15 Comments
Oct 5, 2023·edited Oct 5, 2023Liked by Murtaza Hussain

Your critique of the book is excellent. Your points are well taken.

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The most important discussion to have, regarding the last point, is asking why theoretically leftists went totally on board on economic-slashing programmes, untimited immigration lowering wages and globalization without understanding the conservative economic ideas behind it. My idea, still not complete, is the transformation of gender relationship. The woman-led left is very different from the man-led left, and has very different priorities because of biological/social reasons.

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The man-led left was very macho and genocidal which is what we suffered from in the 20th century. Of course the demographic changes of recent decades will influence the culture of movements. The irony is that the cultural left and economic right are both generally handmaidens of the same neoliberal (sorry to use cliched term) project that takes us to the same destination.

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Of course, the idea that any major American politicians are on board with "unlimited immigration," as well as the idea that immigrants necessarily reduce wages, is absurd.

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To be a viable leftwing/working class movement, you need actual working class support. The Democrats lost working class support as the working class percentage of US population decreased and as many of them defected to the GOP.

The Democrats than substituted native working class for immigrants, racial minorities, sexual minorities and feminists. Those groups don't feel alienated from the economy so much as the culture which is still dominated by straight, white married families.

And these groups tend to support globalization, immigration, culture struggles over traditional leftwing welfare programs.

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Awesome review. I have had the same doubts about the power of the intellectual predecessors that Rufo and also Lindsey and others believe are the source of the “Awokening”. I found Rufo very compelling initially but he has soured for me because he seems to me to be hypocritically in favor of a cancel culture when the target is progressives.

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I don't buy the idea Rufo is selling. If anything the USA is drowning in extreme capitalist, right-wing "values".

There's even a growing socio-political alliance between American Christians and Muslims against LGBTQ.

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I’m curious to hear if you have thoughts on the slate of similar books published in the recent past or coming out now (like Mounk’s) and how they compare to Rufo’s. Thanks for the deep insights, as always.

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Thanks Sam. I will consider some of those books.

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Having trad Rufo's book, I encourage others to do so. I disagree with many points made in this review. The review seemed very colored by the reviewer's specific world lens and did not resonate with me at all. Therefore, I feel it's crucial that each person read the book and form their own opinion rather than accepting g the views of another who sees the world through their own lens which is usually cored by personal belief

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I used to be in a radical leftwing LGBT organization when I was in my 20s. We were doing a lot of the woke stuff that dominates politics today.

I learned about "allyship" and "deplatforming" in my freshmen year of college in 2002. Pronouns, queerness, gender fluidity, land acknowledgements, intersectionality - all these things were part of the activist repertoire by 2010.

Then for some reason around 2014 wokeness began to be heavily promoted by leading newspapers like NYT and WAPO. Magazines such as TNR and the Atlantic also turned woke. Yale students shouting at Prof Christakis in 2015 may be the 1st publicized example cancel culture.

Weirdly the LGBT movement became more radical and took on a dark tone *after* SCOTUS legalized gay marriage in 2015. Just as black activists became more radical after Obama won 2 landslide elections. And soon middle-age straight male Democrats began to to denounce gender binary and started supporting race reparations.

I don't buy Murtaza's explanation because schools and colleges have more funding than ever before. The radical politics of 1970s retreated to the backrooms of state colleges from 1980s-2014. And then suddenly entered and took over elite discourse in 2014. We need a lot more analysis of what's happening.

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I can imagine being part of a movement like that would be very radicalizing in the opposite direction. They are just not very pleasant or constructive people in general. It seems like a lot of school funding goes towards administration rather than teaching, at least in my experience. But I do strongly hold to the view that left and right neoliberalism work in tandem. on the cultural and economic front even if its not a conscious conspiracy.

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Christopher Rufo’s analysis of the historical underpinnings of our present day culture seem far more informed and grounded in historical facts than your analysis. Actually what you offer is not an informed analysis but your subjective opinions on what you see going on. You are obviously clued in to what is going on but you don’t analyze what you see nor think seriously about the roots of the sweeping societal changes that have occurred very recently. Maybe I’m just spoiled because Rufo has studied the situation so thoroughly that he can write a book about it.

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His book has some good points. I think there are just some other factors that he didn't address that are very important. Granted, I didn't write a book about them but others have.

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