You should look into the World Congress of Families. Dark money funded religious ideologies. Started between Russia and the US. Pushed through massive ant-gay laws in Russia. Successfully tied homosexuality o pedophilia. Scary people. They’re also quite active in America. They are 100% dark money funded. And they’re very bad. They truly want the world to be Gilead from Handmaid’s Tale.

Here’s just one of many articles about them at SPLC.


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Scary stuff. Shared on Twitter. (Where else?) 🕊

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I wonder how much of their ignorance is a product of their innate reactionary nature, not having much to offer in the creativity department. Like DH Lawrence said, "Death is not evil, evil is mechanical." Little wonder they react against the idea of "liberal democracies". Simply change the name to "conservative republics"...without changing anything else, and you will still see movement. The preoccupation with sex matters, like flag-burning or the evils of Pokemon, flow from their constant denials of real problems knocking at the door. The rising generations will reject all bigotries, and never let any of the rot even begin to fester, which is, of course, related to gunsmoke.

Just finished your wonderful book, from Audible. Gonna listen again. Should be a textbook on the matter. Loved the section where the tables turned on the strongman, Mussolini, and...

"For twenty years, state radio had broadcast Mussolini's propaganda. At 10:47 that July 25th, it told listeners his rule had finally ended. A collective shout could be heard in every city and town center, and parents woke up their children to tell then the news. Mussolini sculptures were smashed and pictures of him tossed from windows. People made bonfires out of their Fascist uniforms and party cards, and a Roman tram circulated with a banner which read "The Tragic Carnival is Over!". Fascist loyalists, overcome with grief and dread, hid at home."

~Ruth Ben-Ghiat, "Strongmen: From Mussolini to the Present"

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Controlling human reproduction and sexuality has been a constant in human societies. With the kind of social and cultural evolution we have witnessed since the European Enlightenment, however, the ideas of individual rights and human dignity have come to challenge old norms of reproduction and sexuality. Urbanization has contributed to giving the individual enough open space to escape the normative prisons of small-scale groups and communities. As Ian Buruma and Avishai Margalit have discussed in their book Occidentalism, it is exactly the open "decadent" society of the city, changing gender relations (feminism), and other trends, which occidentalists associate with "the West," that strongmen from Hitler and Mao to Pol Pot and Ayatollah Khomeini detest. If anti-Westernism was limited to autocrats like Putin, Orban, Xi, and Erdogan we liberal democratic progressives would have a fighting chance. But it is worrying that autocratic illiberalism grows in the middle of our open societies. How do we defend ourselves against this new surge of fascism, including its authoritarian biopolitics?

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The GOP focus on sex is bizarre. I believe a root problem of problems is pseudo-Christians grabbing the megaphone. As a Christian, I am constantly amazed/ dismayed by the complete disregard for the NewTestament which overlays the Old Testament with teachings and modeling of Christ himself for abundant grace, patience and forgiveness. How can these people with megaphones proclaim to be protecting Christian values. It's like a visual of people running around naked with 'a bee in their bonnet'.

We must ignore and not take the bait. The topic of sex goes in 1,000 directions and countless rabbitholes. The people so overly focused on sex, are ...problematic.

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Apr 5, 2022Liked by Ruth Ben-Ghiat

Excellent article and brilliant insight. The far right believes that they are under attack and unfortunately are out of touch with mainstream thought. They pander to a very narrow although politically active base. History ultimately judges these people hardly but the damage they create and the flames they fan are dangerous.

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Why would an American emulate Orban's Hungary? It's level of wealth, comfort, necessities, and material goods available to the ordinary individual is #30, compared to the rest of the world (USA is 20l).

Orban ought to look at why women don't want to marry these days: women want to marry intelligent men with higher paying secure jobs, so they can support a family. No woman wants to raise children in poverty, Ina country with a poor education system and no good employment futures. Orban just wants women to be baby factories, the like cows, but generating slaves. Anything is better than this. He is exposing his ignorance.

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Apr 5, 2022Liked by Ruth Ben-Ghiat

It is no small irony that a largely Catholic country like Hungary and a Catholic governor like DeSantis legislate against the LBGTQ community as a protection against grooming but are remarkably mum about the well-documented priest/sex/molestation/grooming scandal in the Catholic church.

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Your well thought out comments and analogies are Clarence-Darrow like. Your "non-judgment” on LGBTQ community (Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Trans & Queer) is commendable. It echoes Pope Francis’ comment, “Who am I to judge" ??? Your comments on non-judgment are also Basilian-like... at least in line with the "non-moral judgment” of the Basilian Priests of the 1950s and ‘60s that shaped my view of Christianity and Catholicism while at Detroit Catholic Central High School.


Non judgment is a compelling philosophy that says don’t judge the morals of others for the sake of moral judgment alone. Repeat for emphasis… "for the sake of moral judgment alone.” On the other hand, pronouncing judgment to protect yourself and others from unfavorable, worldly consequences is a necessary and justifiable part of life…

* Judging by Judges and Juries.

* Judging by parents of their children’s friends.

* Judging by the voting public for their political candidate of choice.

* Judging by academic institutions to see who gets admitted and who doesn’t.

* Judging by teachers to see who has mastered the subject enough to go on, and who hasn’t.

* Judging by Bar Examiners to see who becomes a lawyer and who doesn’t.

* Judging by creditors to see who is a good risk to lend money to and who isn’t.

But, pronouncing subjective, moral judgment for the sake of “morals” alone... by gossipers, conceited "holier than thous” and by those of weak self image who have a need to look better than others… all fall within the rubric of “Judge Not.” There can be subtle distinctions and some overlapping of acceptable and non-acceptable judgment, and some reasonable differences of opinion... but lay and religious alike must continuously strive to determine whether “judgment” falls into the “acceptable” area of necessary and justifiable judgment, or into the non-acceptable area of unnecessary and unjustifiable moral judgment (for the sake of moral judgment alone).

I agree with your views (and with Pope Francis) on judgment on the sexual ideation of individuals. But, I didn't always. In 1966, at age 23, I walked into my very first class of Law School at the University of Detroit, a Jesuit Catholic Law School. Our Jewish Law Professor, Alan Sultan (affectionately known as “Shoutin' Sultan”), asked our class of 77 wannabe lawyers... our very first question of Law School. “What do you think about homosexuality” ??? I asked the guy sitting next to me, “Did he just ask us what we thought about homosexuality" ??? Receiving an “Indeed he did,” I whispered in my very best, Detroit bravado, “I’ll kick their ass.”

Receiving no answer, Professor Sultan shouted out the very same question again... while a stunned class sat in fearful silence wondering whether this trick question was about to get us all thrown out of Law School on the very first day of our budding legal careers. Ugg !!! Finally, an exasperated Professor Sultan shouted out, “What right does anyone in this class have to complain about what ‘consenting adults’ do in the ‘privacy’ of their own bedrooms” ??? Wow !!! That was it !!! It was instantaneous !!! I got it !!! A lightning bolt lit up my ignorance. I immediately knew what St. Paul must have felt when an epiphany knocked off his horse on the road to Damascus. I was changed forever !!! I resigned my commission from the Right Wing, Moral Majority, Ass Kickin’ Brigade, and joined the Non-Moral Judgment Auxiliary of the “live and let live” Branch... where I have been a dues paying member for the last 56 years and counting.

Within the next week of Law School (remembering the brutality of the capitol punishment of Jesus on the cross), I joined the Sacredness of Life Club, and rejected the entire concept of capitol punishment. Within the first two weeks of Law School, I had grown in understanding and in the wisdom of non-judgment and in the sacredness of life. I took a deep breath, exhaled, relaxed and felt energized as my neo, non-moral judgment and my neo, sacredness of life persona began to take hold and blossom... a great decision on my part because I no longer had the time to make moral judgments, anyway. All my prior judgmental, ass kickin' time would now be taken up with the “Baptism of Fire” known as first year Law.

Would that DeSantis and the very Catholic Orban and Eastern Rite Christian Putin had gone to Law School with me, and heard the words of non-judgment from Professor Alan "Shoutin" Sultan. Here is a capsule of where "judgment" leads in today's world.

I am talking about the Reverend Pat Robertson who now tells us that Putin is being “driven by God" to invade the Ukraine and bring on Armageddon. I am also talking about his Eastern Rite counterpart, Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill (Patriarch of Moscow and all Rus with a global congregation of 140 million plus). Patriarch Kirill is now urging Putin on in the Ukraine with his incendiary language, “If we see the [Ukraine] as a threat, we have the right to use force to insure the threat is eradicated." Both of these Holy men, Christian leaders exhorting Putin... "Thou shalt kill."

For more “Thou Shalt Kill,” consider “born again” Evangelical Christian, George W. Bush, who in 2002 (on recklessly flawed intelligence), pummeled Iraq with America’s “Shock and Awe”… killing tens of thousands of innocent Iraqis. America’s “Shock and Awe” and its invasion of Iraq eviscerated Iraq’s ruling Ba’ath Party and Iraq’s minority Sunnis, leading to the creation of ISIS… who went on to kill tens of thousands more innocents over the ensuing decades.

Reminds me of the Roman-style Crusaders and Knights heading off to reclaim the Holy Lands. “Onward Christian Soldiers marching as to War with the Cross of Jesus going on before.” May the Peace of Jesus be with you... but just not today because we got some killing to do today.

Fred Lauck

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I understand that people who fight the hardest against the LGBTQ policies are in the end gay themselves. What I do not understand is why they fight themselves so hard and affect so many people by implementing harsh policies in pursuit of maintaining their self denial.

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Between the anti-abortion and anti-LGBTQ efforts of todays authoritarians you'd think that increasing the number of people was still a key national goal. But then they virtually abandon the development of those children once they are born, especially if they are non-white or the progeny of poor whites. What do they need all of these extra neglected bodies for? Cannon fodder? Orcs? Perhaps they are foolishly preparing to fight the last war instead of the ones coming up that will be won by those populations that produce fewer but more capable children, children who have a real stake in the outcome of any contest.

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Apr 5, 2022Liked by Ruth Ben-Ghiat

Thank you for your clear description of how Ron DeSantis, Orban, Putin, & Mussolini align on demonizing LGBTQ people. Could you further clarify that sexual identity is not taught in USA K-3rd grades. The GOP’s basic fear-raising image Is false - but GOP installs the fear and weaponizes it. So now in Florida, if a 5 year old says, “I have 2 mommies” & the teacher allows even a short conversation among the children, a parent can complain & can sue the teacher.

It’s important to debunk DeSantis’ & the GOP’s premise that sexual identity is being taught in K-3rd grades. Thank you

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There are so many battles to fight. Clearly, all parents of school age children are called to join the fight against republican attempts to limit outlooks.

Then, there is the question of voting with your feet if you are unable to fight, but I hear the woman caring for an elderly relation and can't move easily.

Will Red states be depopulated, as folks wake up to what their legislatures are doing?

I imagine a mass exodus from Florida in response to the New York Mayor's invitation.

In Arizona, much is stirring, much to oppose, and the outlook is uncertain.

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Apr 5, 2022Liked by Ruth Ben-Ghiat

GOP is pretty much following the Fascist playbook. With so many groups to slam, they only have to be right once with most people. Right now, Gays are leading the pack. That group is getting the most vocal hatred, although, the Blacks and Jews have been taking quite a hit as well. All the GOP needs is Congress and then a nice crisis to capitalize on............. Hungry, 53-35%. Either Mark-Zay was really bad, or Orbans buddy, Putin helped. Maybe a little of both......... My main fear is folks thinking, or lack of it.

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Apr 5, 2022·edited Apr 6, 2022Liked by Ruth Ben-Ghiat

When I first read Rod Dreher tweet about the Hungarian prime minister, who will now serve a fourth term in office. “Groomers hardest hit."I had no idea what he meant by 'Groomers'. Now as explained by Ruth, I learn that it refers to sex traffickers and pedophiles. This is just the most hateful and despicable attack tool, nothing could be more unfair or cruel. But it should be no surprise because authoritarianism is brute force and inherently cruel and destructive in every way possible of basic rights of freedom and privacy.

The far right and Putin's obsession marks a trend that we've been seeing for at least a few years now in the US; as when Hillary Clinton was running a child sex ring operation out of a pizza parlor to Ketanji Brown Jackson, who's being smeared and attacked by a brawling mob of Republican senators as being soft on child porn. Satin worshiping pedophiles, sex trafficking and homophobia is a potent core theme of right wing authoritarians world wide and domestically.

I think they're just getting started. After years of progress, the persecution of gays is just in the wind up phase. Look for legislation coming out of states with Republican dominated legislatures to begin challenging Obergefell v. Hodges,-- the gay marriage law that was decided in 2015. The 6-3 reactionaries on the very conservative Supreme court are chomping at the bit to hear a challenge so they can overturn it and say it should be left up to the each individual state to decide. This is the same reasoning used as their historic overturning of Roe v Wade. They fail to understand that there are certain unalienable rights to privacy and liberty that can not be infringed upon by the whims of state legislatures.

An authoritarian white male Christian nationalism is threatening to steamroll over popular majority opinion for abortion and gay rights through out the country as a way to acquiring power in the current day Republican party. How fascist and tyrannical will they all get?

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