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Culture War Roundup for the week of February 26, 2024

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I, like the rest of the country, feel like nothing good will come of the election. However, I feel this way for a slightly different reason than your average person, and probably closer to the average Mottezian.

I actually don't really care too much who is president. Either one of them would IMO do a good enough job. I mostly care whether the president impacts my everyday life or causes nuclear war. However, though it isn't his fault directly, having Trump in charge would impact my everyday life negatively, mostly because it would fuel another 4 years of incessant leftist whining all around me, from all my friends and family, along with people starting to (erroneously, IMO) see and declare that racism and sexism is everywhere again. It'll start causing fights between me and my wife again. My workplace and all local institutions will start making statements about how they're standing up to Trump and racism. Under Biden, I have truly enjoyed some nice peace and respite from politics.

However, I find this state of affairs to be very irritating. It feels like the left, or at least the leftists in my life, are taking an infantile tactic: we better win or we'll whine and complain for 4 years. I don't respect sore losers, and moreover, I don't like the fact that there is no path forward for the right.

Scott said this back in 2016:

If the next generation is radicalized by Trump being a bad president, they’re not just going to lean left. They’re going to lean regressive, totalitarian, super-social-justice left.

Scott was absolutely correct here in how it played out. But what option does this leave the non leftists with? If the Democrat wins, then the currents move left. We get leftism enshrined into law over the next 4 years, because to the victor go the spoils. If the Republican wins, then the undercurrents move left, and more and more people get radicalized towards the left.

Is there a way for the currents to move right without the undercurrents moving left? Or is Trump just uniquely bad at making that happen? I'm tempted to say that this is just the fact that Trump is a polarizing figure, but at the same time, all the leftists I know scream bloody murder whenever a Republican is in command. They were infantile under George W Bush. And though I wasn't around then, I know many people who are still salty over Reagan and act like he was the worst.

If you live most of your life surrounded by leftists and consuming leftist media, then of course leftist whining is the type of whining that is most annoying to you.

As someone with Republican relatives and in-laws, I assure you that rightist whining over the last four years has been both intolerable and often scary. I can't imagine what it's like to live in right-leaning communities at a time when most believe the election was stolen and they're living under the equivalent on an anti-pope.

4 years of Biden has not particularly enshrined leftist values into law, as far as I'm aware? Some of the massive infrastructure spending was earmarked towards renewable energy, I guess, but that's not exactly super-radicalized social justice leftism. As far as I can tell, the law has moved to the right significantly during Biden's term, because of Republicans owning the Supreme Court and most state legislatures.

Honestly, I think that the way to make things move right without backlash is to give in on the tiny culture war sticking points while persuading people on the underlying conservative norms.

Legalizing gay marriage was seen as a radical leftist movement, but the actual result was that all the gay people - and most importantly, gay artists and icons and culture warriors - stopped living as radical counter-culture outsiders challenging every pillar of the nuclear family, and switched to being respectability-politics-first normies living quiet lives in the suburbs with 2.5 adopted kids. Conservatives had to give up on oppressing gay people, but managed to bring them largely into the tent of traditional marriage and neoliberal economics and so forth.

So do it again. Say fine, trans women are women, and they should be modest and wear makeup and stay at home to raise the adopted kids. Say sure, diversity is a strength, so lets hire some black CEOs who align with our mission to crush unions, roll back regulations, and lobby for tax cuts for the rich.

Basically, assimilation. It's actually true that the basic conservative values are appealing to a lot of people, and a comfortable default for a lot more. A lot of people will happily fall back into those values without thinking about it, if you just stop doing things that look explicitly bigoted or unjust or cruel in ways that get them mad and turn them against you.

  • -12

Much like Walterodim, I supported gay marriage back in the day, and have come to deeply regret that support in light of the transgender movement that followed. I too consider all the "crazy" religious slippery slope doomcasters to have been vindicated.

I mean, my memory is that the slippery slope people were not talking about transgenderism back then, they were talking about bestiality and pedophilia becoming accepted and mainstream. Same as they are now, same as they always are.

There's a difference between an advance prediction of 'X is a slippery slope that will lead specifically to Y', and a retroactive claim that 'X was the start of a slippery slope that has led us to current thing Z'.

You can make up a retroactive narrative about anything leading to anything, once you've observed them both.

But the religious people of the time didn't actually predict the things that have actually happened since then - or if they did, those predictions were tossed out alongside a barrage of thousands of other predictions that failed - and therefore, they are not 'vindicated' and don't get any credibility from it.

You're correct that the specific predictions didn't pan out as stated in the 90s and 00s. To cut them a little slack, nobody really anticipated a hot debate about the definition of 'man' vs 'woman' or the 'gender spectrum' to enter the fray.

However, that the Left enabled that kind of blindsiding has shown me that they can't be trusted to not flip the board and mealmouth things that I find rather horrid, like puberty blockers. I have to say that my trust for the Left to stay within reasonable lines has done a complete 180 on this topic, and I wonder if the 'kink wing' of the party is just waiting for more favorable conditions to finally push through. And they could very well do so even if the vast majority of their compatriots don't like it. We have not slid to the specific point that moral conservativism predicted, but I don't want to be distracted from the fact that a slide did occur, even if indirectly.

My suspicion is you will ultimately be found correct. There won't be a mass normalization of beastiality and pedophilia. But that's predicated on my faith that surely people don't change that quickly, and I don't know how I justify that. So personally, I'm going to extend the deadline to 2040 and see where we stand after swimming in AI futa cocks for a decade or two.

And the irresolvable difference here is just that I know a lot of trans people and think that allowing them to transition has been better for them and their lives than not allowing that, so I don't see anything unreasonable there.

I expect pedophilia and bestiality not to get normalized because kids and animals don't actually want to have sex with you, there's an actual victim there. I expect that the future will normalize a lot of things I find weird or upsetting but which don't actually harm anyone on net, which is how I see the trans movement.

We probably can't reconcile our predictions before reconciling that disagreement-in-fact.

I expect pedophilia and bestiality not to get normalized because kids and animals don't actually want to have sex with you, there's an actual victim there

They can't consent to sex. Whatever consent to sex is (not an easy concept to analyse, to put it mildly) it's not the same thing as not wanting to have sex. I definitely wanted to have sex when I was 11 (and pre-pubescent). A cat in heat wants some sexual activity and doesn't particularly care with what. The problem is that children and animals can't engage in consensual sex, whether they want to or not, any more than they can make a mature decision about whether to become addicted to heroin.

They can't consent to sex. Whatever consent to sex is (not an easy concept to analyse, to put it mildly) ... The problem is that children and animals can't engage in consensual sex, whether they want to or not, any more than they can make a mature decision about whether to become addicted to heroin.

This is more than just not an easy concept to analyse. From my comment here a while ago:

When it comes to the question of whether children can consent to sexual relations, the dominant position is that it is just trivial that they cannot. I mean, sure, they can consent to playing tennis just fine, but sex is completely and totally different. Why? I've steeped myself in the academic philosophy literature on this topic, and while it's a thousand times better than the responses you'll get from regular Joe, it still comes in seriously lacking in my mind.

Westen doesn't take a super strong position on the topic, but likely grounds it in what he calls the 'knowledge prong' of what counts as valid consent. A person needs to have sufficient knowledge of... something... related to what sex is, what it means, what the consequences could be, the cultural context... I'm not exactly sure what. I don't think he did the best job of really digging in to details here. This is perhaps the most fruitful line of inquiry for future academic work for those who want to salvage a consent-only sexual ethic, but right now it's seriously lacking. Any work will definitely need to distinguish from tennis, because I see kids out learning tennis at our local courts somewhat regularly, and they can hardly be said to understand the risks/cultural context/etc. of tennis any more than could be said for sex.

Wertheimer, on the other hand, doesn't even attempt a theoretical explanation for why children cannot consent. Instead, he views it as simply an empirical question of whether, in a particular society, children tend to be, on net, harmed by sex. The opinion piece writes:

[A]s categories, we experience [race and gender identity] in large part through the perceptions that others have of us, based largely on our outward appearances.

A disciple of Wertheimer might say that a large part of how children perceive sex, and whether they perceive it as harmful or not, may depend on the perceptions others have of it.

Of course, either of these approaches opens up all sorts of cultural engineering possibilities. If we team up the "sex is like tennis" folks with the "comprehensive sex education as early as possible" folks, it's easy to imagine how society could change to one where children learn the requisite knowledge and are not, on net, harmed by the sex that they do consent to. Some folks might cheer on this result, saying that society would be immeasurably improved to the point that it unlocks this new world of possible good things... but the "it is trivially true that children cannot possibly consent to sex" crowd would certainly disagree.

Your comparison to "mak[ing] a mature decision about whether to become addicted to heroin" is definitely somewhat relevant here, if you read the full linked comment. People think that there's something "more" and "different" about sex and heroin and things like that compared to "normal" things that children can definitely, totally consent to. But the theory here is just completely whack and not at all up to the challenge of explaining why. You can simply ask yourself, "Why can't children consent to sex?" When you do so, you might go down the same road I went down; you might read the same major works by professional philosophers that I read. But I really don't think you'll get a good theoretical answer. It's just sort of an axiom that is held by some. To others, it's just the dogmatic mantra that they were forced to repeat in order to help justify fighting the X-ophobes. But when the same people who convinced you to subscribe to a consent-only sexual ethic and who swear that the thing we need most is early comprehensive sex education to help children understand the sexual choices that they're allowed to make come calling, they're going to ask, "Why can't children consent?" If you don't have a better answer than the professional philosophers who are making the best case possible for a consent-only sexual ethic, you're going to find out that you're an X-ophobe. You're going to get stared at like you're an alien for making outdated assumptions about people. For Sagan's sake, everyone knows that kids are capable enough to choose their gender, have parts of their body hacked off, and keep it all secret from their parents! Of course they're capable of deciding to have a little fun with some friction on the bits.

But when the same people who convinced you to subscribe to a consent-only sexual ethic

How are you using the word "you" here?

I have never subscribed to a consent-only sexual ethic.

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Of course they're capable of deciding to have a little fun with some friction on the bits.

Just not with adults.

Kid on kid is fine, obviously.

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Are you opposed to animals having sex with each other?

I'm opposed to bestiality, but I do think the "animals can't consent" argument isn't good.

Are you opposed to animals having sex with each other?

No, because I don't make the same moral requirements of animals as I do of humans. "It's wrong for humans to have sex with a non-consenting partner" doesn't imply "It's wrong for animals to have sex with a non-consenting partner," any more than "It's wrong for humans to torture mice for their amusement" implies "It's wrong for cats to torture mice for their amusement."

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I expect pedophilia and bestiality not to get normalized because kids and animals don't actually want to have sex with you, there's an actual victim there. I expect that the future will normalize a lot of things I find weird or upsetting but which don't actually harm anyone on net, which is how I see the trans movement.

Here's a mechanism: AI-generated (or hand-drawn) CP doesn't actually have any victims. No actual person is harmed on net, except by very legally tenuous chain-of-causation. By your logic, banning this is unreasonable. However there are fairly obvious paths by which the legitimization of CP which doesn't harm anyone leads to increased tolerance of CP generally, and increasing exposure and tolerance (in the lack-of-disgust sense) to the idea of child sex as a concept.

Would you say it's fair for me to characterize this as sort of the same argument as 'violent video games lead to murder'? Fantasy depictions lead to exposure and tolerance leads to adoption and mimicry?

My intuitions on this just go pretty hard the other direction. I think it's just true that introducing porn to an area decreases instances of rape, and I expect that to be true even if it's rape porn.

My intuition is that separating fantasy from reality is a basic skill that pretty much every member of our screen-addicted society has to learn early, and it's a pretty strong mechanism in most cases.

Having fantasy depictions of something despicable doesn't normalize real depictions showing real living victims, it makes them less acceptable because people with an interest in that topic have a harmless alternative, and makes them less prevalent because the legal and approved fantasy versions eat up all the market share and are far more convenient and safe to find than the illegal or dissaproved real version.

Having a plethora of convincing fantasy depictions available is a viable alternative for lots of potential offenders who can wean themselves on that instead. And they can stake their respectability in society as being the type of person who knows that it's just fantasy and games and is more concerned and knowledgable about ethical consumption practices than the general public (think about how BDSM people got really mad at 50 Shades for depicting unethical BDSM in a positive light).

Etc.

That's how I a priori expect things like that to go.

I don't really know your politics (because I can't keep track of people's username over time), but from this thread, you seem to lean progressive. However, I don't know your particular politics and how progressive you are, so this may be a gotcha and it may not be.

But I'm wondering how you feel about things that feminists may consider demeaning to women, such as fantasy depictions of violence against women, or women in skimpy outfits, etc. I don't know what the party line is these days, but 5 to 10 years ago, people were falling over themselves to denounce a plague of violence against women in media and video games, on the basis that this normalized such depictions, ultimately causing more violence against women or more unrealistic beauty standards, not less. Anita Sarkeesian made a career on this, there were protests against movie ads that feminists found to be unsavory. Overall this sort of thing seemed to be one of the biggest issues of last decade.

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The legal and approved fantasy versions eat up all the market share and are far more convenient and safe to find than the illegal or dissaproved real version

Ah yes, this is why legal alcohol is the only intoxicant anyone ever uses, and nobody bothers with the illegal drugs? And certainly have not campaigned for some of the illegals like weed to be decriminalised/legalised and on sale in retail outlets just like you can buy booze?

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I generally agree with the AI CP has no victims line of thought. I think you see the same basic issue when it comes to writing fictional stories about unsavory topics as well.

I think it's a bit silly when you see erotica sites with stories about high school girls who happen to be exactly 18 years old. It feels like a strange purification ritual that has to be performed at the start of a story. Like saying "bless you" when someone sneezes. "You're about to read a story about a sexy young teenager, but don't worry - she's actually 18, so you have a fig leaf of plausible deniability!"

I don't think fictional stories about underage sex should be illegal, or impossible to host on appropriate sites, no matter how unsavory they may be. I'm honestly amazed that some countries punish those kinds of stories, and I'm saddened at the increasingly puritan regime that credit cards companies and sites like Amazon are creating around non-standard porn categories recently. First they came for the mind control erotica fetishists, and all that...

So let me just try to clear the table a bit and assure you that I'm not too concerned about people marrying their dogs, daughters, or what have you. To the the extent I would draw a connection between gay marriage and our current tensions, it's more in the possibility space that was left in the wake of its victory. For a variety of reasons I find it to be extremely unlikely and just too plain viscerally disgusting for legalized pedophelia or beastiality to ever be digested by society at large. But whereas previously I would have reflexively scoffed at the suggestion, I've lately been reduced to a more meek-sounding "well, that just seems so unlikely" and that shift low-key disturbs me.

I'll accept that your trans friends are much happier now than they were before. The tension is if this has come at the expense of those not convinced of the efficacy of activist talking points applied broadly, those erroneously misdiagnosed at an early age, and social stability on the whole (deleterious as opposed to ruinous). There are always a small number of people that would have their lives radically improved if society rearranged towards their preferences. That still leaves everybody else. Prescribing puberty blockers (or any 'affirmation plan') to minors who show an inkling of gender dysphoria is quite unreasonable to me. Ditto for any reprimands or punishments meted out to people who misgender trans or NB people. Whatever merit the the current gender framework has, I would throw it all in the bin if those are baked-in unavoidable consequences of it. That's before we even get into scenarios like 'penised individuals' raping women in shelters, which - I am not really sure how to totally quantify as a loss on net. Feels like a pretty big loss of something to me! Like a reasonable expectation that nobody would allow such a scenario to be possible?

You say there's no path towards normalization of pedophilia or beastiality because there's a lack of basic impulse for it. While I agree on the general nature of man's sexual proclivites being at headwinds with such a development, I find it hard to reconcile this with the growing body of work that suggests people really can be influenced by their media (read: porn) consumptions, and the rabbit hole of extreme acts hardcore porn addicts find themselves watching, unable to cum to anything less. Clearly our minds are highly susceptible to suggestion, and we now live with a cornucopia of suggestions available at a whim. While I still don't think that's likely to breed a generation of 'pedos and furries' as some doomsayers get on about, I do think you can get some big swings on those margins, and that leaves the question of how we should regard them.

But even deeper than this - and the thing I'm struggling to communicate - is that the language games the Left has played on this terf has nuked a lot of patience, charity, and goodwill that can be generalized to anything else they say. If they are willing to demolish the classic and useful definitions of words like 'man' and 'woman', whilst replacing them with bloated concepts and jargon that are meaningless to the average person, then the sky is the limit. We can do the same thing with words like 'victim', or 'consent', or 'sexual desire', and I have noticed this is already in the water supply. If you want an extension of this principle, see the same dynamic play out with 'protest', 'riot', and 'insurrection'. I am worried that when my opponent says he wants 'peace' as I would understand it, and I reach out for a handshake, he may stab me because "Well, duh. Of course he meant 'peace at your expense' in his local parlance! You can't even say he lied!". When a trans activist or sympathetic ally makes me second-guess what it means to be a woman, it's natural to second-guess any other term they employ that's loaded with ambiguity you didn't realize was even possible a second ago.

It's been a slow trek here, and it's informed by personal experiences as well as the public/political sphere, but the last 15 years or so have gradually cemented for me that humans are a strange species, capable of a lot I had thought was unfathomable, at least in the west. There were a lot of metaphorical guardrails I had taken for granted that were totally banking on people being constrained by 'reasonable' but unspecified assumptions about the human condition. I think those boundaries have already been crossed several times in my mind, which then in turns leads me to believe those boundaries didn't actually exist outside of social conformity and enforcement. Rewind back to 2004 and I'm betting very low odds on people marrying pets by 2024. What odds would I have placed on gender transitioning for minors, had I even known that was going to end up on the table? Assurances that nobody's gonna fuck the dogs doesn't carry the same smackdown it used to.

For a variety of reasons I find it to be extremely unlikely and just too plain viscerally disgusting for legalized pedophelia or beastiality to ever be digested by society at large.

This seems odd to me given the plentiful historical precedent for both.

There were a lot of metaphorical guardrails I had taken for granted that were totally banking on people being constrained by 'reasonable' but unspecified assumptions about the human condition. I think those boundaries have already been crossed several times in my mind, which then in turns leads me to believe those boundaries didn't actually exist outside of social conformity and enforcement.

As an Orthodox Christian, it's nice to see someone notice instead of doubling down on the madness.

A question I'd like to ask more people (if it were even remotely socially acceptable) is, "Why do you imagine anyone finds zoophilia odd?" Or leaving infants to die of exposure, or slavery, or any number of other things.

Most people would just say “well because zoophilia and infant murder are wrong!” Without any conception of the fact that before Christ these things would’ve been totally normal.

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You’re assuming a lot there with “don’t actually want to” that will not go well for you here if taken to a logical conclusion.

Leaving aside debates over informed consent and consent as a measure of moral, realistic sex robots of illegal categories are probably going to be a real problem for culture and law to deal with.

In other words, normalization can and will happen for some version of these things without being wrong per se according to the moral framework you draw here.

There was recently internet drama over a prominent YouTuber for both beastiality and pedophilia on his computer and he embraced the former as something he was open about.

realistic sex robots of illegal categories are probably going to be a real problem for culture and law to deal with.

I mean, if we're talking about victimless crimes that are just really really gross, I consider that a different topic.

There was recently internet drama over a prominent YouTuber for both beastiality and pedophilia on his computer and he embraced the former as something he was open about.

But just drawings of both, right, if it's the one I'm thinking of?

The point I’m getting at is “normalization” might happen the “gross victimless crime” way until it reaches some critical mass.

Our present standards for legal consent are not etched in stone, and we do know societal moral norms can shift pretty rapidly.

For those unaware, this is reference to Vaush, a rather infamous Breadtuber who has been rather outspoken on both lowering the age of consent as well as loosening the taboo against bestiality, amoung a few other opinions.

He has also been rather vociferous against lolicon and how anime is a gateway to the alt-right.

Just recently, he was outed as a blatant hypocrite mid-stream when saving a file to his computer showing that he also had pron saved that was rather explicitly lolicon.

Take that for what you will.

kids and animals don't actually want to have sex with you

There are people who believe that's not true. The harm of adult-child sex (wherever we draw the line about what constitutes a child) is not the sex, it's the stigma, secrecy, and shame. The child is forced to lie, is made to feel ashamed, is made to feel they are a victim. That's the trauma, not a grown man or woman having sex with them.

Same with the zoophiles: if my (animal) lover doesn't want to have sex with me, they can protest. I don't force them. They can make noises, vocalise, wriggle out of my embrace.

Both types will make loud noises of agreement about how real rape is bad, real violation of consent is bad - but then start chipping away at "but why do you say a child can't consent? that children are not sexual beings? that adult non-human animals can't enjoy a mutually loving relationship with a human?"

Part of the revelations of the Catholic sex abuse scandal in Ireland, with a report published years back, was how many of the offending priests had convinced themselves that the children were willing, they wanted this, and besides it was 'just' taking them on the adult's lap or hugging them or intimate contact. They didn't think of themselves as forcing unwanted attention on unwilling victims.

Oh, you think paedophilia/zoophilia is gross and disgusting? Sorry, disgust reaction is not enough to make something wrong. Bigots used to say gay sex was disgusting and unnatural, too.

EDIT: We've had a guy on here going on about emancipation of minors, and part of that (once he got into his stride) was sex between early teens and adults. There's a guy (and I have no idea if he's the same one, but I begin to have my suspicions) right now on ACX arguing that adult men are naturally attracted to 12-14 year olds (I'm cutting out the links because believe me, you don't need them):

In the literature on female attractiveness it's often claimed that men find women with neotenous features very attractive. Some psychologists may run a study showing men pictures of 18+ women and ask them to pick out the most attractive faces. The women that then get picked are ones with facial proportions typical pubescent girls about 12-14. This is then interpreted to mean that men find adult women with "neotenous faces" the most attractive.

Now, I can't be the only one who's spotted the glaring flaw in this reasoning. Men find women who look like pubescent girls most attractive. Well, who else looks like pubescent girls? Who else has the facial proportions of girls about 12-14? Well, actual pubescent girls look like pubescent girls. Actual girls about 12-14 have the facial proportions typical of girls about 12-14. It's not neoteny men find highly attractive, it's immaturity. What men find most attractive simply isn't adult women but young teen and pubescent girls. Some women happen to retain the facial proportions of a pubescent girl into adulthood and men continue to find them highly attractive because of it.

Psychologists have naively started out with the presumption that a sexual preference for fully developed adults must be the norm. When confronted with evidence that men find the faces of pubescent girls most attractive they bend over backwards to avoid the obvious conclusion that their presumption is wrong by claiming that what men prefer is adult women with "neotenous faces" who look like pubescent girls. There's no law of evolution that says the males in a species have to prefer the fully developed adults. The only thing that ultimately matters in evolution is reproductive success. If the males in a species can achieve greater reproductive success by going after immature females due to the way their mating system works then they will evolve to do exactly that.

In South Korea facial reshaping surgery is popular. What facial proportions do women choose to get with this surgery? Well, the proportions typical of girls about 12-14 because they know they're the most attractive. For comparison this is a real pubescent Asian girl about 12 (Nozomi Kurahashi). She looks basically the same as the after pics

Notice also that the skin in the after pics has been made to look softer and smoother like the skin of a pubescent girl.

The BMI men rate most attractive is about 18-20 which is low for an adult woman but normal for a young teen or pubescent girl. BMI also increases after pregnancy. It would have been important for men in ancestral times to prefer females who are young and haven't started reproducing yet as these females would be capable of giving them the most offspring over the long-term. So a low BMI appears to be another sign of immaturity and nulliparity that men have evolved to find attractive.

The vulvas men find most attractive are also those of pubescent girls. Many women have had their labia trimmed down to make themselves look like a pubescent girl down there because they know men find it more attractive just like men prefer the faces of pubescent girls. I won't link to it here but there's a site called Autoblow Vagina Contest that have a leaderboard of vulvas. The vulvas at the top have the small inner labia typical of pubescent girls. If real pubescent girls could post themselves on this site I'm sure they'd be voted to the top.

The schoolgirl image. Popular in porn, especially across Asia where there's less taboo over attraction to minors. This is another sign of immaturity. If a girl is still wearing a school uniform then she's obviously not yet adult and still a bit immature.

TLDR: It's not neoteny men find attractive, it's immaturity.

A couple of weirdos convincing themselves of self-serving lies does not reverse all cultural norms and laws.

So how did we get same-sex marriage? That's an entire ton of cultural norms and laws just tossed in the bin for the sake of "love is love".

Certainly, I was and remain sceptical about "legalising gay marriage will not lead to polygamy". Why wouldn't it? Now that you've decided that marriage is not between a man and a woman, but between two persons of any gender orientation, what is so sacred and immutable about the number of indeterminate gender persons in the legal contract?

I expect that over time societies that are making progress will repeal laws against victimless things, with gay marriage and polyamorous marriage both being examples, alongside marijuana, blasphemy, etc.

I don't especially see an argument that one thing along that track leads to another thing long that track, just because they happen in order.

What's a victimless crime? See, I see people using this about things like shoplifting and property damage (remember when the antifa and black bloc first got mainstream attention, back in the protests about Trump winning the election? all the social media posts about "you care more about a few broken windows"?), but I don't think those are victimless.

Marijuana is victimless! And other drugs? Because right now, the people supplying User with their fun party substances are not nice people, they kill and terrorise. You can argue that this is the fault of the squares making laws making the fun party substances illegal, but the reality is that there's blood and misery associated with "my little weekend treat".

There's an incentive on the part of those pushing for changes to say "this hurts nobody, it's victimless, in fact it's a good thing". But it's only down the line we get to see if that's true or not. And I don't think "gay marriage is harmless" can be neatly disassociated from "one thing leads to another", because it was overturning an established and pretty much universal cultural practice (marriage is men and women, not men and men and women and women) for the sake of political ends (making gayness normalised and accepted by mainstream society).

It won. Do you really think the other groups who want massive social change, normalisation, and acceptance, didn't look at that, take notes about it was achieved, and are not following the same playbook? And using "but gay marriage!" as a point of leverage against opposition and criticism?

You can't saw through the branch just a little bit and no more; even sawing a little bit weakens the branch, and the next bunch who come along to saw through just a little bit are doing more of that.

Even you admit that polygamous/polyamorous marriage will possibly be the next liberalisation of the custom. That couldn't have happened without same-sex marriage softening up the opposition first. After all, if two people who weally, weally wuv each other dis much!!! deserve the right to get legally married, then three or four or five people who weally weally wuv each other dis much!!! should deserve the same, right? We overcame the irrational bigoted prejudice about the sex/gender of the spouses, why are we now hung up on the number?

All the people contorting Scripture on behalf of gay marriage ("David and Jonathan were lovers! Naomi and Ruth were lovers!") have a much better case when it comes to "more than one spouse", the Patriarchs were permitted to have several wives, and Solomon the Wise who had multiple wives is celebrated and honoured.

After all, if two people who weally, weally wuv each other dis much!!! deserve the right to get legally married…

The gays weren’t the first to start sawing off that limb; the no-fault divorce crowd were. They were the ones who redefined marriage as being purely about love and redefined love as being purely about emotions. No-fault divorce and its effects (single parent households, destruction of wealth, and the like) have caused far more damage to society than gay marriage ever will, and that’s ignoring the fact that the push for gay marriage probably would never have succeeded had no-fault divorce not fundamentally redefined marriage in the first place.

I'm petty sure the interracial marriage crowd was first, actually.

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I've argued this same point with fellow right-wingers IRL (and it's interesting which ones tended to agree), to the point of arguing that overturning no-fault divorce should be a higher priority than trying to get Obergefell overturned. First, because AIUA the former is primarily statutory, and passing legislation is generally easier than overturning Supreme Court precedent; and second, because without no-fault divorce, I'd expect gay marriage rates drop significantly even if still legal.

Marijuana is victimless! And other drugs? Because right now, the people supplying User with their fun party substances are not nice people, they kill and terrorise. You can argue that this is the fault of the squares making laws making the fun party substances illegal, but the reality is that there's blood and misery associated with "my little weekend treat".

Whatever the "reality", drug warriors do not get to claim damage they caused as being caused by their opponents. This is the same concept as when death penalty opponents object to the death penalty based on the high cost of imposing it -- well, yes, it has a high cost, but that's entirely the fault of the death penalty opponents' obstructionism, and so they don't get to use it as an argument for their position.

I disagree that poly is not victimless. I briefly dated a poly girl, and I hated being put in the double-bind of either not pursuing other women or having to have "the poly/ENM conversation" with them, and the latter made me feel like I was leaking bad memes into the groundwater. Missed out on a possible relationship with a lovely mainstream girl that way because my ethics wouldn't allow me to hook up under those circumstances. I've said this before, but a world where poly is more normalized is a world where it's more acceptable to proposition other people's partners because "they might be poly, you never know these days, she can just say no". And then you have a world where the baseline temptation to cheat is raised, making monogamous life harder for those that want it.

By that logic marriage being between a man and a woman is a step on the slippery slope. I remain skeptical about "Legalising marriage will not lead to gay marriage" Why wouldn't it? Now we've decided that marriage is between a man and a woman, whats is so sacred and immutable about it at allm? Your logic implies we shouldn't even have taken the first step!

But I think the fact many places had polygmous marriages before gay marriage means this isn't a slippery slope. One does not lead to the other.

This is a case where there are multiple overlapping groups who have different ideas of marriage and just because one is convincing does not mean the others will be in any given culture.

Clearly in Islam the polygamists generally won in a way which didn't lead to gay marriage. There is no reason why it can't be the opposite way round somewhere else.

Societies that had polygamous marriage still made it "one man and several women". And Western societies stamped out polygamy (ask the early Mormons). Redefining marriage as "it's about how you feel and your own personal fulfilment, and not about kids or families or being part of society, and now it's not even about men and women but whoever you like can be your spouse" does not put up a solid bar about "but no more than two spouses of whatever gender turns you on for as long as you both get the Obama thrill down your leg! we stand rock-ribbed traditional on that!"

But the government having to deal with multiple spouses with all that entails (tax benefits, insurance benefits, custody cases etc etc) is a strong indication that even a left wing government is going to think very seriously about expanding it further. Noticeably in most places with polygamy laws the mechanics around divorce, property, custody are all pretty much skewed towards the man, this simplifies the whole process.

So unless you are think that the whole totality of Western law is going to be rewritten this seems highly doubtful here. And if that happens then most likely polygamy is not going to be the biggest worry.

The fact is the secular administrative state did not have many reasons to prevent marriage between two men or two women, it means very little there. Add in more people and it will require significantly more changes, resources and fights, that I predict pretty much no Western politician is going to want to get involved with.

Given that we have functional polygamy, with people having relationships and kids by multiple partners, I can see someone arguing for "the conservative case for poly marriage" ('conservative' here the way Andrew Sullivan argued the 'conservative' case for gay marriage).

Instead of Jackson knocking up a string of baby mamas/Janelle having a string of baby daddies, they can now have a recognised legal relationship that gives them rights and duties. It will be more stable for the kids to have both (sets of) parents in the home. Janelle can now have her new guy move in, become part of the family unit, be there for his kids. Jackson can do the same with his new girl. There's no need for jealousy or competition or that Janelle can't cohabit with the father of her (third) child because that means she would lose her social welfare payments. It makes economic sense, it is better for the children, and it means men can't skip out on their responsibilities to the women and children in their lives, and women can't dump the father of their children with ease.

Sure, we're going to have to rejig the entire set of laws about divorce, property, custody, social benefits and the rest of it, but hey, isn't that what the courts are for, when the first cases about this happen?

We're going to the polls in March in my country to fuck around with the wording in the Constitution about the family because it's sexist and outdated. "Based on marriage"? Nah, "durable relationships" are the new thing! Nobody has given a definition of what constitutes a "durable relationship", but hey, isn't that what the courts are for, when the first cases about this happen?

If a majority votes YES, then the Constitution will change.

The constitutional protection of the Family would be given to both the Family based on marriage and the Family founded on “other durable relationships”.

The Family founded on marriage means the unit based on a marriage between two people without distinction as to their sex.

The Family founded on other durable relationships means a Family based on different types of committed and continuing relationships other than marriage.

So, different types of family units would have the same constitutional rights and protections.

You say that:

Add in more people and it will require significantly more changes, resources and fights, that I predict pretty much no Western politician is going to want to get involved with.

Hillary didn't want to touch same-sex marriage in 2008, but her views 'evolved', as did those of other politicians. When there's enough of a push and the straws are blowing in the wind, then it's worth it for the politicians to get involved.

And Clinton eventually got where her friends wanted her to go, though her change of heart came when the political risk had disappeared — close to a year after similar shifts by President Obama and Vice President Biden.

...Among the Bill Clinton-era policies that Hillary Clinton has disavowed on the presidential campaign trail is the Defense of Marriage Act, the law signed by then-President Bill Clinton in the lead-up to his 1996 reelection effort that prohibited the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriage.

See? Going from "declaring that she was unwilling to support legalized marriage" to "running as a forceful advocate for the LGBT community and a full-fledged supporter of same-sex marriage."

If the polling says the people want poly marriage, the politicians will 'mature their views' on it:

By May 2012, as polls showed more than half of the country supporting same-sex marriage, top Democrats began indicating their support. Biden declared in a television interview that he was “absolutely comfortable” with same-sex marriage. Obama followed soon after, saying that “same-sex couples should be able to get married.”

So give the books and book reviews and think pieces in the media and appearances on chat shows time to soften them up, same as with gay marriage. Mona and Rupert just had a glowing puff-piece in the NYT about their twenty-year long 'unmarriage' where both of them manage to have upper middle-class careers, two children, and seventeen different lovers in varying degrees of partnership and relationship levels, this is the future of marriage, society just needs to recognise the changing mores and enable them to have legal rights for their boyfriend, boyfriend's girlfriend, and girlfriend's pan enbyfriend as part of their 'unfamily'. Those are the people with the money, time and networks to get involved in pushing the politicians. It's not the single mothers with three kids living in social housing in council estates that are pushing for the Constitutional change on "women in the home" in my country, and it won't be them pushing for poly marriage in other countries.

But they'll be used as "it'll make things so much better for Jackson and Janelle" rationales by the people who wouldn't go within ten feet of where Jackson and Janelle live.

So unless you are think that the whole totality of Western law is going to be rewritten this seems highly doubtful here.

Honestly, I have to laugh here. And just exactly what did you think had to happen, to permit same-sex marriage? "No, for a thousand years anybody could rock up to the local druid, priest, or minister and say 'me and the boyfriend wanna get hitched' and that was cool, it just wasn't formally written in to the legal code!"

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Have the other predictions failed or just not come true yet? I think the normalization of pederastic relationships is coming absent a culture shift, but I don’t think it will happen for another several decades at least.

Not a historian, but my understanding is that people have been saying 'if you allow my opponent to do the thing I dislike then pedorasty will be normalized next' for literal centuries and have never been correct. At some point you have to just take the L.

If anything pedorasty is getting far less acceptable over time, as drawing lines about what sexual ethics should be draws a clear division that pedorasty violates. I don't think Michael Jackson or R Kelly could have continued their careers after credible pedo accusations today, the way they did back then.

(similarly AFAIK laws against bestiality are getting stricter over time, I think?)

I’d be interested to hear any examples you can give of past pederastic predictions. I spend a lot of time reading 19th and early 20th century primary sources, and I don’t remember ever coming across that concern, nor can I think of anything that would have caused concern about it in the 16th–18th centuries. The closest I can come up with is opposition to castrati, but that’s closer to opposition to trans procedures for minors than to anything related to pedophilia. I guess there was also opposition to child brothels, but those were apparently actually a thing in some areas, and polite society was unanimously happy to shut them down.

As for the present, I agree pederasty normalization is extremely unlikely in the next several decades for reasons that you note. I can’t help but notice, though, that some pedophilic activists and sympathizers have started to mimic techniques that other marginalized groups have used to gain acceptance, and I could see a concerted effort paying dividends in, say, 50–70 years.

Google Gemini will already tell you about the need to Destigmatize Minor Attracted Persons (MAPS).

Only a few years ago "MAP" was a fringe phrase, originally developed by administrators of the site "AttractedToChidren.org". A MAP pride flag was developed on tumblr in 2018 by exactly the sort of people you'd expect. Saying it or putting it in a bio was social death. But behind the scenes a lot of well-funded activist and public health organizations (but I repeat myself) have been normalizing it.
In 2021 Allyn Walker of Johns Hopkins University published A Long, Dark Shadow: Minor-Attracted People and Their Pursuit of Dignity, popularizing the phrase among right-thinking (left-thinking?) people, and apparently well-trained AIs as well. Note that Walker was hired by JH med school after the book came out.

This is another one of those cases where the bleeding edge of leftist academia is at odds with the reddit-tier lumpenproles spewing woodchipper memes. And in all these cases the social mechanisms of leftist ideological dissemination lead to the academic version winning, because "umm, yikes, that view is actually Reactionary and Harmful according to my new sociology degree" is the ultimate trump card in those circles.
You can expect to see a left-wing flip on MAPs in only a few years, rather than decades.

Google Gemini will already tell you about the need to Destigmatize Minor Attracted Persons (MAPS).

Link for those who are interested.

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I disagree with you. Actual normalization of pedophilia will take at least a couple decades; redditors are not a majority even if they could be converted over to supporting pedophiles relatively more easily.

I expect the progression to be 'well MAPs shouldn't face discrimination unless they're active pedophiles'-> 'cartoon CP isn't CP'-> 'CP that already exists isn't hurting anyone to keep consuming it'-> 'ethically produced CP'-> 'what of the child's rights to engage in relationships with adults'-> 'what's wrong with sex? You know they used to say this about homosexuals, too?'. Maybe with a parallel process towards accepting homosexual ephebophilia; AFAIK typical examples of "male bad behavior" like that seem much more accepted among the gay community than among straight people, but I don't think all or even most gay men are pedophiles or in fact want anything at all to do with anybody younger than a teenager, sexual or otherwise. But the history of left wing movements is pushing for more by taking smaller victories than the ultimate goal so as to advance the end state; you couldn't have obergefell without lawrence v Texas and you couldn't have lawrence v Texas without a large majority of the country already thinking that homosexuality is deplorable and all, but actually making it illegal is ridiculous.

Now if you'll excuse me I'll feel gross for typing that for a few minutes.

Reddit was halfway there when I left a couple of years ago. I’d regularly see talk about non-offending pedophiles, and Reddit was quite quick to defend the distinction between ephebophiles and pedophiles. They wanted outpatient treatment with no registrations or job/home location restrictions. Basically, a pedophile could be working in a position that left them alone with small children with no need to even disclose their desires.

Not a historian as I said, and I have a lot of ignorance on this topic, I was referring to a general sense this is true that I'd gotten from reading other people talk about this argument and the slippery slope fallacy in general. I could very definitely be wrong and it's a more recent development.

Are you talking about MAP stuff and the 'gold-star' (non-offending) pedophile narrative?

I have certainly seen stuff along the lines of 'people who are attracted to minors can't help it, they should not actually be woodchippered if they haven't actually done anything to any kids, we should let them looks at drawings or AI porn to deal and monitor them to make sure they don't offend but they're not actually evil just for the thought-crime alone'.

I will say that I've seen this exist, although all the leftist spaces I'm in are pretty hostile to it and I've seen people trying it get banned from several places.

But I'll also point out that 'non-offending' is the central distinction in this rhetoric, this rhetoric relies on drawing a sharp distinction between offending and non-offending pedophiles in a way that actually draws more attention and vitriol towards hating and punishing offenders.

I wouldn't be totally surprised if in 70 years we don't talk about woodchippering people who say they are unfortunately attracted to minors but strictly use AI-generated VR porn to deal with it, or w/e. I actually would expect a world like that where those people are known and monitored (informally at least) and have outlets and a life script to follow to have less child abuse than our current world where they hide off the grid.

Unless you think you have seen people using leftist rhetoric to say why actual sex with children in reality is fine and good, and seen that get any uptake? I absolutely have not seen that, if that's what you mean.

(I'd also point out that groups like NAMBLA have tried that tactic in the past and failed, I think you will always have some people trying to appropriate the current paradigm to support their dumb/bad thing, but that doesn't mean they will succeed nor that the current paradigm favors/helps them. That's just how anyone tries to make their point)

Are you talking about MAP stuff?

Largely that, yes, though I also have in mind some of the pedophilia-adjacent things in the trans arena—child drag queens and the like. I largely agree with hydroacetylene’s comment below on how pedophilia could be normalized; I just think he’s missing an additional set of arguments borrowed from the trans movement. If pre-pubescent children can choose to medically transition from one sex to another, it really isn’t a huge jump to give them agency over their sex lives as well (personally, I’d go further and say that allowing transition but not sex is plain incoherent; if anything, it should be the other way around). The case for giving barely-pubescent children sexual freedom is even stronger, and I agree with hydroacetylene that this is more likely for children who opt for same-sex relationships, since that eliminates the concern about pregnancy and since ephebophilic relationships are already more common among gay men. (And yes, I know that technically pedophilia doesn’t include attraction to 12 year olds, but that’s what the vast majority of people consider it.)

In general, though, I tend to look at pedophilia normalization through the lens of the gay rights movement’s history. If you asked the average American in 1960—a time when sodomy was illegal in every state in the union, a year before the famous Boys Beware! educational film was released, and nine years before the Stonewall riots—whether he thought same-sex marriage would ever be legalized throughout the country, he’d laugh you out of the room. Forget marriage, he’d think you were insane if you suggested SCOTUS would rule as it did in Lawrence v. Texas. I think we might be in the same spot today with regard to pedophilic relationships.

This is why I’m not really happy about the MAP and non-offending pedophile stuff I see, even as I agree with pretty much everything they’re saying. Pedophiles don’t choose to be attracted to children, it’s wrong to conflate temptation with action, and it’s a problem that non-offending pedophiles don’t feel safe to discuss their problems with therapists, etc. I wish society would change to make those distinctions clear, but I just don’t trust that the current reasonable concerns raised by MAP activists aren’t a camel’s nose peeking its way into the tent.

Not a historian, but my understanding is that people have been saying 'if you allow my opponent to do the thing I dislike then pedorasty will be normalized next' for literal centuries and have never been correct.

Depends on how you define pederasty. In the UK, 16-21 year olds were initially regarded as children for the purposes of gay sex, when the latter was legalised. This was lowered to 16-17 year olds, because of course 18-21 year olds. Finally, it became legal for a 50 year old man to have sex with a 16 year old boy in 2000. By definition that's not legalising pederasty in the sense of "sex with an underage boy" (but in that sense, neither would legalising sex with a 5 year old boy) but it is legalising pederasty in the sense of "sex between an adult man and an adolescent boy." It also happened via a classic slippery slope process: first male homosexuality, then male homosexuality between full legal adults, and finally male homosexuality between full legal adults and schoolchildren.

Personally, I don't have a problem with that, but it would be dishonest not to acknowledge that the social conservatives were right in this case. True, a 50 year old man with a 16 year old boyfriend will face social problems in the UK, but no more than a 50 year old man with a 16 year old girlfriend.

Still, I agree with your overall point. In general, human disgust instincts against pedophilia and pederasty seem to both stronger and be more linked to ethics than those for male homosexuality. I find male homosexuality nauseous, but I have no moral objection to it. And many people, even normal people, don't find any sort of homosexuality disgusting or more disgusting than e.g. anal sex in general.

No, I don't buy that definition game. Gay marriage has not opened the way to any age gaps that weren't already allowed between men and women. If you call that pederasty, then we've already been living in the age of general pedophilia and been fine with it.

However, it turns out that no, the sexual revolution has not actually opened up the floodgates of adults fucking kids, and in fact has been increasingly moving away from it. Where marrying 16 year old girls has been widely accepted before and younger wasn't out of question, we now only see the allowed age/perceived maturity gap shrinking (that's an AND slash, not an OR - "she was very mature for her age" doesn't cut it anymore).

Gay marriage has not opened the way to any age gaps that weren't already allowed between men and women.

Right, but that had entailed legalising sex between adolescents and fully developed men. Whether it's "normalised" it is more debatable, though, since normality /= legality.

If you call that pederasty, then we've already been living in the age of general pedophilia and been fine with it.

This is conflating attraction/sexual activity with adolescents with pedophilia.

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Well, we do have mainstream progressive outlets (Vice and Vox at least off the top of my head) writing articles trying to normalize pedophilia. Along with the current progressive push to allow children to consent to permanent alteration of their body and being encouraged to hide it from their parents or non-prog authority figures. So I'd say they were correct on that front.

Well, we do have mainstream progressive outlets (Vice and Vox at least off the top of my head) writing articles trying to normalize pedophilia.

Could you link to the articles you have in mind?

Here are a few from Vice. It looks like the one I thought was from Vox was actually a Salon article. Another from NYMag.

I mean, my memory is that the slippery slope people were not talking about transgenderism back then, they were talking about bestiality and pedophilia becoming accepted and mainstream.

"Sure they said next I'd put poop in your Cheerios, but look this is clearly just pee!"

I don't think you understand what a massive blackpill it is for some of us to see the LGBT movement try so hard to include kids in their agenda. Watching them flip their wigs over a law preventing them from teaching their ideology to children below the third grade, or whatever, was bad enough. The fact that the first person to say "hey maybe the parents don't need to know" wasn't instantly exiled and nuked from orbit is, unto itself, a dog-fucking level offense in my eyes.

The fact that the first person to say "hey maybe the parents don't need to know" wasn't instantly exiled and nuked from orbit is, unto itself, a dog-fucking level offense in my eyes.

This is too much heat, not enough light. Please don't do this.

Fair enough lol

I guess there are two ways to read the relevant comments. One would be that religious people actually had better predictive modeling skills and their rejection of gay marriage and similar trends was based on them having an accurate model of how that would lead to specific bad outcomes.

The other reading has a bit more wiggle room. Maybe, conservatives and religious types had passed down and maintained social technologies that were valuable and well-honed, ironically, by a process more like evolution than intelligent design. It was from these inherited norms and values that they knew 'something' was wrong without actually understanding the complicated multifaceted societal shifts and changes that would come about in response to any given policy.

If the second position is all that is being claimed, then the internal experience might have gone something like; back then I believed in secular hedonistic sexual norms and values and thought religious people were crazy. Two adult homosexual people having relations, dating, and getting married, all seemed like totally acceptable/good things, and I supported the general cultural zeitgeist that was in favor of gay marriage.

As time has marched on, I am increasingly confronted by things that seem to be coming out of that same cultural movement that I once supported, that I know find distasteful. I can see a through-line, from the arguments and ideas that I once repeated to the slogans and activism of today. I regret the confidence with which my younger-self dismissed the concerns raised by traditional/conservative/religious figures. It increasingly looks like their social technology was correct in some way about the nebulous dangers of increasingly liberal sexual norms and values and now we are living through the consequences of them losing that battle.

This certainly speaks broadly to my personal rightward shift.

I believed that we really understood sociology and that the social sciences were robust, accurate models of reality. That all calls for traditional/religious/conservative values were born of ignorance at best and malice at worst. Then I started reading SSC and my faith in the social sciences was shatter (irrevocably?). My whole worldview came crashing down, sexism first, then racism, every aspect of the liberal progressive package was called into question. Where once it was obvious beyond question that Christianity was an arbitrary useless hatful ideology, now I wonder, how it spread so far(it wasn't always powerful and rich)? How did enslaved priests convert the Vikings? Maybe memetic fitness is a real thing and Christianity was actually a valuable and insightful social technology that made the societies that adopted it better? I don't actually strongly believe this is true, but it certainly seems possible to me now.

So I might be projecting, but when I hear someone say that 'maybe the religious doomsayers were on to something', it speaks to me. Even if I doubt I could find a specific religious doomsayer whose positions I would endorse.

Maybe, conservatives and religious types had passed down and maintained social technologies that were valuable and well-honed, ironically, by a process more like evolution than intelligent design.

A lot of this stuff was actually dictated top down in like 1000 AD or before, though.

The Family Research Council (James Dobson's lobbying org) was bringing up a link between homosexual parenting and increased rates of gender disorders as far back as 2004 more than a decade before Obergefell. That's not explicitly transgender but the term was much less common then. Similarly, they also discuss the lack of sexual fidelity in homosexual marriage (more like open marriage than poly but in the ballpark).

If I’m getting this right, transgender in 2004 referred specifically to post-op trans women, and gender disorder was the term in use for the majority of what we would call transgender today.

I don’t find that line of reasoning very convincing. If the religious critics were right, it was in a stopped-clock sense.

Here are some circa-2010 objections, mostly on theological grounds. Either it’s a sin or it’s not. Either the denomination can extend rites to unrepentant sinners, or it can not. Lots of link rot, but in the statements I could access, churches weren’t justifying based on a slippery slope.

Here and here we have articles debating the slippery slope, but it’s towards polygamy. That’s a more credible threat than this 2004 scare story about horse marriage, though it’s more a vehicle for delivering the full slate of polygamy, social consensus, and “think of the children” arguments.

Transgender politics wasn’t in the Overton window at this point. It still wasn’t as of 2012, from what I see. Which makes sense—their issue isn’t marriage, or even equal rights. The current debate over social acceptability is categorically different.

I’m left with an impression that churches had their theological debates. The secular public backed those up with arguments like the slippery slope against polygamy. Nobody talked about the tiny, weird minority within the minority. But once that group gained traction, pattern matching kicked in, and suddenly this was the next step of the slippery slope. I don’t buy it.

I distinctly remember seeing a twitter thread in which a gay relationship advisor (that's bracketed (g (r a)), not ((g r) a), mind you ;) ) wrote that the religious were right, it was a slippery slope, and it's a good thing that it was. @TracingWoodgrains, help me out, I remember you conversing with that guy.

(that's bracketed (g (r a)), not ((g r) a), mind you ;) )

You included a bracket smiley in your bracketed explanation of the bracketing.

My hat is off to you.

I always struggle to decide whether to add a corresponding parenthesis or not, when I do that. (That is, whether I should do it like he did it, or like this :).

You did it the right way before. This time it looks like you have extraneous punctuation.

The religious types told me that the LGBT squad wouldn't be content to just win and go sit down, but rather would return with a new set of worse and disgusting demands. They were correct. Pointing out that they didn't guess the exact flavor correctly isn't that interesting to me.

I don't need you to "buy it", I'm just telling you why I will absolutely never give the LGBT movement another inch under any circumstances.

And that proves way, way too much. It applies just as well to anything you already find unsavory. “My outgroup will demand something disgusting” is a heuristic that almost always works.

Except the LGBT movement wasn't part of my outgroup at first, the religious weirdoes bitching about it were. That outgroup predicted that the LGBT movement would escalate with a series of increasingly unreasonable and disgusting demands, and sure enough here we are.

So no, I didn't apply a heuristic of "my outgroup will demand something disgusting" whatsoever. Rather a movement that was at first nominally part of my ingroup started demanding to teach queer theory to kindergarteners and keep children's "gender transitions" secret from their parents.

Have they won? Gay marriage in the US only holds due to a Supreme Court ruling. Which is able to be overturned much as we saw with abortion at any time. It is very precarious. As I pointed out, in the UK where gay marriage was legally put in law by a Conservative prime minister and thus is much better protected, the trans movement does in fact seem to have lost allies and steam.

If they haven't actually won then complaining they didn't sit down after winning is missing the point.

There were court challenges attempting to overturn Roe and Casey quite regularly when they were in effect- what’s one trying to overturn obergefell?

We exist on an offshoot of an offshoot of the comments section of a psychiatry blogger who has openly practiced polyamory, and frequently discuss people like Aella, who promote sexual relations with multiple partners as an enlightened and superior alternative to monogamy. These discussions have been had here as recently as a few days ago.

Polyamory is also, as far as I can tell from my experience in it, rapidly becoming normalized in what's left of the atheist movement and the broader "nerdy woke people" subculture. Heck, my mom is an HR director in my conservative hometown, and lately had a job applicant who spoke openly about their poly lifestyle (they didn't get the job, mostly because they seemed legitimately crazy). This stuff is widespread, and I think it's more common in queer dating than straight dating. This is a slippery slope coming from the same people: gay people and nerdy woke people.

Maybe the slippery slope isn't leading to polygamy right now, exactly. But it has been, and is, pretty clearly leading to the normalization of polyamory. I think polyamory is more difficult to translate into the existing legal framework around marriage than gay marriage was. But if it weren't, I would be under no pretensions that Scott, and Aella, and Ozy (was he dating them at the same time?), and all the rest of the crew wouldn't be arguing their hearts out that recognizing plural marriages is a human rights issue (TM). As far as I'm concerned, it's just a matter of time.

Okay, I really thought about including this as an aside, because it was a much closer prediction. I agree that polyamory has gotten much closer to the mainstream. It is a bit weird that it’s done so without getting any traction in, say, divorce law.

Regardless, the OP is not regretting support for gay marriage because the religious were right about polyamory. I’m arguing that current trans issues are poor evidence for this slippery slope model, since they were neither predicted in the model nor obviously caused by gay marriage.

Is it true that gay activists, with their goal achieved, moved on to other progressive causes? Sure. Was keeping them occupied the reason people were intent on “defending marriage”? I don’t think so.

Finding older commentary on socially-controversial subjects is hard at the best of times, and we're not in the best of times. Mainstream debate focused on bestiality, polygamy, and child abuse, in no small part because they were easy strawmen for each side to target; the role of each gender within the family was a major part of intellectual religious conversations and is... basically invisible from the internet now.

Transgender politics wasn't in the mainstream awareness yet as of 2012, but it had at least bubbled to political awareness in the aftermath of the Affordable Care Act's Section 1557, and the ENDA/GENDA debates.

There were also more general arguments about a slippery slope to some unknown problem that are more readily available, though I understand the concern about this being so wide a prediction as to be meaningless.

((That said, I'll reiterate my general disagreement with somedude and walterodim's claim; the transgender movement long predates the acceptance of gay marriage or even Lawrence v Texas, and it's very far from clear that Obergefell had anywhere as big an impact for normalization of transgender stuff or for the political sphere as any of a thousand other things.))

Legalizing gay marriage was seen as a radical leftist movement, but the actual result was that all the gay people - and most importantly, gay artists and icons and culture warriors - stopped living as radical counter-culture outsiders challenging every pillar of the nuclear family, and switched to being respectability-politics-first normies living quiet lives in the suburbs with 2.5 adopted kids. Conservatives had to give up on oppressing gay people, but managed to bring them largely into the tent of traditional marriage and neoliberal economics and so forth.

Is this how you remember the sequencing? As someone that was vigorously in favor of legalizing gay marriage, I recall the path being inverted from this, where the respectability politics had already happened and the big selling point was that our gay and lesbian friends are not degenerate weirdos, they're totally normal and just want the same thing that straight couples have. This was a pretty good selling point! It convinced me handily, and I certainly see couples that live exactly like that now. The problem is that the aftermath of that win was not declaring victory and slapping a Mission Accomplished sticker on the Pride flag, it was moving onto trans politics, leading up to the modern day "trans kids", trans "women" in women's sports, and so on. At this point, I've basically been convinced that I was wrong, the slippery slope people were completely right, and that simply winning on the one cause and then moving on with normalcy was never an option.

The problem is that the aftermath of that win was not declaring victory and slapping a Mission Accomplished sticker on the Pride flag, it was moving onto trans politics, leading up to the modern day "trans kids", trans "women" in women's sports, and so on. At this point, I've basically been convinced that I was wrong, the slippery slope people were completely right, and that simply winning on the one cause and then moving on with normalcy was never an option.

I feel like this is a weak sauce slippery slope, if it is one. It's hard to find good numbers, but this article claims around 2% of Gen Z and 1% of Millenials identify as trans. And I would wager a large portion of those are just non-binary with no plans for any medical interventions, but even if we assume that all of those people identifying as trans are all chasing medical interventions like surgery and hormone treatment this is hardly enough to destroy a society.

In pre-revolutionary France, the First Estate of clergy made up 0.5% of the population, and theoretically all of those people were supposed to be celibate. Even acknowledging the hypocrisy and non-compliance of some of those clergy, you're still looking at a social institution that causes large swathes of people to be childless if it is strictly adhered to. And yet the biggest issue people had with that institution were things like the Catholic Church owning 6-10% of the land in France, and having an outsized influence on French politics. It was not a widely feared thing that people's sons or daughters would become priests or nuns and be forced to live a life of celibacy.

I think that 1 or 2% of trans youth is not the main ill our society faces, and if we had other working social institutions, structures and norms, we could easily deal with 1-2% of the population becoming sterilized. Our low birth rates are not because of decisions that 1-2% of people feel emboldened to make because of greater social acceptance. I think general social atomization, and an emphasis of comfort over duty are greater issues facing our society than whether a tiny minority choose to sterilize themselves.

All of the other issues like trans women in sports are minor distractions barely worthy of serious discussion. If professional weight-lifting can self-regulate and have de facto anti-doping and pro-doping leagues, then I'm sure that left to their own devices sports organizations running women's sporting events will figure out ways to deal with trans women without the need for outside intervention or pressure on anyone's part. Far more serious are questions of women's prisons and violent trans offenders, and I feel like that only becomes an issue because it is the tip of the iceberg of suffering in prison. Violent trans women prisoners are a useful prop, but do most people shed tears for prisoners (men or women) and their bad living conditions the rest of the time?

It's hard to find good numbers, but this article claims around 2% of Gen Z and 1% of Millenials identify as trans

I don't understand how this is supposed to be a counter argument. There weren't that many more gay people than that, and we were asked to rearrenge society for them, and were assured that any claim there will be further demands was a fallacy. We now have further demands just as predicted, therefore the slipperyslope claim was correct.

Also, if the low numbers of trans people mean their demands aren't a big deal, does that mean you'd be ok with rejecting them entirely?

There weren't that many more gay people than that, and we were asked to rearrenge society for them, and were assured that any claim there will be further demands was a fallacy.

Gay people didn't present a major restructuring of society. By and large the same people are in power, the same economic system is in place, and the only major difference is that two people of the same sex can sign a contract they couldn't before. Gay marriage did nothing to weaken globalist neoliberal capitalism - since that system is relatively egalitarian and doesn't care if the person at the top is a man or a woman, gay or straight, etc. You can have capitalists and laborers regardless of how you treat gay people.

We now have further demands just as predicted, therefore the slipperyslope claim was correct.

I seem to recall the specific claims I encountered pre-Obergefell being more along the lines of, "people will want to marry cats and dogs!" or "what if people make pedophilia or incest legal?" While I'm sure there are fringe weirdos advocating even those, I think the fact that the "slippery slope" ended up mostly being people asking for trans people to be legally and socially recognized and to have access to medical interventions is rather less alarming and catastrophic than interspecies marriage or pro-pedophilia/incest claim would have been. I think there were good arguments against these kinds of concerns, and the pro-gay marriage people tended to be right on these specific issues.

I don't recall anyone pre-Obergerfell saying, "If we legalize gay marriage, then we'll have 4,780 adolescents starting on puberty blockers after a gender dysphoria diagnosis over a 5 year period and 14,726 minors will have hormone therapies, and annually around 300 13-17 year old girls will have breast reductions a year in a nation of approximately 73 million total children, accounting (all numbers together) for approximately 0.02% of children." My complaint here is not that no one got the exact numbers, since that would have been unreasonable to expect, but that no one got remotely close to the (relatively small!) scope of the issue, even if I'm sure you could dig up someone pre-Obergerfell making emotive claims that gay marriage will break down the idea of man- and woman-hood, and plunge our youth into a deep spiritual crisis around gender.

Don't get me wrong, I'm sure the error bars on some of those numbers I'm quoting are high enough to make your average person worry more about the number of trans people. But I think there's a basic motte-and-bailley happening here all the time. When people want to be alarmist, they'll quote the "30% of Gen Alpha is LGBTQ" type of surveys, or point to a 400% increase of referrals to a gender clinic of the last 5 years, or bring up a single clinic in a single country that didn't vet children hard enough. But when people point out that, as far as we know the actual numbers of kids receiving breast reductions or hormones or puberty blockers is relatively low, it's crickets.

I'm generally not impressed with claims that the trans issue somehow poses an existential threat to our society. The numbers just don't add up to that. Even if society evolved to the point where trans people became our palace eunuchs, our celibate priests, our castrati, or our skoptsy, I tend to think that otherwise healthy societies tend to have ways to route around such issues. This article claims 20% American women born between 1885 and 1915 never had children. WWI killed 6% of the adult male population in Britain.

We're regularly producing large populations of people who will never have children, and a healthy society would be able to bounce back, route around and deal with this problem. If that's not happening, then the trans issue is just the straw that broke the camel's back, because we couldn't get enough of our other societal structures functioning right.

Also, if the low numbers of trans people mean their demands aren't a big deal, does that mean you'd be ok with rejecting them entirely?

I don't think society needs internal scapegoats to function. That's just a strong tendency humans like to indulge in.

I don't believe in the perfectibility of human nature via education, but I want to believe that we can set up society in such a way that alarmist claims about a tiny minority of the population aren't a necessary glue to hold everything together. We could channel those instincts in more productive ways than taking 1/1000th of the population and throwing them under the bus to make the rest of us more comfortable.

Look, the problem isn't just that people who don't think gender essentialism is a coherent worldview think that we're sacrificing the wellbeing of many children and adults needlessly. That's a problem of course but it's secondary to the point deer make horse dynamics. It's deeply unsettling to have what seems like plain reality not just denied but the denial to have in many cases incredible force behind it. There is a troubling kind of argumentation, where one is made out narratively to be a victim and then a huge chunk of the country will blindly support them while being not just immune to argumentation otherwise but actively against it. This feels like an autoimmune response, I don't know if a country can survive this kind of unreasoning in the long term. It's mildly terrifying to consider how easily nearly anyone can be framed as the oppressor against a new invented victim. There does not appear to be any limiting principle.

That's a problem of course but it's secondary to the point deer make horse dynamics.

I know I'm going to sound like a broken record, but it's less "point deer make horse" and more "point guardian make adopted parent."

I maintain that you don't need any dubious metaphysics or unproven biological hypotheses to get a basic conception of trans-ness off the ground. I think if you accept that a legal document can "transform" an unrelated adult guardian into a parent in the eyes of the law and society, then it is possible for a legal document to "transform" a biologically male person into a woman in the eyes of the law and society.

There's nothing magical or spooky going on. There's no need to throw our old maps of reality away. We can fully acknowledge every true, scientifically verifiable fact about trans people, and still treat them like their adopted sex in as many contexts as it makes sense to do so, just as we can treat adoptive parents as biological parents in as many contexts as it makes sense to do so.

I understand that trans people and trans activists are often making stronger claims than I do in my posts on this topic. They'll advance metaphysical claims that they are "real" men or women, or that they have the "soul" of a man or woman. They'll advance unproven or irrelevant facts about biology to bolster their claims. I'm a metaphysical materialist, so I'm unimpressed by most of the metaphysical claims, and I'm willing to concede that the replication crisis and the lurking threat of a repeat of a lobotomy-sized science scandal casts sufficient doubt to make some level of skepticism basically reasonable, no matter what the current state of research is.

I just think it's important to point out that there's no necessary connection between a playbook of regressive social policies and trans activism. The legal and social questions can be settled completely separately from the metaphysical, medical and biological questions, and all of those are completely unrelated to the tactics that are currently being employed by some activists to get what they want.

There is a troubling kind of argumentation, where one is made out narratively to be a victim and then a huge chunk of the country will blindly support them while being not just immune to argumentation otherwise but actively against it. This feels like an autoimmune response, I don't know if a country can survive this kind of unreasoning in the long term. It's mildly terrifying to consider how easily nearly anyone can be framed as the oppressor against a new invented victim.

As I said above, I think cancel culture and victim culture are completely separate issues from what legal regime we decide to adopt with regards to trans people. I don't think any more "unreasoning" is required than for any other social "reality." And I don't think if you somehow definitively ended the trans debate in either a pro- or anti-trans way, that it would magically lead to cancel/victim culture disappearing as important social forces. They're symptoms, not causes in themselves.

I know I'm going to sound like a broken record, but it's less "point deer make horse" and more "point guardian make adopted parent."

I maintain that you don't need any dubious metaphysics or unproven biological hypotheses to get a basic conception of trans-ness off the ground. I think if you accept that a legal document can "transform" an unrelated adult guardian into a parent in the eyes of the law and society, then it is possible for a legal document to "transform" a biologically male person into a woman in the eyes of the law and society.

There's just one problem, the legal document does not define a "parent" as "whoever is designated to be a parent by the document", it just formalizes a legal relationship with rights and duties, and it is those rights and duties that are the functional legal definition of being a parent. Even then no one would begrudge a kid trying to find their real parents, and anyone screaming "They are your real parents! Adoptive parents are parents!" would be seen as completely deranged.

There can be no such functional definition for "man" or "woman" for at least two reasons that I can think of:

  • it will necessarily come into conflict with decades of feminist activism fighting for equality between the sexes

  • no matter how low you set a functional bar for being "man" / "woman" there will be those in the transgender community that do not fit the criteria, causing outrage about "gatekeeping"

This is where all the drama about "what is a woman" comes from. Pro-trans activists aren't spontaneously getting a bad case of the stutters, it's not that they've been put on the spot and can't come up with a satisfying answer, they don't have an answer, because there can't be an answer that doesn't cause a massive shitstorm. Like @ControlsFreak said, trans issues are in the intersection of very deep and important philosophical questions, and that simply can't be swept under the rug (though we've been trying furiously).

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I maintain that you don't need any dubious metaphysics or unproven biological hypotheses to get a basic conception of trans-ness off the ground.

I acknowledge there exists a motte of social gender understanding that jettisons nearly the entirety of the movement's beliefs which is merely overly neurotically fixated on gender trappings. As you say though, it has practically no constituency because from that standing it really can't make any demands. The movement needs more than mere preference as motivation to justify demands for extraordinary treatment.

There is a clear and tangible need motivating treating adoptive parents like parents. They've taken on a real responsibility for the care of a child. If they just really liked PTA meetings and being seen pushing a stroller around we wouldn't humor them, or at least wouldn't tolerate any kind of top down demand to humor them.

If we reduce the question of trans down to "some people want to be treated s or they're the opposite sex". Then sure, it's coherent, and I'm even willing to humor it to a degree even though I think it'd be better liberalism to just say men can wear dresses and be treated like women while still being men if they want. This is of course all academic, we're talking about a reasonable version of trans activism that doesn't exist and won't ever be prominent.

I don't think society needs internal scapegoats to function. That's just a strong tendency humans like to indulge in.

I don't believe in the perfectibility of human nature via education, but I want to believe that we can set up society in such a way that alarmist claims about a tiny minority of the population aren't a necessary glue to hold everything together.

I feel like you're dodging my question. You say things like "Gay people didn't present a major restructuring of society. By and large the same people are in power...", "Gay marriage did nothing to weaken globalist neoliberal capitalism...", "I don't recall anyone pre-Obergerfell saying, "If we legalize gay marriage, then we'll have 4,780 adolescents starting on puberty blockers after a gender dysphoria diagnosis over a 5 year period...", "I'm generally not impressed with claims that the trans issue somehow poses an existential threat to our society. The numbers just don't add up to that". I might be misinterpreting you, but given the above I don't know how to interpret statements like that other than "unless the issue affects a statistically significant portion of society (or abolishes the current economic system, I suppose), you should not oppose it". If this is the argument you're making, I want to point out that it's symmetrical. You should have no problem with a complete ban on gender affirming therapies for minors, because the issue is exactly as tiny as those therapies being prescribed to them. You accuse the anti-trans side of being hysterical over this tiny amount of prescriptions, but the sitting president of the Unites States called the attempts to regulate them "sinful".

If you do have a problem with these bans, I want you to explain in why, while explicitly taking your own "it's so tiny" argument into account, and once you do that I want you to explain why I can't use the same reasoning as a counter-argument as well.

I seem to recall the specific claims I encountered pre-Obergefell being more along the lines of, "people will want to marry cats and dogs!"

Yeah, I know, I was laughing at those idiots thinking gay marriage might have any downstream effects at all too. The difference is that I never took it to be a specific prediction (though funnily enough that meme did get at least one specific prediction right), which is why I felt forced to concede they were right when the trans issue become more prominent.

even if I'm sure you could dig up someone pre-Obergerfell making emotive claims that gay marriage will break down the idea of man- and woman-hood,

I'd like you to elaborate on why that is a requirement to conclude they were right about the slippery slope. They were operating under constraints of believability, and like I said the idea that gay marriage will have any downstream effects was seen as absurd. As such it feels unreasonable to me to demand that they get second-order effects exactly right.

the "slippery slope" ended up mostly being people asking for trans people to be legally and socially recognized and to have access to medical interventions

"Legally and socially recognized" leaves a hole in the argument you can drive an oil tanker through. This is the part where we go from a sub-section of society wanting to live their lives in peace according to their values, towards where speech norms are being imposed on everybody else, people get banned and fired for expressing their opinions, are expected to smile and nod as their daughters are being clobbered in contact sports by men, and to turn their heads when a male rapist is being sent to a female prison.

is rather less alarming and catastrophic than interspecies marriage or pro-pedophilia/incest claim would have been.

Why? The number of people affected by these things would be just as tiny.

My complaint here is not that no one got the exact numbers, since that would have been unreasonable to expect, but that no one got remotely close to the (relatively small!) scope of the issue

My response to this is that the scale of the issue is not small at all. The numbers you cited eclipse the number of unarmed black men dying at the hands of the police, they dwarf unethical medical experiments like Tuskagee, and unlike the campus rape epidemic, they are actually happening. I could end at an argument from hypocrisy here, and say that I'd take your argument seriously, when I see progressives trying to reel their own in based on the numbers argument, but I'll go further: this argument is wrong.

Certain issues aren't about the number of affected people, they are worth talking about and addressing even if they affected only one person. I consider gender affirming care - generally - to be a medical scandal. It is scientifically unsupportable, and only tolerable when applied to adults, on the assumption that adults have a right to self-determination - a right that next to no one on the pro-trans side actually takes seriously, I might add. When it's applied to children, it becomes an atrocity. When it turns out that it's applied to children after years long assurances that this never happens, because we have strict standard of care to ensure accurate diagnosis and age-appropriate treatment, and after we find out this is in fact happening, those standards of care are then changed to remove age requirements... well, I'm running out of vocabulary to describe how messed up that is.

they'll quote the "30% of Gen Alpha is LGBTQ" type of surveys,

I agree that's a bad argument, which is why I never use it.

or point to a 400% increase of referrals to a gender clinic of the last 5 years

This argument was not used to claim the scale of the problem is earth-shattering, it was used as evidence for the social contagion theory

or bring up a single clinic in a single country that didn't vet children hard enough.

What happens inside a clinic is not public information, in fact, we consider medical information to be private and have put specific safeguards to ensure it stays as such. This means we're left with relying on whistleblowers (which has the obvious issue of people worried about losing their jobs and social standing), and clinicians inadvertently telling on themselves (which relies on them being unaware of doing anything controversial). Even then I'm aware of 3 separate clinics - Jaime Reed's, Tamara Pietzke's, and Diane Ehrensaft's. The claim isn't that the children weren't vetted "hard enough", the issue is that they made no attempt to rule out gender dysphoria at all. People running these clinics either belong in jail, or at the very least should have their license to practice medicine stripped from them.

I'm generally not impressed with claims that the trans issue somehow poses an existential threat to our society.

Sure, just like I'm not impressed with claims that there is an ongoing transgender genocide. Now, do you want to take a wild guess which claim is actually being made by activists, and which isn't?

But when people point out that (...), it's crickets.

That's just not true. We've had this conversation before, I responded to your points. In fact, you were the one that got quiet after that. I don't hold it against you, it's normal for interest in a conversation to drop off if it's going on for too long / you get responses from multiple people, but you shouldn't act like no one ever addressed your claims.

I might be misinterpreting you, but given the above I don't know how to interpret statements like that other than "unless the issue affects a statistically significant portion of society (or abolishes the current economic system, I suppose), you should not oppose it". If this is the argument you're making, I want to point out that it's symmetrical. You should have no problem with a complete ban on gender affirming therapies for minors, because the issue is exactly as tiny as those therapies being prescribed to them.

You are misinterpreting. A better construction of my position is a more classical liberal position along the lines of, "We should consider the amount of harm done to unrelated parties before we consider banning a practice." There are plenty of things that are legal that I think are best avoided such as getting a face tattoo, but I recognize that I don't have access to the One True Way of living life or organizing society, and I think that it is best to keep a diversity of experimenting viewpoints within society for the following reasons:

  1. New technologies have cropped up so quickly that we've barely had time to adapt to them as a culture. I think that cancel culture and victim culture are two maladaptive social technologies that have come up in that environment, and I think legally allowing a greater variety of viewpoint and lifestyle diversity makes it more likely that some group will through experimentation create social norms that make for a functional human society alongside modern technologies.
  2. Even without considerations of us adapting socially to new technology, I think that the economic effects of new technologies have also created a need for considering a wider variety of approaches in order to weather the coming storm from automation and a thousand other disruptive technologies. I welcome the idea of dominionist Catholics choosing Exit over Voice in order to form their own small scale societies that might outlast the collapse of society, I welcome the idea of Mormons creating granaries to outlast an ecological disaster, I welcome the idea of young LGBT people attempting to create fulfilling communities and found families within an individualist framework, etc. etc. I might have my bets on which ones are more likely to be around in 100 or 1000 years, but I'm open to the idea that I'm wrong.

At the federal level (speaking in a US context), all I advocate for is that adult trans people have the ability to use public accommodations of their adopted sex, except where that would be biologically impracticable. I get that even this position is controversial, but it makes no metaphysical or scientific commitments that can't be justified, and it leaves the more controversial issues of trans minors and things like trans participation in sports to be dealt with as each state wishes.

For me, it is simply a recognition that if any form our society or species is going to survive, then we can't put all of our eggs in one basket when it comes to how we organize society, and allowing trans people to use their preferred public accommodation is a part of making something like what Scott calls Archipelago a more practicable reality.

I fully appreciate that someone who believes strongly in the social contagion hypothesis might consider the mere idea of trans people to be a form of harm being done to people. Personally, I don't know if the social contagion hypothesis is true, and I don't know if I've seen any evidence that makes it particularly more likely than the:

  • Social Acceptance/Medical Advancement Hypothesis: As social acceptance of trans people has increased, and likelihood of passing has gotten better for people who medically transition, the number of people who already would have had relatively strong, consistent and fixed desires to live as a member of the opposite sex has stayed the same, but appeared to grow since more people are willing to take the risk of being open about it.

Heck, there's nothing stopping some form of both being true. The number of detransitioners is only evidence of us being bad at doing differential diagnoses, and not really evidence of social contagion as the major driving force of the uptick. There will always be hypochondriacs, or people with OCD who obsessively fear they might have some disease or condition, or teenagers learning a bunch of new medical or psychological terms and wondering if one of those explains the trouble they've been having in life.

My response to this is that the scale of the issue is not small at all. The numbers you cited eclipse the number of unarmed black men dying at the hands of the police, they dwarf unethical medical experiments like Tuskagee, and unlike the campus rape epidemic, they are actually happening.

I tend to think most of the other things you listed are also a bit overblown, and in our efforts to "learn from" them and create rules for avoiding them we might have done more harm than good. Do you disagree?

Even then I'm aware of 3 separate clinics - Jaime Reed's, Tamara Pietzke's, and Diane Ehrensaft's. The claim isn't that the children weren't vetted "hard enough", the issue is that they made no attempt to rule out gender dysphoria at all. People running these clinics either belong in jail, or at the very least should have their license to practice medicine stripped from them.

I'm not so naive as to believe doctors will always do the right thing, or that current best practices will always be good for the health and well-being of patients. Lobotomies are the perfect example of a medical scandal that I think we should strive to avoid in the future.

If there are bad clinics, I'm not against the idea of shutting them down, stripping a bunch of people of licensees, and letting families affected sue. I have acknowledged in other posts that I think the replication crisis has undermined the basic trust we might place in medicine, and so I don't find it unreasonable for a given person to weigh the evidence and come out against large portions of trans medicine and healthcare.

However, my basic position is a separate one to almost every other part of the trans debate. I think we could allow trans women to use women's restrooms even in a legal regime where cross-sex hormones and surgeries were 100% illegal. There is no contradiction there at all.

Let the best practices in medicine evolve how they will as more, higher quality evidence emerges. We're always making judgements under uncertainty anyways.

Sure, just like I'm not impressed with claims that there is an ongoing transgender genocide. Now, do you want to take a wild guess which claim is actually being made by activists, and which isn't?

I don't control what bad arguments or bad tactics people broadly "on my side" make. Obviously, if I had my druthers such people would only ever use good, convincing arguments and honorable tactics, and never use bad, unconvincing arguments and dishonorable tactics. It is beyond my power to make that happen. All I can do is try my best to articulate what I think are the better reasons for this position.

I'm open to being convinced that I'm wrong, and I get that people who don't share some of my underlying commitments or values might validly arrive at different positions in spite of us looking at broadly the same evidence base.

That's just not true. We've had this conversation before, I responded to your points. In fact, you were the one that got quiet after that. I don't hold it against you, it's normal for interest in a conversation to drop off if it's going on for too long / you get responses from multiple people, but you shouldn't act like no one ever addressed your claims.

Fair enough. I understand I might not have responded to every point you raised in past posts. As you say, it is often hard to respond when I get too many responses.

"We should consider the amount of harm done to unrelated parties before we consider banning a practice."

I don't think this has ever been anyone's position in the history of getting things banned by a government. A far more consistent way of understanding bans is that they are used as a way of hurting or disadvantaging people that they don't like, or social engineering attempts at removing undesirable behaviors.

People don't give a shit about harm, and when they do at all, it's often the point to maximize harm to the outgroup.

My understanding of why gay marriage was legalized is that it was a power and institutional flex by the ascendant progressive left as a way of hurting their outgroup, the religious right. They saw an opportunity to stamp on some faces after the religious right was used as a political force by Bush 2 to win his elections, and they did it. Had it been any other issue they could have hurt their political opponents on, they would have done it. Gay marriage was an easy low hanging fruit because it had little to no short term economic costs, there was little political capital used in getting it passed if you worked in a heavily urban area, it stimulated a lot of fervor in the voting base, and it expanded the marriage/divorce lawyer clientele.

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A better construction of my position is a more classical liberal position along the lines of, "We should consider the amount of harm done to unrelated parties before we consider banning a practice."

I don't follow. If I want to heavily regulate or ban pediatric gender affirming care, and you point out that the amount of children going through these procedures is small, what does that do to consider the harm done to unrelated parties? Who even are the unrelated parties here? We both seem to be focusing strictly on the children going through gender affirming care. I can understand the disagreement if my claim is that GAC hurts children, and your claim is that it helps them (the usual debate that happens with trans activists), but I don't understand how your "come on, it's just a couple thousand" is supposed to parse as anything other than "it might hurt them, but there's so few of them you shouldn't care".

If you want to say that concerns over children shouldn't limit the rights of adults, I'm mostly with you. I still have plenty to say on the subject, as I don't think the evidence for adult GAC holds up very well either, but I don't think blanket bans are the way to tackle that.

but I recognize that I don't have access to the One True Way of living life or organizing society, and I think that it is best to keep a diversity of experimenting viewpoints within society for the following reasons

At the federal level (speaking in a US context), all I advocate for is that adult trans people have the ability to use public accommodations of their adopted sex, except where that would be biologically impracticable.

That's a fine principle to follow, but for me it would mean no federal policy at all. Let the states sort it out internally. Some will be restrictive, some will be permissive, and time will tell who was right.

Your approach would just result in kicking the can down the road, and people fighting over what is "biologically impracticable" (Is putting male rapists in female prisons "biologically impracticable"? I mean clearly, it can be done).

I tend to think most of the other things you listed are also a bit overblown, and in our efforts to "learn from" them and create rules for avoiding them we might have done more harm than good. Do you disagree?

I don't disagree, but I resent having a wet blanket thrown on a conversation I care about, when I've just been forced to seriously consider several grievances that felt frivolous to me. As for the reaction causing more harm than good, it's all in the reaction, rather than the issue being overblown. Like I said, I think BLM was frivolous, but body cams were a great idea. This is why the numbers conversation feels like such a deflection, if you're worried about a particular policy being an overkill, I'm sure we could hash one out that will be more acceptable to your classical liberal sentiments. In fact, from everything you're saying it doesn't sound like we even disagree on that much when it comes to policy, which is again why it's so frustrating to get served the numbers argument, and have it implied that it somehow refutes my concerns.

Let the best practices in medicine evolve how they will as more, higher quality evidence emerges. We're always making judgements under uncertainty anyways.

In a perfect world, yes, I'd be happy to let science sort itself out. In the current world science is held hostage to ideology, and political action is part of the self-correcting process you're asking me to trust in, so I feel like I have no other choice than to participate in the politics.

I don't control what bad arguments or bad tactics people broadly "on my side" make.

Right, and I'd never demand that from you, but then surely you must understand why I was bemused when asked to answer to some "existential threat" claim that you said was implicit in my position.

Fair enough. I understand I might not have responded to every point you raised in past posts.

That's absolutely fine, it's just the *crickets* bit I took issue with.

I agree it’s not an existential threat - quite possibly every actually does. The people on the other side of you on the issue are not making a claim on the grounds of Utilitarianism.

I would argue that quite a few trans skeptical arguments are clearly utilitarian/consequentialist in nature: "irreversible damage", detransition woes, and bathroom/women's prison fears all seem to have their basis in a line of consequentialist reasoning.

I'll concede that many trans skeptical arguments are built on foundations of different conceptions of fairness, or metaphysical/epistemological commitments of some kind. But I do think that the "think of the children" type arguments veer into an implicit claim of existential threat. If we're supposed to take it seriously as a call to action, we must believe that more than 0.02%-2% of the population are going to be brainwashed by the trend of "trans ideology." Because "think of a tiny, insignificant minority of the children" is less of a rallying cry than, "it could be your kids next!"

If we're supposed to take it seriously as a call to action, we must believe that more than 0.02%-2% of the population are going to be brainwashed by the trend of "trans ideology." Because "think of a tiny, insignificant minority of the children" is less of a rallying cry than, "it could be your kids next!"

I disagree. If something moves from "so rare you've only heard about it happening in America, via sensationalist media" to "several cases in your tiny, rural, eastern European town" most people will still parse that as "it could be your kids next!"

I had a similar intuition to @vorpa-glavo: I don’t think gay-marriage opponents really called it. Even though their slippery-slope argument was pretty broad, no one talked about trans people as a next step, because trans politics weren’t even on the radar. If there’s not much continuity between the LGB and the T agendas, is it accurate to call them “further demands”?

As for your other question, yeah, I guess. It’d be immoral, but not uniquely so.

A collection of positions of religious organizations are obviously going to be focused on theological positions. They don't need slippery slope arguments. This is how you tailor arguments for a religious position piece.

Legal arguments tended toward the most convenient, most obvious legal slippery slope, especially because we have a solid history and case law concerning polygamy that opponents would have to wrestle with. This is how you tailor arguments for a judge.

To build on @ArjinFerman, I think it included, but was even more than "changing the definition of marriage, and if you can do that, what else can you change?" It would be impossible for me to find my old comments on a legal blog from the period, but I had predicted that this general area could continue to be a sore spot, more like abortion and less like interracial marriage. The reason is that it cuts into deep questions of philosophy and science in ways that are difficult to reconcile beyond short-term applications of pure social power.

That is, at the time that interracial marriage rose to prominence, the question was relatively simple (in comparison), and one that was reasonably easily cabined as a purely legal question. Everyone more or less agreed that race was basically a thing. Everyone more or less agreed on what marriage was. They just had to figure out what to do with these things.

On the other hand, gay marriage very much got down to philosophical concepts concerning what is sex, is sexual behavior distinct from an orientation, how is that determined, is it biological or not, etc., as well as questions concerning what marriage is, what its purpose is, why we have it, etc. This is very much like how abortion sparks deep questions about what life is, when it is human, when it has value, etc. Trans questions are likewise in the intersection of very deep and important philosophical questions, and I think they retain the potential to persist as a divide over time.

It is of little surprise to me that as people are getting past the point of peak social power to get a policy outcome, they're realizing that they've actually found themselves in a bit of a philosophical thicket, and some are even wondering whether they let the fervor get the best of them the last time rather than reasoned consideration. We're just digging deeper into the really hard questions. I recall predicting (from my experience taking a queer theory class at the time) that, if anything, we were going to see that the decisions made in the past concerning things like interracial marriage were, not wrong, but woefully shallow, as the philosophical eye would no longer take things like "race" to be more-or-less agreed upon as mostly existing as a thing, and that it might become messier in the future.

I definitely recall arguing (on SSC, even, not just legal blogs) that the philosophical and scientific claims were on dreadful grounds, and that it was going to be a mess, somehow, for them to enshrine, as a matter of Constitutional interpretation, these shaky claims, akin to how Justice Thomas often reminds us that segregation in schools was once justified by social scientists with shaky claims that it would surely enhance learning to be in a cohort of similar looking peers. I don't think those warnings need to be cashed out in ultra-specific predictions of exactly what form the fallout will take. Just a general sense of the "abortion distortion effect" in the legal space, where it seemed to be the case (following Roe/Casey enshrining questionable philosophy buttressed by appeals to science) that the question of abortion precedent mangled far-reaching areas of the law that wouldn't, on their surface, seem to have anything to do with abortion.

Once you walk down the line of enshrining Constitutional interpretation based on lies about science and questionable philosophy, there are going to be bad effects, somewhere, somehow. "Hey, this other claim looks really close to that other lie, and you are absolutely forbidden from acknowledging that it was a lie, so what'r'ya gonna do about it?!" The whole endeavor is built on a rotten premise, and the only question is how many other rotten conclusions will be adopted in service of that rotten premise along the way. It took almost 50 years for Roe to finally be repudiated; will this end up being repudiated at all? Or will it truly be enshrined as complete cultural dogma, irrefutable by science or the lack thereof, free to continue distorting everything that comes close to it? Who knows. No one can predict with any level of granularity. We can't predict which specific offshoots will garner sufficient strained legal analysis and which others will struggle. But I think we can predict that this deep philosophical rift will persist.

Again, to make an analogy to abortion, I think about the fact that Peter Abelard, in the 12th century, has preserved writings on questions that are extremely close to current questions on abortion. That rift is way older than the 50 years from Roe to Dobbs. I can't imagine that fundamental questions about sex, gender, sexuality, identity, nature/nurture, etc., are just going to become suddenly resolved in a stable way super soon. If those fundamental questions are going to stick around, building on a bedrock of questionable philosophy and absolutely horrid "science" seems to almost necessitate some form of weird and bad transient outcomes.

gay marriage very much got down to philosophical concepts concerning what is sex, is sexual behavior distinct from an orientation, how is that determined, is it biological or not, etc., as well as questions concerning what marriage is, what its purpose is, why we have it, etc.

Couldn’t you make up similar deep philosophical questions about race? What counts as a race, is race different from ethnicity? All the same questions about marriage would apply, too.

You’re correct to note they didn’t matter, because the important issue was equal protection under the law. Government guarantees on marriage had to be extended in a race-blind manner. But I’d say the same for gay marriage! The civil right of marriage ought to be extended in a sex-blind manner.

It’s trans issues which are the odd one out. They can get married, can use existing infrastructure. They’re staking claims on social prestige rather than securing some otherwise-inaccessible right.

I mean, I had a whole paragraph immediately before that one:

at the time that interracial marriage rose to prominence, the question was relatively simple (in comparison), and one that was reasonably easily cabined as a purely legal question. Everyone more or less agreed that race was basically a thing. Everyone more or less agreed on what marriage was. They just had to figure out what to do with these things.

I even said later:

I recall predicting (from my experience taking a queer theory class at the time) that, if anything, we were going to see that the decisions made in the past concerning things like interracial marriage were, not wrong, but woefully shallow, as the philosophical eye would no longer take things like "race" to be more-or-less agreed upon as mostly existing as a thing, and that it might become messier in the future.

So sure, nowadays, people are trying to ask more deep philosophical questions about race, along the lines of what you're talking about. But I don't think this was so apparent at the time.

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Even though their slippery-slope argument was pretty broad

Right, what I remember from the time was conservatives getting agitated over "changing the definition of marriage". It's an argument I found bewildering at the time, like bro, you can use whatever definition you want, but I recon that "marriage" defined as "a union between a man and a woman" was an important concept to them the same way "woman" defined as "adult human female" is important to a lot of women nowadays. The slippery slope argument applied to that was "if you can change that definition, what else can you change", and while it's true they focused on other ways the definition of marriage could be changed rather than the definition of "man" and "woman", given the reaction to the incremental hypothetical they were actually using, it's hard to blame them they didn't try something more radical.

If there’s not much continuity between the LGB and the T agendas, is it accurate to call them “further demands”?

I'm not sure I agree with the premise. Didn't some of the very same activist orgs that fought for the LGB move directly onto the T?

As for your other question, yeah, I guess. It’d be immoral, but not uniquely so.

Right, and I can respect that opinion, but I think it's inconsistent with his "the scale of the issue is so tiny" argument. If he expects the anti-trans side to concede the issue based on it's scale, I don't see why he shouldn't concede it as well based on the same reasoning.

I don't undertsand why the 'tiny minority' argument still gets play on here of all places.

The issue is not Lizardman's Constant. The issue is society needlessly and uncomfortably contorting itself to accommodate Lizardmen. I've said it elsewhere here, but trans activism has reached into my world on several fronts over the last decade, twisting up everything from hobby groups, to corporate politics, to the software I install prompting for pronouns. This is all possible even without even so much as sharing room air with trans person.

I may be a simpleton, but - there is something infuriating about the follow-up 'What consequences are you so worried about?'. And I'm really not sure in the specifics! Call it a hunch, but I think the officiated dissolution of the man/woman binary will manifest in a thousand indirect and different ways down to the level of how one socializes with other people. And the amount of confusion and irritation it produces will never abate. They're building a house without a ground floor, because they think floor boards are just ugh trivial.

The issue is society needlessly and uncomfortably contorting itself to accommodate Lizardmen.

I think this phrase conceals a lot of different things, not all of which should be considered in the same breath. All of the following are different:

  • A private software company deciding to include a pronoun prompt.
  • A private Hollywood movie studio deciding to include a trans character in their next movie.
  • The Federal government making discriminating against trans people in housing, public accommodation, employment, and banking illegal.
  • Companies doing the bare minimum to comply with Federal laws.
  • Companies going above and beyond to comply with Federal laws.
  • Your local hobby community having enough scolds to make it difficult to talk about trans people the way you think is most accurate.

I'm sure I could split out thousands of more specific scenarios, but you get the idea. My overall response would be that where "society" is doing something you don't like, it is important to distinguish between private individuals, groups of private individuals, private companies, or the government. If your complaints are about the first three, then I don't really know what to say. Society is allowed to drift from social norms you would find preferable. I don't like tipping culture in the United States, but I do participate in it in spite of that. You have to choose how much you're willing to interface with larger society, and dealing with the consequences if you step away from the most common social norms around you. You can make the choice to be the guy who never tips anyone out of some principle, but you'll deal with the social fall out of that choice.

If it's the government's actions, or their follow on effects then the answer is "simple", but not "easy." Organize, win over the hearts and minds of the voters, convince the Supreme Court to undo all the laws you hate. There are plenty of laws I don't love in their current form, but if they're relatively small burdens on me I don't spend a ton of time worrying about them. If Federal trans legislation is hurting you personally, then find specific places you can move the legal regime in your favor and work to make it happen.

I really wish we could have these conversations without somebody dropping the "Have you considered that society changes?" chestnut as if this had never occured to their interlocutor. I don't believe in a moral arc of the universe, that this world owes me or anybody anything, or that I will be anything more than insignificant dust and long-forgotten memories long before our universe blinks out. The world is nakedly and unashamedly unfair, and good guys don't always win. I am fully aware of the consequences for participating or abstaining from the social games society expects people to play. I understand that my future position in this new world ranges between softly smiling while keeping my thoughts to myself or the Principal Skinner meme should this state of affairs be permanent. I know that it requires organization and coordination to fight against. Half of the problem with the 'woke resistance' is getting coordinated at all before they buckle under their own ridiculousness or get sabotaged by a hostile media!

Just assume I have thought about this, and that I realize my own predicament. I'm sure you can appreciate that your appeal means nothing to somebody who believes they have legitimate concerns with this forced, artificially imposed consensus while they have years left on this rock. It's certainly not going to stop them from sharing those thoughts on a pebble-sized forum dedicated to that very purpose.

I appreciate that formal and informal 'trans support' manifests through different mechanics and pathways vis a vis public and private actors, but your distinctions just illustrate to me the messy, tangled wholeness of the issue. That a company is just forced to comply with the 'bare minimum' of federal laws imposed by activists - or the increasing set of secondary yet nonetheless important rules alternatingly concocted by and imposed upon every major corporate and media entity that functionally comprise a second government - does not soothe my ire, but speaks to the totality of the whole problem. You recall what Father Merrin said.

I've heard the "it's only a few kids on college campuses" argument, and while I was happy enough to think it would stay in America and only in certain circles, next thing I knew I was getting people putting their preferred pronouns in work emails. It's not something mandated by government or law, which makes it even more insidious; it's people in certain areas or positions who feel that they should, if they believe in all the guff, or that they have to, if they don't, do this thing to signal that they are good greengrocers who know what signs to put in the window.

This thing I was told would never be imposed on anyone, would never become widespread, and was just "a few kids/academics on college campuses in the USA".

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Also a very minor note, but I'll point out that about half the over-30 trans people I know have biological children, through one route or another.

it was moving onto trans politics, leading up to the modern day "trans kids", trans "women" in women's sports, and so on. At this point, I've basically been convinced that I was wrong, the slippery slope people were completely right, and that simply winning on the one cause and then moving on with normalcy was never an option.

Can we actually draw that thread though? Are the advocates for gay marriage, exactly the same advocates as for trans rights? (which is pretty nebulous itself). Is the slope slippery or are there multiple overlapping staircases, such that gay marriage could be rolled back tomorrow and that we would have trans advocates focusing on their issues and gay marriage advocates focusing on their issues?

The Progressive alliance is basically a mish-mash of groups that were (or perceived themselves to be) marginalized and mistreated under older more conservative social conventions. The average black person is not all that on board with homosexuality (compared to white progressives) so it certainly isn't homogenous.

Is what you are seeing with trans issues the result of a somewhat successful gay campaign OR a symptom of the amount of power that the conservative stack lost, such that even the smaller groups in the progressive stack can punch above their weight, such that rolling back gay marriage in and of itself would have no impact on that debate (other than as a symptom of the regrowth of conservative power).

See my reply here. I don't know.

Absolutely a reasonable position. Personally I think its a "rising tide lifts all boats situation" when one side is doing better all the various causes and clusters of causes have a better chance, but if you remove one boat, its not likely that the situation changes much.

The thing for me is that, by that analogy, the thing that conservatives of yesteryear were fighting against was that rising tide that was lifting the one boat called "gay marriage" and claiming that by raising the tide to lift that one boat, we'll also inevitably lift other boats that we don't want lifted. Accompanied with the argument was that you can't just install hover jets onto that one boat and lifting that boat inevitably requires raising the tide (i.e. the argument that eliding any boundary between gay and straight marriage necessarily pushes social norms away from people taking responsibility to do their duty to keep human society running and existing and more towards self-discovery and liberation).

There are arguments to be made on whether or not the current trans movement is a good thing or a bad thing. But in my view, all the conservatives whose slippery slope arguments I poo-poo-ed back in the day have every right to say "I told you so" to my face now, as their slippery slope did come true. We could try to draw a thread from gay marriage to the current trans movement, and I'd bet we could even do it pretty well, but my view is that that's largely irrelevant. Because the point was never about gay marriage specifically, it was about the principles underlying - and necessarily implied by - the push for gay marriage.

And that is reasonable! But it isn't a slippery slope. If coalition A wins it will do coalition A things is a separate problem, than if Issue 1 from coalition A wins then Issue 2 from coalition A will casually follow.

For example Coalition B could carry out issue 1, which says nothing about whether issue 2 will happen.

Because the boats can move to different sides of the harbor. Just as happened with white rural working class voters over the last decade or more.

Practically does it make a difference? If you are a politician yes, because you may be able to beat your opponent to the jump, and get a pragmativ "win". I would agree that practically to the average person who doesn't like gay marriage or trans "rights" then it is mostly a moot point. But it is a distinction we should look at from an analysis pov if we are trying to be accurate.

And that is reasonable! But it isn't a slippery slope. If coalition A wins it will do coalition A things is a separate problem, than if Issue 1 from coalition A wins then Issue 2 from coalition A will casually follow.

For example Coalition B could carry out issue 1, which says nothing about whether issue 2 will happen.

Because the boats can move to different sides of the harbor. Just as happened with white rural working class voters over the last decade or more.

The way I see it, the point that the conservatives can rub in my face, i.e. the slippery slope in this situation, is that these coalitions aren't arbitrary. It's that Issue 1 necessarily implies something similar to Coalition A, because of the principles encoded into Issue 1. This doesn't necessarily imply that Issue 2 will causally follow, but it does imply that some Coalition similar to Coalition A that wants Issue 2 (more accurately, Issue X, since we can't determine beforehand that it will be Issue 2 specifically) will gain greater credibility and more ability to get that Issue 2 implemented.

That is, the conservatives who were telling me, "Sure, those boats could move to different sides of the harbor. But they won't. And here's why," can rub it into my face. It's probably not much of a consolation, but I suppose they can at least enjoy having company in their misery.

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Can we actually draw that thread though?

They used the thread to sew new stripes on the rainbow flag. Maybe if they were evicted from the rainbow I'd have an easier time not thinking one led to the other.

Well thats the nature of a coalition. It still doesn't mean that gay marriage led to trans rights. Like if evangelical Christians and neo-liberal free marketeers are in the same Republican coalition it doesn't mean that financial deregulation leads to an abortion ban.

You have to actually be able to draw the line directly. I think thete are fractures bmbetween the LGB and the T that are being somewhat hidden by the fact of perceived right wing antipathy towards both.

I'll point out in the UK, a Conservative government explicitly legalized gay marriage and there is some significant anti trans (from their pov) headwinds. Some of that could be attributed to loss of support as parts of the coalition get what they want explicitly codified in law by a right wing government, rather than getting it through the Supreme Court (and therefore being more tenuous).

If thats the case legalizing gay marriage might be the opposite of a slippery slope. Depending on how and by whom it is done.

right wing government

Perhaps to the right of Labor or the LibDems (are they still a thing) A right wing government would probably not have passed gay marriage.

Many free-market Republicans talk openly about a compromise position on abortion, typically accepting upto viability.

I've seen the TERF distance themselves from the T, the LGB still seem to invite them to all their events and platforms.

coalition

If your coalitions purpose was bank robbery and another member of the coalition shoots and kills a guard, your still up for felony murder even if your part of the coalition only wanted the money.

I understand your claim that gay marriage didn't lead to trans. People will judge you by the company you keep.

The company you keep is an entirely different claim than a causal one though. And i'm not sure from the point of political coalition how useful it even is. It is when you look at things personally of course.

I understand that the average neo-liberal Republican is probably not too worried about abortion, but because of the way their coalition is built the evangelical Christian wing is.

But if i oppose banning abortion, pragmatically my best option might be to peel that coalition apart. Not force it closer together. Horse trading is the life blood of politics. Maybe you aren't exactly in favor of gay marriage, but if it guts the support of a coalition opposing you, then if you think its going to happen anyway you might as well get the credit.

The next Labour government with a reasonable majority was going to legalize gay marriage. Just a matter of time. This way, the Conservatives get to claim that forever. Now if you really hate the idea of gay marriage maybe that isn't worth it. But pragmatically taking credit for something that was going to happen anyway can be one way to defang your enemies.

Politically in the US, if Republicans could pass a gay marriage bill in exchange for robbing momentum (through a whole bunch of activists no longer worrying about it), for further change and in exchange for getting say 8 years of dominance it doesn't matter about the company those activists kept until then. Exploit the weakness in the coalition.

Of course if you don't think that will work, or it will lose you more than you gain then don't do it, but don't let thinking about coalitions like individuals cloud your judgement. Political coalitions aren't friends, they are alliances of convenience and those can be changed. Japan once sided with Nazi Germany, now it is a close US ally. White rust belt Americans used to skew Democrat. By your lights should their change not be accepted because of the company they used to keep?

The company you keep is an entirely different claim than a causal one though.

They're adjacent with some overlap, and the line of responsibility / credit is clear to many if not you. Having had some success the LGB brought the T inside the tent. If the LGB were still fighting for marriage state by state would T be in the tent? The pedos still want to be in the tent too but that's still too far for many of the LGBT. If I lend you my pirate crew and pirate ship to commit piracy that makes me the pirate king. You're going to tell the pirate king he's not causing piracy? Did Fagin not cause pickpocketing? You're view of 'causal' seems conveniently narrow. How proximate must the antecedent be for you to accept 'cause'?

Reasonable mainstream conservatives should view abortion as an issue best handeled by the state legislatures not the federal government, we're a republic. The issue is emotional for many, they're frequently blind to less emotive arguments. The MSM presentation doesn't help. Baby murdering sluts vs. Liberated Women is a framing that only serves to divide and cedes ground to the crazies.

Conservatives get to claim that forever.

This only works until actual conservative voters have somewhere else to go. You can see this in the rise of conservative populism. I'm not sure the UK conservatives owning gay marriage is the win for them they think it is. CINO isn't as good as RINO. Uniparty is the descriptor I prefer. Who was defanged? The perception by many is the fangs just moved on to T. Do the activists ever go home after their win? There are always some new downtrodden to elevate. Were people sure at the time that gay marriage would lead to trans, probably not, trans was even smaller then. I recall suggestions that bestiality, pedos or polygamy would be next. Furries, T and polyamory would be near enough for many. The machine built for gay marriage is now in use by T.

Political coalitions aren't friends

Not they way it's frequently done, but there's nothing to preclude it. You'd just need a smaller tent. If you can't live your principles, what's the point in 'winning'.

White rust belt Americans used to skew Democrat.

Rapid demographic change and the destruction of your industry can cause people to understand the nature of the tent they're in.

By your lights should their change not be accepted because of the company they used to keep?

Repentant sinners are welcome. They can be excellent members as they've seen it from the other side. Nobody knows alcoholics like an ex-drunk. Reformed degenerates are best to keep the active degenerates out.

That speed at which that ugly pattern was adopted and incorporated was certainly something.