Posted on September 10, 2020

Christopher Rufo Vs. The Critical Race Theory Goliath

Rod Dreher, The American Conservative, September 9, 2020

My hero last week was Christopher Rufo, the young independent investigative journalist who revealed racist anti-white employee training going on at Sandia National Labs {snip}

Result: a couple of days later, President Trump, acting through OMB Director Russell Vought, ordered the federal government to end training about “Critical Race Theory” and “white privilege.”

{snip} Rufo keeps releasing new documents from other whistleblowers, via his must-read Twitter feed, @realchrisrufo. I asked Rufo if he would talk with me about what he’s fighting, and the model of investigative journalism he is practicing. Here is a transcript of our interview, lightly edited for clarity:

What was it like to hear the news that the Trump administration had acted on your reporting, and stopped the Critical Race Theory training at Sandia, and elsewhere in the federal government?

I didn’t see it right away because I was on a train trip from Seattle to Chicago with my oldest son. I was coming up somewhere in Montana, and finally was able to get a cell signal. I saw my inbox flooded with all this news about it. I was just elated. I had publicly stated this goal on August 20 that I was going to persuade the President to abolish critical race theory in the federal government. {snip}

I have to give credit to the President, Russ Vought, and their team, that they were able to act quickly and take on an issue that no Republican prior to 2016 would have.

It really is true that Republicans like to be thought of as opposing all this social justice warrior stuff, but in the end, they won’t act against it. Why not?

Republicans and conservatives, especially those operating in the political sphere, and within media and politics in our prestige cities, are deathly afraid of being called a racist, a white supremacist, or a bigot. The social pressures on them to stay silent are immense. Because power in the US is centralized – that is, concentrated within institutions in those cities — those prejudices carry lots of weight. People are afraid to engage on these issues.

But I think there’s a deeper reason. I think a lot of conservatives have internalized the metaphysical arguments of the left. There’s this lurking suspicion inside the conservative infrastructure that maybe we’re wrong. Maybe we’re guilty, just like they say we are. In a way, maybe we’ve accepted all these things.

Critical Race Theory, and all these documents that are egregious to almost everyone who sees them – frankly, we’ve let this stuff take over, and we’ve been scared to push back. I think for whatever reason, the president, and maybe a combination of his personal quirks and maybe even some of his personal flaws, are, bizarrely, the perfect battering ram against this stuff. He’s been trashed by the New York media for 50 years. It gives him this unique position where he can fight on these issues whereas a conventional Republican would be too timid.

You have had extraordinary success in exposing this Critical Race Theory cult within institutions. What’s the secret of your success?

I’m following basic Investigative Journalism 101. I cultivate sources, and run a database of hundreds of sources across federal government agencies. I’m constantly receiving and evaluating information from them. For me it’s been a great gift – I’m operating in a space where there’s no competition. The New York Times, the Washington Post, and the local papers — they’re all turning a blind eye, because they’re philosophically committed to the [antiracism] narrative. As a conservative journalist, it’s a wide-open field.

As conservatives, we have to realize that the institutions are deeply controlled by the activist class on the left. Conservatives have traditionally acted as the stabilizing force, as the establishment force, within institutions. This is kind of the “old family” view of the world. We have this idea that institutions are fundamentally conservative, manage the political process, and make incremental changes. I think people still kind of assume that worldview, but in reality, these institutions are dominated ideologically and practically by the left.

We are in some ways the anti-establishment, the rebellious faction, the insurgent faction. I see this as a David and Goliath battle. I’m just one person with a mission. I am going after the most powerful institutions in the country with a ragtag network of think tanks and conservative media outlets. And we have been able to generate tremendous power.

{snip}

It’s not surprising that people are scared. These true believers will stop at nothing to destroy their critics.

Oh, I have had threats, harassment, vandalism, people coming after my wife and kids, you name it. But doesn’t principled dissent require great risk? There are two ways you can fight this: the first is by appealing to civil discourse, moderate pluralism and debate. That strategy has failed. The ‘principled dissent’ strategy is the only one that remains. We have to stand up to institutions that could obliterate us at any moment. We have to steel ourselves with our principles and have the confidence that those principles will ultimately protect us, whatever the odds.

{snip}

How can potential whistleblowers reach you?

Send me something at [email protected]. {snip}

{snip}

Tucker Carlson was key to your success against Sandia. You appeared on Tucker to talk about it, and the next thing you know, the president acted. What role do you think Tucker Carlson plays in this guerrilla media ecosystem?

I think Tucker is hands down the most courageous man in media, period. I think that he’s really had an evolution. I remember in high school watching him with the bow tie on CNN, and following his transformation. He’s the most powerful voice in conservative media. He’s fearless. He’s been incredibly effective in fighting the left organizations trying to attack him.

{snip}


Go to ChristopherRufo.com to learn more about this independent journalist, and to become a patron of his vital work. Here’s his latest tweet: