The fitness test as an example of Game’s specific difference
April 14, 2014 § 41 Comments
Sometimes discussion of essences, nominalism, specific differences, and other metaphysics gets a bit abstract. So I thought I’d bring my most recent discussion of Game further into the realm of the concrete with an example.
Game frequently seems to address generic issues of leadership and masculinity. This makes it appealing, especially for folks with antiessentialist/nominalist tendencies (which includes most modern people), to expand the understanding of Game to include generic issues of leadership and masculinity independent of unchaste male behavior. Folks whose first encounters with certain aspects of social competence were through the distorted lens of Game are especially prone to this tendency. In my view this reflects a basic mistake.
What the perceptive will notice is that in Game, generic issues of leadership and masculinity become sexualized to the point where both the nature of the thing and its applicability outside of the context of sex (generally speaking) become obscured. Once you’ve noticed that this is happening you see it everywhere: truth delivered in a package of inchastity distorts the truth.
Take the idea of a “fitness test”, where a putative follower challenges a putative leader on something specific (lets call it “the issue at hand” or just “the issue”).
What I realized after thinking about it for a while is that, sure, women do this frequently; but men do it even more. That buzzing in my head was the cognitive dissonance between the narrative and reality, running loud enough to be heard over the Voices.
Followers challenge leaders all the time, and if a leader is always giving in to his followers he will lose their respect both because (1) he is wrong frequently enough about substantive matters that this becomes a notable feature of his leadership and (2) he doesn’t stand up to challenges. A leader who has inspired doubt in his followers will receive more of these ‘internal’ challenges, and the “issue at hand” will become ever more trivial. But that doesn’t mean that followers don’t actually want their way when it comes to the issue at hand, as the concept underlying Game proposes. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a follower challenge a leader (including a wife challenging a husband) where the follower didn’t actually want her way.
In reality followers need strong leaders and smart leaders; challenges to those qualities will naturally arise when preferences conflict; and followers will naturally lose respect for leaders who fail to exhibit both qualities in the face of challenges. Incidentally to all this women find failure to lead effectively unattractive.
So the concept of the fitness test which underlies some of Game is confused. It has led people to believe that in a fitness test a woman doesn’t really want to get her way on the issue at hand. But like all followers she pretty much always actually does want her way on the issue at hand, however trivial it may be. Fulfilling this short term desire frequently conflicts with the long term need for strong and smart leadership; but short term desires and long term needs are in conflict all the time, and a good leader knows how to navigate that rather than handwaving a leadership challenge away with the notion that grown women instinctively want to be in the wrong and are just throwing rocks like little children.
This gets to a larger point that goes beyond Game as prescribed behavior. In general the ontology underlying “Game” is disastrously wrong because it amounts to “liberalism for men but not for women”. That is, it basically attempts to be against feminism without being against liberalism more generally, and is thus really just a new form of self-castrating neoconservatism. The reason “neoreaction” attracts so many libertarians is precisely because of this: they see something that proposes to let them keep what they want from liberalism, rather than accepting their place in a naturally hierarchical society of men.
As I have pointed out many times now hierarchy among men is perfectly natural: men are natural followers as well as natural leaders, etc.
Coming back around to the fitness test specifically, take note of the incorrect premises: first, that fitness tests are primarily something that women do; second, that fitness tests involve drama invented out of whole cloth the very point of which is to challenge leadership rather than actual substantive challenges to leadership on substantive matters; third, that what matters in responding to fitness tests is implacability rather than leadership (thus this obsession with “frame“). The locus of these incorrect premises is quite precisely an obsession with the accidental feature that yes, women who don’t respect a man will find him unattractive.
So notice the specific difference of Game in action: instead of being focused on the common good of the community under a leader (most notably a father and a family), Game prescriptions when it comes to fitness tests are focused on projecting strength and smarts, leading to a perception of strong leadership by some woman specifically, leading to respect and deference by that woman independent of the common good of the led community, leading to the sexual attentions of that woman. What was about leadership and the common good has been made to be about this man getting sexual attention from this woman; and this manifests itself in the prescribed behaviors and attitudes of Game.
The specific difference between social competence generally and Game specifically, then, is male inchastity.
Note: this post re-purposed from a comment here.
 Folks keep kicking the beehive after I think we are all done, and as long as it leads to interesting discussion with wider ramifications I am probably, uh, game.
 It is true that women are more emotional than men. That doesn’t mean that she doesn’t really want to wash the knives in the dishwasher.