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Thursday, June 18, 2020

Links - 18th June 2020 (3) (China's 'peaceful' rise)

BBC Radio 4 - From Our Own Correspondent Podcast, Can Afghanistan find peace? - "We’re not meant to focus on the many individuals scars made in the course of China's modern history. It's the end result that matters and on face value, the transformation has been extraordinary. New visitors to China are awestruck by the skyscraper-festooned high tech megacities connected by brand new highways and the world's largest high speed rail network. They see a rampant consumer society, with the inhabitants enjoying the freedom and free time to shop for designer goods, to dine out and to surf the internet. How bad can it really be the onlookers ask, reflecting on the negative headlines they've read about China back home. The answer however, as in all societies, depends very much on who you are. Many of those in China's major cities, for example, who've benefited from this explosion of material wealth and opportunity are genuinely grateful and loyal. In exchange for prosperity they may well accept or at least tolerate the censorship and the lack of political freedom that feature so often in foreign news reports. But in the carving out of a new China, the knife has cut long and deep. Chairman Mao's manmade famine did claim 10s of millions of lives, and his Cultural Revolution killed hundreds of thousands more, truths notably absent from Chinese textbooks. After his death, the demographically calamitous one child policy, brutalized generations. And even today, the new two child policy continues to violate that most intimate of rights, an individual's choice over her fertility. The list of losers is long, with each category adding to the toll of those damaged or destroyed by one party rule. There are the victims of religious repression, of local government land grabs and of corruption. There are the 10s of millions of internal migrant workers, the backbone of China's industrial success, who have long been shut out of many of the benefits of citizenship. And in recent years, there are the estimated one and a half million Muslims in China's western region of Xinjiang - Uighers, Kazakhs and others who have been placed in mass incarceration camps that the government claims are vocational schools, on the basis of their faith and ethnicity. Viewed from this perspective, the censorship of large parts of China's recent history is not simply part of a grand bargain to be exchanged for material enrichment. It is something that makes the silence of their suffering all the more difficult to penetrate. But while censorship can shut people up, it cannot stop them remembering. As if to prove the point about how the unsettled past continues to impact the present, the [National Day] parade is for invited guests only. The troops will be marching as they always do on these occasions down the same Avenue along the north side of Tiananmen Square, where Beijing's pro democracy movement was gunned down 30 years ago. The risk of even a lone protester using the parade to try to commemorate an event that the authorities have spent years trying to bury is just too great. With central Beijing sealed off, ordinary people in whose honor it is supposedly being held can only watch it on TV."

The long arm of authoritarian China reached into my seven-year-old’s bedroom - "the world globe by his bedside became the latest target in the People's Republic of China's war on words... it was time to return home, and the removalists were going through our rooms at lightning speed. Until the globe was seized by their supervisor. "Taiwan," he said, pointing to the island off the mainland Chinese coast. "Taiwan is not a country, it is a part of China. You can't take this." A new customs regulation was being zealously enforced, as China ramped up diplomatic fury at Taiwan's independence-leaning government... "The typeface used for the city of Taipei is the same size as Beijing. It shows Taipei is a capital. It isn't," he said. I got out a black marker and put a line through Taipei. "You can't take it, it is out of my hands," he repeated... Raising an Australian boy in Beijing threw up interesting dilemmas. Like the time I returned from a reporting trip in Xinjiang in China's far western desert. I had been detained and trailed by police who sought to stop foreign reporters speaking to Uighur Muslims, as the government locked up the Muslim population there en masse in re-education centres... as an Australian journalist in China, I saw my job as the independent observer – "independent always" – looking for facts, not an activist. Covering the trade war between the United States and China I would look through Australian eyes for the impact on Australia. As the Tweets raged against China supposedly banning Peppa Pig, I could still see Peppa everywhere, beloved by Chinese four-year-olds... During my China posting I witnessed the rise of the digital surveillance state. In 2017, People's Liberation Army soldiers stood guard at my office and apartment compound gates. They were soon replaced by cameras, lots of cameras, as white cyclopes appeared on most street corners.  Facial recognition screens I had first seen in Xinjiang soon replaced ticket collectors at Beijing train stations... Tencent founder Pony Ma revealed at China's own "World Internet Conference" that when WeChat used artificial intelligence to allow commuters to scan a barcode with their smartphone at the subway instead of buying a ticket, there was also a "security" feature. "It also gives authorities access to the real identity of passengers"... For a reporter on the ground trying to report China as it really is, the hurdle was the increasing reluctance of Chinese people to go "on the record" in foreign media, unwilling to risk the trouble this might bring.  Insightful interviewees pulled out of stories as the geopolitical winds blew."
Presumably according to China shills she couldn't be allowed to speak to Uighers because she would spread fake news. So we must content ourselves with official Chinese government press releases; how ironic that China shills demand you must visit Xinjiang to be able to say anything negative about China's treatment of the Uighers, but the Chinese government goes out of its way to make that hard or impossible

Gene-Edited Babies Claim Sparks New Questions About Safety - "it has become clear that He actually missed precisely editing his genetic target.He tried to make a change in a gene that would protect the girls from HIV. But, at best, he may have protected only one twin from HIV, inadvertently making her genes ostensibly superior to her sister. It's also possible the genetic changes he made may not have protected either twin at all.Perhaps more worrisome, his attempt to use the powerful gene-editing tool CRISPR appeared to create unintended mutations in their DNA that could harm their health"
A China shill was posting this approvingly - then the Chinese government went after He

15 Worrying Things About the CRISPR Babies Scandal - The Atlantic

BBC World Service - The World This Week, The rich countries where people are dying younger - "Across the border in mainland China's Guangdong Province, people were able to watch live broadcasts of the elections on Hong Kong TV channels with the help of satellite dishes, which are illegal but tolerated, and many Chinese people were not impressed. On the popular chatting platform WeChat, some postings question the validity of the ballot counting. One mainlander even asked me whether there was vote buying. Even those who accept the election results were not persuaded by the will of the majority. They saw it as a result of Western culture brainwashing Hong Kong's youth and a rejection of China and being Chinese. If you don't like to be Chinese, then you can get out of China, one friend in China’s Xianjing City said… Some people see events in Hong Kong as a precursor of what might happen in mainland China in the distant future. When Chinese people are well off and well informed, they might want more decision making power. These people hope Beijing has learned the lesson"
Ironically, the views of many mainland Chinese suggest that never the twain shall meet, and that it's a bad idea for Hong Kong (and Taiwan) to reunite with China

BBC World Service - The World This Week, NATO takes on China - and Trump - "‘[The ubiquity of apps in China in everyday life in China] enables a Chinese company which is bound to hand over all this information to the Communist Party an enormous amount of data on your everyday movements. And so the power in these devices is like nothing we’ve ever seen before’
‘China has more CCTV cameras than any other country, but now there are signs of public unhappiness with the sheer extent of surveillance. How is the Chinese government reacting to that?’
‘There was a survey that we saw released this week showing, as you say, some sort of concern about it. But to tell the truth, not very much considering what it is. I mean, what that survey found is that most people would prefer that there was some other option available other than face scanning to log your ID, to perform some sort of task. Whereas really in in many other countries, the rollout of technology like this would see a lot of suspicion amongst the general public. It just shows the extent to which people are either, well, they haven't thought it through, or they just think that the convenience so far outweighs any potential concerns as to not be so worried about it...
Like in other parts of the world, there is a problem there with Islamic extremism, and a certain proportion of people there are prepared to use violence, either to achieve a sort of independent homeland, or to further the causes of Islamic extremism, and yet, because of that relatively small group of extremists, everybody is now paying the price in terms of a heavy crackdown there… what they're trying to do there is to use DNA samples, and there’ve been huge numbers of DNA samples taken in Xinjiang, to create sort of mapping of people's faces. One of the big ethical problems with that is that those people didn't agree to have their DNA handed in to be used for these tests. It was, by and large, forcibly taken from them. Because if you're a Uigher in Xinjiang, you have to do what you're told you. Or, you'll be thrown in a reeducation camp.'…
The main opposition Labour Party used Mr. Trump's visit to highlight concerns that the UK’s very large and much loved government owned and run health care system, the NHS, would somehow be on the table in any post Brexit trade talks with the US
Strange, somehow China shills claim that the "biased" "Western media" are spreading fake news that there is no terrorism in Xinjiang. Of course, this arises from their simplistic, binary thinking

China is leasing an entire Pacific island. Its residents are shocked - "Under a secretive deal signed last month with a provincial government in the South Pacific nation, a Beijing-based company with close ties to the Chinese Communist Party has secured exclusive development rights for the entire island and its surroundings.The lease agreement has shocked Tulagi residents and alarmed American officials who see the island chains of the South Pacific as crucial to keeping China in check and protecting important sea routes. It is the latest example of China using promises of prosperity to pursue its global aspirations — often by funneling money to governments and investing in local infrastructure projects that critics call debt traps for developing nations... Even compared to previous Chinese development deals in nearby countries — including a wharf in Vanuatu, whose terms were not publicly released for years — the Tulagi agreement is remarkable for both its scope and lack of public input.The renewable 75-year lease was granted to the China Sam Enterprise Group, a conglomerate founded in 1985 as a state-owned enterprise, according to corporate records... many residents of Tulagi, an island of a little over 1,000 people, are taking the signing of the document to mean it is a real agreement, and outrage has quickly set in.“They cannot come in and lease the whole island like that,” said Mr Michael Salini, 46, a business owner on Tulagi who is helping organise a petition to oppose the China Sam agreement.“Everyone is really scared about the possibility of China turning the island into a military base,” he added. “That is what really scares people — because why else do they want to lease the whole island?” A military installation would carry strategic and symbolic significance. Some American officials believe China’s efforts in the region echo the period before and during World War II, when Japan wrested control of island assets, which were won back in turn by American and Australian troops in bloody battles."

Contractors hit as China local government defaults rise | Financial Times - "China’s local governments face a record number of lawsuits for failing to pay their contractors as the country’s slowing economy puts a strain on public finances.The financial outlook has deteriorated so markedly that analysts have warned that there is a risk of social unrest.Chinese courts have listed 831 local governments as being in default in the first 10 months of this year, compared with 100 in the whole of 2018. The value of these local authorities’ overdue payments grew by more than 50 per cent from Rmb4.1bn at the end of last year to Rmb6.9bn ($984m) at the end of October. The totals do not take into account the amount owed by local government finance vehicles and companies operated by municipal or provincial officials, more than 1,000 of which have been listed as defaulters over the past three years... “The surge in government defaulters could lead to a social crisis with workers taking to the street and protesting against official agencies. That’s the worst-case scenario for Beijing”... Making government entities pay their bills is challenging. There is no official guidance on seizing government assets to settle overdue payments.China’s political regime prioritises party control over rule of law and local governments face few consequences if they decide not to pay.“I can’t think of a single official being punished for failing to pay contractors,” said Mr Wang, the Beijing lawyer. “They are above the law.”"

China's economy is in more trouble than markets think - Nikkei Asian Review - "China's economic slowdown just got real. The world is well aware that Asia's biggest economy is growing at its slowest pace since 1992. The 6% growth in gross domestic product recorded for July to September reflects a rapid weakening of demand from abroad as the trade war damages production.Yet three developments last week suggest China may be in more trouble than President Xi Jinping's government admits.First, warning signs are flashing over corporate profits. Beijing's official data on GDP, inflation and production often generate doubt, but China Inc.'s deterioration is unmistakable... This is not an epic decline, but it belies the conventional wisdom that growth is stabilizing. Instead, Xi's team has a traction problem. Traditional pump-priming -- public works spending, tax cuts, local-government debt issuance -- is not working its magic. This has the central bank springing into action, our second indication China Inc. is reeling... The trade war is forcing Yi's hand. Factory prices are veering toward outright deflation. Not Japan-like "lost decade" stuff, but the 1.2% drop in producer prices in September year-on-year is more alarming than the fall in corporate profits.  The third indicator of trouble is that Xi wants to make a deal. In recent months, Trump tried to claim Washington and Beijing were on the verge of a giant trade pact -- only to see Beijing deny it. Last week, it was Xi's team moving markets with talk of detente. On November 7, both sides confirmed tariffs may be rolled back in a "phase one" trade deal."

“You can never be China’s friend” - "A former head of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) told me it's a matter of whether westeal everybody's data or the Chinese steal everybody's data. And don't you prefer having the Americans steal your data?... The Chinese understanding is that every smartphone is a data gatherer. It'll gather data on health, on consumer transactions, on the environmental traffic patterns. All of this data can be uploaded to the Cloud. It can be processed by Chinese computers, and it can give China massive advantages in terms of industrial controls, health systems, the environment, urban planning and, of course, social and political control... They want to have everybody in the world pay rent to the Chinese Empire. They want to control the key technologies, the finance and the logistics, and make everyone dependent on them. Basically, make everyone else a tenant farmer... The single biggest misconception is that you have a wicked government and a good people. The Chinese have had 3,000 years for the government and the people to shape each other. The institution in the West that most closely resembles the Chinese system is, in fact, the Sicilian mafia. You have a capo di tutti capiwho prevents the other capifrom killing each other. Because they're natural anarchists, they don't like any form of government. They're loyal to their families. The emperor is nothing but a necessary evil. The idea of public trust and subsidiarity that's fundamental to democracy is unknown to the Chinese.
What holds a country of anarchists together, if not the emperor? ...
China is a country of 1.4 billion emperors. Everyone wants to be an emperor. Everyone strives for his own and his family's power. There's no sense of Res publica. Certainly no Augustinian sense of common love to hold a country together. What holds the country together is ambition. Therefore, it's critical that the meritocracy be fair... the one thing that we're much better at than the Chinese is innovation. As I mentioned, Huawei is very much dependent on Western employees for innovation... If you ask the Chinese what worries them the most, many will say, "How come we have no Nobel prizes?" Eight Chinese have won the Nobel prize in sciences, but they are all Chinese who lived in America.  The Chinese system is very bad at identifying those eccentrics, like an Einstein, who make fundamental contributions. We are much better at that. The Western idea of the divine spark in the individual simply doesn't exist in China. So, I think we do have a chance against the Chinese...  If you look at the disposition of Chinese forces, it looks like a person with a gigantic head and tiny legs. The Chinese spend $1,500 to equip a foot soldier. That's basically a rifle, and a helmet and some boots. Americans spend $18,000 to equip a foot soldier. We have enormous airlift capability. We have enormous amount of technology applied to the infantry. The People's Liberation Army(PLA) infantry is one of the most poorly-equipped and badly trained in the world. On the other hand, their missile forces, their satellite forces, their submarines, and so forth, are extremely good...
Some people say that confrontation is the wrong strategy, that we should become friends. Do the Chinese have the same concept of friendship that we have?
The Chinese, as individuals, have no friends. China, as a country, all the less so... It was explained to me by my Chinese colleagues while I worked there that, when you're in first grade in primary school, you look to your left and right and try to figure out whom you're going to walk over. In China, you have your family. Otherwise, you have inferiors and superiors. But there are no parallel institutions. There's no group of people coming together, spontaneously, to do something together as equals. You have a superior and you have inferiors. There's no concept of political friendship in Aristotle's sense... You can never be China's friend. We obviously have to do business with China. You can't isolate 1.4 billion clever and industrious people. That's absurd. But one can only deal with them successfully from a position of strength... The Chinese only respect power, and our power is in innovation. If we show that we can out innovate the Chinese and leave them behind in critical sectors of technology, I think that will undermine the credibility of the present government."

Chinese nationalist upset with Tsai Ing-wen’s victory, calls on 1.4 billion Chinese to vote & gets censored - "the nationalist’s Weibo account got locked after his post went up...
“You can’t even say the word “vote (in an election)” on the mainland, and now you want to decide who should be Taiwan’s president, you poor thing.”...Chinese state media Xinhua has denounced Taiwan’s election results, saying Tsai’s victory came about due to “dirty tactics such as cheating, repression and intimidation”.It also claimed that “external dark forces” contributed to the election results... Chinese authorities tend to shut down forms of expression that might potentially gain traction and inspire a mass movement, even if the act itself is borne from support for the government.This is why they are particularly sensitive to any causes that might gather steam among the masses, going as far as banning them... While the Chinese Communist Party lets nationalistic expressions have a free rein on the Chinese Intranet, Chinese nationalism can be a double-edged sword for the one wielding it.If not kept under control, it can go out of hand, and even challenge the party, especially if the party is seen as not being assertive enough in its foreign policy when it comes to protecting China’s interests.Political scientist Jessica Chen Weiss told LA Times the Chinese government commonly stirs up nationalistic sentiments among the people, but then reel that in when nationalism has served its purpose.Such a tactic could generate resentment against what appears to be government hypocrisy"
Calling for democracy hurts the feelings of the Chinese people

China GDP growth at 29-year low as economy feels trade war fallout

America’s White Saviors

Here is an article on Tablet Magazine that has mysteriously disappeared.

[Ed: It is now back at The American White Savior Complex - Tablet Magazine]

The whole article is good, but perhaps the best bit is about white liberals having a negative in-group bias (i.e. they hate white people). The key message is that white liberals have self-radicalised remarkably quickly.

America’s White Saviors

A sea change has taken place in American political life. The force driving this change is the digital era style of moral politics known as “wokeness,” a phenomenon that has become pervasive in recent years and yet remains elusive as even experts struggle to give it a clear definition and accurately measure its impact. Where did it come from? What do its adherents believe? Is it just something happening inside the Twitter bubble and on college campuses or is it really spreading across the social and cultural landscape and transforming the country as sometimes appears to be the case? In reality, “wokeness”—a term that originated in black popular culture—is a broad euphemism for a more narrow phenomenon: the rapidly changing political ideology of white liberals that is remaking American politics.

Over the past decade, the baseline attitudes expressed by white liberals on racial and social justice questions have become radically more liberal. In one especially telling example of the broader trend, white liberals recently became the only demographic group in America to display a pro-outgroup bias—meaning that among all the different groups surveyed white liberals were the only one that expressed a preference for other racial and ethnic communities above their own. As woke ideology has accelerated, a growing faction of white liberals have pulled away from the average opinions held by the rest of the coalition of Democratic voters—including minority groups in the party. The revolution in moral sentiment among this one segment of American voters has led to a cascade of consequences ranging from changes in the norms and attitudes expressed in media and popular culture, to the adoption of new political rhetoric and electoral strategies of the Democratic Party. Nor has this occurred in a vacuum on the left as the initiatives set in motion by white liberals have, in turn, provoked responses and countermeasures from conservatives and Republicans.

In a recent Vox article based partly on the dissertation research I’ve been doing as a Ph.D. candidate in political science at Georgia State University, Matthew Yglesias described this ongoing transformation as “The Great Awokening.” In Yglesias’ account: “In the past five years, white liberals have moved so far to the left on questions of race and racism that they are now, on these issues, to the left of even the typical black voter. This change amounts to a ‘Great Awokening.’” There is no simple or single explanation for how this process got started. It appears to be driven by an interplay of factors: preexisting tendencies among white liberals; a series of polarizing events like the police shooting of Michael Brown and subsequent riots in Ferguson, and the migrant crisis; the rise of millenials as a political force, and the explosion of social media and “woke” clickbait journalism. The years between 2012 and 2016 were a watershed for white liberal racial consciousness. But the seismic attitudinal shifts of those years have implications that go beyond race: They are also tied to a significant decrease in support for Israel and—perhaps more surprisingly—a rise in the number of white liberals who express negative attitudes about the perceived political power of American Jews.


As white liberals have come to place far greater emphasis on racial injustice, they have also endorsed reparative race-related social policies in greater numbers. This is evident across a range of issues: the rapid growth in white liberals who favor affirmative action for blacks in the labor force; in the increase in white liberals who feel that we spend too little on helping blacks, and that the government should afford them special treatment; in the increase in white Democrats who think it’s the government’s job to ensure “equal income across all races”; and in the increase in white liberals and Democrats who think that white people have ‘too much’ political influence.

At the same time, there are growing levels of support for policies without such obvious connections to race. For instance, between 1965 and 2000, the percentage of white liberals preferring increased immigration levels never deviated far from 10%. From the mid-2000s to roughly the end of President Obama’s term in office, this figure gradually ascended into the 20-30% range. As of 2018, it sits at over 50%. Then, there is the marked shift in attitudes toward Israel. Between 1978 and 2014, white liberals consistently reported sympathizing more with Israel than the Palestinians. Since March of 2016, this trend has turned on its face: Significantly more white liberals now report greater sympathy for the Palestinians than for Israel.

Some of these changes arguably stem from Trump’s rhetoric and policies on immigration. But a glance at the data shows that, as with their attitudes toward blacks, the percentage of white liberals perceiving “a lot” or “a great deal” of discrimination against immigrants more than doubled between 2000 (29%) and 2013 (57%)—i.e., well before Trump arrived on the scene. Additionally, between 2006 and 2014, the percentage of white liberals saying they feel “very sympathetic” toward illegal immigrants and their families grew from 22% to 42%.

For the woke and their allies, these rapid changes are heralded as signs of progress, leading at times to harsh criticism of anyone who would stand in their way. This ideological stridency and triumphalist attitude can be powerful weapons against political opponents but are alienating—perhaps deliberately so—to moderates and conservatives. But, in a sense, no one is put in a more strained and problematic position by the politics of white liberals than the white liberals themselves. The woke elite act like white saviors who must lead the rest of the country, including the racial minorities whose interests they claim to represent, to a vision of justice the less enlightened groups would not choose for themselves.

Consider, for instance, that black and Asian Democrats and liberals are significantly more supportive of restrictive immigration policies and less positive toward racial/ethnic diversity than their white counterparts. Black and Hispanic Democrats and liberals are more sympathetic toward Israel than the Palestinians (likely due in part to the fact that they tend to be more religious). They are also more likely to part ways when it comes to contemporary social and gender-identity issues, including views of the #MeToo movement. In all, though they do converge on some issues, the attitudes and policy preferences of the woke white left are unrepresentative of the “marginalized communities” with whom they are supposed to be allies. And as woke liberals play a leading role in party politics, the Democrats, who are increasingly defined by their embrace of diversity and progressive stances on issues of racial justice, appear to do so, at least partly at the direction of a small white elite.

 

The Moral Foundations of the Modern White Liberal

To understand the motivations behind the “great awokening” we must first review some of the basics of political psychology. Social scientists use a model called “The Big Five personality traits” or “five-factor model” to describe how the relative prevalence of key character traits—extroversion, agreeableness, openness, conscientiousness, and neuroticism—shapes an individual’s political orientation. A large body of work in this field consistently finds that liberals score significantly higher than conservatives on the personality trait “agreeableness” and more specifically on its sub-dimension of “compassion.” In social science studies like these, agreeableness represents the tendency to be altruistic, tender-minded, cooperative, trusting, forgiving, warm, helpful, and sympathetic. The trait is closely linked with empathy and compassion toward the suffering of others. However, the relative lack of agreeableness in conservatives doesn’t meant they don’t care about the suffering of others. Rather, it suggests that liberals have a broader scope of empathy. Compared to conservatives who prioritize the well-being of the in-group—family, local community, or nation—liberals show relatively greater concern for the plight of out-groups, if not the world as a whole.

Closely related to agreeableness are the moral foundations of “harm/care” (e.g., “whether or not someone suffered emotionally”) and “fairness” (e.g., “whether or not some people were treated differently than others”). Moral Foundations Theory argues that ideological differences derive from the weight people ascribe to a core group of moral considerations: harm/care, fairness/cheating, loyalty/betrayal, authority/subversion, sanctity/degradation, and liberty/oppression. A substantial line of research reveals that, out of these moral considerations, liberals generally attach the most importance to the foundations of harm/care and fairness. While conservatives also tend to rate these foundations as important, their moral compass is broader and includes a greater concern for violations of purity (e.g., “whether or not someone was able to control his or her desires”), loyalty (e.g., “whether or not someone did something to betray his or her group”), and authority (e.g., “whether or not someone respected the traditions of society”). As with empathy, the liberal concern for harm/care and fairness relates to a larger set of targets (e.g., animals, the needy in other countries) than it does for conservatives, who are generally more concerned with threats to the in-group. The liberal conception of ‘harm’ is also far broader, which lowers the threshold at which their moral alarms are triggered.

An example of how these psychological characteristics and moral foundations can be manifested in politics and policy can be seen in the graph below, which shows white responses to measures of empathy toward racial and ethnic minorities.



As the graph above shows, white liberals—especially the self-identified “very liberal”—are significantly more likely to report intense or extremely frequent feelings of tenderheartedness, protectiveness, and sensitivity when considering the circumstances of racial and ethnic out-group members. A related graph below displays the average differences in feelings of warmth (measured along a 0-100 scale) toward whites vs. nonwhites (i.e., Asians, Hispanics, and blacks) across different subgroups.


Remarkably, white liberals were the only subgroup exhibiting a pro-outgroup bias—meaning white liberals were more favorable toward nonwhites and are the only group to show this preference for group other than their own. Indeed, on average, white liberals rated ethnic and racial minority groups 13 points (or half a standard deviation) warmer than whites. As is depicted in the graph below, this disparity in feelings of warmth toward ingroup vs. outgroup is even more pronounced among whites who consider themselves “very liberal” where it widens to just under 20 points. Notably, while white liberals have consistently evinced weaker pro-ingroup biases than conservatives across time, the emergence and growth of a pro-outgroup bias is actually a very recent, and unprecedented, phenomenon.


 

Not surprisingly, data from the American National Elections Studies (ANES) shows white liberals scoring significantly higher on measures of ‘white privilege awareness’ (e.g., ‘how much does being white grant you unearned privileges in today’s society?’) and ‘white guilt’ (e.g., ‘how guilty do you feel about the privileges and benefits you receive as a white American?’). Both of these variables are strongly correlated with measures of liberal racial sympathy (or what is more traditionally referred to as ‘low racial resentment’)–the white liberal scores on which reached an ANES-high in 2016. Previous research has shown that these collective moral emotions, triggered by historical wrongdoing and perceptions that an in-group’s advantages and privileges are illegitimate, can can increase support for reparative and humanitarian social policies. That is exactly what has happened in recent years as white liberals have become increasingly supportive of affirmative action, reparations, and increased immigration.

 

The Social Media Accelerant

For most of human history, the primary trigger for moral emotions like outrage came from local acts of wrongdoing. After all, if you have no idea what events are going on outside your village and hardly any sense of the world at large, it’s hard to be outraged by them. In the modern era, however, this is rapidly becoming less true. Along with drastic improvements in material well-being, which, some argue, has enabled individuals whose immediate needs are met to shift their to concern to the welfare of people they’ve never met—modern technology has widened our exposure to injustices against strangers. The diffusion of the internet, social media in particular, has enabled people from across the globe to document and upload their every moral grievance. In a recent study, respondents reported experiencing significantly greater exposure to immoral acts and expressed greater moral outrage online vs. in person or through traditional media platforms (newspaper, TV, radio, etc.). Meanwhile, other recent research finds that morally “outrageous” content is retweeted, shared, and commented on more frequently than all other material in circulation. And with algorithms tracking what you click on so as to direct you to similar stimuli in the future, political social media consumers are being fed a steady supply of outrage.

Data from the General Social Survey reveals a roughly 170% increase in the number of weekly hours, from 5 to 13.6, that people reported spending on the internet between 2000-2018. Between 2006 and 2018, the percentage of respondents listing the internet as their primary news source jumped roughly 33 percentage points from 14.2% to 47.6%. Turning to social media, data I pooled from the Pew Research Center shows a similar increase in the percentage of people reporting social media use between 2008-2016, from 34.8% to 73%. These increases have occurred among all whites, regardless of political affiliation, but not to the same degree. White liberals place ahead of conservatives on every one of these measures of internet use and social media exposure. They spend significantly more weekly hours on the internet; are significantly more likely to list the internet as their primary news source; and significantly more likely to consume news from and be politically active on social media. A 2016 Pew Racial Attitudes survey further shows that of the 74% of white liberals (vs. 55% of white conservatives) reporting social media use, roughly 44% (vs. 30% of white conservatives) say that at least some of the posts are about race or race relations. And, more generally, 70% of white liberals (vs. 51% of white conservatives) report discussing race relations or racial inequality with others either “sometimes” (39%) or “often” (31%).

An analysis of GoogleTrends data, graphed below, shows that the frequency of searches for race-related and “woke” terms has grown substantially since the beginning of the decade—a period that happens to coincide with the social media boom and the emergence of so-called hashtag activism (e.g., Occupy Wall Street, Black Lives Matter). This period also saw the rise of the Huffington Post—an online progressive blog and news site that prolifically opines on race-related issues. Whereas just 13% of white liberals reported regularly visiting the site in 2012, over 30% did in 2016. A similar pattern is observed for digital readership of The New York Times (NYT), which grew from 16% to 31% among white liberals between 2012 and 2016—during this same period, according to a recent content analysis I conducted—the percentage of Times articles mentioning race-related and woke terms saw unprecedented growth. For instance, whereas just 0.4% (or 334) of articles referred to racism in 2012, this figure had doubled by 2015 (to 0.87% or 813) and reached over 2% (or 2,353) by 2018. Interestingly, the number of monthly NYT articles mentioning racism also closely tracks Google search interest in the term.


Thus, by all indications, the first half of this decade appears to have been a watershed for white liberal racial consciousness. The picture that emerges from the various points of data is one in which white liberals and social media created a kind of outrage feedback loop. White liberals started spending ever increasing shares of their time in a medium—social media and internet news sites—at the same moment that, for multiple reasons, that medium produced a higher volume of race-related moral outrage stories relative to other forms of journalism. Exposure to the stories on those sites, in turn, generated moral outrage among white liberal readers who then fed that emotional response back into the sites, which catered to their appetites as consumers, thus powering the feedback loop. Liberals tend to have an “unjust world bias” as it is; but digital media ensures that this disposition is frequently reinforced.

One way that constant media exposure can warp people’s perception of reality is by leading them to overestimate the danger from certain threats. For instance, research shows that frequent and vivid exposure to crime-related media increases perceptions of the prevalence of crime and police racism. Other more limited work points to a relationship between Twitter use and the perceived prevalence of school shootings. This tendency to overestimate the prevalence and significance of things we are frequently exposed to and thus more easily able to recall is known as the availability heuristic. As a cognitive shortcut for quickly arriving at judgments the availability heuristic can be a useful adaptation in some circumstances but misleading in others. It means, for example, that if videos of white-on-black police shootings or other instances of discriminatory behavior are circulating on Twitter, people may perceive such incidents to be far more common than they actually are and, consequently, that white society is more prejudiced than it actually is.


The graph above shows the percentage of white liberals and conservatives perceiving discrimination against blacks to be a “very serious problem.” Although data was unavailable for the intervening years, the percentage of white liberals giving the “very serious” response was largely the same in 2010 (25%) as it was in 1996 (27%). By 2015, however, this figure had almost doubled to 47%, and then increased further to 58% in 2016. Responses to more specific questions are consistent with this trend. When participants asked whether the criminal justice system is biased against blacks, a white liberal in 1995, 2000, and 2007 was just as likely to think that blacks were treated fairly as unfairly. By 2014, the proportion saying “biased against” soared upward to 70%, while those saying “treated fairly” fell to 20%. Likewise, the percentage of white liberals who felt that whites and blacks have an equal chance of getting ahead in life was in the 50-60% range between 2000 and 2010. In 2011, the percentage giving this response suddenly plummeted to under 40%, while the proportion saying “white people” became the new majority. In contrast, the percentage of white conservatives giving the “equal” response changed very little (and in the positive direction; 62.7%64.4%). And while the number of black respondents with this view fell significantly (40.8%20.1%), it quickly and mostly rebounded just a year later (34%). White liberals, on the other hand, moved south and never turned back.

To determine the extent to which these trends are powered by the rise of digital media and hashtag activism will require more robust and longitudinal studies. But the evidence that’s currently available suggests a direct relationship between a person’s level of social media activity and their perception of how prevalent discrimination is. The February 2016 Pew Racial Attitudes survey cited earlier shows that white liberals who report that some or most of the content they see on social media is race-related, perceive significantly greater mistreatment of blacks than those reporting no or only a little exposure to race-related content. Other data shows that white liberals who get most of their news online are significantly more likely to “strongly disagree” that racial problems in the United States are “rare, isolated situations,” when compared to people, including other white liberals, who primarily consume printed or televised local news.


White Liberals, Israel, and Jewish Political Power

Along with the sweeping changes on race and immigration issues is the reversal of white liberal attitudes toward Israel. Between 1978 and 2014, white liberals consistently reported sympathizing more with Israel than the Palestinians. Since March of 2016, this trend has turned on its face. Currently, significantly more white liberals report greater sympathy for the Palestinians than for Israel.

The sudden souring of white liberal attitudes towards Israel bears some resemblance to the rapid attitudinal changes on racial issues. Like the police shootings of unarmed blacks during this period, Israel’s 7-week bludgeoning of Gaza became arguably the most extensive of its military campaigns to be captured on social media. It was also the campaign that drew the least support from White liberals. Consider that 65% of White liberals felt that Israeli actions during the 2002 ‘Operation Defensive Shield’ were justified. Although This figure declined to 47% during Operation Cast Lead (2009), it largely stayed there (46%) during Operation Pillar of Defense (2012). But by the time Operation Protective Edge rolled around less than two years later, the percent viewing Israeli actions as justified dipped to a low of 30%—the lowest level of support in two decades, if not ever. At around the same time, Google searches for topics relating to ‘Anti-Zionism’ reached a high point in August of 2014—the closing month of Israeli military operations. While a decline is also observed among white conservatives—dropping from 78% in 2012 to 65% in 2014—that represents a relatively minor drop from the 72% of white conservatives who supported Israel’s military operations in 2002.

To be sure, white liberals continue to express favorable views of Jews. What’s different today is that their sympathy toward and concern for Jews has become more conditional. To understand why, consider how white liberals responding to an Associated Press poll last year ranked various groups in America in terms of their relative advantage or disadvantage.


The surveys show that among white liberals, Jews are perceived to be privileged—at least in comparison to other historically victimized groups. Having made a full recovery from the Holocaust, Jews are no longer the downtrodden collective that white liberals can readily sympathize with. Other groups lower on the privilege hierarchy and less tainted by association with whiteness now have priority. So long as anti-Semitism has a white face to it, there is no problem here. But if the face is actually that of a member from an “oppressed” or “vulnerable” group, there may be a cognitive dissonance.

To see how this logic extends to Israel consider that the same empathic outrage over the bigoted persecution by the “privileged” against the vulnerable that informs the changing policy positions on domestic issues is extended out to the international arena where Israel is a fixture of every moral drama. A white supremacist America holds people of color down and keeps the door shut for others, while a “Zionist supremacist” Israel behaves in much the same way toward its minorities of color. It’s a narrow and warped perspective but one that’s easily assimilated into a broader worldview in which human relations are defined by categories of oppressor vs. oppressed; and where the roles are assigned based on one’s placement in the privilege hierarchy. A recent study found that informing or reminding white liberals of their privilege resulted in reduced sympathy for poor whites relative to blacks. As Jews have become beacons of whiteness in the liberal political imagination—to the point that Israel is considered a white state despite having a slight nonwhite majority—they have come to be associated with an oppressor class. We shouldn’t be surprised then that white liberals are significantly more likely to feel that Jewish groups have “too much influence” and less likely to say the same with respect to their Muslim counterparts.

 

The Political Power of White Liberals


A wealth of research shows that elected officials are most responsive to the voices (and campaign contributors) they hear from the most; and, by many measures, white liberals and Democrats are the most politically active group on their side of the partisan aisle. White liberals make up 20-24% of the general population but, for a multitude of reasons, exert an outsize political and cultural influence. They are more likely to consider themselves activists, are more active on social media, and, significantly, they are one of the most affluent groups in the country. Of course, small groups of vocal and determined minorities can drive positive changes and spur social progress. The danger is that “woke” white activists acting on behalf of voiceless minorities have had their perceptions distorted by social media-tinted caricatures that obscure more objective measures of reality and end up silencing or ignoring what the voiceless groups, themselves, have to say about what policies are in their best interest.

To point this out is not an indictment of white liberals as a group or of the moral psychology that drives them. Nor is it an endorsement of conservatism. To the contrary, the moral emotions that liberals are more apt to feel, such as guilt, empathy, and compassion are necessary for a just and healthy social order. They serve as a vital counterweight to the inclinations of the more in-group, and hierarchy-oriented conservative counterparts.

The problem is when these moral emotions become hyperactive and detached from objective reality; when they motivate the division of society into ‘allies’ and enemies; and when they generate a level of sanctimonious outrage and judgment that places all political dissent beyond the pale. The advent of digital and social media has fomented just such a carnival of excesses. It cultivates an image of the world soaked in the very oppression and injustices to which the user is most sensitive and attuned—and thus one that frequently triggers liberal moral alarms. There is no shortage of oppression and injustice in America and the wider world. But things are not nearly as bad nor as uniformly black and white as they appear on Twitter and YouTube feeds. Hispanics, Muslims, and other minorities do not leave their homes and enter a world where white racism greets them at every street corner. In fact, multiple recent studies find no racial disparities in police use of deadly force. The odds of an unarmed black person being shot by police appear to approximate his/her chance of being struck by lightning. The probability of being killed  by a right-wing extremist is equally low, if not lower. Of course, violence committed by police officers or motivated by prejudice offends our sense of morality and violates our vision of a just society in a way that lightning strikes and other nonhuman events do not; but for this moral outrage to inspire judicious outcomes it has to be kept in perspective.

Unfortunately, the outrage delivered through digital media tends to distort this vital perspective. America is perceived as incorrigibly unjust, racist, and in need of radical transformation. Compounding this, the perception of benefiting from such iniquity through white privilege naturally produces heightened feelings of guilt, anger, and an empathic desire “to do something” to help the suffering, or to at least signal one’s moral virtue to others.

Due at least in part to digital media, white liberal attitudes that more or less endured for decades have been drastically overturned in the space of months or single years. In contrast, the attitudes of white conservatives—and conservatives in general—have moved at a more glacial pace, if at all. For liberals, the lack of awareness of how fast and far their attitudes have shifted fosters an illusion of conservative extremism.  In reality, the conservatives of today are not all that different from the conservatives of years past. And it’s the frustration with white conservatives’ inability or reluctance to keep pace with liberals on the path to enlightenment that is intensifying our political divide. But conservatives tend toward normative and structural stability. They don’t take well to rapid social change. The perceived imposition and spread of progressive norms naturally elicits psychological reactance—a visceral desire to resist and affirm one’s agency in the face of perceived social pressure. This is the very process that is at least partly responsible for the election of Trump.

Resentment of those seen as standing in the way of necessary social and cultural change may inspire a commitment to what political scientist Eric Kaufman calls “multicultural millenarianism”: the belief that the demise of a white majority will pave the way for a more racially progressive and just society. Perhaps this is why white support for increasing immigration coincides with more negative feelings toward whites. Whatever the case, such sentiment would have been hard to fathom 10-20 years ago. The digitalization of moral outrage that makes it possible today could, with the pace of innovation, make it even more potent in the years to come.

Links - 18th June 2020 (2) (Trans Mania)

'Human Ken doll' Rodrigo Alves comes out as transgender and admits 'I always felt like Barbie' - "He was known as the human Ken doll after spending over £500,000 to change his looks.But today Rodrigo Alves bravely comes out as a transgender woman.Posing in a dress and heels, the Celebrity Big Brother star said: “It feels amazing to finally tell the world I’m a girl.“I’m known as Ken but inside I’ve always felt like Barbie.”... she has changed her looks beyond recognition with more than 70 operations and has been dubbed the human Ken doll and the “face of plastic surgery”.Last year docs removed her fake six-pack and inserted it into her bum for a bum lift – in an op shown on a German TV documentary."
And just like that, wanting to be a Human Ken was no longer a mental illness

What are Lesbians to do with the Left? - "When we politely explain that, ‘as I lesbian I don’t do penis,’ we are denounced as ‘transphobic,’ which may result in being ejected from a club or bar or whatever the social space may be - perhaps even a shared house if these are the norms of the social group... This situation is bad for all lesbians but it hits young lesbians hardest. That all too brief moment when lesbians could get out and about, go to clubs, enjoy their new found sexual freedom, is long past. Young lesbians seeking lovers face a very different reality, their most intimate behaviour and feelings are constantly policed - and reported and commented upon, often on social media - by the trans-Stasi and their allies. Little wonder then that so many teenage girls that reject feminine gender-stereotyping and notice a sexual preference for other girls, decide they must be ‘transmen’ and opt for the transition route. If this sounds vaguely familiar to older readers, that’s because it is familiar. It is conversion therapy rebranded. If breast-binding – practised by girls transitioning to boys/men - sounds familiar, that too is because it is – think foot binding or corsets – and breast binding is at least as harmful as the corset was, often more so. These may turn out to be insignificant compared to the as yet unknown long term effect of hormones to suppress puberty, and the cross-sex hormones which follow. Even if these young women do not go as far as full double mastectomy and the removal of healthy body tissue, possibly resulting in a life time of hospital visits for one reason or another, they will still have to deal with the effect of a barbaric drug regime, one which is not even properly tested for this kind of use... ‘Transmen,’ or female to male, (FtM) transsexuals do not aggressively or otherwise approach gay men demanding sex. Analysing this behaviour among ‘transwomen’ is deemed ‘transphobic’ because it requires an honest discussion of biological sex and behaviour, which itself requires the assertion that sex is real not imagined and, again, there is a price to pay for this apparent transgression – now classed as a belief, rather than an inescapable material reality. Once you decide that biology is not real, that sex does not exist, that a man who feels like a woman can legally call himself a woman - at which point many otherwise protected women’s spaces are then under pressure to accept ‘her,’ even if ‘she’ is male-bodied – all bets are off. What then is a lesbian? If we can no longer agree a legal definition of ‘woman,’ what is a lesbian?"

Trans Rights Activist: “Misgendering” of Trans People Worse Than Mutilation of Women - "Peter Frederiksen, a 58-year-old Danish gun store owner in South Africa, lured women and then sedated them before mutilating their bodies.Frederiksen stored the severed clitorises of his female victims in a freezer, and kept a diary logging each of the mutilations.Frederiksen was turned in to authorities by his wife, Anna Matseliso Molise, who told investigators that her husband had drugged her and pierced her genitalia. Frederiksen was arrested and charged with sexual assault, intimidation and domestic violence. Via her Twitter account @ztsamudzi, transgender advocate Zoé Samudzi declared that the worst part of the news release on the mutilation of women’s vaginas is the “cissexism” that is “inherent” in the reporting... According to adherents of gender identity ideology, it is bigotry to associate the vulva with women and girls"

The Absurdity of the Claim That Women Make “Trans Women” Unsafe - "'Male-to-females had a significantly increased risk for crime compared to female controls, but not compared to males. This indicates that they retained a male pattern regarding criminality. The same was true regarding violent crime'...
Few of the men who murder trans persons kill them over transgender status.The vast majority of male transgender persons who are murdered are in prostitution, and most of these are brown men in Central and South American nations, followed by black men in the US. These murders are due to the dangers of the sex trade, which often involve organized crime and necessitate individuals meeting up with shady men who see them as a collection of orifices to rent for temporary pleasure. Being alone with a man who does not respect your humanity can be dangerous. Prostituted women are murdered at high rates, too – higher than the rate at which male transgender persons in the sex industry are killed.The fact that white trans-identified men are rarely murdered shows that being transgender is not the murder risk."
Strange how biological sex is a myth, but MTF transsexuals have at least the same pattern of crime as men, but not FTMs

Sex offender Gordon Pike helped set prison trans rules by Andrew Gilligan - "Some 48% of transgender prisoners are sex offenders, the Ministry of Justice said in a freedom of information answer earlier this year, compared with less than 20% of the prison population as a whole... Gender surgeons and prison governors have said that some male-born sex offenders are transitioning in order to gain access to women prisoners, or to appear less dangerous in the hope of earlier parole.Ministry of Justice figures show the number of women in prison for sex offences has risen by 40% in three years, from 93 in 2015 to 130 this year. The figures do not distinguish between biological women and trans women."

Transgender Activists Protest Law That Bans Flashing of Genitals in Restrooms, Locker Rooms, Changing Rooms - "Under existing law in the state of Tennessee, a person may be found guilty of the criminal offense of indecent exposure if, while in a public place, he intentionally exposes his genitalia to others, or has a reasonable expectation that his bare genitalia will be seen and offend the viewer.Now a Tennessee lawmaker is seeking to expand this protection to such facilities as locker rooms and changing rooms... Transgender activists claim that the indecent exposure bill would have the effect of criminalizing transgender individuals’ use of restroom, locker room, changing room and public shower facilities designated for the other sex... The proposal comes at a time when there have been a number of incidents of men who identify as transgender women exposing their nudity in public facilities designated for women and girls... “Nazi!” one of the angry transgender activists screamed at Rep. Ragan as he exited the Tennessee General Assembly by a private entrance."
Strange, trans activists claimed that it was a myth that this would happen. Besides empirical reality of what has happened, why fear a law that criminalises what supposedly isn't happening?

Logic, Empathy, Honesty - Posts - "Humans have 206 bones.There are some people who have more bones, and some people who have fewer.This does not mean those people aren't human.It does not mean we need to reclassify humans as having an undetermined number of bones.It means that the description is based on the 99.9 percent average, and that some deviation in biological systems always occurs.People with a basic grasp of language and science understand this concept.We are not denying that people exist outside of the category, merely that the category is a way of describing the norm, so we have a baseline of comparison when discussing deviations from it.People that deviate from the norm are, by definition, abnormal.It's okay to be abnormal. It's not an insult or an attack, it's just an aspect of reality for some people, perhaps all people, in some way.People who are abnormal should not fight to change the definition of normal, they should become comfortable with being different and learn how to still be confident, productive and happy.A life spent trying to make reality conform to your beliefs will be a life of misery. You can blame the people who recognize you are different, or you could accept that difference is okay.#Only2Genders"

Andrew Sullivan: When the Ideologues Come for The Kids - "Like any religion, wokeness understands the need to convert children... I was moved but not particularly surprised by George Packer’s tale of a progressive school banishing separate restrooms for boys and girls because this reinforces the gender binary. The school did not inform parents of this, of course... As an analogy for the price of progressivism, it’s close to perfect. Authorities impose an ideology onto reality; reality slowly fights back. The question is simply how much damage is done by this kind of utopianism before it crumbles under its own weight. Simple solutions — like a separate, individual gender-neutral bathroom for the tiny minority with gender dysphoria or anyone else — are out of bounds. They are, after all, reinforcing the idea that girls and boys are different. And we cannot allow biology, evolution, reproductive strategy, hormones, chromosomes, and the customs of every single human culture since the beginning of time to interfere with “social justice.”It’s also vital to expose children to the fact of their race as the core constituent of their identity. Here is an essay written by a woke teacher about the difficulty of teaching “White boys”... Children, in other words, are being taught to think constantly about race, and to feel guilty if they are the wrong one. And, of course, if they resist, that merely proves the point. A boy who doesn’t think he is personally responsible for racism is merely reflecting “white fragility” which is a function of “white supremacy.” QED. No one seems to have thought through the implications of telling white boys that their core identity is their “whiteness,” or worried that indoctrinating kids into white identity might lead quite a few to, yes, become “white identitarians” of the far right. One of the key aspects about social-justice theory is that it’s completely unfalsifiable (as well as unreadable); it’s a closed circle that refers only to itself and its own categories... The forces involved — “white supremacy,” “patriarchy,” “heterosexism” — are all invisible to the naked eye, like the Holy Spirit. Their philosophical origins — an attempt by structuralist French philosophers to rescue what was left of Marxism in the 1960s and 1970s — are generally obscured in any practical context. Like religion, you cannot prove any of its doctrines empirically, but children are being forced into believing them anyway. This is hard, of course, as this teacher explains: “I’m trying. I am. But you know how the saying goes: You can lead a White male to anti-racism, but you can’t make him think.”The racism, sexism, and condescension in those sentences! (The teacher, by the way, is not some outlier. In 2014, he was named Minnesota’s Teacher of the Year!) Having taken one form of religion out of the public schools, the social-justice left is now replacing it with the doctrines of intersectionality. Last week, I defended drag queens reading stories to kids in libraries. I don’t take back my words. Getting children interested in reading with costumed clowns strikes me as harmless. But when I was directed to the website of Drag Queen Story Hours, I found the following:
[DQSH] captures the imagination and play of the gender fluidity of childhood and gives kids glamorous, positive, and unabashedly queer role models. In spaces like this, kids are able to see people who defy rigid gender restrictions and imagine a world where people can present as they wish, where dress up is real.
However well-meant, this is indoctrination into an ideology, not campy encouragement for reading and fun. And then there is the disturbing “social justice” response to gender-nonconforming boys and girls. Increasingly, girly boys and tomboys are being told that gender trumps sex, and if a boy is effeminate or bookish or freaked out by team sports, he may actually be a girl, and if a girl is rough and tumble, sporty, and plays with boys, she may actually be a boy.In the last few years in Western societies, as these notions have spread, the number of children identifying as trans has skyrocketed... one reason to worry about the new explosion in gender dysphoria is that it seems recently to be driven by girls identifying as boys rather than the other way round. Female sexuality is more fluid and complex than male sexuality, so perhaps girls are more susceptible to ideological suggestion, especially when they are also taught that being a woman means being oppressed.In the case of merely confused or less informed kids, the consequences of treatment can be permanent. Many of these prepubescent trans-identifying children are put on puberty blockers, drugs that suppress a child’s normal hormonal development, and were originally designed for prostate cancer and premature puberty. The use of these drugs for gender dysphoria is off-label, unapproved by the FDA; there have been no long-term trials to gauge the safety or effectiveness of them for gender dysphoria, and the evidence we have of the side effects of these drugs in FDA-approved treatment is horrifying. Among adults, the FDA has received 24,000 reports of adverse reactions, over half of which it deemed serious. Parents are pressured into giving these drugs to their kids on the grounds that the alternative could be their child’s suicide. Imagine the toll of making a decision about your child like that? Eighty-five percent of gender-dysphoric children grow out of the condition — and most turn out to be gay... I sure worry about gay kids in this context. I remember being taunted by some other kids when I was young — they suggested that because I was mildly gender-nonconforming, I must be a girl. If my teachers and parents and doctors had adopted this new ideology, I might never have found the happiness of being gay and comfort in being male... the extremism of the new transgender ideology also risks becoming homophobic... There’s a reason why Iran is a world leader in sex-reassignment surgery, and why the mullahs pay for it... Adults are increasingly forced to obey the new norms of “social justice” or be fired, demoted, ostracized, or canceled. Many resist; many stay quiet; a few succumb and convert. Children have no such options.Indoctrinate yourselves as much as you want to, guys. It’s a free country. But hey, teacher — leave those kids alone.

Actor felt forced to quit musical after man was cast as trans woman - "A transgender actor has spoken of her disappointment and tears after she felt forced to withdraw from a high-profile musical because the main role of a trans woman was given to a cisgender man.Kate O’Donnell was to play the mother in Breakfast on Pluto, an adaptation of the Booker prize-shortlisted novel which tells the story of a trans woman’s escape from rural Ireland at the height of the Troubles.But after the lead role of Patrick/Pussy Braden was given to a cisgender man, the Northern Irish actor Fra Fee, O’Donnell decided she had no choice but to drop out of the production. The show’s producers and hosting theatres have defended the casting. They said they had reached out to the Irish transgender community through multiple channels, and auditioned a number of performers who identified as transgender for the role."
So much for diversity meaning you widen the talent pool
Moral of the story: diversity is a losing strategy since you open yourself up to even more angles of attack


Transphobia row leaves Scottish poetry scene in turmoil - "A bitter conflict is escalating in the Scottish literary scene with the Scottish Poetry Library (SPL) standing accused of “institutional transphobia” after it said that it would not support “bullying and calls for no-platforming of writers”... more than 200 writers including author Lionel Shriver and comedian Graham Linehan put their names to an open letter of support for the “unequivocal stance” of the SPL: “From universities to arts organisations, libraries and government departments, the no-platforming and bullying of anyone holding views not actively endorsing extreme gender ideology is destroying our cultural life,” says the letter, although the SPL had mentioned not gender. “Scotland has always been an example of progressiveness in arts, education and culture, and we are proud that the first stand against this aggressive chilling of intellectual debate and thought has been taken by Scotland’s national poetry library.”The writers of Wednesday’s open letter say that many of them have been forced to sign the letter anonymously or under pseudonyms because “we are afraid for our reputations, our jobs, our livelihoods … This is how deeply this ideology has already travelled, that to speak against it is a danger”"
Freedom of speech and freedom of conscience are transphobic

Sexual norms erode in wake of gay marriage rulings - "Same-sex marriage advocates told the public that they sought only the “freedom to marry.” Same-sex couples were already free to live as they chose, but legal recognition was about the definition of marriage for all of society. It was about affirmation — by the government and everyone else.It’s unsurprising that once a campaign that used to cry “live and let live” prevailed, it began working to shut down Catholic adoption agencies and harass evangelical bakers and florists. This shows it was never really about “live and let live” — that was a merely tactical stance... if marriage is about romantic connection, why require monogamy? There’s nothing magical about the number two, as defenders of “polyamory” point out. If marriage isn’t a conjugal union uniting a man and a woman as one flesh, why should it involve or imply sexual exclusivity? If it isn’t a comprehensive union inherently ordered to childbearing and rearing, why should it be pledged to permanence? Marriage redefiners could not answer these questions when challenged to show that the elimination of sexual complementarity did not undermine other marital norms. Today, they increasingly admit that they have no stake in upholding norms of monogamy, exclusivity and permanence... Already, we see respectable opinion-makers mainstreaming “throuples,” “ethical nonmonogamy” and “open relationships.” This was predictable; we and others predicted it.Something we didn’t predict are the headlines about transgender and nonbinary “identities.” A decade ago, few Americans had given much thought to the "T" in "LGBT." Today, transgender identity seems to dominate the discussion of sexuality and sexual morality... Nearly unthinkable a decade ago, certain medical professionals tell children experiencing gender dysphoria that they are trapped in the wrong body, even that their bodies are merely like Pop-Tarts foil packets, as one expert explained... These changes weren’t grassroots movements. They’ve come from people wielding political, economic and cultural power to advance sexual-liberationist ideology. The change has been top down — from Hollywood’s portrayal of LGBT characters to business executives boycotting states over religious-freedom laws. Having lost at the ballot box over and over — even in California — activists found new avenues: ideologically friendly courts, federal agencies, big corporations. Having secured a judicial redefinition of marriage, they pivoted to the “T,” with the Obama administration redefining “sex” to mean “gender identity” and imposing a new policy on all schools. And having won government support, activists turned to eliminating private dissent. Former presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke wants to yank the tax-exemption of noncompliant churches. Megadonor Tim Gill vows to spend his fortunes to “punish the wicked.” Who are “the wicked”? Those who refuse to accept the new sexual orthodoxy."
So much for the 'myth' of the slippery slope

Study finds transgender people are more conservative than cisgender men - "lesbian, gay, bisexual, pansexual, and asexual people are significantly more liberal than their cisgender heterosexual counterparts.Compared to cisgender men, cisgender women are more liberal, even within the LGBTQ community.Within the LGBTQ community, bisexual people are less liberal than lesbians and gays.But perhaps the most surprising finding is that transgender-identified individuals are less liberal than their fellow LGBTQ community members and even than cisgender men.Conversely, non-binary individuals — who are often lumped in with transgender people under the “T” — are significantly more liberal than either trans men or trans women"

bletchley punk is masked up on Twitter - "She says “Dress however you please” and “Call yourself whatever you like”. At first glance it sounds supportive, but it isn’t. It’s disengagingShe is taking a very real and concrete issue (the acceptance of trans people as humans with full rights and respect in society), minimizing it to some surface level features (appearance and names), and then abdicating any responsibility
She is purposefully mischaracterizing trans people as adults playing dress-up and then claiming to be fine with that...at a distance
The language she uses is similar to language used to minimize gay people
“You can kiss whoever you want behind closed doors!”
It’s also similar to the old favorite “I don’t care if you’re black, white, or purple!”
Purple people don’t exist, but now they’ve minimized the issue of racism and swept it away while claiming to be supportive
All of these phrases add up to the same message: “I support you, as long as you don’t change my experiences or inconvenience me in any way.” And that’s not actual support
These phrases are said by people who don’t know any trans, gay, or Black people. They say them because they know their communities won’t be impacted and their lives won’t change. As soon as their lives *are* impacted, their support becomes conditional.
Beware people who offer blanket support at a distance. As soon as that distance decreases, they will feel threatened. They will push back.
Look for people who engage with systemic issues, who dig into the nuances, who question their own beliefs, who have empathy when they don’t have to."
Grievance mongering can never rest
So much for the "myth" of the slippery slope. Equal rights aren't enough because activists will always push for more
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