (big problem), but paper tigers.

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Nov 15, 2023·edited Nov 15, 2023Liked by Christopher F. Rufo

T h i s I s G r e a t

T h a n k Y o u 🇺🇸

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🙏

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Nov 15, 2023Liked by Christopher F. Rufo

Great talk. Loved this," Conservatives who adopt the posture of the establishment are deluding themselves because, in reality, we are now on the outside, the fringes, the margins. Our ideas—the ideas of the founding of this country—are no longer the public orthodoxy. Consequently, it’s not a matter of conserving the institutions as they are; it’s a matter of going on offense and changing the institutions into what they might be."

Keep leading!!

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author

Thank you!

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Nov 14, 2023Liked by Christopher F. Rufo

Brilliantly crafted and well written, Mr. Rufo. Thank you for again saying what needs to be said in a cogent manner.

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Mr. Rufo, I would disagree, in part, with your claim regarding the role that postmodernism has had in the current state of our country. There is a kind of postmodernism that has been and continues to be a basis for where we are today. This kind of postmodernism operates as the basis for CRT, especially Ms. DiAngelo's version, and in some transgender theory in that it insidiously attempts to displace any biological source as responsible for human gender. This is a kind of postmodernism that denies any kind of "objectivity" in our experience of the world.

This denial reaches into how we experience the world. That is, with the denial of "objectivity," culture and/or language become the primary or the only possible sources for how we experience the world. (Your video is rather clear on the importance of this kind of claim.) The makes our "ordinary" experience of the world more elusive even reaching into mathematics and science and, thereby, making them subject to their claims.

I just wanted to clarify what seems to be an important part of how we have arrived to where we are today. Thanks, Dale Vaughn

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Interesting, this angle to the discussion. Checking into postmodernism, and relativism, and progressive education, I’m beginning to understand why a grandchild would come out with a comment as: “That’s just your opinion!”

Checking for a quick definition on the Internet I see this: “The aims of education are teaching critical thinking, production of knowledge, development of the individual and social identity. In postmodern education teachers just lead students to discover new things.” When Roger Scruton, well-regarded philosopher and social critic recently died, there was this quote of his that went round that really disturbed me: “Even if it were possible to educate children in this way, one thing is certain: that each generation would know less than the one before. The labor of discovery would have to be endlessly repeated, and the process whereby knowledge accumulates would come to a halt.”

I think postmodernism is indeed a big factor in this new social/cultural atmosphere, sometimes called “woke”, that we’re enduring now.

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founding
Nov 14, 2023Liked by Christopher F. Rufo

I feel we should be carrying signs that say "Power To The People" with a clenched fist. How times have changed. A great analysis.

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founding
Nov 14, 2023Liked by Christopher F. Rufo

If one wants to look for a "thread to pull" that can unravel the leftist infection, one may want to look at AP, Reuters, and the news wire services. I know they are old institutions, but they are a big pillar of the left which feed Google, Mainstream news, etc. One needs to look for week points in these networks and then take decisive action within the law, of course

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author

The wires have become awful.

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