Post-Mortem On The Telco Terf War

This article was originally published for paying subscribers for The BFD INSIGHT: Politics and is reproduced here for all Right Minds readers on a delayed basis.

Dieuwe de Boer

What do the commissars of the dominant cultural force spend their social capital on? It's bashing "TERFS" as they create new social media accounts on yet another Twitter clone (that will be a zombie social network in a few months).

The post from progressive posterboy Shaneel Lal said "Can we all agree that we won't tolerate TERFs on Threads?" to which Spark replied "Yes PLEASE wholeheartedly co-signed" and then OneNZ added "We don't want them either. Not welcome here," once the controversy had ignited a backlash from radfems. However, when people tried to withdraw their services from these telcos, they were suddenly less than enthusiastic.

This war is between the new 4th wave feminist "trans rights activists" (TRAs or trannies) and the old 3rd wave feminist "trans exclusionary radical feminists" (TERFs or radfems). The revolution cannot stop, and so the TERFs are on the back foot. "Women's equality can go this far, but no further," they say. But the cause of equality can progress further—all distinctions between male and female must be erased to reach true equality.

However, the progressive civil war between TERFs and TRAs is not going as expected. Rather than a cheap laugh they had begun to expect from bashing passive conservatives instead they became embroiled in a week-long controversy with a broad anti-trans coalition.

This is a very fatigued revolution, as the response of both Spark and OneNZ shows that they don't really want to lose customers. It's not easy to switch telcos, but clearly enough people queried about it to force a response from both. Spark released a public memo that they are going to "learn from" this and One released an internal memo that they "wanted to clarify" their stance. A week on, neither appear to be waiving cancellation fees, so their support for "inclusion" seems to be limited to the point where it risks impacting their bottom line.

The "apology" or backpedal highlights the fragile nature of the progressive movement. It has to be "inclusive" but at the same time very exclusive: only those who stay on the cutting edge of what's in and what's out can be truly inclusive and diverse. But once you get too exclusive, as the TRAs are, then you create problems for yourself. People who haven't received or processed the latest programming updates start to fall off.

The reason woke capital works so well is that cultural deconstruction feeds into greater consumerism. Advertising can be used both to attach their brand to cultural issues and also to shape and promote them. In terms of regime loyalty, Spark has been a corporation at the cutting edge of progressivism for many years. The social media manager of Spark previously appeared on TV to talk about how she would respond to "homophobic" customers. In the past this didn't really create a backlash because Spark's hostility towards Christianity was culturally acceptable, to the point where they actively pushed out any Christian employees who refused to wear rainbow lanyards years ago.

Was this week's TERF war a win for us? A win is anything that makes it easier to win in the future. In this case, both companies appear to be placing closer scrutiny on their social media managers. We now know there is a larger group of local "radicalised" online activists who are able to mobilise against progressive causes.

There is a small sliver of common ground between all non-TRA forces: the very existence of men and women as inherently different biological creatures. This has allowed conservatives to get back into the game after being completely steamrolled in the past few decades. The enemy of my enemy is my friend.

No one has unlimited cultural capital to spend. How your enemies are spending theirs can be a good sign—are they using their dominant position to build more public goodwill or are they burning it rooting out heretics and traitors?

For the progressives, the revolution goes on.

For us, the anti-revolution grows

About the author

Dieuwe de Boer

Editor of Right Minds NZ, columnist at The BFD, and Secretary General for the New Conservatives. Follow me on Telegram and Twitter. In addition to writing about conservative politics and reactionary thought, I like books, gardening, biking, tech, reformed theology, beauty, and tradition.

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