Why neoreactionary nominalism is self-defeating

April 3, 2014 § 25 Comments

The Reactivity Place objects to the idea that Game is inextricably bound up with unchaste male behavior toward women. He objects by quoting the Internet’s self-proclaimed master of slutsploitation as an authority on the idea that Game has nothing much to do with slutsploitation, and that therefore slutsploiters deserve credit for being prophets, thought leaders, and defenders of civilization:

Doubters can snark about “PUAs” to their hearts’ content, but the arc of recent history is proving that PUAs were at the leading edge all along. Will people listen only when it’s too late?

The bottom line approach is to claim that either (1) suggesting that Game is inextricably bound up with male inchastity is so baffling that even folks with monster IQ’s can’t understand it; or (2) it boils down to just a disagreement about definitions.

In support of (2), it is claimed in the comments that the following are all instances of the use of Game as TRP solemnly declares and defines it:

  • a psychologist advises the Obama campaign on how to get white voters to feel good about themselves for voting for a mulatto,
  • Betty Crocker advisors told the execs to get women to add an egg to the box cake recipe
  • Advertising
  • Getting troops to charge up San Juan Hill
  • Forcing Henry IV to walk to Canossa

It is questionable whether it is worth even dignifying the claim that these are instances of Game by taking it seriously.

But if we adopt this nominalist approach then criticisms of anything real – like liberalism, for example – can always be deflected by the twofold claim that (a) what is labeled (or named, thus nominalism) is morally neutral in itself and can be used for good or ill, and that (b) the criticism boils down to the use of different definitions.  Liberalism, then, is indeed the adoption of freedom and equality as political goods in a truncated sense; this liberalism can be and has been used for good or ill; therefore criticism of my liberalism amounts to just a disagreement over definitions.  Sure those liberals over there do bad stuff with liberalism; but I use liberalism for good.  To wit, although some people do use liberalism for bad ends (e.g. to support abortion), the following are examples of the good uses to which liberalism has been put:

  • giving money to the poor
  • Mother Theresa taking care of the poor and sick
  • treating people fairly
  • freeing slaves
  • preventing violent men from beating and exploiting women

… and of course this can go on.  The mental truncation involved in the nominalist approach destroys the possibility of substantive disagreement over real things, abolishes politics, claims victory literally by definition, and makes repentance impossible.

The irony of invoking Humpty Dumpty in support of a nominalist approach to the subject of Game is really rather delicious though.

§ 25 Responses to Why neoreactionary nominalism is self-defeating

  • nickbsteves says:

    I have insisted from the beginning that this is a disagreement about definitions. This seems to be some sort of absurdist entertainment for you. Enjoy.

  • Zippy says:

    nickbsteves:

    I have insisted from the beginning that this is a disagreement about definitions.

    Right. You’ve taken the nominalist approach, and that approach involves shooting yourself in the foot as explained.

  • nickbsteves says:

    BTW, I disclaim that the list you provide are all instances of game. Since you abjectly refused to communicate clearly and concisely (in say 5 or fewer comments), I tried to reach behind to find something of substance in what you were saying. That I failed to interpret WHAT you were saying is no surprise.

    For the record, I also disclaim nominalism, “neoreactionary” or otherwise. I disclaim all attitudes you have attributed to me to any particular PUA or the manosphere in general.

    You have read and interpreted my words with an utter lack of charity. I really don’t have much interest in this conversation, since (as I’ve said) it is a simple disagreement about definitions. The rest seems to be a pissing contest, and there, my friend, you seem to have me thoroughly outgunned.

  • Zippy says:

    nickbesteves:

    You have read and interpreted my words with an utter lack of charity.

    The links to your actual words, and even some of your actual words themselves, are right there in the OP.

    I really don’t have much interest in this conversation, …

    Then you probably shouldn’t have posted on it and linked back to me by name on it.

    … since (as I’ve said) it is a simple disagreement about definitions.

    But that is precisely what is at issue: your (nominalist/antiessentialist) assertion that this is a simple disagreement about definitions. I don’t agree that it is a simple disagreement about definitions; and speaking of lack of effort in charitable interpretation, you’ve never shown the slightest hint of even attempting to consider putting the tiniest bit of effort into comprehending why.

    Game has an essence, its essence is not morally neutral, and you can’t make its essence disappear by definitional fiat without embracing all of the other consequences of adopting a nominalist/antiessentialist approach.

  • But even if it were about definitions, the observed reality that you can’t game someone behaving morally and fleeing temptation (i.e., you can’t con an honest man) is disregarded in favor of the ironically gnostic approach that game is anything that serves the arguments of the person advocating for game.

  • Gavrila says:

    Doubters can snark about “PUAs” to their hearts’ content, but the arc of recent history is proving that PUAs were at the leading edge all along. Will people listen only when it’s too late?

    I’ve been researching intellectual influences on game and to Cialdini I’d add Ayn Rand, Anthony Jay, John Nash, R.D. Laing, Marcuse and the Frankfurt school and others.

    If PUA is seemingly on the “leading edge”, I’d say that’s because red pill ideology and game are a continuation of, and slight variation on, utterly mainstream intellectual currents. It is less alternative than I had supposed.

    It also has shared intellectual strands with neoreaction and this, I believe, accounts for the exaggerated respect given to Roissy/Heartiste in the reactosphere. For the neoreactionaries to call Roissy a nothing would be like calling themselves nothings.

    I can expand on what I’m saying in greater detail in longer comments over the weekend.

  • CJ says:

    Zippy – how did you determine the essence of game? Was it as simple as looking at the 16 commandments? Or is there more to it?

  • CJ’s comment is neoreaction in a nutshell. Game predates the seduction community and certainly roissy/heartiste/whoever, and it predates these things by decades and has an extensive history as part of several subcultures. It is not information hidden under a rock in a cave in a secret valley. The hustle/game connection is essential to the dissident right subcultures who’ve seized upon distilled forms of it, and it is not a set of moral origins.

    And yet, in true neoreactionary form, decades of historical information are ostentatiously unsought in favor of a hyperfocus on the recent past as if it were the wisdom of centuries past.

    I don’t know what neoreactionaries are reacting to, except maybe an allergy to really studying the past. A few blogs and discussion forums isn’t “the past” or real history. It’s not even real research.

  • CJ says:

    Unreal Woman – I’m completely mystified by your comment. I really don’t know what it has to do with what I wrote.

    My question to Zippy was sincere. I’m pretty sure (but open to correction) that Zippy has said that if Game is anything, it’s the totality of Roissy’s 16 commandments. On that basis, I have tried to explain to some of his opponents that this is why Zippy believes that Game cannot be “baptized,” because if you remove the clearly sinful commandments, you aren’t talking about “Game” anymore.

    So my question to Zippy is how he determined that Game, in its essence, just is Roissy’s 16 commandments.

  • Zippy says:

    CJ:

    I’m pretty sure (but open to correction) that Zippy has said that if Game is anything, it’s the totality of Roissy’s 16 commandments.

    It is more general than that, although Roissy’s 16 commandments typify Game. I gave a definition here.

    Since I am always working to clarify my own thought, I would probably modify it slightly and define Game as the male behavioral expression of inchastity toward the opposite sex, since there are forms of inchastity (e.g. masturbation) which are clearly not Game. Game is the male equivalent of a woman hiking up her hemline to turn on men who aren’t her husband, etc; that is, it is the male equivalent of slutty behavior. What makes Game seem “new” is the context of feminism: only in the context of feminism would significant numbers of men run around doing the equivalent of worrying about what color lipstick they are wearing.

    …how did you determine the essence of game? Was it as simple as looking at the 16 commandments? Or is there more to it?

    There is certainly more to it. “How do we know what things are” is a huge subject that philosophers have argued about for millennia, and even if I was fully equipped to deal with the subject it wouldn’t fit in a combox. So I’d suggest that I have come to understand what Game is in much the same way I have come to understand the essences of other social ‘objects’ (objective social ‘things’), e.g. money, coercion, pornography, politics, femininity, economic value, usury, authority, theft — really the list can go on and on. We learn what things are by observing, debating, researching, watching what people do versus what they claim; I spent some time attempting to craft ‘value neutral Game’ myself, etc etc etc. Roissy and how others (especially Christians) have responded to him has certainly been a part of the learning process for me, but there is much more to it than just asserting “Game is the 16 commandments”.

    The reactions of some women to discussions have been interesting too. Once they realized where I was going with this – that sluttiness-which-falls-short-of-pursuit-of-fornication-is-still-sluttiness – my support among some women dried up rather quickly. I think that is because sluttiness has long been a tool that women use to get what they want, whereas the male version of sluttiness (Game) has been far less pervasive simply because feminism is new and men mostly didn’t used to pursue what they wanted through the male version of sluttiness.

    So there is no simple answer to “how did I conclude what I have about Game’s essence”. That isn’t particularly telling though, because there is no simple answer to how I’ve concluded much of anything about anything’s essence. Why is a tiger a cat? Why do I think that money has no real value, and that collateral is central to understanding usury? Why have I concluded that liberalism is what I say it is? Etc, etc, etc. There are no simple answers to those questions, nor is there even a simple answer to that kind of question in general.

  • capitalized-g game is a subset of inherently immoral hustling, with a focus on the sexual variations . Attempts by neoreactionaries and other dissident right fans to say that “Game” isn’t sexually focused are most generously rediscoveries of the con-artist manipulations that marked most of what people understand as uncapitalized “game”.

    Before I encountered the internet world of “Game”, my and people around me’s (rural, exurban, urban, suburban, 70% white and about 30% not-whites) understanding was that there was a thing called “game” or “gaming” and that it consisted typically of tricks and manipulations favored by immoral people. Those tricks and manipulations were often sexually oriented, but not exclusively. And yes, much of this we got from media portrayals rather than direct or observed experience.

    In the internet world, the sexual focus is paramount, except when it suits defenders of it to claim otherwise and then they claim it’s a somehow morally neutral version of the con artist stuff, but without acknowledgement of those dirty origins.

    In a sense, the 16 commandments are an essence of game. Presenting a bunch of pithy but not terribly useful commandments/rules/tips as if they’re received wisdom offering guarantees of success to the adopter of said commandments is certainly a very old sort of game to run on suckers willing to be gamed.

  • Game predates the seduction community and certainly roissy/heartiste/whoever, and it predates these things by decades and has an extensive history as part of several subcultures.

    The Orthosphere is “negging” the manosphere when they take that line of criticism: “Your insights into the human psyche are not as magnificent as Dostoyevsky’s.”

    I accept Zippy’s view that Game is the art of male inchastity. Even so, I understand why Roissy, Roosh, et. al., do what they do and why so many men go to them for advice. Cads and sluts ye shall always have with you. If they have an easier time plying their trades these days, that’s our fault.

  • sunshinemary says:

    What makes Game seem “new” is the context of feminism: only in the context of feminism would significant numbers of men run around doing the equivalent of worrying about what color lipstick they are wearing.

    It’s interesting, but Roosh (one of the pick up artists who has written extensively about game) seems to agree with you.

    (Crass site warning): Men Are Nothing More Than Clowns To The Modern Woman

    http://www.rooshv.com/men-are-nothing-more-than-clowns-to-the-modern-woman

    When I look at myself in the mirror, I don’t see a man who has improved himself over the years to be the best that his genes allow—I see a glittery skirt that a girl encounters in the mall. Is the skirt too expensive or is it on sale? Is there only one left of her size or is the rack full of them? Does she already have something similar or is it totally novel? Does her friends think it’s cute or just alright? After trying it on, does it flatter her body or make her look fat? Either she makes the impulsive decision to buy the skirt or not, because odds are she won’t come back for it. There are so many stores with so many skirts that she will soon forget it, forever. We are like glittery pieces of fashion to women—items that she truly doesn’t need. Not only has she already collected so many of them, but she can easily obtain more within walking distance from where she lives. She can even browse online from home while in her pajamas through a nearly unlimited selection.

    We are not men in the traditional sense—we are clowns.

  • I have to say I find all of this bickering about the definition of game rather pointless. Whether game is “psychological manipulation”, “the male behavioral expression of inchastity”, or a “program for bedding sluts”, it is all inherently anti-Catholic. Clearly, Zippy’s “hard” definition of game defines it as an immoral practice, but I’m not entirely sure that Nick’s “soft” definition is much better.

    First, how exactly is manipulation of any sort morally licit? To be a Christian means to act in a Christ-like manner. So pray tell, when does Jesus ever engage in manipulation of any sort (*waits patiently for some ham-fisted Protestant prooftexting*)? Moreover, will the assorted nonsense game purports to teach help you come Judgement Day? Methinks the Lord won’t be overly impressed by your ability to “maintain frame” or “agree and amplify” when being judged.

    Second, while pro-gamers often assure us that such manipulation can be directed toward nominally beneficial ends, I’m not sure that any of them have ever actually proven their case. I mean all I tend to hear is that game can help you either (i.) score chicks, or (ii.) achieve some worldly measure of success (e.g. gaining “friends”, doing better at business, etc.). Yet again, I fail to see how any of these things helps us to achieve salvation (which is presumable our ultimate goal, no?). Indeed, I can cite dozens of saints and other Catholic sources showing that such pursuits are either sinful in and of themselves, or at the very least, placing someone closer to the near occasion of sin.

    Third, the fact that one can, on one hand, post prayers in Latin to the Blessed Virgin and post pictures of Pope St. Pius X on their webpage, and on the other, so readily accept the anti-Catholic positions of modern psychology demonstrates just how far down the materialist rabbit hole some of us have fallen. Modern psychology posits that man is merely a simple animal subject to various sublimated base desires and furthermore has created a selfish, man-centered counter-religion focused on “self-actualization” rather than sacrifice and denial. Consequently, it robs humanity of the free will, reason, and dignity that our Creator endowed in us. Thus, I see no difference in stating “We should use “empirically-tested” psychological manipulation to meet our ends” and “Man is but a machine made of meat and if one deftly uses the right combination of impetuses, the desired outcome can be achieved”.

    While the infamous Artisanal Toad guest post at SSM’s opened my eyes to what “Christian Game” truly is, the recent row between the “Catholic” Neoreactionaries and Zippy over game has allowed me to starkly see what the so-called Dark Enlightenment really is. In short, it is the proposition that while the spoiled fruits (e.g. materialism, scientism, rank empiricism, etc.) of the Enlightenment have led man into disarray, if we can simply carve out the bothersome parts and coopt the remainder to our own ends, we can restore order.

    Unfortunately, I am skeptical that any such program can work. And indeed, I have a certain amount of fear in my heart for folk who do think it is a sound approach. Using the Enemy’s weapons against himself isn’t a sound strategy, it is in fact playing right into his hands. The only answer is a Christocentric one as outlined in documents such Quas Primas.

  • Zippy says:

    Catholic Economist:
    While there is much in your comment that I agree with, I reject the framing of the discussion as “bickering about definitions”. Indeed my rejection of that framing is the point of the OP: that we should never buy into an approach that goes “first assume that nominalism is true; now let me dismiss your arguments as nothing but a dispute over definitions.”

    Folks in this odd corner of the Internet tend to grasp this pretty quickly when it comes to liberalism and feminism; but many do it themselves when it comes to Game. So introspection about the public support they throw behind Game is an opportunity to learn something rather more important than “women are flesh and blood and find dominant men attractive.”

  • Zippy says:

    Catholic Economist:

    has allowed me to starkly see what the so-called Dark Enlightenment really is. In short, it is the proposition that while the spoiled fruits (e.g. materialism, scientism, rank empiricism, etc.) of the Enlightenment have led man into disarray, if we can simply carve out the bothersome parts and coopt the remainder to our own ends, we can restore order.

    I am starting to believe that neoreaction kind of rhymes with neoconservatism. Neoconservatism was an attempt to synthesize social liberalism with (what they considered to be) economic and foreign policy “conservatism”. Neoreaction seems to be attempting to synthesize materialism with social conservatism.

    We are all Hegelians now.

  • sunshinemary says:

    While the infamous Artisanal Toad guest post at SSM’s opened my eyes to what “Christian Game” truly is, the recent row between the “Catholic” Neoreactionaries and Zippy over game has allowed me to starkly see what the so-called Dark Enlightenment really is

    Oh gosh, I wouldn’t use AT as a typical example. Toad has views ( Guest Post: A husband’s authority over his wife is not limited ) which are pretty far outside the norm, even given that particular group of people. I don’t think people who are pro-Christian game (someone like Dalrock for instance) would agree with Toad that polygyny is the way to go and that a husband has no limits to his authority over his wife.

    But having said that, I understand your point. For me, Zippy’s (and a few other people’s) anti-game posts were mildly interesting, but what was really the shock for me was the reaction from the pro-game Christians. I didn’t expect that at all; I expected a spirited debate. Instead, I saw a lot of hysterical defensiveness, gossip, name-calling, and other behavior that was both unChristian and unmanly.

    I’m going to continue not to weigh in on the morality of game because it’s something that has to be determined by men, I think. However, as Roosh himself noted in the quote I mentioned above, game makes men not men in the traditional sense but rather vapid clowns. Can a bad tree bear good fruit or a good tree bear bad fruit? By their fruits they will be known. If being pro-game makes a man engage in unmanly and unChristian ways with other Christian men and turns him into a glittery clown for women’s base pleasure, is this not bad fruit? Can game itself, the tree from which it came, be a good tree?

    Those are not questions for me to answer, but I hope Christian men are asking themselves those questions.

  • Ita Scripta Est says:

    Wasn’t Roosh the other day complaining about how Catholic Poland is becoming too Westernized? Well gee the fact that you go over there an openly admit to seducing hundreds if not thousands of women, do you think that that might just be part of the problem? And don’t tell me that having a stupid website that “gets the truth out” is somehow turning the tide. Libertarians say the same thing with their network of “patriot” websites. They all come to nothing in the end. I know I harp on capitalism a lot, but the PUAs really personify the capitalist ethos. They create the very conditions for their own destruction.

  • Mike T says:

    Roosh is starting to find out as all hedonists do that hedonism is empty and nihilistic. That he feels the way he does is not surprising and it’s the end result of not making a conscious decision to take the good aspects of game and dump the rest.

  • nickbsteves says:

    This post stands as calumny against me. The intentions and views that Zippy attributes to me are arrived at by badly misinterpreting my words or utterly out of thin air.

    I respectfully request that you unpublish this post.

    I will discuss any or all particulars at any length required, but through private email only.

  • Zippy says:

    nickbsteves:
    Readers are encouraged to read your actual words, linked in the OP, and come to their own conclusions.

  • […] it is I have been personally calumnized in this post. I have sought redress both privately and publicly to no avail. Ordinarily, as I have many enemies, […]

  • […] Readers may be interested in this post from The Reactivity Place, responding to my criticism of (some) Christian anti-anti-Game as nominalist. […]

  • […] castrates the nominalist, and to the extent neoreaction is postmodern it has already been neutered by modernity as a force for the good, the true, and the […]

  • […] can ‘agree and amplify’ liberalism’s revolutionary slogans and invest them via nominalist fiat with tradition and common sense to keep them nice and […]

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