Should Critical Race Theory Be Banned in Public Schools?—a Conversation with Christopher F. Rufo

Originally published at: Should Critical Race Theory Be Banned in Public Schools?—a Conversation with Christopher F. Rufo – Quillette

The creators and defenders of Critical Race Theory, or CRT is it’s often known, describe it as a legal and academic movement aimed at critically examining the many ways in which racism manifests, with a view toward pushing beyond traditionally liberal color-blind laws and solutions. It has been around since the 1970s, but in the…


It is not possible to “convince” the proponents of Critical Race Theory “through culture” because it is them who almost completely dominate the cultural sphere. If it has come to this, the protective mechanisms that characterize a healthy society have already failed, and failed utterly.

It is no coincidence that the pandemic of wokeism was incubated at elite universities and spread from there to other multipliers in education, the mainstream media, the social media giants and the entertainment industry. By now, this ideology is most virulent among those who consider themselves the future ruling elite of our society. Why should these people let themselves be convinced to abandon their winning strategy?

If there is a chance to prohibit them through laws from further spreading their hateful, destructive ideology, it should clearly be taken. This is about damage control in the face of a spreading new totalitarianism.


I don’t know if Crenshaw would agree to an interview, but I for one would love to see that. As much as I despise CRT and everything it stands for, I’ve had a chance to read some of Crenshaw’s work and I think she’d be the one to defend it, if anyone can.

And it’s important that we understand CRT and its proponents beyond just agreeing that they’re the devil incarnate (which what we usually get from Quilette and other like-minded sources).


I am deeply skeptical about outright banning certain subjects in school. However Jonathan Kay asked all the questions I would have wanted to ask and, quite frankly, I felt Christopher Rufo stepped up and knocked them out of the park. Quite a bit of food for thought for me in this interview.

It was really refreshing to hear an activist forthright state what they believe and what their aims are. Most activists are of the “Since X is bad, X should therefore be completely illegal” or “Since Y is good, it should be mandated” style of activism. So much so that I just assume it by default. Christopher Rufo’s much narrow and tailored focus is a welcome change.

I agree, this would be fantastic! I do not care for listening to podcasts but for that I would be sorely tempted…


This debate between Rufo and David French is worth a listen:

French is equally opposed to CRT but opposes laws that purport to ban its teaching.


That kind of ties back to this:

David French is one those high-minded conservatives who believe that the powers of darkness can be overcome thru high-minded talk. Sometimes that’s not enough.


This is one of those times. Seems to me we have passed some boundary line, where winning has become more important than being right, and being right has become more important that getting along.

Good luck with school kids, you’re gonna need it!


‘Market place of ideas‘ only works if the kids get to hear both sides which they most likely won’t. And in any case apart from the fact that CRT theory can contradict racial discrimination legislation it can be difficult to understand & inconsistently explained making it extremely messy in pre college education.
I also agree there has to be a democratic component built into what’s taught in public schools particularly that pertains to ethics & morality.
And where does it end? Does this mean criticism of all cultural practices that allegedly end in inequality are open season too in schools?

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Fabulous conversation, thanks for that.

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I think Rufo is a lightning rod for the extremely hostile bifurcation that is now going on inside the old bourgeois democracies of the west, as everyone starts reaching their fundamental bottom lines for which they will fight…

Interestingly, Rufo draws attention to the fact that this is not necessarily exclusively some conventional 'left v ‘right’, or ‘traditionalist’ v ‘progressive’, or ‘conservative’ v ‘radical’ set to, but something more nuanced, that is establishing ‘alliances’ that would have been considered bizarre a decade ago.

There are a lot of old Marxists, like myself for instance (sort of) who regard wokism as an infantile disorder and petty bourgeois idealist adventurism that people like Lenin and Mao would have abhorred.and ‘rectified’…and failing that, allied themselves with reactionary landlords and militarists…to purge the bastards.

The following link is an example of the strange bedfellowing that is going on right now.
Lesbian Feminist Explains How The Equality Act Promotes Inequality - YouTube (which if memory serves me right, Rufo alludes to).

The ‘Red’ and ‘Blue’ constituencies in the US are in effect preparing for war, as they determine their policies and nostrums for the young, and enforce them across the systems they control.

The main problem for the anti-wokes is that the system of social administration is almost completely dominated by the enwoked graduates coming out of universities (seminaries), which means that shutting them down/altering their trajectory will be almost impossible, unless they can be en mass replaced by English speakers from the non woke world…Eastern Europe, Africa, India, China and its diasporas, and Southeast Asia.

Wokes have all the endearing dogmatic and heresy sniffing qualities of the Reformation clerics their liberal predecessors replaced during the Industrial Revolution…and they will not ‘convert’. And I think Rufo is being wildly optimistic in thinking that they might ‘co-operate’ in any attempt at dewokification.

The mass expulsion of the wokes from the system of social administration in the red states in the US, in my view, will probably be the trigger for war. As Rufo notes, for Wokes, conversion to their ideological suite is the essence of divine providence and virtue, but going the other way is an intolerable ‘work of the devil’…


Here’s a link to the last seven months of Rufo’s essays published by City Journal:


It appears Rufo, himself, might well be called an Italian red diaper baby. Both his parents were Italian communists.

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Appreciate that, thank you.

Here’s a link to an article that agrees our current crop of totalitarians are not very Marxist at all:

Chronicles is a very paleo-conservative publication.


An excellent piece. Good analysis, good work-thru of the details.

Calling this thing ‘Marxist’, even if we qualify that as ‘cultural Marxism’ is misleading, it’s a disservice to Karl’s analysis of class economics, and it completely obscures that this is a very Capitalist thing, a totalitarianism managed by the greatest of the plutocrats, primarily for their own benefit, and with very little benefit to the ‘working classes.’


Look, classical Marxism based around notions of a class based dialectical evolution of history has virtually disappeared. However, the notion that economic drivers ‘substructurally’ underpin ‘superstructural’ social relations and cultural beliefs has not, because it still has analytical utility. to demonstrate how economic and social/cultural change relate, interact and play off one another.

The notion of class oppression has been abandoned, leaving only an ever diminishing vicarious ‘anti-imperialist’ trailing edge, as the communist left retreated out of its traditional Leninist party apparatus and mass struggle model into the welfarist/environmental (and much later the digital ‘soft economy’) bureaucracies and pedagogies of social administration, realigning itself with 'oppressed minorities-as-trumps instead.

The result is that they have transformed themselves into a ‘soft’ neo clerical establishment equivalent of The Church in its relations to ‘Crown’ ‘hard’ production corporatocracies that it collaborates as much as struggles with for regime legitimacy and power.

The big takeaway is that the old Marxist Left has transformed itself into a Tweedle Dee regime instrument along with its corporatist Tweedle Dum opposite numbers. It is no longer an external opposition and has migrated to that end out of fiscally funded bureaucracies into the tertiary soft economy, as in Silicon Valley.

And the irony is that this neo clerical orthodoxy has turned on its old working class constituencies and formed alliances against it to depress wages by using the ‘progressive’ language of migration across national borders, to depress wages and further disemploy/marginalize the old working class…who naturally now hate them vehemently…

But the shift into identity minoritarianism to hijack civilizational, sexual and ethnic narratives has also conflated this truncated form of ‘Marxism’ into a postmodernist blancmange that turns intellectual life into pure fudge, crib and relativist bluff.

I think Jordan Peterson does a a cracker of a job a deconstructing this opportunist alliance of ‘Marxism’ and postmodernism.

PS: The takeover by the left of the environment movement, which happened contemporaneously with the shift into bureaucracies out of mass actioning, was used as an alternative stick to beat capitalism with, in lieu of class struggle. This had the poisonous effect of demainstreaming the environment as a sectarian concern that everyone else could happily ignore as an ideological furphy…which it is not…but nonetheless contributed mightily to slowing down and obfuscating any response to ecological emergency.