A feast of dust and stones

April 13, 2017 § 50 Comments

Saying that sexual desire is good in itself is like saying that hunger is good in itself. That is, it isn’t even really true at all. 

Hunger is good only inasmuch as it proposes to man the genuine goods of eating to be pursued in our fallen condition: preservation of life, growth, nutrition, and the social goods of breaking bread together or of men hunting or plowing as brothers, in honor. As a sense of depravation or craving, hunger is often aimed at disordered ends and is a prison for the incontinent. Thus we have the vice of gluttony.

Sexual desire likewise is only good inasmuch as it proposes to man the real goods of marriage: of mutual love between spouses and the creation of new life from the physical expression of that love. As a sense of depravation or craving, sexual desire is often aimed at disordered ends and is a prison for the incontinent. Thus we have the vice of lust.

The main difference between hunger and sexual desire is that a man can’t live without eating. Sexual desire though is not going to kill you. 

The heroes, architects, and analysts of the secular ‘morally neutral’ manosphere see the desolation wrought by modernity, and propose a great feast on stones and dust. What shall we eat, if not the stones and dust that surround us? What shall we drink if not the plentiful seawater and gasoline?

(Originally posted as a comment here.)

Those meth heads have it so much better

March 28, 2017 § 38 Comments

Liberalism – making freedom a political priority –  is, at bottom, rationally incoherent.  But it is easy to see how folks committed to it might come to see having more options – independent of whether those options are or are not of any objective value – as something to be encouraged and pursued. Doctrine abstracted and analyzed in itself is one thing.  As an active social force in a population of real people it is another.  Under liberalism authority and tradition come to be (selectively) seen as something to be overcome, so the number of available options tends to proliferate in direct proportion to the amoral trivial banality of those options. You can live in any kind of city you want as long as it sports modern architecture, Starbucks, gay pride parades, and its own vibrant Little Somalia.

Against my better judgment I got into a combox back and forth with a commenter on donalgrame about whether modern men have a harder time pursuing the good in marriage and family than modern women: whether women, objectively speaking, have better options available than men when it comes to pursuing the good in sex and marriage.  I’ve noted before that modern people can get as much sexual stimulation as they want: what has become increasingly difficult is pursuing the good in sex and marriage, not pursuing ultimately self-destructive and unsatisfactory hedonism.

One of the things that constantly comes up is that, because men and women are different, the kind of immoral sexual stimulation available to women differs from the kind of immoral sexual stimulation available to men. Sure, men can immerse themselves in pornography and masturbation all they want, and can even go to a strip bar or hire a hooker.  But the average woman has greater empowerment to fornicate specifically than the average man, because in modern hookup culture 80% of the women are fornicating with 20% of the men.

It follows (!) that men have a harder time pursuing the good in sex and marriage than women.

But at the end of the day, this is like arguing that meth heads have it so much better than heroin addicts.  Modernity does indeed produce a marketplace of all sorts of degenerate choices; but anyone who can’t see that making good choices has become harder for everyone is living under a rock.

Effeminate reaction

October 5, 2015 § 88 Comments

Game, I’ve argued, is just the male equivalent of slutty behavior.  The reason ‘male sluttiness’ is relatively new, at least as a mass phenomenon, is because of the modern feminization of men.  Instead of evaluating themselves in masculine terms modern men submit themselves to evaluation by women.  Thus the Game gurus measure supposed “alpha” maleness based on the approval of women, as expressed concretely in the number of sluts with which a given man fornicates.

The ‘game’ perspective, then, is not actually a rejection of feminism: it is explicit subjection of men to the judgment of, not just women in general, but the worst of the lot.  This is followed, with no small amount of irony, by copious quantities of self-congratulatory chest-thumping about how game is a great rediscovery of masculinity.

A similar thing frequently takes place in reactionary politics.  Rather than evaluating moral and political questions on their own terms, many reactionaries see how liberalism evaluates particular questions and adopt what they think are the opposite positions.

But when you look at your face in the mirror, the thing you see is still your face.

Game, sluttiness, and the corresponding propositions test

August 13, 2014 § 81 Comments

My understanding of Game is that it is essentially the male equivalent of slutty behavior. Not every kind of male inchastity is Game; but Game is, in its essence, male inchastity.

That is all ground we’ve covered here before. But in order to cut through the nominalist BS as it resurfaces it is useful to have a concrete test to apply. I’ve mentioned this in passing before, but it is worth highlighting just to make sure the horse is dead.

Game is demonstrably the male equivalent of slutty behaviour because for every proposition about Game there is a corresponding proposition about slutty behavior, and vice versa. “Corresponding” doesn’t mean perfectly identical, because man-woman is a complementarian reality. Specific technique will differ. But in the context of man-woman complementarian reality Game and slutty behavior are homomorphic, and this can be demonstrated in general by word substitution into propositions about either.

Here are a few examples of true corresponding statements:

  • “Not all use of X is to fornicate”.
  • “X is the use of psychological knowledge to influence the behavior of the opposite sex.”
  • “X may not be for healthy relationships, but it is possible for it to catalyze change in a relationship that is in trouble.”
  • “X is sometimes the most efficient means for someone to solve a particular problem.”
  • “X is based in truths about the real nature of men and women.”

… and here are a few of examples of false corresponding statements:

  • “X is nothing but the use of psychological techniques to influence the behavior of the opposite sex.”
  • “X is a box of morally neutral tools.”
  • “X is nothing but learned charisma.”

The problem is you, and the solution is repentance

July 2, 2014 § 34 Comments

44 Then [the demon] saith: I will return into my house from whence I came out. And coming he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished.
45 Then he goeth, and taketh with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is made worse than the first. So shall it be also to this wicked generation. — Matthew 12:44-45

Suppose you are someone who has taken the red pill and realized that feminism is false and women are not attracted to obsequious nice guys.  Or you’ve realized that there are differences between the races that cannot be managed out of existence by an ever-escalating regime of mandatory tolerance.  All your life you thought otherwise, but now you realize that you were wrong about something that was manifest right in front of you.  The emperor was parading around naked but you actually believed he was wearing clothes.

You’ve obviously learned some things.  But what is the most important thing you have learned?

You have learned that you can be deceived your entire life about something extraordinarily unsubtle: that you can be taken in for years or decades by a naked emperor paraded right in front of your lying eyes.

Is neoreaction a photographic negative of Marxism?

June 1, 2014 § 30 Comments

I haven’t taken up a study of the thing that calls itself ‘neoreaction’, but I’ve inevitably developed some impressions from encounters here and there.  For example I’ve recently gotten the impression that there is a strong strain of nominalist postmodernism in neoreaction; an impression that has only been reinforced by the manner in which self-styled neoreactionaries have defended their linguistic bluster and trumpeted the virtues of propaganda.  And although the manosphere and neoreaction aren’t the same thing, they are both products of the great bowel movement of modernity; and I’ve noted the cultural marxist tendencies of the former before.

Sometimes there are advantages to being old, or at least middle aged.  This all “rhymes” remarkably well with how I recall Marxists defending their views in electronic discussions several decades ago.  A number of folks concluded that I was crazy to see connections between postmodernism in debating style and marxism in ideology, but I still don’t think it is an accident that most postmoderns tend to have wildly leftist views.

The thing that Marxism and classical liberalism have in common is liberalism.  The Marxist critique is basically that the classical liberal property regime – lets call it “capitalism” – promises but fails to actually achieve freedom and equality in outcome.  Capitalism on the Marxist view is a big lie, because it promises freedom and equal rights but delivers the same old feudalism and oppression under different labels.  The capitalist property regime, therefore, must go.

So Marxism is basically classical liberalism minus capitalism.

Here is how self-styled neoreaction recently described itself (HT The Reactivity Place):

Neoeaction is the acknowledgement that you can only work with how the world was, is, and is going to be.

Now that part is obviously question-begging chest-thumping, because nobody thinks that his world view is based on fantasy. Everyone takes himself to be a hard-nosed realist who really understands things as they really are, as opposed to all those other people who don’t. So what matters is what the blogger takes this to mean substantively. And it turns out that what the blogger takes this to mean substantively is that capitalism is written into the nature of things and cannot be critiqued:

Once you acknowledge that Capitalism is a spontaneous order which is something which cannot be halted, must be allowed to run free, and which is a force of nature every bit as much as genetics, then as a neoreactionary you must embrace this understanding and act in accordance with the world as it was, is and is going to be.

So on one view, neoreaction is basically classical liberalism minus the liberalism: a photographic negative of Marxism.

Austrian economics, defended by postmodern lies.

Yes, modern men really do love bad boys

April 26, 2014 § 118 Comments

Though he initially seems more aloof and emotionally troubled than his twin brother Aron, Cal is soon seen to be more worldly, business savvy, and even sagacious than their pious and constantly disapproving father … Cal is bothered by the mystery of their supposedly dead mother, and discovers she is still alive and a brothel-keeping ‘madam’  — from the Wikipedia entry on James Dean, captured 4-26-2014.

I know this may be a difficult “red pill” for some to swallow, but modern men really do love their bad boys.  Our society has loved and promoted the status of bad boys for generations: East of Eden came out in 1955.  Rebel Without Cause came out the same year.

The other side of the coin is just what Dalrock says it is: our society also tears down and disdains good men. They are really the same phenomenon, not different phenomena: contrast the description of James Dean’s character Cal to the description of how his father is portrayed in the very same sentence.

The roots go deeper, of course.  The heroes of the American Revolution are the scrappy bad boy rebels who stood up to authority.  The symbology used fits well on the tattoo of a modern biker gang member.

Personally I don’t think it is freakishly nutty to suspect that many women are attracted to the high status of bad boys precisely because liberal society makes bad boys high status.


The objection that things are the other way around — that men love bad boys because women love bad boys (and women love bad boys because women are just intrinsically sociopathic, perhaps as some vestigial psychological organ left over from evolution) — was previously discussed in this post.  The balance of argument suggests that men love bad boys rebels because of liberalism, and women love bad boy rebels because men love them.  This also has the merit (or detriment, depending on your point of view) of not positing that either sex is intrinsically sociopathic.

This program note brought to you by the deliciously ironic spectacle of self-proclaimed “beta men” who, themselves, admire cads for their foundational wisdom, claiming that “beta men” don’t admire bad boys.  HT Malcolm.

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[1] 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[2] 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.

[1] 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.

[2] 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.

End Game

April 11, 2014 § 92 Comments

We are constantly being assured that Game teaches men things that nobody else teaches, so that men who want to learn these things specifically have nowhere else to go other than pickup artists.  That means that what Game teaches must have a specific difference from what it has been possible to learn elsewhere in the decades before the “Game renaissance” on the web. And Game must be something empowering: even if, according to its best practitioners, it only works as well as a placebo, men would still see results from adopting it.

So what actually is the specific difference between social competence in general and Game more specifically?  What empowering techniques can you not learn from any sources other than pickup artists and sluts?

The specific things you won’t learn from sources other than pickup artists and sluts are the things specific to pickup artists and sluts: unchaste behaviors toward the opposite sex.

Nominalism and the avoidance of specific difference

April 11, 2014 § 8 Comments

Nominalism is all about avoiding the implications of the essences of things, and one of the easiest ways to avoid the implications of essences is to obfuscate specific differences.

Take adultery, for example.  Adultery has an essence, and the specific difference between sex acts generally and adultery in particular is that adultery takes place between partners at least one of whom is married to someone else.

Or take a contracepted sex act.  The specific difference between sex acts generally and contracepted sex acts in particular is that the latter have been modified in some way which blocks natural fertility.

I myself have concluded, after a couple of years of experience with the subject, that the specific difference between Game/sluttiness and social competence more generally is inchastity.

What nominalists do in order to avoid judgment of the things they support is obfuscate specific differences.  That is why we are constantly being cajoled into assent to trite slogans (“social competence is good!”; “psychological knowledge can be used for good or evil!” etc.) and told that that is Game.

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