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Culture War Roundup for the week of September 26, 2022

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This won’t be a long post but maybe it will be an area for people to post other political ads.

Here in S Florida I just saw an ad for a Latino State Senator who started the ad saying freedom 3 times. She then accused her opponent of being a socialists……drumroll…..socialists Maga Republican who will launch a dictatorship taking a womens right to choose.

I don’t think I’ve ever heard a Dem accuse GOP of being socialists (though politically there’s some support for that in maga today - Meloni supports a lot of family funding ).

In the past we’ve had Dixie Democrats. Now extinct. And Bill Clinton was forced to adopt Reagan’s Neoliberalism which is now considered a leftist politicial philosophy.

Now S Florida is a different place. I’m curious are there any other American political subcultures where they adopt the other teams language? I’m fairly certain no one will contest that it’s the right who accuses the left of socialism.

And Bill Clinton was forced to adopt Reagan’s Neoliberalism which is now considered a leftist politicial philosophy.

The fact that it is the predominant economic paradigm in America, with the consequence that it has many adherents within the Democratic party, does not make trickle-down neoliberalism a 'leftist political philosophy'. You would be laughed out of every economics faculty in existence if you claimed such a thing.

Sementics. Go to the neoliberal sub on Reddit it’s a Democrat establishment sub. I meant in the current American politics. The terms been co-opted by establishment Dems.

Go to the neoliberal sub on Reddit and they'll tell you themselves that they're 'economically centre-right'.

As a mod there -- some would? I think most would reject the dichotomy. Being against a corporate tax and for a land tax or carbon dividend, against most land use regulation, for some form of distribution and universal healthcare, against student loan forgiveness -- you'd lose a bit too much information to sum it up that pithily.

(referring here to the ideological core of the sub, i.e. the flaired DT regs -- the drift-in commenters commenting on random posts are obviously more diverse)

Pinochet support was a bannable offense on day 3 of the sub going live, if I recall correctly. To the extent the subreddit polarised against republicans since 2016 (which is true, and justifiable), that particular stance fell outside the sub's overton window from the start.

Hahaha. They ban anyone whose a Republican there. That’s not “economically right”

I agree the term neoliberal has been butchered. And the people now call themselves neoliberal are more like ordoliberal or neo-neoliberal.

But the people who use the neoliberal label today are in the American context center-left.

They are right of tankies.

I doubt they ban Republicans for being too much in favour of economic liberalisation.

They had a purge about 18 months ago. Banned anyone who gave away any signifier of not Biden voter.

It’s not like this hasn’t happened before. I consider myself a liberal but in the American context I’m not. Because in popular usage the term changed.

Huh. That probably says more about Reddit mods than it does about neoliberalism to be fair, though.

Think the popular definition of it has changed even outside Reddit. Now it just means establishment Dem who supports every spending bill out of the left.

Don’t get me wrong I’m old school Pinochet loving neoliberal.

More comments

Isn't southern Florida the place all the Cubans are at? Those people hate socialism more than the average American will, and it seems like enough of an outlier that I'd be careful not to assume nation-level trends.

I’m not extrapolating. And she was very Cuban or other South American running against the same.

The best other example would be in Chicago my alderman (Brendan Reilly) was a Democrat who on his Twitter bio lists himself as 26 year recovering GOP - clean and moderate.

But my point was are there any other interesting examples of local politicians using code words usually associated with the other side (socialism definitely counts, freedom is to a lesser extent coded red).

UPDATE:

  • Lots of ideas worth considering here. In the end, I just didn't wear the shirt. It turned it to be hugely overthought on my part because

a) 4 other people had no orange shirt, and 5 more had shirts of strategically (cowardly!) ambiguous orangeneity.

b) A kid GRIEVOUSLY injured himself in the shop class, which made everyone forget about Orange Shirt Day entirely. Apparently he's fine.

As an aside, I have come to doubt the sincerity of the people who are the public face of this stuff in schools. Twice now I have seen people go all in on this stuff, then 2 years later apply to become principals, fail to become principals, and then set it all aside. I believe I am seeing a third case now. For a day of grim solemnity, the video they used to Educate students was some instragram girl's "Top 5 questions about truth and reconciliation" [it's really called that here] but it was an actually an ad for her online feather-and-bead store. The bathos boggles the mind.

I need advice on what amounts to conduct in the Canadian culture war.

  1. For a little over a hundred years, indigenous (native/Indian/aboriginal) children in Canada attended boarding schools designed to drag them into the modern age. For about 40 of those years (a bit longer, depending on the area), attendance was compulsory, and at all times physical and sexual abuse were at least common, though not universal. A little less than half of all indigenous children who lived during that period attended these schools. 4100 deaths are known to have occurred at these schools, most of them from tuberculosis. While the death rate of the schools was not way higher than the death rate generally, it was higher and most of the children who died in the schools would not have died if they had not attended the schools.

  2. Indigenous people in Canada today are not well integrated into society. Many live on reserves (reservations, if you're American) and these reserves are isolated, sometimes accessible only by air. Almost no economic activity occurs on these reserves, so unemployment is widespread. The reserves are plagued by extreme substance abuse problems, sexual violence, parental neglect, lack of education/credentials and the shame that results from knowing that these problems are much less severe everywhere else. Even people who move away from the reserves are affected by these problems, or from having grown up surrounded by them.

  3. For the past 20 years or so, but especially following the George Floyd affair, there has been a major push by the people who set the cultural tone in Canada to establish that (2) is a direct result of (1), just as in the US there is a great yearning to prove that the problems faced by black Americans are the direct result of slavery. In Canada, this has led to strident narrative-crafting. It is commonly (but mistakenly) accepted that residential schools were a big secret, that children were murdered routinely in them, that attendance was always compulsory and, most recently, that there are hundreds of tiny graves hidden all around Canada concealing the remains of the victims of what all bien-pensants agree was a cultural genocide (Side note: While the culture is definitely damaged, there is much evidence to suggest that it was damaged before the imposition of the residential school policy, but this is a matter of historical debate, and no such debate is currently permitted in Canadian society). These graves are in some cases the confirmed rediscovery of previously marked graves in community cemeteries, but the most cited example is of 215 ground-penetrating radar hits near a former residential school in Kamloops, BC. 2 minutes on Google will explain that GPR cannot find human remains, it can only find disturbances, and that those disturbances must be investigated by excavation. No excavation is happening in Canada because it would be disrespectful to the spirits of the children.

  4. One former residential school student once received a special orange shirt for her first day of school, but this shirt was confiscated by the nuns when she arrived at the school and was made to wear a uniform. Therefore, orange shirts have become/been made a symbol of public regret (in a bizarre inversion of the American culture war they bear the slogan "every child matters"). Regret over what? Formerly, it was regret over the abduction of children by the state, though this was always the policy, but more and more they have become a symbol of regret that the Canadian government literally murdered children and hid their bodies and used residential schools as a way of making this possible.

  5. Ironically, schools are the main institutions pushing the new narrative, in many cases explicitly as a means of correcting the backward thoughts of the students, since they cannot correct the backward thoughts of their parents. This was precisely the rationale for residential schools.

  6. Advice time: I am a teacher. Tomorrow is my school's Orange Shirt Day. I have lived in the fly-in communities I described above. I have seen the mind-boggling material and moral squalor of reserves. I have lived in it. I do not see how anyone wearing an orange shirt will bring about one iota of improvement in the lives of the people I knew Thus, if I were to wear an orange shirt, it would only be to avoid the consequences of being literally the only member of a 60-person staff without one, but these consequences would be entirely social. Canadian teachers are virtually impossible to either reward or punish. I would be something like Havel's Schoolteacher, only worse, because of the much smaller threat.

-I could wear the shirt but inwardly resist acquiescence to the narrative. This is what Havel argues quite convincingly against.

-I could wear the shirt so my friends on the staff are not marred by their association with me, although the consequences would be entirely social.

-I could wear the shirt because, having argued against pretty much every hyper-compassionate wine-mom idea my fellow teachers have, I am now regarded as a mere contrarian, so if I don't have a shirt they'll just roll their eyes and whatever statement I think I'm making will fail.

However, if I were to wear an orange shirt, in addition to just feeling like I took an L, it would also greatly undermine every argument I have made to my students regarding the value and possibility of resisting conformism. I am not so naive as to think that any of this will be remembered a year after they graduate, but day-to-day we all have to look each other in the eye.

Not wearing the shirt incurs only social consequences, but I have been incurring them for years now, and it's getting tiring.

I don't want to wear the shirt, but I also don't want to make a scene, but I also want to be credible to the people I ask to believe me.

Someone talk me into the right course of action here.

Canadian here. I don't quite understand what you're objecting to? You say that certain specific claims about residential schools are false (e.g. 215 kids established as buried in Kamloops). And that (2) isn't fully a result of (1). But I've never been under the impression that wearing an orange shirt implies you think otherwise.

What it does imply is that you think aspects of residential schools (and Canada's historic treatment of indigenous people) were very bad. Do you disagree with this? If so, then wearing an orange shirt would be misleading for sure. Otherwise it might even be valuable to consider whether the suggestion that you're contrarian is on the mark - contrarianism is an easy trap to fall into without realising it. (I've certainly fallen into it.)

I'm too late to contribute anything on this, but I would just like to request that you post a follow up to this in the new Culture War thread for this week and let us know what choice you made and how it went.

To give an opposite option: If you really want to go down in flames, find a charity relating to the church burnings that happened in 2021 (there's gotta be one, either generally linked to churches that were burned or specifically trying to repair them). Put that on your shirt.

Order a custom orange shirt with an appropriate quote from Havel printed on it.

If you signal something, but nobody understands the signal, did you really signal?

I suggest a pink shirt -- then when people complain about your shirt, you can either pretend to be confused about which propaganda-shirt day it is -- or ask them whether they are bullying you because of the colour of your shirt.

Seriously though, glad to hear there is at least one teacher in the land who's actually thinking this stuff through -- your concerns echo mine.

If you do choose not to wear the shirt, the line I've been emphasizing lately is that there was plenty of real shit around the residential school system that was actually horrible, which has been well known at least since I was in high school in the 80s -- the real problems are cheapened when phony stories are emphasized. (the orange shirts I've seen around here last week mostly had explicit "never forget the 220 children we murdered" type messages on them, so this complaint is not out of place.

Best luck; fight on!

(and let us know how it goes either way, ofc)

This is the framework I'd start with; you might find it helpful.

There are two distinct but related concepts here--your character and your reputation.

Your character is the objective picture of your moral self. It's the accumulation of all the choices you've made, within the context of each of those choices. You have usually got the best access to what this picture looks like--the shiny spots and the black marks--but there are many varieties of self-deception that can produce a distorted view of yourself, either better or worse than accurate (or both, in different areas).

Your reputation is the socially-constructed external view of your moral self. While your character will constantly provide evidence of itself, contributing to your reputation, there are other factors: others' limited knowledge of you, unearned compliments, malicious rumors, etc. Your reputation may be better or worse than your character, or a mix in different areas, but while you can provide the most reliable evidence of your character through your actions--and therefore influence your reputation--the full social interpretation of your character is not within your control.

I think both are important, and you have some level of moral responsibility to maintain both, though not equally. Your choices are what define you in your character; your public choices have the biggest impact on defining your reputation. That's why compelled speech is so powerful--it affects both. The choice to comply or defy contributes to your character; how your choice is viewed by others contributes to your reputation. Other people don't have direct access to your actual character, either to know it or affect it. Only you can affect it, and your knowledge of it is usually the best available, if imperfect.

So, actual advice--I would start with considering your character. You're the one who has to live with yourself indefinitely; make the choice that will minimize your long-term regret in your own view of yourself. Second, consider how to implement that choice in a way that best preserves your reputation, starting with the people whose views you most value. For myself, I believe I would show up with a non-orange shirt, and if questioned, state that I oppose compelled social signaling, even in a good cause (...without specifying whether I think this is a good cause).

Good luck.

I always like the approach of, "actually try and do good to solve a real problem, and use the visibility others are creating to signal boost the solutions that you think are productive."

It sounds like it is tomorrow so maybe too late to prepare, but here is one thing:

  • get a white or grey or black shirt and have printed on it, in big orange block letters, information about organizations you trust and how people can legitimately give to them in some way.

  • prepare an elevator pitch for what you think are the enduring hardships and difficulties and why the organizations you referenced can actually directly help

  • people will notice the inversion of your shirt (orange letters on non-orange shirt) and ask about it. Excellent! Deliver your elevator pitch.

This is one way to turn this into an actually productive thing for something you care about, instead of only being performative as you noted. It also demonstrates to your students how to still be mildly contrarian but also productive for a thing you genuinely care about and want to make better.

It's one day, right?

Just call in sick. The only winning move is not to play.

It's so strange reading this because when I was in school (in the US) there was never any hint of a compulsory nature to these kinds of thing, which happened often enough (and I often partook).

There was always respect towards people's autonomy and personal feelings, and I never sensed or felt any judgement towards either decision people made.

I'd wear a different shirt for the sole reason of making kids who chose not to feel comfortable. It doesn't even matter what the cause is or how credible. A socially enforce uniform to determine "good person" status is basically an illiberal environment.

I feel like people used to understand this.

My dad went to two Indian residential schools in his youth (he's white, just grew up in the north). Every now and then I mention it and it kind of breaks people's brains because they never consider it a possibility. Because 1947 was the end of mandatory attendance most of the indigenous people around where I live don't have parents who went to residential schools (or at least my three friends in high school didn't).

Though let me say I never use this as kind of a trump card or whatever. My dad's experience was fairly out of the norm and it doesn't really have any relevance to the years (mostly the 1890s-1910s) where the residential schools were pretty awful for students.

Do you have a dark yellow shirt or a red-orange shirt with a color ambiguous whether or not it is orange? If I were you I would wear a dark yellow shirt and tell people (truthfully) that it is the closest thing to orange I have in my wardrobe.

I can't really give you advice from experience: I mostly try to avoid these things by slinking about unnoticed and slipping through cracks. It's worked for me before - from what I have heard, there's an act of fealty I would ordinarily have to perform to satisfy my employer (it's a sort of thing anybody here has probably heard of), but through luck and by keeping a sufficiently low profile, this is a threat I believe I have passed under unnoticed.

I would not do it, but exactly because I'm chicken enough to prepare to slip underneath conflicts like this ahead of time that I think I would be in a not-so-noticeable position. I cannot speak to anything likely to involve confrontation.

This makes me think, while the bien-pensants proclaim that the state literally perpetrated genocide (regardless of whether it is true or not, they seem to believe it), they usually do not support restricting the abilities of the state to do such things again in any way. Moreover, the same category of people (generally speaking of course, there might be individual exceptions but I suspect if they exist, they are rare) they support things like forced vaccinations, lockdowns, school closures, blocking bank accounts of people who protest the government, widespread speech censorship and punishment for speaking against the government-approved narratives, equating dissent or doubt about the dogma with violence, etc. - all look like the things which while do not compare to a genocide, could be easily deployed to enable one if the government decides to do something like that again. A person with systemic thinking would use the opportunity of the dedicated day - shirt or no shirt - to discuss these things and maybe make the students start thinking about such matters, and may be how it is possible to make a society which would make things like that less like, and how to evaluate government actions with the lens of "can this also be used to oppress people?".

As for the shirt itself, wearing a non-orange shirt saying "this shirt is not orange, ask me why" would be heroic, in my opinion, but I understand not making a scene part. Taking a stand is usually very costly and only rare people can handle it. If you feel it'd be too much for you, just wear the shirt and try to do what you can to make it mean something you'd want to mean instead of meaningless guilt-absolution gesture. I think as a teacher you have a good opportunity to do so.

People's thinking about genocide generally starts and ends with "goodies in charge means no genocide, baddies in charge means genocide". I think the topic of the state infrastructure required to enable genocide will go over their heads.

You're right about lockdown-related state infrastructure also being indicative of what countries could carry out genocide. The infrastructure Canada used to carry out a political and social purge of unvaccinated people could trivially be pointed at ethnic minorities and used for genocide too. And there's certainly something in how China's covid surveillance infrastructure and Uighur surveillance infrastructure are the same infrastructure. But again, I think "If you can do lockdowns, you can also do genocide" is likely to go over people's heads (or, in Canada, mark you as one of the anti-vaxxers to be purged). OP is a teacher at a school, having to impress other teachers at that school, in a society that for the past two years has marked people who dissent on these matters as persona non grata. They'd be more likely to survive just outright ignoring the day than by trying to point out the connections between lockdowns and the oppression of ethnic groups, even if it's likely relevant to why Nunavut had the least stringent vaccine mandate policies.

Fellow Canadian here. I do not believe you should wear a shirt if you are not comfortable with it. Problem with our society is we kneel on social matters that we do not agree with and stay quiet.If you think to be only person not wearing it would have serious consequences for your work you can either sue them but best middle ground would be to call in sick and not to go on that day. Also remeber that trans teacher with large boobs? I mean he did something outrageous. I dont think you should think too hard on whether wearing an orange shirt or not.

wear an orange shirt, and put some writing on it that expresses how you feel. Maybe something like "how does this shirt help indigenous people?". You can also put a QR code on it that goes to somewhere to donate money.

Simple suggestion: is there a charity whose work with indigenous Canadians you respect and think is valuable? If so, make a donation to them - maybe as little as $10. Do not wear the shirt. If anyone asks you, grumble that you feel there's too much performative politics, and instead you chose to mark this day by making a donation, as you think that's far more meaningful.

I think it comes down to a simple question. What do you value more, minor social consequences at work or your integrity?

I don't personally think wearing the orange shirt is that wrong (just kind of stupid), but it sounds like you do think it's wrong. And it sounds like you're going to face the same social consequences either way, because it sounds like the other staff think poorly of you already. So, maybe wearing this shirt will get you a brief reprieve, but it probably won't change anyone's opinion of you either way. With that in mind, it's really a question of what is more important to you here.

The pope recently went to Canada to apologize to the indigenous people for the treatment of kids in residential schools. I've been meaning to ask about this but this is a good opportunity. Is there any new discovery that prompted that pope visit? Because last time I've read about this stuff I got the impression that, as you say, these graves were just detected from the surface with some radar but there were no excavations, prompting suspicion that these may not actually be mass graves. Has this changed?


As for the question. I think it depends on how seriously you take this "mission". Because you are going against the mainstream here, if you simply don't wear the shirt, people won't be able to wrap their heads around why. Like are you actually so evil that you support the murder of indigenous children? Remember, most people, including teachers, probably know much less about the details and have read up on it much less than you have. Simply rejecting the narrative and symbolism won't change any minds, it just puts you into the "bad person" category in people's minds. If you want people to understand your resistance, make sure that you explain your rationale (this will be good towards ignorant normies, but it may attract the wrath of the already invested activists). If you don't trust yourself to keep calm and explain your reasoning over and over, then it's probably better to just wear it and shut up. Or maybe wear it but explain your reservations about the whole thing at watercooler conversations etc.

One thing that changed is that there has been an excavation of 33 GPR hits at a former hospital site in Camsell. It turned up zero actual bodies.

But that's probably not what prompted the pope's visit. The the best of my knowledge, no actual human remains have been found yet as a result of the GPR canvassing. Why risk it?

No, there were no new discoveries to prompt the pope visit. He’s just an octogenarian in poor health who does not speak English(notoriously, unlike JPII who spoke a mid-double digit number of languages and BXVI who spoke all the major European languages plus Latin, pope Francis speaks only Spanish and Italian, both natively, although he can read English and Latin aloud) and relies on one of the oldest and least efficient bureaucracies on earth to do everything for him.

The visit to Canada was controversial within Catholicism in part because the aforementioned inefficient bureaucracy wrote his speech with not totally up to date information.

Because last time I've read about this stuff I got the impression that, as you say, these graves were just detected from the surface with some radar but there were no excavations, prompting suspicion that these may not actually be mass graves. Has this changed?

No it has not. And per OP:

No excavation is happening in Canada because it would be disrespectful to the spirits of the children.

This means that there will be no excavations, and whoever doubts that these are the graves of children will be called a genocide denier. You may think "well, they've done pretty extensive excavations in other contexts, so why would this particular excavation be verboten?" It's because they know that if they excavated the entire thing would be exposed as a giant fraud.

My favorite part of Kamloops-gate is that Franz Boaz personally excavated on the school property and discovered lots of old corpses, which he writes were previously buried by the injuns. This is my favorite part because, first, it’s so interesting, second it’s completely ignored, but third it proves that the corpses might not even be TB victims who attended the school — they might have been buried dozens or hundreds of years before the school was founded. Another favorite part is that Indians have a higher rate of severity from TB, explaining most of the high mortality rate in residential schools.

The whole thing was, uh, bullshit. Canadian George Floyd but somehow even worse? It was a psy-ops tier event that ushered in church burnings.

Anyway to answer your question, wear an orange prison jump suit and talk about George Orwell or something.

The main problem I have with it is the motto for it: "Every Child Maters". That's the attitude that created this mess in the first place! The motto should be something like "Mind your own damn business". But I mean...how do you express that?

Not that I'm not sympathetic to the plight of far-rural communities, right? I think there's a real problem there. But I don't think there's any sort of good solution for it, unfortunately. The best I can do is suggest help for people who want to exit those circumstances...but this is seen as essentially genocide.

(The reason I say far-rural is my understanding that near-rural reservations are doing much better in these regards)

That's a great idea, a blm slogan for the grillpilled. How about "Your life matters" - with the motte being the concept of focusing on fixing personal issues and the bailey being that it is about positivity and opposing the feeling of futility which many people grapple with every day.

KulakRevolt's reply is solid, but I've a couple things to add:

Whatever you'd hope to convince people of by not wearing it, you'll be more able to convince them by wearing it and discussing your reservations. If you don't wear it, you appear attention seeking and damage your credibility.

  1. A shirt speaks to more people than one's words, in a setting like a school (or really, most RL settings). Hundreds of people will see a non-orange shirt in the course of a day, which is more than he'll speak to in person.

  2. He's caught between a rock and hard place re: credibility; if he wears the shirt and complains, he seems like a hypocrite.

(I wouldn't recommend a black or brown shirt, though, as when attention is drawn to shirt colour this is going to wind up with being called a fascist.)

One wonders how many of the great crimes in history have occured from the efforts of "Team players"

How one does one thing is how one does all things and With the first link the chain is forged.

This is OPs opportunity to either show their students that yes they can insist on being honest to the themselves and others, or no they must constantly lie to both and lead a life of shame.

I'd say OP is \obliged, for the sake of their own virtue, to live honestly EVEN IF IT WOULD COST THEM THEIR JOB.

Life is not a dress rehearsal.

Who you are right now is who you are choosing to be in your brief moment on the stage and who you will be for the rest of eternity as your actions echo down the endless halls of time.

You have a brief 80 years out of millions to make your change to the world... are you really going to spend that one chance you've got speaking another's words, doing another's work, living another's dream?

I guess you're right. I did love the orange prison suit option, though.

I'm going to be a contrarian (as I expect, in this place) and say just wear the damn shirt. Then tell all those students you taught the value of contrarianism that sometimes you can just put on your football team's jersey even if it doesn't help that team play football.

I do consider it "contrarian" to conform to social pressure and just go with the flow.

After all, in places so contrarian as this, conformity can be the most rebellious act.

I am reminded of the self-justifying politician in In the Loop, who justifies his decision not to resign over an unjust war, so he can keep making things better from the inside: "Isn't the braver thing to not resign?"

After reading this comment I feel like a star bellied sneetch who must immediately join the line for star removal.

For your own mental health, I suggest you employ the old trick of flipping a coin, then do whatever option you find yourself hoping for.

That said, I think it is the duty of those who are insulated from formal reprisal for non-conformity to non-conform. You are a teacher; you don't even need to fear being passed up for promotion. Of course, I am assuming you are an upstanding citizen in the non-culture war parts of your life. If you are a callous, uncharitable, self-absorbed, or god-forbid criminal person in other areas, non-conformity will not make you a saint, and I'd prefer you restrain your non-conformist streak, lest other non-conformists be so tarred.

The major price you'll pay is the scorn of peers who have already elliptically disclosed you have a low opinion of, and maybe being pilloried by activist students. Being pilloried with dignity is, likewise, a duty. There will be no reward.

Of course, I am assuming you are an upstanding citizen in the non-culture war parts of your life. If you are a callous, uncharitable, self-absorbed, or god-forbid criminal person in other areas, non-conformity will not make you a saint, and I'd prefer you restrain your non-conformist streak, lest other non-conformists be so tarred.

I thought this was a really good comment, except for this bit. Personally I think you are missing the point of non conformity a bit if you are worrying about the reputation of non conformists. Criminality is already associated with non conformity, and it always has been. When you don't have free speech or enfranchisement, non conformity is criminal. Callousness, lack of charity and self absorption are also already associated with non conformity, because many conformists can't understand people who refuse to conform and think "why would I refuse to conform? I would refuse if I was being callous or uncharitable or self absorbed, or if not refusing might get me arrested, so that's what motivates all non conformity".

I disagree with this. Your reputation is important when you are trying to convince others of things, especially in a setting like work with many repeated interactions.

Spend your contrarian points wisely @gog

During the height of the pandemic, a fairly well-known IDW figure tweeted something to the effect of "To be resistant to hive mind programming, you must either be autistic or an asshole." I agree with a weaker version of her sentiment. I'd say: To be resistant to hive mind programming, you must either be the sort who processes society's rules intellectually, not intuitively, or you must hate society and not find its opinion relevant.

This set of people obviously includes sociopaths, assholes, disagreeable misanthropes, and socially illiterate nitwits. But I don't agree that it's the entire set. Jesus Christ, MLK, and Buddha were in that set. They may have been "criminals" but only in a non-central way.

@gog should boycott if they are a non-central non-conformist. (AKA not criminal, self-absorbed, or an asshole.) That is the only sort of non-conformist who can set a positive example and start a preference cascade towards the end of moral panic. If they are a "central" non-conformist, they should not boycott, but will ignore moral advice in any case.

Yeah, I'm saying non conformists will always be perceived that way by conformists. And sometimes even non conformists it seems. Even though, as you say, Jesus, MLK and Buddha are non conformists, the perception remains.

You will be tarred by association regardless. That doesn't mean you should say 'fuck it, may as well crime it up', but it does mean you should stop caring about being called something by conformists.

Also I assume that you are a good person yeah? You are worried about society and other people's feelings certainly. So if someone called you a sociopath or a misanthrope, you would know they were wrong because you know who you are right? So why would you think they were right about anyone else? Isn't it more likely they are just using the same brush they used to tar you?

However, if I were to wear an orange shirt, in addition to just feeling like I took an L, it would also greatly undermine every argument I have made to my students regarding the value and possibility of resisting conformism. I am not so naive as to think that any of this will be remembered a year after they graduate, but day-to-day we all have to look each other in the eye.

I think you already know what you have to do, and from your other points I think it's what you want to do (otherwise you wouldn't point out that the consequences are only social). But also schools are a very conformist environment, everything about them is built towards that end. Which makes non conformity incredibly strong. Outrageously strong. Once they leave school your students will forget most of what happened, but that's because it is a blur of uniformity - everyone looks the same and does the same thing all day every day, what is there to remember? The instances where something different happened.

If I really wanted to be a dick to my co-workers about it, I would get my hands on a shirt with the indigenous Canadian flag on it. "Are you really going to roll your eyes at the flag? I should hook you up with my racist cousin, he does that all the time."

Tough call. You might be ignored or you might receive the Bret Weinstein treatment. I don't envy your position.

Integrity here suggests you don't wear the orange shirt. You've made the argument yourself and if you're looking for validation/affirmation, you now have it. Go forth, and fret no more.

Bart Simpson T-shirt

Just don't wear the damn shirt. Doesn't seem very complicated. You already know that you don't want to and the consequences are insignificant either way, so you may as well be true to yourself.

I just read a short article in an email newsletter that threw out this statistic with regards to automation in the food industry:

Between March and July 2022, an average of 760,000 people quit jobs in accommodation and food service

The article goes on to argue the point that due to all of the ‘quiet quitting’ and generally unsatisfied workers after the pandemic or over the last couple of years, automation will not be as big of a deal as we thought. I’ve seen this sentiment echoed a number of times recently where news outlets will talk about how all of the people worried about economic disruption from robotics and Artificial Intelligence don’t realize that it’ll actually be great because people hate working anyway.

I used to believe these claims when I was a disillusion young adult who hated working, but overtime I’ve gotten more and more skeptical. Many people I know take serious pride and work, and in fact for a lot of people their work is the most important thing in their life. I’m talking people who don’t even really need the money, or who claim that even if they had enough money to retire they would continue working just as much as they do now.

Is this recent trend of less engagement with work robust enough to offset the rise in automation of jobs? Is this just a cope from those who know their jobs will disappear soon? (Ie email newsletter writers)

Personally I’m surprised that artificial intelligence hasn’t gotten more flack than it has so far. I expected the lights to come out in full force and at least get some sort of ban on image generation (I know Getty or some other site has done this) but so far it seems that artificial intelligence is generally unopposed.

Any major salient examples of automation technology or artificial intelligence being banned to protect jobs?

Here's a historical chart of the monthly quit rate for accommodation and food service. It's unusually high, but only about half a point higher than 2006-2007, and unemployment was higher then. And it's headed downwards. It's possible that the spike we saw last year was just "filling in the hole" from 2020, as people who had been waiting for a good time to quit their jobs took advantage of the opportunity. Also, total employment in these industries is still rising. A lot of the people quitting those jobs are quitting for other jobs in the same industry.

Quiet quitting is just a new term for an old phenomenon. I remember seeing an article recently pointing to survey data showing that self-reported levels of engagement at work had decreased only slightly, so I think it's probably overhyped.

We've been here before with automats. Vending machines have not replaced restaurants or even fast food joints. At the moment, you still need people to cook the food and wash the dishes. Until automation succeeds to the point of replacing human cooks and kitchen staff, 'automation in the food industry' is not going to take that many jobs away.

The main reason people quit the hospitality industry is poor pay and bad conditions. During the pandemic, here in Ireland as well as elsewhere, a lot of places were compulsorily shut for the duration, which meant pubs and restaurants. A lot of staff were laid off while the business was shut down, and many of them found jobs elsewhere that they didn't quit and go back to their old job. Because better pay, established hours, and reliability meant that the new job was more attractive. A lot of employers complained "people don't want to work" (and so the government should stop paying social welfare payments to people who had been laid off, to force them to work) but the answer most people gave to that was "people don't want to work for cut-to-the-bone wages and abusive bosses".

Is automation in work coming? Sure, because if it is perceived as cutting costs, then employers will avail of it. Is automating away jobs like waiters and cleaners on the horizon? Not quite yet, and it might - ironically - be the white collar middle class jobs that are now at risk and not the pink and blue collar 'you need a human pair of hands to do this' jobs.

EDIT: I have seen some online protesting about AI art, and that's an example of what I said above; the jobs at risk here are either fandom-type artists who charge commissions for art from the public, or people who work in freelance jobs doing stock illustrations for magazine articles (or that awful Green Party poster mentioned below, which quite easily could be churned out by AI). Nobody is complaining that DALL-E etc. are taking the bread out of the mouths of hotel cleaning staff or landscapers trimming the hedges.

While cooks and bussers aren't threatened by automation just yet, waiters very much are. Not to the point of full elimination, but electronic ordering certainly would reduce the numbers of required waitstaff, and it's certainly catching up lately.

TBH I am not sure that the problem of "cut-to-the-bone wages" has a good solution - nobody is going to pay $100 for a medium-quality hamburger, and most of those "need two human hands" don't need much beyond - which means the pool of potential applicants is unlimited, and if you disrupt the market by coercion ("living wage", etc.) you'd either get law-free zones (e.g. hiring illegals or just ignoring the law), or shortages (yes, you'd get your minimum wage, you'd just be doing alone the work three people did before - hello "abusive bosses"), or elimination of low-and-medium scale food industry, due to the economy of it not being sustainable. The only stable resolution here would be to eliminate the contradiction - e.g. by automation.

‘Automation’ in low skill industries- order pulling, picking crops, fry cooking, etc.- is really just substituting a large quantity of low skill labor for a smaller quantity of high skill labor. For agriculture this trade off makes sense- machines can do the work of many, many humans while creating only limited amounts of work for mechanics. In food service it doesn’t because there’s a limited number of man-hours to replace in a typical restaurant; fully automated fryers exist, but don’t displace enough low skill labor to be worth the cost of the high skill labor to maintain and repair them.

Is automation in work coming? Sure, because if it is perceived as cutting costs, then employers will avail of it. Is automating away jobs like waiters and cleaners on the horizon? Not quite yet, and it might - ironically - be the white collar middle class jobs that are now at risk and not the pink and blue collar 'you need a human pair of hands to do this' jobs.

White collar jobs , as a category, will probably never be at risk because what is considered white collar work is always changing/evolving , and also population growth.

At the same time, why can't burger-flipping be done by robots? The entire industry of fast-food grew out of the premise that every store sells the exact same food items, prepared in the exact same manner. Most fast food comes in completely-disposable packaging that would be trivial for machines to close. I think it's more just that nobody's built a really good robot for it yet.

If there's one area where AI has struggled to make serious progress, it's in low-cost situated soft-robotics. The kind of robot that can work around existing human environments safely, do things like clean a grill or scrub a toilet or prepare a sandwich. I suspect that when we find workarounds to the current problems, progress in this area will be extremely fast, but we're not there yet. Consequently, the jobs of burger-flippers (and it's never just burger-flipping, it's all the ancillary tasks around that) will be relatively safe for the time-being.

My experience as a tradesman working on commercial appliances tells me that the work around will be $40,000 automated grills that still need a human pair of hands to do near constant maintenance and require a $2500 refit every six months, both by either semi or highly skilled technicians, and still need a minimum wage worker to refill the patty dispenser and be on hand to clear jams, and that the final product will still have to be assembled by a minimum wage worker.

To put another way, a lot of automating away low skilled labor is done via creating more demand for semi- and highly-skilled labor. Current skilled and semi skilled labor prices are sky high and the supply is shrinking steadily, which means that large capital investments in things like automated grills are going to be unlikely as long as low skill labor is still willing to work.

A robot that can replicate fine motor control of a burger flipper would be too expensive.

You don’t really need the fine motor control of a burger flipper, though. You’d just design the automated grill to not need to flip the patty(probably by cooking via a heated press, and yes, that is expensive and prone to breakdowns which requires very highly skilled labor to fix). I expect reliability, and the shortage of technicians who can fix such kinds of equipment, are bigger factors slowing adoption.

And to be clear, a lot of fast food kitchens are substantially automated already. This process will likely continue, but the loss of fast food worker jobs will be slow because if your automated soda fountain system goes down, you’ll need employees to fill cups manually until you can get a technician who can work on automated soda fountains(and to be clear, this is a tall order; skilled labor is already in shortage and the problem is getting worse. To make matter even worse, most of the equipment we’re talking about uses brand specific designs, so a technician needs to be trained on both the brand and type of appliance that’s broken).

There's a reason why 'work simulators' (whether some kinds of MMOs, certain strategy games, clickers, casual games etc..) are so popular, why people will spend 10 hours a day for weeks harvesting virtual wood for their virtual character's virtual house in an MMO even when - if they live in a Western country - they could do half a shift at the nearest McDonalds and buy it all through the in-game store. The satisfaction of the activity provides them purpose.

I'm sure most of these people are in low income countries . Maybe begging is the closest thing to that. My proposal would be to give homeless people unlimited booze and drugs provided they have to consume it in a safe area and void the right to medical care.

There are a lot of players of 'euro truck simulator' or 'farming simulator' in the US and western europe

Why ultra-pure, though? Why not laced with something that gives them heart attacks?

even when - if they live in a Western country - they could do half a shift at the nearest McDonalds and buy it all through the in-game store

That is the Devil's temptation and should be shunned at all costs! It is way too easy and tempting to go "okay, I can wait four hours for the in-game coins to regenerate so I can get the items I need to advance, or I could buy in-game currency for what is only pennies of real world money" and the next thing you know, you've blown fifty spondulicks of real world dough on 'easy' purchases.

The games are cleverly balanced that way to entice you to buy currencies, since chopping wood etc. is so tedious and you want the immediate hit of advancing now when you are so close to it. Good time management and such casual games tilt the balance the other way; you do just enough work for it to feel like a real achievement when you hit the goal, but not so much that it becomes tedious or boring. Just mindless enough that you sit there stacking up tasks for your little workers to do, the kind of game where you want to kill some time but not anything involved or heavy, the equivalent of a popcorn for the brain movie. Solitaire style games are the same thing.

For a while I'd thought we'd automate mundane labor first. Nobody want to work in accommodation and food service, so why should they have to?

Instead, artists and writers are getting the first taste. General intelligence is moving fast enough that "how mentally challenging is it?" seems unlikely to be the critical factor, and we should instead look at "how hard is it to describe your job as a collection of inputs and outputs?". Which is, at least to me, mostly opaque for most industries.

So it won't be just the grunt work. The AI reaper will come for a scattershot of occupations across many social classes, with little respect for how much pride people take in their work, with little insight as to whether you'll be next.

I think there will be pushback. At least until the road to luxury space communism is made clear.

The jobs automated away will be ones replaced by equipment which does not have to be maintained or repaired, because the sorts of people who can maintain or repair equipment are in a large shortage, that shortage is getting worse, and they command a large wage premium.

An artist or writer can, once the software is there, be replaced by a computer which requires next to no maintenance. A janitorial robot would probably require weekly maintenance and quarterly tune ups performed by the sorts of people who are both scarce right now and are not getting less scarce.

AI will be a valuable tool for many artists who embrace it. They'll be able to pump out more content, and can actually make changes to the stuff AI pumps out. Seems like it'd be a great source for inspiration or overcoming creative block. It'll also allow more people to do art who don't have the skill. That may not necessarily be a bad thing. Just like tools allowing digital art to be created by people who can't draw or paint at a great level, but their digital art can still be amazing.

AI opens art up to more people.

Yeah, I'm in favor, but we're barely getting started and people are getting upset already. There's a lot more pointing fingers and claiming that someone somewhere will be upset, but there are some people actually upset.

If I had to steelman anti-AI-art, it'd be "neural nets are bad and every use of them we permit is more consumer opposition and entrenched financial interests we'll have to crush to avert AI X-risk".

Instead, artists and writers are getting the first taste. General intelligence is moving fast enough that "how mentally challenging is it?" seems unlikely to be the critical factor, and we should instead look at "how hard is it to describe your job as a collection of inputs and outputs?". Which is, at least to me, mostly opaque for most industries.

The popular notion that writers, artists will be replaced by AI seems overblown. Look how much $ Substack writers are making now. If anything, we in a writing boom. Who knows though...maybe there will be a scandal in which a top author is revealed as just a bot/AI that parses existing work. I think AI will have a hard time understanding the nuance of language, which is an important part of writing. When I talk about the left vs. right, how can an ai know if i am talking about ideology or driving directions? Or rationalism vs. rational?

I suspect substack is rather on the high end of writing. Readers go to substack because they like an author's analysis -- e.g. Scott Alexander is in no danger of being replaced with a neural net. The automation target is more mundane: news and reporting (and propaganda), marketing copy, pulp fiction / erotica, ghost writing, and other assorted filler text. Screenplays are still pretty bad but they're on the they're on the gradient descent roller coaster now and won't stay bad for long.

In the meantime, I give you GPT-3:

The car has drifted a bit to the left, so

you should turn the steering wheel to the right to correct it.

The news has drifted a bit to the left, so

they are looking for a conservative news source that is more trustworthy and less biased.

Presumably it won't be long before many substacks are just AI created content. Many could be already. Would we even know?

To be more specific, there's a lot of semi-skilled low end grunt work getting automated. Cashiers, for example. I order with a kiosk at McDonald's and check out with a self-checkout at Walmart.

Now the stockers at walmart and the cooks at mcdonald's are still not automated; and these were jobs it was always harder to staff because fewer people wanted to do them(and their salaries, while still unskilled labor level, reflected and still reflect that).

For a while I'd thought we'd automate mundane labor first. Nobody want to work in accommodation and food service, so why should they have to?

Because, again ironically, this is the kind of work that is hardest to automate. Unless you completely re-design restaurants so that you can fit in industrial robotics the way they do in car manufacturing, and maybe one day they'll solve that, you can't replace humans who can go up and down stairs, in and out of rooms, vacuum and dust and polish, etc.

'Intellectual' labour can be automated because you can break it down into steps that can be done by a computer programme. You can more easily automate the jobs of the accounts department than you can that of the contract cleaner who earns minimum wage emptying the bins and doing the vacuuming. Boston Robotics is still working on its Atlas robot, which to me right now still seems like a gimmick - it was supposed to do search-and-rescue work back in 2013 but I have no idea if it's ever been used in the field for real operations, as distinct from trials and tests. The reason I say "gimmick" is yeah, it can run a parkour course, big cheers, but would you trust it to clean your bathroom? (Sure, eventually they'll get it working, but it'll be a lot longer to replace grunt work labour than white collar desk jobs).

Applebee's is largely automated in that most of their food is mass-produced off-site and then heated in a microwave. People who go out do not want to dictate their order to a robot that they might have to outsmart, like I have to trick my washing machine and dishwasher into doing things.

The last mile will always be hard.

The tricky part is that some mundane work and some intellectual work is easy to automate, but in many cases it's hard to tell ahead of time just how hard it will be. You can predict trucking and data entry will die off, but what will it take to crack cooking or construction or hairdressing?

And the white-collar work will be equally scattershot at approximately the same time. "It's all on the computer so it should be easy to capture inputs and outputs right?" is the kind of assumption that makes a million AI researchers' foreheads hit the desk. We'll certainly get there eventually but in this case the specifics matter.

If all the grunt work went first, we could hope for a smooth transition to post-scarcity. Sorry, we automated away your job scrubbing toilets, but on the upside production is so cheap that you can survive off your 19 twitch subs as a league of legends vtuber. But if the robot revolution happens in patches more or less randomly, then there are people with real social power that they stand to lose, and that implies chaos.

--

Separately, new tech is always a gimmick, until it's not (though I agree most gimmicks are not new tech). I wouldn't have trusted Atlas to run a parkour course, until it did. Who's to say Boston Robotics will stop short of cleaning bathrooms? It seems unlikely there will be a fundamental limit in the tech that prevents that.

My experience is that the quality of customer service, the number and quality of employees, and the convenience and reliability of store hours have all gotten worse (nothing is open late; stores close sporadically). Also, things like self-checkout have pushed labor onto the customer. Personally, I like having the option, but it makes things worse when self-checkout is the default.

It's kind of like a reverse price gouging. Retail isn't colluding to fix prices, but rather seems to have unilaterally decided to not compete anymore on the customer experience front. It's just dropped off a cliff. I see more of this trend in our future, not automation. We're going to find out how poor of service Americans will tolerate before we reach a new equilibrium.

You can go back in history and find the same thing happening. Many retailers used to have all sorts of staff on hand to increase customer experience. Labour was cheap. As it gets more expensive, and consumers choose price over all else, we see great service slowly fade away.

Rich people can still afford that increased cost of labour in order to get better service, though.

My experience is that the quality of customer service, the number and quality of employees, and the convenience and reliability of store hours have all gotten worse (nothing is open late; stores close sporadically). Also, things like self-checkout have pushed labor onto the customer. Personally, I like having the option, but it makes things worse when self-checkout is the default.

Thanks to Ccovid for that. And it's going to stay that way because companies, businesses realized that can make equal or more $ with just delivery + takeout and limited hours and fewer employees vs. full hours and more employees.

Often it's faster for customers by not having to wait in line , so the tradeoff is worth it

In my typical experience, self-checkout is about as slow if not slower. 1-3 machines down out of 6-12 across two sections (one notionally reserved for express). 1-2 helper/assistant types who are supposed to resolve errors, handful special case errors like WIC cards/coupons or confirm the shopper can purchase a semi-restricted item (cold medicines/alcohol) get easily overwhelmed by a handful of issues assuming they are there to do that instead of called away to deal with something else/shooting the shit with a coworker. Any sort of error is a hard stop and the wait for the person to notice/finish dealing with the three other problems adds up. The systems have so much lag built-in since you have to wait between scans for the system to confirm you put the thing in the bag zone that even if you were of the same skill level as someone paid to run a check-out register you'll still be slowed down. Of course these days even cashiered check-outs are slower compared to when bagging was a common minimum wage job for high schoolers. It's downright depressing going through stores with 10 check-lanes with only two of them manned.

At my local supermarket I can scan items off the shelf with my phone, put them right into my bag, and when I'm done shopping I pause briefly to scan a checkout code posted near the door. Then I leave.

There was an order kiosk at one of the McDonald’s in Flint in the mid/late 90s. It was pretty clunky by modern standards, but it worked just fine.

On the other hand, it opened up new and exciting possibilities if you were into shoplifting. Scanning premium grapes as regular grapes is its own reward.

Ironic that Eddie Lampert's find blew itself up about a decade before his vision would dominate retail.

Between March and July 2022, an average of 760,000 people quit jobs in accommodation and food service

Does this mean anything without context for: how many people were hired, and how many people on average quit jobs? The food industry has high turnover - 70% generally, so with 10M workers in 'accommodations and food service' generally, that many people quitting over three months is expected. An increase in turnover or quitting existing may happen, but saying '760k' doesn't show much. When you refer to an article, please link it so people can investigate claims made! Also: info comes from a few googles, not expert, could be wrong, etc.

Many people I know take serious pride and work, and in fact for a lot of people their work is the most important thing in their life. I’m talking people who don’t even really need the money, or who claim that even if they had enough money to retire they would continue working just as much as they do now.

Are those people working the same jobs that people are leaving in large numbers? I don't think many would work in fast food if they didn't need the money.

No these are mostly high paying or high status.

Many people I know take serious pride and work, and in fact for a lot of people their work is the most important thing in their life. I’m talking people who don’t even really need the money, or who claim that even if they had enough money to retire they would continue working just as much as they do now.

It depends on the job. Probably the people you know are not representative of most workers. The people who don't need the money probably have good , high-status jobs they enjoy, which does not apply to most workers.

https://www.pewresearch.org/social-trends/2016/10/06/3-how-americans-view-their-jobs/

40% of people making under 30k are "very satisfied" with their job, and 40% of private sector workers claim their job gives them a sense of identity rather than just being a living.

This isn't really consistent with job pride being a phenomenon of the upper crust.

so what about the other 60%?

this shows positive correlation between wages vs. satisfaction https://static01.nyt.com/images/2009/11/17/business/economy/jobsatisfaction.jpg

https://www.cnbc.com/2019/07/16/perhaps-money-can-buy-you-happiness-at-least-at-work.html

Sixty-eight percent of workers making more than $150,000 per year reported being “very satisfied” with their current job, while only 40% of people making under $50,000 said the same.

Wages correlate with satisfaction (and this is clear from the pew study), but the point is that a very large fraction of people earning very little money are satisfied with their jobs. Job satisfaction and pride are by no means phenomena restricted to the upper class.

People who like their jobs and take pride in their work usually like the status from their jobs. Over time, the association between their occupational role and its status / social effects become so ingrained that they grow to love their work. But this doesn’t indicate that they would not find enjoyment from a different preoccupation of time in the absence of work.

Plus, the “quiet quitters” obtain limited status enhancement from their work. There is literally an underclass for which work is unimportant in procuring baby mamas. Obviously if you’re a Silicon Valley dev who has spent 3000 hours invested in your occupation in a different social environment it is going to be a different story

I had a job I liked and enjoyed, and it wasn't about the status. The work was interesting, I was well able to do it, and the working environment was pleasant.

I have worked retail, and that was a hellscape.

There's a difference, I think, between people who have made their work their life and sunk so much of their identity and self-worth into it, and people who like their job even if that job is a linesman for the county.

Some people will continue to work even as retirees, and even if they don't need the money, because they miss the human interaction and don't know what to do with themselves if they're not working. (I think the French barista mentioned in another comment fits in there, also because she's working in a Manhattan café and not in McDonalds - it's not just for the sake of working, it's the type of work and people). Some people like their jobs, and I can understand why they'd return as a consultant: more money, less hassle, you get to come in and tell the bosses what to do, and it's a nice little addition to your income without the fear of "if I lose this job, I'm toast".

People who like their jobs and take pride in their work usually like the status from their jobs. Over time, the association between their occupational role and its status / social effects become so ingrained that they grow to love their work. But this doesn’t indicate that they would not find enjoyment from a different preoccupation of time in the absence of work.

That seems to contradict a lot of people I know who, upon retirement, immediately return to their previous company as a contractor. It can't be just about the money, and it's certainly not about the status.

I also find status narratives compelling but I feel they prove too much. Are you actually arguing that no higher paid individuals genuinely enjoy their jobs or would enjoy them without the status associated?

FWIW I agree for jobs like sales or similarly grueling positions.

Is the Gender War the oddest "culture war"?

Fair warning: this is going to provide few conclusions. TBH I'm more interested in soliciting opinions on which explanation seems most plausible.

I was on another sub and someone complained about how tiring the interminable gender war was. And it raised something I had been thinking of for a while: it feels like there's something very odd about a society where sexes are encouraged to disdain each other despite being unable to actually do without said sex.

I grew up in Africa and moved to the West near the end of my teenage years so I've lived in very different societies and have struggled to understand their differences. . One highly progressive and aiming for gender egalitarianism and another that has a very traditional understanding of gender still, due to religion and culture. As Muslim nations go we're pretty progressive relative to some of the Arabs (no one I knew growing up wore or was expected to wear hijab - though I saw more of them around when I returned not too long ago), but it's no Sweden.

The interesting thing is though, growing up, gender wars weren't as big a deal as in the West. I'm not saying that women never reacted badly to sexism or no one ever pushed for change. But...it just didn't feel like there was this interminable "battle of the sexes".

Thing is: we had many other forms of culture war. The most obvious being ethnic strife. That was just taken for granted. It makes perfect sense to me that tribes will dislike one another, groups will cynically deploy identity politics as suits them and so on.

It doesn't seem obvious to me that any tribe will be so riven internally that men and women (the two components necessary for it to reproduce the tribe) see themselves as competitors or enemies. With this logic being taken to absurd extremes where women make money publicly mocking their husbands for the applause of the internet

So why is there a gender war? Why didn't it feel as big a deal back home? Potential reasons:

  1. There was, I was just too young to know. The most parsimonious and intuitive. Game stops, do not pass "go".

  2. There's "'gender war" in the same way there's "class conflict" in the medieval era: exploitation is still happening but conditions haven't allowed something like marxism (well...feminism here) to explode cause the proles are still too oppressed. So there's a latent gender war. a. There's some attraction to this one too, especially when it comes to one obvious gender war issue we don't share with the West: polygamy. Here many women are opposed and it does create a clear split between men and women. But it seems like it simply hasn't bubbled up into a politically salient critique of the whole institution or, even broader, some "patriarchy"

  3. The West has much weaker tribal and religious links, which means there's much less of a sense of intratribal loyalty to block gender wars or redirect them. If you're just someone in some random urban region (that you likely moved to) they're not really your men/women, it's not really your tribe. There's no common destiny; it's just random individuals and so it's easier to demonize them as oppressors/bitches. a. As a corollary: the absence of strong, traditional identities allows/drives people to identify in different ways that allow gender conflict.

  4. Traditional societies have a much clearer path to marriage/family which reduces what there is to fight over. It is precisely the shifting of norms (and their endless litigation) that justifies becoming a gender warrior. Even unjust but stable norms may be better here.

  5. Blank slate ideology hasn't taken root. IMO this leads to damage because the natural points of divergence between men and women are no longer natural tendencies we have to work around but actual failings on the part of the other side (obvious examples would be: women being "too" choosy, men valuing youth and variety "too much")

  6. The American culture war is just particularly strange; Austrians and other Westerners do not speak this way but they don't get as much airtime.

  7. Similarly: the Culture war doesn't actually represent lived reality, it is just a loud form of kayfabe, especially on the Left. Women and men pair up and go about their days, regardless of the TikTok rhetoric

  8. Feminism itself is to blame: the ideology, especially when stripped of class, requires a male enemy. When stripped of class it becomes a tool of middle class and above women seeking to remove barriers to their privilege who especially need men as such to be the enemy (if they argued on the basis of class they would risk arguing against the very privileged state they wish to reach). If this allows a middle class woman to talk down to a working class man as an avatar of the problems of all men...all the better.

So...I'm curious which ones the Motte finds intuitive (besides the obvious). Because - if I ignore my desire to be epistemically humble - I do have sympathy for 2,3 & 5 (though arguably 5 is just a proxy for how far feminist ideas have spread in the first place).

To a person living with very traditional gender roles in the west, the question addressed to feminism is not "why do you think men and women are the same", it's "why do you think there can be a democracy with two people". Whether the differences between men and women are well understood or not, the need for gender roles seems like common sense because you cannot have democracy in relations between the sexes because it's inherently an even number of people involved, and the innate differences are viewed as supporting evidence rather than the main case to be made.

I find this interesting because neoreactionaries usually go about making their arguments running in the opposite direction; innate sex differences prove the need for gender roles and the "duh, if two people disagree then one of them has to be in charge or the issue will never get resolved" doesn't seem to come up very often.

I would hazard a guess that more traditional gender roles in african society spares the need to shut down gender wars with 10,000 word essays because "duh, think about it" suffices, and "duh, think about it" is probably a much better argument.

duh, if two people disagree then one of them has to be in charge or the issue will never get resolved" doesn't seem to come up very often.

I don't find this to be true at all, whether in my personal relationships, business, or even politics.

Further, even in this case, who do you think should be in charge? In traditional gender roles it's obviously the man, but why? In a lot of ways this is what the 'battle of the sexes' is all about: One group claiming a right to power and the other challenging it.

if two people disagree then one of them has to be in charge or the issue will never get resolved

This doesn't seem to be at all true to me. Not just in my marriage, but in many situations with just 2 people, nobody is in charge and issues are still resolved. I often do sports in twos with various friends, and I can't figure out any hierarchy at all. In certain situations it's clear that one person has more expertise

People will often say how in male-only groups there is a clear hierarchy, and I have certainly seen that on occasion, but it's not the norm.

Adults can resolve issues in small groups down to pairs, without anybody being in charge.

Similarly: the Culture war doesn't actually represent lived reality, it is just a loud form of kayfabe, especially on the Left. Women and men pair up and go about their days, regardless of the TikTok rhetoric

This is my view right here, although it goes past gender. I think when it comes to Progressive concepts of identity, you're not actually supposed to internalize/actualize them, and they live in more of a theoretical/political space. As someone who has internalized these concepts, I've been told many a time by advocates for these concepts that you're not supposed to do that. Of course, the out-group doesn't get the message on this (and how could they, considering how often they're analyzed and deconstructed using them), and it's that which creates the bulk of the conflict.

you're not actually supposed to internalize/actualize them, and they live in more of a theoretical/political space.

It may start out that way. But I think the wrestling concept of "working yourself into a shoot" can be at work, especially for the younger women and "allies" who absorbed this stuff young without any critical responses and exist in far more cloistered environments.

Even the in-group can get high on its own supply.

This is a big problem. A few weeks ago during the whole Ime Udoka Celtics affair debacle there was a lot of support on places like /r/NBA for the idea that of course employee-employee relationships are bad, haven't you ever had HR compliance training? In real life, I have never met a single person who didn't think corporate-mandated sexual harassments training was the biggest load of shit they ever had to sit through.

In real life, I have never met a single person who didn't think corporate-mandated sexual harassments training was the biggest load of shit they ever had to sit through.

Does that include all office-working women you know?

Oh certainly, and I'm not saying that this message is wildly sent out, but my experiences with being told this make me comfortable with pointing this out without it being intended as boo-outgroup, as I think it's a fairly accurate statement.

My personal belief is that there's just people (including myself) who are more innately wired to internalize these ideas, and this stuff is going to be a potential danger to us. When it comes to teaching this stuff in schools, at the minimum I want "guardrails" put in place to protect vulnerable people in this regard. The other side of this, is that I don't see the actual benefit. I mean...I can understand the meaning of just "Vote Left"...but that feels very hollow. Truth is, even as someone who understands how unhealthy it is, if I thought that there was a hope of internalization being more common, I at least could see the point.

The overarching thing, is that I think the idea of socioeconomic decline, or even stagnation is too horrific to too many people for this to be even a possibility. So any sort of internalizing of the idea of "You don't deserve this, time to give it up", which I think is the message being presented to people on the outside, I think is simply a no-go area.

May I ask, does your native culture have jokes about nagging wives/henpecked husbands? Because this seems to be a staple of humour, even in the heyday of The Patriarchy.

The Battle of the Sexes is an old trope, and for any war, you need an enemy. For feminism, that was The Patriarchy (but in practice that meant 'men in general' and not 'the system of society under which both men and women live').

Things have improved greatly, but life is still not perfect. And it would seem that for many women, all the sexual liberation and workplace equality means "in fact, you can't have it all". So they feel they have been cheated out of what was promised, and there must be Someone To Blame for that, and that means "white cis straight (Christian) men" because that is the traditional enemy.

You are completely correct about class versus race; the newer strains of feminism have gone to Intersectionality and how middle-class white women are as much the enemy, because they modelled the feminist movement on what they wanted and experienced and didn't listen to, or silenced, BIPOC women. There is womanism and mujerism which evolved out of mujerista theology, which evolved out of liberation theology, for black and Latina women respectively.

Ironically, a lot of the black/latina women involved in the theoretical and activist work are just as privileged, having been inducted into the middle-class and academia, as the white women they are competing against, which is why the favoured enemy is still The White Male, because that is the ultimate of privilege against which one can measure oneself: yes, I am more privileged than you are, but I am still less privileged than Him.

The battle of the sexes is natural, but alliances within the sexes seems less straightforward.

Every harmony results from some conflict settling at some equilibrium. Men and women have different imperatives, desires, points of view, etc. and these fundental conflicts have to bump up against one another and get settled at some compromise but with some leverage and threat remaining, to keep both parties to hold to their end of the bargain.

Such conflicts even arise between generations and even the most intimate connections like mother and child. Both on a social and a biological level. The embryo already tries to exploit the mother in utero, trying to grab on to as much resources and nutrition as possible, which the mother must defend itself from.

Even one's own cells and body parts are in conflict and this is most apparent in cancer.

Men and women are in a biological arms race too, a lot of deception, signaling, trying to see through all that and more layers of this (with reality providing a grounding through life and death in natural selection, and so an anchor to truth).

But it doesn't follow that members of the same sex are allies in all this. Rather, they just have a different type of competition going on. Especially among males, who are more competitive (that's why they need to be so big). I think the MRA idea of male solidarity is therefore doomed to be low status. A man who needs other men to protect his interests against women is seen as weak. Now women are competitive among themselves too, but typically less openly and overtly and more subtly than men. So the expectation would be that they also shouldn't have too much purely sex-based solidarity to each other in reality, but perhaps more pretension of it at least, than in the case of men.

May I ask, does your native culture have jokes about nagging wives/henpecked husbands? Because this seems to be a staple of humour, even in the heyday of The Patriarchy.

I've seen those jokes but you'd be surprised how hard it is to tell what's been influenced or not in a place where the language - and thus history - is oral and the British have ruled since before living memory. I suppose, at a certain point, it doesn't matter.

I sometimes saw - amongst the more educated cadre - a more benign version about the supposedly all-powerful "lady of the house" and I'm really not convinced it's an independent belief.

I agree with you, gender wars make least sense when it comes to conflict. Mostly because men and women do (or at least used to) literally live together. Everybody has some mother and father or some brothers and sisters or cousins and nephews. Also it is very hard to be hardcore misandrist feminist if you happen to raise a boy.

I think that the modern gender wars are fueled by mostly technological but also social changes in the west in 20th century. There are several important milestones there: the first one being invention of home appliances which made it easier to take care of household production/chores freeing mostly women to pursue other things in life. Second was overall servitization of economy where unlike agricultural or industrial economy the physical strength is no longer advantage. And the last and huge one is of course the pill which gave women control over their reproduction.

What happened as a result of all three of these technological changes is basically emasculation of women who could go out and take over traditionally masculine roles of a provider and also ability to adopt more male style of sexual behavior. One can easily see this in all cultural product where a woman can get away with some pretty nasty and outright insulting stuff that men would not be able to get away with. But this is still incomplete transition, there is still a lot of friction there. We still see lingering women are wonderful effect which basically gives them license to behave this way. It also has to be said that while emasculated women and effeminate men are a thing, they are not necessarily viewed as a model for ideal partner.

I like how Louise Perry described it - if you are a modern woman in office setting you can go about your life without ever encountering any situation where sex really matters, that is if you do not go to a gym or similar setting trying to lift weights or something like that. You would be correct to assume that there is no distinction between men and women and possibly perceive any challenge to that experience as somehow weird or even insulting. Having a widely accepted conspiracy theory about how patriarchy is beyond all this, that any differences are unnatural and a result of these nefarious forces distorting the natural equality of sexes for millennia can look very appealing - especially if believing or at least espousing ideas of such a conspiracy can get you advantages. However this is less tenable view if one becomes a mother of a boy or if one wants to have long-term partnership or if a woman is faced with some really nasty things like financial stress, crime in the neighborhood or myriads of other situation when actually having masculine man would really come in handy.

emasculation of women

emasculated women

Did you perhaps mean "masculation of women" and "masculated women"? What you wrote means the opposite of that.

Similarly: the Culture war doesn't actually represent lived reality, it is just a loud form of kayfabe, especially on the Left. Women and men pair up and go about their days, regardless of the TikTok rhetoric

This one hits with my personal experience. Much as my TikTok feed is full of TedPosting, but only the marginal "weirdoes" actually go shoot up an ATF office, and I suspect even most people posting these memes would agree that such a person wasn't "in on the joke" or didn't "get it;" the internet is full of feminisms and RedPills, but only the weirdoes actually do things like refuse to have sex for fear of rape/false-rape-accusations, or can't get a date because of ideology, or view men/women as the enemy in a way that interferes with their day to day life. Hell, irl I know a fair number of like serious racists who have fully normal cordial relations with Black people in their day to day lives. Consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, and expecting people to live by their rhetoric would leave very little of the motte standing.

Speaking personally, the only romantic life I can truly speak to, I've hooked up with lots of women who love to make "God, men are the worst" jokes, and for whom Cis-Hetero-White-man is practically a slur! I'm whiter than mayonnaise and straighter than a yardstick; alone in bed the members of our school's "Women of Color Collective" would mostly just flat out say they loved white guys, while the white girls wouldn't admit it but their dating patterns proved them wrong. For all the criticism from the online left and all the corresponding whining from the online right, being a white man is awesome, I've never experienced it as anything but an advantage.

But this probably also plays into the "class struggle" aspect to the soft-polygyny that lots of other comments are pointing out: the top whatever% of white men have it great because the benefits of being tall/strong/pretty/blonde/rich/intelligent outweigh the rhetoric of criticism, while white men who are short/weak/ugly/defective get all the rhetorical criticism and none of the spoils.

I agree with your general point - that most people don't say extreme things and most people who say extreme things don't act on it.

But the problem is the everything is indicating there is a breakdown of the relationship between the sexes, extreme rhetoric or not. Increasing rates (and somewhat assymetric) of sexlessness, lower and delayed marriage, increasing rates of divorce (which are overwhelmingly initiated by women). If we are willing to looking media and culture we are increasingly getting stuff like 'where are all the good men gone' published in mainstream media.

Really, it seems obvious to me that the sexes are coming apart and it's making everyone unhappy. I don't think it's unreasable to that 'TikTok rhetoric' is just a symptom of that.

the internet is full of feminisms and RedPills, but only the weirdoes actually do things like refuse to have sex for fear of rape/false-rape-accusations, or can't get a date because of ideology, or view men/women as the enemy in a way that interferes with their day to day life.

I strongly suspect that framing celibacy as a reaction to being afraid of accusations is often just a mental crutch to explain away an unwillingness to suffer the fear, doubt, and embarrassment of approach and rejection. Rather than having to deal with that real, difficult reality that men get rejected a lot and it stings, but eventually you'll get through (in all likelihood), adopting a defensive crouch that explains away why you're not doing it allows reconciling some cognitive dissonance. Regarding ideology, quite a few people have noted that the commonly experienced reality is that most people aren't actually all that dedicated to their politics and that pairing off with a fairly normie woman tends to result in her adopting some approximation of her man's politics, or at least tolerating his idiosyncrasies. Sure, being a literal Nazi might be a dating problem, but you can probably get away with saying "Pinochet did nothing wrong" without alienating very many women.