Several people have been warning us for some time now that the "successor ideology", or "critical social justice" or "wokeness" or whatever you want to call it is actually a new religion. Much of the nuttiness we see in our society at this time is attributed to the religious nature of this movement.
James Lindsay has been calling adherents "gnostics". Lindsay has also been warning about the Marxist nature of current pedagogy in our K-12 schools and universities, and warning that conservatives must go beyond being conservative and become anti-communist. (Of course, Marxism itself has its own parallels to Christianity). This has alienated many of his former conservative allies, who thought he was a religious conservative, or could be persuaded to become a religious conservative. He is a classical liberal atheist. But I think he has a lot of good advice for conservatives.
John McWhorter, "a black liberal of about 1960" has written a whole book about a new religion of anti-racism that hurts black people in the name of helping them. He is resigned to the idea that adherents to this religion cannot be reached through reason (at least most of them), so efforts to keep them from having power over people should be taken. His book makes some negative descriptions of established religions, which has alienated many religious people. Though the book is over target about the "woke" movement.
In February, Michael Shellenberger and Leighton Woodhouse wrote a Public Substack piece entitled: Normies Of The World, Unite! Toward a liberal-conservative alliance against Wokeism:
People who worked in hospital clinics in the United States and Great Britain are blowing the whistle on the rush to prescribe puberty-blocking drugs and surgeries to children suffering from gender dysphoria. . .
Concerns over rushing girls into taking puberty blockers and surgically removing their breasts have been growing since the 2020 publication of Abigail Shrier's Irreversible Damage. Shrier argued that girls who in the past might have had anorexia were now suffering sudden onset gender dysphoria and seeking to become boys.
Now, three years later, the evidence is overwhelming that Shrier was right. . .
As such, alongside U.S. hospitals sterilizing the mentally ill in the early twentieth century, the sterilization of children with psychiatric conditions may go down as one of the worst abuses of medical power in modern history.
In the U.S. and UK, well-funded and politically powerful groups of activists demonized those who questioned the underlying science of their claims or expressed doubt that drugs and surgeries were the best things for girls. The top trans attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) falsely claimed on Twitter that Shrier was "closely aligned with white supremacists in power" and encouraged banning her book.
Trans activists got Amazon to claim, falsely, that the book "infers or claims to diagnose, treat, or question sexual orientation" and suspended advertisements for it one week before publication. In 2021 they forced the non-profit trade association for independent booksellers to issue an apology for daring to mention the book in a monthly mailing. "Stopping the circulation of [Shrier's] book and these ideas is 100% a hill I will die on," wrote the ACLU attorney.
Behind this zealotry is a dogmatic faith. "Gender ideology is very much like a religion," Shrier told us a few weeks ago. "And gender identity is the secular version of a soul. You're a woman down to every cell of your body. But still, they insist that there is this ethereal thing, your 'true gender identity,' which really is the secular version of this soul."
In a podcast with Joe Rogan, Shellenberger said that it was a year after he had asked Abigail Shrier about a possible religious significance of trans in the current hysteria before she got back to him with an answer. How gender ideology compared to religion wasn't as obvious as with, say, climate change. Back to the Public piece:
The separate Woke dogmas have come together to offer the unity provided by traditional religions. Where climate change offers the apocalypse and Black Lives Matter offers absolution from the Original Sin of white supremacy, being trans� gives one a soul. The three issues form the trinity of Wokeism. As a single religion, Wokeism manipulates powerful emotions, including fear, guilt, and anger.
The emotions are put to work in bullying individuals and institutions to cave in to irrational demands. A black professor in Compact magazine last week recounted how a Woke black student last summer turned the entire seminar against him by accusing him, the author of a book called Black Dignity: The Struggle Against Domination, of racism.
As such, we have seen the profoundly illiberal Woke movement rise out of liberalism itself and become its opposite. . .
How, in the end, did things get so bad? A big part of the reason is that Wokeism is a dogmatic, powerful, and bullying religion. But another part of the reason is that the Woke are united and the anti-Woke divided.
Normies Fight Back
James Lindsay would also argue that the normies don't have a plan to fight back effectively against the neo-communists, who present as hysterical women, generally make the other side seem cruel. And they always escalate. Think Tennessee.
People seem to have mostly followed Alinsky's Rules for Radicals, including #13:
Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.
Abigail Shrier takes aim again
Would Dylan Mulvaney ever use these shoes as part of one of his cosplays? He's been pretending to be a young girl from time to time recently.
Abigail Shrier, back in January, took aim:
If you wanted to protect traffickers and predators, you'd pass a bunch of legislation that looks exactly like California's.
She wrote up her investigation into the consequences of these new "LGBTQ-rights" laws in a Substack piece. She warns us upfront that it is a long read. Maybe you can save it for when you have some time. She does great work. Some of the details in this piece are insane. On the grounds of making California more welcoming to LGBTQ youth, State Senator Scott Wiener is transforming the state into a haven for human trafficking.
Like I said, she is taking specific aim.
On a Saturday night in South Los Angeles, cars pull up and idle along the side streets of Figueroa, high beams ablaze, so that the drivers can get a good look at "the girls." The women stand three astride in the middle of the street, in pasties and G-string bikinis under fishnet dresses. Draped over their shoulders are unzipped coats; even in temperate L.A., the night's January chill is biting. In seven-inch Lucite heels, they teeter toward the driver of each car the way you might walk barefoot across gravel. Less than a block away, their pimps keep company on a sidewalk corner, in hoodies and loose jeans, watching their quarry, awaiting the payout. Absent is the one thing that might typically break up the party: a police car.
In early January, I joined Erin Wilson and Stephany Powell on a tour of "the track" on Figueroa, one of California's busiest prostitution areas. For decades, Wilson, who volunteers for the anti-trafficking organization Journey Out, and her mother, Powell, have worked to combat human trafficking in Los Angeles and to help women and child victims escape this brutal world.
In our postfeminist era, prostitution is so often idealized--"sex work is work"--that it's easy to overlook the gruesome reality of what it means to have a pimp, an arrangement closer to slavery than to any legitimate job. . .
While the last few decades have seen an increase in human trafficking, women at all three of the anti-trafficking groups I spoke with across California agreed: nothing compares with the stunning rise in trafficking they've witnessed in recent months. . .
What shifted? The answer, the anti-trafficking advocates told me, is Senate Bill 357. Signed by Governor Gavin Newsom in July, the measure decriminalized loitering with the intent to engage in prostitution. The bill did not officially take effect until January 1 of this year; but, from the moment it became law back in July, these women say, the on-the-ground reality changed. "The minute the governor signed it, you started seeing an uptick on the streets," Powell said. "And on social media, the pimps were saying: 'You better get out there and work because the streets are ours.'"
The pimps were right: police stopped making arrests for crimes that would no longer be charged. The anti-loitering statute had provided the grounds for officers to question women and children whom they suspected might be trapped in a prostitution ring. . .
Sergeant Marcos Campos of the Oakland Police Department told me that his force rescued 24 underage girls from the streets in 2021. But in 2022, that number dropped to 14 -- most from before the law was signed.
Why would anyone propose such a law? Why would the California State Legislature pass it? I asked the bill's author, San Francisco-based state senator Scott Wiener. The answer he gave is the one that he supplies for so many of the bills he authors: it was necessary to advance the rights of LGBTQ people. "If you are standing on the sidewalk with high heels, and you wear your hair a certain way, and you wear tight clothing, an officer can say, 'I think you're loitering with the intent to commit prostitution' and arrest you," Wiener said. "That is not how we should be doing things in the United States of America -- arresting people for how they look," he continued. "And when you do that, not surprisingly, it's only certain kinds of people who actually get arrested: it's trans women. It's black women. . . . It's an inherently profiling law," he said. "Randomly arresting a bunch of black trans women for how they look is not protecting potential victims of human trafficking."
Hmmmm. I thought that the planned "Day (or days) of Transgender Vengeance" - the end of the week after the school shooting by a transgender - was supposed to have been inspired partly by the murders of black trans sex workers! Not by arrests for loitering. Returning to Shrier's piece:
But were the police indeed "randomly arresting a bunch of black trans women"? The anti-trafficking advocates I spoke with dispute this. For starters, Wilson, Powell, and Russell (all of whom are African-American) say that biological women and girls -- not transgender individuals--constitute the vast majority of those trafficked. Nearly every report on human trafficking by global human rights organizations confirms this observation.
And if the women I saw on Figueroa are any indication, discerning which are involved in prostitution does not require sophisticated sartorial judgments but only two eyes and a brain. If a woman is wearing a G-string bikini in the middle of the street and if she's flagging down cars -- while men in dark clothes stand watch, as if holding an invisible leash -- she is very likely to be a modern-day sex slave.
In order to "protect" people like Martha P. Johnson (top of the post) from loitering charges, California officials abandon children and women to sex slavery.
Secular Spirituality in K-12 Schools
Well-researched piece by Lisa Logan. Leftists Violate Separation Of Church And State With �Spiritual� SEL In Public Schools
Social-emotional learning (SEL) is a mental-health framework that has woven itself into the very fabric of our education system.
Standards, assessments, curricula, and even college and career readiness standards have been altered to teach, measure, and track students' adoption of SEL's five core competencies -- put forth by its standard-bearer, the Collaborative for Academic Social Emotional Learning (CASEL). . .
In 2020, amid the chaos of the global pandemic and racial riots, CASEL quietly updated that definition and its five core competencies. Its new definition of Transformative SEL and adjusted competencies reflect the view that so-called social and emotional learning needs to be taught through a racial and "equity" lens.
SEL lessons and the subjects addressed through them act as both a springboard and smokescreen for activist teachers to have discussions about race, sex, and class that aim to create a critical consciousness in children.
As if this departure from its original purpose were not destructive enough, social-emotional learning is undergoing another revision -- one that will seek to address the spiritual needs of students as a part of the Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child (WSCC) model.
Created by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD), WSCC claims to create a comprehensive school health approach by fostering collaboration among the public health and education sectors through the integration and alignment of their services, far beyond hearing and vision screenings.
These public-private partnerships will take other medical and mental health services that are generally rendered out of school and facilitated by parents and caregivers and instead allow them to be offered as aid provided by the school so the needs of the "whole child" can be met. Spirituality will soon be seen as one of those needs.
There's still room to fight back right now.
Does this work with trans men?
A song you never hear anymore. I am woman, hear me roar
Hope you have something nice planned for this weekend.
This is the Thread before the Gardening Thread.
Last week's thread, April 8, The Parting of the Waters
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