21 Comments

100%: in serious, nuanced intellectual discourse two things can be right at the same time, without the result eventuating in relativistic gobbledygook. Subversion can be happening, and noting that it is happening is not in and of itself a conspiracy theory. It can be partially orchestrated, but then it can be mostly not orchestrated. Memes and mind viruses do exist and they take on a life of their own. I think this is the way Ayaan was trying to explain it in the first place. Totally convincing in my opinion. Finally, and this is simply my “sidebar” gut reaction, calling something a ‘conspiracy theory’ is a way that the Left can dismiss phenomena they don’t want to think about. Yes, there are conspiracy theories, but what Ayaan is describing is not one.

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Mike Gonzalez, a senior fellow for foreign-policy studies at Heritage, and a co-author of NextGen Marxism, said "...that the subversion of institutions that cultural Marxists engage in is not a conspiratorial effort, but more a product of powerful people being students of Marxist-derived schools of thought.

“There is not a ‘plot’ in the sense that people go into basements in Cambridge, Massachusetts, or Berkeley, California, and hash out a plot and have secret meetings,” Gonzalez said. “But they are all reading the same things.”

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This. These people are all reading the same things. And cannot understand why anybody would not agree w/them. It's what all the decent people think as far as they know.

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I fully agree with your response. It was always obvious to me that you are not a conspiracy theorist.

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The word "culture" derives from the Latin "cultus" which means religion more or less. Richard Dawkins probably understands better than most of us that mankind is irrevocably religious. Let's pretend it's in everybody's DNA.

Our culture conflicts our best understood as religious conflicts. The problem is most of the time, most of the people are worshipping themselves to bad effect. The conspiracy theory is a secular ever-present "Deus ex Machina" to explain awaythe delusional power of the false religions that are our adversaries. The devil is behind all the evil in this world. The motive power behind lies.

The West is at war with it's self because we believe in our own power to subdue the world. Which is a falsehood everyone agrees on. Medicine is the foremost example - we all go to the same doctors. The power of computer models to be prophetic oracles about weather and climate is not so widely agreed upon as medical technology. But we are all interested in the forecast.

The infinitely maleable idea of gender in face of the unalterable fact of sex is really a conflict between what people believe about their own power to determine the future, forcing it to comport with their moral compass. It's, as always, a question of power. "our bodies, ourselves."

Western thought accepted as the ideal that the God of Israel manifested Himself as "the Son of David" in Jesus of Nazareth. This Jesus had no power. He built no house, he took no wife. He worked mighty miracles, but never for his own benefit. Jesus saw himself as the unique sacrifice that was the fulfillment of the "day of atonement." The bifurcation of the living sacrifice and the atoning sacrifice. The offering for sin and the scapegoat that bore Israel's sins into the wilderness.

God himself became the reconciler. Reconciling men to himself through the sacrifice of himself. The forgiveness of our sins, requires us to forgive men their trespasses.

This is a great religion. To the extent the West ever practiced it or really believed it can be debated. As Nietzsche said, "there has only been one Christian and his name is Christ." But we used to be inclined to believe it. We taught our children to read the words, to pray for our enemies. To forgive others and to take our battle to the real enemy, the father of lies. A holy war not against the infidel, but against untruth.

What the West has lost is its passion for the truth. We don't remember that Jesus was always talking about himself and the holy spirit and the law of God as truth personified. "I am the truth..." The Spirit of Truth"

The West is fallen back into the pit. We fight for power. To dominate and subdue our enemies. Once and a while we used to fight for what was true. We didn't want to believe things that weren't true. If we can't find a road back to believing in Jesus. We are never going to stop fighting for power. It's the culture choice before us.

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I don't refer to this much in comments, because I don't want to alienate the non-Christians who are on our team, but, yes. And even if one isn't a Christian, it does seems like now, as you note, the battle has become more about Power than Truth. I don't actually think all people have to become Christian, am somewhat heterodox there, but somehow we need to operate from a higher objective than is presently occurring.

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Mankind has always given power first billing. Israel's story is about reconciliation and forgiveness. Nobody has to become anything. They have to sacrifice their own egos to the truth. Like the 85 year old Muslim who told his son, "I have been reading Koran and the Torah and the New Testament and I still don't know what to believe, but I know what I don't believe. I don't believe heaven is a fantasy teen orgie and you get there instantly by blowing yourself up trying to kill infidels."

The truth is worth fighting for. The battle is against error, not infidels.

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What a profound statement, William. The battle is indeed against error. Truckloads of it. Not just because the world is spinning in a direction that baffles me, but because almost everything seems to be spinning upside down.

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I happen to agree with the substance of Ayaan's original essay. And she, as a recent Christian convert, may be more comfortable with the metaphysical certitude displayed in this comment than I am. I think you entertain doubts about the literal truth of Christian dogma and still fight pretty vigorously for "the good, the true, and the beautiful." Does this mean I am being deluded by the father of lies?

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No, Satan is not deluding you, but you perceive the truth darkly, as through a mirror. I am like Socrates, I know I don't know anything. "I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I delivered unto him against that day." 2 Timothy. I believe, I do not know.

The Christian religion is, 'Sola Fides,' or it is not the Christian Religion. Even the experimental method limits itself to history. It doesn't 'know' the experiment will turn out the same next time. Probabilities are not to be confused with knowledge. I know the tomb is empty. I believe that is a very big deal.

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First you say that, like Socrates, you don't know anything. You close by saying you know the tomb is empty. I'm inclined to not follow you into that theological labyrinth. How about we both just stay out on the open plain and fight the bad guys together?

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Ok, but...

About the tomb. I thought everyone agreed. It was not empty?

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My understanding is that Marxism / Wokism / Leftism is an intellectual system that believes the just society must be achieved by politics. And there is no politics without an enemy: racists, sexists, homophobes, take your pick. Thus it breaks down all intermediating institutions to remove the resistance to the manufacturing of the perfect egalitarian society.

The effect, of course, is the "subversion" of the society of organic relationships and institutions into the militaristic society so beloved of Stalin, Mao, and Xi. Bless their hearts.

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Ms. Hirsi, I am a 68 year old woman and have followed your writing for many many years. I was in Amsterdam just a week before that dreadful day when your colleague was murdered. Your courage and your clear voice make you one of the truest writers in our world today. Whenever I’m with friends and folks say who would you have dinner with I say you’d be on the invite list. But I think I wouldn’t come across as the teacher I am but as a stuttering numbskull. This piece of writing was a flawless response to someone who thinks they read something they didn’t. Keep writing-for all of us

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I have been admirer of your courage and integrity since you arrived in Europe and started to speak up, Ayaan. Reading this new piece of yours, I absolutely disagree with the people that accuses you of furthering conspiracy theories. You are bringing a completely honest and fact-based analysis of the growing threats to our society, lifestyle and ultimately the Western civilization. Each of the described attacks are documented and relatively well known. Some people may consider that evidence of a unified single conspiration against the West, but it is much more likely that each of these manifestations are unrelated and not orchestrated from a single place. It is evident, though, that what you describe are real attacks on the fabric of our society. And it is also evident that they main reason they become real threats is the weakness of our institutions and our lack of trust in ourselves. But these things work together, the predator seeks out and choses the weakest one in the pack to attack.

Even more important, there have been a uninterrupted barrage of attacks on our society since Russia and China got integrated in the global economy. I am thinking of cyberattacks, corruption of politicians, stealing product design and scientific knowledge, spy networks and combinations of those. NATO has recently announced that hybrid warfare is increasing, and mainly Russia, China and Iran are perpetrators. It is well documented that all of these things are going on, to different degrees depending on countries. And the subversion methods you and most of us are concerned about are - willingly or unwillingly - part of the hybrid warfare. I have just written a new piece about this in my substack Post-Globalism News and Views https://hanschristensen.substack.com/ and in my book https://a.co/d/0zKqEJv from earlier this year.

Thanks to Ayaan, and others, we are likely to see a tectonic shift away from just letting attacks on democracy pass with indulgence, to following up thoroughly on every manifestation in a timely manner to find out what is the origin and the intention. Just like we are doing with cyberattacks and similar subversive activities.

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founding

I appreciate your intellectual rigor and self-reflection. Criticism and response strenghtens the narrative and furthers the message.

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Of course you are not a “conspiracy theorist” in the definition presented by your opponents. And I agree with David Bethea below that two contradictory ideas can often be true in intellectual discourse. I’m going to offer two additional points. #1. The harm the French deconstructionists have done to the entire concept of “objective truth” has leaked from academia and now permeates woke progressive “mainstream” thought and institutions. I attended the University of Texas at Austin Graduate School in English in the late 1980s when Derrida and his ilk were newly ascendant. I instantly recognized by reading books such as Discipline and Punish that whatever valid points he made (the Panopticon has proven spot on as technology has advanced), the basic idea of reading everything as a “text” of “oppression” lacking “truth” was fundamentally an attack on the value systems that led to Western Civilization’s obvious success. #2. I reject some of the negative connotations of the term “conspiracy theory” or labeling those who do see some some “invisible hand” (Was Adam Smith the first “conspiracy theorist”?”) behind certain claims or historic events as axiomatically worthy of ridicule. Remember the term was coined by the CIA to discredit Americans who questioned the lone gunman theory of the JFK Assassination. Does any thinking person alive today NOT question the official narrative in some respects? As to 9/11, the official narrative there is literally in the strictest legal sense of the term a “conspiracy” between Islamists. Sure, most rational folks don’t believe a shadowy cabal of hidden puppeteers pull the strings on every complex problem on Earth, but it’s certainly well within rational discourse to observe that the destructive ideas currently undermining our understanding of how to best wrestle with these issues (Men are Women, “Islamophobia” is “irrational”, et al) stem from a similar source

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Jun 19·edited Jun 19

As to "conspiracy theory," of course there are conspiracy theories that are falsifiable. Agreeing that the definition of "conspiracy theory" means that the hypothesis (to more accurately describe the construct) is not falsifiable allows people to label any plausible hypothesis as such to reject it a priori. That's a terrible mistake. Sure, there is a class of speculation labeled "conspiracy theory" that is constantly evolving and indeed unfalsifiable (rejecting the moon landing and flat-earth belief, for example). But look no further than the origin of the term, and you better believe it is falsifiable. A hypothesis that is falsifiable might prove to be true: The CIA was involved in the assassination of the sitting President, and the government continues to withhold relevant information more than 60 years later.

So let's take control of language and let it do the work. An alternative title might be "I am a 'conspiracy theorist,' and you should be too." I realize that wouldn't get a person past a greeting at a DC cocktail party, but it's correct.

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Can't stop thinking about the elements of a working civilization, developed with input and consent of the governed: Constitution, Bill of Rights, Rules of Law, careful policing for public safety, public education,...all based on a belief in, and practice of "The Golden Rule" to treat everyone as we all hope to be treated.

Who are the typical actors behind self-serving, amoral, anti-civilization conspiracies? What are their motives?

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Thomas W. Eagar, an engineering professor at MIT, suggested they....Conspiracy theorists.... "use the 'reverse scientific method'. They determine what happened, throw out all the data that doesn't fit their conclusion, and then hail their findings as the only possible conclusion."

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It's been my experience that, when people hear new (to them) ideas, they inevitably try to relate the new ideas to something they've heard before. This means that they nearly always misinterpret the message that the advocate of the new idea is trying to communicate.

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