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.

Jump in the discussion.

No email address required.

Are The Global Elites Coordinating to Push LGBT Acceptance And Gender Theory?


Last week @2rafa posted her comment about WEF conspiracy theories, concluding that the WEF is a mundane organization, pushing mostly boring neoliberal status quo stuff, to the extent they push anything at all. This post isn't necessarily a direct response to that thesis, but might be an interesting contrast to it.

I am a proud Deranged Conspiracy Theorist. It's a relatively new state of affairs for me, but some time ago I've tried the tinfoil hat on, and it seems to fit. This means when the WEF is in session, I browse their livestreams and videos, and if something catches my eye, I watch the whole thing. So when I saw the video titled Beyond the Rainbow: Advancing LGBTQI+ Rights, I knew I had to watch it.

It's a discussion panel featuring a diverse cast of LGBT (well, L and G as far as I can tell) speakers from around the world. We have

Ben Fajzullin, an Australian journalist currently working for the German Deutsche Welle

• Fahd Jamaleddine, a “global shaper” from Lebanon

Sarah Kate Ellis from GLAAD

Tirana Hassan from Human Rights Watch

Sharon Marcil from the Boston Consulting Group

This is in no particular order, to the extent there are themes in this discussion, they're rotated through the conversation, so going over it chronologically doesn't make a lot of sense.

The goal of the panel is to discuss success stories of the LGBT(QI+) community, and best practices on how to implement “this type of thinking”. They start off by bringing up how last year there were still 80 countries with sodomy laws on the books, and now we're down to 70. A reasonable point to start, if there's a steelman case for the global elites coordinating to push LGBT acceptance and gender theory, that would be it.

Would I have no objection if this was where the whole thing ended? I'm not sure, maybe @DaseIndustriesLtd made singletons sound too scary for me, maybe I watched too much Star Trek as a kid, and the idea of the Prime Directive ended up influencing me a bit too much, or maybe I just have an irrational fear of my elites betraying me for membership in a global club? Hard to say. During the Q&A someone in the audience brings up an example and example from the other side:

we can trace directly the sources the resourcing for homophobia in Ghana straight line to the U.S churches

I don't want to be Americanized by Evangelicals any more than I want to be Americanized by Progressives, so I find it just as wrong as Davos-aligned orgs going around the world and spreading their ideas. The only way I could hold my nose, and tolerate it, is if one side was clearly winning, and this was the only way of preserving some viewpoint diversity.

Either way, while the goal ending sodomy laws is something I agree with, Davos panels on how to accomplish that make me uncomfortable.

Singapore is one of the most recent examples that [has] decriminalized [being gay]. It's taking the legislation off the books but at the same time Singapore fortified the rules around same-sex marriage and so you know it's not always a win; and they did that because they were playing to the more conservative base which was agreeing to decriminalization.

This is still on the mundane side, because I also agree with gay marriage, but it raises red flags when you compare it to the western culture war. Many people already had their suspicions, but the pretty explicit “we'll get you next time” that the Singaporeans get to hear if they're paying attention, raises some interesting questions about the seamless transition from gay marriage to trans issues in the west, and about taking any future assurances about social reforms in good faith. Other then that, coming back to the point about singletons, even though I'm personally for gay marriage, different definitions of marriage are one of the central examples of what I think different cultures should be allowed to experiment with.

Later they make a point that this isn't something limited to the non-developed countries:

Marriage equality laws, all of these issues, are actually becoming signs of modernity. They are becoming signs of democracies and countries which respect rights for everyone, but we're seeing also that this has become a new battleground, and in particular this isn't something that happens in certain parts of the world and not others. Even in Europe we see Hungary and Poland who have really been using LGBT rights as a battleground, essentially to try and harness the support of the conservative elements of society, and the government using it to put themselves up as some sort of hero of protector of family values.

Originally they name drop Poland and Hungary, so it might sound like they are focusing on marriage laws, but “using LGBT rights as a battleground to try and harness the support of the conservative elements of society” is a fully generalized argument. Later on they describe the US in similar terms:

May I just say one thing on that, because that is a Battleground that we're facing in the United States right now. It's really tough, I'll be honest with you, they're putting it under parental rights. I'm a parent I'm married to a woman and I have two kids, so they're talking about some parental rights, and they're excluding us, and they're targeting us, and they're banning books at a rate that we've never seen before. They're conflating these conversations about bodily autonomy and trans youth, and it's a really tough moment right now in education in the United States. I'm absolutely sure it's being exported globally this kind of framework that they've come up with, that's been really effective over the past year. They're legislating against it as well.

This is Sarah Kate Ellis describing the state of the controversy in the US. Everything you've heard about trans women in sports, placement in prison based on self-ID, concerns about the standards for diagnosing dysphoria in kids, the reversibility of puberty blockers, and their side effects, minimal ages for surgeries, eunuch fetishists promoting their fetish via WPATH, schools hiding children transitioning from their parents, Drag Queen Story Hour, and putting Queer Theory in school material have been reduced to the above paragraph, and it's made clear these stances are being deliberately pushed back on.

Someone seeing the WEF as boring and benign should also meditate on how despite gathering people from all over the world, they somehow seem confident no one in the audience is going to give them any push-back. They're not worried an American might say “you've misrepresented everything that's been happening in our country”, let alone that someone from a more conservative part of the world might proudly assert their values.

And of course, the part where she says ***they*** are exporting their framework globally, as she's sitting at Davos, talking to an international audience of some of the most powerful people in the world, is just... *Chef's Kiss* (there will be more of those).

Are The Global Elites Coordinating to Push LGBT Acceptance And Gender Theory?

This has not been news for over a decade. People considered to be "Global Elites", are very open in coordinating to push LGBT acceptance. In 2011, Obama withheld food aid to Africans countries that had homophobic laws.

Last week @2rafa posted her comment about WEF conspiracy theories, concluding that the WEF is a mundane organization, pushing mostly boring neoliberal status quo stuff, to the extent they push anything at all.

Which is true as it is what they are always doing. There is no alt-left. Today, "neoliberal status quo stuff" includes LGBT acceptance. And when tomorrow they move forward on their next aim it will again be said to be "neoliberal status quo stuff", that is the benefit of controlling the overton window through media/ect.