America has reoccurring periods where authentic concern for real, or at least perceived to be real, social ills results in social activist from the more puritanical parts of American culture that inevitably overreach and end up sooner or later becoming mockeries of themselves. The closer to the present we get, the more pathetic the overreach and the greater the self-defeating antics.
In the late 19th Century, the Comstock Laws were passed which banned the use of the Post Office from trading in “obscene literature”—not to mention the appellation of being “banned in Boston”. In time the Hays commission in the early 1930s clamped down on risque movies to the point pushing films into being Protestant Everyman morality plays. And then came the Comics Code Authority, which destroyed the comic book industry as a medium and devolved it into a “capes” genre for kiddies (this example is more relevant than ever).
And then came the “Satanic Panic” of the late 1970s through the early 1990s. In the 1970s the social fabric was seeming to unravel (give or take a “Spirit of ‘76” bicentennial moment or two) with bands like Motorhead, ZZ Top, and Ted Nugent openly singing about “jailbait”, hardcore legal child pornography in many European nations, and the normalization of divorce and “swinging”. This was a serious problem and social conservatives are indeed responsible to helping stave off the worse of this degeneracy and saving the U.S. from the Great Secularization that hit most of Western Europe and much of the non-European Anglosphere… and why the U.S. still hasn’t joined those who fell later on.
But fighting the culture wars where they need to be fought was hard, didn’t bring in financial support, and didn’t bring praise to inflate the egos of many who would fight such culture wars. Instead they picked fights with innocent abet easier targets: Heavy Metal, Dungeons & Dragons, and… daycare centers. The former two had fantasy elements labeled as “Satanic” and were deemed to be the root cause of innocents being seduced to evil, while the later of the three fell to a “Pizzagate” style child abuse accusations that ruined many innocents’ lives.
But unlike earlier moral panics which had a successful, even if temporary, success, the “Satanic Panic” for the most part only made the social conservatives and religious right seem as fools. The consequence of this was that by the time the Hawaiian Supreme Court in the mid-1990s pulled their Xanatos Gambit which led to the Obergefell decicion.
The consequences of overreach, sooner or later, is that by attempting to connect actual serious problems with anything they dislike, they will not convince people who would rightfully have problems with the former to now hate the later, but rather convince people who look at the later and see something that only a fanatical puritan would hate and assume that anything they dislike is of a similar nature.
As someone who lived through the “Satanic Panic”, your humble author feels that it may be happening again. Oh, there is the “National Conservative” demand that we stop loving libertarian free speech and, in a manly way, silence enemies and their icky messages which induce wrongthink, just as there are those who demand that “H8 Speech” be banned because itinduces… wrongthink.
A clear example of this conflation comes from a The Daily Signal article by Tony Kinnett. Much of the article quite rightfully goes after LGBTQ&c. propagans that tries to normalize kinky sex and transgenersim amongst elementary school children and earlier—often as part of formal classroom teaching materials—but conflates that with a Seinen Japanese Manga that has nothing to do with wokeness, LGBTQ&c. ideology, or even promoting anything sexually deviant (or really anything sexual at all).
Why did they lump in a manga adaptation and interpretation of a popular light novel series with clearly pro-woke propaganda? Bobbies. And that it showed evil goblins attacking females (but never showing the actual sexual assault). This does not and can not normalize anything sexual, deviant or otherwise, when it shows rape to be absolutely evil and the rapist as needing to be killed for their evil. There is more focus on the horror and evil of rape and especially of the lasting psychological damage that a rape survivor experiences.
Perhaps it goes to show how little The Daily Signal groks about Goblin Slayer when the examples in the article (which censors non-nude shots to make things worse than they are) are from the first volume of the manga adaptation, yet the header image they use is from the 10th volume of the light novel series, where what was seen in the manga did not happen.
Oh, I am not saying that toddlers should be reading Goblin Slayer. I’m just saying that Goblin Slayer, which is a well written series intended for older readers, is not even close to the same as pro-LGBTQ&c. kink grooming stories intended for children.
If I wasn’t already knowledgeable about the grooming “instructional” books for kids and their contents, I’d incorrectly assume that they were no big deal if they were on the same level of quality literature such as Goblin Slayer. But I am knowledgeable as such, which is why your humble author is writing against pushing such conflation.
We are already seeing overreach, and the consequences thereof. In Texas, there is a push to have chaplains in lieu of counselors in K-12 schools. In Utah, an overly broad bill that banned “depictions” of sex outside of limited medical or approved educational material has resulted in the ban of… The Bible.
That is the overreach by the social conservatives and religious right who either start going after innocuous things because it’s easier to get support and funding to “fight” against, or because they want to use the real threat as an excuse to ban anything they personally don’t like. It is the later case that is most self destructive, because it pushes away and alienates anyone who has no problem with the innocuous stuff and leads them to believe that the veritable threat from the propaganda is no more a threat from the innocuous stuff!
If you really care about fighting wokeness and the grooming materials and propaganda aimed at children, then please, please, focus on the actual core threat—as hard, unflattering, or unprofitable at it may be—rather than ancillary matters that you don’t like but want to go after by nakedly using the real threat as an excuse.
If you aren’t, then you are aiding and abetting those who you claim to oppose.