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I just finished Rufo's book, "America's Cultural Revolution." For decades I had wondered just how all these attacks on the West - all the puzzle pieces - fit together, and now I understand. Thanks, old man. That is one fine piece of work, right down to the flawless editing.

My approach to DEI now consists of two parts: first, oppose this Marxist, destroy-the-West agenda in every way possible. Write, comment, donate if possible, read and educate yourself - TFP my go-to place for information.

Second, don't argue with Wokesters, DEI (DIE) acolytes, or Social Justice warriors. It's a waste of time and annoys the pig. When they begin, I just put my hand up in front of their face and say, "Don't start that shit with me," turn and walk away, leaving them standing there. Life is short.

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This is an interesting debate as both have valid points. What neither has is a counterargument. Too often, the right in this country is reactionary to what the cultural Marxists have to say rather than having something to counter it with. The best in the Primary season was the DeSantis line that DEI stood for Discrimination, Exclusion, and Indoctrination. Haley tried with her line that the US was never racist, but that shows she never read a history book or understood the times people lived in. And Trump is too busy lining up people to kiss his ring than to have a persuasive argument.

In the end, the DEI crowd has to get defeated by ideas leading to their ideals to get chucked into the dustbin of history. They are on the ropes now, as people see them for who they are and are disgusted by them. But the knockout punch has to come from a celebration of the individual and a celebration of ethnic heritage. It's a leftist worldview to talk about people in broad census categories rather than ethnicity. We all come from a country and tribe. Now. Most of us are a mix of so many groups. That is why we love to get our genealogy done. I am part of this or that, and I appreciate the customs of those groups. All that leads to the person's ability to live and think freely. Be the best version of you.

These leftist idiots have nothing for the individual except to be sheep in their flock. They are unthinking people who do what they are told. When given that choice of freedom, opportunity, and competence, the buffoons on the left can get crushed. We all need something to dream about, and that is mine. I hope there's some on here as well.

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Many conservative commentators, in my view, make the mistake of trying to blame the whole Wokeness madness off on just a small so-called ruling 'elite' rather than face up to the harder fact that it has now become the mentality of tens (maybe hundreds) of millions of the middle class in all Western countries. It's not a conspiracy.... more kind of a mass psychosis. Wokeness in general terms – race-grifting, transgender/ 'nonbinary' blah blah etc -these things emerged from the petri-dishes of spoilt pseudo-intellectuals that Western society has fecklessly allowed to become 'professors' in universities. It has then leaked out across the culture because most people - however 'educated' they are - are intellectual sheep (genuine independent-mindedness is a rarity). It's a shame that it's NOT a conspiracy because that would be easier to undo. But the truth is much worse than that; it is a (probably terminal) civilisational decadence that nobody is in control of so nobody can correct. Apart from a war or natural catastrophe maybe.

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Jan 27·edited Jan 27

Rufo doesn't take the origins back far enough. Behind all the theories (critical race, critical legal, gender, etc.) is the same postmodern concept: "There are no facts, just perspectives and Power."

That goes back to the early 1900's and the rise of a postmodern approach to understanding life. Nietzsche is often cited as a big influence. This postmodern "There is not Truth, only perspectives and Power" becomes cutting-edge/cool in universities in the 1920's, just as veterans in their 20's survive WWI. These grad students in their 20's in the 1920's take over university leadership in their 50's and 60's--in the 1950's and 60's. Their grad students take over 30 years later in the 1990's and the third wave takes over in the 2010's.

Traditional universities hire professors of different perspectives so that we can compare ideas and judge which are closer to the Truth. Good faith debate is critical in the search for Truth.

But postmodern university leadership doesn't believe in Truth; they are utterly focused on power. They don't hire diverse viewpoints--no point to it. They hire postmodern professors just like themselves as an intentional way to gain power. After three waves of this, not only are alternative viewpoints eliminated from universities, the postmodern philosophy is pushed deep into secondary and elementary education, and law.

For these postmodern professors/leadership, it is all about power. Oppressors and oppressed. Words mean anything you want them to. Utter subjectivity. Everything is in the eye of the beholder. They told us 80 years ago they were going to take power by taking over education. We didn't listen.

How deep does this postmodern thinking penetrate? How often do you hear the word "empower"?

These people are postmodern, not Marxist. Nevertheless, to overthrow oppressive power, they adopt the tactics Marxists used to advance the people's revolution. (Check out the rate of bombings in the early 70's)

The unrest in the 2010's was entirely predictable--and was anticipated and muted in some areas of society.

Truth or Power--totally opposed, irreconcilable viewpoints in conflict. Which do you choose?

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founding

A great discussion although it seems that the goal was to find the right words and labels to describe what, by any objective measure, is the decline of America. The core of the discussion, imho, is about collectivism vs. individualism. By design and intent, collectivism subsumes individuals into categories where they have neither individual rights, responsibilities, nor personal agency. Individuals become cattle, herded by self-appointed “experts.” America was founded, and flourished, under individualism. Collectivism, as demonstrated first by Russia and later China (and now taught and celebrated in our education system for three generations) caused the death of tens of millions of its own citizens in order to reach their “worker’s paradise.” The real question is what kind of country do we want to live in.

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Having only briefly skimmed the excerpts of Rufo and Mounck’s comments, it is evident that Rufo has a much more rigorous and incisive mind on these topics. He understands power, fundamentally. And he correctly interprets its relationship to culture and institutions. Mounck, while smart and credentialed, doesn’t have the same lucidity about how politics works. Agree or disagree with him, Rufo’s ability to accurately describe and analyze the “woke” phenomenon is unmatched among public intellectuals today.

More simply put: it looks to me like Rufo wiped the floor in this discussion.

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How many countries in the world actively teach their children to have disdain for thie own country? How many countries would tolerate their athletes competing in multi national events and turning their backs or kneeling when their national anthems are played? How long can America thrive as a free country when half of the population makes clear its hatred for the other half on the basis of their voting or in some cases religious beliefs?

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Mounk stumbles on the real raison d'etre of leftist ideology when he points to the stupidly evil Derrick Bell's claim that "universalist values and neutral rules, like those enshrined in the United States Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, are just meant to... perpetuate forms of racist and sexist discrimination." The explicit purpose of Leftist ideology is to undermine and destroy the United States of America - which the Left hates because we are and remain (tenuously) a bulwark of freedom, liberty and opportunity against the nihilistic, bleak and repressive force of one-world Marxist tyranny. Leftism has always been antithetical to freedom. There has never been, nor will there ever be, a communist or socialist society that enjoys freedom. One would have thought that would have become patently clear after almost 200 years of failure of that demented ideology spawned by Marx . But Leftists are anything but smart. It isn't a coincidence that the incubator of this madness is our universities.

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YM asked a very important question “why it is that Fortune 500 companies have proven so willing to adopt them (DEI)? I would add to CR’s answers that the presence of external force, i.e., government has to be considered. We have seen from history how a communist and fascist or current globalist ones can cause submission to tyrannical governments.

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I am so glad I left the US 10 yrs. ago and don't have to deal with all this nonsense. Dividing up the country racially is insane. All the talk about whether or not it's Marxism is covering up the point that the DEI people want to remake society in their own image and they know better than everyone else what everyone else needs. I just love it when the rich and the intellectuals tell me how I should live my life, as if they had any idea of how most people live. How can people go for that shit?

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Mounk’s proposed solution at the end of the discussion is tepid. He wants a knife at a gun fight. He fails to see that academia has morphed into social and political activism. Students don’t graduate having been exposed to an array of political ideas; they are indoctrinated into one ideology and taught how to agitate for it. Does he actually think that just talking nicely to the college indoctrinators is going to change their views? Very naive. Rufo comes with a gun to the gun fight. He takes away the taxpayer funded infrastructure first, and exposes the intellectual rot and nihilsm underpinning the DEI ideology. If universities want total intellectual freedom they need to forego taxpayer money. Then their professors can teach whatever they want for $40,000 a year. But I am not going to pay taxes so professors can teach kids to hate me, with no alternative opportunity to learn that I am my kind don’t deserve that hatred.

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The Indiana state legislature is debating a bill, HB1017, that would:

"Sec. 5. (a) Except as provided in subsection (b), a school, an employee or staff member of a school, or a third party vendor used by a school to provide instruction may not provide instruction to a student in kindergarten through grade 12 concerning:

(1) Christopher Columbus; or

(2) a President of the United States who owned an enslaved person."

There should be a follow-up bill that would require, if HB1017 fails to pass, the sponsors of HB1017 to be forced to run a gauntlet of irate residents, outfitted with sticks and switches, into the nearest river and told to never, EVER return to Indiana. I'm really beginning to think this is the only way to stop the Woke/DEI insanity.

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We need more of these debates. Keep them coming Bari.

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"were the founders of Black Lives Matter. They said themselves, “we are trained Marxists.”

Tells you everything

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This conversation is a state of the art example of realist common sens pitted against idealist utopia.

Y. Mounk's loggorrheic defense of motherhood and apple pie in Laland rests on the need to demonize Rufo's actual accomplishments. Wokism is a thorn in the back of leftists and wishi-washism is their only escape. They must continue to lecture us, heathens, to keep the moral high ground they have monopolized for half a century. Yet, they lack the courage to actually join in the fight against an obvious threat to democratic values. Mounk must therefore duck the straightforward question "what did YOU do to take down DEI? ". His answer is the same as the infamous former president of Harvard : "it depends on the context"...followed by a unsubstantiated reading of Rufo's "Marxist" lens. The monopoly of leftist ideology over higher education is a major factor in its current demise, but the origin of this tragedy is not in the 70's. Since the mid-twenties, Progressive Education apostles had plowed the field for the French deconstructionists gurus, lobotomizing American schoolchildren. Once they reached university level, they were fully receptive. Foucault and his pals knew it when they came to the US, for a conference at Johns Hopkins... They proudly paraphrased Freud, who said at his arrival in NY in 1909, at the invitation of Stanley Halls : "They don't know it but we're bringing them the plague".

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To Yascha Mounk’s question about why Fortune 500 companies genuflected so reflexively to these obviously destructive ideas, I’d say, “profit.” Don’t get me wrong. Adam Smith is my hero. Remember, though, before Wealth of Nations (1776) came The Theory of Moral Sentiments (1756). Capitalism has a moral and ethical foundation long ago abandoned by Corporate America. Is there any B-school anywhere that requires students to read Smith anymore? The men and women running our companies today were nursed by the executives who willingly gave away all their intellectual property for a tiny but lucrative slice of the Chinese market. DIE, ESG, stakeholderism. They’re all corporate strategies to goose the bottom line.

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