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Culture War Roundup for the week of March 25, 2024

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His Excellency Joe Biden has declared March 31st a certain ‘Transgender Day of Visibility’, which has generated derision due to its simultaneity with the Western date of Easter Sunday. If this happened outside of Holy Week, it likely would have prompted the regimented groans from the right side of the isle, and that would be that; coincidentally, however, this ‘holiday’ (which has been declared such since 2009) happened to fall on the holiest day of the year for Christians, the group which is perhaps the biggest collection of resisters against transgenderism. Naturally, this has created a lot of controversy. Trump and his team even issued a statement calling for Biden to apologize for his ‘blasphemy’, which is probably a unique event all things considered (when’s the last time you’ve heard of a politician smear another one for blasphemy? In 2000+24, no less?) Such personalities as Caitlyn Jenner and Musk have responded with similar negative attitudes.

Now, I would bet dollars to doughnuts that Biden didn’t make this decision himself. It was definitely his team which did this, in order to show his support for the ‘marginalized’, even as he has declared this day one for ‘visibility’ years before in his term. It raises the question, though, on whether or not Biden actually has these thoughts of support for these people and their identities, with this support even superseding the remembrance of Christ’s resurrection (keep in mind that Biden is an 80 year old ‘devout Catholic’, allegedly). I really doubt he does, but I’m more interested in what he actually thinks about these developments. And, how would his team react to the fact that the black community would significantly oppose this, given their high rate of religiosity? Does Biden still think this is 1969, where if you were transgender you would probably lose your job and become exiled from all institutions in society? Thoughts?

Is there a reading of this that doesn't involve intentional spite on some level? Someone involved here surely knew what they were doing

No, calling Biden “his excellency” definitely involves intentional spite.

By the administration. Yes. The holiday was declared by some trans right activist years ago. It was a date on the calendar while Easter has its day move around.

The administration therefore couldn’t ignore a trans-holiday because too many of there people are trans religion but a lot of others are Christian religion. To celebrate trans day on a different day would disrespect trans-religion. So they were in a no-win position. The administration didn’t pick today for a trans religion holiday but it was assigned by trans religion.

Flying the trans flag during pride month at the Vatican Embassy was in my opinion far more disrespectful than what they did today which was a no-win situation for the politicians. That was truly disrespectful and obviously they would not try doing something like that in Saudi Arabia.

I can’t really describe trans/pride as anything other than a religion and since Scott describes it that way it feels like an acceptable view here. The politicians are just in a hard spot where they have two religions claiming the same day and the two religions both hate each other.

Edit: Lists of pride/trans related days some guy compiled on twitter. Significantly increasing my priors to spite. If they have this many holidays it’s a lot easier to not celebrate one of them when it’s another groups main holiday.

https://twitter.com/jarvis_best/status/1774115482255106479?s=46&t=aQ6ajj220jubjU7-o3SuWQ

So they were in a no-win position.

Joe could have ignored it. Joe could have wished a happy dual celebration of Easter and trans pride day. Joe could have not banned religious themes from Easter egg contests for military families at the same time.

To be fair, the statement about trans pride day was on March 29, while today he put out an Easter message in which he said the following:

Jill and I send our warmest wishes to Christians around the world celebrating Easter Sunday. Easter reminds us of the power of hope and the promise of Christ’s Resurrection.

As we gather with loved ones, we remember Jesus’ sacrifice. We pray for one another and cherish the blessing of the dawn of new possibilities. And with wars and conflict taking a toll on innocent lives around the world, we renew our commitment to work for peace, security, and dignity for all people.

From our family to yours, happy Easter and may God bless you.

Joe could have not banned religious themes from Easter egg contests for military families at the same time.

The Egg Board says this had nothing to do with Biden, though?

"The American Egg Board has been a supporter of the White House Easter Egg Roll for over 45 years and the guideline language referenced in recent news reports has consistently applied to the board since its founding, across administrations."

The embassy to the Vatican is in Rome, Italy. They didn't fly the trans flag inside Vatican City.

Is it really a difference? Vatican Embassy versus embassy to the Vatican?

I guess one implies it’s in the Vatican but it’s still a middle finger to a Priest whose going to the Embassy to deal with something.

Yes. The flagpole the trans flag was flown from primarily belongs to the Embassy to Italy, which is co-located with the administratively separate Embassy to the Holy See and Rome branch of the Embassy to the UN. A quick google suggests that the Embassy to the Vatican participated in Pride Month by hanging a rainbow flag (not the trans flag) above the entrance.

Transgender Day of Visibility

2009 sounds about right. You can tell this idea is from the early stages of the "woke" wave that crested from 2013-2021. It is a completely sincere expression of what the classical MtF desires above all else, positive attention. The point isn't the internal experience of the trans person himself, the point is the internal experience of everyone else as they are forced to deal with the "visibility" of trans people. Note the conspicuous lack of the modern pretexts that have evolved to counteract later anti-woke resistance. Indeed, the entire point is to not invoke tropes like anti-trans violence.

"Unlike Transgender Day of Remembrance, Crandall said, the day of visibility aims to focus on all the good things in the trans community, instead of just remembering those who were lost. 'The day of remembrance is exactly what it is. It remembers people who died,' she said. 'This focuses on the living. People have told me they love Remembrance Day but it really focuses on the negative aspect of it. Isn't there anything that could focus on the positive aspect of being trans?'"

He could have just said nothing. “Transgender day of visibility” is about as relevant as national pancake day. If national pancake day fell on Christmas, or maybe Labor Day or Memorial Day or something, it seems likely that Scranton Joe would simply say nothing about it

I don’t think these things are actually as benign as some are suggesting. Somebody with the power to speak on behalf of the president made this decision; they haven’t been fired, there has been no apology.

Perhaps there should be a national “draw Muhammad day” that coincides with the beginning of Ramadan. Would it be considered benign if president Trump sent out a statement (regardless of if he typed it himself or not) wishing everybody a happy draw Muhammad day?

Draw Muhammad day would actually be aligned with American values. Maybe this should be a new 4th of July tradition that the president celebrates? Presumably tolerant liberals would just call this a “coincidence”.

Are you contending that, right now, transgenderism is primarily motivated by sticking it to Christianity, in the way that a Draw Muhammad Day would be wrt Islam?

I'm not sure. There definitely does seem to be a thread of "we aim to radically alter society", and this case that society is a Christian one.

There is a draw Muhammad day and at least two would-be Muslim mass shooters were themselves shot trying to shoot up a draw Muhammad celebration. With bonus the FBI had a hand in the almost-enacted mass shooting and a couple FBI agents actually followed the terrorists on order to observe the shooting.

What’s with “Scranton Joe?” Is it meant to be some sort of crack about his humble roots?

Biden refers to himself as this; yes presumably to try and create an image of somebody with humble roots.

On one level, it's a silly, ridiculous political "scandal" for a slow news week.

On another, there is a lot of signaling going on there, on both sides. Politics isn't about politics, and this is as valid a battleground as any. It is interesting to see the positions being taken.

Boosting a niche thing like trans awareness over the prime holy day for (supposedly) 65% of the country is a little on the nose from a public relations standpoint. Christian-bashing has become so prevalent on the left that they sometimes forget it's a majority of the country they look down on.

For what it's worth Easter happens on a different day every year (somewhere within a ~30 day interval), while "Transgender Day of Visibility" happens on March 31st every year, was created in 2009 by activists, and was endorsed by Biden in 2021. Easter won't occur on March 31st for at least the next 25 years (sorry, my chart only goes to 2049).

The point being: the only "choice" Biden made in the last 3 years was to continue to proclaim his support for transpeople on a holiday he had already endorsed in the past, rather than staying conspicuously silent. "Democrat politician refuses to endorse leftwing holiday he's already endorsed three times" would certainly be something to talk about.

If "Biden endorses holiday for the 4th time (but this time it's on Easter!)" merits relitigating The Motte's favorite hobbyhorse, that says more about The Motte's desire to relitigate it's hobbyhorse than it does about any novel development in the real world.

Easter won't occur on March 31st for at least the next 25 years (sorry, my chart only goes to 2049).

Next occurrence is in 2086 (62 years hence).

Yes, but issuing the formal proclamation and ignoring that Obama already made March 31st a federal holiday for Cesar Chavez, from the Democratic president who was Obama's VP, is not the usual state of affairs. Personally, I don't think Biden had much to do with this announcement, apart from the usual 'yeah sure we endorse this' and it was the munchkins in the Adminstration who put this out there.

I must see what the announcement for last Trans Day was; okay, looks like this year is a Significant Anniversary, which is probably why they pushed the boat out:

In 2021, U.S. President Joe Biden proclaimed March 31 as a Transgender Day of Visibility, stating in part, "I call upon all Americans to join in the fight for full equality for all transgender people." Biden was the first American president to issue a formal presidential proclamation recognizing the event. Biden issued a similar proclamation a year later, welcoming Jeopardy! contestant and transgender woman Amy Schneider to the White House and announcing a set of measures intended to support transgender rights.

2024 marks the 15th anniversary of Transgender Day of Visibility with celebrations planned across the globe.

Yes, but issuing the formal proclamation and ignoring that Obama already made March 31st a federal holiday for Cesar Chavez, from the Democratic president who was Obama's VP, is not the usual state of affairs

You mean in 2021?

First, I thought there was already a Trans Day of Visibility, I see it plastered all over social media enough.

Second, while it's tin-eared to do it on Easter Sunday, it won't be Easter at the same date every year.

Third, others have pointed out that March 31st is already Cesar Chavez Day, and even better it was made a federal holiday by Obama, so seems like somebody is not being totally au fait with Latinx Representation 😀 I'm not blaming Joe for that one, I think all he had to do with this was "Sign this piece of paper we put in front of you, Mr. President. No, you don't need to read it, just sign it".

As far as I'm concerned, these kind of special days are on a par with National Potato Day or International Toothbrush Month so I don't care one way or the other, I will continue to live in happy ignorance. I imagine the La Raza set will be a bit miffed, though, and I'm quite happy to sit back with the popcorn as the Latinx and Trans sets of Kilkenny Cats start hissing and spitting at one another.

The only celebration was New York lighting up significant landmarks in trans pride colors.

Cesar Chavez Day is not a Federal holiday, it's just a day proclaimed by the President. Nothing's closed, no one has to do anything, it's just hot air.

It is a holiday in California - at least the schools are always off that day.

Ah, I thought it was. So all these proclamations are indeed just hot air? No day off? Nothing official? So there's not really any reason the White House PR team couldn't have waited until Monday to announce this, seeing as how Sunday was Easter Sunday?

They both seem to be ranked somewhere below Pi Day, where at least people bring pies into schools, and way below Cinco de Mayo, where people not only consume taco and margaritas, but also play music and make decorations.

It's probably because they're such BS holidays that they weren't transferred to Monday or Friday. A real federal holiday would have been.

There are more of these holidays that get limited governmental recognition than you can shake a stick at. Some congressmen proposes that March 22 is National Inland Waterway Workers Safety Awareness Day and it passes unanimously by joint resolution and nobody pays attention to it except a few trade organizations that want do distribute safety leaflets.

Perhaps the Latinx trans persons will feel extra validated. Cheers for intersectionality.

His Excellency Joe Biden

I believe you mean Generalissimo Biden.

Thoughts?

I'm not a theologist, but I'm pretty sure this means that until next Easter only trans people get into heaven.

No, seriously. You yourself note that this is a coincidence. I do find it to be a humorous example of how Republicans will complain about grievance politics while being its most prominent practitioners.

His Excellency Joe Biden has declared March 31st a certain ‘Transgender Day of Visibility’

It makes a sort of sense. Jesus died for their sins too. They are obviously burdened by this disordered behavior. Perhaps through 'visibility' they'll find shame and repentance, that they may go and sin no more.

That would only make sense if it were “Atonement Day of Visibility”, followed by “Judgment Day of Visibility”, because we would need to increase the visibility of the Transfigured rather than the transgendered.

I'm hopeful that atonement and judgement happen during pride month.

I had earlier classified Biden as an "old dog who still knows some tricks" in his vigorous efforts to keep petrol prices low.

I now retract this statement. What on Earth are they even thinking? This is political incompetence of the highest order. Surely they know that this is going to poll negatively? Does Trump win Hispanics by 20 points this time? The inmates are running the asylum.

I don't think Biden did have anything to do with this (apart from the 'sign the paper' bit). This is what people were talking about a while back here where they don't care if Biden is old and losing it, just re-elect him and the Administration will do all the actual governing.

Well, here's the Administration doing the governing, how do you like them apples?

As was mentioned, this clashes with Cesar Chavez Day so congratulations on pissing off at least part of the Hispanic voting bloc, and it certainly does seem like some of the shadowy figures doing the real governing while Joe is the figurehead do have an agenda going on. They just got careless this time round and stepped on the toes of one of the other "we are the party of women, gender and sexual minorities, and brown and black people" groups under the umbrella.

As was mentioned, this clashes with Cesar Chavez Day so congratulations on pissing off at least part of the Hispanic voting bloc,

Actual US Hispanics give so few shits about Cesar Chavez day that a new system of measurement would have to be invented to discuss it properly, although something like 98% celebrate Easter in the classic American manner with eggs and rabbits and children in cute church outfits with lots of pastels, that you prepare for by eating fish and chips(sorry, 'fish fry') at a buffet. Cesar Chavez day and trans day of visibility are both strictly activist holidays that rank below national pizza day and national slurpee day for the general public, and on par with pi day for the relevant activists, neither of whom will defect anytime soon.

As was mentioned, this clashes with Cesar Chavez Day so congratulations on pissing off at least part of the Hispanic voting bloc

Has the Hispanic voting bloc raised a stink, honestly?

As was mentioned, this clashes with Cesar Chavez Day

Holy shit! They are even dumber then I thought. Political malpractice.

Yes, I think this is clear evidence that Biden himself is a non-entity and that his staff is running the show. No one who has ever run for office would ever be so out of touch.

You are over egging this entirely. Approximately no-one cares about Cesar Chavez day, and 31st March has been both for quite some time without any problems. And it was established after the day of visibility itself (2009 vs 2014)

I predict this has basically zero impact on political outcomes and calling it political malpractice is exaggeration to the point of nonsense.

I don't know if Biden was involved or not (experience says he likely said yes when asked by a staffer should we do x) but its essentially about as small a deal as you can imagine.

All the actual polling, shows this issue to be an issue nobody outside of two parts of society care about - the normal reactionaries who hate all change and very specifically, conservatives and centrists who live in D+70 districts. Since a lot of conservative and centrists writers live in those areas, it becomes this supposed huge issue, all while in the real world, there's like 20 kids in all of Utah who supposedly want to play on the "wrong" high school sports team.

This doesn't mean people in red states care or are pro-transgender, it's that simply saying something is connected to transgenderism is enough to move their vote. They tried that in the various abortion referendums as a scare tactic, and it didn't work.

I suspect the people who came up with this have no idea anyone would object; they probably don't even know any "Easter Worshippers", aside maybe from their deplorable great-uncle.

Joe Biden was VP to a politician who emerged from the universe of big-city political machines run out of Black churches, and won the Democratic primary against several progressive candidates who were both more charismatic than him, largely based on the support of those same machines. Black Christians worship on Easter Day in the same ways as white ones, except given the increase in evangelical self-ID among white Republicans who wouldn't darken a church door, they are probably more likely to show up.

From the statement:

But extremists are proposing hundreds of hateful laws that target and terrify transgender kids and their families...

That highlighted phrase has become not just normalized, but sacralized on the left with the rise of "protect trans kids". Almost no one had heard of this term until a decade or so ago, then it suddenly started picking up around the time Trump took office, and now searches for it have increased sharply (see Google trends here. This is just absolutely wild to me how quickly this term has taken hold and how quickly people seem to have come to believe that this is something they pretty much always thought, that it's a good and normal thing, that this is medical care, and only a bunch of hateful extremists could think otherwise.

But pause. What exactly are "trans kids"? On one hand, I am assured that no one is doing irreversible damage to children, but on the other hand, I am to understand that there is a distinct category of people that it would be hateful to not put on courses of hormone therapy to alter the development of their physiologic gender. I don't understand how people are capable of holding these ideas in their heads simultaneously and that they've adopted these ideas that are so new, so utterly untested consequentially as not just right, but obviously morally right and opposed only by a bunch of bigots. My impression is that for quite a few of these people, they would be unwilling to clearly answer the question, "what are trans kids?" without getting evasive and yet protecting that category is a moral imperative.

I am disturbed.

they would be unwilling to clearly answer the question, "what are trans kids?" without getting evasive and yet protecting that category is a moral imperative.

I have as much of a bone to pick with the trans activists as the next skeptical guy here but you're failing the intellectual Turing test spectacularly if you don't know what their answer is. In most of their their worldviews(there are several different factions with different answers) there is an intrinsic 'trans' quality that some people are born with. Every trans adult was once a trans child. The 'trans' quality frequently causes kids great distress around puberty because a central element of the condition is feeling as though they should have the body of the opposite sex and puberty greatly exaggerates these differences. If all of this was true and we could without error identify trans people in their youth it naturally follows that we should intervene and try to alleviate this condition through puberty blockers and cross sex hormones or at the very least allowing them to adopt the social social habits of the opposite sex. They further think that trans people are frequent targets of bullies and harassment.

I happen to be skeptical about the whole concept of trans as a quality and even granting it doubtful at our ability to diagnose it reliably in youth but their position and reasons for taking the stances they do are not mysterious.

In most of their their worldviews(there are several different factions with different answers) there is an intrinsic 'trans' quality that some people are born with.

Yes, and what is that quality?

The 'trans' quality frequently causes kids great distress around puberty

Frequently? So not always? So what else can we use to judge if a kid is "trans"? Dysphoria is hugely problematic (given kids desist) but at least concrete.

If we grant that there is an innate quality that we can easily distinguish, there is no problem. The point is that nailing this down in some definitive way seems to be difficult

Just as, if we accept that there is a trans-inclusive category called "women", there is no fundamental problem. Yet some random Daily Wire dad who dresses like an actuary has driven left-wingers into a frenzy trying to get an answer to this basic question.

This is a microcosm of this whole debate. All of this sounds good in the abstract. Once you start discussing it you not only get tough questions from traditionalists, but even feminists who ask how the markers of this innate quality are not regressive (it often boils down to stereotypes).

The above poster had a clearly wrong understanding of what trans advocates believe if they think they can't justify the term 'trans kid', they can. Whether the rest of the world view is actually reasonable is a different question.

If you tell me you believe in fluxberries and can define it and therefore I should do what you want but:

I have to wonder to what degree you believe you think you can justify belief in fluxberries - certainly you seem to believe in a distinct way to how you believe in say...policemen, or fish.

I don't see how OP's original point about the reluctance to square this doesn't apply:

My impression is that for quite a few of these people, they would be unwilling to clearly answer the question, "what are trans kids?" without getting evasive and yet protecting that category is a moral imperative.

Like, we know for a fact that some already do this with "woman", that one is not even debatable because Kentaji Brown did it in front of Congress - and all the same problems apply there. I'm supposed to grant extra charity on "trans child"?

You say:

You actively try to bully, discredit or destroy people who demand a coherent definition or raise questions about why this a slightly different colored berry is not, in fact, a "fluxberry"

OP said:

I have as much of a bone to pick with the trans activists as the next skeptical guy here but you're failing the intellectual Turing test spectacularly if you don't know what their answer is

I happen to be skeptical about the whole concept of trans as a quality and even granting it doubtful at our ability to diagnose it reliably in youth

I don't think OP is one of the people bullying and destroying.

Did you overlook when I said I don't hold these beliefs? I don't want to go into detail on any of these individual critiques because 1) it's out of scope for pointing out that the original person I was responding to was totally failing to model their theory of mind and 2) there are several different groups of trans activists that would approach each of these critiques from a different perspective. A "born in the wrong body" explanation can cleanly tell you what a fluxberry is and define it but that definition is going to be pretty different to someone who sees gender as some kind of a fluid thing. I don't hold any one of these sets of beliefs so I don't have an affinity for one or the other and am not very interested in litigated them out.

Did you overlook when I said I don't hold these beliefs?

I was using the generic you in the example. It was less about you holding the beliefs yourself, I disagreed on how much charity you were granting.

Like, I didn't assume that you personally were for bullying Rebecca Tuvel or any unfortunate who asked about transracials...

The steelman is that a lot of trans people are really obviously trans before they transition even socially (and sometimes even before they realize it themselves), and whether aware or not, a lot of these regulations can still impact them (or, less charitably, be reported as/forced into impacting them, a la Floridian teachers making news releases).

The ironman is that, while there's a lot of controversy about where and when the Correct minimum age for specific types of transition in minors is even among the broader LGBT movement, setting that as 18 for hormonal transition is a very far outlier, and that's been that way for a while. I'll point to Venus Envy as an example of early-2000s media covering transition of late high schoolers (and much of the exploration of the theme is focused on the contrast between Zoe going through conventional processes, and Larson as the problems of gray market self-administration), and that being completely unnoteworthy among readers.

That's not hugely honest to describe as kids, but it's not exactly dishonest, either.

The problem is that there's a genuine paradox, where the overwhelming majority of trans people can look back and honestly say it would have been better, easier, more complete, less traumatic, so on, if they'd realized and started transition just slightly earlier, and gotten just that small amount of more support. And then Zeno stumbles in like a drunken fool.

they would be unwilling to clearly answer the question, "what are trans kids?"

Don't ask me, some of the people I see holding firmly to the view that a six year old can know their gender and be rock-solid on they're a girl not a boy, are also firmly of the view that a forty year old man dating a twenty-three year old woman is grooming and taking advantage of her, don't we all know your brain is not fully mature until you're at least twenty-five, this is abuse!

that a six year old can know their gender and be rock-solid on they're a girl not a boy

I'm pretty sure my two year old nephew knows quite well he's a boy and not a girl, and if asked how he knew would, if he was in a cooperative mood, pull his diaper down and point.

No, this is ridiculous because of the insistence that gender is something not intuitively obvious, which is essential to the trans project. I can tell by the logic of 'duh' that Caitlyn Jenner is a very confused male. You need to invoke mental gymnastics which probably requires at least teenage-level mental gymnastics to comprehend in order to justify anything else.

some of the people I see holding firmly to the view that a six year old can know their gender and be rock-solid on they're a girl not a boy

I mean, I would imagine there'd be no problem with a six year old girl assigned female at birth who's adamant that she's a girl and not a boy (and that it'd be horrible parenting to insist that no, she really is a boy, she just needs to wait until she grows up and she'll understand that she's been a boy all along), and same for a boy assigned male who's sure that he's a boy, for instance.

Yeah, just like a girl insisting that the sky is green (as in the color of grass, rather than playing word games with color names) might indicate she has an eye problem, while a girl saying it's blue would not. We do exist in a physical reality that is not arbitrary in it's nature, and inaccurately interpreting it's signals tends to be seen as a sign something is wrong. For good reason, I would argue.

I don't accept the whole "assigned X at birth" activism, so yeah. I'm going to say that a female child raised as female knows she's a girl. A female child raised as female declaring she is really a boy? I'm waiting to see on that one.

I'm going to say that a female child raised as female knows she's a girl. A female child raised as female declaring she is really a boy? I'm waiting to see on that one.

There's not exactly a shortage of trans men who can point to an upbringing and environment that required and enforced pretty strict gender norms for behavior. To the level of 'not allowed to wear pants' sorta thing.

That's not "assigning female". It might be "assigning girl / woman", if you want to do the sex vs. gender thing, but I'd just call it "not being allowed to wear pants".

I may not understand what you mean by "raised as female", then.

Good question... something like "being told by everyone around her, that she's a female", I suppose.

More comments

On one hand, I am assured that no one is doing irreversible damage to children, but on the other hand, I am to understand that there is a distinct category of people that it would be hateful to not put on courses of hormone therapy to alter the development of their physiologic gender.

I don't think this is a hard circle to square at all. A person who believes this might believe that:

  • Social transition for younger trans kids, and hormone blockers for trans kids entering puberty do an acceptably low amount of long-term damage to their bodies to serve as a first line treatment until they age into adulthood and decide whether they want to undergo hormone treatments and cosmetic surgeries.

Whether I personally accept that as true, I think that is a perfectly consistent thing to believe. I'm sure there's a doctor out there somewhere immediately jumping to hormone treatments and cosmetic surgery for so-called trans kids, but I think that deviates from what even most trans activists say is the ideal course of treatment for minors.

That highlighted phrase has become not just normalized, but sacralized on the left with the rise of "protect trans kids". Almost no one had heard of this term until a decade or so ago, then it suddenly started picking up around the time Trump took office, and now searches for it have increased sharply

I don't think this is surprising at all. I think one of the most rhetorically effective attacks on trans people on the right has been stopping kids from transitioning (especially in states where they can already do it without parental consent.)

Unfortunately, right or left "think of the children" always seems to be an effective tactic. I think this is just an example of Toxoplasma of Rage in action. The idea of "irreversible damage" to kids bodies complements the idea of "driving trans kids to suicide." Together they are a recipe for endless back and forth argument, since both sides can position themselves as the ones most concerned about children's well-being.

I'm sure there's a doctor out there somewhere immediately jumping to hormone treatments and cosmetic surgery for so-called trans kids, but I think that deviates from what even most trans activists say is the ideal course of treatment for minors.

I see you are fortunately ignorant of Dr Yeet The Teets:

Her feeds often fill with photos tagged #NipRevealFriday, highlighting patients like Michael whose bandages were just removed. On her office windowsill sits a framed nameplate with one of her best-known catchphrases on TikTok: “Yeet the Teet,” slang for removing breasts.

Dr. Gallagher said she performed top surgeries on about 40 patients a month, and roughly one or two of them are under 18. Younger patients are usually at least 15, though she has operated on one 13-year-old and one 14-year-old, she said, both of whom had extreme distress about their chests.

The surgeon said that most of her patients, teenagers and adults alike, found her on TikTok. Her online presence has drawn sharp criticism from right-wing media, as well as from some parents and doctors who say she uses the platform to market to children.

A countrywoman of my own, it seems, so I apologise on behalf of my nation that she decided the quickest way to make a buck was move to the USA and do vanity plastic surgery.

The idea of "irreversible damage" to kids bodies complements the idea of "driving trans kids to suicide." Together they are a recipe for endless back and forth argument, since both sides can position themselves as the ones most concerned about children's well-being.

Assuming that these are not rival empirical claims that can be investigated, yes.

I don't know. I've seen several trans skeptical people bite the bullet on trans suicide rates.

The attitude seems to either be "the threat of trans kids committing suicide is emotional blackmail meant to shut down the argument from society and parents and force them to go through with mutilating their child against their will" or occasionally even "if they commit suicide at higher rates, then completely ignoring the issue solves the issue (through the self-removal of trans people from the population.)"

I mean, there's nothing stopping both claims from being true (to the extent they're empirically testable.) It could hypothetically be that social contagion and permissive doctors are allowing large numbers of cis children to ruin their bodies through transition followed by inevitable detransition, and that from a purely medical perspective the most effective way to prevent the suicide of enduringly trans children is to allow them to socially transition and take puberty blockers until adulthood when they can make the choice of whether to undergo hormonal therapy and cosmetic surgery. In that hypothetical world, the difficulty would be with separating cis children from trans children in a reliable way that minimized overall harm to both groups.

The empirical case can only solve so much without models of what is happening. The DSM-V's intro talks about how it models mental disorders, and it basically says that they are useful perspectives for treatment and not necessarily a single "real" disease with a known cause or set of causes. That is, ADHD is "real" to doctors using the DSM to the extent that it has been found that patients coming in complaining about a common cluster of issues, tend to have those issues resolved through a common cluster of treatments. And it's no different for gender dysphoria. When it comes to a gender dysphoria diagnosis today, there is no need for brain tests or an "intersex brain" hypothesis or anything more empirical than, "have they had 2 out of these 6 listed symptoms for at least 6 months?"

It is good that you are disturbed.

It’s a trope in fiction of malign regimes requiring that a logical paradox be treated as official truth, such as 1984’s “two plus two equals five”, but it has a long history before that of being used to illustrate fashionable or politically advantageous absurdities. And of course, the story of the Emperor’s New Clothes is a tool to immunize children against swallowing such propaganda.

I have proposed facetiously that there be four categories for clarity: male men, female men, male women, and female women. Of course, nobody who accepts the trans paradox wants this; they want “trans woman” to be treated as the same type of category as “red-headed woman” and “short woman”, and anyone who disagrees to be shouted down for their offensiveness.

I actually have a question for you. Would you be more okay with a regime like the Weimar republic had of transvestite passes? They were doctor's notes that smoothed out the act of cross-dressing in public for people, and made it less of a hassle to interact with authorities.

They’d instantly complain it was like Jews being forced to wear yellow stars, despite the historical incongruity. And I wouldn’t blame them. As I dive deeper into Ayn Rand’s minarchism, I see how little the government has the moral right to be doing in our lives. Emergency responders need to know which set of internal organs to expect, of course, and police should be able to describe suspects by apparent gender. But gay civil unions and divorces (as well as contractual poly families as described in Heinlein’s Stranger In A Strange Land) should be legal, as long as the state doesn’t force churches, wedding photographers, etc. to accommodate and celebrate things that are heretical to their faith or which fill them with loathing of repugnance.

I remember back before gay marriage was legalized in the United States. Toys were on color-coded aisles, blue for boys and pink for girls of course. In 2012, a group was founded in the UK called Let Toys Be Toys which pushes the agenda of the movement which urges toymakers, toy stores, publishers, and so on to reduce the gender coding of toys and the gender stereotypes in children's books, and toy playsets and commercials. Target later made national news by declaring it was no longer going to explicitly gender-code toy aisles.

This appeared to be an appeal to classical liberalism, in which the freedom of the individual is paramount. I agree with that part, though not the activism.

But almost as soon as the ink was dry on Obergefell v. Hodges in 2015, Cthulhu swam left and suddenly everything was about trans. It wasn’t long before we heard about parents using gendered toys to test which gender their toddlers or even babies identified as.

This was a whiplash pivot from freeing children from the “tyranny” of gendered toys to using the toys as a bed of Procrustes, carving their flesh to match which toy they picked, and declaring it genocide if they weren’t allowed to.

So no, I’d rather we not follow the literal Weimar Republic in using the power of the state to say who’s legally a woman. Who knows what the next lap of Cthulhu would be, and which moneyed powers would use it for lifelong medication paid by the state.

As I dive deeper into Ayn Rand’s minarchism, I see how little the government has the moral right to be doing in our lives.

I've read widely in the libertarian, minarchist and anarcho-capitalist traditions, and while I think they are often good at identifying certain problems of government, and I'm convinced by the arguments of Huemer's The Problem of Political Authority and Ellickson's Order without Law that these forms of government could potentially work in the real world, I still find myself more attracted to social democracy as a set of principles for organizing society, especially since it's actually been tried in the real world and seems to work reasonably well.

Don't get me wrong, I'm very sympathetic to the view of government that it is just the largest and most successful gang of thugs in an area, and that there is actually little moral grounding for the idea of political authority. But I'm a pragmatist and a consequentialist, and I'm more willing to shrug and say, "if the big bullies take care of the little bullies and make people more free, that's better than the alternative." I tend to agree with Noah Smith's argument in The Liberty of Local Bullies that there are many "intermediate" groups between the government and the individual that often have just as much power to reduce your liberty as the government does.

Imagine a devout Jehovah's Witness in high school refusing to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance because oaths are against their faith, and constantly being punished by their overzealous home room teacher for it. The only way to resolve the issue in a way that preserves the liberty of the Jehovah's Witness to not say the Pledge is to go over the teacher's head, via school administrators. But what if the school administrators support the teacher over the student? The only way to force the teacher to respect the student's religious freedom is to go a level higher to the government, and hope that they will force fines or other coercive measures in order to protect the student's rights.

I think for freedom to be meaningfully maximized you need a centralized government with enough state capacity to force the local bullies to respect freedom. Obviously, it would be foolish to claim that centralized governments with high state capacity always results in increased liberty, but most of the countries I can think of that are good places to live in are some form of liberal representative democracy with free markets and a government with enough state capacity to secure people's rights, and create money transfers and social safety nets (even the United States.)

I think for freedom to be meaningfully maximized you need a centralized government with enough state capacity to force the local bullies to respect freedom.

That’s the good intention which paved the road to Hell, the road we call the anti-trust laws. Alan Greenspan wrote a detailed yet eminently readable paper, later published by Rand, about the US government’s efforts to stop “monopolies” and the resulting unbridled growth of the bully state.

Outlaw unequivocally evil externalities, to be sure! But don’t let the law become non-objective, subject to whim or pull. If you give a man a gun and tell him he’s the defender of justice, pretty quickly he’ll think his job is to find the right time to pull the trigger. Find the proper size and role of government, and provide better incentives for it to protect the individual even at the cost of outcomes for pressure groups with sob stories or crocodile tears.

as well as contractual poly families as described in Heinlein’s Stranger In A Strange Land

You're thinking the of the line marriages and so forth in The Moon is a Harsh Mistress?

Stranger had polyamory too, was five years earlier, and (according to some accounts) kicked off the free-love Sixties as pop culture knows it.

https://old.reddit.com/r/polyamory/comments/23du3h/the_early_poly_movement_and_heinleins_stranger_in/

I want to ask, what is so wrong with being a guy in a dress? Women wearing trousers/pants were once upon a time regarded as "that is men's clothing" but now we accept that "no, it's women's clothing too". So for the people who want "skirt go spinny!", let's normalise it in the same way that dresses and skirts are men's clothing too. That way, you can wear the crop tops and fishnets and miniskirts and heels to your heart's content with nobody having to fight over "this is a woman, a Real Woman".

I acknowledge that for trans people, it's more than cosmetic. But it sure seems like a portion of the online set do treat it as "makeup and long hair and dressing like anime girls, wee-hee!" So let's go back to "this is a transvestite, not a transsexual/transgender person" and get that out of the way and sort out some of the confusion. Guys who like to dress up girly are not the same as "I feel that I am indeed a woman and suffer from not being recognised as such". Don't lump them all in the same basket and that way the more egregious cases won't have to be defended by the trans rights set for fear of "if we accept condemnation of this case, then we will be vulnerable to attacks on all trans people, so even if this is a fake, we have to support them".

You're not gender-fluid, Phil, you just like wearing dresses. Let's accept that some days you like to come to work in drag, that men can wear dresses the same way women can wear trousers, and nobody has to get into fights over 'are you a man or a woman or neither or both'.

I want to ask, what is so wrong with being a guy in a dress?

in theory, nothing. But I think these days porn has ruined it for everyone. It's like that Gore Vidal quote about how "turgid" belongs to the porn writers now. There's no way I can see a dude in a dress now and not think either (a) he's a trans person making a political statement or (b) this is fetish. Or possibly both.

There are in fact macho kilt makers, and if I had to bet of random trends to eventually become socially acceptable that would be one of my draft picks. That I personally think it's a rather dumb thing to get caught up on doesn't make the utilikilt a feminine garment; it would quite clearly look a bit butch on a woman whereas on a man it just looks a bit unusual and hipsterish. You know, goes with three days of stubble and an IPA.

Im going to plant my flag in the ground and say that dresses as a general class are awesome, and I would wear them in a heartbeat if it were socially acceptable to do so. By “general class,” I would include things like robes, kilts, togas, vestments, opera capes, and so forth. These are all much more aesthetically pleasing than modern clothing, even if they’re not always as practical. I hadn’t ever thought about it before, but your comment makes me wonder if some transgender people (those on the transvestite end of things) just feel the same itch and find that women’s dresses help them to scratch it. If so, it’s just too bad that wearing clothing styles of 200+ years ago just makes you look like a twat.

Actually, a second thought on that point: men used to enjoy dressing up in fancy dress in the Masons, Shriners, Knights of Columbus, etc., but now young men have no such outlet. Maybe they should.

I hadn’t ever thought about it before, but your comment makes me wonder if some transgender people (those on the transvestite end of things) just feel the same itch and find that women’s dresses help them to scratch it.

In that case, they are going way out of their way to alienate conservatives for no good reason, making it about sex rather than clothing. Even if people think it's kind of dorky to wear a robe just because you like it, almost no one thinks it's morally wrong, or threatening.

If someone were cool enough, they could probably bring back menswear that's open at the bottom. Women find kilts and such sexy (see, for instance, Outlander), but modern kilt-wearers weird, for reasons unrelated to the garments themselves.

I think that's because the people who wear kilts outside of, like, a renaissance fair, are in fact weird. Not due to anything about the garment; you can buy kilts that clearly look like men's garments, albeit hipsterish men's garments, but just because the man who makes that choice is at least a bit eccentric.

The people who wear them inside of a renaissance fair are weird too.

Isn't that just fashion, in general? Almost anyone who tries to wear a weird fashion is going to look weird because they are weird. The exception is rare, exceptional people who are very good looking, very charismatic, and very tuned-in to fashion trends, so they're able to pick up on new fashions and wear it and make it fashionable.

Women wearing trousers/pants were once upon a time regarded as "that is men's clothing" but now we accept that "no, it's women's clothing too".

We accept women wearing pants, but women don't wear pants in the context of getting sexual excitement from being women who wear pants. More generally, there's a difference between wanting to wear something of the opposite sex as clothes, and wanting to wear something of the opposite sex because it's from the opposite sex.

But I do think that transvestites have been folded in, as it were, to the transgender movement (the way Asperger's Syndrome became part of the autism spectrum) and that there is a sub-section of people who do want the dressing-up part but are not really transsexual, but now the push is on that "of course if you're not 100% gender compliant, consider that you're trans".

The contradiction around "gender roles are socially constructed, there's no such thing as gender" and the advice that "you can know if a child is trans by, for instance, if they pull open their onesie so it's like a dress" is irreconcilable for me. How do you match up the two parts? Gender is not real, and at the same time, strict gender roles show us if you're cis or trans.

One of the odder real life interactions I've had with a (presumably) trans woman was at a ranger station. Women rangers wear pants and don't wear makeup while at work. But this male one was wearing a skirt and makeup. Clearly he was making a statement, rather than trying to blend in with his female co-workers.

I want to ask, what is so wrong with being a guy in a dress?

This feels like it works best for middle and upper middle class trans/gender non-conforming (GNC) people, and terribly for every other kind of GNC person.

Whether it is technically legal or not, a male-bodied teenager who comes into a job interview with lipstick and a dress is likely not going to get the job. Good numbers are hard to get, but there's plenty of anecdotal accounts from trans people who had trouble finding work because they were non-passing trans people, and I don't think there's any strong reason to doubt their accounts even without good hard data on discrimination that shows up in "legible" parts of society.

I seriously doubt affirmative action, and DEI initiatives have made things much better for all trans/GNC people in this regard. (I mean, isn't it common knowledge that the biggest beneficiaries of affirmative action have always been cis white women?) Sure, a progressive tech firm might happily hire a trans woman as a software engineer, but for every company like that there's probably a dozen bodegas and fast food joints in more conservative areas that don't want to hire a teenage cross-dresser in their first job, and that lack of work experience might echo out into their job prospects down the line, amplifying the effects always present because of their status as a recognizable cross-dresser.

Part of the reason that Weimar transvestite passes looked interesting to me, is that they seemed like exactly the sort of legal vehicle that one could attach non-discrimination laws and cultural norms around. I know more libertrian or social conservative types would still have issues with such a regime, but I do think it would overcome the basic issue of "telling a societal lie" that many people claim is their main objection, and I think a world with transvestite passes and social norms of pronoun hospitality (enforced by social censure, and not legal censure) could get 90% of where trans advocates want things, and without any obvious "lies" or "metaphysical nonsense."

Whether it is technically legal or not, a male-bodied teenager who comes into a job interview with lipstick and a dress is likely not going to get the job.

I think it's going to be a lot easier to move the needle towards "okay, boys can wear dresses too" the way we moved it on "okay, girls can wear trousers too" than inflicting on society that we must believe "in fact biology not real, you can be a girl or a boy or a girlboy or a no-gender if you just feeeeel it".

Whether it is technically legal or not, a male-bodied teenager who comes into a job interview with lipstick and a dress is likely not going to get the job.

This doesn’t seem to me like that much of an imposition. “I really like wearing dresses, putting on makeup, and doing up my hair.” Okay, great, do that on your own time, not at work, and especially not at a job interview. I really like dressing casually, not caring what my hair looks like, and only shaving every couple of days, but I wouldn’t dream of going to an interview wearing blue jeans and sporting two days of stubble, and if I did, I definitely wouldn’t expect to get the job.

There’s this idea floating around that you need to be your “authentic self” 100% of the time, and everyone around you needs to accommodate that, which is absolute nonsense. Anyone who’s ever had a non-PC thought or who’s ever enjoyed a dirty joke knows he can’t get away with expressing either one at most work places, and everyone accepts that that’s right and proper. Or, going back to clothing, take that episode of The Office where Jim showed up in a tuxedo. The writers of that episode relied on the audience knowing that a tuxedo is inappropriate attire in an office setting. But if Jim had instead come in dressed like Marilyn Monroe, somehow that’s supposed to be fine. No. Wear a tux, wear a dress, or tell an inappropriate joke on your own time.

(And while I’m grousing about clothing, Zoomers need to stop wearing pajamas and athletic wear in public. Sweat pants are fine for lounging about the house, but there’s no reason you should be wearing them at work or out in public. Show some self-respect.)

At the moment it's inappropriate because that's not tolerated gender role behaviour. Great, if gender is socially constructed, let's change the roles. I hate makeup and wear as little as possible. If Johnny there loves it and religiously watches contouring tutorials on Youtube, let him doll himself up for work and let me just cover the worst of the red blotchy skin with a dusting of powder, and neither of us have to claim that "in fact I am a girl/in truth I am a boy" to be permitted to do this.

If after all that Johnny is still "no, I really am a girl", okay, let's examine that. But if Billy just wants to wear heels to work, that doesn't mean he's not a boy, then live and let live. I think it would be a lot less stressful on everyone, and we'd have the advantage that the narcissistic exhibitionists couldn't use the figleaf of "I am being oppressed" so we'd all know the ones who are trouble.

Whether it is technically legal or not, a male-bodied teenager who comes into a job interview with lipstick and a dress is likely not going to get the job.

Depending on the job, I'm going to go ahead and take the conservative position that, yes, this is inappropriate at an interview and should not be protected, along with very visible tattoos and facial piercings. There are still employers who think that it's cool anyway, just maybe not as mainstream. Especially the lipstick, if it's showy. This is partly aesthetics -- most men are not going to be able to pull it off with visual dignity. I don't have a problem with Billy Porter's tuxedo ballgown, because it looks cool. But, yeah, if it's a basically normal service job, and they come in looking like this, then they are absolutely signaling, not so much femininity, as high maintenance and potential social and legal trouble. In my experience, women who dress up and apply showy makeup significantly more than their female co-workers, especially if they are older and/or already married, also tend to be Bad News.

This is distinct from non-work contexts. People should have all kinds of freedom to wear lots of quirky things in general.

The transvestite pass seems either useless (nobody is currently arrested for cross-dressing), or oppressive towards everyone else ("pronoun hospitality" sounds like an outside force telling people what pronouns to use without the trans person having to do anything particular to win them over).

nobody is currently arrested for cross-dressing

While this is technically true, I don't assign 0 credence to the reports from some underclass trans black women that they get stopped by the police on suspicion of prostitution more often than the average person. While the so called "walking while trans law" law (properly the "loitering for prostitution" law) I'm most aware of in New York was repealed in 2021 after years of efforts going back to at least 2010, it wouldn't surprise me if there are several other jurisdictions where anti-prostitution laws accidentally catch innocent trans people in their nets.

I think part of the problem is that underclass trans women probably are more likely to be prostitutes, and a police officer is going to Notice The Pattern whether he wants to or not, and then he's going to act on his experiences and stop non-passing trans people more often as a result.

I fully admit that this issue could be solved with reforms to prostitution laws, without any reforms of existing legislation around trans people (including transvestite passes), but that doesn't mean it's not a problem for underclass trans women right now.

While this is technically true, I don't assign 0 credence to the reports from some underclass trans black women that they get stopped by the police on suspicion of prostitution more often than the average person.

Than the average person, sure. Than the average woman dressed similarly... I'd have to see evidence on that one.

underclass trans black women

I am absolutely willing to believe that things are really tough for this group in multiple ways, along all the intersectional axes.

I'm most familiar with South side Chicago, and was under the impression that current policing practices for underclass blacks were to try to do as little as possible within their own neighborhoods, but I suppose they would get unwanted law enforcement attention elsewhere in the city. I got some unwelcome cop attention for trying to visit a little beach next to a wealthy suburb, and I don't belong to any Concerning Groups. But I'm also slightly concerned that American police are currently being reformed into doing nothing at all, and if an innocent black trans woman is beat up by their local gang, I would probably like it to be investigated -- it seems like a very hard problem.

If you go check out some heavily progressive spaces, some seem to be against Biden for not being progressive enough. This is probably an olive branch to them in the lead up to the elections. Devout Christians are largely voting republican and I think he's gambling he will gain more votes than he loses. I'm guessing this is a pure election play. There is no way Biden's team didn't know that this would be antagonistic.

I don't know. This decision seems badly out of touch. Elite values are not the values of the average voter.

And while I'm sure white Boomers will be kept onside by NBC news fact checks that say "actually, Biden didn't make Easter into Trans Awareness Day", this group of mainstream news watchers is increasingly irrelevant.

Republicans can and should plaster this everywhere. How will this play in the black community? How will this play in the Hispanic community? This badly hurts the Democratic Party coalition and speeds along the party realignment.

Democrats might never win the Hispanic vote in a Presidential election again.

Democrats might never win the Hispanic vote in a Presidential election again.

Trump winning the Hispanic vote wouldn't surprise me. But this would have maybe 2% to do with trans awareness day(getting church attending Hispanic Catholics to vote as republican as similarly devout Hispanic protestants is a longstanding goal of GOP strategists and relatively reachable) and 98% to do with the price of groceries. There simply are not a lot of Hispanic values voters and none of them are swing voters anyways; most Hispanics are working class normies who happen to be of Latin descent. Neither based ultra-Catholics nor the next wave of DNC activist energy.

The Christians took over many pagan Holidays. Here’s a quick google summary. https://parkervillas.com/pagan-holidays-adopted-by-christianity/

Every upstart religion tries to conquor the old religion and that means incorporating the old Holidays so the plebs get their celebrations. This isn’t some accident we picked Easter it was bound to happen at some point. More a declaration of war.

If we all become trans religion then Good Friday is going under the knife day and Easter Sunday is rising a women.

Okay, that article is a bunch of crap. The first off the list is the good old "Christians took over Christmas from Sol Invictus" which is a story that has been examined in detail.

New Year's Day is not a Christian holiday. Indeed, the mediaeval 'New Year' started in March, on Lady Day (the feast of the Annunciation) and this is why tax years used to start in April in the British Isles. Fun fact, Tolkien fans, this is why the Professor has a lot of significant dates in LOTR happening on that date in March. In fact, New Year's Day is so not a Christian holiday, it's why the Presbyterians in Scotland pushed for it (as Hogmanay) to be the big celebratory winter festival, because traditional Christmas was too Papist.

Easter? Do I really have to go through the whole fucking "No, Eostre is not the goddess" thing once more?

'The Roman version of Halloween' is a new twist, but they got the facts backwards as usual.

May Day - day in honour of Maia, yes. Day repurposed to Mary, yes. But the entirety of May is dedicated to Mary, as are other calendar months dedicated to other Christian themes, e.g. June to the Sacred Heart, November to the Holy Souls. They're really scrabbling for some "Isis and Horus are the originals of Mary and the Child Jesus" parallels here, not to mention that if you're not Catholic, you are probably not celebrating May as the month of Mary. Plus, May Day as International Workers' Day has been dedicated to St Joseph the Worker

Epiphany - the Three Kings. And they take an Italian version of how it's celebrated and then claim that hey, them Christians picked it because it was sacred to Diana! You can well imagine that by now I have my head in my hands. Are we sure this isn't click bait produced by ChatGPT?

Diana is Befana is Santa Claus. Of course it is.

St John's Eve - Midsummer. I'm not going to deny that this was an existing festival repurposed by Christianity, but it's not as simple as "oh we're taking over the old gods".

This article suffers heavily from "we're selling villas in Italy, so we're going to link Italy = Catholicism, Catholicism = Christianity, Italian traditional festivals = Christian festivals = Pagan festivals" bias, since "All Christian feasts were originally Pagan" is something that hardcore Protestant apologists who were anti-Catholic, pagans who want to pretend that what they practice now is an unbroken link to the traditions of the past, and atheists all want to agree on, and it's a perennial favourite to trot out in the news media at Christmas and Easter "did you know these are originally Pagan festivals?" pieces.

Christians taking over pagan holidays in the case of Easter(or Christmas) is simply not true. There are historical records of Christian celebrating Easter from the very beginning and the date of Christmas is documented to have been calculated off of the feast of the annunciation.

To the extent that there are ‘pagan influences’, they’re utterly unrelated to the religious aspects of the feast and claims of the opposite make the most banal and parochial factual errors imaginable(no, Easter did not come from Ishtar, and this is easily disproven by the name of Easter in literally any language except English).

In any case the origins of Easter have nothing to do with trans activists’ inability to go literally five seconds without endless celebration on the most sacred day of the year of the largest religion in the country without threatening to kill themselves.

But as the OP says, this year it was on the date of Easter only coincidentally. Easter, as we know, is a movable fest - on a different date each year - while this particular day has been on March 31 since it was first declared in 2009.

Incidentally, one might note that Trump team itself managed to use the highly curious statement "Catholics and Christians" ("We call on Joe Biden's failing campaign and the White House to issue an apology to the millions of Catholics and Christians across America who believe tomorrow is for one celebration only — the resurrection of Jesus Christ"), which sounds like, well, that they don't consider Catholics to be Christians.

More likely Trump is making a play for the Catholic vote specifically because it was a relative weakness in 2020 and he has a specific pitch(basically Biden's surveillance of actual IRL tradcaths and democrats are extreme on abortion). The dominant strain of conservative protestantism in the US considers being a real christian to be the result of an individual conversion which is entirely compatible with Catholicism.

Saying "Catholics and Christians" as though they were separate groups isn't the way to play to the Catholic vote. That's an obvious sign that the messaging is from an Evangelical who thinks we're heretics. As for TradCaths, they're a marginal group who are almost all voting for Trump anyway. I was raised Catholic (though my dad is a non-practicing Protestant), served as a Eucharistic minister, went to a Catholic college where half the faculty were priests and a lot of the students were conservative Catholics (and many of my friends became priests, or at least seminary dropouts), continue to attend mass semi-regularly, and I didn't even know TradCaths were a thing until a few years ago. I may have known vaguely of them but I couldn't differentiate them from the wackaloons who think that every pope since the Middle Ages is an antipope or the other wackaloons who ordain female priests. I went to a Latin Mass once when on vacation in South Carolina and while it was an interesting change of pace it wasn't something I'd want to replace the normal mass, more an interesting historical artifact that deserves preservation. The idea that this is a growing force in the Catholic church seems more an invention of internet conservatives than anything that has any serious influence in the church at large. My mother's much more devout than I'd be surprised if she's even knows these people exist.

The dominant strain of conservative protestantism in the US considers being a real christian to be the result of an individual conversion which is entirely compatible with Catholicism.

It can be, but it doesn't have to be. The sacraments of initiation begin shortly after birth, and confirmation is more a question of "do you want to continue being Catholic and complete your initiation" than "do you accept the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal savior". Most practicing Catholics are born into it and just go with the flow, and conversions aren't dramatic and require months of RCIA classes. My SIL converted from some Evangelical strain about ten years ago and she said the difference between the churches is stark, most notably the lack of altar calls, which most Catholics find weird as they put people on the spot and create subtle pressure to conform; she liked being in an environment where she could sit and mind her own business without feeling pressured. When I was a kid my mum would take us to "Road to Jerusalem"-type living history things, some of which were at these kinds of churches. My mother was pretty naive about Evangelicalism since it didn't really have a presence in Pittsburgh when she was growing up, and she was pretty taken aback by how aggressive the calls for conversion were if there was a prayer service involved. These were in stark contrast to the mainline protestant services we'd attended for various reasons over the years that were different but not outside our expectations for what church was supposed to be like, e.g. liturgy slightly different, more/less singing, longer sermons, different prayers, etc.

they don't consider Catholics to be Christians.

A sore point with some Evangelicals/Fundamentalists, because of strong Protestant anti-Catholicism. The Roman Church fell away from True Christianity (date at which this happened varies, some will go all the way to Constantine) and filled the pure Gospel message with man-made additions and traditions. The Reformers stripped all these away to get back to True Christianity (again, dissension over which denominations remained too Papist-influenced) and so long as Catholics continue to deny the Reformation and hold to their false doctrines, they can't be considered true Christians.

The traditional strain of American Evangelicalism is definitely not a fan of Catholicism, but it competes with a more ecumenical strain that sees Catholics either as perfectly valid Christians who happen to be wrong about some things (as all sects of Christians consider the others to be), or at least good allies against things opposed to their shared fundamental beliefs -- precisely the sort of situation being talked about here.

The big issue is, with the rapid rise of non-denominational Protestantism in the US, there really isn't a term that you can use to describe all Protestants that they would actually identify with except "Christians." And even that gets pushback from the "I'm not a Christian, I'm a Christ-follower" people. By far, the largest Christian group in the US that seems to still identify with a particular Church first is Catholics, thus the clunky term "Catholics and Christians," which really just means "Catholics and undifferentiated Christians." The trend elsewhere, outside of the LDS church and confessional Protestantism, is towards rebranding churches as just "X Church," instead of "X Baptist Church" or "X Bible Church" or even "X Methodist Church." And it's important to note that, if anything, evangelical Protestantism is more friendly towards Catholics than confessional Protestantism, who have explicit and very long catechisms and creeds that speak firmly against Catholicism and come from a time of literal warfare between the two groups.

If Trump's team wanted to pander to Catholics (as it seems he wanted to do) while communicating more effectively, they might have said "Catholics and Christians of all kinds," or something like that. But as it is I don't think it was designed to exclude Catholics, but explicitly to include them. It just sounds very clunky.

don't consider Catholics to be Christians

Papists or Romanists are a specific sort of Christian. The ecumenicism of current year contrasts with the sectarianism of much of our shared history.

Latter Day Saints and Jehovah's Witnesses are frequently on the outside. Would Luther include them in the synagogue of Satan with the Papists?

I mean... if we're going to go with the "Christians and other" framing (which we really shouldn't but whatever), it seems to me that it should be "Christians and Protestants". Since Catholicism is both the OG and the largest Christian group.

Catholics claim to be the OG. Some of the eastern traditions would like a word.

They are the largest.

I'm not competent to litigate the dispute of whether the Catholics split from the Orthodox or vice versa, so I will leave that be. But either way, they are the OG in comparison to the Protestants.

Certainly older than the Protestents. I wasn't thinking specifically about the schism but I'm reasonably confident the churches in Antioch or Alexandria predate Rome. I'm not sure the distinction of first is particularly useful in this context.

One could say that Catholics are the oldest group celebrating Easter today anyway.

As I recall, the ACX poll has categories of Catholic, Protestant, and Other Christians (e.g. Eastern Orthodox). That seemed basically fine.

I haven't listened to the audio, but a likely interpretation from Trump's comment is: This is an important holiday! It's important to Catholics! And it's important to other Christians too! That seems in keeping with his speech patterns that have made for uncomfortable sound bites before.

I checked and there's a Mormon category as well. I would certainly be interested if Scott would drill down even more, I'd like to see stats on EO vs OO -- and does he have any Church of the East peeps in his readership? (probably not)

(also I want to cross-reference this with Scott's "Have you thought about the Roman Empire in the past 24 hours" question)

The article carries a relevant message to a commonly held sentiment centered around the proliferation of 'race realism'.

Jarred Taylor should serve as a case in point demonstration that no matter how sane, reasonable and respectful you carry the torch of 'race realism', you will be hounded by people driven by powers that are in no way worried about the truth in any other sense than to suppress it. No matter how credentialled or learned you are, everything you say and do will be pulled into whatever context is needed to make you look bad. As demonstrated by the likes of Rushton and Jensen, or any openly HBD academic.

It's easy to agree with the author, that Cofnas is missing an obvious point: That knowing is only half the battle. But at the same time the author is, beyond recognizing the error of Cofnas, seemingly no better suited to deal with the actual problem. As is illustrated by one of the comments, which the author agrees with:

People reject genetics because they can't control it. Give them control, and the incentives change. Hereditarians should give up on culture, and instead focus on gaming out the economics and logistics of genetic engineering.

Regardless of how futile the fight for truth may have been, to speak from the perspective of the likes of Jarred Taylor or Cofnas, who bound hope to the proliferation of truth: It beats giving up.

What is the actual proposal here? Hope the third world designs their babies white? All this wisdom on obvious social dynamics doled out by the author brings us to... what? Crossed fingers and open legs for white sperm in India, China and Brazil?

As an aside:

I would have preferred something tangible. As I find myself constantly waiting for these bloglords, who talk about the burden of a heavy brain, to produce something actionable for us stupids to cling on to. So far they can't even manage to throw their weight around the conservative rhetorical sphere. As anyone who remembers the old 'cultural marxism' knows. I mean, that was an old meme resurrected. Hey, here's a new one: 'bio leninism'! Is there anything more corny in discourse than dropping a phrase you need to explain to your own side? Yes. See 'Moldbug' on Fox News.

Give us something new and cool. 'Woke' has gone stale a long time ago. I want a word that describes people who automatically ingroup browns and outgroup whites. Preferably as an ism or phobia, like it's a disease or something.

Beyond that, if there's anything I've learned from the modern right it's that every single serious right winger is a failed imitation of the NSDAP. The amount of words used just to not call the enemy Bolshevik jews is ridiculous. Is that too coarse? Too low brow? What is your alternative? Just don't participate? Then why have a blog at all? Why bother with anything when you're just going to hunker down and pretend you don't care about politics. I don't get this at all.

Until 20 years ago Europe didn't have a race problem, nor anywhere in Asia; yet hereditarianism has never ever been popular in the history of human thought.

Does he realize how the populations have changed in that time? 20 years ago Europe had twice the population of Africa, now the opposite is true. Of course those people are going to go where the money is.

This is obviously bonkers, and East Asian countries (South Korea in particular) are wasting a good third of their GDP in abusing their kids with cram school homework in the false belief that they'll grow more intelligent. A random Chinese will tell you very happily, especially if he has experience abroad, that Africans are congenitally dumber than Chinese are. But he will protest vehemently if you suggest that his kid isn't gonna grow any brighter by doing 5 hours of homework every day.

This seems like a gross misreading of how education works in East Asia. It's not supposed to make you smarter, it's supposed to (a) memorize a whole ton of useful facts and (b) prove that you're smarter than the other kids because you got a top score on the super difficult exam. They don't really have a general reasoning test like the SAT, their test is this: https://asiasociety.org/korea/south-koreas-life-defining-exam which expects you to know and remember all of the academic subjects.

I think you mean 60 years ago.

Double might be an exaggeration. But it really did flip in just the last 20 (edit- by 20 I mean since 2000) years: https://old.reddit.com/r/dataisbeautiful/comments/910dxd/oc_un_world_population_prospects_2017_revision/

Oh that's Sub-Saharan Africa, if you include the whole of Africa then it's about 60 years: Africa was 284M to Europe's 605M back in 1960, today it's 1393 to 765 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_continents_and_continental_subregions_by_population

This doesn't really affect your thesis though.

True. I think it's valid to just focus on Sub-Saharan Africa though, since that really is a different culture and geography from MENA.

Italy’s birth rate is decreasing further to 1,2:

Financial Times: Italy’s births drop to historic low
Just 379,000 babies were born in 2023, despite PM Giorgia Meloni’s efforts to reverse demographic decline

https://archive.is/T6thJ

Meloni has continued a child allowance scheme introduced by the previous government in 2021 and slightly increased the monthly sums families receive for small children, but her rightwing government has also experimented with other incentives.

After coming to power in late 2022, the coalition government halved VAT on infant products such as baby formula and nappies, but it has since scrapped those tax cuts. This year, Italy has allocated €1bn in other measures aimed at supporting mothers, including temporarily making pension contributions on behalf of working women who have at least two young children.

But Maria Rita Testa, a demographer at Rome’s Luiss university, said policymakers needed to address other factors, including parents’ economic stability and access to affordable childcare, now in acutely short supply. “They should try to tackle the problem of reconciliation of family and work tasks,” Testa said.

Italy had planned to use some of the €200bn in EU recovery funds it receives to build new childcare facilities for 260,000 infants and pre-school aged children, but Rome has now cut that target to 160,000.

The article notes that Meloni is herself a single child, but fails to mention that she also only has a single daughter. Still the low birth rate is a core issue for her and her right-wing coalition, but as in leftwing governments elsewhere they can’t find policies to reverse course.

Give every native man a house when they demonstrate they have finished some form of work related education, i.e. not arts or theater, and that they have worked for 2 years. Otherwise they would need to demonstrate they have been working for 5 years. The problem solves itself from that point.

Here is my policy suggestion

  • Inculcate in young girls’ a desire to have children. You do this with positive, aspirational media and experiences involving motherhood. Echoing RandomRanger’s insight downthread, require girls in the first three years of schooling to bring their dolls to school and engage in doll-oriented activity. The highlights of female education in the first 6 years of schooling should be: motherhood, cultivating the nurturing instinct, and homemaking skills. In high school, two years of required internships in which female students “babysit”, nanny, and helping out new mothers — which doubles as a cost-free program for new mothers.

  • Ban women from high stress professions. (Women in STEM is grossly dysgenic due to low birth rates. Instead, reserve the least stressful STEM-adjacent positions for the highest IQ women. This is highly eugenic.) Reserve society’s least stressed jobs for women.

  • Government grants to media which extol motherhood.

Raising girls as identical to boys has obviously failed. In history, the primary “skill” a girl learned was how to be a mother/wife. That’s because it’s an important, difficult, stressful 6-18 years of a woman’s fertile years. Feminism failed, we can move on. Another to note is that there is a lot of research showing that stressed mothers and mothers who cannot breastfeed or love their children properly have a much higher chance of having children who are mentally ill or autistic etc, or even have childhood obesity. So the thought that we would lose “money” with our MAMA agenda (Make American-women Mothers Again) is not necessarily correct. Tons of resources are spent on psychiatric and physical disability which is ameliorated through MAMA policy.

It’s kind of hilarious that we consciously destroyed the mothering instinct in girls who naturally gravitate to dolls and tea parties and so on, and then we look at ourselves shocked like that retarded Spider-Man meme when we realize women now don’t want children, want money and safety more than children, and are stressed at the prospect of children.

Ban women from high stress professions. (Women in STEM is grossly dysgenic due to low birth rates. Instead, reserve the least stressful STEM-adjacent positions for the highest IQ women. This is highly eugenic.) Reserve society’s least stressed jobs for women.

I don't have numbers, but my anecdotal observations are that this is culturally dependent. The Chinese and Indian women I work with take full advantage of the generous FAANG benefits to help produce and take care of children. Some white American women do, but not nearly as much. Family events put on by the company are full of mostly south and east Asian children. There are probably as many mixed white and east Asian kids as there are white kids.

A great deal of this is driven by family pressure to have kids. Maybe that's where policy would be most effective. Make white parents nag their children to have kids so that they can get access to some government benefit. Maybe offer full social security retirement benefits at an earlier age, or boost the benefit for each grandchild produced.