Thomas Achord Confesses
The sordid affair of the closet white supremacist schoolmaster has taken an abrupt turn: Thomas Achord, who strenuously denied behind the author of the pseudonymous racist, anti-Semitic, misogynistic Twitter account "Tulius Aadland," has now admitted that yeah, it was him all along. His confession makes a bad situation much worse. Excerpts:
From the start of this controversy I have tried to find the truth of the matter, and I have an appreciation of those on both sides who have pursued the same end, wherever it leads. The shock of the initial accusation and immediate demands for an answer sent me into an investigation concluding, with Twitter’s verification, that the account in question was someone else’s. I acted quickly upon this information to defend myself under a coordinated online attack aimed at using me to damage others. However, after more thorough research with the help of trusted friends and advisors and a great deal of counsel and soul-searching, I have come to conclude that the Tulius Aadland twitter account is indeed an old alias account of mine.
Oh, come on, that's ridiculous. He was so shocked by the accusations being made against him that he forced you to lie about them, and to impugn the integrity of his accusers, and to lead a bunch of people online who supported him to go out on a limb defending him? No, the simpler explanation is: he lied his butt off to save his reputation and maybe even his marriage.I would not want my tradwife to know that I had tweeted out things like this:
Or this about a TV show that sexualized adolescent girls:
He also tweeted one out that said he would not defend his wife because of any of her virtues -- there are no women left with those virtues, he said -- but because she was his "possession." Yeah, I wouldn't want the mother of my children to know that's what I thought of her either. If saying that I had had my account hacked, à la Joy Reid, was what it took to cover up my wickedness, I might do it too. But I would hope I would have the courage, once pinned to the wall, to admit that I did it because I'm a great sinner, not because I was in some sort of fugue state. Pathetic.
There are some tweets in the account that clearly only could have come from myself. An example is the location of an image or a painting where only I would have been present,
Yes, like this "smoking gun" image, which could only have been taken inside the Sequitur classroom building, and which members of the school's board instantly recognized when it was brought to their attention:
or material I shared to friends on my public account on another platform which was also posted to this twitter account on the same day. However, if we are to follow the truth, there are also some posts that contradict connection to me. One is the statement that I would never eat at a Mexican restaurant, while in truth I am half Mexican and grew up eating by the loving hands of my brown mother; or a statement that we should abandon the defense of western civilization, while I myself have devoted my career to promoting classical, western education. What explains these incongruities?
His mother really is Mexican. That's true. What explains these incongruities? Maybe he's a Nick Fuentes-style racist? A fugue state? Eating too many Twinkies? Once again, the simpler explanation is that Achord is a deeply conflicted man with significant psychological pathologies. But he says he was depressed:
After some deep reflection and consultation, I believe this period of my life was a spiritually dark time marked by pessimism and anger and strained relationships. The twitter account reflects a despairing man angry with the whole world. It is interesting that my tweets even vilified white people. I maintain that I have trouble recollecting tweets (and the entire account) in this period, and I think this helps explain why. I think this also explains why so many friends reached out to me to say that Tulius online sounds nothing like Thomas in real life. Although all of this occurred more than a year ago, going forward I am seeking counsel and repentance under godly authority.
Bullsh*t. In 2020, he published a book he co-edited, one that has a big section of passages buried in the middle arguing for the virtues of segregation. And as Joe Laughon discovered on Achord's Goodreads account, years ago, he was recommending Mein Kampf, the autobiography of David Duke, and other gems:
The reason some of his friends say it doesn't sound like him in real life is because not everybody knew him online. People have been asking me how could the Sequitur school not know about this. I've said that it's a very small, resource-poor school, with a dedicated team of teachers who work long hours doing what teachers do -- teaching kids -- and who don't have time to delve into the online lives of their colleagues. I barely knew Achord when my kids went to school there, but he always came across as modest, quiet, and kind. I never would have suspected this of him. I would be surprised if any of the Sequitur teachers had Twitter accounts, and surely wouldn't have expected them to be aware of the ever-changing Twitter aliases of the headmaster, unless he was expressing racist, anti-Semitic stuff at school, tipping me off. As to his Goodreads account, which is (was?) apparently under his own name, all I can say is: do you know how many of your friends have Goodreads accounts? I don't know if any of mine do. I'm not on Goodreads. My point is simply this: people who have a dark side can hide pretty easily online, especially if by their outward presentation, nobody suspects that they might have a shadow life. Again, we saw this with so many clerical sex abusers: "Father was such a nice guy, I just didn't see that coming."
My close friends and colleagues had little to no awareness of or interaction with my online activity, and I did not repeat to them in conversation the things I said online. Certain people want to associate the opinions I expressed on that account with Sequitur or with Stephen Wolfe, who was a co-host with me on a podcast we started, in an effort to discredit his new book. These people insinuate that those near me likewise hold those opinions. That charge is baseless.
I pray the good people of Sequitur and Istrouma recover from this turmoil that I regretfully brought into their midst and are able to forgive me and move ahead. I know some people pledged financial support to me on the assumption that I was wrongfully accused. If they want to withdraw their support now, I understand. Lastly, I want to apologize to my friends who acted in good faith and supported me based upon misleading information that I now must retract. I pray that the online “proxy wars” move on and allow good people to do the same. Thank you for your prayers.
You "regretfully brought into their midst"?!? This is cowardly. You were an online racist, anti-Semite, woman-hating creep who admitted on that account to wanting to use Classical Christian Education as a Trojan horse for white nationalism -- and did this while you were the headmaster of a school that trusted you! A school that has long depended on the generosity of Istrouma Baptist Church, which lets the school meet in its classrooms, and now, along with the school, has to bear unjustly the stain of your disgusting sin! This does not come a thousand miles near the apology and contrition you owe to the faculty, students, and parents whose trust you betrayed, and to the people of Istrouma Baptist Church. "I pray the good people of Sequitur and Istrouma recover" -- what lame verbiage. This is so infuriating. This dirtbag may well have destroyed the school he was entrusted to lead, and now he "prays" that they recover from the public shame he has "regretfully brought into their midst." Achord played a chad online, but when he gets busted, he retreats into therapeutic language and concepts.
Well, can what Achord calls the "proxy wars" -- his claim that critics of Stephen Wolfe and his book The Case for Christian Nationalism went after him to get to Wolfe -- move on? Let's check in with Stephen Wolfe on Twitter for his reaction to Achord's weird confession.
And if you are disappointed, well, hey, it was just a fugue state, and Achord will pray that you recover from the turmoil that he regretfully brought into your midst. And again, where is the moral responsibility on Wolfe's part? "Many people will conclude that Thomas lied in his first statement" -- because he did! And Wolfe admits in the next line that he did, but blames Achord's baroque lies on those who pointed out the truth!
The mind boggles at the moral bankruptcy here. It can be an honorable thing to stand by your friend in a time of trial. But it doesn't require lies and excuses like this.
Once again, we see moral cowardice, with Wolfe blaming "people around" Achord for Achord's self-serving lies. If Wolfe truly didn't believe Tulius was Achord -- and note well that Wolfe once followed the Tulius account, and liked some of his tweets -- then Achord has also betrayed Wolfe. But I don't for one second believe that Wolfe did not know who Tulius Aadland was. As can be seen in the comprehensive Alastair Roberts post, Wolfe may have unfollowed Tulius, but not before Roberts got a screenshot:
I have not followed this intra-Protestant controversy over Wolfe's book, but even if attacking Achord was "all about discrediting [Wolfe] and [his] book from the beginning, I'd say that they found the right target. Wolfe runs a podcast with Achord about religion and politics. They are professional associates. There is documented evidence (see above) that Wolfe followed Tulius Aadland; are we really to believe that he had no idea that his podcast partner and friend was really Tulius? And anyway, why would he follow such a persistently vicious, racist, Jew-hating Twitter account? If Wolfe professionally associated with a racist anti-Semite, I'd say it's perfectly fair to ask what he knew and when he knew it. Wolfe has a lot of questions to answer here. This controversy is not going away, no matter how badly Wolfe's publisher, Canon Press, wants it to.
One big reason it's not going away: nowhere in Wolfe's statement does he once repudiate the flat-out racism, the Jew hate, the ugly misogyny, of Achord. Nor, for that matter, does Achord repudiate all the things he said on the Tulius account. Wolfe acts as if the problem here is solely confined to Achord, and now that Achord has confessed his lie, that wraps things up. No it does not! You can't be so closely associated in your professional activities with a radical racist and not have it call your own morality into question. On that mega-post exposing Achord, Alastair Roberts writes:
Based on my understanding of it, I am firmly opposed to Achord’s political project and to anything like it. This opposition is not coming from someone who is a ‘leftist’. I have been vocal in criticism of mass immigration policies (see this Theopolis conversation, for instance), advocating some views that would be highly objectionable to many. Indeed, Achord favourably quotes statements from me in his book. Nor am I an opponent in principle of Christian nationalism, a position advanced by some of the voices I most admire in political theology and of which, in some form, I myself might reasonably be classed as an advocate.
Rather, my concern is that there is either a stowaway hidden in a specific Christian nationalist project, or perhaps certain projects are functioning as Trojan horses. I fear that Achord is one example of that. I am aiming to bring that to light in hopes of staunching such influences, because I believe it to be a corruption of ideas which I think are very good and important indeed.
There is nothing that would do more to discredit and weaken any Christian nationalist, postliberal, or other similar project than for one of its advocates to be in fact using it as cover for segregationist or white nationalist views. There is nothing that would be more destructive to the movement than to allow it to be so coopted without opposition.
Events of the past couple of days have entirely vindicated Alastair's concerns here. I have not been interested in the "Christian nationalism" issue, but I am interested in Classical Christian Education, a world in which Thomas Achord has made a name for himself. He betrayed them all. Indeed he was acting as a Trojan horse for white nationalism within the movement. As he wrote as Tulius, in his Twinkie fugue state, or whatever:
Thank you, Alastair Roberts, Susannah Roberts, and all those who exposed this Trojan horse, and who have received torrents of abuse from white nationalists and Wolfe fans. Unlike these two, Achord and Wolfe, you demonstrated honor, conviction, and true Christian values.
UPDATE.2: I've heard from one good friend who is disgusted by what Achord did, but who thinks I'm bouncing the rubble here. He might have a point. All I can say is that this stuff is very personal to me. My kids went to this school. My wife taught there from 2016 until now; she resigned upon learning what Achord, her close colleague, had done. I saw how hard this small school's faculty worked over the years to keep it going, making very little money, all because they believed in classical Christian education, and they loved teaching this stuff to kids. And now Achord has put that all at risk. I don't know if the school will survive this. It should survive -- it's not the fault of the faculty or students that their ex-headmaster ran a secret life as a hater -- but you know how these things work these days. Can Istrouma Baptist Church, which so generously let this little Christian school meet in its classroom space, continue to take a risk with Sequitur, seeing what has happened? I don't know. I hope so. But the fact that the work of a decade, the hard labor of so many dedicated Christian teachers, and parents, is now at risk because of Thomas Achord's demons, is very hard for me to accept. His victims have names and faces. I know many of them.
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Did he manage to fulfill his stated goal, as Tulius, of using CCE to spread white nationalism? Did he pass this on to any of his students over the years? This is now what parents who trusted Sequitur with their kids' educations must be wondering today.
Some of the responses to this essay on Twitter speak to why we can't just move on. I'm seeing a fair number of comments that say, sometimes literally, "Who cares? It was just Twitter. No enemies to the Right!" This is a corrupt ethic. The fact that many on the Left live this way does not make it any more justified. Every single one of us is going to have to answer to God for the way we have lived. Not one of us -- not me, not you, not Thomas Achord -- will show up unstained by sin. God's mercy through his Son's sacrifice is our only hope, but we will all have to give an accounting. If the Lord asks me one day, "Why did you say nothing when you found out that in your midst was a man quietly spreading race hatred, hatred of Jews, and spite towards women -- especially when this man was in a position of authority over young people who trusted him as a teacher?" It will not do to say, "Hey, Lord, no enemies to the Right!" Especially not if one is a Christian!