The Gig Is Up

Related Post Roulette

289 Responses

  1. Avatar Will Truman says:

    My sense is that the Bulwark people really don’t care about Drag Queen Hour. National Review people run a gamut, but is focusing on the priorities argument (and even the anti-drag side seemed pretty anxious to move the discussion to more general matters rather than that specific one. Outside the FT crowd (and even outside the right in some cases) I’m seeing a lot more on the Dancing Drag Kid. The line of real discomfort appears to be between those two cases.

    One funny thing about the First Things connection. The point-person on that over there is Matthew Schmitz.

    Ordinary Times’ Matthew Schmitz.Report

    • Here’s Schmitz attacking David French for …. watching Game of Thrones on TV.

      And here I thought the OT black sheep was Barrett Brown.Report

      • That was bizaare. Didn’t they delete the tweets with the T & A count, cause that was borderline bat-crazy behaviorReport

        • Avatar Saul Degraw says:

          T & A account? Does that stand for what I think it stands for or not?

          The thing about the Trump era is clearly lots of people on the left (including me) think that the social conservatives gave up all claims of moral uprightness (if they ever had them) by voting for Trump. To us, Trump is more than a raging dumpster fire of racism, bad policy, stupidity, criminality, and corruption. He also led a life that is the complete opposite of the ideal life as preached by the Evangelical preachers. He is a perpetual adulterer, he made his money of gambling, he almost certainly paid for abortions.

          Ironically, he is giving social conservatives nearly everything they want. Certainly much more than Reagan, Bush I, and Bush II. He is giving them the youngish, hard-right firebrand judges they want especially in the District Courts and Courts of Appeal.

          So this whole little thing seems to be another right-wing circular firing squad on whom is the greater hypocrite. French is pointing out the irony of Ahmari’s faction hanging all their hopes on Trump. So Schmitz is firing back with “well you watched the show of the heatens!!!” The whole thing would be comical if the stakes were not so high. Maybe the stakes are not high at all and the whole thing is comicalReport

          • Yes, he included several, later deleted, tweets where he actually counted sex acts of various kinds, broke down the nudity, catalogued different types of violence, ect. Bizarre to watch when it was happening in real time. “David French has seen X number of breast, how dare he question my Catholic inclusivism” is up there on weird twitter threads, and that is saying something.Report

            • Avatar Saul Degraw says:

              So now Schmitz and David French have seen more Game of Thrones than I have. I missed it because I don’t want to pay for HBO and a get a contrarian thrill out of not watching must see pop culture sometimes especially Golden Age of TV stuff.

              How does Schmitz feel about Trump using Game of Thrones stuff to taunt his opponents on twitter?Report

        • Avatar Michael Schilling says:

          It was ambiguous, too. There was no way to tell if he was counting individual breasts or pairs of breastsReport

          • Avatar Will Truman says:

            He wasn’t ambiguous, he was wrong! He took the number of breasts and divided by two to get the number of bosoms. But anyone who has seen GoT knows that there are a lot of solo breast shots. Sloppy, sloppy.

            The kicker is that he didn’t actually count it himself or anything. His source was a porn site that counted for him.

            Of course, the kicker-kicker is that his underlying point wasn’t wrong. It’s just that you could smell the rank opportunism of the argument all the way in China.Report

    • Avatar pillsy says:

      The NRO and even Bulwark tend to all describe their Culture War anxieties is similarly vague terms, though.

      This is a good strategy [1] for papering over cracks in your coalition, and a really bad strategy for getting outsiders to take your concerns seriously.

      [1] But apparently not good enough.Report

  2. Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

    I’m going to preface this by saying I had never heard of Drag Queen Story Hour, but I think it’s awesome. Adults playing dress up reading stories to kids who love to play dress up. Really not seeing the problem here.

    That said, you hit on the issue a bit here:

    Libraries in Ohio canceled events after receiving hostile letters. The Ohio State House speaker also condemned the event in a letter to the Ohio Library Council. Other people might choose to take violent action into their own hands if the legislatures won’t do anything.

    As much as the people of CA have every right to promote DQSH, so do the people of Ohio to deny it. And often enough, this is the crux of things. When either side feels their position is some kind of absolute truth/right/etc., they are never content to let the states work it out for themselves, they have to push it to the federal level and try to force everyone to live under that ideal.

    Federalism, for all it’s faults, does have some good points to it.Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw says:

      Yes and no. “I’m going to blow up this library if you hold drag queen story hour” is a threat of violence and destabilizing to democracy. If they were to hold a picket protest outside that is acceptable, writer letters to the editor, boycott, write letters of dissent that do not threaten violence/terrorism that is acceptable. What the Ohio State House speaker is also politically acceptable even though I disagree with it.

      The point here is not that Ahmari is upset about Drag Queen Story Hour and writing about it. He can write about whatever he wants for as long as he wants. The point is more that a decent chunk of conservatives look like they are starting to realize that they will always lose under following the rules, constraints, and norms of liberal democracy. As Chip Daniels points out in Andrew’s essay, Ahmari and his cohort at becoming revolutionaries, not conservatives. They want to impose their will on California. This can only be done through anti-democratic and potentially violent means at this point in history.

      There is also an asymmetry. As far as I know, the Democratic controlled California state legislature is not mandating that all libraries in California hold Drag Queen Story Hour or risk losing their funding. The program is run by a non-profit and 100 percent voluntary. The Ohio State Speaker is using his bully pulpit to get libraries in Ohio that want to do Drag Queen Story Hour to change their mind.Report

      • Avatar dragonfrog says:

        If you check out videos of some of the pickets outside libraries’ drag queen story hours, you might want to add some caveats about acceptable behaviour at pickets around children’s events. Because personally I’d estimate the kids in attendance would be far more likely to be frightened and traumatized by the words of the people protesting ostensibly to protect them, than by the words of the men in fabulous women’s clothing reading them story books.Report

      • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

        Agreed. As long as they stick to legal democratic means, I have no issue with them.

        Once they switch to violence or threats of violence (implicit or explicit), they are as bad as the Anti-Fa, or the radical jihadists.

        And any government that hesitates to investigate and prosecute such threats and actions is abdicating it’s responsibility and authority.Report

        • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

          Using legal means…to accomplish what end?

          I mean, if people use peaceful legal means to turn a group of people into second class citizens, then yes, I have a very big problem with that.Report

          • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

            There is the process, and the result.

            The process can be legitimate, yet still produce a bad result.

            If the process is not legitimate, the produced result is always tainted, regardless of if it is good or bad.

            So to be clear, I may call the result bad, but I don’t have a problem with how the result was obtained, since it followed the process.Report

            • Avatar veronica d says:

              @oscar — Do you see any limits to this line of reasoning? For example, was the Underground Railroad automatically “tainted” because they were breaking the law? How about those who hid Jews in their attics?

              What are your thoughts on John Brown?Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

                Fair point. Yeah, there is a limit to it. The nature of that limit is probably pretty closely related to how deeply the system impacts personal liberty, and how freely a person can exercise the right of exit.

                Slaves and Jews both had their liberty profoundly impacted and could not freely exit those polities, so I’d say that those were well outside the limits of the argument.

                If we were to pretend Obergefell had been decided such that a state didn’t have to issue marriage licenses to SS couples, but did have to respect those licenses issued by other states, that would be inside the limit.

                But the limit isn’t as bright a line as I’d prefer.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter says:

                was the Underground Railroad automatically “tainted” because they were breaking the law

                This is the “Paladin in hell” argument, i.e. what to do when the law itself is evil. It has to be really nasty for war to be the lesser evil, those situations qualified.Report

    • Avatar Blather says:

      {“Blather” is a previously banned user and as such most of his comments are being removed and further ones will be deleted. He has my email if he wishes to discuss this further.}Report

  3. The very bright line of going too far on things is when you feel like someone, anyone, has no right to the public sphere. Launching an assault on people who agree with on probably 95% of things because they don’t want to grab a torch with you to run off a drag queen, which is how this comes across, is clearly the latter. Disagree goes to persecuting when you stop saying I don’t agree with you and go to I shouldn’t have to acknowledge you exist.Report

    • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

      What is alarming is that Ahamari and the Trumpists have defined the terms of engagement in such a way that there can be no compromise.

      As with the Flight 93 narrative, they aren’t looking for some peaceful place of coexistence.

      They are very explicit that those who oppose their version of the higher good must be reduced to unequal second class beings, stripped of any power whatsoever.Report

      • Which I why I do, and always will, oppose them. The fallacy of “flight 93” – not to mention how insulting it is to what it’s referencing being used for twitter arguments – is to the perpetually aggrieved it is always life or death. I used the term purposefully, what Ahamrai seems to want when you drill down into it an inquisition with him and like-minded folks the inquisitors. However they justify, explain, or dress it up that appears to be their endgame.Report

      • Avatar DensityDuck says:

        “As with the Flight 93 narrative”


        Stop doing this.Report

      • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

        What is the “Flight 93 narrative”?Report

        • Avatar pillsy says:

          It’s a reference (primarily) to this article by Michael Anton called, cleverly enough, “The Flight 93 Election, arguing in September of 2016 that conservatives had no choice but to support Donald Trump in order to wrest the control of the metaphorical airplane away from the libs who are hellbent on metaphorically crashing it into something.

          In his case, that something was a barely veiled replacement to alt-right Hashtag White Genocide conspiracy theories. This was back when Bannon was running the show and neither the conservative nor mainstream media outlets were quite so eager to gloss over exactly what Trump said, or why so many of his early supporters on the Right liked him:

          Third and most important, the ceaseless importation of Third World foreigners with no tradition of, taste for, or experience in liberty means that the electorate grows more left, more Democratic, less Republican, less republican, and less traditionally American with every cycle. As does, of course, the U.S. population, which only serves to reinforce the two other causes outlined above. This is the core reason why the Left, the Democrats, and the bipartisan junta (categories distinct but very much overlapping) think they are on the cusp of a permanent victory that will forever obviate the need to pretend to respect democratic and constitutional niceties. Because they are.

          Other people on the Right have seized on other forms of doom to justify their alignment with, or at least non-opposition to, Trump. In Ahmari’s case, it’s this ludicrous hand-wringing about story hour.

          As for Anton himself, well, his repellent views certainly didn’t prevent him from being hired as a speechwriter by the Trump White House.

          [1] Under the pseudonym “Publius Decius Mus”. Ludicrously overheated analogies are kind of this guy’s think.Report

      • Avatar Dark Matter says:

        What is alarming is that Ahamari and the Trumpists have defined the terms of engagement in such a way that there can be no compromise.

        For years we “compromised” by resolving things at a state level. I would expect they’re willing to do that and you’re not.

        As with the Flight 93 narrative

        Ah yes, everything must be “everyone dies if I’m not in power” as a way to motivate the troops. I can believe 93 for certain economic policies (Venezuela) but it’s a lot harder when it’s the culture war that people are talking about.

        The attractive thing about picking on drag queens is there are so few of them. They’re a “safe” enemy that can be engaged to keep the movement’s leaders relevant.Report

        • Avatar Jesse says:

          “For years we “compromised” by resolving things at a state level. I would expect they’re willing to do that and you’re not.”

          Yes, some of us think you shouldn’t have less civil rights because the majority of the people in your state happen to be assholes. We live in the United States, not a confederacy of independent fiefdoms.Report

          • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

            Hold on a moment, I’m willing to entertain state level TRAP laws for gun shops.

            No may buy a gun unless their spouse and children sign an agreement;
            Gun shops must carry 1 Billion in insurance;
            No gun shop within 500 yards of a school, church, residence, office, theater, hospital, industry, road, or telephone pole;
            All gun shop owners must complete 300 hours of mandatory training each year, offered only at state-approved and licensed facilities;
            All purchasers of guns must watch a 3 hour video of gunshot victims screaming in agony; and have a satisfactory psychiatric evaluation approving their mental state for handling a dangerous weapon.

            I’m a pretty reasonable fellow.Report

            • Avatar Dark Matter says:

              I’m a pretty reasonable fellow.

              And it’s the other side’s fault for not wanting to “compromise” with you.Report

          • Avatar Dark Matter says:

            We live in the United States, not a confederacy of independent fiefdoms.

            The US system is designed to let pro and anti slavery factions exist side by side.

            …some of us think you shouldn’t have less civil rights because the majority of the people in your state happen to be assholes

            Well there you go. There will be a one size fits all solution. They will have the same respect for your culture that you have for theirs.

            The downside of this approach is it may result in an average of what the states want and not what the most progressive wants. It may even result in what is acceptable to the least progressive state, or more likely, Iowa & New Hampshire.Report

            • Avatar Jesse says:

              I legitimately think a national plebiscite, with mandatory voting, on the culture war issues (ie. guns, abortion, LGBT rights, etc.) with the results having to be adhered to for a generation wouldn’t give the results I want completely, but they’d be far far away from the results Republicans want and are pushing in the states where they have control.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter says:

                I legitimately think a national plebiscite, with mandatory voting, on the culture war issues (ie. guns, abortion, LGBT rights, etc.) with the results having to be adhered to for a generation wouldn’t give the results I want completely, but they’d be far far away from the results Republicans want and are pushing in the states where they have control.

                Not only “No” but “hell NO!”.

                Gay marriage was so unpopular when Obama was elected that he had to run against it. If we’d held this “generation election” in 2000 with the intention that it last 25 years then Obama would be enforcing nasty laws all through his presidency.

                Picture him sending in armed troops into churches to deal with rogue weddings.

                If you can’t picture that then this doesn’t work. For that matter if you can picture that then we’re doing something that shouldn’t work.

                A big part of our current immigration problem is Congress doesn’t accept that it has limited power to enforce it’s will and it passes laws based on what it wants to have happen instead of what can happen. I’d say “one faction of Congress” but most of these issues have one faction or another doing the same thing.Report

        • Avatar pillsy says:

          For years we “compromised” by resolving things at a state level. I would expect they’re willing to do that and you’re not.

          I don’t think they are, because culture has never been decided at the state level. Their problem is much less the overwhelming power of the federal government, and more the fact that the federal government (not so differently from state governments) has very little ability to determine what’s cool or weird or fashionable or gross.

          The fact that Ahmari is having this meltdown now, when the GOP controls 2.5 branches of the federal government, doesn’t seem like a total coincidence. It’s because that control cant’t get him what he wants as long as we have a (broadly) liberal constitutional order.

          I don’t think that he’s quite willing to actually accept what this means. That’s why he’s ultimately hanging his hat on more paid parental leave as part of some dippy social engineering scheme.

          The guy is dragging David French for being too liberal, but he’s the one who’s saying that we’d have stronger families if only the government made greedy corporations be more generous with their employee benefits.Report

          • Avatar Dark Matter says:

            The fact that Ahmari is having this meltdown now, when the GOP controls 2.5 branches of the federal government, doesn’t seem like a total coincidence. It’s because that control cant’t get him what he wants as long as we have a (broadly) liberal constitutional order.

            He’s finding out that his power is limited, the gov’s power is limited, he’s hit his peak… and worse, the world isn’t like what his world view says.

            It’s supposed to be just a few liberals in the way, the adoring conservative masses that are the vast bulk of America should be welcoming him in at this point for total victory.Report

  4. Avatar Richard Hershberger says:

    My prediction is that in fifty years, people who self-identify as conservative will be claiming that they were totally pro LGBT rights all along. There will be the odd holdout in the backwoods, but they will be regarded as kooks.

    It could happen earlier. They make free use of the memory hole, when it suits them. Evangelical Protestants went from being generally pro-choice to being virulently anti-abortion in the space of about five years, roughly centered on 1980. I wasn’t tuned into Evangelicalism at the time and didn’t know about it, but in retrospect it was an amazing thing. There were a lot of new editions of old books issued. For a few years there was a pattern of some missionary who had been elsewhere would come back home and comment on the issue, and have to be taken aside to have the new order of things explained to him. At this point, you can find Evangelicals who flatly deny that this history ever happened.

    There is a long history of culture war fights fading away. Sabbatarianism is nearly entirely dead, and you can be an Evangelical in good standing while drinking a beer and dancing. The main reason to believe that anti-LGBT rights won’t go quietly is that it is all about other people’s genitalia. Obsessing about other people’s genitalia is just about the favorite thing for a certain sort of person, and they don’t give it up easily.

    On the other hand, the younger generation, even within Evangelical Protestantism, tend to think the whole thing kind of weird. They might be acculturated into obsessing about genitalia, but I am hopeful that they will not.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird says:

      “Gay Marriage is good. We always supported monogamy!” strikes me as the tack we’re most likely to see. There will be a bias against polyamory (which strikes me as likely to become a thing among the elite) and a bias against promiscuity (defined as anything more enthusiastic than a lazy serial monogamism).

      If I had to guess.

      (We also might have a culture warrish thing between the “you can choose your gender!” people and the “you can’t choose your gender!” people which will have some strange bedfellows that will likely be obvious in retrospect.)Report

      • Avatar North says:

        Yes that’s plausible, but since polyamory doesn’t really have much political cachet outside of conservatives desperately wishing it could become a big thing so they could fight against it I don’t see it being an easy switch in. Even pro-polyamory people can’t usually agree on how polyamory would be reflected in policy in their ideal world.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird says:

          Not as a policy, as a fashion.

          And the culture war will be fought against the fashion. “Don’t have sex with multiple people who are also themselves having sex with multiple people!” will be the undercurrent but the actual phrasing will be something more like “don’t be like (pop culture icon who had a *MAGNIFICENT* poly flameout)!”

          The pro-poly arguments will be the same, on a cultural level, as they are on the micro (“having a heart big enough to love multiple people is superior to having a small heart”, that sort of thing) and the counter-arguments will mostly rely on, you guessed it, “tradition” and doing things the way our square and locked-down grandparents did them.

          “Just marry people and then divorce them and then marry someone else!”, the serial monogamist fans will argue. “Anything else just doesn’t work!”Report

          • Avatar Saul Degraw says:

            I think you vastly overestimate how many people practice polyamory these days and how elite they are. In my opinion and observations, the number of people who practice polyamory are quite small and often more on the edges of fandom/neo-Wiccan than elites with fancy Park Ave or even just nice upper-middle class neighborbood addresses.

            As far as I can tell, they Heyday for “polyamory” was in the 1970s when key parties and wife-swapping were apparently real things. Though other people claim that there is no evidence for key parties.

            The thing about a lot of conservatives and conservative-sympathizers (I place you here TBH) is that they vastly overestimate the number of bachanals “elites” (which you use like conservatives use, to denote anyone urban with a college degree or more and sometimes highbrow tastes). Most of urban “elite” life is pretty bourgeois and respectable. I can tell you that there are many more boring, monogamous couples in San Francisco than people having wild, sex parties. More couples who spend their evenings watching TV while eating dinner on the couch.

            Yet by your telling, we should be balls of the walls with origies all the time.Report

            • Avatar veronica d says:

              For the record, “poly” culture and “swinger” culture have very little to do with each other.Report

            • Avatar Jaybird says:

              Can I make guesses about the future, or no?

              And, yeah, polyamory does not equal “bachanals”, from what I’ve seen. It’s more likely to equal a bunch of people sharing google calendars with each other and trying to figure out what they’re going to do after one of them has their secondary break up with them. “They were going to feed my cat when I went to Vegas with my tertiary for the Star Trek convention (and my Primary can’t do it because she *HATES* cats).”

              And that turns into a fight where everybody is forced to pick a side.

              Orgies? Pfeh.

              I wasn’t talking about orgies. I was talking about the battle lines being drawn and the arguments taking place.Report

            • Avatar North says:

              Actually, conservatives don’t maintain that delusion Saul. If you read Dreher or other social cons they’re keenly aware that people in the higher income quadrilles are generally living rather conventional lives: finish school, date, go to college, shack up, get a good job, marry, have kids, stay married. They are very irritated that those liberals don’t “preach what they practice” and try and force their choices onto others.

              Yes they’ll claim that everyone to the left of Lindsey Graham is living a life of sex drenched debauchery on Fox and various other Right wing media outlets but in their less public conversations they know that’s entirely fabricated.Report

              • Avatar veronica d says:

                I’m in a monogamous relationship now. It’s just — comfortable. It feels easy. I’m still “pro-poly.” It’s a thing. Some people like it. Some don’t. Some try it out and bounce off it — because one relationship is a lot of work already. Some folks seem to really thrive.

                Oh, and the orgies do happen, sometimes. They can be fun.

                Of course, you don’t have to be “poly” to go to orgies. Some people stay officially “single.” Some couples swing. All sorts of things happen.Report

              • Avatar North says:

                Absolutely! I personally have no problem with people pursuing poly relationships. I think they’re crazy (because I can barely manage the feelings of one other person let alone multiple ones) as a bag full of cats but if it works for them and makes them feel fulfilled then more power to them.
                When we start talking about state sanctioned poly relationships, nngh, no two poly people I’ve talked to on the subject have ever even been able to clearly describe how it would even work- taking the binary out of that policy makes a whole universe of iteration problems that making it open to both genders didn’t. I don’t know if poly relationships need state sanction; I suspect they will flourish just fine so long as there isn’t state opposition.Report

              • Avatar veronica d says:

                The thing about poly is, there is no “default” way to structure the relationship. With monogamous couples, it’s pretty obvious how to handle the various “power of attorney”-type issues. With a polycule? How does that work?

                One answer would be to make it easy for poly couples to set up “power of attorney”-type structures, as they chose withing their polycule.Report

              • Avatar North says:

                Absolutely and that touches, I think, on the crux of why state sanctioned poly marriage doesn’t have a strong driving force right now despite how much conservatives wish they had it to tilt against:
                Poly couples who’re ready to make that commitment to each other can use the existing marriage law plus some power of attorney docs drawn up by a lawyer and get something that generally covers what they need and can be specifically tailored for what works for their group relationship.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

                Not to mention, the single largest and most focused plural marriage group, dba “FLDS” is already Republican-adjacent and I bet with my bottom nickel that with the proper framing it would be the Trumpkins who warm up to it long before the freaky San Franciscans.

                Think “underage girls” and Roy Moore, about how easily a shocking transgressive act can be draped with the mantle of pious righteousness.Report

              • Avatar North says:

                I considered that angle but don’t want to go there. I don’t want to consider that element a true example of poly relationship. It’s more like serial abuse that happens to have a polygamous coat of paint.Report

              • Avatar Richard Hershberger says:

                It already is easy. Powers of attorney are simple documents. If you don’t feel confident doing it yourself, the lawyer with a sign out front listing all the stuff he does is just fine. There are lots of things you shouldn’t go to that guy for, but this one is easy.

                The difference with monogamous married couples is that you can have a default, which everyone understands.

                The problem with the power of attorney is that if you are in the emergency room at three in the morning faced with a horrific decision, you don’t want to have to go home to dig out the paperwork, and then wait until the hospital’s legal department has reviewed it. This was part of my argument for gay marriage. Poly? I don’t see a solution.Report

          • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

            The logic error behind fear of poly acceptance is the same error people made about gay acceptance.

            People assumed gay behavior was just a variation of sexual abandon; that were it not for restrictive laws, men would rush out into the street and start sodomizing each other. That is, that the desire for homosexuality was latent in all men, just waiting for acceptance.

            Likewise, even if poly were somehow widely accepted, how many people would embrace it?

            Answer: There is a very good reason why even in the most liberated of sexual worlds, women who want to join a couple are called “unicorns”. And why almost all polygamous cultures in history had some form of repression of female choice in order to make the practice stick.Report

            • Avatar North says:

              I’m still waiting for the evil legions of poly marriage, dog marriage and inanimate object marriage advocates that libertarians and socialcons promised would show up if we legalized gay marriage.Report

            • Avatar Jaybird says:

              So the fact that it’s illogical is an indicator that the social conservatives won’t do it?Report

            • Avatar LeeEsq says:

              I think part of the fear of poly acceptance is that many people fear they would be left out in the cold without enforced monogamy. Essentially, that the most desirable people will dominate the scene and take the majority of partners for themselves and leave everybody else with noting.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

                I’ve heard it said that among the factors leading to its demise were that wealthy men hoarded all the women, leaving a dangerously combustible pool of young men without prospects.

                Another is the fact that when men are never truly “settled”, that is, always on the prowl for a new mate, they can never truly be trusted by the younger men as advisers and leaders who will act altruistically for the group.Report

              • Avatar LeeEsq says:

                The basic theory its that monogamous societies out compete polygamous societies because monogamous societies have less of an incel phenomenon. They didn’t tend to have a large percentage of bachelors with no stakes because no wife and no kids and grandkids wondering about. Therefore, they had no real reasons to contribute to society in an economic or defensive capacity.

                The problem is that previous polyamorous societies were very patriarchal and hierachical, so the top men taking the majority of women for themselves. We don’t know what mass polyamory would look like in a less sexist and more egalitarian society.Report

              • Avatar dragonfrog says:

                The problem is that previous polyamorous societies were very patriarchal and hierachical, so the top men taking the majority of women for themselves.

                By the current usage of the terms, those societies were / are polygamous then, not polyamorous.

                Theoretically that problem shouldn’t occur if polyamory were to become relatively widespread, as the whole point is nobody gets to keep anybody “to themselves”. There would be about as many wives with two husband, as husbands with two wives.

                Not that I expect to be able to observe in my lifetime whether this theory holds up in practice.Report

              • Avatar LeeEsq says:

                Occasional OTer John Rowe maintains that any polyamorous system will basically become the top men hoarding the women to themselves model because biology. Others believe it will be different because the top men with all the women model was based on lack of female agency. I’m agnostic on the point.Report

              • Avatar dragonfrog says:

                In my very limited view of polyamorous arrangements in my circle it seems to be slightly more women with multiple partners than men. The men I know of who are dating multiple women aren’t “keeping them to themselves” as these women all have additional partners, or else they really only want someone to go on the odd date with, and so if the options were committed monogamy or nothing, they’d probably stay single.

                Again, surely not a representative sample, so there’s probably not much to extrapolate from.Report

          • Avatar North says:

            Meh, without policy meat behind it that’s just media vapor and that simply doesn’t exercise much passion in my observations. People need skin in the game or they just mostly ignore that stuff.Report

            • Avatar Jaybird says:

              Eh, I imagine that someone will demand recognition of a poly marriage. “We three are married!”

              When I argued about SSM, I pointed out that the template for two men or two women marrying each other matched very closely to a man and woman marrying each other.

              Indeed, Obergefell was won because some functionary went all R. Garnett Brooks and refused to put a name down in “surviving spouse” on a death certificate.

              Anyway, when it comes to plural marriage, there is no template.

              How will Social Security checks be handled? Is there a difference between a triangle where three people are all married to each other (Portland!) and a marriage where one person is married to two people (who aren’t married to each other) (Utah!)?

              If so, how should Social Security be handled in each case?

              It’s those policies that will create problems even as the plural marriage folks are screaming that it’s exactly the same as SSM.

              In the Eyes of God, the marriage might be exactly the same.

              In the Eyes of the State? The manila folder crap is completely different.Report

              • Avatar North says:

                Oh yes total agreement there, but you can find someone to claim just about anything. Especially once you use the internet. But to make a real life movement outta it; something that people will take seriously to support or oppose; you need to have a significant enough number of people and the existing system has to not be able to accommodate them.

                Poly doesn’t fit the former or latter criteria now that SSM is legal. There aren’t enough of them pushing for it; and they can’t really even describe how the state could address those needs.

                Which is why I continue to suspect that Poly marriage will remain an academic argument more than anything else.Report

          • Avatar Dark Matter says:

            The purpose of the culture war isn’t just to keep [my culture] distinct and superior from others, but (more importantly) to keep the movement’s leaders relevant. The ideal enemy needs to be something small, safe, weird, but it also needs to be large enough to be viewed as a problem.

            When the gays collectively came out of the closet they became too numerous to be good enemies. If I know someone personally then they become a person and less scary than the abstract. It’s also possible that with modern media the ideal size of the enemy has shrunk.

            I have my doubts that poly-groups make a good enemy. My impression is they’re too rare, not weird enough, not identifiable enough, and not defined enough. Worse, if we just lump them in with people cheating on their partner (aka “Scarlet letter”) then they’re far too numerous.Report

      • Avatar DavidTC says:

        “Gay Marriage is good. We always supported monogamy!” is the position they should have politically taken around 2000-2010, and would have if Fox News hadn’t shown up earlier to make any sort of repositioning impossible.

        There was, and still is, an entire world of ‘respectable’ gays out there that want a dog and 2.5 kids in the suburbs and be seen as basically identical to straight couples, who cringe at a lot of flamboyant libertine behavior that shows up sometimes. This has, as far as I can tell, been the constant theme of the gay rights movement, the people who say ‘Look, we need to be able to visit each other in the hospital, we’re basically exactly the same as straight people’ and other people who are just out there.

        The first group _could_ have been Republicans, if Republicans had done that.

        I mean, I’m not saying this would have been a _good_ thing. It actually would be a pretty bad thing. And it still happens, to an extent. It’s FUIGM, and has at time thrown bisexual, trans people, non-binary, poly, asexual, whoever, under the bus. And it requires literally everyone to _reargue_ things, to say ‘No, we should be considered respectable also’, and the last group that got let in is often trying to hold the door closed to keep them out, because getting in was a lot of work.

        It’s just I can imagine a world where the ‘respectable’ side have a lot of Republicans. Republicans sorta screwed up big time by refusing to let them in at all.Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq says:

      The Southern Baptist Conference positively praised Roe when it came out. Its really bizarre. Evangelicals were fairly progressive on being pro-choice if nothing else but quickly turned against it for reasons that seem obscure.Report

      • Avatar Pinky says:

        People bring that up all the time. But wasn’t that just one press release? I don’t think most people were thinking about abortion at the time. I’ve known a lot of people who started out sort of pro-choice, but became deeply pro-life the more they thought about it.Report

        • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

          The fact that Vice President Agnew got a lot of mileage out of describing his opposition as committed to “Acid, Amnesty and Abortion” suggests that it was a very big issue.Report

          • Avatar pillsy says:

            It was a big issue with Catholics, which is undoubtedly why Agnew brought it up.

            Evangelical Protestants would (largely) shift to an anti-abortion stance over the course of the ’70s and early ’80sReport

        • Avatar Richard Hershberger says:

          Here is a recent piece by Fred Clark, who grew up in pre-1980 Evangelical culture:

          Note also that I wrote of the switch from “generally” pro-choice to “virulently” anti-abortion. It was not merely a jump from one spot on the spectrum to the same spot, but on the other side.Report

        • Avatar Pinky says:

          Chip, I just read through the 1972 and 1976 Democratic and Republican platforms. In both of the 1972 documents, there are positive reference to family planning, but none to abortion. In the 1976 ones, they both talk about the subject very gingerly, granting that there are people on both sides. The Democrats think that overturning Roe would be bad. The Republicans want a solution that protects life. Platforms aren’t always the most candid of documents, but I think they show that there was a lot of ambiguity early on, but that it wasn’t the hottest of issues.

          Richard, ditto to the Clark article. He describes the people as being publicly opposed to abortion, but privately accepting. I’m not even sure what point you two are arguing. I think everyone agrees that the issue went from being less important to one of the primary drivers in the “big sort”.

          I’m a Catholic. Protestants tend to be less top-down when it comes to moral issues. They also tend to be…oh, I don’t want to say dumber, but they’ve thought things through with the brain power of one person over a lifetime, rather than the power of billions of people across thousands of years. I’ve found that references to the Baptist statement of 1973 have the tone of a “gotcha”, and as I don’t have any problem explaining their drift over time, it doesn’t affect me. Protestants were basking in the availability of birth control at the time, and didn’t want to think like Catholics, but eventually they came around. Remember that ultrasounds were still pretty rare around the time of Roe, when it was still pretty common for couples to not know the sex of their baby until delivery.Report

    • Avatar Doctor Jay says:

      I lived through the Evangelical transition you mention. A writer named Frances Shaeffer was prominent. I transitioned away from being strongly Evangelical because of that shift and a few others. I remember attending a church I’d heard about from 1000 miles away, thinking I’d find some very good fellowship and teaching only to find the preacher fulminating about “the gays” in SF. Sodom and Gomorrah were referenced.

      Mind you, I wasn’t what you’d call “gay-positive” at the time. We had a friend come out, and we advocated abstinence. Our thought was, “just like we do with heterosexual sex”. Of course, we had the prospect of marriage and a healthy sexual life in front of us. So, I was kind of a dumbass, and a privileged one.

      At the same time, I was clear that all the hatred and fulminating was at odds with what I thought the central teachings were. You know, “love your enemy” and “love your neighbor as yourself”.

      Still, I don’t regret my time as an Evangelical in the Seventies. Nor do I forget it.Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw says:

      The social conservatives are absolutely losing the young over LBGT rights. There was the story about the class of Methodist youngsters that refused their confirmation because the Methodists refused to go for gay rights and their recent convention or what ever they call it.

      Sabbatarianism is strange because I know lots of liberals who argue for some variant of blue laws because they see it as a strike against materialism and consumerism. They are often Protestant liberals. When I point out that religious Jews can’t shop from Friday night to Saturday night, it falls on deaf ears or the thumbs begin twiddling awkwardly.Report

      • Avatar Richard Hershberger says:

        The Methodists suffer from their ecclesiastical structure. Most Protestant denominations are organized on a combination of national and ideological lines. So my own church, the ELCA, is the liberal version of Lutheran in the United States. The biggest conservative version is the LCMS. It is about half the size of the ELCA. Conservative churches don’t play well together, so you have WELS, about a third the size of LCMS, who thinks LCMS are a bunch of Birkenstock-wearing hippies. There are ever-smaller even more conservative versions, asymptotically approaching zero.

        So in this scheme, there is a ready sorting mechanism. Gay marriage is the specific issue, serving as a proxy for LGBT rights in general, with a specific church application. So the ELCA voted to marry gays. The LCMS and all the rest clucked their tongues in disapproval. Anyone in the ELCA unwilling to live with this left. This is all straightforward.

        The Methodists are organized differently. There is no United States Methodist church body, in any legislative sense. This stuff is all done on the worldwide level. In the recent vote, the US Methodists favored gay marriage. They were voted down by Methodists from other places, especially Africa.

        There are several ways this could play out, from broad schism, to individual parishes leaving, to individuals going across the street to the local Episcopalian or UCC church. It is too early to say how it will go.

        As for Sabbatarianism, ten years ago all the liquor stores in my county were closed on Sunday by law. The big support for this came from the mom and pop stores, as it gave them a day off without losing business to the local competition. It was the big stores with outside employees that lobbied to change the law. I don’t recall any discussion at all along classic Sabbatarianism lines.Report

        • Avatar Mike Dwyer says:

          My wife was raised Methodist and I think this is going to drive her from the church unless her congregation breaks off.Report

        • Avatar veronica d says:

          So my own church, the ELCA, is the liberal version of Lutheran in the United States.

          Neat. My father is a (now retired) ELCA minister. (He was LCA when I was a kid.)

          You probably know this, but gay acceptance was not painless even among ELCA churches. My father, in fact, was pressured to leave one congregation (which he had originally founded in the early 70’s) because of his open support of gay marriage — this happened in the early 90’s. He landed on his feet, moving across the state to take over a church trying to form an LGBT outreach program. Since then, he’s exclusively preached in churches with an LGBT mission.

          Funny thing, he made these choices long before I came out as trans. It was nice, though, knowing that my parents were strong allies, before I sent them that email explaining the changes I was making in my life.

          Growing up, we didn’t discuss LCMS much. I knew they existed, but that’s about it.Report

          • Avatar Richard Hershberger says:

            My father also was an ELCA minister, originally LCA, but some years older than your father. He also was a US Navy Chaplain for 27 years, before taking a parish in a military town.

            I honestly don’t know how he stood on gay rights, or even if the question ever entered his mind. It was easy not to think about it in those days, if you were straight cis. My family generally voted Republican, mostly on national defense grounds (not entirely well founded, in retrospect, but that is a different discussion). I voted to reelect Reagan. My extended family then went for a decade or so where politics didn’t come up as a discussion. When this finally broke, we discovered that nearly all of us had turned into Democrats.

            As for the ELCA, it certainly wasn’t painless, but it was predictable. There were individuals and congregations leaving over the gay issue before the church as a whole ever voted on it. The direction the wind was blowing was unmistakable. I don’t know what percentage we lost over this. It wasn’t trivial, but neither was it terribly large. The liberal/conservative scheme I described for American Lutheranism has deep roots. The LCMS were xenophobic long before being homophobic was an issue. The Big Sort had mostly run its course long before the gay marriage vote.Report

        • Avatar Saul Degraw says:

          Californa’s liquour laws are lovingly liberal. As far as I know, NY still forbids selling boooze before noon on Sunday.

          There is a county in New Jersey (Bergen) that still mandates all retail/commercial be close all Sunday. Or most of it. There are some progressives who fight for this as a grand and good thing.

          “Contillo said that Bergen County’s blue laws have, over the decades, evolved into a civic institution that crosses partisan and even religious lines. “It’s a family day,” he told me—the one day of the week that most people can be sure of the company of those they care about, and when the options for activity are more social than commercial. I asked him whether this amounted to resistance to consumerism. “Well, we use a different word for it,” he replied. “We call it ‘quality of life.’ ”

          If you’re old enough to remember when blue laws were common, Bergen on a Sunday is a nostalgia trip. Kids play road hockey, skateboarders practice kickflips on open swaths of pavement, and you may suddenly notice the cawing of blue jays. The locked Garden State Plaza, lost among its empty parking lots, seems vaguely apocalyptic. The scene is liberating, but also heavy with the demand that free time places on the self. You find yourself constantly checking your cell phone for messages.:”

    • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

      I remember in the early 70s, the Big Issue with religious conservatives was premarital sex. They railed against it and vowed to stand firm for eternity.

      I remember an interview with Bing Crosby where someone asked him what he would do if his daughter said she had sex outside of marriage, and he answered soberly that he would pack her bags and shun her from his house. I know of at least a couple fathers who did that very thing.

      That issue, like many others, has vanished down the memory hole.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw says:

        The thing about pre-marital sex is that I think it was always present in society but the 1960s and 70s made it more open.

        In Albion’s Seed, David Hackett Fisher writes about how New England Puritans thought it was okay for couples to start having sex once the engagement was announced/finalized. It was not uncommon for brides to be three or five months pregnant on their wedding day.

        One of the dorms at my formally all-female college was allegedly built for girls who got pregnant while at school.

        The novel Mrs. Bridge is set in Missouri in the 1910s-1940s. There is one scene where Mrs. Bridge goes to a wedding with her three children. The bride is obviously pregnant. Mrs. Bridge makes a comment to try and protect her kids innocence. Her children essentially eyeroll. Later one of the scenes involves one of her daughters moving to New York. The daughter clearly has men in her room for sex. Mrs. Bridge was published in the 1950s.

        Lots of other examples abound. Pre-marital sex was not invented whole cloth by the Hippies. I’m not even sure that the Hippies substantially increased the amount of pre-martial sex people were having so it is amazing and perplexing that so many people thought pre-martial sex was a new thing.Report

        • Avatar LeeEsq says:

          Its one of those things that are really hard to engage. There was a lot more active attempts to police sexuality among everybody before the 1960s. It used to be illegal for married couples to use contraceptives in many states before Griswold. The idea being that the only way to prevent unmarried people from gaining access is for married people to gain access. Many apartment buildings also had rules about having guests of the opposite gender designed to prevent sex like forcing you to entertain them in public areas if they weren’t related.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq says:

        Bing Cosby was an interesting fellow, in a very dark sense, because he was kind of forced to play the role of happy Catholic conservative lay person by the church even though his personal life was miserable. There is an anecdote about him wanting to separate from and divorce his wife because they were at each others throats. He approached Cardinal Spellman about it. Cardinal Spellman that there was “no way that Father O’Malley could get divorced.” The Catholic Church thought they would suffer if Cosby got divorced because of Cosby’s role as a happy go lucky Catholic priest that people liked.Report

      • Avatar Philip H says:

        I don’t think so – its part of the Abstinence Only sex ed fight, and its very much front and center in anti-choice propaganda. You don’t need abortion – so the line goes – if you keep your knees together. Which is of course all about controlling women’s sexuality, which has been an Evangelical Protestant stance for many, many decades.Report

        • Avatar Richard Hershberger says:

          This. I think Chip is right in that this isn’t really part of the public discussion across the cultural divide. That is to say, Evangelicals don’t imagine they can force the San Francisco public schools to teach Abstinence Only. But Small Town, Iowa is a different matter entirely. This ends up being an internal discussion among Evangelicals, while abortion is a raging battle with outsiders.

          And in practice, there are a lot of unmarried Evangelicals having sex. Being good Evangelicals, they are decently hypocritical about it.Report

  5. Avatar Doctor Jay says:

    I can’t help but wonder if the Ohio State House Speaker thinks that trans women and drag queens are the same thing. Which is where this gets serious for me.

    As far as I can tell, the true horror confronting Sohrab Ahmari is the specter of a person who seems a bit “off” gender-wise to them. This is a big problem for me, since I love such a person. Actually, several such persons. I will never move off this point, the humanity and worth of such persons is not up for debate.

    Like David French, I’m quite clear that loving our neighbor and loving our enemies is a command with the highest priority. I have worked my whole life to follow that command, and I have no regrets for doing so.

    There seems to me to have been a parallel development began on the Left maybe 5 years ago? Some campus groups started advocating that free speech was harming The Cause and they ought to walk away from it. I was not a fan of this, but I got some measure of the same treatment David French is getting now.

    I think that blogs run by private individuals get to (in fact, probably must) maintain their own editorial standards. But free speech in the public square must remain. So publicly held universities get to invite Milo. You’re better off ignoring him or mocking him than you are trying to deplatform him.

    We’re in a time where everything, every precept, every foundation block is being questioned by someone. That’s probably on balance a good thing. It’s how we renew ourselves.Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw says:

      The argument seems to be based on a theory of “natural” law. The “natural” law is that God creating men and women with clear differences and we need to follow these differences. The problem with Drag and Trans people is that they wish to act in defiance of the “natural” law.

      Never mind that nature is filled with intersex critters that can be both make and female and/or change gender based on the needs of the group.

      Also obvious is that I don’t believe in the concept of “natural” law.Report

      • Avatar Morat20 says:

        I’m more cynical. Gay bashing gets too much backlash, too many members get uncomfortable with it. So they’ve restricted the target to mitigate the backlash.

        Politically, it’s been a transparent attempt to recreate the momentum that passed all those DOMA bills and swung so many state legislatures back in the 2000s.

        Religiously? You always need a sinner to condemn so you feel properly saintly. Someone to look down on. Too many people have gay relatives or friends, so you’ve got to find a smaller group. Someone your parishioners don’t have as much contact with.

        The playbook remains the same. Conflate them with pedophiles, claim they’re sexual deviants and sexual criminals. Give them an enemy and tell them “There but for the grace of god go you and your family” and ignore how many dead bodies you step over to try to keep the pews filled.

        Got to make sure they see signs of Satan or their belief in God might flag.Report

  6. Avatar George Turner says:

    The fight was lost long before it started. Parents who freely allowed their children to associate with a purple predatory dinosaur have no room to complain if their children are entertained by an actual homo sapiens. Heck, German parents used to have their kids listen to Nazi story hour and got to Nazi summer camps, yet Germany is doing just fine. These hysterical worries about what might influence kids are all overblown.Report

  7. Avatar Mike Dwyer says:

    Couple of points here:

    – This is another front in the battle between Far Left, Far Right and Everyone Else. Given the increasing propensity of the Far Left to engage in mob behavior, violate people’s rights, etc to press their agenda, and the fact that the Far Right has been doing this since the first person in Salem picked up a torch and pitchfork…why are we shocked when it happens again?

    – While I have ZERO problems with drag queens and I respect the right of parents to take their kids to one of these events, I guess I’m confused about the purpose. I mean, children’s programming is full of men and women cross-dressing or playing very extreme characters (that’s sort of the whole point with children’s programming) but the identity of the person behind the character is not really the point. I’m just curious how parents explain this to their kids? “There are some men who like to dress like women and they are going to read you a story!” What’s the point of having that conversation with a child? Is it tolerance training or literacy promotion? Or both?Report

    • Avatar veronica d says:

      Stonewall is still living memory, as is the callous, hateful social response to the AIDS crisis. Likewise, “gaybashing” remains a real thing. For example, last year a friend of mine had her teeth kicked out by a gang of homophobes. So yeah, teaching tolerance and diversity is a positive good on its own terms.

      How do you explain drag to kids? I mean, it’s trivial. Just tell them what a drag queen is.

      It’s actually a silly question. How do you explain beetles to kids, or smokestacks, or clouds? Things that exist. You explain them by saying what they are.

      “But kids won’t understand.”

      Do kids understand beetles? Smokestacks? Clouds?


      How do you explain bigotry to kids? That’s a more important question. How do you explain why their aunt lost her job or why she lost her apartment or why she was brutalized on the train, or any number of things that are “real life” to LGBT people — and yes, even today.Report

    • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

      Gotta agree with Veronica here. Kids are still so busy being exposed to new things everyday that most everything new is kinda strange until they’ve had a chance to context it.

      So if you tell kids there are men who like to dress like fabulous women and do shows, they’ll be like ‘OK’, and then be onto the next thing.

      If they meet one of these men, and that man does a fun reading of a story, now that description has a positive context, which can help shape their future opinion of Drag Queens.

      Ergo, when they are a teen, or a young adult, they will have positive memories of Drag Queens, and won’t be confused or weirded out by their existence. Such a person will just be, you know, a person.Report

      • Avatar veronica d says:

        Ergo, when they are a teen, or a young adult, they will have positive memories of Drag Queens, and won’t be confused or weirded out by their existence. Such a person will just be, you know, a person.

        This, of course, is the whole point. If kids grow up to see LGBT people as “basically normal,” then the bigots lose the power to hurt people. Likewise, their bigotry becomes obvious.Report

        • Avatar Richard Hershberger says:

          The bigots know it, too. I remember reading a condemnation of Will & Grace, back in the day, on the grounds that this was a Hollywood plot to make people think gays are people, too. That wasn’t quite the way it was couched, bit it wasn’t far from it.Report

          • Avatar veronica d says:

            The thing is, the conservatives are in a sense correct. There is a “gay agenda” — and I’m damn proud of it. Our “agenda” is to be accepted and loved. Our “agenda” is to be treated as normal.

            Yep! We’re totally trying to do that. Bingo! On point.

            Will and Grace probably did “normalize” gayness for some people, including young people.

            Which, good! Let’s do more of that.Report

      • Avatar Mike Dwyer says:

        So the primary reason IS about tolerance and not promoting reading. That’s fine I guess and if parents find that a better way than just talking about it at home, whatever works for them I guess. But in light of that, when they create an event centered around young kids but with an adult agenda, they should expect a certain amount of pushback. In general some people don’t like using kids as pawns in that way.

        I will also say, is drag queen intolerance an actual thing we need to be super-concerned about? They seem like they are doing pretty well and it’s not as though they are just going to work like that. It seems like the opportunities for them to get beat up with an axe handle are pretty seldom. It feels like it would actually be more useful to just have some transgender folks do the readings in normal street clothes and appearance and maybe down the road the parents can be like, “Remember Susie that read to you every Saturday? She was a transgender woman.”Report

        • Avatar veronica d says:

          Did anyone say that is the “primary” purpose? That’s your word, not ours. That’s your framing, not ours. Furthermore, the choice of that kind of framing isn’t an accident. I suspect you are (in a sense) looking for a reason not to like this, but why? Having a cool, colorful drag queen read to kids has many upsides, and no real downsides. What would motivate people to object, and in turn to seek reasons to object?

          I think I know.

          Drag queens are cool. Diversity is cool. Reading is cool. Libraries are cool. Kids are cool. It’s just all good, from tip to tail.Report

          • Avatar Jaybird says:

            To the extent that overt sexuality is part of the whole “Drag Queen” thing, some people might see Drag Queen Reading Hour as exposing small children to overt sexuality.

            To the extent that Drag Queens are engaging in their sexuality when being Drag Queens, we’ve got someone engaging in their own sexuality in front of children who cannot meaningfully consent to it.

            “But it’s safe! It’s harmless!” Sure.

            But if I may interpret “what would motivate people to object?” as “what might they object to?”, I’d say that that would be in the ballpark.

            (I imagine that the arguments against this sort of thing would involve asking whether pregnant women are not also engaging in performative sexuality in a similar way to drag queens doing so…)Report

            • Avatar Maribou says:

              “To the extent that overt sexuality is part of the whole “Drag Queen” thing, some people might see Drag Queen Reading Hour as exposing small children to overt sexuality”

              Sooooooooo…. to the extent of zero then?

              (I mean, what do you think happens at drag storytime????)Report

              • Avatar Maribou says:

                Or like, would you want people to all start wearing shapeless costumes to work that hide all evidence that they might have a sexuality? Or women to be banned from wearing makeup ever? Or?

                Drag can be sexual but it frequently isn’t notably sexual at all. Much like other forms of performance.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                would you want people to all start wearing shapeless costumes to work that hide all evidence that they might have a sexuality?

                (We’re talking about going to work, now? Will I be asked what I think about what people wear to the grocery store next?)

                Or women to be banned from wearing makeup ever?

                Oh, I got asked about whether women should be banned from wearing makeup.

                No. Women should not be banned from wearing makeup.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                what do you think happens at drag storytime?

                A drag queen, in character, reads a book with funny voices and grand, sweeping, gestures.Report

              • Avatar Maribou says:

                What about that is overtly sexual? That’s the part that baffles me.

                And I said “”work” because it seemed like ‘reading stories to kids’ is a job, even if done volunteerly.

                I was responding to this
                “someone engaging in their own sexuality in front of children who cannot meaningfully consent to it.”
                the only way in which someone is “engaging in sexuality” in a way where children can’t consent through drag queen storytime is the same way that all adults who don’t go around in loosely fitting clothing without any adornments are engaging in sexuality.

                It’s really really really gross, frankly, and something I thought you were well past, to compare how someone is dressed, how theatrically they may act, to something as fraught as engaging in sexuality in front of kids.

                I would think that given your own spouse’s history as well as the stuff my sister’s gone through working at a public library, the distinctions would be *REALLY* clear in your mind.

                Apparently not?

                I can only imagine you’re trying to make some abstract point by obtusely comparing drag queens to child sex abusers – because that *can’t* be what you’re actually doing – but I can’t imagine what it is.Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck says:

                I feel like Jaybird is attempting to imagine how someone else might raise what they see as a legitimate objection to DQSH, not saying that he personally sees drag as an overtly sexual statement.Report

            • Avatar J_A says:

              To the extent that overt sexuality is part of the whole “Drag Queen” thing, some people might see Drag Queen Reading Hour as exposing small children to overt sexuality.

              To the extent that Drag Queens are engaging in their sexuality when being Drag Queens, we’ve got someone engaging in their own sexuality in front of children who cannot meaningfully consent to it.

              I don’t understand what’s the overt sexuality you are referring to here, I honestly don’t. I think you are letting your adult brain color DQSH in a way that’s totally remote from how the child will experience it.

              Let me unpack. Is the overt sexuality you are referring to…

              1 – That he’s dressed with a bright colored, probably a bit over the top, dress? They have seen similar dresses thousands on time on TV. Even the First Lady dresses with very attractive, colored dresses most of which would not be too different from what you would see in DQSH.

              2- That it is a guy wearing a dress? They know that grown ups wear different kind of attires: they’ve seen their dad in a suit and tie, in shorts and t-shirt, with or without a shirt; they’ve seen their mum wearing a long dress, a short dress, pants, jackets (hey, just like dad!!); they know different events require different clothing (dad never wears his bathing suit when he’s going to the office), so for all they know, perhaps you have to wear dresses to be allowed to read in the library.

              3 – That men should not wear dresses? Kids know what being in costume is. They know that dressing like a cowboy is not being a cowboy, but it is fun nevertheless. They don’t see wearing a dress much different than wearing a Big Bird costume. It’s just part of the fun.

              4 ???? From the point of view of the kids, you’ve mostly run out of things to object to. If you say to your children: “Ontologically, Men and Women (capital letters) are different and have different behaviors, and for a man to play the role of a woman gets in the way of him fulfilling his telos”, well, now you are the one that is bringing the concept of gender, not the drag queen.

              The children don’t see the sexuality and the gender bending in a drag queen. For a start, they don’t know what sexuality or gender bending is. Plus, it is not as if the drag queen is making out with another guy as part of story reading hour. Plus, it is very easy to explain things to a child – They want to know what things are, and the explanation ” a drag queen is a man that puts on a dress and plays an act” is a perfectly valid explanation to them. It is all what they are seeing happenReport

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                I think you are letting your adult brain color DQSH in a way that’s totally remote from how the child will experience it.

                Okay. Good.

                Is your model of how my brain is working unique to your theoretical experience of me?

                Like, is this model of how my brain is working useful when it comes to how people who oppose Drag Queen Story Hour might also be opposing it?Report

              • Avatar J_A says:

                Fine, I don’t know anything about your specific brain. I’ll rephrase:

                I think people who might see Drag Queen Story Hour as exposing small children to overt sexuality might be letting their adult brain color DQSH in a way that’s totally remote from how the child will experience it. To the extent you think that DQSH is indeed exposing children to overt sexualy, I would invite you to consider if you aren’t seeing DQSH as an adult, instead of a child

                I hope that’s better, now

                For what it’s worth @Jaybird, i actually enjoy your postsReport

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                I think people who might see Drag Queen Story Hour as exposing small children to overt sexuality might be letting their adult brain color DQSH in a way that’s totally remote from how the child will experience it.

                Okay, good. I can work with this.

                As adults, we sit there and we see things that are colorable. We know that the kids won’t know what’s going on but, like in the old Looney Toons, there are jokes that the adults will get that the kids won’t.

                I think we agree on that.

                Can you see how someone might say “you shouldn’t make that joke in front of children” without taking into account the fact that they only even see the joke in the first place because they have an adult brain?Report

              • Avatar J_A says:

                Can you see how someone might say “you shouldn’t make that joke in front of children” without taking into account the fact that they only even see the joke in the first place because they have an adult brain?

                Sure, of course, I can see it. It happens all the time.

                I think those people are wrong, not for liberal, progressive, SJW reasons, but by the fact that those parents are making X (for any value of X) weird for their children.

                Children (most) know the difference between things that are normal, like “it’s normal for frogs to be green”, that adults don’t make a big deal about, and “weird” (*) things that adults pussyfoot about (“your mum will explain that to you when you are older” ). Weird things make them suspicious, and more curious, wanting to know more. Straight up explanations are just things that are, nothing special about them. Making drag queens weird makes them more intriguing, interesting, and weird. To the extent you don’t want your children to think much about them, you should make them as normal as the mail man

                I don’t remember when I learned that babies came from inside the mother, via a seed that the father planted. It’s something I learned so far back that it’s not registered in my conscious mind. But I do remember talking in second grade with other kids, and we all (or most of us) knew essentially the same thing. It was never weird. it was not something that we will talk about “when I was older”. Is something that I probably asked on a day I saw a baby, and I got a totally non-weird, satisfactory explanation.

                I do recall being told (upon asking), that the fathers planted the seed using the penis. I knew only boys and men had penises (having noted that female bathrooms didn’t have urinals), but it came as a surprise that the penis had a dual function.

                Of course, the mouth has a dual function also (talking and eating), so for the penis to have a second function wasn’t particularly weird, either.

                (*) Weird might not be the right descriptor, please don’t make a sub-thread about itReport

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                by the fact that those parents are making X (for any value of X) weird for their children.

                Sure. But prior to DQSH, there was the belief that there was no X to make weird.

                Now, with the addition of DQSH, there is something that is being made weird unless it is participated in fully and enthusiastically.Report

              • Avatar J_A says:

                Are pregnant women weird? Are babies? Or are they normal.

                What if they walk into the living room and see a trailer for RuPaul Drag Race?

                Is a policewoman a woman that is dressing as a policeman? Should she be weird?

                Why would seeing a man in a dress be weirder that seeing a woman in a police uniform, unless someone makes it weird (“Dad, why is that woman dressed all in blue and carrying a gun?” “Your mum will explain it to you when you are older, sweetie.”)

                Kids know there’s loads they don’t know about the world. As far as they know, most things they see around for the first time are normal. It takes an adult to make them weird.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                Yeah, see? That’s where I thought that this would go.

                No, pregnant women are not weird. Neither are babies.

                What if they walk into the living room and see a trailer for RuPaul Drag Race?

                Apparently it’s “TV-14”. This puts it in the same category as Riverdale, Breaking Bad, and The Big Bang Theory.

                I imagine that it’s in the ballpark of seeing a trailer for one of those.

                Is a policewoman a woman that is dressing as a policeman? Should she be weird?

                I can’t imagine that she’d be weird. Would she be explaining why Tamir Rice *REALLY* got shot? How the children should obey the authorities?

                Kids know there’s loads they don’t know about the world. As far as they know, most things they see around for the first time are normal. It takes an adult to make them weird.

                Who can say what normal is? Well, I mean other than “parents”.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

                Your last sentence is part of the whole point.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                How much jurisdiction should complete strangers have over your kids?

                I think we can all agree that, barring harm, very little.

                And most of us can agree that, with evidence of sufficient harm, a great deal of jurisdiction.

                And now we just have to hammer out “what constitutes harm?”

                And deal with questions like “how could anybody think that this is/isn’t harmful?”Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

                Question: at what point is a complete stranger claiming jurisdiction over my kid? The library is not claiming anything, the Drag Queen is not claiming anything. The library is offering an opportunity for members of the public to permit their children to be entertained and to interact with a member of a maligned minority in order to better develop tolerance.

                Jurisdiction of my child remains with me.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

                Or are you suggesting that exposure to a Drag Queen is harmful? Because of the perception of sexuality?

                If so, that perception is wholly on you, as the adult. Kids don’t pick up on that. What they do pick up on is adults acting differently because of perceived sexuality.

                Ergo, anything that you might view as harmful is only harmful because you view it as such.

                Let me put it this way, if you are at the pool, and their are grown women running around in bikinis, is your child being exposed to harm because women are running around in what is effectively underwear?Report

              • Avatar JoeSal says:

                Is omission of a empirical truth harmful?Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

                What is the empirical truth in question?Report

              • Avatar JoeSal says:

                Is the premise that the kids know, or not know, that a Drag Queen is a male dressed in female clothing?Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

                Is Calvin’s dad being harmful?

                Lots of kids think clouds are made of cotton candy, and not water vapor. Is it a harm if we leave that belief alone for a while, until they understand the phases of matter?Report

              • Avatar JoeSal says:

                It depends, what do we want to happen when they come out on the other side of that phase?

                “I was lied to and I don’t trust society and people anymore.”

                Would that result be a harm?

                Is trust in the truth supposed to be a social construct?Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

                Let me put it another way:

                If the library billed the event as “Story Time With Darth Vader”, would you be as concerned if the person showed up in costume?Report

              • Avatar JoeSal says:

                If he starts claiming that he is my kids father, we’re going to have some truth issues.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

                But that is different from, ‘this person is dressed up as something he is not’.Report

              • Avatar JoeSal says:

                I was thinking along the lines of this person is something that he is not. Which takes us back to whether the kid knows the truth or not.

                I would expect my parent (if I were to choose my parent) to be clear about who is male and female.

                If your saying the kid is fully aware i don’t think we have a disagreement.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

                Perhaps I don’t want the kid to be fully aware going in, perhaps I want them to come to me afterward and ask questions. Kind of like how I take Bug into the woods and tell him to shut up and listen (the kid talks a mile a minute…), then we quietly talk about what he notices and hears.Report

              • Avatar JoeSal says:

                So your default there is unawareness until they may have a question to ask. Is that accurate?Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

                It’s not necessarily a default, merely an option. Raising kids involves being ready to deploy multiple approaches for fostering learning.Report

              • Avatar JoeSal says:

                If that works for you, then good on ya.

                I prefer in raising kids with the approach that they are aware, with a few minor exceptions like Santa Clause and the tooth fairy. I don’t know if we are saying different things, but it seems like we are.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:


                My wife and I were honest about Santa/Easter Bunny/Tooth Fairy. We are actually pretty honest about everything. Sometimes I want Bug to pay attention and see if he can spot things. Then I try to teach him to spot things he missed.Report

              • Avatar George Turner says:

                So bug thinks you’re the real Santa Claus and your wife is the Tooth Fairy?Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

                About sums it up…Report

              • Avatar Mike Dwyer says:

                I wrote this piece several years ago, coining the term ‘Drug Talk: Pat 2’.


                My point then was that you have one level of conversation with a child and a different, more nuanced conversation with them when they are older. Taking a kid to a DQSH for any other reason than the reader being a hell of a performer seems a lot like forcing the Drug Talk: part 2 much earlier than is really necessary.

                Tolerance is great. My daughters are extremely tolerant. Hopefully my wife and I can claim some small credit for that. But letting questions happen organically whenever possible seems like the better strategy to me.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

                That kinda depends on you, the parent, though, doesn’t it? No one is forcing you to bring your kid. If you don’t think your kid is ready for that conversation, but is old enough to notice things and have questions, then don’t attend.

                If, however, you do think they are ready, then it’s a great way to introduce the topic, rather than waiting for them to happen across a Drag Queen on the street, or “To Wong Fu…” on Netflix.

                And, as a parent, you should certainly realize that your kid will likely be having such conversations with their peers, whether you think they are ready or not, and if you don’t want Jimmy Bigot coloring their views before you think it’s time…Report

              • Avatar Mike Dwyer says:

                “…it’s a great way to introduce the topic, rather than waiting for them to happen across a Drag Queen on the street…”

                Clearly you have never visited Louisville.

                It still feels a lot like deliberately exposing your kids to chicken pox instead of just letting it happen naturally when the undiagnosed kid at school sneezes on them.

                I will also say (again) that i’m sort of astounded how many people on this thread seem to think that ‘drag queens’ even makes the top 50 on the list of Important Topics to Discuss With Your Kids. I’ve known they existed for probably most of my 44 years and have never run into one on the street.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

                Again, you got multiple avenues running together here.

                1) Kids love story time.
                2) Story time is better with an adult who can perform the story, and not just read it.
                3) Kids love non-subtle performances.
                4) Drag Queens are very good at being ‘not-subtle’ when they want.
                5) Drag Queens are a very visible, very approachable representative of people who have lifestyles/alter-egos/other personas that they enjoy existing as, and that are otherwise harmless to society*.
                6) It’s good, especially in areas where there is a lot of homogeneity, to make sure kids are exposed to such things in real life. The tolerance being built isn’t limited to just people who dress differently.

                So it’s not just about Drag Queens.

                And again, it’s wholly voluntary. If you don’t like the idea, don’t go. And respect the fact that other parents may disagree with you, or have perfectly rational reasons for wanting their kid to be read to by a Drag Queen.

                *As opposed to, say, people who have an alter-ego that is a cop, but who really should not be pulling people over.Report

              • Avatar Mike Dwyer says:

                Somewhat comparable example: When I was doing archaeology we would have inquiries from teachers that would want to bring kids out to the site that were in 1-3rd grade. We would not approve those field trips because we found it was too difficult to explain slavery to them and some of the kids would actually get upset about it. So we set a minimum age of 4th grade for field trips because we found that was the point where most kids could get their heads around the concept, etc.

                1-4 in your list above are perfectly innocent. 5-6 are parents doing social engineering. I get exposing your kids to lots of things and this is a valid choice too, but I just think it’s too early for this topic.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

                I think taking kids to church before they are old enough to fully understand the impacts of faith and dogma is a horrific kind of brainwashing and should be considered child abuse.


              • Avatar Mike Dwyer says:

                As a recovering Christian who still habitually reaches for the holy water when I walk into a church, you aren’t wrong about that. Lots of people put their beliefs on their kids in unhealthy ways. My brother’s boys all have closets full of University of Kentucky gear because he roots for them. I didn’t push the University of Louisville on my girls, but he has different ideas about how to raise kids than I do.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                Anything that you might view as harmful is only harmful because you view it as such.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

                Yep, which is why I don’t go around telling my Mormon (etc.) neighbors that they are horrible people who are brainwashing their kids into believing mythology as truth.

                There is a line there, somewhere, between perceived harm, and actual harm. Where that line is often amazingly dependent on how much a given thing irks a personReport

              • Avatar Maribou says:

                Please check your DMs. I don’t know what you’re trying to do but it feels like you’re not accomplishing it. And that’s about all I can say without going off the deep end, which you undoubtedly do not deserve.Report

              • Avatar CJColucci says:

                What is a DM?Report

              • Avatar Maribou says:

                direct messageReport

              • Avatar CJColucci says:

                Thanks. I have no idea how they work, but that’s another issue.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

                “I joined for salacious drag queens in sexy attire, and just found Mrs. Doubtfire with a sockpuppet.”Report

              • Avatar George Turner says:

                Nobody expects Maude Frickert!


            • Avatar Morat20 says:

              “To the extent that Drag Queens are engaging in their sexuality when being Drag Queens”

              Are you confusing drag queens and cross-dressers?

              Drag queens are performers, entertainers. Some do raunchy shows, sure. Not at a freakin’ kids story hour,, though.

              They show up to perform in their performer persona.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                The original question was “What would motivate people to object, and in turn to seek reasons to object?”

                The answer involves whether you see Drag Performers as Kink or Kink-Adjacent.

                Are Drag Performers Kink or Kink-Adjacent?

                Is the official “woke” position “no, they’re not, I don’t see how anyone could even possibly see drag performances as so much as kink-adjacent!”?

                I imagine that if you see how someone could see Drag as kink-adjacent (not even necessarily that you have to see it that way, but you could see how *SOMEONE* could reasonably come to that conclusion), we have a place where we now can see why some people might have a problem with DQSH.

                So I think the official position has to be “Drag is rated-G *AND ALWAYS HAS BEEN*”.Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck says:

                People: “How can anyone ever object to this?”
                Jaybird: “Perhaps they think X.”
                People: “Oh my god, Jaybird, how can you possibly think X? You need to explain right now why you think X is thinkable and how thinking X can ever be justified? How does this message board tolerate X-thinkers like you? This place definitely coddles the right-wing!”Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:


                Jaybird really needs a ‘Devil’s Advocate’ tag, or the like.Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck says:

                Or maybe he needs people to stop bein’ idiots. Tall order, I know, but hope springs eternal and all that.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 says:

                Jaybird, kink is in the eye of the beholder.

                Your choice of footwear today could be tantalizing to foot fetishists out there. Does that mean a choice between sneakers and sandals is “kink adjacent”?

                Did you wear a leather jacket? A smart suit? Congrats, any of those choices might have some poor stole damning you for your crudity in running around in public, flaunting such fetish wear.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                So your position is that Drag Queens are not, in fact, Kink-Adjacent and you cannot believe how anyone might ever have thought that they were? (Besides, you’re wearing Doc Martens?)Report

              • Avatar Saul Degraw says:

                The Kinks are Dedicated Followers of Fashion.Report

              • There’s no question that drag queens are Kinks-adjacent.


              • But why, just because they’re wearing unusual clothing, should they be DQ’d?Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

                That makes it sound like they should be forced to work at Dairy Queen.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

                I’m disappointed in myself, actually, that after hundreds of comments, I missed this opportunity.Report

              • Avatar veronica d says:

                This is the greatest comment ever.

                Speaking of which, I was at a bar once and some guy was trying to chat me up — and like, he was obviously trying to run PUA routines on us. It was funny. Anyway, he goes and puts some songs on the jukebox. Which songs? Lola followed by Walk on the Wild Side.

                I’m like, dude, obvious much?Report

        • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

          I would say that the primary purpose is to promote reading, with a side order of teaching tolerance.

          IIRC, public libraries are always looking for volunteers to read to kids. Problem is, reading to kids requires someone willing to be performative. They can’t just read the words on the page, and maybe use a bit of emphasis, etc. here and there. If you want the kids engaged, it needs to be a show.

          Something Drag Queens tend to be very good at. Unique voices for each character, lots of large movements, a complete lack of fear for acting out the the absurd in public places, etc.

          I mean, you probably couldn’t ask for a better person to read a book to children, chances are it’ll be way better than the movie version of the book.Report

          • Avatar Mike Dwyer says:

            But they could do all of that stuff in civilian attire, right? So, there’s an agenda. Like I said, no one is forcing parents to take their kids, so I don’t care. I just know that’s how I would have taught the lesson to my kids.Report

            • Avatar veronica d says:

              No, they couldn’t. Drag is a persona. The non-drag persona isn’t as engaging.Report

            • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

              But they could do all of that stuff in civilian attire, right?

              Sure, but why? If Marine was reading to kids, would you insist he do so in civvies, or would you be OK with Class A’s because you want kids to understand and respect service members and veterans? How about if a police officer was reading to the kids, or a firefighter?

              Part of these reading efforts IS to expose kids to positive adult role models who are engaging with them. Why should Drag Queens be required to leave part of themselves at home?Report

              • Avatar Mike Dwyer says:


                Again, if exposing them to drag queens is important to some people, that’s fine, but it’s an odd way to teach tolerance IMO. I’m 44 and I have never been around a drag queen either. Lots of transgendered folks, sure, but never a drag queen. I don’t avoid them, it’s just never come up. So this is a tiny microcosm that someone decided it was a good idea to expose kids to for the sake of diversity and tolerance, which again, is fine, but also not surprising that other people would find it problematic.Report

              • Avatar pillsy says:

                It’s totally surprising to me.

                Drag is, in fact, a long time staple of children’s entertainment (see any number of Bugs Bunny cartoons), so the idea that it’s somehow inherently inappropriate for kids doesn’t, for me, pass the sniff test.

                At the same time, the way it’s shown in that kids’ entertainment is (wincing at the term) really problematic.

                As for the rest, if you think it’s bad, don’t take your kid to it? It’s not like the Suede and Denim Police are gonna haul Ahmari’s kids to Drag Queen Story Hour.Report

              • Avatar JoeSal says:

                So your good with folks not purchasing something they don’t want?Report

              • Avatar pillsy says:

                Generally speaking, yes.

                I am OK with welfare states and structuring the way that some services are paid for in the form of “premiums” and the like, however.Report

              • Avatar JoeSal says:

                The specific topic I am referring to is library services.

                So let’s try this again:

                So your good with folks not purchasing Library Services if they do not prefer them?Report

              • Avatar pillsy says:

                I am.

                However, I am not OK with people not paying taxes on the grounds that they are going to be used to fund services that they don’t approve of.Report

              • Avatar JoeSal says:

                That doesn’t make sense, you so you are good with people not purchasing if they do not prefer them, and in your next sentence you write basically:

                not paying taxes to fund services they don’t approve of

                How are you making that disparity work?Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

                Demonstrate that having DQSH is somehow impacting public funds any more than allowing church groups to hold meetings at the library?

                I mean, the DQ is a volunteer, so at best, the public cost, beyond providing a room or a corner, is maybe a bit of marketing (a ream of paper for flyers, a post on the webpage, maybe an email)?Report

              • Avatar JoeSal says:

                That’s not the argument I’m making and don’t hold that church groups have any more weight than DQ.

                Let me ask this again:

                So your good with folks not purchasing Library Services if they do not prefer them?Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

                How are they purchasing them or not purchasing them? Public libraries are funded from public funds. About the only way a person could refrain from funding a public library is to either live somewhere where one doesn’t exist, or refuse to pay taxes.

                I mean, if we pay for public services like this, then we could have this discussion. But as things stand…

                I mean, in theory, I’m OK with individuals funding only the public goods they want to.Report

              • Avatar JoeSal says:

                Excellent link, something like that is what I was thinking.

                As it stands, I don’t think the entanglement of divergent preferences will lead to a good place.Report

              • Avatar pillsy says:

                Because taxes are not the same thing as individual purchasing decisions!

                I mean that’s sort of the fundamental definition of taxes.Report

              • Avatar JoeSal says:

                Pillsy, I love ya, but ya really don’t understand this whole individual constructs thing.Report

              • Avatar pillsy says:

                Pillsy, I love ya, but ya really don’t understand this whole individual constructs thing.

                I’m pretty sure I don’t, no.

                I think the justification for taxation is very much over-determined, and once you start giving people line item vetoes on what their taxes pay for, or just letting them opt out of taxes entirely because they dislike what they’re being spent on, you’ve effectively done away with taxation altogether.

                It’s, “No taxation without representation,” not, “No taxation.”

                And in practice if you really put your effort into changing a low-salience policy at the municipal level, you’ll probably succeed!Report

              • Avatar JoeSal says:

                What do you think the future holds, more direct fulfillment of individual preferences, or more ‘representation’ of individual preferences?Report

              • Avatar pillsy says:

                I don’t know, really. I think it probably depends on the area of preference you find most salient.

                In any event, I think the flare-ups in the Culture War (like this one) mostly tend to be over the space between direct fulfillment of individual preferences and the often blunt force of the state, which (one hopes) is adequately guided by democratic mechanisms.

                Drag Queen Story Hour is going to be legal for the foreseeable future.

                So is complaining loudly about Drag Queen Story hour in the pages of First Things.

                The question is which one is going to be weird.

                DQSH seems a bit quirky but ultimately neat and kind of fun to me, and being extremely mad about it seems… well, getting mad about things online is ridiculously normal, but even by the Mad Online standards this is pretty out there.Report

              • Avatar JoeSal says:

                Yeah, I don’t see this as any particular hill to die on, but as a guy who doesn’t read many books a year, I have twelve on my phone.

                I have never seen a DQ in person and the thought of seeing one in a library would be doubly odd within my own perception.Report

              • Avatar Mike Dwyer says:


                How many conversations have we had lately about college kids having the option to just not attend the speech by the Scary Conservative and them deciding a mob is a better way to handle it?Report

              • Avatar North says:

                Does anyone here actually think that forming a mob to exercise a hecklers veto is a good way for those college kids to respond? I sure as fish don’t.Report

              • Avatar Mike Dwyer says:

                I don’t want to speak for anyone else, but I suspect some of the commenters here would find that a worthwhile use of their time.Report

              • Avatar pillsy says:

                Many. You probably would have gotten a lot less push back if your argument was that said students were being silly and wasting their time and everybody else’s, TBQH.Report

              • Avatar CJColucci says:

                I’m 44 and I have never been around a drag queen either.

                How sure are you of that, and why?Report

              • Avatar Mike Dwyer says:

                As several people have pointed out in this thread, they tend to be a bit ‘flamboyant’ in the way they dress and behave. I’ve knowingly been around plenty of transgendered women, so I find it hard to believe I missed the drag queens…Report

              • Avatar CJColucci says:

                So you’re relying on other peoples’ assurances that you’d know one if you saw one? OK, but don’t tempt me to tell the story of the two times I tried to pick up what turned out to be drag queens.Report

              • In a club down in North Soho?Report

              • Avatar Mike Dwyer says:

                CJ – I think you are confusing drag queens with transgender or transvestite or cross-dressers. Draq queens are a very specific thing. Definition below:

                “Drag queens are performance artists, almost always male, who dress in women’s clothing and often act with exaggerated femininity and in feminine gender roles with a primarily entertaining purpose. They often exaggerate make-up such as eyelashes for dramatic, comedic or satirical effect.”

                If you actually tried to pick up a drag queen I’m assuming there was a lot of alcohol or something else involved.Report

              • Avatar veronica d says:

                It’s far more plausible that you tried to pick up a cross dresser, rather than a drag queen.

                There is some overlap between the groups, but not as much as you think. They are a very different set.

                Trans women are also different from both, although again, there is some weird overlap.

                Which, there is a trans culture joke: if your at a queer event, how do you tell the trans women from the cross dressers?

                Answer: the trans women are the one’s in sneakers and jeans.Report

              • Avatar George Turner says:

                Drag queens were a common form of stage entertainment in the Great War. Actresses weren’t common in the trenches, or really within artillery range of enemy lines, so troops would put on dresses and do song and dance or comedy routines.

                That was also common in naval service.

                That was before my time, but I remember the good old days when we were sitting around the TV, watching MASH.

                “Mom, that guys has his guts hanging out!”

                “I know son, war is horrible… Now cover your eyes because that degenerate Corporal Klinger is about to walk into the OR to talk to BJ and Hawkeye!”Report

              • Avatar CJColucci says:

                The first of them was on his way to the drag club in New Orleans where he worked as an entertainer. That’s how I found out. The other one, you may have a point, though there was a drag club not far from the bar where I tried to pick him up.Report

          • Avatar veronica d says:

            God knows it would be way better than having me read to kids. I have ADHD. My only stage experience is improv.

            Ten minutes into the reading some kid would make a fart joke. After laughing, I’d “yes and” the fart joke, and by the end we’d have done almost no reading, but we’d have workshopped 257 new fart jokes of varying degrees of obscenity.Report

        • Avatar CJColucci says:

          I will also say, is drag queen intolerance an actual thing we need to be super-concerned about?

          Not for some values of “we,” but we already knew that.Report

    • Avatar Kazzy says:

      I took my 3- and 4-year-old students (and son) to the first DQSH in Manhattan a few years back. You can see Stonewall from our roof… so while my school doesn’t always have as much diversity as I’d like (in all areas), these are very much the community waters in which we swim. It was a pretty cool experience. I’ll confess I didn’t prepare myself as well as I should have to answer some questions but the kids nonetheless had a stimulating discussion, in part trying to make sense of the reader’s identity and presentation and in part debating if/what/how it mattered.

      They definitely benefited from it in one way or another, even if just to see a different type of person in front of them then they may be accustomed to.Report

    • Avatar pillsy says:

      Given the increasing propensity of the Far Left to engage in mob behavior, violate people’s rights, etc to press their agenda, and the fact that the Far Right has been doing this since the first person in Salem picked up a torch and pitchfork…why are we shocked when it happens again?

      Yeah, a guy dressing up like a woman and reading a storybook to kids at the local library sure sounds like mob behavior and violating people’s rights.Report

  8. Avatar North says:

    I actually think this is a healthy development. Trump’s election is continuing to tear away the pretensions and illusions that held together the old conservative fushionist alliance (business interests/libertarians merged with neocons and social conservatives). Ahmari is very angry that the only thing social conservatives have gotten out of that alliance policy wise is lip service and some judges who will slow the “decline”. Neocons, of course, got to experiment with massive, self perpetuating , sprawling wars. The fiscal cons got to cut taxes over and over exposing themselves not as libertarians (or at least not anymore) but merely libertarian branded tools of the wealthy interests the fund them.

    The social cons can’t ever vote democratic, of course, because they have entire institutions dedicated to propagandizing that the woke online are representative of liberalism en toto. But these kinds of fights could lead to a break, or at least they could muddle matters and the right is clinging to a demographic precipice that could sweep away any electoral cycle and this king of in-fighting heightens the odds of a turnout bust followed by an electoral bust.

    The Republican Party has been feeding their principles to the fires of populism ever since I became politically aware in the late 90’s. Since Bush Jr. They’ve been sacrificing their principles to the fires of populism en masse in a desperate attempt to stave off the time in the political wilderness they so richly deserve. Ahmari is telling us that their constituents are beginning to notice how bare the basket of principles is getting. The wilderness calls, I hope the right finds something productive and constructive there once they finally get banished to it.Report

    • Avatar Mike Dwyer says:

      I think the tariffs are going to really make the business folks second-guess supporting Trump, but will they find better allies on the Left? For me, that is the key question. I can’t possibly see how Trump adds supporters between now and November 2020 but that also depends on who the Democrats nominate and how progressive they are. If it’s a Bernie or Warren, those business people may decide to risk the tariffs. If it’s a Harris or Booker, they might decide to abandon Trump.Report

      • Avatar North says:

        Yeah there’s a lot of complexity there. Trump backed off the Mexican Tarrifs because even Mitch’s gang wasn’t cowed enough to ignore how badly that would backfire on the party in charge of enacting it and Trump has repeatedly proven that he can be opposed nearly consequence free so long as you give him a fig leaf to claim victory with.

        Sanders *knocks on wood* appears to be getting nowhere. Alas, so is my preferred candidate Amy. Warren is having a moment right now. Biden is, of course, on top at the moment. But it’s basically wide open- the debates are probably the next data point. But I suspect that if a centrist wins (and between Biden, Booker, Harris and Amy that’s pretty good set of odds) I think you’ll be proven right and the business folks will take their tax cuts and bail on the GOP en masse. Dunno if it’ll matter much, they have money but they don’t sway the votes. Still, Trump can’t afford to lose any votes. He needs MORE votes than he got last time if he’s fighting a centrist non-Hillary candidate.Report

        • Avatar Mike Dwyer says:

          I’m very open-minded to picking a Democratic candidate next year, but man, I hope it’s one I can actually get behind. I desperately want to see our GOP governor removed here in KY this fall but the Democrat that won the primaries is a turd. His father was the previous governor and I hated him only marginally less than our current governor.Report

          • Avatar North says:

            So which ones out of our current crop would you enthusiastically back? Which ones would you grudgingly back; grudgingly oppose or energetically oppose?
            You don’t have to go down the entire 20 person list if ya don’t wanna. Just was curious.Report

            • Avatar Mike Dwyer says:

              If we voted today the only one of the names that really jumps out for me is Hickenlooper. I like him a lot (which means he probably has no chance in hell of winning).

              I’m watching Mayor Pete and Beto and would love for one of them to impress me. I could hold my nose and vote for Booker. There are probably some way-down-the-list folks that I could also grudgingly support but their names are unknown to me at the moment.

              I would ‘energetically’ oppose Biden, Sanders, Warren & Harris. I was impressed by Klobuchar in the Kavanaugh hearings but then that stuff about the way she treated her staff came out and my bad boss PTSD flared up.Report

              • Avatar CJColucci says:

                I’d be happy to vote against Trump as long as the Democrats nominate a Republican. Part 6734.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                As a Coloradan who is vaguely surprised to hear that Hickenlooper is a Republican, may I ask you if you live on the coast? (Doesn’t matter which one.)Report

              • Avatar CJColucci says:

                The only person running in the Democratic primary who is not a nominal Democrat is Bernie Sanders. Hickenlooper is a registered Democrat, of course, and I am willing to bet that as Hickenlooper starts taking positions in a national race and becoming visible, he will gradually become less acceptable to the nominal anti-Trumpers who are waiting for the Right Kind of Democrat(TM). At this point, Mayor Pete and Beto are sufficiently empty vessels that one can, for now, pretend that they may become the Right Kind of Democrat(TM). That won’t last. Once one looks at the substance of Booker rather than the cultural style, he won’t qualify either.
                You have something against salt water? I guess you can’t make beer out of it, which would be a problem for Hickenlooper, but otherwise, it’s pretty neat and washes up on a wide variety of states.Report

              • Avatar The question says:

                dude fracking looper is basically a republican he’s a business owner he’s a rich guy and his social issues are nearly nonexistent.

                I mean hickenlooper’s modus operandi appears to be following Bernie around and saying “no capitalism is good” when Bernie’s out there barnstorming for Democratic socialism.

                And I live in Thornton which is much more under the thumb of Denver then y’all.

                Hickenlooper’s one of those guys that believes we should private eyes every single government function we can which is led to the fabulous running of the train lines if you hadn’t noticed is so good that CDOT has taken the new train line themselves because they can’t trust Private industry.

                also can anybody explain to me why Michael Bennett is running did he just get bored or somethingReport

              • Avatar Mike Dwyer says:

                I’m voting against Trump no matter what, I just don’t feel obligated to give my vote to a Democrat either.Report

              • Avatar North says:

                Thanks for sharing Mike.Report

              • Avatar George Turner says:

                I think Jeb Bush has a good chance of slipping on stage and winning at least the first two Democratic debates.
                There are so many candidates that they probably don’t all recognize each other, so its doubtful they would recognize someone whose kept such a low profile since 2016.Report

              • Avatar North says:

                He’d give the game away when he pleaded for applause and he’d have to plead for it if he was peddling Bushism to Democrats.Report

          • Avatar Michael Cain says:

            What do you think will be different about them, in practice?

            Any of them will reverse Trump’s executive orders. Any of them will begin reversing a variety of the rule changes that have been made. Any of them will sign the kind of legislation that Pelosi/Schumer can get through in the first two years (unless the Dems win the Senate and kill the legislative filibuster).

            Unless there’s a blue wave in Congress like 1932 or 1958, there’s not going to be any large policy changes. In that case, though, you’re probably on the wrong side of history any way.Report

            • Avatar Mike Dwyer says:

              I still have to vote my conscience. Take Harris for example, I don’t like her comments on guns and police policy. I don’t like a LOT of Warren’s proposals. Yeah, maybe they don’t pass any of them, but maybe a couple of them do. I generally don’t have bad opinions of Obama but he pushed for a small policy change around healthcare that DID pass and it has cost my families tens of thousands of dollars. So I’m not willing to give Warren or Harris that opportunity.Report

  9. Always nice to see a piece from you. Thanks for sharing it.Report

  10. Avatar InMD says:

    I’ve been pondering this post for a couple days now and have a few not necessarily related thoughts:

    1. Saul, thanks for writing the piece, it’s a good reminder of where the intra-conservative battles are, and the seemingly different planets people in the same country can be on.

    2. Even now, well into its decline, it’s so telling to see where the Christianist right draws its lines. I’m going to admit, something about DQST strikes me as a little weird (more on that below). But the idea that something so silly and made up of voluntary participants could be the final straw justifying total abandonment of the liberal order? How absurd and how utterly lacking in perspective.

    3. This is where I’m probably going to get some push back. I think the existence of DSQT is strange and it took me awhile to figure out why. It has nothing to do with men dressed in drag and everything to do with the intent, which is to preach. In another world where some person happens to be a drag queen, happens to get the reading gig, happens to say ‘I’d love to do this in drag and I think the kids would love it too’, and whoever at the grand ministry of public library story time says ‘hell yes lets do it’ then I would find it much less strange, much more funny, and much more consistent with how things would work if I ruled the cosmos.

    Maybe I’m mistaken, but as I’m reading this DQST isn’t something that happened organically, it’s a policy decision from the top down about rightthink and wrongthink, and laying the groundwork of rightthink and wrongthink for the future. It makes me do the same cringe I’m sure I do when I hear of people buying books like ‘A is for Activist’ for their toddlers. The Christians (at least where I live) have mostly been driven out of that kind of position, where however sutbly, they are given sanction to preach, much as it should be. I’m loath to see them replaced by another set of preachers, or if not preachers, an agenda set by preachers.

    4. Grace in defeat and grace in victory are ever more elusive yet ever more necessary.Report

    • Avatar Mike Dwyer says:

      “Maybe I’m mistaken, but as I’m reading this DQST isn’t something that happened organically, it’s a policy decision from the top down about rightthink and wrongthink, and laying the groundwork of rightthink and wrongthink for the future. It makes me do the same cringe I’m sure I do when I hear of people buying books like ‘A is for Activist’ for their toddlers.”

      Well-put and I agree 100%.Report

    • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

      I actually agree with you regarding #3.

      In the sense that of course it didn’t “just happen” ; there was obviously an agenda and desire behind it to define the boundary of acceptable social norms and mores.

      I would add, though, that it seems obvious to us only because all the other forms of doing this are to us invisible and assumed to “just happen”.

      I’ve heard it said that one of the most powerful forms of persuasion is the “choice of two yesses”, where your decision to buy the car is assumed, the only choice being what color.

      I’m thinking of that controversy about a cartoon which depicted a black Roman in Britain, and how furious people were at the suggestion.
      The actual Romans were of course, many different skin colors, but a century of Hollywood depictions has deeply ingrained in us that Romans were all fair skinned and spoke with an Oxbridge accent. (Except for the rustic peasants who obviously spoke Cockney).

      No one thinks it is “preaching” when a translucent Brit plays Cicero, but when a Roman is shown with African features, it is an outrageous form of “Political Correctness”.Report

      • Avatar Mike Dwyer says:


        I think you’re minimizing a bit how overt this is. Back to my previous analogy, in the 80s a parent could send their kid to school knowing there was a good chance they would get chicken pox and they would deal with it when it happened, or they could take them for a playdate with a kid who had the chicken pox. The second option is a much more direct approach.

        Anyone taking their kid to the DQSH to teach them about diversity is taking the direct route. They are saying, “Instead of waiting for my child to ask me these questions when these things happen organically, I am going to force the issue now.” I’m not surprised that many people see proactive diversity training of children as a good thin, but it’s not the approach that many other parents (myself included) took. And not just on diversity, but on any number of important lessons.Report

      • Avatar InMD says:

        You could write a treatise on the Hollywood-ification of history and the weird misconceptions it has fed. In fact I’m sure many people have.

        When I took ancient history in college my professor told a story about how he was working on a documentary about Rome geared towards children. He said he tried to guide the portrayal in a very Italian direction, which makes obvious historical sense, but was denied and instead they did the standard faux-British thing. In his view, not only was Hollywood part to blame, but our culture itself tends to associate anything involving ’empire’ with the UK because of how the country was founded. Trying to disabuse an unsophisticated audience of that concept was apparently too much of an uphill battle for the company.

        Anyway on the broader issue I agree with you about questioning those assumptions, and why one form of the phenomenon can feel more natural than another despite being the same thing. For me personally I think I also just hate being patronized no matter who is doing it. The kiddies will probably pick up on that eventually too, and draw who knows what conclusions from it.Report

        • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

          That would be a fascinating treatise.
          A lot of what we consider “organic” or just invisible today was overt preaching back in the day.

          I’m thinking of things like how in “It’s a Wonderful Life” there was that scene where Jimmy Stewart lends money to an Italian family to buy their own house and helps them move.

          Organic, unremarkable, but in its day, Italians were a capital-M Minority; Capra was being very preachy, very much in-your-face to those who scorned Italians and southern Europeans.Report

        • Avatar pillsy says:

          For me personally I think I also just hate being patronized no matter who is doing it. The kiddies will probably pick up on that eventually too, and draw who knows what conclusions from it.

          Sure they will. But… they will no matter what. Because they’re kiddies, and they’re going to be patronized one way or another.

          I dunno, I remember really heavy handed lessons about tolerance and prejudice were a staple of the, well, moral instruction kids were exposed to when I was little… and it seems fine? Like my impression of younger children is they don’t need or particularly want subtle.Report

          • Avatar InMD says:

            Most of what I experienced was of a conservative religious variety. I don’t think the way I and most of the folks there with me responded in the long term is what was intended.Report

            • Avatar pillsy says:

              Whereas what I experienced was of the secular liberal variety, and judging from the final results seems to have worked extremely well.Report

          • Avatar veronica d says:

            I don’t think people respond well to be “lectured,” but that doesn’t mean that you cannot teach them pro-social messages.

            Like, teaching this stuff is complicated. I think back to my various teachers (both in school and in a more informal “teacher/mentor” type thing), and yeah, they were imparting messages, but often in subtle ways.

            How often was this deliberate? Does it become invalid if the pro-social message was being taught deliberately? Does it matter when I notice?

            These questions don’t have simple answers.

            I’ve given talks to kids before, mostly in a “sponsored by my employer” sense. It turns out, a fair number of kids are actually excited to meet a Google engineer. (Weird, right.) Anyway, I talk. They listen. They ask questions. I answer. What are the results of this?

            I don’t know. Learning is life-long and subtle.

            What actually happens when a drag queen reads a story to kids.

            That depends on so many specifics. It depends on the queen. It depends on the kids. It depends on [waves arms wildly] everything.

            On balance I believe it will be good.

            What happens if the kids figure out we’re “preaching” to them?

            I object to the term “preaching,” but whatever. Yeah, these events are (among other things) pro-diversity.

            It depends on the kid, I suppose. It depends on how the events fits into their full life experience. But imagine, as the kid grows up, their realization, “Dammit, this person wanted me to accept them, and those like them, and to spread this message they volunteered to entertain me for an hour on Sunday afternoon.”


      • Avatar LeeEsq says:

        We also have archeological evidence that Romans used troops from African to keep order in Britain, so saying that there were no Black people in Britain in Roman times is just wrong.Report

        • Avatar Mike Dwyer says:

          Because I can’t resist historical fiction on TV, I watched all of the Amazon series Britania. It’s pretty terrible, but they did at least show black Roman soldiers.Report

    • Avatar veronica d says:

      Maybe I’m mistaken, but as I’m reading this DQST isn’t something that happened organically, it’s a policy decision…

      Why would you think this, however?

      Honestly, it probably began organically. Some queen was likely friends with some librarian. Over drinks one night they got to talking. “Wouldn’t it be fun to…”

      That’s it.

      Do I know this? Not really. But I have friends who work in libraries, and I have friends who do drag, and our social circles overlap a lot. Furthermore, I’m sure everyone involved sees diversity outreach as a good thing, but it’s hardly a nefarious plot. “This would be really fun to do, plus it will help foster diversity.”

      I insist that is a positive good, and obviously so. You might see it as “preaching,” but you perhaps do not see the Boy Scout creed as “preaching.” But why not? Civic virtue is civic virtue, and diversity and tolerance toward LGBT people is clearly a civic virtue.

      “But I don’t like it,” says the social conservative.

      We know you don’t! Believe me, social conservatives have made their thoughts really super clear. There is no ambiguity.

      “I don’t mind diversity, like, as long as you don’t teach it to kids.”

      Bullshit. Those are weasel words, from people who know that open bigotry doesn’t play well, but who feel it all the same. It’s expressed as “discomfort,” but we know what is behind it.

      “Can you understand how conservatives are uncomfortable with this?”

      Of course I understand. I understand many things. For example, I understand why white people didn’t want to share swimming pools and drinking fountains with brown people. I get it. It’s an irrational disgust response.

      But it’s wrong. It should be opposed. Tolerance should be taught. It needs to be taught, because that is how we stop people from having their vague “discomfort” — which is only vague because they don’t want to say it out loud.Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw says:

      I am going to pushback. I don’t think the intent of the DQST is too preach. I think it is too read stories to children. Even if there is an activist element or preaching element, how is that different from all the times Christian Rightists try to get around the pesky separation of Church and State with prayer in schools or reading the bible in Kindergaten classes even though Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Secular, or even other more mainstream Christian parents might not like their kids being exposed to it.

      I’d much rather my kids listen to a drag queen read Julien is a Mermaid or any other children’s book than have to sit in Kindergarten when it is the time for Becky’s mom to come in and Becky’s mom chooses to use the actually captive audience to tell them all about Jesus.Report

      • Avatar InMD says:

        My opinion is that it is not different. And again, I’m not losing any sleep over DQST. For all I know it’s going on at the libraries where I live. I do think it feels odd to have Becky’s mom driven out… just to make room for Starfire’s mom.

        Also, like I said to Chip, I have an aversion to that which feels (to me personally but maybe not to others) as patronizing. I think a lot of kids will (eventually) pick up on that too. What they’ll do with that is anyone’s guess.Report

        • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

          I think the big difference is ‘captive audience’. If Becky’s mom* comes to the kindergarten class, she has a captive audience to talk about Jesus. DQST is only captive in so much as mom and dad enforce it for their kid(s).

          Exit rights are maintained.

          *I really want to write ‘Stacie’s mom, ’cause she’s got it going on…Report

          • Avatar Mike Dwyer says:

            As I previously noted, the ones doing the social engineering are mom and dad.Report

          • Avatar InMD says:

            Which is why at the end of the day I’m not really worried about it. No one is there who doesn’t want to be.Report

            • Avatar Mike Dwyer says:

              is that true though? While I don’t think the kids are being traumatized by this (I suspect the drag queens themselves are probably some of the best/nicest people you would ever meet)…they certainly didn’t volunteer. This was their parents making a conscious effort to instill certain values. Or at least that’s probably what MOST of the parents are doing. Some might have just heard the drag queen was very captivating and didn’t think much about it beyond that.Report

              • Avatar InMD says:

                Eh that’s a parenting call. My kid isn’t even 2 and I’ve already gotten some flack for some of my decisions which I nevertheless believe were the right ones. This seems well within the realm of discretion that isn’t anyone else’s business.Report

              • Avatar Mike Dwyer says:

                I agree. My rule of thumb was to not project any values onto my kids that I thought was optional. So ‘good manners’ was required and often discussed. Science fiction movies, my spiritual beliefs and my political leanings were optional. If they asked, I would talk about them honestly, but I tried really hard not to advocate.

                I know people who believe their job is to fill their kids’ heads up with their values. I was told by a coworker recently that he has 12 children because he wants more people in the world that think like him. Yuck.Report

              • Avatar InMD says:

                My goal is to lean more towards your style. There are some life protips I’d like to pass on but I’m not pressed to push matters of politics or taste. That’s for him to figure out for himself.

                I also figure anything along those lines that I push too hard are certain be rebelled against in the most insufferable ways possible.Report

              • Avatar Mike Dwyer says:

                “I also figure anything along those lines that I push too hard are certain be rebelled against in the most insufferable ways possible.”

                You are correct. I think I wrote a post here years ago where one of the central premises was, “Sometimes there is only one way to do something right.” So I focused on those kinds of life protips. Rather than my kids inevitably rebelling against my politics or religious beliefs or cheering for the University of Kentucky out of spite, I stuck with things I believed were nearly indisputable like how to hold your fork and how to make scrambled eggs. When they occasionally thank me for those lessons as adults it is a really awesome parenting moment.Report

              • Avatar North says:

                Yeah, well once we start talking about parents indoctrinating kids about anything we’re into another different and much bigger can of worms and it’s not really about DQSH any more.Report

              • Avatar Mike Dwyer says:


    • Avatar LeeEsq says:

      How does any decision happen organically? Before deciding to do any event, at least one person needs to come up with the idea, talk about with other people, and organize it? There isn’t any special event that just happens. The only reason why DQST is seen as in-organic while say Fireman Story Time is seen as organic is because people see the later is being more natural and part of their imagined middle-class suburban community than drag queens, which are seen as subversive and things that people naturally won’t tolerate unless taught to. That’s how rightists see it at least.Report

      • Avatar InMD says:

        I described how it might, though I suppose I don’t really know how the regularly scheduled programming is set up currently. When I was a kid it was always the librarian or maybe a volunteer from the neighborhood.Report

      • Avatar Mike Dwyer says:

        I don’t see either one as organic. An organic experience is a child being exposed to a drag queen or a cross-dresser or a transgendered person in their everyday lives and asking questions about it.Report

    • Avatar North says:

      3. Some brisk googling suggests that DQSH wasn’t established by the library hierarchy. Looks like an author named Michelle Tea set up an literary non-profit called RADAR Productions which was intended to promote the development of queers in literature and to cement the place of San Francisco as a center of queer literature. Readings at libraries were part of their engagement process and then readings by Drag Queens to children was a later innovation.

      So it wasn’t exactly top-down created by any library or state entity policy (beyond saying “sure you can do that here”) but it certainly wasn’t organic either for most given definitions of organic.

      4. Grace in defeat is only possible if one admits defeat. Grace in victory is very difficult if ones opponent won’t admit defeat. This deeply limits the capacity for grace in the culture wars venue. Social cons will say things like “we’re losing” in their conversations but they don’t seem willing to reflect that understanding in politics or policy and agree to a compromise. That profoundly limits what kind of grace social liberals can offer, at least until those political and policy forces are actually truly routed.Report

      • Avatar InMD says:

        3. That’s activist capture IMO.

        4. I don’t know man. I’m a social liberal, or at least check most of the boxes of one. But I’m also way too live and let live to see political victory as involving anything beyond policy, and convincing people that certain things just aren’t their business regardless of what they grew up thinking or their pastor thinks or whatever. We may differ but I think Christian conservatism is largely defeated in this country. I also think their own crazy expectations about everyone falling into line with their specific values is a big part of why that is.

        Edit to add I live in one of the bluest parts of the country so I get that could skew my perception.Report

        • Avatar pillsy says:

          I’m not sure I agree with largely defeated (really not sure), but grace in victory doesn’t become a lot easier even when they’re fighting a desperate rearguard action.

          And this is in the policy realm.

          They seem to be losing more decisively outside of policy, but have a long history of trying to trump cultural losses with state power, and the fact that this is a strategy that has completely failed hasn’t prevented it from exacting (and continuing to exact) a real human cost, but the failure has guys like Ahmari being like, “OK, the solution is to do this stupid thing but even harder.”Report

          • Avatar InMD says:

            Well to be clear I said I think DQST is kind of weird and preachy, not that it should be prohibited. I’m not writing any officials about it or boycotting the public library I don’t go to anyway.

            I’m the same person who gets weirded out by the damn police dog on paw patrol and what message that might be sending. Maybe it’s all part of my own personal psychosis.Report

        • Avatar Jesse says:

          “We may differ but I think Christian conservatism is largely defeated in this country. ”

          It’s still perfectly legal to fire somebody in half the country because you don’t like the gender of the person they have sex with, hundreds of abortion restrictions have been passed since 2010, and the Supreme Court is controlled by 5 judges with socially conservative records.

          I think there’s an overestimation of the defeat of Christian conservatism, because it does have little power in the media and there have been big culture war victories for the Left recently. But, evangelical’s won Trump the presidency and he’s rewarded them by installing tons of right wing judges, pushing for various holes in regulation that will allow religious fueled discrimination to continue to be legal, etc.Report

        • Avatar North says:

          3. Sure, probably, but it’s not the same as top down imposed political correctness and, to be blunt, DQSH would not be going national if there wasn’t a significant group of people who liked it. No ones’ forcing these people to take the kiddies to DQSH.

          4. Yeah I totally get that perception, it’s a lot easier to notice the leftermost loons in an area where the right has lost-lost.

          I’m totally with you on policy but there isn’t a live and let live option being offered from the right nor would one be accepted if liberals offered it. The Dems and center left* in this country would probably happily trade, for example, staying out of the rights churches and schools (where LGBT folks don’t generally want to get involved anyhow) if the right would agree to let LGBT people have same sex marriage and use the bathrooms that work best for them. But the right is still hot to trot to overturn Obergefell; it’s still a plank in all their parties platforms; it’s still an oft stated goal. They don’t say “You give us this and we’ll give you that in return” they just say “You give us this, and we’ll pocket it and keep trying to get that too, because Jesus.**”
          I can see how that seems like a remote threat in a liberal dominated state. But the whole country isn’t liberal dominated.

          * I certainly would.
          **though there are exceptions. Utah cut a pretty decent compromise between LGBT folks and the religious right on SSM as I recall.Report

          • Avatar JoeSal says:

            Progressivism isn’t live and let live by it’s very nature. I don’t know what blinkered thought process there is in pushing people and expecting them to not push back.

            The one area that has somewhat saved america from one bloodbath after the next is backing belief systems into individual constructs.

            I somewhat chuckle when mention the concept of church attendance being down, or somehow have the perception of “We are winning this!”.

            Social objectivity based on social truth has a mountain of a obstacle. Christian/Judeo Objectivity is based in Gods Truth. You can wish Gods Truth folks didn’t exist, or attempt to ignore them, but they exist. If the progressives/leftwards continue holding social truth as supreme and not equal there will be massive problems ahead.

            Eventually Islamic Objectivity based on Allahs Truth will be here. Those folks appear a lot less capable of pushing their religious beliefs into individual constructs.

            If social constructs are weaponized, you can’t depend on the firewall nature of individual constructs to keep the peace anymore. Each objectivity will faction up and millions more will be sacrificed to the Hobbes Error.Report

            • Avatar pillsy says:

              Progressivism isn’t live and let live by it’s very nature. I don’t know what blinkered thought process there is in pushing people and expecting them to not push back.

              When it comes time to live and let live, people naturally (and correctly) prioritize the things that let them live as they please. Letting other people live as they please is going to be secondary, and this is fine, because you don’t know what way of life is going to please people.

              And yes this can lead people to be kind of blinkered, but the underlying pressure here from “progressivism” that Ahmari et al. are reacting against isn’t rooted in state power. This is why the examples of hostile state action they cite tend to be such small potatoes.

              Not that they’re wrong, just that they are neither the end of the world nor are they plausibly motivated solely by hostility.

              What they object to is cultural changes. Like they’re out there saying it over and over again, so we could consider believing them, and even if they don’t, the crackup is coming at a pretty high ebb in their political control.

              And if you don’t believe me, look at their intense focus on stuff that’s just exercise of free speech, free association, and property rights. They had Senators complaining because an alleged commedian stopped getting ad money from YouTube.

              I’m not 100% sure, but I’m like 97% sure that culture is an example of what you call “social constructs”.

              Eventually Islamic Objectivity based on Allahs Truth will be here. Those folks appear a lot less capable of pushing their religious beliefs into individual constructs.

              Muslims are already here, and this doesn’t seem to be the trajectory they’re following at all. And people used to say exactly the same thing about Catholics.

              FWIW, Ahmari is a Catholic who seems to be angling for the sort of thing you’re talking about. But virtually every single person in the world outside his weird little circle of First Things pals recognizes that he’s doing that because he’s a weird idiot, not because he’s a Catholic.[1]

              [1] Yes I’m sure there’s a dingbat on Twitter who’s got a face-melting take about how this is actually what the Catholic Church really is, man!Report

              • Avatar JoeSal says:

                “The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the LORD thy God.”
                Deuteronomy 22:5

                That’s the way it’s written in the Book, and I know that you know these things, it’s just sometimes we have to recognize people actually believe this to be a sort of Gods Truth, and that in their mind Gods truth is higher ranked than social truth.

                Yeah I agree these are small potatoes, and I again don’t think one small potato is going to lead to a cascade failure, but we are seeing a lot of small potato end up in a lot of social constructs. There are still the big potatoes. At some point the social engineers are going to have figure out what numbers of small potatoes plus big potatoes will lead to a problem, and stop the attempts of whistling past the graveyard.

                I do agree that catholics aren’t overly committed to moving their beliefs into individual constructs, neither are mormons. But at least we see little to no violence coming out of their construct ATM.

                I do hope I am wrong about the Islam folks, but when I see them faction up in the political realm, they aren’t on the side that wants to move this stuff into individual constructs. They tend to drift to the party that wants to be the dominant social truth, and I don’t think that is by accident.Report

              • Avatar pillsy says:

                Oh we recognize it… sort of.

                Like, the basic equilibrium is to accept that everybody else believes some of their own nonsense, and don’t realize that Actually, We Have the Truth, but not make a big Thing about it.

                Even the religious right manages this some of the time, what with the fact that it’s an alliance between Evangelicals and Catholics.

                Oh, and the GOP was reaching out to Muslims, in states where they were starting to be a sizable constituency, in part because they generally had socially conservative views. It fell apart in a big way post-9/11.

                And both parties want to be aligned with the dominant social truth (or really want the dominant social truth aligned with them), if I understand correctly what you mean by that. It’s just that one party is actually much closer to that goal than the other.Report

              • Avatar JoeSal says:

                Well it might of been a small thing until a bunch of small potato lawfare added up to big potato lawfare.

                Let me ask you, doesn’t social truth have to align? How does that base get unstolen?Report

              • Avatar pillsy says:

                Except we don’t have anything resembling big potato lawfare.

                Really. Like what do you think “big potato lawfare” looks like?

                (BTW, this is a separate issue from whether the lawfare potato is justified or not. Something can be harmful bullshit and not a particularly grave matter in and of itself.)Report

              • Avatar JoeSal says:

                It appears that SCOTUS has become a big deal lately, along with smaller district courts decisions.

                Something about how executive power in relations to law and what court can block or promote what.

                And it doesn’t appear to be a ‘don’t run in the hall with scissors’ kind of lawfare, it’s more along the lines of ‘this is going to be how you live your life or you will be punished’ kind of thing.Report

              • Avatar pillsy says:

                The SCOTUS has been a huge deal on the Right for at least a generation. They made winning it a big priority.

                And it paid off!

                I’d think that would at attenuate their fears if lawfare, and possibly even get them to salivate over applying it themselves.

                So no, I don’t think that explains the freakout.

                I think they’ve figured out that they can’t push on a rope.Report

              • Avatar JoeSal says:

                Law isn’t about the rope in the room, it’s about the enforcement.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter says:

                it’s more along the lines of ‘this is going to be how you ‘this is going to be how you live your life or you will be punished’


                Roe v Wade. Forced Busing. Racial Quotas. Gay Marriage.

                From the Right’s point of view they’ve had one cram down after another.

                More, despite various good faith laws/agreements/compromises which say “the border is supposed to be controlled” the result has been that it hasn’t been… and we’re close to having the courts effectively say that controlling it is illegal. I.e. they don’t mandate catch and release but everything else is forbidden if there is a kid with them.Report

              • Avatar pillsy says:

                Yah but those “cram downs” weren’t the kind of cram downs we’re talking about. (The exception being forced busing which basically collapsed with like three exceptions in places that decided to stick with it.)

                I’m not saying on some level I can’t envision them being mad.

                I am saying that they got mad, came up with a good plan to resolve their issue, and stuck with it to get their desired result.

                Like substantively I hate most of what the Federalist Society stands for. But with the exception of the stuff that went on in the very last couple years, they were doing exactly the sort of thing they were supposed to do from a procedural standpoint.

                But their plan worked and now they’re mad. And they’re mad because, as far as I can tell, they can’t execute the parts of their agenda that aren’t about being left alone.

                They won Hobby Lobby, Heller/MacDonald, Citizens United, and Janus.

                So I don’t really buy the “lawfare” argument in part because they did what they needed to defeat it and then got more, rather than less, freaked.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter says:

                So I don’t really buy the “lawfare” argument in part because they did what they needed to defeat it and then got more, rather than less, freaked.

                Having you seen “Rogue One”?

                A question asked by someone after the movie was: “This is what victory over the empire looks like?”Report

      • Avatar Dark Matter says:

        Social cons will say things like “we’re losing” in their conversations but they don’t seem willing to reflect that understanding in politics or policy and agree to a compromise.

        For the big issues there are too many professional social warriors to make peace. “Here is a reasonable compromise, however if we take it then I personally lose power and am out of a job”.Report

  11. Avatar pillsy says:

    @Dark Matter:

    A question asked by someone after the movie was: “This is what victory over the empire looks like?”

    It’s what accommodation looks like, and really they’ve got a much better set of friends in the courts than just about anybody else in the country since they embarked on a generational project to reshape them in their image, and already have a lot of decisions supporting them.

    If “left alone” is what they’re looking for they’ll be fine.

    But “left alone” really obviously isn’t what they’re looking for.

    Hell, even being mad about Roe v. Wade, no matter what you think of the underling issue, and which motivated so much of their “remake the courts” project, isn’t about being left alone. Neither is controlling the border. And as much as it might be convenient for the contemporary conservative movement to pretend it didn’t spend about 30 years waging a very loud fight against LGBT rights (and is continuing to wage a quieter but still alarmingly effective fight against those rights because they have Trump’s ear).

    And if you look about what the First Things crowd is actually saying in his piece, he’s upset that the government hasn’t, to quote P. J. O’Rourke, “smarter, taller, and richer”:

    Yes, the old conservative consensus paid lip service to traditional values. But it failed to retard, much less reverse, the eclipse of permanent truths, family stability, communal solidarity, and much else. It surrendered to the pornographization of daily life, to the culture of death, to the cult of competitiveness. It too often bowed to a poisonous and censorious multiculturalism.

    Ahmari carries on in this fashion even further:

    How do we counter ideological mono-thought in universities, workplaces, and other institutions? Try promoting better work-life balance, says French. How do we promote the good of the family against the deracinating forces arrayed against it, some of them arising out of the free market (pornography) and others from the logic of maximal autonomy (no-fault divorce)? “We should reverse cultural messages that for too long have denigrated the fundamental place of marriage in public life.” Oh, OK. How do we combat the destruction wrought by drugs (licit and illicit), by automation and globalization and other forces of the kind?

    Now, this stuff from the Left isn’t that uncommon, and that was the point of O’Rourke’s joke. And maybe Ahmari even carried over his utopian zealotry from his Leftist days. But it’s still there, and it’s not like he doesn’t have a fair number of folks nodding along at least in the press.Report

    • Avatar Dark Matter says:

      But “left alone” really obviously isn’t what they’re looking for.

      A lot of these things make more sense if you assume sincerity.

      “And then what?”
      “I finally rest. And watch the sun rise on a grateful universe. The hardest choices require the strongest wills.”

      My culture is superior. My ideas superior. They work. I understand why they work, and why other ideas/cultures don’t. It isn’t accommodation that I seek; The other cultures are simply wrong on multiple core issues and accommodation with them means their wrong ideas can/will spread, and lead society over a cliff.

      For me personally, that means banging the drum against socialism. The people of Venezuelan cheered as they set up a system which predictably ended up with people starving in the streets as the country burns down. For members of the Right (and Left), they have different demons. There are people who claim to be worried about Trump overthrowing democracy and setting up death camps. There are people who thought allowing homosexuality to be out of the closet would allow it to spread.

      How reasonable various claims and concerns are is subject to dispute, ditto how reasonable various solutions are. A ton of the solutions (and for that matter, concerns) is more signalling than reality.Report

      • Avatar pillsy says:

        My culture is superior. My ideas superior. They work. I understand why they work, and why other ideas/cultures don’t. It isn’t accommodation that I seek; The other cultures are simply wrong on multiple core issues and accommodation with them means their wrong ideas can/will spread, and lead society over a cliff.

        Oh I assume that’s sincerely what they want.

        But that isn’t being left alone at all.

        Perhaps David French would accept being left alone, and we’d have to negotiate and/or fight over exactly the boundaries of what “left alone” means. The generally conservative slant of the Courts means he would probably get an annoyingly good deal.

        But that’s not what Ahmari et al. want, and they’ve been pretty clear that it’s not what they want. They want exactly what you describe.Report