You can explain a lot of modern culture wars by the fact that money ceased to be a real status symbol. In the 21st century, being well-known means that money will just arrive automatically. The bigger status symbols now are empathy and trust in authority. This is why veganism and climate change activism attract such hostility. With money no longer being the status symbol, but now just being a by-product of having a high social status, the new status symbols now attract hostility.
The reason there is a pre-Greta and a post-Greta when it comes to climate change activism, is because Greta introduced something that was severely missing. Greta represents the kind of hypersincerity you can only get from autists. Autists have beliefs, tastes, opinions and ideas. Everyone else only has beliefs, tastes, opinions and ideas, filtered by the social context they inhabit. To insist that Greta does not really believe what she professes to believe, is like suggesting that the creator of Dwarf Fortress just wants to make money selling video games.
It is as if she recreated the whole field and now there are various emanations of Greta, characterized by increasingly less sincerity, beginning with an African girl who sees her village go to shit, followed by an Al Gore who figured out a policy problem while vice president, then an AOC and eventually finally culminating in a Taylor Swift, where all autism has dissipated and social perception becomes everything.
One of those things people tend to skip about the poor, is that they can’t afford to trust authorities, nor can they really afford to care about others. They’re forced to inhabit a here and now. As they slowly get their shit together as they age, they will expand their circle of empathy, to include abstract categories elites have already transcended. They care for example about the demise of the white race, which was a big concern among Western elites during the early 20th century.
Elites already transcended this concern however, expanding their circle of empathy to include the overall state of the biosphere. Worry about the relative share of white people and the relative quality of new generations of humans moved towards worry about the domination of the human population through our sheer numbers, until it moved towards our overall footprint on our environment.
It’s not that Prince Harry and Megan or some other members of the upper class figured all of this out on their own. They mingle in a crowd, where some people do most of the thinking and then over time the crowd develops a certain view of the world. That’s what happened to progressive elites.
You can see a good example of this transition with Bertrand Russell, the kind of guy who did a lot of thinking for the elite circles in which he mingled. Before the 1940’s he writes that it would be a waste to eradicate black people from the planet because they can be put to good use in the tropics and that the occasional global plague might be the most pleasant way to prevent overpopulation. Then after Hitler’s defeat he professes a belief in the gospel of human equality and begins worrying about things like nuclear war instead. So as a typical member of the upper class, simply parroting Bertrand Russel was sufficient to keep you in line with consensus.
Paul Ehrlich is essentially a conservative, in that he rediscovers the old elite worry about human overpopulation. This is the typical habit of conservatives: They try to protect things that progressives already gave up on. By now, when you bring up there are eight billion of us, that we weigh more than ten times as much as the wild terrestrial vertebrates, you will be stamped as a reactionary.
The reason LGBTQI+ stuff now tends to go hand in hand with status symbols like veganism and climate change activism, is because elite belief in a future is also dissipating. You are instead supposed to just hedonistically indulge in the moment and pursue all your fetishes to their natural conclusion, because there isn’t really a future anymore. When there is no future, you might as well just merge with your object of desire. You might as well become the nubile teenage girl yourself, rather than striving to become the father who guards her chastity.
That’s the next transition we’re going to face. Low status white males feel very threatened by climate change activists and vegans. But climate change concerns are likely going to end up just like overpopulation and previous elite worries ended up: As an unsolvable taboo concern of right wing dissidents.
Today’s conservatives would have been seen as populist socialists in the early 20th century. Wealth inequality after all, is also a problem progressive elites gave up on trying to solve. But by the time the climate change crisis escalates and even low status white males become forced to come to terms with the fact that this is a real problem, elites will have already dropped the concern altogether. Just as overpopulation concerns were high status a century ago (back when LSWMs adhered to pronatalist religions like Catholicism) and very taboo today, climate change activism is at risk of just dying out due to elites no longer believing the problem can be solved.
Probably around the time when Alexandria-Occasio Cortez resigns herself to the sunlight being blocked by stratospheric aerosols, low status white males will insists that the actual problem of carbon dioxide accumulation needs to be solved and the elitists need to stop blocking sunlight. By that time of course, natural ecosystems will have started emitting large amounts of greenhouse gasses too and elites will have resigned themselves to their failure to address the climate crisis, just as they failed to address the dysgenics and overpopulation crises before. To mention the existence of a climate crisis, will become low status. It will be what your self-employed Uncle Bob brings up at the dinner table while you try to change the topic.
Keep in mind, low status white males eventually adapt to elite beliefs. They just do so slowly and hesitantly. Just as low status white males are very reluctant to accept that changing the atmosphere is dangerous, they were very reluctant until about two decades ago to accept that we share a common ancestor with chimpanzees. You had about as much support for the idea that the Earth is 6000 years old in the United States two decades ago, as you do in the US today for the idea that humans are not causing global warming today.
My naive hope is to convince low status white males that just as they reluctantly accepted previous elite concerns, this elite concern is also legitimate. The earlier low status white males figure that out, the more chance we typically have of a problem genuinely being solved. The reason I bring this up is because I can already see the next step emerge: Normalization of euthanasia. Transgenderism is a phenomenon that emerged basically from nowhere in a time-frame of twenty years. The next perversion that will be normalized, is the desire to not exist.
You have about as much of a foot to stand on when you try to stop your teenage daughter from growing a moustache and amputating her breasts, as you do when she decides she wants to be dead. We’re even starting to see cases in Canada, of people who choose euthanasia due to suffering poverty.
No such choice is ever truly voluntarily. It is always an option you pick, in a context of circumstances you did not control. Let’s try to create better circumstances for when today’s children are adults: Stop dragging your low status white male feet in the sand and hurry up with adopting today’s status signals.