No, the above way-more-educated-than-I-am, quote is not intended to describe this year’s election cycle. But it is, in my view, what many want out of it in the end.
Let me explain.
I’ve been reading excerpts and reviews of a lot of books about men lately. Many of these “books” are written by bloggers and other assorted malcontents and sold on Amazon (Amazon, who will, in fact, publish damn near anything if some of these “works” are any indication).
Some are well written and through the murk of chest-beating manliness, and to an extent even within that milieu, they offer interesting and accurate commentary on the state of manhood in these changing times. I don’t touch this subject matter directly as so many others do it so much better, but manhood is in crisis. Womanhood is as well, the changing roles and responsibilities that have defined our genders for years are upending. I charge that this is for the better, but just as with any large scale change there are bound to be those who see the bad looming greater than the good.
Occasionally, I am one of those people.
As a wannabe writer of fiction, I push myself to imagine futures. Futures in far-flung societies and in this one advanced a few hundred days or a few thousand years. I write about the future, at least in part, due to my inability to research and my personal bias against meddling with history. I also write about the future because it’s easy to see myself there and it’s also easier to reflect a mirrored image of what we are now back at us by looking at what we will be.
I often imagine futures where the norms are different. Frontier societies that have developed strict social codes that rely on violence to keep those who would stray, in check. Societies that were founded on Hobbesian principles of centralized power (a throwback to the subject of this post) and developed accordingly are a favorite topic of mine lately. Of course, this requires some of the dreaded “research” I despise, but only in a broad sense. I look at things like culture, the size of the society, its early development and its key figure’s personalities, location, climate, and the temperament of its neighbors.
Doing all this imagining often takes me down dual roads, one leading to a mostly civilized and safe society and another leading to industrial serfdom for most and great luxury and wealth for a few. The trick is that these futures are not necessarily aligned with what you might think their respective paths are. The road to serfdom does not necessarily come directly from the path of kings and enlightened despots, nor is the egalitarian future born solely of democracy and participation. When you look at civilizations on this planet, you come up with many paths to sometimes the same conclusion.
So back to manhood. Yes it all ties in together, just a few paragraphs more of patience I ask.
I make no apologies for being a man; no one should have to apologize for what they are by birth. No White man needs to apologize for being what he is no Black woman should be implored to beg her case for being born into herself. We are not the sole determination of our race, class, or origin; they do not FULLY define us. But we are impacted and affected by them all, we bear the burdens and the responsibilities we were born into, we inherit, however unfairly, the cultural baggage of our predecessors. We are partially the sum of our ancestors, with a dash of our present culture and a heaping helping of our perceptions of it, and finally rubbed with a coating of our environment.
There is a rub here, though. We all need to take responsibility for not only what we have personally done, but for what our culture, collectively and associatively, has fostered upon us. It isn’t a choice, it isn’t something to run away from nor run into, it just is.
I am very much an imperfect man, for all my virtues I have at least as many faults. And men in general, have much to atone for. When women reach the same pinnacle men have in this society, they too will have sins of their own. Some will be determined by their “gendered” view of the world (every woman as every man has a unique view which is determined by living as what they include, gender identity, race, cultural identity, income, the number of parents…, etc.) others are simply a consequence of increased power.
Men, right now, are the ones who should be doing the soul-searching FROM that place of power. We are forced to do it because the sands beneath us have shifted.
For some in the alt-right, this shift has taken an apocalyptic tone. As when bankers, now bereft of what defined then, defenestrated during the great depression (greatly exaggerated I know, but a great narrative device nonetheless), a largely white male population is feeling the push-back of the new world order of diminishing power by virtue of belonging to that group.
So this new narrative arises among its ranks, one of doom, gloom, and violence. Ideas that were, when their numbers and their power was greater, casually cast off as un-American, are now common in its language. Where the coded has become explicit. When Bigots, Racists, and Traditionalists have been re-branded as White Nationalists, and people like David Duke have an out-sized voice in the conversation (again).
The above headline feels like a goal.
The alt-right, the new Vikings, the explosion of men with more muscle mass than 10 Charles atlases, PUA, MGTOW, GamerGate (if there are any of these things you aren’t familiar with you should be) the harassment of feminists and their supporters, doxing in general, whether it be of the proponents or opponents of these “movements” all lead us to the above conclusion.
Hobbes uses the above to justify control of a kingly presence over everyone else; he defines civilization as the reaction to the fear of that life. That the fear of the return of a short, nasty, brutish life is what keeps people in line, but when your life was by virtue of your “race” already the above, or that it now could be, I guess part of our natural tendency is to embrace what we feel is inevitable.
Well in these guys eyes a nasty, brutish life is inevitable.
It is inevitable that the patriarchy will be toppled by hypergamy. It is inevitable that white men of every income will be “cucked” and castrated and thrown from the horse they were born atop only to be thrown into the mud with all the “sharks.”
It is inevitable, in this world, that instead of recognizing how badly fascism ends for most people, including many of those raising their fists for it, they will call for it loudly and without irony. This is where the consequences of not understanding history are dooming us to rewarm the meal and take it, salmonella and all.
Men are in a crisis state, and because we are so greatly tethered to the mythology of a country that shows 1/2 of 1% of what we are and have ever been and probably gets that at least 1/2 wrong, our country is flirting with a very dark path.
Fear, anger, hatred, yeah George, you called it, you so called it.
When asked whether we should adjust our immigration quotas less than 5% of Americans surveyed said the answer was yes. In another poll, When asked if we should admit 10,000 children fleeing persecution in their home country a whopping 60% flat-out said no. Most people wouldn’t be surprised by these numbers, especially if they had been counted recently. But that isn’t the case at all.
The first poll was taken in July of 1938. When asked whether we should up our immigrant quotas to accept refugees from Austria, Hungary, Germany and other European nations fleeing the rise of the Third Reich, roughly 18% said yes, 67% said no. The second poll (taken in 1939) asks whether we should accept Jewish refugee CHILDREN into the country 10,000 to be exact, and 60% polled, wanted to deny them entry into the US.
Now you could say that the United States was going through a period of Isolationism, which would be true, we were still bruised by the fallout from WW1 and our financial markets were in turmoil so we had plenty to keep us busy internally. You could use that as an excuse, if it had been the only instance of this type of fear we’d experienced, but unfortunately, it isn’t.
Ever hear the term wop? It is a highly offensive term for Italian immigrants (and later Italian-Americans in general) , generally it is thought that the term originates from an acronym without papers or without passport, but this is untrue. But what that false etymology tells us is that there was great distrust for “the other” regardless of where they came from. What about the level of distrust and fear that came along with the immigration of Irish into this country? Martin Scorsese’s Gangs of New York very graphically illustrates the complex relationships of both established and newly arrived immigrants and their struggles with poverty and acceptance (and how they turn on each other as they become more integrated into American society).
There is also the long resentments between Chinese and Irish immigrants as well as Japanese American internment during WW2. In the last case, immigrants who had in many cases been born American were rounded up and kept in camps simply because of their heritage.
Hell, the poor Irish were even judged on par with “Negroes” in their perceptions as shiftless, lazy and procreative. The propaganda of Irish racialism was so widespread that it appeared in mainstream publications as justification of their judgment of the Irish as “racially inferior.” The Italians went through much the same, as did the Chinese, Indian, etc. etc.
So, you may ask, what am I getting at here?
None of this recent crop of Imigrintophobia is new.
That, however does not mean it isn’t dangerous, terrifying and could turn into something far worse. The “white rage” race-baiting of Trump (he has a bevy of supporters on the far fringe racist right) along with the implicit pandering to anti-feminists, alpha types and assorted other MRA’s, threatens to push us right to the precipice of having our own little lily-white Talibans. Already there have been lone wolves associated loosely with these points of view, shooting up schools, movie theaters and public places. Sikhs, Jews and Blacks have been random targets of bigoted violence. Some of the perpetrators of the violence have claimed to be a part of the “Beta Uprising.”
We are potentially headed down a very dark path.
I’ve heard a few pundits claim that this too shall pass, that the bigoted generation will eventually die off and the younger, more inclusive demographic will lead us out of this. Unfortunately this political generation is different. The middle-aged, white demographic, when it isn’t (sadly, I might add, because suicide is never happy) killing itself off, is living longer, staying healthier and getting more radical.
This generation of disaffected young to middle-aged white males, also serves disproportionately in the armed services, making them potentially very dangerous under the right ideology. It’s already estimated that there are significant numbers of military and ex-military personnel who have been radicalized in white racist ideology. Radicalized. Let that sink in.
None of this is new, except all of it.
I’ve been struggling lately with whether or not to engage in the latest version of the culture war (a term I find dubious at best) and how to do so if I choose to jump into the fray. I’ve come to believe that we are at a precarious place in our development as humans. Our cultures, mores and roles are changing rapidly, maybe, along with our environment, too rapidly.
I’m not at all against progress; I’m firmly for freedom of expression, freedom to self-determine, freedom to keep a firearm, and freedom from economic oppression. I, as an American, enjoy these at least conceptually and am well aware that many people throughout the world don’t even have these “freedoms” in the abstract. I am also aware that being privileged comes with some assumptions that make many of the issues we are dealing with in western countries, minor. Not to us, of course, but to parts of the world that view us in a less than favorable light.
So here we are fighting about the various versions of what we define as freedom. Especially troubling seeing it firsthand are the battles over gender and race, two things that we should have moved past due to the twin miracles of the Obama presidency and the best chance of having a female president we have ever managed. When I heard the joke “January 1st, the day when 40 million Racists become 40 Million sexists” I laughed, but as the possibility gets closer, the pre-reactions are getting stronger.
The emergence of the acronym-Americans, MRA, SJW, CS, and so forth, should terrify us all. Regardless of your feelings, political and/or social, the distillation of a type into a three or four letter word that encompasses the various shades should chill you to the bone. The confrontational nature of those using them should make you question the term “progress.”
What follows is a brief breakdown of the terms, a cast list if you will, of players in the new pigeon-holed play. Lets call it Birth of the Acronym-American Nation.
First the dreaded SJW or Social Justice Warrior: this (feminist) first amendment averse, angry man hater (or self-hater as the case may be) reacts with great vehemence at any perceived injustice, bristles at the fact that we celebrate Columbus day and not Stonewall day, and has an answer to anything ‘merican with un-American skepticism. If they are men, they are cuckolded beta males, if women, lesbians.
Second we have the MRA, or Men’s (Civil) Rights Activists. These hairy trolls stalk the fringes of the internet, still angry at their bitch of an ex who took not only their house but their kids as well (real or imagined), and dumped them for an ALPHA (see below) they originally started out as men with genuine complaints about a system that demonizes men and favors women in custody cases, and slowly devolved into seething balls of hate for all things “equal.”
Next we have the PUAs or Pick Up Artists, again, started out as something not quite harmless but not so harmful as noted feminist Robert Downey JR, would play one, but soon became more sinister. The Tucker Max effect, mixing privilege into the equation, and the subsequent empowerment of those formerly docile harpies known as college educated women created the modern PUA. PUAs are a curious lot, many are just out for sex, like any person young enough to still have a libido (or to have been lucky enough never to have dated an SJW) to the evolution of the SNL Roxbury Guys into metrosexual versions of Ahnold. There is a trove of literature on the subject, mostly confined to the Darwinian self-destruction of the species that results from unprotected sex with morons.
ALPHAS, Alphas are the top dogs, the best groomed, best postured, best in business, best in life men at the top of the food chain, that is, at least until some nerd builds an Iron Man suit. They excel at everything they touch and are focused, determined and often armed. They dominate simply by displaying alpha posture and either not letting anyone else speak or being so intimidatingly silent that no one dare speaks in opposition to their superior ideas. Alphas are part Stallone and part Ayn Rand, with a little fascist dictator thrown in for good measure. Many are ex-military, cops or contestants on the Apprentice, none are librarians or teachers, unless of course the subject is Gym.
Feminists, often confused with and sometimes intersecting with SJWs and pussies, are the root of all evil (the black ones are the worst, but we don’t acknowledge them, so they don’t exist, like global warming). They usurp traditional roles and take our jobs (not to be confused with illegals); they feminize men by making them get in touch with the feelings they cooked up in their evil feminazi labs just outside San Francisco. They make babies that they insist are theirs alone if they let you have them in the first place and possess the ridiculous notion that they should be in control of their own destinies. They are a part, and secret leaders in, the Liberal New World Order agenda.
#BLACKLIVESMATTER, No they don’t all lives do asshole, and if you don’t believe it I’ll fucking kill you!
Do I have to say that the above is at least partially satire?
Do I also have to say that I can identify with some aspect of every one of them and that some other parts make me want to retch?
No, I shouldn’t but unfortunately I do.
Welcome to hyphenated, acronym’d, uncomplicated, no shades America.