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Culture War Roundup for the week of October 24, 2022

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As many of you know, I am not a Rationalist. My skepticism of Rationalism emerges in a variety of ways, but none are more striking than the feeling of bizarre disconnect when observing the Rationalist tendency to focus on systems, on rules, on formal structures as though they were some durable expression of baseline reality, as though they were dispositive in and of themselves. "well, this is the rule, so this should be the outcome".

This being the Culture War thread, a lot of what we discuss here orbits around questions of Law, procedure, or organizational norms. The problem is that law is not dispositive. It is not the motive power driving our society, or even the steering wheel. In some cases it is the bumper sticker, and in others it is the exhaust. In most ways relevant to our discussions here, it simply does not matter, and if you cannot wrap your head around this, I contend that you fundamentally misunderstand the Culture War itself.

Today's example, via the National Review:

Virginia Democrat to Introduce Bill to Prosecute Parents Who Refuse to Treat Child as Opposite Sex

Virginia Democratic delegate Elizabeth Guzman is seeking to introduce legislation that would hold parents criminally liable for refusing to treat their children as a different sex from the one they were born into. The legislation, which Guzman plans to introduce in Virginia’s upcoming legislative session, would expand the definition of child abuse so that parents could be charged with a felony or misdemeanor for refusing to honor their child’s request to be treated as the opposite sex.

“If the child shares with those mandated reporters, what they are going through, we are talking about not only physical abuse or mental abuse, what the job of that mandated reporter is to inform Child Protective Services (CPS),” Guzman told 7News. “That’s how everybody gets involved. There’s also an investigation in place that is not only from a social worker but there’s also a police investigation before we make the decision that there is going to be a CPS charge.”

The move comes in response to Virginia governor Glenn Youngkin’s latest policy initiatives, which empower parents to exercise control over whether and how children transition gender in school, as well as a speech he gave at a “parents matter” rally back at the beginning of the school year. “They think parents have no right to know what your child is discussing with their teacher or counselor,” Youngkin said.

Sing it with me, all together now: The last several years are best modelled as a massive, distributed search for ways to hurt the outgroup as badly as possible without getting in too much trouble. From the Blue perspective, legally redefining Red Tribe parenting as child abuse is certainly a pretty good way to hurt the outgroup, and options for retaliation are limited and costly. The algorithm is working! And for those who might have concerns, never fear: Guzman's got you covered.

When asked by the local reporter whether she isn’t “criminalizing parents” as many Republicans argue, Guzman answered unequivocally.

“No, it’s not. It’s educating parents because the law tells you the do’s and don’ts,” Guzman answered. “So this law is telling you do not abuse your children because they are LGBTQ.” Guzman was similarly unwavering in her thoughts about whether such an approach violated free speech or religious freedom. “The Bible says to accept everyone for who they are. So that’s what I tell them when they asked me that question, and that’s what I will continue to tell people.”

...I'd love to blame Blue ideology for that last paragraph's worth of mealy-mouthed horseshit, but honestly, I think we all can recognize that Normies shall inevitably Norm. Still, not great. I didn't bother to hunt down her full statement; let's tell ourselves she actually laid out a thoughtful argument about how society requires compromises and hard choices, gestured at trans suicide rates and some impeccably replicated studies showing that confirmed gender identity leads to better outcomes, and then the mean ol' National Review edited all that out to make her sound like a [DATA EXPUNGED] ...less ...persuasive person. Maybe that's even true! Let's not check.

Many Democratic lawmakers and liberal activists have criticized Youngkin’s recently announced education policy changes. Most prominently, the new policies prohibit teachers from using personal pronouns “not on a student’s official records.” They also reverse a previous state policy “allowing students to use bathrooms that align with their preferred gender.”

Last month, students across nearly 100 schools staged walkout protests across the state to criticize Governor Youngkin’s policies and defend transgender rights.

...It bears mentioning that those student walkouts were almost certainly partisan political actions organized by public employees. Red Tribe doesn't get to do student activism in public schools, and it certainly doesn't get to use schoolchildren as political props. This is in fact a perfect example of why the actions they're protesting are needed... but I digress.

This proposed law doesn't matter. It doesn't matter even a little bit, and not just because it hasn't passed yet. It's very clearly a violation of religious freedom so it should be flatly unconstitutional, but of course the Constitution doesn't matter either. None of the surrounding legal, procedural, or policy questions matter. None of it matters. Not even a little bit. These things aren't the engine. They aren't the steering wheel. They're the bumper stickers, and they're the exhaust. They are the effect, not the cause. If this law is struck down, another will replace it. If this law passes, the core issue will not be resolved. The Constitution should prevent this, but it won't, nor would amendments help.

The cause is the Tribes, Blue and Red, and their manifestly incompatible values. Blues/Reds do not Like Reds/Blues. Contrary to arguments presented here for years, we do not share values, moral intuitions, a workable understanding of The Good. The Culture War is not about mistakes, and people are not going to come to their senses any minute now and realize all this was just a whole heap of silly goosery. The Culture War is a conflict. We cannot all get along, because we have lost the fundamental capacity to agree on what "getting along" consists of. We can't agree on what constitutes murder, rape, child abuse, spousal abuse, what constitutes crime, what constitutes Justice. These are not the sort of disagreements a society can have, long term. Something has to give, and probably a lot of somethings.

Laws, norms, procedures, all of those are well downstream of Culture, of social reality. You need everyone more or less on the same page before you can even attempt law; trying to keep law together in the face of mutual values incoherence is... well, it's real stupid, and it's never going to work even a little bit. If you can't get people to agree on central definitions of murder and child abuse, how the Sweet Satan do you expect to run a justice system, a legal system, an election system, much less adjudicate free speech?

This law isn't being proposed because it solves a problem. It's being proposed because Blues hate Reds and want to harm them. That tribal hatred, by no means unique in its character and very much reciprocated by Reds, wants to Do Something About The Bad People. If we held the population constant and completely replaced our entire political system, someone very like this woman would be proposing some action roughly analogous to this law, because that is how tribal hatred works. The hatred itself is what matters; the specific grooves and canals it is channeled through, the details of procedure and custom, norms and institutional traditions, codified policies and so on are irrelevant. This concentrated, willfully malignant essence of humanity, cannot be constrained by ink on paper or dusty tradition. It finds a way. You are not going to prevent that by asking it politely to please not.

This event is not surprising, and as some of you are no doubt aware, none of what I've written above is even close to novel. I and others were predicting shit like this as far back as early 2016. If you couldn't, and especially if you are one of the OG Blues or Moderates who scoffed or harrumphed when we predicted it, well, is this sufficient to demonstrate the point?

A brief coda, if you'll allow me. A month or two back, we had an excellent thread about drag, kids, and the slur "groomer". A lot of the blues and moderates argued that "groomer" means someone actually trying to prep a kid for sex with themselves or a specific other person, and so applying it to teachers and other authority figures was an instance of The Worst Argument in The World, and so should be frowned on.

I disagree. "Groomer", as I understand it, is a person who's making a covert attempt to directly modify a kid's sexuality in unhealthy ways. I understand that many people here disagree with this definition, but there's something you should understand in turn: when people like me use the term "groomer", we are not saying "I really don't like this person." We're saying that we consider the people so labeled, the officials supporting them, and the section of the public providing their ideology to be a direct, serious and immediate threat to our children.

Perhaps you find that irrational, inexplicable. After all, they're not breaking the law, right?

We would like to avoid these negative dynamics. Accordingly, we ask that you do not use this thread for waging the Culture War. Examples of waging the Culture War:

Making sweeping generalizations to vilify a group you dislike.

Posting links that could be summarized as 'Boo outgroup!' Basically, if your content is 'Can you believe what Those People did this week?' then you should either refrain from posting, or do some very patient work to contextualize and/or steel-man the relevant viewpoint.

Well, whatever, the rules are made up and the points don't matter.

Remarkably absent from both your post and the replies are the fact that Republicans control the Virginian house of delegates and the governorship, so this has about as much chance of passing as the Illinois bounty law. Even if Democrats had slim majorities in both houses and the governorship, I'd be shocked if something like this could pass. The far end of trans rights is generally a losing issue for democrats and, by extension, taking children out of their parents control makes the majority of people in both parties uncomfortable.

The cause is the Tribes, Blue and Red, and their manifestly incompatible values. Blues/Reds do not Like Reds/Blues. Contrary to arguments presented here for years, we do not share values, moral intuitions, a workable understanding of The Good. The Culture War is not about mistakes, and people are not going to come to their senses any minute now and realize all this was just a whole heap of silly goosery. The Culture War is a conflict. We cannot all get along, because we have lost the fundamental capacity to agree on what "getting along" consists of.

The virtuous cycle of Conflict theory:

Step 1: Find blue person doing bad thing

Step 2: Equate blue person with entire Blue tribe

Step 3: Claim entire Blue tribe wants to hurt me and mine

Step 4a: Spend a lot of time on the internet talking about igloos <- You are here

Step 4b: Hurt blue tribe

It may be difficult to believe, but some people genuinely care about the wellbeing of Trans kids and think they're happier living as their chosen gender. I would be absolutely shocked to find that Guzman is so monstrous that she's primarily motivated by a desire to cause you suffering, and even if she were, the idea that the broader Trans movement was conjured up to harm you both beggars belief and smacks of hubris. Your attraction to Conflict Theory isn't for the truth value, rather you need it to justify your own behavior and hatred:

We're saying that we consider the people so labeled, the officials supporting them, and the section of the public providing their ideology to be a direct, serious and immediate threat to our children.

You'll reject any arguments I make to the contrary that Blue tribe is Out To Get You while ignoring or defending any Red tribe transgression. You've surrounded yourself by yes-men who will trip over themselves to fellate you regardless of what you write, and be outraged that my reply is anything other than happy seal noises.

According to your model, half of your fellow citizens represent a serious and immediate threat to your children. So, what comes next? No more AEO excuses for hinting darkly rather than speaking clearly.

Making sweeping generalizations to vilify a group you dislike.

I did not make sweeping generalizations about a group I dislike. I made a generalization about all Americans. I think it is necessary to talk about society as a whole, and when one talks about society as a whole generalizations are necessary. I made some effort to be as precise as possible.

Posting links that could be summarized as 'Boo outgroup!' Basically, if your content is 'Can you believe what Those People did this week?' then you should either refrain from posting, or do some very patient work to contextualize and/or steel-man the relevant viewpoint.

I am neither engaging in "boo outgroup", or asking "can you believe what Those People did this week", and I think I did, in fact, go to considerable effort to contextualize and steel-man the relevant viewpoint. A major politician attempting, within their sphere of influence, to criminalize the way half the country raises their kids is not someone saying something wacky on twitter.

Remarkably absent from both your post and the replies are the fact that Republicans control the Virginian house of delegates and the governorship, so this has about as much chance of passing as the Illinois bounty law.

I appreciate that you do not like the argument I'm making, but I think you should actually attempt to engage with it, at least enough to follow the thread. When I say:

This proposed law doesn't matter. It doesn't matter even a little bit, and not just because it hasn't passed yet. It's very clearly a violation of religious freedom so it should be flatly unconstitutional, but of course the Constitution doesn't matter either. None of the surrounding legal, procedural, or policy questions matter. None of it matters. Not even a little bit. These things aren't the engine. They aren't the steering wheel. They're the bumper stickers, and they're the exhaust. They are the effect, not the cause. If this law is struck down, another will replace it. If this law passes, the core issue will not be resolved. The Constitution should prevent this, but it won't, nor would amendments help.

...I am explicitly arguing that Law does not operate the way you assume it does. Why would you respond to a claim that it doesn't matter if the law is passed or not by pointing out that the law probably won't pass?

Rather than hammer out another twenty-k increasingly frustrated characters, can I ask that you do me a favor? Just for the sake of wild speculation, imagine for a moment that I am not actually attempting to radicalize other Reds, incite violence, or generally hate-jacking it over the idea of large-scale death and misery with my fellow rage-monsters. Imagine that I'm actually trying, very imperfectly, to convince you specifically that you're wrong about something really, really important: that some of the core assumptions you and people like you rely on for your political and social reasoning actually have a really big and very hazardous blind spot in them. Assume that I suck to an unbelievable degree at this, and that probably says woeful things about my character, but it's just barely possible that there's some valuable signal buried in the above shit-heap of noise. Then read it again, and if you're up to it, give me a short summary of the argument you think I'm trying to make.

...If it helps, here's a couple short statements to try to highlight some of the thought process.

  • Politicians propose measures they think will be popular with their base.

  • What we are voting on is vastly more important than how we vote

  • What people want has a vast impact on both what laws are proposed, what laws are passed, and how those laws are implemented.

  • Americans generally are converging on a belief that the biggest political problem they have is that the other Tribe is bad.

  • Assessments of social badness and punishments for that badness are inevitable and necessary for society to function; they cannot be eliminated.

  • Politics exists in large part to assess and punish social badness.

  • Social badness is a values judgement

  • Americans generally strongly disagree over even very basic values judgements.

The far end of trans rights is generally a losing issue for democrats and, by extension, taking children out of their parents control makes the majority of people in both parties uncomfortable.

Okay. If a law like this actually passes and starts getting enforced, will you reconsider the relevance of the above post?

It may be difficult to believe, but some people genuinely care about the wellbeing of Trans kids and think they're happier living as their chosen gender.

I am well aware that such people exist. I do not think such people existing actually explains why a state-level politician is proposing the criminalization of non-affirmation. I do not think you can demonstrate that the standard Trans activist line is sufficiently well-evidenced and documented to make a law like this a remotely reasonable proposal. Tribal animosity of exactly the sort that exists and is endemic throughout the culture can in fact explain it quite easily.

I would be absolutely shocked to find that Guzman is so monstrous that she's primarily motivated by a desire to cause you suffering, and even if she were, the idea that the broader Trans movement was conjured up to harm you both beggars belief and smacks of hubris.

Guzman is motivated by some combination of political ambition and desire to be a Good Person. For her, "good person" is defined by her tribe, which is Blue. Blue Tribe holds that Red anti-LGBT bigotry causes vast harm and suffering, and that preventing and/or punishing this bigotry helps make a better world, that the world will be a better place when Red hostility to LGBT culture has been eliminated, and that actively working to achieve that elimination is a good thing. If you are under the impression that this is an exaggeration or somehow unfair, please say so, and I and likely many others will happily bury your concerns under a mountain of probative examples.

She literally believes my community is built on endemic child abuse. The fact that this idea would have been an absurdly uncharitable caricature less than a decade ago demonstrates that she and her community rapidly self-modified to believe this. If you think they did this based on the calm, reasoned assessment of all available evidence, culminating in a cool-headed, dispassionate weighing of the policies available to them, please, by all means say so. I think they did it because of a runaway spiral of tribal signaling, the same spiral that has resulted in a very long list of other absurd and disastrous mistakes. I think I can describe exactly how that spiral has operated, and even show you the specific milestones of its advancement.

But yes, to sum up, I think an overwhelming majority of the current LGBT issues are, in fact, about picking fights with Reds, not about finding a reasonable level of accommodation where we can live together. LGBT activists in this very community have laid out how and why picking such fights is their explicit plan, and how they have no intention of coexisting with Red values at all, ever. If that's not good enough for you, please tell me what level of evidence you're willing to consider sufficient.

You'll reject any arguments I make to the contrary that Blue tribe is Out To Get You while ignoring or defending any Red tribe transgression.

You are responding to a comment where a senior state-level politician flat-out states that yes, she is absolutely out to get me, because she thinks saying so will be popular with her base and help her win further offices. Your argument for why this should not be taken seriously is that she probably won't get the law passed, because her party doesn't dominate the particular state in question.

Okay. So what happens when they do dominate? Do you think this is all just posturing, and they'd never really do it because that would be crazy? What happens if they decide that no, actually, they're gonna try it?

Your attraction to Conflict Theory isn't for the truth value, rather you need it to justify your own behavior and hatred:

You could not possibly be more wrong. I endeavor to behave in a fashion that requires no justification, and to the extent I fail there is no excuse. My hatred is unjustifiable, flatly evil, and something I am actively attempting to get a rein on.

I don't care if you disagree with me. One of us is very badly wrong. I think it's you. One version of the dream is that one of us realizes the error of our ways, and all these arguments resolve in an instant into a joyful, shared communion in the truth, and in this version it genuinely does not matter to me who was wrong and who was right. The other version of the dream is that I scream "I told you so, you stupid motherfuckers" at all of you in the last ten minutes before the lights go out. That last part, admittedly, is not terribly mature, but after much consideration it seems better than a lot of the other options.

According to your model, half of your fellow citizens represent a serious and immediate threat to your children. So, what comes next? No more AEO excuses for hinting darkly rather than speaking clearly.

Avoid the problem by declining to live in Blue areas or exposing my kids to blue organizations. Coordinate political power along explicitly tribal interests so that we can secure a livable future free of Blue oppression. Attempt to get enough resources to successfully bypass doom if that coordination fails. Hope for a miracle, get on with living life in the meantime.

2/2

You could not possibly be more wrong. I endeavor to behave in a fashion that requires no justification, and to the extent I fail there is no excuse. My hatred is unjustifiable, flatly evil, and something I am actively attempting to get a rein on.

I wish you the best, and while it's ludicrous and perhaps a failure of imagination on my part, I fundamentally believe this is the attraction of Conflict Theory.

One of us is very badly wrong.

Unlikely. The world is more complex than "Everything is 100% explainable by conflict theory" and "my country(wo)men are saintly altruists who take no selfish acts," and the truth is likely in the middle. The US isn't headed towards glorious fully automated luxury gay space communism, nor is it headed towards apocalyptic prepper wasteland where we fight over bottlecaps, it'll shamble along a good while longer.

Avoid the problem by declining to live in Blue areas or exposing my kids to blue organizations. Coordinate political power along explicitly tribal interests so that we can secure a livable future free of Blue oppression. Attempt to get enough resources to successfully bypass doom if that coordination fails. Hope for a miracle, get on with living life in the meantime.

Well, segregation is your right as a private citizen I suppose. This country only works insofar as we put in the work to have hard discussions across the chasm of differing worldviews, and I'd encourage you to not give up on trying to communicate or understand or empathize, but I suppose it's better than most of the alternatives.

1/2

Apologies upfront, but this will probably be my only reply in this thread. Not because I don't care, but because I don't have the time to exchange essays and frankly given the timestamps of your replies it's probably best for the both of us.

Assume that I suck to an unbelievable degree at this, and that probably says woeful things about my character, but it's just barely possible that there's some valuable signal buried in the above shit-heap of noise. Then read it again, and if you're up to it, give me a short summary of the argument you think I'm trying to make.

Alright, I read it again. I'm still incensed. I'll expand on why in a moment, but we can go piece by piece.

I did not make sweeping generalizations about a group I dislike.

You did.

This law isn't being proposed because it solves a problem. It's being proposed because Blues hate Reds and want to harm them. That tribal hatred, by no means unique in its character and very much reciprocated by Reds, wants to Do Something About The Bad People.

From the Blue perspective, legally redefining Red Tribe parenting as child abuse is certainly a pretty good way to hurt the outgroup, and options for retaliation are limited and costly. The algorithm is working! And for those who might have concerns, never fear: Guzman's got you covered. '

when people like me use the term "groomer", we are not saying "I really don't like this person." We're saying that we consider the people so labeled, the officials supporting them, and the section of the public providing their ideology to be a direct, serious and immediate threat to our children.

You don't get to open with an angry rant about a law being proposed by a Virginian democrat, pepper it with mentions about blues hating reds and wanting to harm them, wrap it up with 'actually, these people are groomers and I consider them an immediate and serious threat to my children', stuff the same argument you've been making for as long as I've been around in the middle, and claim that you aren't waging the culture war. Out of all the replies to your post, how many were interested in an academic discussion about the finer points of the law being downstream of cultural values versus people wanting to bitch about Thing Blue Person Did This Week? I'd count one for the former, almost everyone else in the latter. While I'm sure my reading comprehension skills are subpar for the local community, everyone is responding to the 'hatejacking,' not just me. You just don't care because the other contrarian, totally-independent critical thinkers agree with your take.

I think I did, in fact, go to considerable effort to contextualize and steel-man the relevant viewpoint.

Your steel-man:

A major politician attempting, within their sphere of influence, to criminalize the way half the country raises their kids is not someone saying something wacky on twitter.

Wow, really? So your half of the country uses pronouns given at birth, which this law would criminalize, and the other half of the country calls their children ze/zir? Literally the entirety of blue tribe has trans children, and the parenting style of >99% of red tribe families with cis children will be criminalized? That's your steel-man?

But whatever. Like I said, the rules don't matter, and even if they did, nobody would care what I think.

My best summary of your argument, parts of which I agree with and have made myself:

Laws are irrelevant, what matters are the upstream values of the people writing them, the people voting for the people writing them, the people enforcing them and the people willing to obey them. A group of people with no shared values who hate each other and defect constantly who adopt the United States constitution and system will not become the United States; conversely, if we memory-holed the constitution and judicial system overnight, people in respectable communities here would still put back their shopping carts, mow their lawns, send their kids to school and so on and so forth. There's plenty of happy little enclaves throughout history who lived your Good Life without our laws, and plenty of shithole countries that imitate our system with poor results.

Our values have diverged so far that we can no longer have productive debates, discussions or peaceful coexistence. Life is now a zero-sum game dictated by how best to harm the outgroup. In short, Conflict Theory.

You've made this argument repeatedly with a different event du jour tacked on, usually a bad thing that you cite as evidence to support your worldview. Usually, if you'll forgive the armchair psychology and repeated assumptions about your state of mind, something you're personally incensed by.

Why would you respond to a claim that it doesn't matter if the law is passed or not by pointing out that the law probably won't pass?

Because literally everyone responding to you is hyperventilating about the government criminalizing the parenting of the entire Red Tribe. Because someone needs to pump the brakes, because someone needs to at least culture war in the opposite direction if we have to be waging the culture war in the first place.

Just for the sake of wild speculation, imagine for a moment that I am not actually attempting to radicalize other Reds, incite violence, or generally hate-jacking it over the idea of large-scale death and misery with my fellow rage-monsters. Imagine that I'm actually trying, very imperfectly, to convince you specifically that you're wrong about something really, really important: that some of the core assumptions you and people like you rely on for your political and social reasoning actually have a really big and very hazardous blind spot in them.

I reject what you're saying both because 1) I disagree, and believe in the decency and character of the vast majority of my fellow citizens, including you and your fellow rage-monsters and 2) even if you were right, I'm not going to accept it, shrug and go back to scrolling on reddit while my country burns. I'm going to rage against the dying of the light even as you laugh and say 'told you so stupid motherfucker' the same way I'm raging at you now, I'm going to enlist in the armed forces, run for office, start a goddamn substack, argue on the internet, have a family of 6 or whatever it takes to make the world a better place because we are not just passive bystanders, we are what makes this country what it is. There's always going to be freeloaders, cynics and rage-monsters. Spreading cynicism and conflict theory begets more cynicism and conflict; regardless of the truth value of your statements I believe that you're making the problem worse.

Do you remember what you said years ago when I asked why you still bother to post around here? Perhaps I'm insufferable, naive, self-righteous and overzealous but I prefer my answer to what I remember yours was, which amounted to 'it helps pass the time.' If only I could find it.

If a law like this actually passes and starts getting enforced, will you reconsider the relevance of the above post?

Hardly, and the inverse law already exists in Texas. I can fairly easily mentally model a steel-man where both Texan politicians and Guzman are doing what they think is best for the children. Also, the law doesn't matter, remember?

It would take some truly titanic event to turn me as cynical as you. Like concentration camps, civil war, a real coup or living in Russia.

Guzman is motivated by some combination of political ambition and desire to be a Good Person. For her, "good person" is defined by her tribe, which is Blue. Blue Tribe holds that Red anti-LGBT bigotry causes vast harm and suffering, and that preventing and/or punishing this bigotry helps make a better world, that the world will be a better place when Red hostility to LGBT culture has been eliminated, and that actively working to achieve that elimination is a good thing.

You flip between Guzman and Blue tribe as a whole depending on which is more convenient, and project the former onto the latter to justify you writing off half the country. You're rehashing this conversation. Again, you ignore the majority of values that we do share and catastrophize over the marginal cases of trans children with deeply conservative children. In a country of over 300 million, I have no doubt there are a few hundred cases of miserable trans children and angry parents that you could make a probative mountain to bury me under. I suspect you're less interested in the mountain 300 million people tall where this isn't the case.

Not to say I don't take your concerns seriously, or minimize the suffering of those people, or argue that they should be charged with a felony and thrown in jail. But I'm not about to lose my faith in western civilization or this nation because we don't have a great solution for this problem.

Okay. So what happens when they do dominate? Do you think this is all just posturing, and they'd never really do it because that would be crazy? What happens if they decide that no, actually, they're gonna try it?

I think there's a world where trans people face more acceptance than they do now, that surgery and medicine improve their ability to transition more seamlessly, and where people come around not because blue politicians rammed it down their throat but because they don't feel threatened by it anymore. If there are indeed people attracted to being trans for persecution complex reasons, the total number of trans people goes down. And this is congruent with what I think you were saying above; if trans people aren't viewed as a threat anymore values will change organically and a law like this will have broader majority support.

You'll reject any arguments I make to the contrary that Blue tribe is Out To Get You while ignoring or defending any Red tribe transgression.

I want to preface this by noting that I hit you with all these questions because I respect you, and I'm genuinely interested in your take.

Do you have any suggestions for comparable Red Tribe transgressions? From my perspective, Reds just look less invested in this part of the game, possibly from having a smaller "standing army", as it were, of professional partisans who spend all day thinking up culture war offensives to enact. But this could easily be a blind spot.

Do you have any suggestions for comparable Red Tribe transgressions? From my perspective, Reds just look less invested in this part of the game, possibly from having a smaller "standing army", as it were, of professional partisans who spend all day thinking up culture war offensives to enact.

Either you already know the answer to this question, you'll say my response is categorically different (politics vs. social engineering) or that my response is just wrong, no? I doubt there's any huge culture war development I'm aware of that you remain ignorant of.

  1. False election claims, often knowingly false claims made by Trump et al to undermine faith in the election system for personal benefit. Recently elected Republican election official harassed by his own party for saying he hasn't found any evidence of fraud. Cyber ninjas debacle. etc, etc, etc. Explicit, unabashed gerrymandering. Power plays like this one.

  2. Roe v. Wade, Texas bounty hunter law, decades of unconstitutional abortion laws in southern states, assassination of doctors providing abortions, armed men screaming abuse at women walking into planned parenthood and a concerted effort to trick them into 'pregnancy crisis centers' instead.

  3. Nobody cares anymore, but southern states still push creation science and religion. Children are indoctrinated by whatever religious sect their parents choose for them. Children are inundated with things like the pledge of allegiance, armed forces propaganda and media glorifying the US military to an extent that you won't even recognize as weird if you haven't lived abroad.

  4. How about don't say gay laws? Or other anti-trans legislation? Laws banning discussion of [equity]9https://www.edweek.org/policy-politics/heres-the-long-list-of-topics-republicans-want-banned-from-the-classroom/2022/02)? What about book bans? There's a lot of focus on lawn boy and it's ilk, but look at some of the shit people are using that as cover to ban. Oh no, a child might see a muslim person portrayed as anything other than a terrorist! The horror! The handmaid's tale is banned by a dozen states.

I'm sure if you cared more about the culture war you could make hay out of a dozen crazy bills proposed by some state legislators in the south.

Either you already know the answer to this question, you'll say my response is categorically different (politics vs. social engineering) or that my response is just wrong, no? I doubt there's any huge culture war development I'm aware of that you remain ignorant of.

There's a lot of states that pass or consider a lot of bills that might get attention in media environments I don't frequent. And in fairness, a lot of these examples are not quite what I'm thinking of, but some are. The abortion bounty-hunter thing is a good example. I'm not sure what the "trick" entails, but yes, fooling women who want abortions into visiting a clinic that is dedicated to convincing them to keep the baby is a reasonable fit. Religion in schools is potentially fertile ground, but I don't just mean parents teaching kids their own religion, I mean something more like "Kansas passes a law to have CPS target parents who refuse to let their kids take Creationism classes." Or refusing to certify graduation science requirements for atheists. Similarly, all those "anti-trans" bills are about biological males participating in women's sports teams - has anyone finagled some clever scheme to ban trans students from all extracurriculars purely as a Fuck You wedge to punish the outgroup?

Similarly, all those "anti-trans" bills are about biological males participating in women's sports teams - has anyone finagled some clever scheme to ban trans students from all extracurriculars purely as a Fuck You wedge to punish the outgroup?

This is false.

The latest directive comes in the form of a letter issued in late February to DFPS directing the agency to classify medical treatments for transgender adolescents—such as puberty blockers and hormone injections—as “child abuse” under existing state law. The letter calls for DFPS to investigate parents who help their children access such treatments, as well as licensed facilities that administer them. The letter also imposes penalties on any “mandatory reporters” like doctors, nurses, and teachers who don’t report instances of treatment to the agency, as well as on members of the general public.

The letter is the follow-up to a legal opinion Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton released a few days prior, defining such procedures as child abuse and labeling gender-reassignment surgeries as “forced sterilization,” among other claims.

The Florida 'Democrats are pedophiles' law attempts to conflate discussions about the existence of gay or transgender people with exposing them to sexually explicit material:

—No Federal

funds may be made available to develop, implement, facilitate, or fund any sexually-oriented program, event, or literature for children under the age of 10, including hosting

or promoting any program, event, or literature involving

sexually-oriented material, or any program, event, or literature that exposes children under the age of 10 to nude

adults, individuals who are stripping, or lewd or lascivious

dancing.

Okay, I'm on board.

—The

term ‘‘sexually-oriented material’’ means any depiction, description, or simulation of sexual activity,

any lewd or lascivious depiction or description of

human genitals, or any topic involving gender identity, gender dysphoria, transgenderism, sexual orientation, or related subjects.

Ohhh, I see the trojan horse now. So, for example, showing a story with a gay couple would be a discussion about sexual orientation, wouldn't it? Or a discussion about why boys have to wear pants while girls can wear dresses would be skirting (heh) dangerously close to verboten language. Essentially, you're claiming that talking about the existence of gay or trans people is 'sexually-oriented' material in a way that discussing heterosexual relationships is not. Republicans want to pass something like this nationally.

If we gave voice to the central majority rather than the extremists on either margin, there's probably a course to be charted. I think most people are uncomfortable with letting 6 year olds opt for irreversible surgery, and virtually all with CPS agents dragging away your child because you questioned their pronouns. Conversely, I also think most people are uncomfortable with a China-like security apparatus trying to memory-hole the existence of gay people.

This is false.

So the prior article did seem to be about sports stuff at a quick glance, but this one

The latest directive comes in the form of a letter issued in late February to DFPS directing the agency to classify medical treatments for transgender adolescents—such as puberty blockers and hormone injections—as “child abuse” under existing state law.

is a good example of exactly the kind of stuff I'm talking about. Not just restricting it, or putting more onerous requirements, but straight up classifying it as child abuse is the kind of "Fuck you" offensive maneuver I was thinking about.

Essentially, you're claiming that talking about the existence of gay or trans people is 'sexually-oriented' material in a way that discussing heterosexual relationships is not.

I honestly don't think that discussing heterosexual relationships is something that schools like doing in the first place. There are too many kids for whom that's a sore spot. On a personal level, I spent a couple of years reaching out to teachers to ask them to be cautious around the topic of "moms", and I was repeatedly reassured that it wasn't likely to be an issue, I was far from the only parent whose kids had a family related emotional disturbance, and teachers were all trained to be sensitive about that stuff. Even when they do a Mother's Day activity, it's quickly glossed over as "pick a special lady in your life, a mom, grandma, aunt, family friend". Grandparent's Day is Special Person's Day, etc. Instead, they just use groups of racially and gender diverse kids as the cast in all the short reading pieces, maybe with a teacher or generic adult. In that context, throwing in some examples of gay families where "Daddy and Daddy still love each other!" leaves a bit of a different impression.

interested in your take.

Do you have any suggestions for comparable Red Tribe transgressions? From my perspective, Reds just look less

The Texas Abortion Bounty law seems analogous, for a starting place.

The Texas law saying that gender-affirming care can be investigated as child abuse would seem to be an even more direct mirror. Same issue, same threat to remove children from their parents.

Just so.

I think that this is a valuable post and what's more, you're correct in your assessment.

But I can see how a conflict theorist would map "caring about Trans kids" onto some more sinister. This entire issue of trans children sprung, seemingly out of nowhere, in the last few years. To someone not deeply embedded in modern, blue tribe culture its hard to believe that all of a sudden the incidence of trans identity just naturally explodes by 1000%. So the conspiratorial mind finds other explanations.

I think an analog would be the Satanic panics of earlier generations where day care operators and others were bizarrely charged with harming kids in the name of Satan. Surely nothing could be so ridiculous? But I think the promulgators of the Satanic panics were pushing a genuine quasi-religious belief. They really believed that Satanic cults existed. They weren't just looking for people to hurt.

Likewise, today's blue tribe feels genuine strong passions that transgender identity is important. Some would even say, or at least imply, that it is better than CIS identity. This belief would be considered quite ridiculous to almost any society other than the current one in which we live. Surely they can't actually believe that, the right-winger thinks. And so they must be doing it to own the right.

the broader Trans movement was conjured up to harm you both beggars belief and smacks of hubris

That depends on what you call "the broader Trans movement". It's the classical motte-and-bailey situation. If we talk about people that claim trans persons should not be persecuted for their behavior, and should be allowed to modify their bodies as they want, if they feel like it - that's one thing. That's self-ownership which any adult is entitled to. If we talk about social norm that requires promoting and celebrating such modifications, and in fact encouraging people to do them and praising them for the fact they did the surgery as an ultimate act of courage and accomplishment - that's different thing. If we talk about the norm where anybody declaring that they might feel like doing such modifications sometime in the future, or feel like they already did such modifications even if they didn't, or don't want to do them but want everybody to pretend they did, should immediately be treated by everybody as if their perception were the reality, not only since they declared it, but always in the past - that's another different thing. If we talk about social norm where it is not acceptable to even question and discuss whether a norms like above is a good thing, and whether forcing people into accepting these norms is the only accepted social behavior - that's another different thing. If we talk about perception of being trans being so important that any child, no matter how minor, once expressing any feeling that may reasonably be considered as "feeling trans" by any observer, immediately and forever declared "trans" and any effort not actively leading him to hormonal and surgical modification is considered abuse and deserves complete exclusion of any parental involvement - that's another different thing.

And yes, promoting some of these goals would harm me. Both as a person and as a member of the social culture. And yes, I think some of this things - not all of them, not at all, but some - are conjured to destroy (or at least modify in a way that would make it as good as destroyed) current societal culture. These things can not be reasonably reconciled with freedom of speech, freedom of thought, freedom of association, parental responsibility, freedom of scientific research, etc. - and the experience shows us that their proponents make no attempt to reconcile them, but instead act to destroy those cultural and societal institutions that stand in their way. This feature, of course, is not unique to "the broader Trans movement" but is common to many Leftist movements in general, which is no wonder since they are parts of the same movement.

I agree with the first paragraph! I don't have time to do this justice, but I hope you'll accept this placeholder and I'll get you a real response in the not-too-distant future.

The thing about you and @FCfromSSC is that you have both earned respect as representatives of polar opposites of the political spectrum, and that being the case, watching the two of you go at it is kind of like watching a prizefighter match.

That said, there is still no fighting in the war room, gentlemen. IOW, there are rules.

You'll reject any arguments I make to the contrary that Blue tribe is Out To Get You while ignoring or defending any Red tribe transgression. You've surrounded yourself by yes-men who will trip over themselves to fellate you regardless of what you write, and be outraged that my reply is anything other than happy seal noises.

This is over the line. I mean, you're not wrong! Write a long red-hot accelerationist post and watch the upvotes climb, and yup, you definitely got a bunch of outraged reports for arguing with him. But calling everyone who agrees with him "yes-men who will trip over themselves to fellate you" is just culture warring right back. "Everyone who agrees with you sucks" (literally) is not exactly keeping the antagonism in check.

According to your model, half of your fellow citizens represent a serious and immediate threat to your children. So, what comes next? No more AEO excuses for hinting darkly rather than speaking clearly.

"What comes next?" isn't an unfair question, but posed the way you pose it, it reads less like an attempt to genuinely understand a point of view than an invitation to fedpost. "Go on, tell me you want to kill me, I dare you!"

Less of this, please.

accelerationist

Are you describing FC's post as accelerationist?

It's a fair cop, based on previous conversations.

Thanks for the reminder. I promise upfront not to argue with you, but if you're willing to indulge a question I'd appreciate it.

IOW, there are rules.

From my perspective, I hold my tongue on a lot of snarky one and two line posts that strike me as culture warring. 1 2 3 4 5.

Not to complain or cry that they should get warnings and/or bans, but my impression was that we were thunderdoming it. Are you willing to comment on whether from your perspective the mod philosophy is the same as in the Old Place or if there was a deliberate change early on to retain users?

From my perspective, we have not really changed our mod philosophy. We might be modding a little more lightly, but that doesn't mean it's the Thunderdome, and being antagonistic and unnecessarily inflammatory is still frowned on. And just like in the Old Place, "you modded this comment but you didn't mod that comment" does not necessarily mean that comment was A-OK.

Thanks.

Since time immemorial, humans have lived in family groups based on ancestry, and the governance of children has been left to their parents and relatives, and peripheral adults authorized by those family members.

One could say that the household has been the smallest recognizable unit of government. I certainly see it this way. I also think any attempt to shift from this ancient, traditional, instinctual, natural form of governance will yield moral horrors beyond belief.

One could say that the household has been the smallest recognizable unit of government.

Which is why, like larger governments, it needs checks and balances.

Checks and balances are good; that’s why we have CPS agencies in each state to take children from tyrannical, abusive parents.

If this kind of bill passes in a jurisdiction where any therapeutic attempt to solve their dysphoria has been outlawed, as “conversion therapy is always unethical” and therapists would have their licenses stripped, the parent’s only choices are to either see their children taken from them or consent to (from their perspective) spay or neuter their children who have been infected with a mind virus spreading through the schools and culture. I see that as overbalanced at the least, tyrannical and abusive at worst.

Many Democratic lawmakers and liberal activists have criticized Youngkin’s recently announced education policy changes. Most prominently, the new policies prohibit teachers from using personal pronouns “not on a student’s official records.” They also reverse a previous state policy “allowing students to use bathrooms that align with their preferred gender.”

Even if this is pure conflict theory, doesn't this quote show Han the Red Tribe shot first? Or do we take another step back and original creation of the policy that was reversed was the first shot?


I was actually considering making a top-level post (wasn't sure if it belonged here or in the Sunday small questions thread) on the "who shot first?" question in the trans rights culture war of the past several years. The story from trans rights side I see in person and on progressive social media is basically that trans people want to be left alone and anti-trans people (usually "TERFs") want trans people to stop existing in public, which necessarily results in extending to causing trouble for gender-non-conforming cis people including tall women and other possibly-mistaken-for-trans categories. They cite things like bathroom bills suddenly being an issue when trans people have existed forever, using whichever bathroom seemed appropriate.

Obviously there's a disconnect here as a law that the first group would likely interpret as "encourage CPS to step in when parents are abusing their trans children for being trans", the parent reads as "hurt the outgroup as badly as possible".

Let’s be clear about what this bill is and isn’t.

What it is is an outgrowth of blue tribe hysteria which is not sufficiently well founded to justify taking actions which generate any externalities, let alone ones as major as it is generating, and with externalities that ‘don’t count’ because they rest on red tribe adjacent groups. Yes, this is a pattern with blue tribers, and they should cut it out. Yes, it makes it very difficult to share political power with them and this propensity to hysteria is a legitimate cause for concern to those who dwell in a democracy with large numbers of blue tribers.

No, this is not an attempt to go after red tribers or red tribe adjacent groups like conservative Christians. This is an outgrowth of hysteria that’s pretty clearly precipitated by the Youngkin policy that schools can’t treat kids as trans without telling the parents. Having the parents involved at all is pretty clearly plan b; the preference is to trans kids without their parents knowing(and this legislation is probably aimed at light blue tribers in wealthy suburbs, not red tribers). Will it have terrible externalities if it passes(which I doubt)? Probably. But they won’t be only or even mostly on the heads of red tribers or red tribe adjacent groups, and they won’t be aimed that way either.

But they won’t be only or even mostly on the heads of red tribers or red tribe adjacent groups, and they won’t be aimed that way either.

I highly doubt this. Given the fervent hatred of conservatives I see espoused by educators, and to a lesser degree bureaucrats, even in deep red counties, it is beyond any doubt in my mind they will target the children of conservatives. If not exclusively, then disproportionately. Anything to hurt the enemy, and snuff out their line forever more. The rhetoric coming out of even mainstream Democrats is increasingly that The Republican Party is "the party of treason", and conservative voters are not a legitimate constituency. The raucous celebration by the left when the last census showed white people/conservatives are becoming a demographic minority much faster than anticipated, and specifically celebrating the death of older white people hastening this transformation told me everything I need to know.

They hate me, they want my children sterilized, and they want me dead. They say so, openly, repeatedly. I don't know why I wouldn't expect them to act on these openly expressed beliefs.

The trans children seem to be mostly teenaged girls of wealthy democrats and blue tribe conservatives married to them, and anecdata seems to indicate that the rest of them are the sons of single moms by choice. This is an inter-blue tribe squabble and by the actual numbers there simply aren't enough red tribe families with a trans kid for them to be targeted disproportionately over the issue.

There are things that democrats can do to weaponize CPS against red tribe groups- for example, mandating child protective oversight over homeschooling families(which I believe already exists in parts of Europe). Democrats are by and large not doing those things. This is a bad law for all sorts of reasons and indicates why it's frustrating sharing a country with the blue tribe in a democracy. "They're trying to genocide the red tribe" is not one of them.

No, they don’t.

I don’t know that I can say anything that will convince you I’m not out to piss on your values.

Maybe if there were some members of Blue Tribe calling out Blue Tribers who openly piss on Red Tribe's values - then pointing out to those examples would be useful to convince Red Tribers that at least some Blue Tribers aren't out to piss on their values. Right now the situation looks more like some Blue Tribers are openly pissing on Red Tribe's values and gleefully proclaiming "look at us, how we're pissing on Red Tribe's values, and we're going to do it more and more, and you can do nothing to stop us!", other Blue Tribers loudly cheering them, and yet other Blue Tribers telling Red Tribers "you know, we're not out to piss on your values, but we have no idea how to convince you in that!" I don't think it can work this way.

It's worse than that.

Because ostensibly there are a few Blue Tribers calling out their tribe. They get swiftly unpersoned. Next thing they know their names are spoken in the same hushed tones as Alex Jones, and all their friends and colleagues will no longer return their calls.

I'm waiting to see what happens to Bill Maher. By and large he's a good little DNC footsoldier. He has his eye on the prize during election season, and his criticisms of the DNC are fairly mainstream when it's not. He also benefits from being "grandfathered in" when it comes to whether he gets punished for going off script. But lately he's been going a little too hard at trans issues, a little too close to election day. I'm curious if he'll still be on television in 2024.

They hate me, they want my children sterilized, and they want me dead. They say so, openly, repeatedly.

Don't overgeneralize "they". I do see a democrat coalition with their eyes on the prize to force their opponents into a checkmate in terms of sociopolitical influence. Reforms like adding DC and Puerto Rico as states; or defining republican value advocacy as hate speech; or gatekeeping all respectable institutions with tests of 'modern' values; or simply letting urbanization and demographic changes proceed as normal, are all achievable goals that will lock the current republican coalition into a "no-win" scenario. At that point, the republican party will reorganize around a different coalition, institutions will stop nodding to the old values, and the current republican coalition will go the way of the olde Tidewater coalition that is now Gone With The Wind™.

I think the average blue triber is fine if you're just powerless and the memes in your head go extinct as your children adopt their values.

I invite my fellow academics to backyard barbecues with my (self-proclaimed) gun nut Red Tribe neighbours regularly. They don't hate each other and neither side wants the other dead. If you think the majority of normal Blue Tribe Americans want you (as a stand in for the Red Tribe) dead, I think you are entirely incorrect. I am a part time academic who works in a very Blue city and lives in a very Red rural town.

If they did they wouldn't turn up at bbqs and make polite small talk while passing the potato salad with each other. Do not confuse signals boosted by the Toxoplasma of Rage for the views of the majority of ordinary Americans.

If they hated you, if they wanted you dead, then they would be taking direct actual concrete steps towards doing so. Small Red towns like my own would have a rash of car bombings and the like. It's not as if it is difficult to find Red Tribers. Trans issues overwhelmingly affect Blue tribe kids not Red Tribe ones for instance.

Humans can be ugly and people often indulge in schadenfreude when people they disagree with suffer yes. But that isn't the same thing as actively wanting them dead. People often say things they do not mean and do not act on. That's why the saying is "actions speak louder than words". If Arugula eating Prius driving death squads start rolling out into my town then your rhetoric may match reality. But you're not even at Troubles level hate let alone that.

Maybe it's an American thing. You have been the greatest at almost everything for so long that you think you are at hating your own countrymen. When to an outsider you're barely at lukewarm dislike at a population level. You're not even kneecapping people who marry across tribes let alone killing them! You're not even in the hatred game, let alone pros.

If this is what you think of as hate, then you are very lucky. You're pretty much just LARPing as far as I can tell. Performative hate is not real hate. It's what you do when you don't actually have someone to hate properly. You're the greatest most powerful nation on earth. No-one can challenge you. No-one is a real threat. You can neuter one of your biggest historical enemies by throwing a few dollars at a proxy and watch as they learn all over again that you can buy their humiliation with your pocket change, like Yeltsin in an American supermarket.

Like supporters of a football club whose deadly rivals are now three divisions below you, you have to turn that emotion somewhere. But it isn't real. It's a mirage. You're fighting over whether you would win the league by more points if you bought a new goalkeeper or subbed on that teen prodigy for more of the game. Blowing up tiny irrelevancies into fights so you can at least get a scrap in after the match. Your culture war is entertainment. You can root for your side against the other, wear the flag and the shirt and the hat. You yell and scream and jeer like Eagles fans at the Cowboys. Yet you're not even pelting Santa Claus with bottles!

You're not Eagles fans or Millwall fans, you're the country equivalent of Manchester United in the Ferguson era. The only enemy strong enough to be a challenge are yourselves. Fighting over whether you eat prawn sandwiches or a pie. The question is whether Man City or Liverpool will rebound enough for you to have to turn your gaze outward again.

Your internal hatred is but a pale shadow of what it used to be. Barely even worth the name in my opinion. If this is your nations hatred, then everything is going to be just fine. You're just not good at it. You're far too hopeful as a nation. It's one of your most endearing qualities as a foreigner. I've seen real population level hate. I've seen it in Northern Ireland and I've seen it in the Balkans and I've seen it in Rwanda. But not here. And hopefully I never will.

Small Red towns like my own would have a rash of car bombings and the like.

What about flooding them with opiates? Car bombings are a dumb way to kill. Expensive, high-risk and don't scale. Opiates are profitable, legally low-risk and easy to distribute.

https://www.herald-dispatch.com/news/pillbillies-oxycotinville-emails-from-drug-exec-reveal-mockery-of-appalachians/article_03619647-b096-5b49-b675-6f8be7613fec.html

Or what about destroying their jobs by exporting them overseas? A certain kind of contempt bleeds through.

He says a focus on domestic manufacturing is simply a “fetish for keeping white males with low education in the powerful positions they are in.”

https://twitter.com/matthewstoller/status/1578130142655905816

Stupid, poor people kill with knives, guns and bombs. If you're smart, rich and powerful, you kill with laws and regulations. The pen is mightier than the sword, Mao killed more than even the worst serial killers/warriors with words alone. You can make it look legitimate by some meme you invented like 'manufacturing and energy production is ugly, polluting, needs to be heavily regulated' and 'let's have trade liberalization with foreigners who don't care for regulations' plus 'let's intensively market these non-addictive painkillers in these communities'.

Or what about destroying their jobs by exporting them overseas? A certain kind of contempt bleeds through.

That has been one of the decisions that has gutted the areas like the one I live in yes. But that happened in the UK and other developed nations too. That is was targeted rather than simply being financially expedient does not seem to fit the evidence.

Gotta give credit where it’s due, the fentanyl epidemic is to the credit of forward-thinking cartels, not Purdue pharma et al. Fentanyl is complicated to manufacture compared to heroin but far easier to smuggle, and should be understood primarily as an innovation in the illicit drug market. It’s still contentious how big an impact easy access pharmacy opioids had compared to the counterfactual standard progression of heroin use incidence, but ultimately we’re 10 years past peak Oxy abuse. Gotta blame the markets, my guy.

Would the Tutsi have fared better if they had had as many guns and preppers as Red Tribe?

Consider that one (1) single teenager of the Red Tribe can pacify a whole city of rioting Blue Tribe.

There has been a low-intensity civil war going on for a while, after all despite only making up 13% of the population, the major Blue Tribe voting block committed in 2021 60% of the violent crime.

Red Tribe just hasn't been fighting back, because they are systematically targeted by law enforcement organizations, censorship in the media, exclusion from economic opportunities (just ask Kanye West).

Perhaps one of the biggest factors is that a large share of the Red Tribe believes in turning the other cheek.

There has been a low-intensity civil war going on for a while, after all despite only making up 13% of the population, the major Blue Tribe voting block committed in 2021 60% of the violent crime.

Crime (even violent crime) is not the same as a civil war. And most of the victims of that crime are not actually Red Tribe due to demographic separation. So even if it were a civil war it would be an internal Blue Tribe coalition one.

Kanye isn't Red Tribe just to be clear (neither are urban black communities Blue Tribe in fact). His position is mostly in common with Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam and so on.

Kanye isn't Red Tribe just to be clear (neither are urban black communities Blue Tribe in fact).

Not sure what you mean by Red/Blue tribe. Urban black communities overwhelmingly vote for Democrats in the US.

Kanye is definitely 'our guy unless by Red Tribe you mean the pro-Israel National Review cucks and other establishment shills voting for welfare for Ukraine.

Nick Fuentes is a fan of Kanye. Link is great, Nick has 2-3 African-Americans agree that imported Africans didn't have much chance at success in America/Europe what with coming from a civilization that had not had written language before colonial contacts.

Andrew Anglin and others are praising Kanye

His position is mostly in common with Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam and so on.

Does not prevent him from speaking truth.

Most of his statements are pretty trivial for entertainment insiders or noticing enjoyers (1) (2)

Red and Blue Tribe are terms coined by Scott Alexander, this sub is a spin off of a spin off of his site. Blue Tribe is basically urban educated professionals (eat arugula, drive hybrids etc.) Red Tribe are rural working class (watch NASCAR, drive trucks etc.) they correlate some what with Democrat and Republican in that each tribe has a preferred party. However most Republicans here are Blue Tribe dissidents (or gray tribe which is a sub division of Blue, if you think that distinction is meaningful.).

Notably Urban black populations while they do indeed align with Democrats politically are not Blue Tribe.

Link is here to the original post on the blog: https://slatestarcodex.com/2014/09/30/i-can-tolerate-anything-except-the-outgroup/

Worth knowing the distinction because you will see those terms used here repeatedly. Though unfortunately with some definitional drift and used as a simple stand in for Democrat/Republican, which renders the usage of a different term somewhat needless.

I've been in the room with professors after they were forced to interact with filthy hick townies, and heard what they're comfortable saying about them to students. You seem to be under this weird impression everyone is just imagining this stuff.

And my experience is different.

I am not saying your experiences do not exist. I am saying that at a population level they are not representative of most Blue Tribe Americans. We can tell this because if there was the virulent hatred then they would not be tweaking laws on trans issues and so on. You wouldn't be in a culture war, you would be in a civil war.

I am saying these things you mistake for hatred are pale imitations compared to actual population level hatred. It is by and large performative.

Tweaking laws on trans issues is one of the intermediate steps to a civil war. Civil war arrives when the intermediate steps are exhausted. Attempting to weaponize CPS is not one of the earlier steps. By the time the level of evidence you're demanding arrives, it will be too late for everyone involved.

Weaponizing CPS on this specific issue would overwhelmingly affect blue tribers. Red tribe kids very rarely try to become trans and when red triber adjacents are under spurious CPS investigations they just take their kids and go to a different state.

The entire point of my original post is that the individual laws don't matter. What actually matters is the extent to which policy is driven by tribal animosity, and at this point, the extent is "greatly" for both tribes. The outcome of any given policy doesn't matter, compared to the long-term aims and goals of the tribes. If the goal is to harm the other tribe, and this policy fails to achieve that goal, then they'll simply try something else, and keep trying until their goal is achieved.

I entirely disagree. otherwise you have been on a route to a new civil war since the last one. If Northern Ireland can step back from the Troubles the US at a much much lower stage can and probably will. What it means to be Democrat and Republican has changed, and indeed almost entirely flipped previously. Switches to political coalitions are easy compared to religious division. White rural working class used to be a Democratic demographic, now that has changed. Coalitions rise and fall and the parties will change with them.

If I'm understanding you correctly, you think the culture war will resolve itself as people organically change their opinions and values?

More comments

It's a big country, running over a teenager with a truck or hospitalizing a political canvasser are just things that happen. And according to the police in both those incidents there was no political motivation, so everything is fine.

Sure, that's why I am talking at a population level. If it were really widespread virulent hatred as claimed, you would not be in a culture war but a civil war.

I would note that with the exception of one year in particular, Bleeding Kansas was also not all that bloody either. The various terror campaigns of the late 1960s, early 1970s were bloodier still with less political fallout though those were less inter-tribal so much as far groups against the general center.

Your thesis:

The last several years are best modelled as a massive, distributed search for ways to hurt the outgroup as badly as possible without getting in too much trouble.

As with all such narratives, this says more about you than the world. You simply focus on all the ways Blues hurt Reds and ignore the millions of boring policy changes where nothing of the sort happens.

This lets your “model” be “correct” since you simply ignore all disagreeing events. For instance, I really don’t see how Biden turning immigrants away at the border is him hurting the Reds or how him sending arms to Ukraine is hurting the Reds or how a boring HOA meeting about lawn care is hurting the Reds.

Then you interpret your own bias as an objective fact of the world, which lets you make fun of people who don’t share that bias by effectively calling them stupid (which is the framing for your entire comment)

Not exactly a paradigm of clear and charitable thinking.

You simply focus on all the ways Blues hurt Reds and ignore the millions of boring policy changes where nothing of the sort happens.

That phrase does not contain a reference to Blue Tribe, because it is not a statement about Blue Tribe. It is, as it has always been, a statement about the Culture War and everyone involved in it. Sure, a million things happen every day on both sides that aren't about hurting the outgroup. But things happen every day, on both sides, that are about hurting the outgroup, and further are about hurting the outgroup as badly as possible without getting in too much trouble. Note the last part of that phrase. It's not that there aren't moderating influences; people don't see harming the outgroup as a terminal goal. It's just fun, and they want to keep doing it unless there's a very good reason not to.

Then you interpret your own bias as an objective fact of the world, which lets you make fun of people who don’t share that bias by effectively calling them stupid (which is the framing for your entire comment)

I don't think Guzman is very intelligent. If you are reading the rest of the post as a claim that anyone I refered to is stupid, whether Blues or Reds generally or Blues or Reds here, you have very much missed the point. Some people here are, in my view, wrong, however intelligent they may be. And tribal warfare is not stupid. Evil, maybe, but not stupid.

The "Culture War" is defined as waring between political factions. So if your post is entirely confined to the "Culture War", isn't it entirely circular? It becomes

[The attempt to beat the outgroup is] best modelled as a massive, distributed search for ways to hurt the outgroup as badly as possible without getting in too much trouble.

Not exactly insightful...

Your edit breaks the statement. "the last several years" is explicitly a claim about the centrality and significance of the Culture War to our social and political reality. It is not a side show, and ignoring or misunderstanding it cripples one's ability to make accurate predictions, to understand the world they live in. Sure, things happen that aren't Culture War. Mostly those things either don't matter, or the Culture War observably engulfs them over time.

Then you interpret your own bias as an objective fact of the world, which lets you make fun of people who don’t share that bias by effectively calling them stupid (which is the framing for your entire comment)

I don't see too much in his comment where the language is more inflammatory than the ideas, or where he's mocking people who disagree with his conflict theory take. Otherwise your criticism is... that he believes his own model of the world. Yes?

It's also a tortured reading to his quote. Obviously not everything every institution has done for the last 31 months has has been anti-outgroup punitive measures. How much qualification is required? Open any work of political economy or op-ed section and you'll find statements rounding the measly complexity of nature into digestible simplifications. @FCfromSSC likely does not think Biden pardoning the 2021 Thanksgiving turkey was part of a blue counterinsurgency.

I don't see too much in his comment where the language is more inflammatory than the ideas, or where he's mocking people who disagree with his conflict theory take.

Him mocking people is literally making fun of people. That is my criticism...

How much qualification is required?

The reading he claims to prefer makes his entire comment entirely definitional. So, I would like qualification that make his comment both true and not entirely definitional. That is, I'd like his comment to include a meaningful thesis - not a meaningless one.

If you want to understand:

the Trump administration

the #Resistance

the 2020 riots

Politics and public policy surrounding Covid 19

The January 6th riots

The Biden Administration

The Supreme Court's makeup and recent decisions

...and a great deal else besides, you need to understand the Culture War. And the most important thing that you need to understand about the Culture War, is that it's prosecuted by finding ways to hurt the outgroup as badly as possible without getting in too much trouble.

Recognizing your enemies are in fact your enemies, and not deluded, or too stupid to see the consequences of their actions, is charitable and clear. It would be an unrivaled act of arrogance to decide that the reason people work against you is because they're misguided, and simply don't understand simple truths.

Thinking that Democrats wanting to hurt Republicans explains the bulk of Democrat behavior is neither charitable nor clear. That was OP's thesis: not that it was a motive but that it was the chief driver of all their behavior.

It is the chief driver of American Politics, and has been since 2015 at the latest. Our politically-active class, Red or Blue, are not looking to persuade their opposites, they are looking to punish them, to compel their acquiescence.

"It bears mentioning that those student walkouts were almost certainly partisan political actions organized by public employees. Red Tribe doesn't get to do student activism in public schools, and it certainly doesn't get to use schoolchildren as political props"

As someone who organized this sort of thing when I was in school I can assure you that things like this can happen in a grassroots manner. Remember: 1) Urban areas are more liberal. And 2) If you're not a liberal when you're young you're heartless... etc. The dominant political orientation of the students in school will always be contagious. Kids don't care what adults think (citation: Nurture Assumption) kids care what other kids think. I promise a lot of those kids are extremely genuine and a lot of the adults around them would rather the kids not.

Also, if you google "kids at abortion protest" or similar you'll find that kids as props by both sides of the aisle. I think you're letting your emotions get the best of you.

"It's very clearly a violation of religious freedom so it should be flatly unconstitutional, but of course the Constitution doesn't matter either."

I think this is an especially poor argument. The crux of the issue at hand it what is reasonable regarding transgender youth. If we were talking about banning female genital mutilation, or sacrificing virgins I think it would be clear to you that appeals to religious freedom are not very interesting.

My skepticism of Rationalism emerges in a variety of ways,

Out of curiosity do you have a detailed writing of them somewhere that I can read?

not a collected one, no. Just a thousand comments scattered over a whole bunch of threads. Maybe I'll try to write something up.

I wonder if Guzman and those aligned with her know that they’re setting up the next Ruby Ridge. Is that the outcome they want? Or are they oblivious at how this plays out?

Where I’m from most would agree that lethal force is morally permissible against someone attempting to kidnap your son, especially someone that has expressed a desire to brainwash him into consenting to have his balls chopped off.

They're not setting up the next ruby ridge. The red tribe playbook for a CPS investigation over not affirming your kid's gender identity is to say yes sir, what's a good gender affirming doctor, and then drive across a state border as soon as the agent leaves. If you talk to or read the literature of red tribe groups which fear biased CPS investigations, they will tell you this.

There's no need to invent scenarios. If Texas starts taking away kids for not affirming their made up gender identities, you might have a point, but seeing as they're currently doing the exact opposite Virginia red tribers expecting a CPS investigation for not transing their kids will just go to West Virginia.

The state kidnapping and castrating children of a disfavoured group isn't without precedent, Ottomans had practised this under the name "devshirme". It remains to be seen if in the modern incarnation these children when they grow up will also be overrepresented in positions of power.

History only records quiet desparation as the parent's response, not rebellion.

Sure. Another Ruby Ridge gives them an excuse to crack down even harder against those now-proven-violent Red Tribe dissenters.

Gonna say, as a Virginian resident the last few years have been one blow after another to my wife and I's trust in our institutions. Went from "Maybe we should private school" to "Maybe we should homeschool" to "We are definitely homeschooling" to "Oh fucking fuck, we need to keep the contact between our child and institutions to the bare minimum" to "FUCK FUCK FUCK, how do we flee the state with our child if we have to?" Because everything I've read is that once the state targets you for not "affirming" the gender their school talked them into, you need to nod, smile, schedule an appointment with whoever they say. Then take your child and run in the dark of night. It's literally the only way. At least until they nationalize the process of stripping your child away from you so they can sterilize them.

Guzman's attempt at an applause line which turned into a self own ("Hell yes, we're gonna take away your AR-15 kids!"), and the unconvincing attempts to walk it back and/or gaslight the public into believing it never happened aside, like you said it changes nothing. Fun fact, when I saw Guzman said that, I looked her up. In addition to being a state representative, she already works as a court appointed service advocate for CASA CIS to prevent child abuse. You think she's not already pushing for this shit by extra-legal, extra-judicial, purely bureaucratic deep state means? This law is probably just to provide cover for the shit she already does.

I disagree. "Groomer", as I understand it, is a person who's making a covert attempt to directly modify a kid's sexuality in unhealthy ways. I understand that many people here disagree with this definition, but there's something you should understand in turn: when people like me use the term "groomer", we are not saying "I really don't like this person." We're saying that we consider the people so labeled, the officials supporting them, and the section of the public providing their ideology to be a direct, serious and immediate threat to our children.

I understand the analogy between teacher/parent trans activists and child groomers, but it's also the case that conservatives are "kidding in the square" here. Many are also darkly hinting that trans activists are pedophiles. For example, the Stonetoss comic about predators hiding in plain sight or the "Don't overcomplicate things, they're evil and want to fuck kids" meme. I don't have the data to evalute the truth value of this claim but it's definitely being made.

Virginia Democrat to Introduce Bill to Prosecute Parents Who Refuse to Treat Child as Opposite Sex

You're misreading this one IMO.

Democrats, America's party for social engineering, have naturally come into conflict with families over gender ideology, vaccines, school curriculum, you name it. This isn't a naked attack on the Red Tribe (though they do do that) but on the right of family — any family — to inculclate its children in values contrary to the state.

The family is the most enduring relic of pre-state humanity. How things work in your extended family is a good approximation of how a band or small tribe worked thirty thousand years ago. The family has long been the thorn in the side of states trying to engage in social engineering. Do I need examples? Attempts to fight civil servants and non-ruling class citizens from funneling resources to their family is, boldy, the entire project of the state.

About the bill, then. There was an interesting podcast over at Bennett's Phylactery about the relationship between Christianity and hierarchy. I link it (a) because it's a good response to Guzman's "The Bible says to accept everyone for who they are" quote, but also (b) in one part, he makes a good case for why preserving parents' arbitrary rights to discipline and educate their children is good, even if they may in fringe cases abuse it.

I think it's a good response to Guzman's attempt to impose gender ideology in the houshold, even if she can come up with one or two horrifying anecdotes. If our standard for abolishing rights and local institutions is "something horrifying was done" we will have no rights or local institutions in short order.

I understand the analogy between teacher/parent trans activists and child groomers, but it's also the case that conservatives are "kidding in the square" here. Many are also darkly hinting that trans activists are pedophiles. For example, the Stonetoss comic about predators hiding in plain sight or the "Don't overcomplicate things, they're evil and want to fuck kids" meme. I don't have the data to evalute the truth value of this claim but it's definitely being made.

I think it's a little hazy to try to draw equivalence between a state legislator's attempt to pass a criminal law targeting parents with an anonymous webcomic's provocations.

I also think there's a better steelman for the "groomer" meme than you're acknowledging. I think it's accurate that a mainstream element of the Democratic party is trying to groom children to become transgender. I have heard this first-hand from good friends of mine with a kid in preschool. I am certain the proponents of this sort of policy think of it as identifying the children who are innately gender dysphoric and trying to give them a nurturing environment (no one is the villain of their own story), but I think I've accurately described the steps that they are taking. Yes, there is some intended double entendre with the "grooming" nomenclature, but that's politics; everyone tries to put their opponents in a bad light and themselves in a good light. The left has their mirror of this, terming it "conversion therapy" when parents would prefer to treat their children's stated preference to transition with therapy rather than surgery, intending of course to conjure images of evangelical prison camps administering electric shocks to gay kids in the 90s or whatever.

Were the prison camps and torture ever the main representative of conversion therapy in the USA? It’s still going on, and AFAIK seems to consist mostly of team building activities, awkward talk therapy, lessons in gender appropriate hobbies, prayer, and now ivermectin because of course it does.

Beats me, fortunately it's all outside of my experience. I guess it's just one of those things... you can set up a hundred nice wholesome pray-away-the-gay camps, but just a couple of your friends do some electroshock torture on child prisoners and suddenly that's all anyone wants to talk about. 🙄

Were the prison camps and torture ever the main representative of conversion therapy in the USA?

My understanding is that it involved literal Clockwork Orange style condition/torture. Being given drugs that induced nausea, and then being forced to watch gay pornography. Electrical shocks to the genitalia in response to arousal at gay porn. Basically attempting to condition the body to not be gay.

Given then people who ask young kids "Hey, boys can play with dolls too, do you still think you are a girl?" are accused of "conversation therapy" now, I have doubts about whether gay conversation therapy was what they say it was.

Oh, I'm sure they can come up with a few examples of torture camps if they want. I have doubts about whether that was the mainstream or if the most common example was a more-awkward version of a standard summer camp.

I think it's a little hazy to try to draw equivalence between a state legislator's attempt to pass a criminal law targeting parents with an anonymous webcomic's provocations.

Where did I draw that equivalence? OP claimed conservatives are only using "groomer" as in "covert attempt to directly modify a kid's sexuality in unhealthy ways". I provided two prominent examples of conservatives saying "groomer" as in "those people are pedophiles". But they are just two examples. If you browse /r/conservative or /r/politicalcompassmemes (pre mod-purge) you regularly see (saw) posts of trans child sex abuse cases with comments like "groomers gonna groom". Admittedly there's no conservative pope I can cite for the mainstream conservative usage of "groomer", but I'm just trying to keep it real.

The second part of my comment addresses the Virginia bill, and is completely separate.

Fair enough, but I'm also not sure that Stonetoss is a reasonable exemplar of the conservative movement.

Many are also darkly hinting that trans activists are pedophiles.

Well, if "not convinced your four year old child really is trans means you are a child abuser just like if you beat them so hard you broke their bones" is being attempted to become law, then "trans activism is grooming" is just as legit.

The Venn diagram of ‘people that work in contact with children’ and ‘people with an interest in the genital arrangement of other people’s children’ not surprisingly includes pedophiles. Also urologists but I can’t really think of anyone else.

Certain other medical specialties and researchers, I would imagine.

So the standard we're going by is "the other side is equivocating too"? I'm not outraged by the right bringing knives to a knife fight, but let's call knives knives, please.

I think another aspect is that trans activists are lobbying for children of all ages to be able to consent to life changing decisions even against their parents' will. This is basically one step away from making pedophilia legal. Though I agree that a lot of it is just squaring up with weapons of their own.

For those interesting in discussing the actual law in question, it seems to be a reintroduction of VA HB580, which was first introduced in 2020 but went nowhere. It amends VA's existing legal definition of "abused or neglected child" to include someone "whose parent or other person responsible for his care creates or inflicts, threatens to create or inflict, or allows to be created or inflicted upon such child a physical or mental injury on the basis of the child's gender identity or sexual orientation".

mental injury

In this case send out the paddywagons to the homes of every gay or trans child. Also round up most (all?) of the parents of straight children. Everyone is a criminal if the law is that broad.

That sounds like CPS could take action if a father forbids his minor child from having sex. If the child was asexual, which is apparently an orientation, a rule against sex wouldn't be distressing.

Yes, progressives seem to believe that parents do not have the right to forbid their minor children from engaging in sexual activities.

There certainly are people who believe in not forbidding their minor children from engaging in sexual activities (which is very different from believing no parents have the right to do so), but it certainly doesn't seem to be a particularly popular opinion even among progressives. I was trying to find survey data on this question as it seems like something likely to exist, but my Google-fu is failing me.

Maybe you're confusing this with the progressive view on abstinence-only sex education that sex education should cover harm-reduction measures other than just abstinence?

So whole of puberty is a abuse and child neglection by that definition...

How do you reckon? I'm not following you here.

It's shitty and traumatic time for almost any participant. By default. And that is the easy mode.

Ah, gotcha.

I'm not seeing how you could possibly stretch that language to defining puberty as abuse. Maybe you're going for puberty falling under "allows to be created or inflicted upon such child a [...] mental injury on the basis of the child's gender identity" since children are generally unhappy about puberty and puberty sorta involves development of a person's gender identity? That doesn't really make sense, so I feel like I'm failing to steelman your claim.

Yes, it is quite useful to have everyone in violation of the law as it allows prosecutoral discretion to determine who gets jail

Happens in licensing work all the time. California reserves the right to suspend or revoke an alcohol license (which can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars in some cases) if the state determines that "continuation of a license would be contrary to public welfare or morals" (Cal. Bus. Prof. Code sec. 24200(a).) We even wrote a similar provision into our constitution, because we're like that. (Cal. Const. Art. XX, Sec. 22)

Red Tribe doesn't get to do student activism in public schools, and it certainly doesn't get to use schoolchildren as political props.

It sometimes does, but the Blue tribe doesn't bestow upon it legitimacy that it does on its child (culture) soldiers. Namely the Covington Kids, engaging in Pro-Life activism, were attacked by the papers of record, instead of being championed like Fridays For The Planet or the pro-trans youth activists.

But both pro-Red and pro-Blue activism in the form of children playing hooky strikes me as not merely a cheap signal, but one with negative cost.

A striking worker forgoes their income, a kid not going to school leaves knowledge on table. But while the former would prefer to be richer, the latter doesn't care about what they are sacrificing and loves free-time more.

This lack of concern for the future, even among children old enough to attend high school, is also an argument why their statements regarding their desire for permanent body alterations are to be dimminished in weight given to them.

I mean, to be honest, the marginal cost from missing one additional day of school- or even a whole week- is quite low.

Red Tribe doesn't get to do student activism in public schools

Emphasis mine.

It sometimes does, [...] Namely the Covington Kids

Covington Catholic is not a public school.

I'm not sure I'm picking up on the material difference there. Are you just saying the the red tribe only has power within private schools, or is there something more there? I ask because I typically read "red tribe doesn't get to do..." as implying a general social norm like "...because when the right does this, it's perceived as fascism" rather than, eg, "...because a democrat was elected instead."

Yes, the Blue Tribe gets to use the power of the state to recruit children to do its activism. The Red Tribe does not.

”Groomer” as I understand it, is a person who’s making a covert attempt to directly modify a kid’s sexuality in unhealthy ways

This is the equivalent of wokes using “white supremacy” to include timeliness, dress codes and objectivity. Maybe you feel turnabout is fair play, but it’s dishonest and is a transparent attempt to leverage conditioned emotional reactions to a different, narrower concept against a newly broadened category

I also really doubt any supporters of this would say its purpose is to punish reds as opposed to “protect trans kids.” I think it’s fair to ask whether “protect trans kids” or “hurt red tribers” is a model more predictive of actual behavior, but you have to actually ask that, because this law is consistent with both so far as I can tell.

I'll pivot the conversation here a bit - if you would disagree with using the term "Groomer" what term would you use?

I see your analogy to white supremacy in some respects.

In others I see a transitive property of sorts. The LGBTQ activists may not be pushing these policies to have sex with specifically your child or even the ones they interact with. But they're creating the cultural environment where they are increasing the supply of sexual partners available to them in general. I really doubt that's a conscious decision but it seems as though it could be a subconcious one.

More specifically, they're creating a cultural environment more conducive to pedophiles raping kids in general. We have decades of accumulated knowledge of youth protection best practices. They are an enormous, bureaucratic pain in the ass, and we follow them anyway because they reduce child rape. Trying to ignore these rules and best practices (for example, prohibitions on sexualizing conversations with kids, or showing kids porn) is insanely suspicious.

I don't know of anyone who advocates showing kids porn.

Pedagogies of sexual identity: Porn can also be a significant source of education for sex/gender diverse young people, with a range of studies indicating that pornography is a significant source of explicit information that supports both sexual confidence and positive community formation for same-sex-attracted people (Waugh 1996; Ruddock and Kain 2006; Hillier and Harrison 2007; Kubichek et al. 2010).

While the deliberate linking of explicit images and texts with sexual health information is relatively rare in health promotion and health education materials targeting young people, heterosexual adults, or same-sex-attracted women, one Australian sexual health promotion project targeting sexually adventurous women has adopted similar strategies (Albury, Constable, and May 2012). Although the project has been active for less than 12 months and is still being evaluated, it illustrates some of the ways that a ‘community-driven’ approach to sexual pedagogy and learning can engage with the tastes and practices of porn consumers. The media campaign was developed in consultation with a reference group of women drawn from Sydney alternative sex sub-cultures. The project website, iloveclaude, is modelled on the social media platform Tumblr, and combines ‘found’ images from soft-core pornography and erotica with commissioned photo-sets, interviews, expert advice and short videos focused on safer-sex and blood-play practices (AIDS Council 2012)

As Buckingham notes, media education programmes focused on non-pornographic texts often adopt ‘a more student-centred perspective, which begins from young people’s existing knowledge and experience of media, rather than the instructional imperatives of the teacher’ (2008, 13). The difficulty for educators in the field of ‘porn literacy’, however, is that they may not legally distribute the object of study to their (minor) students, nor may they legally encourage students to develop alternative pornographic media as a means of developing literacy – a common strategy within mainstream media education. This means that porn education (for under-18s at least), neither permits close readings of actual explicit texts nor allows for direct discussions of specific texts... In an ideal educational setting, porn literacy education might permit a dialogue that offers the opportunity for educators to learn more about young people’s sexual cultures, and for both teachers and learners to extend their knowledge and understanding of the intersections between mediated representation and lived experiences of sex, sexuality, and gender.

...It might also seek to understand how young people’s readings of pornography (and their reception of porn education) can reshape the broader curriculum of formal sex and relationships education. This interrogation would not rule out explicit critiques of misogynistic, homophobic or racist tropes within pornography, but might also offer the capacity to open up critically productive conversations about the boundaries between adult sexual knowledge and young people’s sexual learning; and the ways popular and institutional discourses define particular forms of sexuality, sexual identity, and sex/gender expression as ‘legitimate’ (or ‘illegitimate’) know-ledge for young people.

Due to the contemporary moral climate surrounding the issue of pornography use among young people, but also, more generally, sex-positive teaching (Fortenberry, 2016 ), pornography literacy would likely be difficult to incorporate in school-based health and sexuality education programs

While pornography may benefit sexual minority groups by allowing them to see their own sexual preferences or behaviours on screen (Kubicek et al. 2010), it has been widely criticised for the way it portrays heterosexual sex and reinforces gender inequalities

Does "unfortunately it's illegal because teachers and kids sharing porn would be a Powerful tool for social justice" count? Or "porn is good for kids, but only if it's Queer and Addresses Gender Inequities"?

Like, I just want you to acknowledge here that these "social justice in porn studies" academics only have a problem with kids being given porn if they think it's the wrong kind of cisnormative porn.

To respond to your edits (which I think you ought to have marked as such, out of courtesy, given that I had already replied):

Does "unfortunately it's illegal because teachers and kids sharing porn would be a Powerful tool for social justice" count? Or "porn is good for kids, but only if it's Queer and Addresses Gender Inequities"?

Like, I just want you to acknowledge here that these "social justice in porn studies" academics only have a problem with kids being given porn if they think it's the wrong kind of cisnormative porn.

First of all, I would appreciate knowing what this quote is from. You've said nothing about where you found it, or who said it.

Second of all, it is still not clear to me that it is saying what you say it is saying. "Porn can be helpful in these ways and harmful in these other ways" is very far from an unqualified endorsement. The fact that the person who wrote this (whoever they are) reaches first for a social justice critique of porn is not actually evidence that they think porn is always good for children when it doesn't have those issues, or that children should be given it when they are not choosing to access it on their own.

In particular, I think there may be something important being said here:

This interrogation would not rule out explicit critiques of misogynistic, homophobic or racist tropes within pornography, but might also offer the capacity to open up critically productive conversations about the boundaries between adult sexual knowledge and young people’s sexual learning; and the ways popular and institutional discourses define particular forms of sexuality, sexual identity, and sex/gender expression as ‘legitimate’ (or ‘illegitimate’) know-ledge for young people.

It's not clear from your quote what "productive conversations" would consist of, but I can see two potentially sympathetic things being alluded to here. One of these -- from my second bolded section -- is the lack of access children might have to non-pornographic information about LGBTQ topics. Children sometimes turn to porn because they don't have alternate sources of information, and this can be particularly true when topics like homosexuality and trans identities are deemed off limits for them. Rather than castigating them for turning to porn for information in that situation, it might indeed be helpful to leave room for a productive conversation about what information they are looking for.

The second sympathetic thing that I might be detecting here -- although I would need more context to be sure -- is this reference to "the boundaries between adult sexual knowledge and young people’s sexual learning." I do wonder if this is trying to say that adult pornographic content is not necessarily a good source of sexual learning, and that it's useful to have a boundary here.

My apologies, it is very difficult to block quote from PDFs on my shitty phone, and I ended up making a ton of edits.

I'll just say I think you are trying to read this in any way that doesn't acknowledge its most obvious implication: that porn is a tool for shaping children's sexuality in ways "social justice educators" find appealing.

Just read the first full article where she explicitly criticizes dissuading kids from looking at porn in favor of teachers guiding them towards porn that advocates queer bloodplay and Progressive values. Then check out the cites for even more out there stuff.

At the very least you have to acknowledge that "nobody wants to show kids porn" is not true. I'm just sick of these constant "nobody is saying X" arguments which inevitably end with "I can't believe you still oppose X" a year later.

she explicitly criticizes dissuading kids from looking at porn in favor of teachers guiding them towards porn that advocates queer bloodplay and Progressive values

A CTRL-F for "blood" in that article you linked leads me to one instance, in a section whose heading is "Pornography as (adult) sex education." As in, for adults. So your summary is definitely inaccurate. I reiterate that this does not appear to be an example of someone advocating that we should show kids porn.

More comments

Your first quote sounds like it is saying "children sometimes access porn and use it for sex education." I don't read it as saying that children should access porn and use it for sex education.

Your second quote is about "media literacy" in the context of teaching people who already have access to porn to be more critical of it.

It's important to keep in mind that the term "porn" in the US is often used to refer to material that isn't strictly pornographic and sometimes not even sexualized. The stereotype of us being a bunch of prudes exists for a reason.

It seems very normalized in what we might call Tumblr-adjacent spaces. Come for the Harry Potter fanfiction! Stay for the Draco!mpreg BDSM scenes!