site banner

Culture War Roundup for the week of January 23, 2023

This weekly roundup thread is intended for all culture war posts. 'Culture war' is vaguely defined, but it basically means controversial issues that fall along set tribal lines. Arguments over culture war issues generate a lot of heat and little light, and few deeply entrenched people ever change their minds. This thread is for voicing opinions and analyzing the state of the discussion while trying to optimize for light over heat.

Optimistically, we think that engaging with people you disagree with is worth your time, and so is being nice! Pessimistically, there are many dynamics that can lead discussions on Culture War topics to become unproductive. There's a human tendency to divide along tribal lines, praising your ingroup and vilifying your outgroup - and if you think you find it easy to criticize your ingroup, then it may be that your outgroup is not who you think it is. Extremists with opposing positions can feed off each other, highlighting each other's worst points to justify their own angry rhetoric, which becomes in turn a new example of bad behavior for the other side to highlight.

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:

  • Shaming.

  • Attempting to 'build consensus' or enforce ideological conformity.

  • Making sweeping generalizations to vilify a group you dislike.

  • Recruiting for a cause.

  • 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.

In general, you should argue to understand, not to win. This thread is not territory to be claimed by one group or another; indeed, the aim is to have many different viewpoints represented here. Thus, we also ask that you follow some guidelines:

  • Speak plainly. Avoid sarcasm and mockery. When disagreeing with someone, state your objections explicitly.

  • Be as precise and charitable as you can. Don't paraphrase unflatteringly.

  • Don't imply that someone said something they did not say, even if you think it follows from what they said.

  • Write like everyone is reading and you want them to be included in the discussion.

On an ad hoc basis, the mods will try to compile a list of the best posts/comments from the previous week, posted in Quality Contribution threads and archived at /r/TheThread. You may nominate a comment for this list by clicking on 'report' at the bottom of the post and typing 'Actually a quality contribution' as the report reason.

13
Jump in the discussion.

No email address required.

Thanks to @TheBookOfAllan, I decided maybe Twitter slapfights about fantasy authors might not be Too Online to talk about here. I mean, let's face it, the nerd quotient here is pretty damn high. On the rare occasions I write a top-level post, it's usually about the intersection of Culture War squabbles and hobby drama. So -

First They Came for the Fantasy Authors

Brandon Sanderson, in case you don't recognize the name, is a best-selling fantasy author. In impact on the genre today, he's probably second only to George R. R. Martin. He famously finished Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series, and he churns out new books at a rate that makes Stephen King look lazy.

(I have read quite a few of his books, and find them reliably entertaining, but Sanderson is a mediocre writer whose schtick is rigorously-defined magic systems and world-building, to the point that his books sometimes read like LitRPGs, and a big overarching cosmology called the "Cosmere" that unites every one of his series into his own personal MCU.)

Sanderson is also a Mormon. If you've noticed we're in the Culture War thread, you might have an inkling where this is going.

From time to time over the years, some LGBT folks have taken a run at Sanderson over his religion. In 2007 or so, he wrote a blog post offering a sort of milquetoast apologetic, basically saying he was totally cool with The Gays but he also believed in the divine revelations of his church so gay marriage is still a no-go, mmkay? He's been under continual pressure by fans to "update" his views, and he kind of has, saying he continues to "learn and grow." He's tossed a few gay and trans characters into his stories, and he's even written a FAQ: How Do You Feel About Gay Characters?. However, he remains a practicing Mormon, continues to tithe to the LDS, and has very carefully never actually walked back the belief that homosexuality is a sin.

So how has he avoided getting the Orson Scott Card/JK Rowling treatment? Well, for one thing, Sanderson is a genuinely nice guy who is affable with everyone, loves his fans, is very encouraging of new authors, and most importantly, generally avoids any kind of culture war and does not get into Twitter fights. He's got legions of defenders, and most of them accept his bland statements of tolerance and acceptance. It's pretty obvious that he does not personally dislike gay people, and I'm sure he would be thrilled if the LDS elders announced tomorrow that they just received a new revelation from God that He's totally cool with The Gays.

For most people, this is sufficient. There are people who are zealous and dogmatic about everything their church teaches, and there are those who clearly struggle sometimes with a religious doctrine that conflicts with their personal feelings. Most people recognize that everyone wrestles with cognitive dissonance, think "live and let live" is good enough, and if they like Brandon Sanderson despite disagreeing with his religious beliefs, they'll recite "no ethical consumption under capitalism" or "how to be a fan of problematic things."

Most people, but not Gretchen Felker-Martin.

Gretchen Felker-Martin is a transwoman with a single published book: Manhunt. If you wanted to create a hostile caricature of an unpleasant leftist conflict theorist who checks every stereotype, you'd have a hard time finding a better archetype. Think trans Arthur Chu with a foothold in SFF.

Manhunt is about (caveat - I haven't read it, this is what I gathered from reviews) a plague that turns all cis men into feral zombies, and in the post-apocalypse, brave stunning transfolx battle for survival against cismen and TERF hordes. (Yes, seriously.) They also harvest testicles for hormones or something, there's a ton of graphic rape and murder, and also apparently there's a throw-away line about JK Rowling being burned alive in her mansion.

Manhunt was published by Tor, which also, incidentally, publishes Brandon Sanderson.

So, a few days ago, Felker-Martin posted this tweet. (ETA: Hilariously, Twitter's new "added context by readers" feature is now defending Sanderson. I wonder how enraging that is to Felker-Martin?)

In itself, this would be hardly a skirmish in the Culture War. Trans woman doesn't like a Mormon author, wants to cancel him, writes stupid Tweet. It looks an obvious move to try to kneecap a rival, but Felker-Martin probably bit off too much to chew this time and has mostly been mocked for presuming to have some sort of gatekeeping role in deciding who SFF will "tolerate."

But - the reason I wrote this is because I've seen the Sanderson criticism take off a little bit, more than in previous attempts. His haters are really trying to give it legs. The Midnight Society, for example, is a woke satirist who is actually, pretty funny most of the time with really on-point skewerings of SFF and horror authors (except when taking obligatory swipes at JK Rowling by portraying her as a slithering snake hissing about Jewssss and transsss), and this tweet started out great (a completely deserved send-up of Sanderson's tropes) before shifting to an unsubtle signal-boost of the discourse started by Felker-Martin.

Twitter and Reddit seem to have an awful lot of "Hey, did you know Brandon Sanderson is a Mormon?" threads. (It is amazing to me that there are people who've been reading his books for years and had no idea - he does not make it a secret, and also I guessed by the end of the first Mistborn trilogy that the author was a Mormon without knowing anything about him.)

You can see all the usual arguments being recycled: "Should we cancel all Mormon/Catholic/Christian authors then?" (Felker-Martin: "Unironically, yes.") "It's just his personal belief, has nothing to do with how he treats gay people." ("But he TITHES and that means he is funding the LDS's Anti-Gay Death Camps!")

So woke fandom tried to take a scalp and overreached (this time), because while Tor is pretty darn woke, they're still not going to drop one of their biggest cash cows. Yet.

Can You Cancel a Bestseller?

Not literally, no. But can you hurt even a big name? Yes.

JK Rowling is still mega-rich, still a best-selling author, still beloved in most of the world. Yet I'm sure it does sting, even if she never says so publicly, that she and her books will never be celebrated again without an asterisk, that Harry Potter fandom tries to put her name in small print if at all, that she will never be reunited with the stars who she saw grow up and considered friends, until they were forced to denounce her. (Though in Emma Watson's case, it doesn't seem like much forcing was needed.)

They might not be able to Voldemort Brandon Sanderson, but being turned into a homophobic villain who is reviled by fandom and no longer invited to conventions would definitely hurt him. More cynically, Felker-Martin might know that Sanderson was too big a target, but that much smaller Mormon (and Catholic and Baptist, etc.) authors might be intimidated.

(Which makes me tempted to say, "Okay, now do Muslims," but there are only a handful of Muslim SFF authors I know of. The most famous is probably Gwendolyn Willow Wilson, an American Karen who converted to Islam and writes the Ms. Marvel comic book series. Saladin Ahmed wrote a few fantasy novels and also the Miles Morales Spider Man. Amal El-Mohtar is very in with the woke Hugos crowd. All of them apparently believe that Mohammad was totally cool with The Gays. It will be interesting to see if an actual tradcon Muslim ever tries to break into the industry.)

The Midnight Society

Sanderson: haha no no you got it all wrong

Sanderson: I don’t personally hate gay people

Sanderson: I simply support an institution that wants to kill them

Sanderson: I think they’re neat

Sanderson: if it were up to me, they wouldn’t be exterminated at all

Sanderson: but jeez, guys, who am I to tell the Mormon church it’s wrong?

Sanderson: I really don’t have any choice here other than to keep tithing them millions of dollars

Sanderson: my hands are tied

Orson Scott Card: oh yeah totally very relatable

Barker: haha that sucks, man

Sanderson: look, I know you all think I’m some sort of bogeyman for giving millions of dollars to a church that wants to kill queer people

It's pretty sad that wokes are just about the only people who take religious commitments on their face (though I'm not sure if LDS doctrine specifically can be interpreted as demanding to kill all gays and queers, over basic Christianity, so it seems that what earns Mormons extra ire is having a functional Church this late into the game). Of course online wokes do it in bad faith (pun not intended), knowing well they won't ever be touched and just holding theists to task for their professed beliefs. And they succeed in wringing out apologies and clear signs of internal conflict and guilty conscience. This doesn't satisfy them, but this gives the lie to the notion that any theist beliefs which are seriously, consequentially divergent from the mainstream morality can be sustained. As a contemporary Christian, you cannot be in the world but not of it: your peers will recognize your seriousness as edgelord behavior, your children (if you find a partner) will cringe and apologize for their backward parent, and your faith will be reduced to a notional identity marker in a generation.

What goes around comes around. When, as a minority, you cast off the protective membrane of contempt for infidels, they dissolve you. The Haredim will prosper – in their unashamedly bigoted communities, under the umbrella of people bound to them by ethnic obligation. The Amish will survive as well, conditional on their continued legal recognition in the US. Everyone else...

In 1930, before marrying Marietta, von Neumann was baptized into the Catholic Church.[69] Von Neumann's father, Max, had died in 1929. None of the family had converted to Christianity while Max was alive, but all did afterward.[70]

LGBT Twitter people usually equate "wanting to kill gay or trans people" with anything that might increase the probability of suicide, i.e. social exclusion. Exterminating trans people is used in all sorts of contexts where the meaning isn't rounding up and killing them but preventing them from transitioning socially or medically. To be exceedingly generous; if a country legally banned a body modification ritual like circumcision you can see how that might be

(hyperbolically) equated with the extermination of the Jewish faith since future generations would not be able to participate in a central ritual of membership but it would be pretty different from literally rounding up and killing Jewish people.

So when I was bullied in high school, was I being exterminated? If I can identify the right victim group that I'm a part of, will I be allowed to use this kind of rhetoric?

There are reasons that people do not think that that commandment necessarily applies today. Essentially, when you look at the laws of the Old Testament, it's traditional (and seems pretty accurate) to divide them into

  1. Moral laws, that is, things that you morally should just do (like, "thou shalt not murder"). These are true for everyone, everywhere, always, Israelite or not.

  2. Ceremonial laws, laws fulfilling some religious purpose, directed towards Israel as a church, so to speak. The sacrifices or the dietary laws would be considered examples of these. These wouldn't apply to everyone in the world anyway, but Christians don't have to do them anymore because Christ fulfilled them or something (I don't fully grasp the theology of what's going on here), and you see as much said in the new testament (in Galatians, Acts, Hebrews, and others). We do sort of have some analogous things, like the sacraments, but it's a lot less extensive than what applied to the Jewish people before Christ.

  3. Judicial laws, laws for Israel as a state, like punishments and so forth. But we don't live under the government of ancient Israel. We definitely still have things like these, but not necessarily the same ones, instead having whatever the government instituted. And different times can call for different laws, because the circumstances can change. I don't see any laws concerning the internet in there, and the law about having a fence on the roof of your house isn't so good when it's no longer normal to walk on roofs of houses.

So we have to follow moral laws, but not Israel's ceremonial or judicial laws at this point, those have replacements. Not committing homosexual acts would presumably be moral (given that new testament passages still speak against it). Punishing homosexual acts with death would definitely be a judicial law, and we don't follow ancient Israel's but the USA's judicial laws (or whatever other country). Now, of course, there isn't a problem with Israel's laws, God made them, and so punishing gay sex with death is still a legitimate legal system (well, probably, unless you wanted to argue that the severity was for ceremonial reasons to some extent), but not necessarily the only legitimate one, or the best one for the people of America.

So I'm not in principle opposed to having a death penalty for gay sex, but I don't think we have any sort of need to do that either, if that makes sense, and that's not due to thinking that it's outdated or something.

Edit: To be clear, I'm not Mormon, I don't know how well this matches for them.

Some of it was also just related to cleanliness/avoiding disease (food requirements, avoiding women on their periods (blood born diseases), etc.) and I can see men lying with men as falling into that category because of the realities of anal.

There's also the whole thing about baby making and you can only continue an ethnoreligion through babies and if everyone's coupled up with the same gender, there are no babies.

Babies are a very big deal to Mormons. They have so many of them.

I think there's definitely a case for that to an extent (see, maybe, the mildew or leprosy laws), but I think that those were still integrated to some extent into the system of worship, given that lepers were supposed to present themselves to the priests, and fit into the same system of ritual uncleanness that is used for everyone else, instead of having their own thing. The highlighting of physical filth as something that's unable to be brought into the presence of God would have spiritual implications, I think. See, for an application, Isaiah 6, where, when brought into the presence of God, Isaiah reacts "Woe is me, for I am lost, for I am a man of unclean lips…" So uncleanness is taking on, at the very least in that context, some sort of moral character, and I think there's probably a good case to be made that there's something of that sort lurking underneath the whole cleanliness system—not to say that unclean things are morally bad in themselves, but maybe that they're used to help develop a visceral reaction against filth in God's presence, in such a way that it might cause them to be more aware of moral filth—maybe, I'm not some expert on this.

But I do think there's a good point that you're making there, that the seemingly ceremonial laws aren't necessarily purely just for ceremonial purposes, but there's often some prudential reason that could be lurking behind there to an extent. But there are, of course, other examples, like against the mixing of fabrics, that it would seem pretty hard to make a case that they would be of that variety.

Given the new testament (assuming you think you can trust it—I think most of the rest of what I was saying could generally be trusted by an atheist, but this bit can't), reiterates this, it would seem that there some moral component against homosexual sex given Romans 1 and similar. It doesn't read like it's merely about cleanliness in the mind of Paul.

I wouldn't trust the baby line of argument too much, just because 1) gay people make up a relatively low proportion of the population, at least currently, and I see no reason why that would greatly differ then and 2) I don't see too much of an emphasis in the time of Moses on fertility; I can't bring to mind any reiteration of "be fruitful and multiply" or similar, so that probably wasn't the greatest of the concerns in the drafting of the laws.

Or at least, I wouldn't trust that argument too much in the case of Ancient Israel. It's possible that it could apply to modern Mormonism, I suppose, although it seems unlikely to me, who am ignorant of their culture, that that would be the largest factor.

It's pretty sad that wokes are just about the only people who take religious commitments on their face (though I'm not sure if LDS doctrine specifically can be interpreted as demanding to kill all gays and queers, over basic Christianity

Pretty much nobody in the Western world except the Westboro Baptist Church calls for gays to be killed. In theory, "love the sinner, hate the sin" is what most of the traditional denominations (claim to) believe, and Mormons are probably more sincere than most about it.

Sanderson: I simply support an institution that wants to kill them

That's the thing that annoys me the most. The trans activists who shout that their enemies want to literally kill them. That they're being genocided. Tha the Trans Day of Remembrance is some sort of Holocaust memorial. When the murder rate of trans people is about the same as that for women, and the murders are often of sex workers (a profession already risky even for cis people) or might have been for other reasons (e.g. drug deals gone wrong). When they are getting more and more protection, support, laws, even the damn flag being shoehorned into the Pride flag.

"No no no if you don't tell us we're fantastic and give out puberty blockers, hormones, and surgery on the bare word of anyone who walks in and goes 'I want that' then it's genocide, literally a genocide!"

The trick is that when pressed, they say they're talking about suicide rates, and thus making a veiled threat to kill themselves. As a reminder, this is archetypal abuser behavior.

they say they're talking about suicide rates,

Perhaps a bit uncharitably, I personally am not convinced that suicide rates alone are worth high levels of sympathy. I suppose sometimes, but as you mention that is complicated by social contagions. Should we end euthanasia protocols to improve suicide rates? Personally not convinced. Does the fate of the Jeffrey Epsteins [citation needed] and Adolf Hitlers of this world suggest we should change government policies to make their specific lives better? No. Just no.

More to the point, I would find the whole mental illness thing more sympathetic if their wounds weren’t mostly self inflicted.

Even the suicide rates thing is cherry-picked, though suicidality seems to be high (see the report from which the original 41% rate was taken).

There's a new survey by an LGBT youth project which bumps the rate up even higher - 45-50%. But while the headlines are all about discrimination being the driver, when you read the stories they say that even in progressive states rates are high. And that it's considered rather than "attempted" suicide:

States where lawmakers have aggressively pursued anti-trans legislation, including Texas and Arkansas, have extraordinarily high levels of suicide risk, though the rates are nearly as high in some progressive states, including New York, California and Oregon.

In California, the most populous state, which recently passed a law to protect trans youth, 44% of LGBTQ+ youth considered suicide and 14% attempted suicide, the survey found; for trans and non-binary respondents, the findings were worse, with 54% considering and 19% attempting suicide. And 70% of LGBTQ+ youth in the state said they had experienced discrimination, with 62% saying they were not able to access mental health care.

The rates of trans and nonbinary youth who seriously considered suicide were similar in the next largest states, at 56% in Texas; 54% in Florida; 50% in New York; 54% in Pennsylvania; 51% in Illinois; 54% in Ohio; 55% in Georgia; 53% in North Carolina; and 52% in Michigan. And 16-20% of trans and non-binary youth reported attempting suicide across these states. A majority also said they wanted, but did not receive care.

Even in California there are high rates of suicidal ideation? Why, it's almost as if there's something going on there that's not just about transphobes... maybe there's the whole co-morbidities thing of anxiety and depression... no, that can't be it, it's down to TERFs and J.K. Rowling alone!

For comparison with the general teenage population:

Results from the 2019 Youth Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System show that 18.8% of high school students seriously considered attempting suicide and 8.9% actually attempted suicide.

So nearly twice as high for LGBT/trans teens especially if BIPOC (Alaskan natives have shockingly high rates) and poor.

If a depressed person said if you deny us medication or therapy then more depressed people will kill themselves, is this making a veiled threat or recognizing (what they see to be) factual truth?

The game design perspective is an interesting lens to take to this. People are 100% in control of whether or not they threaten to kill themselves. If this yields any advantage the meta will develop to always threaten to kill yourself.

If they are suffering from a mental illness, arguably they are not 100% in control of their actions or words.

If they are suffering from a mental illness, they should get help and support. But that does not mean that they are not 'really' mentally ill, they're perfectly fine and if we don't accept that they are too a unicorn with wings we are driving them to suicide.

No, but if the treatment were that we pretended to accept them, then that is something to consider. We might still say no depending on the cost of such acceptance but to make that decision we have to know the costs and the benefits and if one of the benefits is that fewer people kills themselves then we should take that into account.

Again, that doesn't mean we must do it, because the costs might outweigh saving some lives.

More comments

I don't like the "not in control of their actions" idea. Someone with a mental illness doesn't have an entirely separate process intruding on their thoughts - they're taking actions with the same complex network of neurological processes (that aren't understood too well), just either there's some biochemical defect (autoimmune-induced schizophrenia?), or some other social/environmental factor, causing parts of it to be slightly off. And that doesn't seem like 'loss of control'. The 'person' is still 'in control of their actions' (which really is a tautological statement), the actions are just ... bad.

... as an illustration that doesn't have that much resemblance to real mental illness, say the same kind of mental defect gives one person an obsession with collecting baseball cards and another person an obsession with eating rocks. One might say 'the person isn't in control of their actions, they have to eat rocks'. But one wouldn't say that of someone who really likes collecting baseball cards!

If we're going to entirely remove their agency why should we take their argumentation seriously at all?

Not being 100% in control does not mean they lack all agency. For example when carrying out an assessment on patients when I used to be involved in social care, we would minimize what choices they lost. A person who would spend all their money on QVC items would have their finances handled by a social worker but they could still make all other decisions. Mental competence is generally not all or nothing in that perspective.

More comments

Then it would follow that they can't be afforded 100% agency.

Indeed. But can anyone? Let's say being suicidally depressed gives you 70% agency. You can make most choices but in a depressive episode, society may try and override your choice to kill yourself (if it can) by treating you whether you choose to or not. It will then discharge you, offer you therapy or drugs and so on.

If dysphoria does lead to increased levels of suicide then the same response would be to..forcibly transition people whether they want it or not? Remember when we believe people do not have agency due to mental illness, we generally act to treat their illness whether they want that treatment or not at that moment.

More comments

If a depressed person said if you deny us medication or therapy then more depressed people will kill themselves, is this making a veiled threat or recognizing (what they see to be) factual truth?

Unironically, I think it's valid as their interpretation of factual truth if and only if they acknowledge that they're mentally ill. Because without that acknowledgment, then they maintain agency for their actions, and their decision to commit suicide is entirely on their own moral ledger. People who aren't mentally ill can get mad that other people are making them unhappy, but crossing the rhetorical line from unhappiness to suicide is just an abusive tactic in that context.

Does it change the argument if I ( a non depressed person) say that I think depressed people are more likely to kill themselves if denied treatment?

There definitely is some kind of line where threats of suicide can be used abusively I agree, but I think in most examples like this it is being used as a guilt trip which can be (but is not necessarily) abusive. I guilt my kids into doing stuff all the time, because it is one of the social tools at our disposal. When it crosses the line into abusive is hard to define I think.

Does it change the argument if I ( a non depressed person) say that I think depressed people are more likely to kill themselves if denied treatment?

Again... this is okay if and only if we agree that depressed people are mentally ill.

There definitely is some kind of line where threats of suicide can be used abusively I agree, but I think in most examples like this it is being used as a guilt trip which can be (but is not necessarily) abusive. I guilt my kids into doing stuff all the time

If you tell your kids that you'll kill yourself if they don't eat their vegetables or whatever, you'd be way over the line into abuse. If you observe to them dispassionately that you are statistically more likely to kill yourself if they don't eat their vegetables, you haven't salvaged the situation. It isn't the guilt trip that (necessarily) puts you over the line, it's threatening suicide.

If you tell your kids that you'll kill yourself if they don't eat their vegetables or whatever, you'd be way over the line into abuse. If you observe to them dispassionately that you are statistically more likely to kill yourself if they don't eat their vegetables, you haven't salvaged the situation. It isn't the guilt trip that (necessarily) puts you over the line, it's threatening suicide.

Right because eating vegetables and suicide are not linked (I assume!). But depression and suicide are. If I tell them "If you don't eat your vegetables I will be disappointed you have chosen not to eat healthily" I am guilting them with a reasonable outcome on my behalf. If they were doing something that actually would increase my risk of death, then it becomes once more reasonable. Don't pretend to throw your brother off the roof, you'll give me a heart attack perhaps?

More comments

I don’t think that jk Rowling is arguing that trans people should be denied treatment but asserting that everyone else isn’t required to acknowledge the trans person’s chosen gender. This isn’t the same thing

Agreed, but if being recognized as their new gender is part of treatment (as surgical transition as a treatment would imply) then we have a question of how much of a responsibility does society (and/or individuals within that society) have to go along with it.

More comments

I have a few issues with this comparison. First, the thing we'd be treating is the depression, with medications and therapies designed to fix the undesirable internal state. Secondly, the state of depression treatment is, AIUI, not really where we'd like it to be in terms of scientific reliability, and that's still a much better situation that the fraught nightmare of running experiments on trans people. And third, my issue is not with "access to treatment and therapy" (for adults, at least), but with epistemic demands on other people. If a depressed person demands that we validate their belief that everyone hates them for being smarter than the rest of us, and if we fail to validate that belief they might kill themselves... that is toxic AF. That's emotional blackmail. That's either despicably insincere, or something to have that person committed over. The worst response would be enabling that person in their toxic, abusive behavior.

If someone is suicidal, there are ways to seek help that aren't virulently anti-social, and empathy is not a blank check.

Wasn't there some controversy about SSRIs being no better then a placebo recently?

Anyway, if you make good on your threat, there's no contradiction between the two.

Note they aren't saying they will kill themselves but that other non-medicated depressives will due to still being depressed.

Also hypocritical given all of the left-media's critiques of things like 13 Reasons Why for encouraging a suicide contagion amongst kids by framing it as this grand operatic act.

Meanwhile, activists across the spectrum are actively placing this idea in the heads of vulnerable teens* and parents as a way to either emotionally blackmail the latter or convince the former their position is even more fragile (so they can do the emotional blackmailing themselves or be alienated from their parents).

Of course, if and when a kid does kill themselves and cites this as a reason it'll be plastered everywhere like Matthew Sheppard with calls for "life-saving care" and it'll be years before anyone dares to do any counter fact-checking, let alone suggest the media is had any role to play.

From a moral perspective this situation has nothing to recommend it. From a strategic vantage? Brilliant.

* Lots of comorbidities with "trans" stuff.

I wouldn't read too much into this example. "[outgroup] literally wants to kill all [ingroup]" is a very common culture war hyperbole. Even if it's not literally true, no-one on your own team is going to question it, and it's a good way to rally the troops.

Just try searching Reddit comments for the string "literally want us dead" and you'll see plenty of examples:

And lest you think it's exclusively a blue tribe thing, here are a few examples of "liberals literally want conservatives dead" from right wing subreddits: 1, 2, 3. These are somewhat rarer, but Reddit has considerably more left-wing users and communities, so we can't necessarily draw a conclusion about which side uses this rhetorical tactic more.

Whether someone "literally wants us dead" is a fact-specific question. Even if not many people on a side literally literally want you dead, there's the question of how often and how directly a side says they want you dead, whether they encourage or discourage this rhetoric, and how much bad faith that rhetoric indicates.

It's not a foregone conclusion that, by this standard, the right and left equally want each other dead. If you ask a conservative why he thinks liberals want him dead, he's probably going to point to statements that are fairly close to "all conservatives should die". If you ask a trans activist and the trans activist points to suicide rates, that's not the same kind of thing. Even if neither side is likely to go on a shooting spree, so neither side literally wants the other dead, this isn't the same kind of "wants us dead" and is not symmetrical.

The left saying that conservatives "want us dead" is related to the strategy of demanding that victims must be listened to and their wishes must be obeyed. So you get things like "the right doesn't want us to do X, and that may result in people dying, so they want us dead". You don't see this much on the right.

I remember when "free helicopter rides" was a meme in certain right-wing circles, certainly. I've also seen enough far-right memes of trans people literally getting hanged or put to death camps to suit myself, but they're also kind of hard to search for due to various search algorithms in play, and so on.

I would agree that "free helicopter rides", used against the left as often as "fascist" or "Nazi" is against the right, would be a similar threat level. I don't agree that "free helicopter rides" is actually used against the left as often as those.

One involves a direct threat of violence, the other doesn’t.

"Punch a Nazi" sounds more direct than vague references to helicopter rides. That's without going into variations on #KillAllMen / #DieCisScum / bringing guillotines to TERF events, etc.

But that's not what the comparison was.

The point was whether there are statements that left-wingers could point to that amount to "right-wingers want us dead". There are.

More comments

statements that are fairly close to "all conservatives should die".

Any examples?

What? The previous post has three links to conservatives saying that liberals want them dead. I'm not sure about the first, but the second is "They call everyone who disagrees with them "Nazis" so that they can dehumanize them and justify literally any action against them." and the third is in response to a SWATting, which literally literally tries to get someone killed, as in actually pushing up daisies in a coffin buried in the ground. These are fundamentally different from "the right promotes policies that increase suicide rates so they want us killed".

If left wing people referring to conservatives as Nazis is 'fairly close to "all conservatives should die"', then surely the same could be said of conservatives referring to liberals as groomers.

He's saying that because the context is that if someone is a Nazi, you are permitted to do anything to them you want, including things that are normally not okay to do to people. Even if the liberal wouldn't actually shoot someone for being a Nazi, he's saying that it's okay to hurt them; this is in a different ballpark than "they are increasing the risk of suicide".

I don't get the impression that conservatives, by calling people groomers, are saying "so it's okay to do anything you want to hurt them". If you think they are, fair point.

I think people who sexually abuse children are at least as hated by the general public as Nazis. Read an article on Reddit about pedophilia/child molestation and it's not uncommon to see upvoted comments wishing for pedophiles to be tortured or executed in a gruesome fashion - "punch a Nazi" is tame by comparison.

If the argument is about the mental state of the sides using these epithets being different - i.e. both sides label their opponents as members of a group which is universally reviled and seen as deserving of violence, but the left does it with the goal of opening the door to violence and the right does it with some other goal - then I'm curious what leads you to this conclusion.

More comments

Ah, I may have misread your comment. When you said 'point to statements' I thought you meant they'd point to specific statements that liberals or whoever actually had made, and that you were implying that that did actually happen.

If someone tries to literally literally kill you, surely it counts as a statement that they want you dead?

There's no doubt it's hyperbole, but you can make yourself believe if you repeat it loudly and often enough. You can whip yourself into a paranoid frenzy, and make yourself believe that JK Rowling is hiding underneath your bed waiting to strangle you in your sleep, and turn every single debate over pronoun usage into a life-and-death struggle for survival. Every day it's 1933 in Germany, forever. And this is in fact, effective political strategy for people who liberals find sympathetic.

It's the boy who cried wolf, if every second word out of your mouth is "conservatives and Republicans and religious people want us dead and not alone want us dead, intend to really genuinely kill us", then it's going to go the same way as 'racist' and 'fascist' - probably already has, because you don't seem to believe they genuinely think Republicans want to shoot them or however they imagine the genociding to go.

It's worse when you look into "what do you mean they want you dead?" and if you get an answer it's "they said under eighteens shouldn't get sex affirming surgery" or something. Oh noes, not letting a fourteen year old cut off breasts/penis (delete as applicable) is literally murdering them!

I mean. Sometimes that might be acceptable. But at the end of the day, it basically boils down to this: an irreversible surgical intervention for chronic and otherwise intractable pain.

A 14-year-old or hell a 20-year-old who herniates a disc and wants surgery gets a lot of scrutiny and there is a bit of gatekeeping going on there. This for an operation that is essentially a crapshoot in terms of outcomes and has no politics associated with it.

I mean, it’s true that ‘literally want us dead’ is a figure of speech, but it tends to play along with imaginary genocides- both in conservative imaginings about the treatment of the unvaxxed and in liberal imaginings about the future treatment of sexual minorities.

It's just another piece of proof that letting "literally" become a synonym of "figuratively" is an abomination of language. How do I even express the cold and real belief that someone wants to unironically and unhyperoblicly kill me?

You would never use figuratively in place of literally in those sentences. Literally is an amplifier, which when used in hyperbole is to be taken figuratively.

I think if you could look into people's hearts, a lot of people want to kill a lot of people.

You can clarify with ‘like, actually’.

Yes of course the old way was better.

You'd get a huge amount of red-tribe examples simply by amassing all the times the Antichrist's regime in Book of Revelation is portrayed as a liberals/socialists/Satanists hunting down conservative Christians to execute them.

A comparison complicated somewhat by the numerous cases within the last century where "liberals" and socialists actually hunted down conservative Christians to execute them, and whose ideologies and symbols remain notably popular to this day.

Why does that complicate the comparison? Doesn't it just complete it (i.e in both cases there were groups of people who did in fact want them dead and killed them and the ideologies and symbols of those groups are still in common use by their current political opponents)?

Edit: Actually, also in both cases there are still people elsewhere in the world actively killing people like them while espousing those ideologies and using those symbols.

This specimen is who Tor threw some of its authors under the bus for? And by that I mean when Tor was going woke, around the Sad/Rabid Puppies time it did push out some mid-list authors, and fired (then later quietly re-hired) one of its staff who went a bit too far with the two-minute hate stuff.

Gretchen is the sort they wanted to represent, now they have her* and I wish them joy. I can take or leave Sanderson's writing (mostly leave it, to be blunt; his prose is too cardboard for me and 'rigorously worked out magic systems' while they may be good are too much 'baseball stats' oriented for me to enjoy in fantasy, I don't want to be mentally rolling dice and looking up tables as I'm reading). But that he's a Mormon who believes in his faith and hasn't adopted the liberal progressive Unitarian Universalist version of Christianity? How shocking! It's always immensely amusing to see the people crying about being persecuted and oppressed starting up their own Crusades and Inquisitions and heresy-hunts and witch-burnings for not falling in line with the new orthodoxy.

Rowling at least is now relaxed enough to just laugh at the terrible Twitter attacks, which drives them even crazier trying to get her.

*Someone in their forties who never grew out of the "ooh Abby from NCIS is so cool, I wanna be her!" phase. Anyone who describes themselves as "a professional cenobite" has no fucking clue. They swiped that from the Hellraiser movies of course, the whole goth-witchy vibe (the patheticness), but while Clive Barker was raised Catholic and knew what he was doing with that term, our person here is only a poseur, someone desperately copying last year's look and trying to break in to the world they've been writing freelance criticism covering. They're a Real Author now (just like they're a Real Woman) and of course the first thing our neophyte 'literally who' does is attack big names in order to get coverage and publicity. Because they certainly don't have the talent to make it on their own merits, and the publishing world is so increasingly dog-eat-dog that new authors have to be massive sellers fast, or they don't survive. Tor may tolerate Gretchen as "see how diverse and inclusive we are!" for a while, but unless they start earning, they'll be quietly let go. And they know it, which is why the preemptive posturing on the trans angle - "fire me as an author and I'll claim it was because I'm trans and that will be bad publicity for you!"

It's always immensely amusing to see the people crying about being persecuted and oppressed starting up their own Crusades and Inquisitions and heresy-hunts and witch-burnings for not falling in line with the new orthodoxy.

I mean given the examples you yourself invoked of what Christianity itself did I am not sure there is much of a leg to stand on. Christianity was the underdog and was persecuted, rose to power, did its own persecution in turn and now some of the groups it doesn't like/thinks are sinful have banded together and are repeating that cycle and doing something similar to it (though without yet launching actual crusades or priest burnings I suppose). I guess it's darkly amusing in a schadenfreude kind of way. Live by persecution, die by persecution?

In other words if a church says a group is sinful, they can't exactly be surprised when that group isn't well predisposed to them, and that if said groups gets the chance may well choose to try and reduce the power and influence of the church and its followers. Sure maybe in an ideal world LGBT groups and the like should take the high road and forgive and forget, but given Christianity itself struggles with getting its followers to do that, I'm not sure that is anything we should actually expect.

And specifically with Mormon's its not as if they didn't mostly do an about face on race:

"In 1978, apostle LeGrand Richards clarified that the curse of dark skin for wickedness and promise of white skin through righteousness only applied to Indians, and not to black people.[3]

In 2013, the LDS Church published an essay refuting these ideas, describing prior reasoning for the restriction as racial "folk beliefs", and teaching that blackness in Latter-day Saint theology is a symbol of disobedience to God and not necessarily a skin color."

So politically I think you could see the LDS reversing their stance on homosexuality at some point (assuming you think the racial reverse was done for pragmatic reasons and not because God told them to) so it makes sense to put pressure on them to become more "correct".

Live by persecution, die by persecution?

You are of course continuing this cycle, are you prepared for you turn?

Just to point out I am describing how people act not endorsing it. That's why I said in an ideal world the persecuted group would take the high road, but my experience with people over many years has made me feel that is exceptionally unlikely. So it goes.

In my particular case, my rural neighbors think I am a Christian and I no longer vote. I have largely opted out and live my life. I just like arguing on the internet. Though given I used to work in politics (in the UK) and have certainly explicitly pandered to various persecution beliefs in the messaging for my candidates, I think it is probably fair to say that I did at one point assist this cycle. But you know, that was part of the reason I retired from politics.

Also, I am not talking literally about living and dying by persecution, more in metaphor. Those you persecute will persecute you in turn should they get the power to do so, mostly nowadays through laws and cultural changes than actual murder or burning at the stake. So yes I am prepared for my turn, in some ways I am already living it. It's very Christian where I live and the expedient thing to do was to simply go along with that. It's not a big deal day to day. If the US becomes a literal Mormon Theocracy somehow I shall diligently don my sacred undergarments and take my turn in the temple. It will be ok. Likewise if Stalin reborn creates the United Soviet State of America, I shall embrace the hammer and sickle. I expect my day to day life won't change much either way.

Fair enough. You get that this is the end of Liberalism as a going concern, though, right? The arguments of the past that shaped our society presupposed that arguments like yours here would not be made. By making this argument, by cementing it in thought and deed, you preclude those previous arguments from being made again, no?

Liberalism is i think an illusion, it came from the see-saw of power tipping and for some amount of time being near equal.

Just to be clear I don't suppose wokism or whatever will be any better at not driving groups away and then getting opposed and the balance tipping back.

My view is that it being a cycle is ok. There will be times when one side is up and the other down (simplistically, i think there are actually multiple axes here) and times where they will be in transition and roughly balanced. The world got on ok when gays were forced into the closet and so on and it will get on ok if Christians have to go back to building priest holes or whatever. It is just not that big of a deal on a macro level. Now it is on an individual level, i understand why Christians or Gay people would be unhappy and push for change depending on circumstance.

My meta view is that it is ok for these cycles to go by. If Atheism is down, its ok, I can fake being a Christian if it gets so bad i am in danger and i can suck that up. There is no winning or losing, just how things are and how we need to navigate that. Sometimes our beliefs will not be shared no matter what we do. Ideologies and religions die out and are replaced and that is ok. It has to be ok, its the only real option, as there isn't any permanent victory coming that I can see.

In other words if a church says a group is sinful,

I think this is how it's perceived more broadly by non-Christians, but misses the specific point that (most?) Christian denominations believe everyone is sinful. If you described a group of devout Catholics as sinful, I suspect the response would be "yes we are," with some commentary about confession, forgiveness, and repentance.

I dunno, how does a gay person seek confession, forgiveness and repentance without giving up his identity as a gay person?

Isn't there a bit of a parallel here to offering Sanderson forgiveness if he gives up his identity as a Mormon?

I'm on Sanderson's side on this, to be clear. I really don't have a problem with the LDS church as a basic tenet of pluralism. They reciprocate, too: they supported the federal same-sex marriage law that was recently signed into law.

But I do think it's a bit obscurantist to claim that gay people are positioned similarly in the eyes of the LDS church to the rest of the faithful on the basis that sin is a feature of the human condition.

If a thief claims that kleptomania is a factual component of his identity, which of the steps of your comment apply, and which don't?

I mean, yeah, in that case the kleptomaniac 100% has to give up his identity to become right with society/god/etc., as he should.

I think that's really the point, though. LDS Church sees gays as morally on par with kleptomaniacs. And this whole thread is a complaint that some particularly strident trans SF/F author sees Mormons as morally on par with kleptomaniacs.

Ugh. This is getting combative. I truly hold no grudge against the LDS Church. They (now) walk the walk on pluralism. I am fine with them believing and even professing that gayness is sinful and bars one from Mormon Heaven. I don't think Mormons should suffer any retribution for their affiliation with the Church. This trans "filthcore" author is behaving badly.

All I want to insist upon, here, is that the LDS Church really does hold gays in lower esteem than the average person. That's their right and I'm totally fine with them doing so. But it just really isn't accurate to claim that they see gays as morally on par with the rest of humanity in the sense that we're all sinners.

it just really isn't accurate to claim that they see gays as morally on par with the rest of humanity in the sense that we're all sinners.

I don't see how that follows. I think they would say to the kleptomaniac, "Dude, we're all sinners. We all have our tests and trials. We all sometimes experience strong desires for things we know are wrong. [Young preacher adds in a story about having been an alcoholic or whatever.] But you can choose to embrace it and make it a core part of your identity... or you can choose to fight against it and reject it. That choice is what determines who you are."

What follows from that is that if they look around in the world and see that there is a group of out and proud kleptos, screaming about the importance of being sensitive to their identity, they're going to say, "Yeah, most of those people have been informed, and they've made their choice." I don't see how that somehow obviates a Morman belief that they're Imago Dei (do the Mormans hold this? is definitely valid for most other branches of Christianity) and equally possessing inherent human value. Most Christians (again, not as familiar with Mormans, specifically) would be the first to point out that if a klepto-prodigal son made a choice and a change, they'd be overjoyed, specifically because of the person's moral worth.

I don't see how that somehow obviates a Morman belief that they're Imago Dei (do the Mormans hold this? is definitely valid for most other branches of Christianity) and equally possessing inherent human value.

Mormons can still think gays and kleptomaniacs possess human value while still thinking less of them. I think that thinking less of kleptomaniacs is a good thing for society; theft is bad and we should try pretty hard to discourage it. I understand why Mormons think less of homosexuals, but ultimately disagree with their conclusion, and I think gays should be treated just as well as straights. To me, trying to discourage homosexuality is insulting and morally wrong*.

*I do think it's acceptable to discourage the encouragement of homosexuality. There's a big difference between telling your kid "Don't be gay" and telling your kid's elementary school not to be teaching intersectionality.

I'm not exactly sure what we're disagreeing about at this point. Is it that you think committed "out and proud" gays and committed "out and proud" kleptos are morally similar? Or that you think committed "out and proud" kleptos are in the same moral boat of basically good people who are nonetheless tempted to sin per the universal human condition? Both propositions seem pretty hard to defend, but perhaps I'm biased due to being gay.

Yes but they aren't disowning their kids for existing in a state of sin in general. In theory you may be correct, in practice it leads to discriminatory behavior against certain groups for very human reasons.

So if those groups are able to assemble coalitions to gain power then its likely to have a goal of stopping that happening.

With the caveat that disowning of children is a fringe practice in any case, Christians have in fact disowned their children for rejecting their parents rules and embracing a sinful lifestyle in other ways, from heterosexual fornication to drug use.

from heterosexual fornication to drug use.

Yes and arguably that's now part of the same anti-Christian coalition, no? It's not coincidence that the coalition includes gay people, pro choice, pro-divorce etc. etc. Gay people are an example but they're not the whole enchilada. It's particular sins that beget particular groups which beget particular platforms.

Yes, but the thing is, these are the people who will on the one hand unironically go on about the crusades and witch burnings and what have you, then in the next paragraph demand crusades and witch burnings themselves.

"Well the Christians were just as bad" is not Le Epic Own you think it is. If group A (be they atheists, trans activists, or crochet enthusiasts) have been denouncing Dem Horbul Kristians for doing awful things, going on and doing the same awful things is not a good look.

I would point out again Sanderson isn't actually being burned at the stake. So i think the argument that they are just as bad right now is not proven.

And again if Bob punches Joe, even if people think punching people is wrong they are usually ok with Joe punching back. The Church has no-one to blame for this other than itself (or God I suppose). Reaping what ye sow and all that.

If you push enough groups of people to the fringe such that the fringe becomes another power centre in and of itself, this is what will happen if they can rally enough support against the prior "evil" empire.

Now I heavily suspect this lesson will not be learned and things will flip once more, but we aren't anywhere near the worst previous excesses, so religous complaints right now just sound like a case of sour grapes to me.

Wokism will I think schism and shatter like Christianity did, though its less centralized so how that looks may well be different. And probably for the same reasons, corruption, power grabs and over reaching.

The relevant groups are still fringe in important ways, in that for many of them being fringe is an important part of their identity.

Sure, and part of that is because we are only part way through a transition, where I live gay people are still going to be fringe. In San Francisco less so. But they are overall less fringe than they were 60 years ago I think, and I think that is likely to continue. The other part is that the fringe/center is simplistic, there are really multiple centers and different levels of fringe and so on.

So I agree it would be great if we could not get anywhere near the Troubles or anything worse. And I really hope we do not. However the side that was (to return to a metaphor I have used before) just punching someone in the face, complaining when the other person is now about to swing at them, is unlikely to get much charity from the person with the bloody nose. I have mentioned before about the idea that in a good old fashioned man on man fight both sides have to get their licks in and can then shake hands, having both given as good as they have gotten. That they can reconcile because it feels fair. Whether that is good or bad I don't know, but I think that some measure of either justice or revenge has to be seen to be delivered. Simply returning to the status quo leaves one side feeling a victim not a competitor.

So if we accept that Christianity got a few licks in against gay people (not necessarily actual violence, shaming, conversion attempts, forcing them to stay in the closet etc.) for that to be resolved Christianity must then suffer something. And it has to be something they don't like, so if they taught kids it was bad to be gay, now their kids must be taught that is good to be gay for example. Whether they like that or not. Otherwise they are (seen to be) being let off the hook. They never took a punch to the jaw. It's easier to forgive an opponent you fought with than a person who victimized you with no consequences.

This is I would argue an explanation for why groups have been victimized do what they do and is a pretty good fit for what we see around us.

Again for the record, I think the world would be a better place if this were not the case, but I think the number of people who actually are really willing to turn the other cheek is pretty tiny and this applies to groups as well as to individuals. So its a balance, and a difficult one because it is also human nature to keep throwing punches at the person who hurt us. And we don't have an uninvolved bouncer to drag us apart once one side goes too far.

I think it becomes a see-saw of ups and downs and maybe over time the oscillations get less severe, but that may just be the optimist in me talking.

So your enemies have permission to torture the shit out of you, all they have to do is take power? And you think it will get less severe?

If they take power then they won't need my permission. That's one of the side effects of taking power.

More comments

If you push enough groups of people to the fringe such that the fringe becomes another power centre in and of itself,

This is why the left stranglehold over education, finance, media, and the deep state is so important. It used to be that to become a power center you could just get a lot of people together. This is no longer true. If the fringe can only communicate by telephone calls, and they can't raise money, and they all get fired from their jobs, and if the government freezes all their bank accounts when they march in the streets, they don't get to become a power center.

I still think it is true pretty much. British politicians jumped really high when they got a lot of heat on not locking down like other countries. Politicians are really really dependent on voters. Biden only just won in 2020 and the next election can very easily go the other way.

The bigger issue is this, assuming you think Scott's Red Tribe/Blue Tribe carves reality at the joint (or even close to the joint) then Red Tribe is going to struggle to dominate those areas. Because the kind of people who want to do that are not Red Tribe and Red Tribers who do want it, may well cease to be Red Tribe - See politicians who go to DC and become "swampy".

Most Blue Tribers are never going to be farmers or truck drivers because they don't want to be, they don't value it. And likewise there is a reason that most recent conservative victories have come from dissident Blue Tribers. McConnell arguably is responsible for Republicans getting a big SCOTUS majority more than Trump given how he took the risk with Garland. Kavanaugh - Catholic - father was a lawyer from DC, went to Yale - Blue Tribe through and through. Coney Barrett - Catholic, father was an attorney, went to Rhodes and Notre Dame - Blue Tribe through and through. Gorsuch - raised Catholic - both parents were lawyers, went to Georgetown Prep, and Harvard, Blue Tribe once more. Even Tucker Carlson went to boarding school in Switzerland and Trinity College in Connecticut and was described as "an important voice of the intelligentsia" in the early 2000's. And as our esteemed ex mod might say, while they are conservative, they are conservative through a Blue lens.

The core issue then is that there aren't enough Blue Tribe conservatives or Red Tribe people who want to do it to allow the right to have domination in those spheres. Just as there aren't enough Red Tribe progressive or Blue Tribe people who want to be farmers to ever flip those percentages.

The LDS church’s single biggest exodus was after their lifting the priesthood ban, and they seem to have learned the lesson of not actually changing doctrines in visible ways.

To be fair, it was actually two about faces. The early church (while Joseph Smith was alive) was far better (if still bad) about these things than the church from then up until the 70's.

We'd be remiss not to mention the church's banning of polygamy as well, which was more clearly "the doctrine is still the same, but we've been told not to practice it anymore."

A reversal on homosexuality would be a far bigger change and would probably lead to a schism in the church, assuming the church is still lively enough to have people that care about these things. Doctrines about gender, marriage, etc. are infinitely more central to its core beliefs.

So politically I think you could see the LDS reversing their stance on homosexuality at some point (assuming you think the racial reverse was done for pragmatic reasons and not because God told them to) so it makes sense to put pressure on them to become more "correct".

Hey now, lets not exclude the idea of God buckling under the social pressure to become more "correct".

That seems unlikely but I suppose isn't impossible.

Why does Cthulu swim left? Because God is a progressive?

Does Cthulu swim left or do we just call its swimming "leftwards"? Seems to me like we essentially label all past political movements as right-wing, given enough time. Even communism was intensely "right-wing" in its treatment of racial and sexual minorities.

Sure, i am not a great supporter of the Cthulu swims leftwards idea anyway. I think there are definitely cycles and as you say there is much more nuance than that.

Low-effort swipe.

I don't think this will convince you, but when Brigham Young started that policy he explicitly stated that at some point it would end.

I don't think this will convince you, but when Brigham Young started that policy he explicitly stated that at some point it would end.

He did. Specifically, he stated this:

You see some classes of the human family that are black, uncouth, uncomely, disagreeable and low in their habits, wild, and seemingly deprived of nearly all the blessings of the intelligence that is generally bestowed upon mankind. The first man that committed the odious crime of killing one of his brethren will be cursed the longest of anyone of the children of Adam. Cain slew his brother. Cain might have been killed, and that would have put a termination to that line of human beings. This was not to be, and the Lord put a mark upon him, which is the flat nose and black skin. Trace mankind down to after the flood, and then another curse is pronounced upon the same race—that they should be the “servant of servants;” and they will be, until that curse is removed; and the Abolitionists cannot help it, nor in the least alter that decree. How long is that race to endure the dreadful curse that is upon them? That curse will remain upon them, and they never can hold the Priesthood or share in it until all the other descendants of Adam have received the promises and enjoyed the blessings of the Priesthood and the keys thereof. Until the last ones of the residue of Adam's children are brought up to that favorable position, the children of Cain cannot receive the first ordinances of the Priesthood. They were the first that were cursed, and they will be the last from whom the curse will be removed. When the residue of the family of Adam come up and receive their blessings, then the curse will be removed from the seed of Cain, and they will receive blessings in like proportion.

Young and subsequent prophets treated it as if the doctrine had been established by Joseph Smith. From George Q. Cannon:

I had a conversation very early in life with President John Taylor, who told me what the Prophet Joseph had said upon this subject.

I related it to-day to the Council. He told him that the seed of Cain could not hold the priesthood, and that they would be debarred from the priesthood until Abel should have seed who could come forward and receive the priesthood. Cain had killed Abel, and he had died childless.

And from Joseph Fielding Smith:

Ham, through Egyptus, continued the curse which was placed upon the seed of Cain. Because of that curse this dark race was separated and isolated from all the rest of Adam's posterity before the flood, and since that time the same condition has continued, and they have been 'despised among all people.' This doctrine did not originate with President Brigham Young but was taught by the Prophet Joseph Smith .... we all know it is due to his teachings that the negro today is barred from the Priesthood. -The Way to Perfection, pages 110-111

This is not to claim that Smith was the actual originator of the doctrine—he made a few statements that could be interpreted that way, but the best-supported historical view indicates a shift from neutrality on slavery to an anti-abolitionist stance around 1836, followed by a firm commitment against slavery from 1842 to his death in 1844, with a few ordinations of black people to the Priesthood during that time. Rather, the point is that the question was treated by 19th and 20th century LDS leaders as settled doctrine, established by Joseph Smith and not to be undone until perhaps the Millennium.

Church leaders after Young treated it as settled and unambiguous doctrine well into the 20th century, most memorably during this 1947 exchange with Dr. Lowry Nelson, signed by the entire First Presidency of the church:

From the days of the Prophet Joseph even until now, it has been the doctrine of the Church, never questioned by any of the Church leaders, that the Negroes are not entitled to the full blessings of the Gospel. Furthermore, your ideas, as we understand them, appear to contemplate the intermarriage of the Negro and White races, a concept which has heretofore been most repugnant to most normal-minded people from the ancient patriarchs till now. God's rule for Israel, His Chosen People, has been endogenous. Modern Israel has been similarly directed. We are not unmindful of the fact that there is a growing tendency, particularly among some educators, as it manifests itself in this area, toward the breaking down of race barriers in the matter of intermarriage between whites and blacks, but it does not have the sanction of the Church and is contrary to Church doctrine .

While I don't disagree that an about-face on homosexuality would be a more difficult change to fit within LDS theology, my impression is that active members tend to understate the apparent permanence and seriousness of the doctrine banning black people from temple ordinances and the Priesthood and the significance of the 1978 reversal. It was much more than a simple, expected policy shift.

Sure, there's quite a lot of nuance to it which I didn't really want to get into with somebody who may not put any effort into the conversation. I'll start with some apologetics, but note that what I'm trying to do is not cast your statements into doubt, but rather try to establish that this really wasn't that large of a policy change for the church, especially compared to something like homosexuality. Feel free to skip them entirely; I'm sure you especially have read a lot of this stuff before.

Begin time-wasting apologetics

You see some classes of the human family that are black, uncouth, uncomely, disagreeable and low in their habits, wild, and seemingly deprived of nearly all the blessings of the intelligence that is generally bestowed upon mankind. The first man that committed the odious crime of killing one of his brethren will be cursed the longest of anyone of the children of Adam. Cain slew his brother. Cain might have been killed, and that would have put a termination to that line of human beings. This was not to be, and the Lord put a mark upon him, which is the flat nose and black skin. Trace mankind down to after the flood, and then another curse is pronounced upon the same race—that they should be the “servant of servants;” and they will be, until that curse is removed; and the Abolitionists cannot help it, nor in the least alter that decree. How long is that race to endure the dreadful curse that is upon them? That curse will remain upon them, and they never can hold the Priesthood or share in it until all the other descendants of Adam have received the promises and enjoyed the blessings of the Priesthood and the keys thereof. Until the last ones of the residue of Adam's children are brought up to that favorable position, the children of Cain cannot receive the first ordinances of the Priesthood. They were the first that were cursed, and they will be the last from whom the curse will be removed. When the residue of the family of Adam come up and receive their blessings, then the curse will be removed from the seed of Cain, and they will receive blessings in like proportion.

Worth noting that this is near-certainly not actually a direct quote, though it was at least accurate enough to not (as far as I am aware) have been called out as inaccurate. There were at least three transcription process involved:

  1. From the speech to shorthand notes

  2. From shorthand notes back to a full transcription

  3. From there to a published version

I don't expect much (or really any) inaccuracies from #3, but #1 could have enormous inaccuracies and I'd expect #2 to at least get a few words and wordings wrong. The reason I bring this up is because small differences in wording can (from our modern perspective) drastically alter the meaning of the text in ways that may not have been caught by contemporaries. As is, it essentially implies that every single non-black man must receive the priesthood before a single black man can. With small differences to the wording, it could easily mean something like "each other race will receive the priesthood before the black race" which essentially matches what actually happened. In other speeches Brigham Young mentions Abel's children, so either he's contradicting himself or the transcription is incorrect in one place or the other.

Of course, Brigham Young (probably) said plenty of other things along those lines, so I'd not be surprised if the wording was essentially correct.

I had a conversation very early in life with President John Taylor, who told me what the Prophet Joseph had said upon this subject.

I related it to-day to the Council. He told him that the seed of Cain could not hold the priesthood, and that they would be debarred from the priesthood until Abel should have seed who could come forward and receive the priesthood. Cain had killed Abel, and he had died childless.

Not only is this fourthhand (Joseph => John Taylor => George Q Cannon => us and the council), but it directly contradicts some of Smith's other actions and contemporary church doctrine. Either Smith contradicted his own teachings by ordaining black men with the priesthood, or he taught about that after making those "mistakes". The former obviously doesn't make sense, and the latter doesn't either, given his actions towards the end of his life. Also, D&C138:40 and 51 essentially outright states that Abel was resurrected 2000 years ago, so if anything it is highly unlikely that he hasn't yet had any children.

End time-wasting apologetics

While I don't disagree that an about-face on homosexuality would be a more difficult change to fit within LDS theology, my impression is that active members tend to understate the apparent permanence and seriousness of the doctrine banning black people from temple ordinances and the Priesthood and the significance of the 1978 reversal. It was much more than a simple, expected policy shift.

Does it matter how permanent and serious those doctrines appeared, or how serious they actually were? We could argue in circles forever about public opinion towards those matters, but I think it's clear that policy had been moving in that direction for decades. In 1954 President McKay created a special committee of the 12 to study the issue, and they concluded that it had no scriptural basis. That same year he began to loosen restrictions--starting with making it so white South Africans didn't have to prove their lineage, and ending in 1965 with applying that same principle to black people in Brazil. At some point McKay apparently became convinced that the matter was policy rather than doctrine, and thus could be changed with the appropriate revelation. The church statement released in '69 implied that the policy was subject to change with wordings like "Until God reveals His will in this matter."

I don't claim it was just a simple, expected policy shift, but at that point it really should have been. If church members and leaders had been educated on their own doctrine, not only would the change have been expected but it probably would have happened years earlier. Heck, just look at actual church policy in places like Brazil and you can see the change coming.

Not only is this fourthhand (Joseph => John Taylor => George Q Cannon => us and the council), but it directly contradicts some of Smith's other actions and contemporary church doctrine.

Like I said, my point in mentioning it was not to present it as evidence for Smith's actual actions and beliefs, but to indicate how church leaders thought about the doctrine at the time.

It's easy in retrospect to conclude that the doctrines weren't actually as serious as they appeared, but the argument proves too much. While the ordinance/priesthood ban was in place, everyone understood the scriptural basis—including McKay:

“I know of no scriptural basis for denying the Priesthood to Negroes other than one verse in the Book of Abraham (1:26); however, I believe, as you suggest, that the real reason dates back to our pre-existent life” (The Church and the Negro, 91)

It was referenced regularly by LDS apostles and seventies in that context. From the 1948 Pearl of Great Price commentary:

“But the greatest curse of all that came upon Cain and his descendants was that they were “cursed as pertaining to the Priesthood,” that is, the entire lineage “could not have the right of Priesthood” (verses 26-27). From the foregoing scripture we learn that Ham, the son of Noah, preserved the curses of Cain in the land. Since Ham was a son of Noah, it is quite definite that he did not have a black skin and was not a descendant of Cain. But the scripture seems to indicate that the wife of Ham was a descendant of Cain and through her the curses were preserved (verses 21-25).

It was serious enough as doctrine that church leaders at the highest level were unified in reprimanding members like Nelson for considering interracial marriage or the notion of racial equality ("We should like to say this to you in all kindness and in all sincerity that you are too fine a man to permit yourself to be led off from the principles of the Gospel by worldly learning. You have too much of a potentiality for doing good and we therefore prayerfully hope that you can reorient your thinking and bring it in line with the revealed word of God.")

As social and political pressures mounted, as with polygamy, the leaders saw increasing reason to reexamine their views and shift doctrine. But it was a shift: it wasn't a sudden discovery that the view had no scriptural basis and that it was simple policy, but a gradual change of rhetoric and emphasis that culminated in the reversal of what had been seen as firm doctrine "never questioned by any of the Church leaders [...] from the days of the Prophet Joseph." The task was not to educate church leaders on their own doctrine but to build a new doctrinal framework that allowed something that had been overwhelmingly seen as repugnant, but which society's views were rapidly shifting on, to be overturned. The 1954 committee, 1965 shift in Brazil, and 1969 statement were all part of this gradual process of framework-building.

It's not my business anymore what the LDS church does with homosexuality. I recognized no personal interest in men at any point while I believed, and during that time I supported its stance on the matter and saw an unambiguous difference between the overturn of the temple/priesthood ban + intermarriage revulsion for black people and a theoretical reversal of doctrine on gay marriage. Now, from an outside view, I find the difference less persuasive. I wouldn't say it's probable, exactly, but it seems wholly plausible to me that as the views of members change and as social pressure mounts, a gradual work of framework-building will begin that culminates in a situation where something like... was it Tom Christofferson who tried to theorize that gay people might enter the second degree of glory in the Celestial kingdom? Where something like that becomes consensus.

This will only be intensified by the growth of new technologies like IVG, with potential to allow gay couples to have natal offspring. LDS theology as it stands is poorly equipped to handle the prospect of a child who genetically has two fathers or two mothers. In the past, as social views have shifted and new technology has entered the arena, the faith has gradually shifted. Changes in the rhetoric and understood etiology around homosexuality have shifted from the unambiguous and harsh language of Kimball and Packer in the 70s and 80s to more cautious and conciliatory words from modern leaders. I have no idea where it will end, and like I said, it's not my business. But the priesthood/temple/intermarriage change was a serious doctrinal shift that had cautious groundwork laid for it over the course of more than thirty years, and the church has taken that approach enough that I don't discount the possibility that it will happen again.

I agree completely with the facts in all but your last two paragraphs. You say a lot of things that are technically true, but together paint IMO a very misleading picture of the history of the change. Stuff like this:

But it was a shift: it wasn't a sudden discovery that the view had no scriptural basis and that it was simple policy, but a gradual change of rhetoric and emphasis that culminated in the reversal of what had been seen as firm doctrine

honestly strikes me as manipulative rhetoric. Firstly, because I just argued that it took place over the course of decades, and here you imply that I claimed it was a sudden discovery. Secondly, because "a gradual change of rhetoric and emphasis" is the natural result of a gradual shift in leaders' opinions, but here you insinuate that it was more of a tactic by church leaders to soften the blow when the doctrine was changed. If you truly believe that church leaders' beliefs shifted over time, then their rhetoric and emphasis should naturally shift at about the same rate. In the following sentence you practically confirm this take:

The task was not to educate church leaders on their own doctrine but to build a new doctrinal framework that allowed something that had been overwhelmingly seen as repugnant, but which society's views were rapidly shifting on, to be overturned.

This is a natural result of the process of educating church leaders (including the prophet) on their own doctrine. Or, if you don't think this was always the doctrine, how do you explain the black members who were ordained with the priesthood? If you do think this was always the doctrine, and Young essentially reversed it, then church leaders must necessarily "build a new doctrinal framework" as part of their education process because clearly their old one was flawed. It didn't account for things like prophets making mistakes, or policy changes, though the Bible and early church history are replete with examples of both of these.

Similarly, your sentence:

As social and political pressures mounted, as with polygamy, the leaders saw increasing reason to reexamine their views and shift doctrine

places the blame for the change on social pressures, when they had already been shifting doctrine in that direction for decades due to other important factors, such as the difficulty of verifying one's genealogy and the lack of eligible church leadership in many developing countries. So again, I think this statement is technically true, but somewhat misleading.

I think there are essentially three positions you can take here:

  1. The church is not true

  2. Young made a mistake instituting the priesthood ban

  3. Young was correct to institute the priesthood ban, meaning that Smith was wrong to ordain black people

I suppose there are other positions but we won't waste time with them. I hope you'd agree with me that church leaders earnestly believe in their faith and must choose between #2 and #3. However, no matter which option they go with, one of their beloved prophets made a pretty big mistake. Our own doctrine has forever been very clear about the importance of continued revelation, but they seemed reluctant to accept that, which is why I frame the gradual process they go through as their own education.

So, I also agree that they had to "build a new doctrinal framework", but it was their own framework they were building, and one which had been present in the church from the beginning. They weren't developing some new rhetorical strategy to manipulate members into sticking with the church as culture changed around them, as you imply (but never state). TL;DR: An implication that the church is inventing a new doctrine to stick with the times must address the fact that the doctrine was practiced in the early church, and you've failed to do so. I apologize if I'm being a bit hostile here, but you're a better writer than I am, and these implications (which may come across as charitable to you) come across as subtle, tricky rhetoric to me.

was it Tom Christofferson who tried to theorize that gay people might enter the second degree of glory in the Celestial kingdom? Where something like that becomes consensus.

I assume you mean practicing gay people here, since gay people can achieve that and exaltation. I'd prefer to frame this differently though, since we really don't know all that much about the different degrees of glory. Will the church ever come out and say that homosexual behavior is not a sin? I think not, and I'd be willing to bet on it, but I don't imagine you'd be willing to bet on a statement like that resolving within our lifetimes. I'd take a bet giving it 1% odds of happening within the next 50 years, but then all my money is locked up the entire time for a 1% reward. I find it more likely that the church undergoes some kind of hostile takeover than that they do that of their own accord.

At best, they could maybe de-emphasize how much of a sin it is and focus on compassion, a process they've already undertaken and which is complete for similar situations (such as people who never marry).

This will only be intensified by the growth of new technologies like IVG, with potential to allow gay couples to have natal offspring. LDS theology as it stands is poorly equipped to handle the prospect of a child who genetically has two fathers or two mothers

Is it? I feel like any doctrine that would have a hard time dealing with this would have a harder time with basic adoption.

Anyways, I've spent this whole time responding to you rather than making my own points, and I recognize that that can be pretty exhausting to deal with. Suffice to say that commonly-reviled policy changes such as polygamy and the reversal of the priesthood ban IMO have quite good scriptural and doctrinal support, and did long before they happened too. I find that discussion much more useful than arguing over what church members of the time thought, because I also believe that the idea that "church leaders and members can be misled" is quite well-supported doctrinally as well.

Edit: I apologize, I think I've been uncharitable here. I just think the "church leaders bent to the public will" theory needs to grapple with the inconvenient fact that their decision genuinely seems to be the correct one based on contemporary doctrine alone.

More comments

Should we cancel all Mormon/Catholic/Christian authors then?

Is this an acceptable conversation to be having in the mainstream culture? If and when the consensus shifts to "yes", what should happen then? We both agree that it's not camps, but it is religious discrimination being cemented as a cultural norm, right?

Twitter and Reddit seem to have an awful lot of "Hey, did you know Brandon Sanderson is a Mormon?" threads.

...How is this different than (((Triple Parentheses)))?

This conversation from back in the day seems relevant, and particularly this part:

But it is very obvious to me that for Blues this similarity is definitive, that the problem with the WBC isn't that specific Christians are acting like assholes, but that Christians in general are assholes. And the problem I have with your arguments is that on the one hand you are steadfast in your appeal to mistake theory, toleration and conciliation, and on the other hand you seem to share this understanding that the problem is the core beliefs, not particular actions by which those beliefs are expressed. It seems to me that those positions are mutually incoherent.

Is the problem that Sanderson expressed his views poorly, or that he has them at all? Pretty clearly the latter, for GFM, and for many, perhaps most of those populating that thread. As you note, the social consensus evidently isn't there to secure her tribal preferences, quite, yet. Of course, the consensus is there to allow her to make this attack without personal consequence, and it's there to protect her from any symmetrical attack from the other side, and there's no reason to think where we are now is where we'll be in five years, or ten. And it does no good to appeal to the broad consensus of public opinion, when we have Quiet Diplomacy to shape the options presented to the public such that they don't realize what the choices available actually were.

I guess my question is, why is she wrong, really? In five years, or ten, when the social consensus has ratcheted forward another few notches and she or someone like her tries again, what will the objection be? And it's not like I'm better. I personally don't have an answer to the observation that there are some practices that I am not willing to tolerate, even though they are obviously deeply significant to their adherents. I cannot actually make an argument for universal toleration that would put me in a position to condemn GFM on principles. I don't think anyone else can either. This is why values-drift inspires such despair: because it seems obvious that it can, in fact, make people mutually intolerable to each other, that it can remove the possibility of peace from our future.

As you said way back then:

All of which is a roundabout way of saying I'd like there to be more tolerance on all sides, but yeah, if your religious convictions and your need to express them are in conflict with public harmony, your religious convictions lose...

...The thing is, what does it take for her "religion" to be seen as the threat to "public harmony"? Or is that a conclusion reserved for actual religions?

Is this an acceptable conversation to be having in the mainstream culture? ...How is this different than (((Triple Parentheses)))?

The answers seem to be (1) yes, after all didn't we have for years the struggle to take religion out of schools and your rosaries off my ovaries? You are not permitted to impose your morals or your beliefs on the public square, and if the law protects minority groups and punishes hate speech, then engaging in hate speech about minority groups means you should be prosecuted; religious belief is something to do in private, not out in public where everyone can see (2) because they're Christians, silly! And Christianity is the dominant religion, so it's in the place of power and is the oppressor. Punching Christians is both punching Nazis and punching up, which gives the nice warm glow of virtue when you do it.

The thing is, what does it take for her "religion" to be seen as the threat to "public harmony"?

No, see, she is on the right side of history. Remember that? Also, remember: slopes are never slippery and all those conservative doom-mongers were just silly-billies complaining about nothing!

This helpful article from Wikipedia may explain it all to you, it certainly opened my eyes:

Far-right politics, also referred to as the extreme right or right-wing extremism, are political beliefs and actions further to the right of the left–right political spectrum than the standard political right, particularly in terms of being radically conservative, ultra-nationalist, and authoritarian, as well as having nativist ideologies and tendencies.

Historically, "far-right politics" has been used to describe the experiences of fascism, Nazism, and Falangism. Contemporary definitions now include neo-fascism, neo-Nazism, the Third Position, the alt-right, racial supremacism, National Bolshevism and other ideologies or organizations that feature aspects of authoritarian, ultra-nationalist, chauvinist, xenophobic, theocratic, racist, homophobic, transphobic, and/or reactionary views.

If Sanderson believes his church's teachings, and his church teaches that gay acts are sinful, then his church is homophobic. And being homophobic means you are far-right, which means you're the same thing as a Nazi. Doesn't matter if he never personally burned a gay or trans person at the stake, until and unless he denounces Mormonism and acknowledges his guilt and accepts he was wrong all along, he's a Nazi. And you don't tolerate Nazis, now do you?

This helpful article from Wikipedia may explain it all to you, it certainly opened my eyes:

Far-right politics, also referred to as the extreme right or right-wing extremism, are political beliefs and actions further to the right of the left–right political spectrum than the standard political right, particularly in terms of being radically conservative, ultra-nationalist, and authoritarian, as well as having nativist ideologies and tendencies.

Historically, "far-right politics" has been used to describe the experiences of fascism, Nazism, and Falangism. Contemporary definitions now include neo-fascism, neo-Nazism, the Third Position, the alt-right, racial supremacism, National Bolshevism and other ideologies or organizations that feature aspects of authoritarian, ultra-nationalist, chauvinist, xenophobic, theocratic, racist, homophobic, transphobic, and/or reactionary views.

If Sanderson believes his church's teachings, and his church teaches that gay acts are sinful, then his church is homophobic. And being homophobic means you are far-right, which means you're the same thing as a Nazi. Doesn't matter if he never personally burned a gay or trans person at the stake, until and unless he denounces Mormonism and acknowledges his guilt and accepts he was wrong all along, he's a Nazi. And you don't tolerate Nazis, now do you?

You are drawing so much conclusions from a factual wikipedia article.

  1. It is a fact that the nazis were homophobic. It is also a fact that the nazis were far right, and also a fact that homophobia is a view held by a lot of far-right people. Are you challenging any one of these facts? It does not mean that if you are homophobic you are far right or a nazi. You know, most people have two legs but birds aren't people. By the way, you should have noted the "and/or" in the list, which suggests that far right people hold several of those views, not just one.

  2. "Doesn't matter if he never personally burned a gay or trans person at the stake, [...] he's a Nazi." When you do this comment, it seems to me you are saying that anyone who did not personally burned anyone cannot be a Nazi. In this case, there have been very few nazis. Hitler, for example, did not burn anyone "personally", as far as I know. At the end, the holocaust was organized in such a way that almost no one had to kill anyone directly. Not every nazi is a war criminal. Most nazis were just people like you and me that lived their lives peacefully. They just happened to vote for some nazi guy once, and to help the regime once in a while.

  • -10

you don't need to quote four paragraphs of a parent's post in a reply, FYI - if you want to reference a big block concisely, add a ... between the first and last sentence or something lke that

Lumping in "homophobic" as a signifier of "far right" is doing a lot of reaching. If the Mormons don't teach that the sin of Sodom was really lack of hospitality and Jesus Himself was probably fucking at least a couple of the apostles, then they're homophobic. And that means they're Nazis.

Do they subscribe to the principles of National Socialism? Are they building concentration camps there in Utah? Don't be silly, that's not what we mean, we mean "they're Nazis because they don't say what we want them to say".

Hmmm - Hitler didn't personally burn anyone, Brandon Sanderson didn't personally burn anyone - my Harvey Milk, do you realise what this means? Sanderson is Hitler, alive and well and writing schlocky fantasy!!!!

Don't do that, if you don't have a retort just don't reply please.

Then either downvote and move on, or if you feel mod action is warranted, report and move on. Comments that are merely a brief statement of agreement or disagreement are officially discouraged by the local ruleset.

I will comply, but should I really report someone that is arguing like that? It seems to me that he broke no rule apart from those of logic.

It's not an explicit report option, but we do have a catch-all rule against being "egregiously obnoxious". That post did lean a little hard into the sarcasm, so "antagonistic" might also have fit.

Then if you want to criticize the logic, you need to actually criticize it (meaning, point out the logical flaw), not just say "It's bad."

It is also a fact that the nazis were far right

I'll dispute that. There's a reason PoliticalCompassMemes classes them as AuthCenter. Nazism is weird, and very clearly a mutation off of socialism. There is definitely a reasonable argument that they shed core elementals of socialist thought (like class abolition) during that mutation, but they kept others (like the framework of being a revolutionary ideology to remake all society in their own image), and that leaves in them a weird position compared to other types of "right-wing" ideologies. If just being racist and homophobic is enough, then Marx, Engels and Guevera are "far-right". If we're going to ignore the distinctions and categories enough to group Brandon Sanderson with the Nazis, then everyone to the left of Joe Manchin is Stalinist - and apparently it doesn't matter if they never sent anyone to the gulag.

They sort of had class abolition. There was volksgemeinschaft, no class divisions here we're all Germans! But they weren't in favor of class struggle, which is a key Marxist concept.

It depends upon how you interpret the meaning of class abolition I suppose, whether it's killing enough kulaks that the class is liquidated or whether you just remove the category of kulak and consider them to be farmers.

I'm happy to join in disputing the "fact that the nazis were far right" but I would emphasize the worthlessness of the left/right spectrum.

Reactionaries, those throne and altar guys like the Hapsburgs and the Romanovs, are right wing. Florian Geyer had "no crown, no cross" scratched on his sword, the sword that he used to fight for peasants during the Peasants Revolt; not right wing. Hitler thought Florian Geyer a hero and was happy to have an SS regiment named after him. I'm thinking that Hitler and Stalin had rival takes on how to stick it to the Kings and Priests, but both thought of themselves as acting on behalf of the workers and the common man.

If one really wants to have Hilter->right and Stalin->left, then one gets into trouble with reactionaries, monarchists, and integralists. All the classic right-wing positions have to be kicked off the spectrum to make room for Hitler. You even have to horse-shoe Florian Geyer and get him to the right to have Hitler think him a hero.

I would emphasize the worthlessness of the left/right spectrum.

and I would disagree, as much as the terms get abused these days I think that the underlying ideas about human nature being bound vs unbound and "on which side would one fall in the French Revolution" is still very relevant and useful no matter how much blue-tribe academics like to assert otherwise. Heck I would go so far as to say that half the reason academic left keep asserting that it's worthless is precisely because they don't want to bite the bullet on the implications.

Some of the difficulty is probably also due to political views not truly being one-dimensional, even though people often treat it like it is.

Nazis were textbook socially right-wing. Anschluss, lebensraum, ethnic nationalism is categorically opposed to cosmopolitan liberalism. (Cue jokes about modern woke racial grievances…) I’ve definitely seen Stalin up there on authcenter, too, when the poster correctly observed Soviets placing party over ideology.

I think it’s more clear in the old-school political compass where the two axes are “social” and “fiscal.” The “auth” axis leaves it hard to separate different varieties of statism.

Nazis were textbook socially right-wing. Anschluss, lebensraum, ethnic nationalism is categorically opposed to cosmopolitan liberalism.

*presses X to doubt* Magic A is Magic A, and socialist infused Id-Pol is socialist infused Id-Pol.

If the Nazis were right wing, so where the Bolsheviks, Benito Mussolini, Margaret Sanger, and Woodrow Wilson and I'm not buying it.

Edit: see my earlier comment about "implications"

like the framework of being a revolutionary ideology to remake all society in their own image

The libertarians are the same, so they are some kind of socialists?

If just being racist and homophobic is enough, then Marx, Engels and Guevera are "far-right"

Racism and homophobia weren't particularly important in their politics. That is what matters.

If we're going to ignore the distinctions and categories enough to group Brandon Sanderson with the Nazis

I never said you should group Brandon Sanderson with the nazis because I don't know him and I'm not interested in fantasy authors anyway. That is not my point, and that is certainly not the point of the wikipedia article either.

The libertarians are the same, so they are some kind of socialists?

There is no similarity there. Let me know if you ever find a self-professed libertarian group that wants to forcibly split children from their families to indoctrinate them into a new Year Zero totalizing ideology, so I can start repudiating them.

Racism and homophobia weren't particularly important in their politics. That is what matters.

That seems like a very isolated standard that I have never seen applied to anyone before, and doesn't hold besides. Guevara had gay men sent to camps to work the gay out of them; that seems like a much more central example of political ideology and power than waffling about gay marriage.

That is not my point, and that is certainly not the point of the wikipedia article either.

What did you think the point of the wiki article was, if not offering institutional support to a wildly expansive definition of "far right"?

That seems like a very isolated standard that I have never seen applied to anyone before, and doesn't hold besides.

The fact that you have seen it applied or not is not very relevant. You can write an abstract of Marx writings without ever mentionning race or homosexuality and you wouldn't miss much. The same cannot be said about far right leaders or thinkers. On guevara, you are probably right, I don't know. Anyway as I stated before those things cannot be taken in isolation. Just because you are homophobic does not mean you are far right. For example, I don't think the distinction between gender and sex makes any sense (at least not as it is applied in liberal ideology). Some people would call me transphobic. But as I'm not racist and homophobic, I don't think I would qualify as far right by any reasonable standard.

What did you think the point of the wiki article was, if not offering institutional support to a wildly expansive definition of "far right"?

As it is an article about the far right, I'd say its purpose is to inform people about what is called far right by most people in our society. I'd be very interested to read your version of a definition of the far right...

I'd be very interested to read your version of a definition of the far right...

I think it's difficult to give a coherent answer. The right/left dichotomy is an imprecise arrangement at the best of times, and the right side is harder to define than the left side, especially if we're defining the right as anything other than "not leftist". The article in question seems like an absolute dumpster fire written for partisan purposes, focusing narrowly on certain social topics. Compare it to the page for far-left politics, which exclusively mentions economic topics, and doesn't even pretend to explain anything about the ideology-space, while trying to flatter their image where it can. If you dig into the talk page, you can even see editors acknowledging that "far right" is a propaganda term in use by leftist academics, while there is no comparable "wiki appropriate" propaganda source for "far left".

More comments

Factual does not mean true, nor accurate, nor representative or illuminating. I do not trust wikipedia and neither should you, certainly not for an article created in 2019, certainly not for anything remotely political, certainly not without searching the talk and history pages first.

Then explain me what's wrong in those lines.

They were written by propagandists with a slant. Their purpose is not to convey truth but to color perception. I thought that was obvious from my prior comment.

Is there anything false?