Our Fates Are Bound—And Some Good News

I’ve been reading with interest Scott/Elspeth‘s joint post “June Cleaver might be unmarriageable right now,” as well as the comments.  It’s worth a read.  But until then, the gist:

Manosphere conventional wisdom: Any half-way decent looking woman, in her late teens/early twenties who is marriage minded can easily snag a good, hard-working provider to have babies with if she would distinguish herself by being sweet, and signaling a willingness to be a quiet, deferential, submissive, peaceful help-meet.

Alternative Hypothesis: When accounting for variables such as race, geography, church size, etc., the marriage market for such a woman is more complex and difficult to navigate than this.

I generally agree with this, while also agreeing with the ‘sphere’s trope of Joe Churchgoer being undervalued.

I had a lot of thoughts on the topic, and read some old stuff, and thought some more.  Some of that thought will surface in future posts.

For now, though, I wanted to focus on one particular insight that jumped out at me:

If there’s a gender war, both sides have already lost.

Concept 1:  Marriage requires pre-marital cooperation, and therefore intersexual societal trust

Good grooms and brides do not simply appear from the ether.  Eligibility requires work and self-denial from both sexes, for many years before marriage.

Much of the motivation for this work and self-denial comes from the carrot of marriage.  But for this to work, young people must believe that somewhere in the world, their opposite number is doing the same thing.

My mother used to teach middle-school/high-school-aged girls as part of her service in the church.  A few years ago she had a lesson on modesty coming up and asked me:

Mom: So, there were girls in our church that you went to high school with.  Did their modesty or lack thereof affect you?

Dropit:  Well, let’s be real.  99% of the girls I went to high school with weren’t in the church.  So if it was an issue of protecting my innocent eyes, that just wasn’t going to happen regardless of what they did.  It would be more…like, what the hell?  It would be nice to have some moral support, you know?

What I was groping for, but didn’t quite grasp, was the importance of young people trusting that the opposite sex is also preparing for marriage.

(As a sidenote: as far as I can remember (not well) the girls in my ward when I was in high school were actually pretty modest.  This was more of a hypothetical.)

Concept 2: The Weakened Signal, or: Dalrock’s Revenge

Dalrock has written extensively on this topic at a macro level.  To summarize it:

Men in their early 20’s are observing that marriage and girlfriends aren’t in the cards, and this reduces their incentive to work hard to demonstrate provider status.

To put it another way: young men have generally ceased to believe what Concept 1 says it is very important that they believe: that they stand a reasonable chance of marrying well.  In response, they work less hard to be eligible husbands.

The standard conservative response has been: No problem, we’ll just lie to them.  Or yell at them.  And that actually worked for a surprisingly long time, but as Dalrock details, that train is running out of steam.

Concept 3: A man shortage means more sluttiness, not less

Romanceless men eagerly anticipating a future Great Wail from women, where the man shortage means men will have more market power, are in for an unpleasant surprise.  Men will be in more demand…by women who generally lacked faith that marriageable men would be available, and thus saw no point in preparing themselves for marriage.  Just as porn and the Xbox are better than the girl who doesn’t show up, Netflix and Chad are better than the man who won’t show up. Ladies can enjoy the decline too.

When you think about it, this shouldn’t be much of a surprise.  It is merely the gender-flipped version of the “Weakened Signal” phenomenon above.

The situation will be less like a shortage that some men may be anticipating, and more analogous to an economic depression, where no one works because they doubt anyone can afford their products.

In simpler terms:

“Why prepare for marriage? Guys will always be available”

leads to

“Why prepare for marriage?  There are no girls available”

leads to

“Why prepare for marriage?  There are no guys available.”

Revenge fantasies may imagine a transition from arrogance to penitence, but there likely is and will be a large cohort that instead moves to despair.  This can create a vicious cycle that I really do not enjoy contemplating.

Be of Good Cheer—Or Else

What we are hitting upon here is the importance of morale.  We could aptly describe current failures in the marriage market as a cyclical “Morale Crisis.”  We should start talking about this!

Salt, Leaven, Light…

Realizing that a major part of this problem is perception kind of flipped a switch in my brain.  Christ’s analogies to salt, leaven, and light all held one factor in common: a very small thing having a wildly disproportionate impact on its surroundings.

There is a sense in which working to make oneself more visibly eligible for marriage — through appearance, career, chastity, and pretty much anything you can think of — is an act of service, in that it reassures the opposite sex about the ROI of whatever sacrifices they are making.  What’s great is that the worse your surroundings, the more impact it has.  This is the stuff I exult over; I see in it God’s ability to transform tragedy to triumph with a flick of the wrist.  It is exactly the kind of thing I imagine the Adversary would rage at as  “unfair.”

Worth Saving

Some years ago, I was very enamored of a certain programming language.  I won’t delve into why, because I love my readers and have no desire for them to die of boredom.  But let’s just say that I had found the Way, and I knew it.

When I moved from one state to another, I started looking for a job where I could use this language.  Where I was going was a relative tech backwater, but I did find one small four-man startup.  With me, it became five.

Why was I excited to work there?   Why were they excited to have me?  It wasn’t because they were paying me a ton, or because I was an amazing engineer.  Actually I was pretty mediocre.

Rather, it was because we were in agreement as to what constituted the Good, at least in this small corner of life.

 


 

“Cease ye from man, whose breath is in his nostrils; for wherein is he to be accounted of?”

Humans, looked at objectively, mostly suck.  Most of them are poor.  Even more of them are dumb.  The vast majority of them die without having done anything important, except maybe to other humans, who (as stated above) are dumb anyway, so who cares what they think.  And maybe someone you know is an exception.  Whatever.  In a hundred years they’ll be dead and no one will remember them.

Here is the great thing about humans, the thing that is awesome, that is beautiful, laudable, and pure: they don’t like the above state of affairs.

Do you prefer light over darkness, truth over falsehood, kindness over cruelty, laughter over sorrow, friendship over strife, life over death, pleasure over pain?  Then how can I not be on your side?

This is the thing that Man has over the dust of the earth, even if the dust is more obedient:  we want Good—even if only in the abstract, because we are afraid of it, too lazy for it, or wrong about it.

This is the seed without which all else is worthless.

Kindness

In the spirit of the virtue that has no name, I have been contemplating a virtue that I would like more of.

“Kindness” is, so far as I can tell, a yet uncorrupted word (“love” long since littered with booby traps) in the modern vernacular.

 

Perhaps the reason for that is that it has a very personal connotation.  One can “do good” in the abstract in a variety of impersonal ways: donate to a charity, start a non-profit, write open-source software…the list is infinite.

But the abstract is not good enough, and it will never be good enough.  No one would be so foolish to comfort an individual in the midst of heartbreak with the news that the Gates foundation is doing wonders in Africa.

Kindness, then, is an act or expression motivated by love and compassion, from a definite personto a definite person.  It is one of the sweeter parts of the Gospel that I can think of.

Here in the reactosphere we talk about Big Ideas.  This needs to happen, and is good.  But one of the chiefest of our Big Ideas is that Big Ideas have limitations: that often what is wanting is personal character rather than correct understanding; that particularity often triumphs over top-down decree.

It turns out there isn’t much to say about kindness.  It is an uncomplicated good: to be sought after more than talked about.  But, lest we forget.

“The State exists simply to promote and to protect the ordinary happiness of human beings in this life. A husband and wife chatting over a fire, a couple of friends having a game of darts in a pub, a man reading a book in his own room or digging in his own garden—that is what the State is there for.” ~ Mere Christianity

 

 

Big Damn Heroes

After reading a post by Ace on the feminine need for pain and suffering — whether externally or internally sourced — I was feeling pretty low.  The question you ask yourself is why?  It’s the same question the beta asks himself after a breakup:  We had a good thing going.  Why’d you have to go crazy?  It’s the same question a self-aware woman asks herself:  why do I shit-test?  It’s the question a newbie to the manosphere asks himself: why do I have to become a jerk to attract women?

Here’s the answer, I realized: because women are crazy.

I don’t mean that in a throw-my-hands-up, aw-shucks, whaddya-gonna-do way.  I mean destructively crazy, prone to doing things that cause ruin and suffering:

And thinking about this, I got pissed.  How many nice girls dating douchebags, and becoming like them?  How many men checking out?  How many abortions?  How many families delayed or prevented?  How many unhappy women?  How many unhappy men?  How many lies peddled by popular culture?  How many years of adolescent angst extended into adulthood?  How many condoms in the landfill?  And any of it for any redeeming purpose?

And in the midst of my anger and frustration, I gained conviction: the world is crazy, and I am not.

As long as I’ve been around these parts, I guess I’ve been waiting for the world to “get it,” eliminate feminism, yada yada.  “Oh, sure, I’m part of what almost amounts to a persecuted religious sect at the moment,” I thought subconsciously.  “But someday reality will assert itself, and…”

Now I realize: sure, reality will assert itself someday in the future, in terror and smoke.   But you can’t approach mass culture as though it’s run by reasonable adults.  It’s the mob, and must be treated as such—loved, but not negotiated or reasoned with.

I am the reasonable adult.  In some ways this is a small death because it places an awful lot of responsibility on your shoulders.  But it is also a huge relief to be able to say unshakeably:  I know X for certain, and I don’t need anyone else’s opinion to validate that.

Here is what I wrote at Ace’s:

If you’re a dude and this pisses you off, good. That means you’re sane. Part of your purpose on this earth is to survey this feminine tendency to self-destruction, shake your head, and say, “No. This is madness that can only lead to suffering and sorrow. I will not allow it.”

Faith before fear.


In the science fiction TV series Firefly, a girl with psychic powers is about to be burned at the stake by backward townsfolk that believe she’s a witch.  Her doctor brother, after trying in vain to talk down the witch hunters, steps on to the platform to burn with her.  It’s a very touching scene.

…Until the captain of their ship shows up and says, in effect, “Yeah this is tender and all, but how about instead of you two burning to death I have my buddy train a giant gun on everyone and we avoid all this.  And by the way you guys are all hicks.”

Notice the music change when the ship appears.  This is a frame change.  Like a woman awash in her own storm of emotions, the doctor and his sister are caught up in their own internal preparations for dramatic and noble death.  Then the captain and first mate show up trading one-liners and just overriding the situation.

I almost wrote a phrase here: “This is crack to chicks.”  But that’s not quite true.  a) The emotional obsessing beforehand  is crack to chicks, not the rescue, and b) crack is badthat’s the whole point!


 

A final observation, from the second clip:

Townsman: The girl is a witch!

Captain Fillion: Yeah, but she’s our witch. (cocks shotgun) So cut her the hell down!

Here it bears mentioning that the girl is kind of crazy.  She’s murdered a few people.  It would not be insane for her to be thinking, “Yeah, I deserve to be burned here.”

In a world without Christ, this would be the plight of all humanity.  “Why reach toward God?  We are forever unworthy.”

Christ replies, “Yeah, but you’re My  unworthy people.  So start acting like it!”

Also.

Quick Thought on Free Trade

The standard refutation I have heard against protectionist trade policies (tariffs and such intended to protect local industry) is almost gleeful rejoinder:  look, if other countries want to make stuff and send it to us for cheap, why on earth are we against that?  They do all the work, and we get the stuff!

And indeed, I think this argument has a lot of merit.

That said, it does make a mistake in its evaluation of the winners and losers in the situation.   “They do all the work” is counted as a pure negative on their side.

But work is a good thing.

“Cursed is the ground for thy sake…in the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread…”

Economic plans that fail to account for this will undervalue work, and see the humans in the system deteriorate.

Noblesse Oblige, Dogs

I was reminded today that Christmas is coming, and that this should not be taken lightly.  With the possible exception of Easter, there is no better time of the year to do good, and to request miracles.  There is a victory in Christmas that drowns out the world and yet is itself quiet and still.

Now for something completely different:Batman.

Maybe I am just a huge nerd, because I loved Donovan Greene’s post on Batman, Noblesse Oblige, and the Perennial Nature of the Aristocracy.*  If you have never read it, read(and watch) it!  And while you’re at it, read Whatever Happened To Noblesse Oblige? (also: Millenial Woes’ treatment).

The obligation to build runs strongly through every part of Reaction—from the importance of order over chaos, to the futility of activist-style protest, to the preference to improve the citizenry instead of importing another one.

And build what?  Humans mostly.  The press likes to paint neoreaction as power-hungry—and perhaps it is, being composed of humans.  But in principle, it is understood that the act of ruling consists chiefly of responsibility, rather than authority—and further, which comes first.

All these Internet words aren’t just theory, you know.  The neoreactionary project, at its best, consists of: taking responsibility for a portion of society, and working for its betterment, all without acting beyond our purview.  “Give me power, and I’ll fix things,” says the activist.  “I am fixing things, as far as I am able,” says the reactionary.  “Long live the King.”

Great, so you’ve decided to take some portion of responsibility for society: what can you do for them?

In my case, I have chosen my local ward(similar to a parish).  It is composed of about 200-300 single Mormons about 18-30.  I have no special authority or standing in this group.

What should I do?

My first thought was: I have knowledge.  I have access to a set of ideas that could bind the group more tightly, create asabiyyah, and make gender relations smoother.

In what’s probably not much of a spoiler, attempting to redpill people en masse on about four different axes is no small matter.

Next I thought: a lot of these people are obese, which is hurting their dating prospects.  I could set up a workout group.   But then I realized that what they most need is to eat better, which requires a more integrated approach than I could possibly take.

Finally I realized: sociohistorical principles and fitness encouragement are both good things, but they are terrible substitutes for a human being.  What they needed was not a program I dreamed up, but me.

What does your dog value about you?  The money you pay to the vet?  The precise engineering of the $30 dog food you feed him?

Rubbish.  He likes you—specifically, your spending time with him, paying attention to him, treating him as a friend.

Don’t get me wrong: take your dog to the vet.  If you think it’s better for him, feed him expensive dog food.  But you also have to communicate with him in ways he’ll understand.

So: I am going against my introverted, elitist, standoffish nature, and trying to:

  • talk to more people than I otherwise would,
  • attend more social events than I otherwise would
  •  remember names I would otherwise forget
  • talk a second, and third, and fourth time to people I otherwise wouldn’t

It feels kind of stupid writing this, to be honest.  No, I am not restoring masculinity.  No, I am not alerting anyone to the dangers of progressivism.  And pretty much anyone could do this: it doesn’t require my intelligence, my professional skills, money, strength…

But really, this should be encouraging to all of us.  If we are striving to be good kings before the fact, and doing so means taking responsibility for and doing good to groups of people, then it is a relief that no special trick, talent, or social position is necessary to begin.

*Now that you’ve read the whole post: How is Batman failing Gotham?

…the Best Kind of Correct

An oft-quoted phrase is that “Women are the gatekeepers of sex, and men are hte gatekeepers of commitment.”

But this is not really true for commitment or sex.  I have a really hard time imagining how a woman could rape me, while men can generally overpower women.  What stops men from having sex with any woman they want is a combination of their own decency and other men.  For more on this, see Cane’s post.  The point is: men, not women, are the gatekeepers of sex.

The phrase “commitment” is a funny beast.  What’s important to remember is that a commitment is not a commitment unless you burn the boats—when you can’t go back.

Non-marital “relationships” aren’t commitments, because they can be dissolved at will and there’s no real penalty for leaving them.  If I say “Sure, I’ll be your boyfriend,” to a girl and then change my mind the next day, what’s gonna happen to me?  Nothing, that’s what.

Marriage, though…you can leave physically, cheat, whatever—but you are still married to that person.  This isn’t something the state can obviate.  Marriage is the only real commitment.

Who actually makes marriage happen?  Or, who is the gatekeeper?

What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.

God performs marriage, through his servants.  If a man and a woman want to get married, and God doesn’t want them to, it won’t happen.

What to take from this?  I’m not sure.  But let’s get our aphorisms straight.