Christopher F. Rufo

Intersectionality Devolves

Written by Christopher F. Rufo |
Tuesday, October 31, 2023
In 2015, BLM co-founder Patrisse Cullors led a delegation to the Palestinian territories, so that the group’s activists could learn from the “Palestinian struggle.” She condemned Israel as an “apartheid state,” and the running theme of the trip was revolution, “from Ferguson to Palestine.” The same year, Cullors signed a statement drawing parallels between the Palestinian fight against Israel and the black one against America. During a speech at Harvard Law School, Cullors went further, telling the audience: “If we don’t step up boldly and courageously to end the imperialist project called Israel, we’re doomed.”

For years, left-wing intellectuals have treated “intersectionality” as an inevitability. The social theory, which holds that all oppressed peoples must join together to overthrow their common oppressor, has been an essential strategy of the Left.
There is some truth to this theory. When the fortunes of the Left are rising, intersectionality seems like a juggernaut: identity groups get aggregated into the mass, internal conflicts are subordinated to the cause of liberation, and a policy of “no enemies to the left” shifts political life in favor of the radicals. But the aura of inevitability surrounding the intersectional coalition is an illusion moments of crisis can bring suppressed contradictions to the surface and begin a process of fragmentation.
The recent Hamas terror campaign against Israel might become such a crisis. Following the attack, the foot soldiers of intersectionality—most notably, Black Lives Matter (BLM), the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), and the academic “decolonization” movement—celebrated the militants who murdered civilians, raped women, and butchered babies. BLM’s Chicago chapter published a graphic lionizing the Hamas paraglider terrorists who killed innocents. The DSA blamed Israel for the terror attack against it, arguing that it was the “direct result of Israel’s apartheid regime.” Ivy League professors with expertise in “decolonization” called it a “stunning victory” and said that “Palestinians have every right to resist through armed struggle.”
For years, these academics and groups had been able to hide their ideological commitments and operate with an air of respectability. But after last week’s statements, they have encountered a well-deserved backlash. Jewish groups, including the generally left-wing Anti-Defamation League, have condemned BLM’s anti-Semitism. A Democratic congressman quit the DSA in protest. Major donors have rebuked Ivy League universities for failing to condemn Hamas forcefully. The Financial Times warned that the “left’s take on Hamas” could lead to a “Democratic party split.”
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Civilizational Suicide

Written by Christopher F. Rufo |
Tuesday, October 24, 2023
The outcome of “decolonization” is barbarism. For Hamas, it means murdering women, children, and the elderly, executing innocent people on the street, and mutilating infants in their homes. For the radical academics, the process is less brutal but barbaric all the same: it means destroying our best institutions, obliterating academic standards, and elevating witchcraft, voodoo, and pseudo-science into positions of prestige. The philosopher Leo Strauss once defined nihilism as opposition to civilization as such—and this is precisely what the decolonizing academics have done, acting out their vengeful fantasies to “abolish” Harvard, once a crowning symbol of Western civilization.

Harvard finds itself in an ideological bind. Following Hamas’s horrific terror attack against Israel, the Harvard College Palestine Solidarity Committee issued a statement, co-signed by 33 other student groups, blaming the Jewish state for the murder, rape, and mutilation of its own citizens by Hamas. “Today’s events did not occur in a vacuum,” the statement read. “The apartheid regime is the only one to blame.”
The reaction was swift. The media, the public, and prominent political figures condemned the students for rationalizing atrocities against innocent people, including women, children, and the elderly. Harvard’s administration, long accustomed to toeing the radical line, hesitated for days before releasing a generic statement of condemnation and writing that “no student group—not even 30 student groups—speaks for Harvard University or its leadership.”
Meantime, former Harvard president Lawrence Summers expressed surprise, wondering on social media why the university could not “find anything approaching the moral clarity of Harvard statements after George Floyd’s death or Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.”
It is hard to believe that Summers is being sincere. As anyone in Harvard’s orbit would know—especially a long-time professor and former university president—the politics of decolonization, critical race theory, and anti-Israel agitation has been a staple of public life on that campus for decades. And it is not a cause driven solely by misguided students: administrators, department leaders, and prominent faculty have all developed it, institutionalized it, or at least publicly deferred to the radicals who did.
One needs only to browse the current Harvard course catalog to see how deeply the rhetoric of “decolonization” has been embedded. One course, “Global Rebellion: Race, Solidarity, and Decolonization,” draws on critical ethnic studies, a subfield of critical race theory, and promises to promote “Black, Asian, Latinx, and Indigenous radicalism”—that is, left-wing ethnopolitics for everyone except whites and Jews. The goal, according to the course description, is to “discuss how BIPOC communities forged cross-racial, internationalist solidarities to rebel against global white supremacy.”
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The Cluster B Society

Written by Christopher F. Rufo |
Tuesday, October 3, 2023
A recent CIA recruitment video valorized the Cluster B traits of narcissistic identity obsession, self-righteousness, and craving for affirmation. “I am a woman of color. I am a mom. I am a cisgender millennial who has been diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder,” intones the featured CIA analyst as the camera pans over her diversity awards. “I used to struggle with impostor syndrome, but at 36, I refuse to internalize misguided, patriarchal ideas of what a woman can or should be.”In a Cluster B society, psychological disorders are job qualifications rather than problems to be solved; ideology replaces competence as a marker of distinction.

There is a creeping sense that our society has turned upside-down. Healthy debate is replaced by activist hysterics. Speech is declared violence; violence is excused as speech. Masculinity is condemned as “toxic,” while men in dresses are celebrated in the public square. It feels as if we are in the midst of a society-wide mental breakdown.
One might be tempted to laugh at these manifestations as the outbursts of small but vocal minority, but the compromised health of our body politic is no trivial concern. A strange new pattern of psychological dysfunction has infiltrated all our institutions, from humdrum bureaucracies to the highest offices. Wherever we turn, that creeping feeling sets in: our society is sick; our institutions are out of balance; our public life has been consumed by a cluster of disorders that appeal to our worst instincts and derange our most vital social functions.
What happened? Why have old standards suddenly vanished in favor of narcissism, psychodrama, and moral theatrics—all in the name of “care”?
If we have any hope for recovering our sanity, we must first understand what we are dealing with.
Every historical period develops unique psychological characteristics that shape public life. After World War I, we had the “Lost Generation,” shell-shocked and disillusioned. In the mid-twentieth century, we entered the “Age of Anxiety,” characterized by a sense of existential dread in the face of the atomic bomb. And 50 years ago, we saw the rise of “the culture of narcissism,” which social critic Christopher Lasch described as a society obsessed with ego, desire, and self-image.
Today, we are witnessing the emergence of something new: the “Cluster B society.” Like the culture of narcissism, our digital age has distinct psychological traits, heavily influenced by the rise of personal pathologies and the power of social media. For this generation, the cameras are always on. The audience is always watching. And the old narcissism has transformed into frenzy, moral theatrics, emotional volatility, self-indulgence, and outbursts of violence.
Psychologists have captured the spirit of our modern culture in four specific psychopathologies that, together, make up the Cluster B personality disorders: the narcissist, the borderline, the histrionic, and the antisocial. (They also identify Cluster A and Cluster C groupings of personality disorders.)
Narcissistic personality disorder is characterized by a sense of entitlement, obsession with one’s own importance, and deep feelings of resentment, often expressed through moral self-righteousness. Borderline personality disorder is marked by an unstable sense of identity, black-and-white thinking, feelings of emptiness, and recurring self-harm and suicide attempts. Histrionic personality disorder exhibits excessive emotionality, sexual provocation, and attention-seeking, often to serve a pathological need for sympathy. Antisocial personality disorder is typified by impulsivity, manipulation, disregard for others, and a penchant for violence and aggression that violates social norms.
This cluster of psychopathologies is no longer an individual matter, however, to be dealt with in the privacy of the analyst’s office. On the contrary, Cluster B psychological traits have begun to shape the patterns and structures of our culture. The scenes of American public life increasingly resemble a Cluster B psychodrama: victimhood replaces accomplishment as the standard of merit; accusation replaces disagreement as the means of settling disputes; false compassion becomes the primary method of manipulating citizens into compliance; and the whole scheme is enforced with the threat of violence: obey, or suffer the consequences.
For most of American history, significant personality disorders were treated as problems and their sufferers largely relegated to the fringes of society. But in the emerging Cluster B society, narcissistic, borderline, histrionic, and antisocial psychological traits can now be found in those elevated to positions of power and celebrated by our institutions. The new status quo is an emerging leadership class that rules through emotional blackmail and uses the cover of various “victim” groups to impose its agenda on society. If citizens dissent, they are branded hateful bigots, accused of lacking empathy, and sometimes banished from public life. 
While these strategies are contemptible, they are also extraordinarily effective in controlling what we think, what we say, and how we act. And they have slowly transformed our institutions into what psychologist Andrzej Łobaczewski calls a “pathocracy,” or rule by psychological dysfunction. This has become our new social order. Once a thoughtful observer internalizes this phenomenon, he will start to see it everywhere: the Cluster B traits have been formalized and entrenched in our human resource departments, government policies, cultural institutions, and civil rights laws.
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No to the Politics of “Whiteness”

Written by Christopher F. Rufo |
Thursday, September 7, 2023
The vision of racialists, whether on the left or right, is pessimistic: the first is driven by a spirit of vengeance, the second by a sense of inferiority. They are two sides of the same coin. Despite real tensions and disparities, Americans are, on the whole, a tolerant, cooperative people who aspire to a colorblind standard, derived from the natural rights tradition, that remains the best guidepost for the country’s future. 

In recent years, I have devoted considerable time to exposing the radical Left’s politics of “whiteness,” which posits that white identity, culture, and power are irredeemably oppressive and must be “abolished” in favor of alternative modes of being. “Whiteness” represents the metaphysical essence of left-wing race politics: an irreducible force of evil, a master synonym for racism, oppression, inequality, and suffocating bourgeois norms; anything saturated with its properties can be automatically categorized and condemned. In practice, the politics of whiteness has translated into the demonization of European-Americans in primary school curricula, the performance of elaborate “white privilege” rituals in the workplace, and outright segregation in many public institutions. All of it is done to solve “the problem of whiteness.”
Some pushback has resulted. In the years following the 2020 Black Lives Matter riots, conservatives have exposed the poisonous politics of left-wing racialism, shutting down some of the bureaucracies that push it and proposing a reaffirmation of the ideal of colorblind equality. Unfortunately, some on the right would snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, preferring instead to adopt the basic framework of identity politics and simply reverse its polarity. Dismayingly, a sentiment is rising in some corners of conservative politics that the answer to left-wing identity politics is right-wing identity politics.
The main argument for this position is that colorblind equality is unattainable. Left-wing racialism has been embedded in our institutions, laws, and policies to such an extent that it cannot be rolled back using conventional means. All politics is friend-enemy politics, this faction argues, and given the demographic decline of European Americans, whites will eventually need to activate “white racial consciousness” to secure their basic interests. European Americans once had robust ethnic identities, but after generations of assimilation and intermarriage, those distinctions have lost their salience and consolidated into a homogenous, generalized “white identity.” If there is to be a racial spoils system, then each group must get its share—including whites.
How should we evaluate this argument? First, as an empirical matter, some basic facts should be acknowledged. Yes, left-wing racialism is indeed now deeply embedded in America’s institutions, and the demographic balance of the country has shifted in recent decades. And yes, the basic racial classification system in the United States broadly delineates continental origin—Europe, Africa, Latin America, Asia—in a way that is not arbitrary or meaningless. Terms such as “white,” “black,” “Latino,” and “Asian,” while often obscuring important variations within such groupings, have become the lingua franca and are useful shorthand descriptors for many purposes.
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Barbarism in the Name of Equality

Written by Christopher F. Rufo |
Tuesday, September 5, 2023
If biology, human nature, and traditional ethics are seen as impediments, rather than as guides, then rational restraints no longer remain on what can be done; the only real limitation is the imagination. And the human mind, untethered from moral limits, can conjure up nightmares. The surgeon, armed with a scalpel and a genital-nullification robot, becomes the new arbiter of human nature.

The debate about transgender medicine is shifting. Legislators in 20 states have recently passed bills to restrict transgender medical interventions, such as puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and genital surgeries, for minors. And the tide of public opinion appears to be moving against “gender-affirming care,” a euphemism for child sex-change procedures not supported by the evidence and that often cause devastating consequences. Preventing such procedures for patients under age 18 has to be the baseline.
But opponents of gender medicine should not celebrate prematurely—the battle is far from won. And while restrictions on such procedures for minors are essential, more scrutiny should be focused on a lesser-known practice: “non-binary” surgeries for adults.
Curtis Crane is one of the doctors leading this movement. Crane is a University of Iowa and Dartmouth College-trained urologist and plastic surgeon who specializes in transgender medical interventions, including experimental non-binary surgeries. 
In 2015, Crane received a flurry of publicity as an innovator in vaginoplasty, which involves castrating and creating an artificial vagina for “male-to-female” patients, and phalloplasty, which involves creating and installing an artificial penis for “female-to-male” patients. He boasted of a one- to two-year waitlist and claimed to have one of the highest volumes of transgender surgeries in the United States.
Since then, business has boomed. Crane operates clinics in San Francisco, California, and Austin, Texas, employs a team of five doctors, and conducts procedures on more than 1,000 patients per year. As part of this caseload, his practice has veered into the disturbing new territory of non-binary surgery, which includes castration, eunuch, and nullification procedures, which Crane describes as the process of “removing all external genitalia to create a smooth transition from the abdomen to the groin.” Crane has also designed and performed hundreds of non-binary surgeries in which he fashions together both male and female genitalia for a single individual. That is, he creates an artificial penis for a woman, while retaining her vagina; or creates an artificial vagina for a man, while retaining his penis.
Crane recounted the story of performing his first non-binary genital surgery in a question-and-answer session for potential patients. “In the beginning of my practice, within the first year, I’d say, I had a trans man come to me, and he wanted a phalloplasty, but he wanted to keep his vagina,” Crane recalled.
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The Dismantlers

Written by Christopher F. Rufo |
Tuesday, August 16, 2022
To divide the world into man and woman and to encourage the development of families and children is not “oppression,” but a basic process of human nature—one that should not be discarded under the false pretenses of academic postmodernism.

San Diego Unified is the latest school district to adopt the principles of academic queer theory and translate them into K-12 pedagogy, with the ultimate goal of dismantling “heteronormativity” and promoting a constellation of new sexual identities, such as “genderqueer,” “non-binary,” “pansexual,” and “two-spirit.”
I have obtained a range of publicly accessible documents from San Diego Unified that reveal the district’s new ideology. The materials follow the basic premise of queer theory: white Europeans created a false “gender binary” and used the categories of “male” and “female” to dominate racial and sexual minorities. A San Diego Unified training for facilitators of LGBTQ student groups argues that this system of “heteronormativity” forces students to conform to these norms: they are “assigned” a sex at birth, pressed into the identities of “man” and “woman,” and expected to have heterosexual relationships culminating in “marriage (and kids).” This “gender binary,” however, is arbitrary, socially constructed, and harmful. It is, in the words of the presentation, a “limited system [that] excludes and oppresses trans, nonbinary, intersex, and gender-nonconforming people.”
According to the district, the gender binary has created an unjust society that distributes “heterosexual and cisgender privilege,” the sexual analog to the concept of “white privilege.” In the presentation, administrators explain that “a heterosexual/cisgender person automatically receives” this privilege, which “benefits members of dominant groups at the expense of members of target groups” and “results in institutional power” for straight men and women. Furthermore, the district claims, this sexual privilege is connected to a broader range of privileges and oppressions via the theory of intersectionality. “Racism, classism, heterosexism, etc. do not exist independently,” the presentation reads. “Multiple forms of discrimination interrelate creating a system of oppression.”
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The DEI Regime

Written by Christopher F. Rufo |
Friday, August 5, 2022
Bureaucracies have an instinct for self-preservation, and DEI ideology has embedded itself in the country’s prestige institutions. But nothing is more important for the success of American innovation and self-governance than prevailing over a regime that seeks to supplant “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” with “diversity, equity, and inclusion” as the governing principle of the United States.

“The chief business of the American people is business,” President Calvin Coolidge once said. One hundred years later, Americans’ chief business increasingly is managing racial and sexual politics through the ideology of “diversity, equity, and inclusion.”
I have surveyed the programming of every Fortune 100 company and have confirmed that all of them have now adopted so-called DEI programs. These initiatives are no longer limited to high-technology firms in the coastal enclaves; they have spread to traditionally conservative sectors such as agriculture, manufacturing, insurance, and oil and gas. The result is clear: every major corporation in the United States has submitted to DEI ideology and begun to make it a permanent part of its legal and human resources bureaucracy.
No doubt some of these programs are benign. Many companies adopt DEI policies out of pressure to conform. Other companies, however, use diversity, equity, and inclusion to promote the most virulent strands of critical race theory and gender ideology. I have documented many examples: Bank of America teaching employees that the United States is a system of “white supremacy”; Walmart telling workers they are guilty of “internalized racial superiority”; Lockheed Martin forcing executives to deconstruct their “white male privilege”; and Disney promising to abolish the words “boys” and “girls” in its theme parks and inject “queerness” into its children’s programming.
Three factors drive corporate executives to adopt DEI programs. First, these initiatives serve as an insurance policy against frivolous race- and sex-discrimination lawsuits. The legal department can point to mandatory trainings and policies as evidence that the company is “doing something” to prevent discrimination. Second, executives create these programs to appease internal activist groups that want to use the corporation as a platform for left-wing race and gender activism. Third, splashy DEI initiatives, such as Wal-Mart’s $100 million “Center for Racial Equity,” form part of a reputation-laundering strategy, improving a company’s public image and preempting Black Lives Matter-style protests through fashionable philanthropy.
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Disney’s Child-Predator Problem

Written by Christopher F. Rufo |
Wednesday, April 13, 2022
Disney has claimed to have “extensive measures in place” to provide a safe environment for children, but there are reasons to doubt it. Disney has seen a steady stream of employees caught in the dragnet for child predators.

The Walt Disney Company has long presented itself as the voice for America’s children. According to company lore, the animation studio was founded by a wise and kindly father figure, and its theme parks are “the happiest place on Earth” for kids. In recent weeks, the company has entered the political debate about Florida’s Parental Rights in Education legislation and sought to establish itself as a moral arbiter on children’s education and sexuality.
But behind its meticulously curated self-image, Disney has had a long-standing problem with child predators gaining employment within the company and exploiting minors. In 2014, reporters at CNN published a bombshell six-month investigation that discovered at least 35 Disney employees had been arrested for sex crimes against children, attempting to meet minors for sex, and possession of child pornography over the previous eight years.
The stories are horrifying. In one case, police set up a sting operation that nabbed three Disney employees who believed they were soliciting sex from minors. Robert Kingsolver, who oversaw ride repairs at Disney World, enticed someone he thought was a 14-year-old girl for sex in a private residence. Joel Torres, another Disney employee, allegedly brought condoms with him to have sex with a 14-year-old child. And Allen Treaster, a concierge at the park’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, went to meet a 14-year-old boy to “fulfill a fantasy” of being a “Big Teddy Bear for younger chaser.” In all three cases, the men were met and then arrested by police, who had set up the trap to catch child predators in the Orlando region. Kingsolver denied the charges; Treaster admitted that he had molested a 15-year-old boy a few weeks prior to his arrest.
Other Disney employees were found to have committed child sex crimes using the Internet. According to police and court records, custodial manager Cedric Cuthbert was caught downloading child porn on a Disney work computer, giftshop employee Paul Fazio was convicted for downloading “multiple scenes of nude prepubescent children engaging in sexual activity with adults,” and security guard William Marrero-Maldonado was charged with seven counts of promoting videos and photographs of the “sexual performance of a child.”
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