The Dushanbe Interviews: Christopher Rufo - Wop "Waste Management Consultant" vs. Critical Race Theory
On influencing Trump, the decline of his old neighbourhood, Ibram XXX. Kendi, fighting the NY Times, and the GQ (Gabbagool Question)
The outdated definition of a liberal is that of a person who is tolerant of others, their thoughts, and their way of life. This traditional definition has been discarded in favour of an increasingly narrow one largely due to Karl Popper’s “Paradox of Tolerance” in which the intolerant cannot be tolerated as an ‘open society’ will eventually be seized by the intolerant. Therefore, Enlightened Despotism is the ‘proper’ way to govern a society.
It is human nature to challenge despotism and authoritarianism, especially as they fall into intellectual, spiritual, economic and personal corruption. So how are those who challenge such a system to be dealt with? Simply label them as ‘intolerant’, which makes them a de facto outlaw in society.
Christopher Rufo is one of these modern outlaws. Initally a documentary maker, his life recently has taken him down another, much more difficult route: challenging the intellectual basis of today’s American elites, that being Critical Race Theory. He has been credited with singlehandedly putting opposition to this trend on the political map by way of influencing President Trump to issue an Executive Order halting its instruction inside of federal agencies. With Biden’s reversal of Trump’s Executive Order, Rufo is now expanding the front far and wide, and winning key battles along the way.
My most recent interview was with Glenn Greenwald, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and international celebrity. Interviewing you is several steps down (I was considering passing this one off to an intern), but being a man of principle, I will keep my word and put in a minimal amount of effort towards this conversation with you.
You, an Italian, are my first non-white subject. This is timely because the subject of race is now everywhere in Obama's post-racial America, an America where race no longer matters, as Obama promised us it wouldn't. What is upsetting is that you have somehow internalized whiteness and are 'white-acting', trying to position yourself as 'white adjacent', when you are the typical Black Southern Italian. What I am trying to ask here is: why are you a traitor to your race? Tariq Nasheed would insist it's because you're not an FBA (Foundational Black American), and are little different than your fellow Blacks from the Caribbean or Nigeria.
I might be non-white, but I take solace in being a civilized, white-adjacent minority. This is no small feat. I don’t have to remind you that my home country, Italy, and your home country, Croatia, are separated only by a small sea, and yet your people still live without electricity, running water, or a written language. Anthropologists are still trying to understand this historical curiosity—Croats have been living under the shadow of whiteness since Roman times, but you have never internalized it. Perhaps it’s some innate, intersectional resistance. It’s a mystery that may never be unravelled.
All Italians are mafia so your family is definitely connected to at least one of the NYC Five Families, if not the Outfit in Chicago. You grew up watching Goodfellas and then eventually moved on to The Sopranos. You and your wop friends picked up the lingo, started talking like mafiosos, and came across as fucking idiots to everyone around you. You tried to extort a guy down the block who had a pretty strong betting book but he told his mom and his mom told your mom and your dad got out his belt and told you that you're not allowed to be hardcore. When was your first hit and why wasn't it Rod Dreher?
There is some truth to this. Like most authentic Italian-Americans, I have distant relatives in both countries who operate “family businesses.” Most of it is harmless: off-the-books car parts, bookmaking, loan collection. We had a relative in Philly who made a living hustling mobsters in golf—he would let them win just enough to keep them hooked, then empty their pockets every so often. The business had its ups and downs. Once, he was sitting with the family on a Sunday, watching the news, when his face suddenly went white. A local mob boss had been arrested. Turns out that our relative had made his living the previous few years hustling that mob boss on the golf course. “Goddammit, now I need to find a job!” he said when the news broke. Most of the time, I don’t ask questions.
You bought a Thai wife (Asian waifu, per contemporary parlance) from her family for the equivalent of $75 USD in cigarettes, a used pair of Diesel Jeans, and an old iPhone3. Your critics claim that it's not a marriage of love, but rather a strategic one in that she gives you cover for your racism. I have little doubt that you confiscated her passport upon arrival in the USA, and that you mock her by doing the 'chinky eyes' whenever she tells you that she regrets marrying you, bringing her to tears.
It’s astonishing to me that as recently as the 1960s, interracial marriage was seen, correctly, as a moral cause and a sign of racial progress. Now, for some factions on the Left, interracial marriages, and mixed-race families in general, are seen as a form of oppression, domination, and false consciousness. They see interracial marriages as an expression of “white supremacy” or, for the minority spouse, as an “assimilation into whiteness.” Some lefties famously blasted Amy Coney Barrett as a “white colonizer” for adopting a Haitian orphan. We’ve gone from Loving v Virginia to Ibram X. Kendi in a single generation. And now we’re beginning to see the revival of informal social prohibitions against interracial marriage and actual racial segregation in schools, universities, and public institutions. I recently obtained photos from King County Library, which held a racially-segregated diversity training program, even hanging up signs outside the separated rooms labelled “People of Colour” and “People Who Are White.” It’s like water fountains in 1955, but in the service of 21st-century woke ideology. The new racial politics of the Left is almost parodically regressive.
Hapa's are God's cruel joke and you are responsible for bringing another one into this world. He has no chance. It's already over for him.
To the contrary. All of my children are poised for success. From their father, they inherit a European sensibility and that sweet, sweet white privilege; from their mother, they inherit strong visual-spatial abilities and a machine-like work ethic. Even the racist admissions policies of Harvard and Yale cannot stop them.
The Part of the Interview In Which Chris Rides His Hobby Horse
You've mentioned how your neighbourhood in Seattle changed rather rapidly, and how you have moved your family out since. What kind of changes did you see happen? Was there any pushback? If not, why? We all know that there are so many people who either go along with these changes, or keep their heads down and only complain in private. Why has there been less of an effort to oppose these rapid changes?
Seattle is a disaster. I originally started doing policy research on homelessness, trying to understand why all of the West Coast cities have become havens of tent camping, open drug use, and public disorder. I had watched it happen in my own neighbourhood over the course of a few years. It was an affluent place—median home price above $1 million—but it just collapsed. First it was tents on the sidewalks and people shitting in the streets; then it was a series of armed robberies and a man immolating another man with a Slurpee cup full of lighter fluid. Our local elementary school had to do regular “needle assemblies,” teaching kids how to avoid syringes on the playground because there was a massive homeless encampment less than 100 yards from the school.
I naively thought that better policies could solve the problem. But the problem is much deeper— it’s the political culture. People in cities such as Seattle, San Francisco, and Los Angeles have been brainwashed into believing that decriminalizing street camping, welcoming opioid migrants, providing “harm reduction” services, and dismantling the state psychiatric hospitals is a form of “compassion.” Instead, they’ve created one of the greatest institutional cruelties in the United States—hundreds of thousands of people left to rot and die in the streets. All of the problems with social justice progressivism can be identified in this single issue. It’s textbook unintended consequences.
You first landed on my radar when you began releasing documents handed to you by various whistleblowers detailing Critical Race Theory and how it was being instituted in both government and schools. This led to Trump's Executive Order banning the instruction of CRT in US Government offices. How much of an influence do you think your work had on this decision?
It was instantaneous. I did the opening monologue on Tucker Carlson sharing my research and then directly asking the President to issue an executive order banning critical race theory from the Federal Government. At seven o’clock the next morning, I got a call from Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, who said the President saw the segment and wanted to take action. I provided my research to the White House and the Executive Order came out less than three weeks later. That’s really to the Trump Administration’s credit. Jeb Bush wouldn’t have had the stones to take on this issue; Trump got it done in a few weeks.
Others have laid out different strategies in fighting CRT. Some have suggested confronting Corporate HR Trainers either overtly or subtly so that fellow employees would 'see through' its illogic and inherent awfulness. Why are these approaches either useless or even counterproductive?
You can’t persuade zealots with logic, facts, and clever argumentation; they only understand the language of power. That’s why the campaign to prove that you’re “the real liberal” or “more antiracist than the antiracists” is doomed to failure. Like it or not, Critical Race Theory is the driving force of the modern intellectual Left; they’re not going back to the philosophy of FDR, LBJ, or MLK. And they scrupulously follow the old dictum of “no enemies to the left”—they will dispatch the centrist liberals with even more vitriol and brutality than they dispatch the conservatives. This is also the core dilemma of the IDW crowd: many of them cannot imagine aligning with political conservatives; they operate under the delusion that they can “recapture the centre” and convince the planet of the virtue of Enlightenment values. That’s not how politics works. We live in a polarized political system—one winner, one loser. You’ll remember that the Girondins went to the guillotine. If, metaphorically speaking, the centrist liberals want to avoid the same fate, they will have to make an alliance with Trump-loving, truck-driving, gun-toting Middle Americans. That’s reality. We’ll see if they heed it.
For the novices out there, what is Critical Race Theory, and why is it so dangerous?
I’m lazy (True Med! - ed.), so I’ll paraphrase from a recent paper. Critical Race Theory is an academic discipline that holds that the United States is a nation founded on white supremacy and oppression, and that these forces are still at the root of our society. Critical Race Theorists believe that American institutions (such as the Constitution and legal system), preach freedom and equality, but are mere “camouflages” for naked racial domination. They believe that racism is a constant, universal condition: it simply becomes more subtle, sophisticated, and insidious over the course of history. In simple terms, critical race theory reformulates the old Marxist dichotomy of oppressor and oppressed, replacing the class categories of bourgeoisie and proletariat with the identity categories of White and Black. But the basic conclusions are the same: in order to liberate man, society must be fundamentally transformed through moral, economic, and political revolution.
One of the main faces of CRT right now is academic Ibram X. Kendi. He famously stated:
"And so what I'm trying to do with my work is to really get Americans to eliminate the concept of "not racist" from their vocabulary, and realize we're either being racist or anti-racist".
This is rather sinister, as it places everything within the prism of race, and leaves nothing outside of it, while rejecting all subtlety and nuance that is par for the course when it comes to human beings. To him, 'racism' is America's Original Sin. This very much comes across as Christianity stripped of Christ, but with the same zeal and intensity of the Early Christians (and some of those that followed centuries later), with 'Wokeness' as the new Catechism.
Ibram X. Kendi is a human fortune cookie. His intellectual output is an endless buffet of word salad and phony wisdom: “Denial is the heartbeat of racism”; “In order to truly be anti-racist, you also have to truly be anti-capitalist”; “Whiteness is literally posing an existential threat to humanity.” In my investigative reporting, I’ve noticed something quite interesting: the core demographic of Kendi readers is liberal, white, middle-aged women who work in public institutions. On one hand, this is a surprise: Kendi embraces a radical vision of Black Power-style revolution. On the other hand, it makes perfect sense: Kendi’s politics provides a vicarious thrill, but is completely in line with conventional wisdom. It’s revolution without risk; it’s liberation without leaving the house. That’s really the best way to understand what he’s doing. He’s not a revolutionary; he’s a self-help guru for white liberals and a reputation-laundering mechanism for multinational corporations. He is an apostle of anti-whiteness, but a mouthpiece for elite white opinion. He preaches anti-capitalism, but accepts Visa, Mastercard, and American Express.
His book "How To Be An Antiracist" has been receiving the predictable effusive praise and is also now on the official US Navy Reading List. His ambitions are grand, and in my opinion, megalomaniacal. He is actively pushing the concept of an "...anti-racist amendment to the US Constitution..." that would create a committee with oversight over the entire US Government, as it would sit in judgment as to whether policies or laws are racist or not (and those deemed racist would have to be eliminated as they would be unconstitutional), and would monitor politicians and public servants to see if they are engaged in the various forms of racism that Kendi has outlined in his book.
This is the question: what do the Critical Race Theorists mean by “equity”? I just published a paper for The Heritage Foundation that lays out the evidence. As it turns out, Critical Race Theory is not about racial sensitivity training or nondiscrimination policies—it’s simply reheated, 1960s-style Marxism. The Critical Race Theorists can be coy sometimes, but it’s pretty simple to explain what they want. UCLA law professor Cheryl Harris has argued that private property rights should be suspended, the government should seize land and wealth from the rich, and then redistribute it along racial lines—she wants to move away from a system of individual rights and “mere nondiscrimination,” towards a system of group identity-based rights and positive discrimination. As you mention, Ibram X. Kendi has argued for the creation of an unaccountable fourth branch of government with the power to abolish any law in the country and censor the speech of politicians and intellectuals who are not deemed “antiracist.” Pretty quickly, we’re talking about eliminating the rights to private property, freedom of speech, equal protection under the law, and the separation of powers. That’s not an agenda for reforming the United States—it’s an agenda for ending the United States. They’re not advertising it in those terms; but they’re not exactly hiding it, either.
With your rising prominence in the national discourse, I am certain that there is a small brigade of journalists waiting to catch you out in a scandal, whether real or not. You have had a run in with the NY Times already, so now is your chance to get ahead of any future story by confessing your sins.
The dirty secret about Critical Race Theory and, to a certain extent, the New York Times, is that they are both extensions of the state. Critical Race Theory was incubated in public and publicly-subsidized universities and then operationalized in public agencies and public school systems. In reality, Critical Race Theory has very little organic support—it’s an artificial ideology that has the illusion of support because it has commandeered the public bureaucracy and prestige media. But you’ll notice that the Critical Race Theorists are regularly ratioed on Twitter, juice their book sales with institutional purchases, and collect corporate handouts to do their work.
The New York Times is similarly situated. It’s the mouthpiece of the permanent state no matter who is in office. Its purpose is to manufacture the narrative and enforce ideological discipline. But here, too, the New York Times is less powerful than it appears. Its authority rests on its historical reputation and prestige, which is rapidly being squandered with each bogus story, newsroom tantrum, and Taylor Lorenz article. I’ll admit: I was momentarily frightened when the Times was putting together a piece attacking my work on Critical Race Theory. But it turned out to be a great coup for me: the Times made a sloppy accusation, so I quickly owned them on Twitter and generated 100 times more social media engagement in my rebuttal than they did in their attack. To top it off, conservatives consider it a badge of honour to get that first NYT hit piece, so I enjoyed a round of attaboys, high-fives, and small donations from my tribe.
Yup, More Making Of Eye-Ties
Silvio Berlusconi once referred to German Chancellor Angela Merkel as an 'unfuckable lardass'. Is he a true romantic made despondent by his disappointment in her psychology (and physical attributes)?
Silvio is a man from another time. Officially, as this will be read by some of my detractors, I denounce his language and behaviour. At the same time, there is a major problem in our society, in which our speech has become so choked and restricted, that most people end up speaking in code—it’s either academic jargon, political propaganda, or corporate gibberish. We can criticize Berlusconi for calling a world leader an “unfuckable lardass”—indeed, this is not good—but from a linguistic point of view, we should be equally outraged when people insist on “pinging you later,” “dismantling systems of heteronormativity,” or “labeling my pronouns tree/treeself.” We have an absolute dearth of clear language in our society. That’s one reason why people vote for men like Berlusconi and Trump—they might be monsters, but they cut through the bullshit.
Governor Cuomo, after being given a grace period during the first year of COVID-19 (despite sending the elderly to their deaths in nursing homes) for being onside against Trump, is now under fire due to a series of accusations of sexual harassment made against him by various women who have worked near him. Is this just anti-Italian bigotry due to cultural ignorance about the nature and sexual potency of the Italian man?
Andrew Cuomo is a cartoon Italian-American. He takes pictures with meatballs and puts on a Jersey Shore accent, but he doesn’t even speak Italian. It’s truly pathetic. I didn’t follow the story closely, but the accusations that I did see against him are incredibly sleazy, but not in the same universe as a Bill Cosby or a Harvey Weinstein—and certainly not comparable to the moral crime of sending thousands of seniors to their deaths in COVID-plagued nursing homes.
I don’t care about Cuomo one way or another, but it’s another story illustrating that we are in a very strange phase of the sexual revolution. The entire ethos of the 1960s was for the liberation of human sexuality, but now, we see a resurgence of a Puritan or Victorian ethic, which is weaponized almost exclusively for political purposes. The result is total incoherence: public libraries have twerking, dildo-wielding drag queens perform for kindergarteners, but Andrew Cuomo kissing a woman on the cheek at a wedding is considered a capital crime. The internal contradictions of this ethic are so vast, we simply have to give it time—it will eventually collapse under its own weight.
How much do you shudder when you hear Capicolo pronounced "GABBAGOOL"?
The last time I heard that pronunciation, I shuddered so hard I threw out my back. It’s more than hate speech—it’s actual violence.