Not equipped

I just found out the hard way that I am not equipped to handle so much disappointment so fast and so frequently. Blogger’s replaced flesh and blood as my confidant, so it’s the first and last to hear of such talk.

More substantive post on an entirely different topic incoming soon.
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Sour Grapes

Well, I thought I had avoided this, but it’s finally starting to sink in.

It’s that time of year again; I thought I had avoided it this go around but it finally crept up on me. I generally do not like the holidays. At least out here I can rationalize the inevitable loneliness I feel this time of year (being thousands of miles removed from friends and family helps to do that), but, alas, it has not eliminated such feelings.
Being that I am not of the best mood, I may be slower to comment back, the quality of my comments may be sub par, and it may be a week or two until I write something big again.
It doesn’t help that we’ve been having a lot of these types of weeks again, either.

Preliminary Thoughts of Moral Relativity (Unclearly Stated)

I’m afraid that this post will almost necessarily be long-winded, rambling, and maybe even incoherent to some. It was difficult to write and I may one day come back to it, but for now, here’s what you get:

This is the first of what I intend to be three posts regarding my rejection of what I term “modern liberal ideals” – which I was basically born into and indoctrinated with from the public education system. To me, modern liberalism is an essentially hollow philosophy, but one which is readily accepted – unquestioningly – by a disturbingly high number of people despite being little more than thinly veiled hedonism and “feel-good” mentalities. I see it comprised of, essentially, three constituent doctrines: feminism, political correctness, and moral relativism. It is my intention to deal fully with each subject in turn, but this post will focus on moral relativism. It is the element of liberalism which I held onto the longest – sometimes without even realizing it – and probably forms the basis for the other two ideas. Being almost a purely abstract idea, however, it requires less research and evidence to refute, and thus why I will be writing on it first.

Moral relativism has a lot of appeal in the modern world, which is extremely complicated and admittedly hard to understand. It requires a lot of mental energy to consider the values, morals and ethics advocated by competing societies or cultures, and attempt to arrive at a sound and reasonable conclusion as to why a person should prefer one over the other. And especially in our youth, when we are given (and encouraged) to pursue whatever is our fancy, it is easier to digest the platitudes that relativism offers than to take a more considered stance.
Why do women in the Middle East wear veils and why should that concern us? It shouldn’t concern us, relativism answers, and furthermore, it doesn’t matter! The way Arab peoples want to run their societies is their business, and ultimately, they are no better or worse than us. Relativism might even offer some more theorizing as to why this may be the case; Arab culture evolved differently due to different starting conditions, such as a different environment and different socializing tendencies. Ultimately, “good” and “evil” are constructs of the mind that do not exist in nature, says relativism, so judging other societies by such metrics is hypocritical and short-sighted at best, and the cause of war and genocide at worst.
Fair enough, one might say. That seems to make good sense and it seems an answer that would apply in every case of differing culture and belief systems that one encounters in the modern world.
The fatal flaw of moral relativity is its tolerance of all behavior, however. A person who is trying to lead a “good” life will inevitably run into problems with relativism. If you follow the tenants of relativism to its logical conclusion, no way of life is better than any other way of life. One is, in effect, permitted to do anything. When one is permitted to do anything, how does one begin to answer the question “what should I do?” After all, we may be permitted to do anything, but that does not mean we will have the opportunity to try out everything. Many choices we make in life open doors but simultaneously close off many others. If the ultimate goal of life is to be as happy as we can be (which is an ancient idea I tend to agree with – but that’s for another discussion, perhaps), how can we be sure under a relativist understanding of the world that the path we have chosen for ourselves will guarantee us maximal happiness over the long run compared to other choices we could have made?
Additionally, the idea that every behavior is of equal value should ring out as patently false for almost any person. I do not think any sane person would tell you that an adult who chooses to rape and murder one’s way through life is of equal morality to one who chooses to neither rape nor murder. Yet relativism would logically demand that we regard the two as equal. Morals, after all, are just a human construct, and they have no bearing on physical reality, and therefore neither person is “right” or “wrong” in their behavior.
In this sense, relativism seems to be a hedonistic philosophy that could be used to justify whatever placates one’s temporary indulgences. It is the philosophy that undermines feminism, for instance, when feminists shout that women should be able to do whatever they want to do without any sort of personal accountability, simply because it is what the woman wants. (That it is ironically applied in a non-relative and narrow manner is another matter entirely.) The only real justification one needs for one’s actions in a relativist moral world is that the actor wanted to perform the action; that’s it.
Indeed, relativism seems to be a very slippery idea that can seemingly be used to justify any sort of action. Long after I’d rejected feminism and political correctness, I still held on to relativism, not quite aware of its poisonous effects on my thinking. Here is an example from a letter I wrote, justifying in part my decision to enlist (a very complicated and multi-faceted decision, as you might imagine):

[I] no longer [have] an active, seething hatred, but something different. A kind of acknowledgment that humanity is flawed, over-arrogant…The kind of attitude that leads to relativism, the idea that my life is worth no more than any other life is worth no more than any other life. That extends to everything – your viewpoint is no less convincing than my viewpoint than any other viewpoint. There is justification for anything in this world. And right and wrong are moral judgments, and morals are a strictly human construct – there is no physical law that correlates to “good” and “evil” in the universe, or to “right” and “wrong.” “Right” is what an organism must do to survive, and “wrong” are actions that doom that organism to death. And with these kinds of attitudes, I can join the military with no qualms. Send me to Iraq, give me a gun, tell me to shoot whoever, it doesn’t matter. I don’t care.

Relativism also seems to inform mainstream ideas regarding equality. Equality, from a rational and objective analysis, is a patently absurd idea that will always be impossible to achieve. Angry Harry goes to lengths to explain this under the context of male-female relationships here, but really the analysis applies to any measure of “equality.” However, relativism teaches us platitudes like “all men are born equal” or “that’s just your opinion” or any number of other thought-terminating-cliches that sound authoritative and considered. A favorite appeal of the relativist for legislating equality is by mistakenly referring to the phrase “all men are created equal” as appearing in the Constitution when it in fact appears only in the Declaration of Independence, which is not a legal document by any means. (The Constitution never ceases to impress me.) The word “equal” (to include “equally” – “equality” does not appear) appears six times in the text of the Constitution, each time referring to divisions of votes and power of the various agencies of government; never to the abilities or even rights of citizens or non-citizens, nor human beings. The next time it shows up is in the 14th Amendment, where it applies to equal protection under the law. This is a dangerous use of the word, considering again it is logically impossible to have equal enforcement/protection of the law – we can certainly strive for “more fair” or “more nearly equal,” but we will never attain legitimately equal. In any case, it says nothing of humans being equal. The final time it appears is in the 23rd Amendment where it again is rightfully used as a mere mathematical term. Equality only makes sense as a mathematical concept, not a political ideology. A statement like 2 multiplied by 2 is equal to 4 is easily understood and demonstrated. Statements like men are equal to women or all men are equal or all women are equal, aside from being literally false, only ignore useful distinctions, raise questions and create confusion. Fairness is a much more reasonable ideology to advocate, so long as it is understood that perfect fairness is the ideal we strive for even if we may never attain it.
Of course, relativism isn’t actually adhered to, even if its platitudes are often cited. Instead what we have is an engine that creates many doublespeak ideas like “equality” and thought-terminating-cliches like “you’re just saying that because you’re a racist” or “you’re just saying that because you’re a misogynist,” which congeal into ideas like political correctness and feminism, ultimately destroying rational thought and considered debate.
The sobering fact we must own up to is that the world is not fair nor will it ever be. No amount of social engineering is going to change the fact that human attributes, such as physical prowess and intelligence quotient, are distributed unequally. This does not endorse a ‘might makes right’ notion of morality, however, where intelligent people are justified in manipulating less intelligent people merely by virtue of their superior intelligence (or whatever other permutation of “might makes right” you might conceive). What people have forgotten is that morality is the ultimate equalizer. Morality does not depend on any sort of measurable capacity – you are not more or less moral for being more or less intelligent, more or less strong, and so on. Generally, morality is concerned with the responsible use and application of one’s talents and abilities – regardless of how numerous and masterful those aforementioned gifts may be. You cannot legislate morality just as much as you cannot legislate equality, but you can certainly create a society that rewards good morality and punishes bad morality to foster moral growth and encourage, overall, increased moral behavior.
It is impossible to be “more moral” in a relativist system, however. Trying to discourage people from a “might makes right” disposition in a relativist system is hypocritical, even. Logically, you must tolerate all views as morally equal. And this is not conducive to a healthy or vigorous society. Shouldn’t we strive for the best instead of tolerating everything, to include the worst?
Moral relativism is intoxicating because while adhering to it you can never be wrong. It is ludicrous because while adhering to it you can never be right.

I just read this, and it is good.

Ethics and Leadership, Part 1

Long, Rambling Preamble

Others argue that (good) morality is a chiefly male enterprise, and it is something I’ve always concerned myself with. Growing up without much of a father figure (save my brother, who had his own problems) made developing a good sense of morality and ethics trickier than it otherwise could have been. Yet even at a young age, I still tried to work out some kind of code – without the help of a religion. And before you get too critical of some of the sophistry evident in those earlier posts of mine, keep in mind I was then a sophomore in high school, with the incessant emotional abuse of my mother and heart wrenching nonsense of my first girlfriend providing constant background noise. Again – without a father figure. At best, I had video games and random internet friends to study under. What were you doing when you were 16?

If I seemed a little pre-occupied with partying back then, it was because I’d seen my brother completely ruin his life due to an indulgence in alcoholism and drug addiction (that began with innocuous partying in high-school – he’s still recovering, at age 29), and my girlfriend of the time (who I had convinced myself I loved dearly) was stringently pro-partying. You’ll notice after the break-up and prophetic-though-emotionally-tinged revelations that followed, I rarely, if ever, wrote about partying again.

The take-away point from all of the above is this: before enlisting in the Marine Corps, my personal ethics had congealed around a simple idea I’d developed with one of my best friends. Together, we determined that there was no higher purpose in life than trying to improve oneself, and the best method for improvement was total honesty. As writers, we were fans of brevity and trying to pack a big idea in a small space. Below is how we phrased our ethics:

Self improvement is the only priority; honesty is merely the best way to achieve it.

I suppose “self-improvement” is rather vague, but we took it to mean becoming stronger, smarter, inflicting less damage on the world and causing greater good, among other things. And honesty meant total honesty – critical honesty – none of this politically-correct coddling horseshit. If I found fault in myself or others, honesty demanded that such faults be addressed and corrected. Regular introspection and self-reflection were thus necessary requirements for self-improvement. Things like integrity, accountability, resolve, respect for logic and rationality, and so on, naturally folded into our conception.

But it isn’t easy ‘going-it-alone,’ if you will. Isolation seems to have a distinct effect on the mind, and I believe the mind naturally seeks to commiserate with like-minded individuals in order to cope with that isolation. Unfortunately for me, it is notoriously hard to find people above self-indulgence and consumerism in the general American populace. I used to wonder why that was, but now I know I was just looking in all the wrong places. I wanted something more, some allies in the fight against decadence and mindless consumerism. Someone else always says it best, and in this case, that someone else was me, albeit a year or two ago (from my memoirs):

American living was so completely unsatisfying to me. Why bother going to college, when all one can hope to do is make more money and buy more things? Where was the virtue in that? Our ancestors fought and died for freedom, liberty, for a noble and beautiful idea, in order to change the world forever. We fought and died for the latest electronic gadget and the prettiest estate. What was the fucking point in life?

Success in American culture was based on a disgusting infatuation with value – value defined not by intrinsic quality, but by how much money something could generate. “Good” music was not necessarily well composed, performed, or emotionally stirring – “good” music generated a lot of sales. Good writing was not necessarily perceptive, striking, or emotionally stirring – good writing generated a lot of sales. Anything “good” was something which generated a lot of sales. Even in public debate, be it the lunch table or on the internet, followed this notion – disputes over whether or not something was “good” often boiled down to how successful that particular thing was commercially.

Military service seemed like the only place I could escape this ubiquitous lust for wealth. Here were the men and women who still believed in freedom and liberty, in giving up their lives for something greater than themselves. Here were the men and women of noble character and virtue, fighting to protect those who were too weak to protect themselves. Politicians be damned. Even if you were tossed into a war you didn’t agree with, you could still fight to make sure the Marine to the left and the right of you had a chance to go home to his or her family and his or her loved ones. Selflessness – a necessary trait for anyone in the military, perhaps THE necessary trait.

This isn’t a post about the military failing to live up to my hopelessly high ideals. On the contrary, this is a post about Marine Corps ethics, which are surprisingly robust and cogent. Then again, the Marine Corps has produced stellar heroes like Major General Smedley Butler, Lieutenant General Lewis “Chesty” Puller, Sergeant Major Dan Daly, and Gunnery Sergeant John Basilone, to name a few. (MRAs and feminists alike might note the lack of female exemplars. Sorry – none come to mind, except for Opha Mae Johnson, who we remember merely for being the first female Marine.) Oh, while we’re at it, why not throw in Colonel John Ripley, Gunnery Sergeant Carlos Hathcock, and a personal favorite of mine from more recent times, Captain Nathaniel Fick (read or watch Generation Kill to understand why I admire him)? This list is by no means exhaustive, so maybe it shouldn’t be so surprising that the Marine Corps has a lot of intelligent and well-reasoned things to say about ethical behavior and leadership.

So, Marine Corps Ethics

The Marine Corps, like myself, tries to distill ethical behavior down to the absolute simplest ideas it can. The backbone of Marine Corps ethics revolves around a set of three values – called the Core Values – that are taught to every Marine during basic training. If you’ve ever known a Marine, you probably know them already – they are Honor, Courage, and Commitment. Those three words conjure the essence of the Marine Corps – the fabled “esprit de corps” – the much talked about “brotherhood” of the Marine Corps. Let’s take a closer look at the Core Values.
HONOR is the idea that Marines must possess the ultimate sense of gallantry in service to the United States of America, and embody responsibility to duty above self, including, but not limited to:

  • INTEGRITY: Demonstrating the highest standards of consistent adherence to right, legal, and ethical conduct
  • RESPONSIBILITY: Personally accepting the consequences for decisions and actions. Coaching right decisions of subordinates. A chain is only as strong as the weakest individual link, but a battalion of Marines is more like a cable. Together we are stronger than any individual strand, but one strand may hold us together in a crisis if it’s strong enough. One Marine taking responsibility for a crisis may save the day.
  • HONESTY: Telling the truth. Overt honesty in word and action and clarifying possible misunderstanding or misrepresentation caused by silence or inaction when you should speak up. Respecting other’s property and demonstrating fairness in all actions. Marines do not lie, cheat, or steal.
  • TRADITION: Demonstrating respect for the customs, courtesies, and traditions developed over many years for good reason, which produce a common Marine Corps history and identity. Respect for the heritage and traditions of others, especially those we encounter in duty around the world.

At first, one may be inclined to think that respecting tradition for tradition’s sake is a fallacy, and such a reader would be correct. Note, however, that the Corps compels obedience to traditions that have been “developed over many years for good reason.” The Corps has a keen interest in adopting and maintaining only those traditions which make sense or serve some useful purpose, generally speaking. Most Marines will be able to explain the origins of their uniforms and certain customs to you, as most are emblems of former battles or serve to honor former heroes – try asking a soldier (Army) why his uniform is the way it is or why he acts the way he does and see what sort of response you get.

So, who would be a paragon of honor? In the opinion of this Marine, Smedley Butler fits the bill. Like all of the examples I mentioned above, he could easily be a paragon of all three Core Values, but I chose him for honor for a specific reason. He certainly served his nation with gallantry, but his personal integrity, responsibility, and honesty were peerless. There is a well known example from his time as a younger officer – then Major Butler exposed himself to enemy sniper fire in order to direct the fire of his own men to the snipers’ nests. He was awarded a Medal of Honor for this action – which, tellingly, he then tried to refuse! He claimed he was merely doing his job and had done nothing spectacular to earn the award. Later, in his post military career, he would warn of the burgeoning military-industrial complex decades before Eisenhower gave it a name – demonstrating again his integrity and honesty.

COURAGE is the moral, mental and physical strength to resist opposition, face danger, endure hardship, including, but not limited to:

  • SELF-DISCIPLINE: Marines hold themselves responsible for their own actions and others responsible for their actions. Marines are committed to maintaining physical, moral, and mental health, to fitness and exercise, and to life-long learning.
  • PATRIOTISM: Devotion to and defense of one’s country. The freely chosen, informed willingness to support and defend the Constitution of the United States.
  • LOYALTY: Steady reliability to do one’s duty in service to the United States of America, the United States Marine Corps, one’s command, one’s fellow Marines, Sailors, Soldiers, Airmen, citizens, oneself and to one’s family.
  • VALOR: Boldness and determination in facing danger in battle, and the daily commitment to excellence and honesty in actions small and large.

In effect, the Marine Corps idea of Courage could be summed up as “doing the right thing,” regardless of circumstance or personal expense/danger/peril. Marines are often reminded that being a good Marine means “doing the right thing, even when no one is looking” and this is essentially a matter of having the courage to do said right things. Sometimes it takes courage to report the discrepancies of your buddies, for instance – but if everyone in the Marine Corps lacked such courage, and valued friendship over duty, discipline would quickly erode and have a precipitous effect throughout the rest of our operations! As is outlined in our General Orders, a Marine knows no friends in the line of duty.

Paragon of courage? None other than Chesty Puller, of course. My own words would do him shame, so here’s one of his many telling quotes: “They are in front of us, behind us, and we are flanked on both sides by an enemy that outnumbers us 29:1. They can’t get away from us now!” MRAs may find something to like in this quote: “Our Country won’t go on forever, if we stay soft as we are now. There won’t be any AMERICA because some foreign soldier will invade us and take our women and breed a heartier race!” But he wasn’t just bark. Take a look at some of his bite, as evidenced through one of his MANY award citations:

Fighting continuously in sub-zero weather against a vastly outnumbering hostile force, Colonel Puller drove off repeated and fanatical enemy attacks upon his Regimental defense sector and supply points. Although the area was frequently covered by grazing machine-gun fire and intense artillery and mortar fire, he coolly moved along his troops to insure their correct tactical employment, reinforced the lines as the situation demanded, and successfully defended the perimeter, keeping open the main supply routes for the movement of the Division. During the attack from Koto-ri to Hungnam, he expertly utilized his Regiment as the Division rear guard, repelling two fierce enemy assaults which severely threatened the security of the unit, and personally supervised the care and prompt evacuation of all casualties. By his unflagging determination, he served to inspire his men to heroic efforts in defense of their positions and assured the safety of much valuable equipment which would otherwise have been lost to the enemy. His skilled leadership, superb courage and valiant devotion to duty in the face of overwhelming odds reflect the highest credit upon Colonel Puller and the United States Naval Service.

COMMITMENT is the promise or pledge to complete a worthy goal by worthy means which requires identification with that goal and demonstrated actions to support that goal, including, but not limited to:

  • COMPETENCE: Maintaining, and improving one’s skill level to support the team. Commitment to growing toward a standard of excellence second to none.
  • TEAMWORK: Individual effort in support of other team members in accomplishing the team’s mission. Marines take care of their own. All worthwhile accomplishments are the result of team effort.
  • SELFLESSNESS: Marines take care of their subordinates, their families, their fellow Marines before themselves. The welfare of our country and our Corps is more important than our individual welfare.
  • CONCERN FOR PEOPLE: The Marine Corps is the custodian of this nation’s future, her young people. We exist to defend the nation, but just as importantly, we are in the business of creating honorable citizens. Everyone is of value, regardless of race, nation of origin, religion, or gender. Concern includes a commitment to improving the level of education, skill, self-esteem, and quality of life for Marines and their families. On the battlefield, a Marine is fiercest of all warriors and the most benevolent of conquerors.

Emphasis in the Marine Corps, from day one, is on the triumph of teamwork over individualism. You can’t turn shit into gold, unfortunately, and as the youth of our nation decline in moral character, the Marine Corps can only do so much to undo the 18 years of poor training that many potential enlistees “receive” as a result of poor social circumstances. Still, for those that are willing to learn, or looking for something more in life, the Marine Corps provides excellent guidance.

Gunnery Sergeant John Basilone is my paragon of commitment. After being awarded the Medal of Honor for actions in Guadalcanal (where his 15-man unit was decimated to two men, who still managed to hold off 3,000 Japanese troops), he was shipped back to the States to go on a sort of public relations tour for war bonds. Generally, Medal of Honor recipients are not allowed to go back to combat, but Gunnery Sergeant Basilone was committed to the defense of the nation and the unit of Marines he had left behind on the front lines. He returned to active combat duty and gave his life in the battle of Iwo Jima, one of America’s (and the Marine Corps) bloodiest battles. (Anecdotally, my grandfather, who retired from the Marine Corps as a Lieutenant Colonel, survived Iwo Jima.)

Parting Thoughts

The bulk of this post comes from work I had done previously in preparing to teach an ethics course at my command. I pored over order after order, assembling the best and what I felt was the easiest to understand information about ethics. I relied on materials that are used to prepare company grade officers for taking command of their units, and tried to make that information as accessible to junior enlisted Marines as possible. I think it is accessible to a wider audience as well.

I think it’s pretty easy to see why Marine Corps ethics and values resonate with me – my insistence on honesty and self-improvement are part of the building blocks of ideal Marine behavior. I hope you enjoyed this crash course in Marine Corps ethics and leadership.

An Analysis of "Sexual Utopia In Power" Part 1

I’ve been reading, among many other things, Sexual Utopia in Power by F. Roger Devlin, Ph.D. and apparent regular contributor to The Occidental Quarterly. I was not previously familiar with either the author or the publication, but on the basis of this stunningly well-written (and, presumably, researched, with thirteen sources listed for approximately 27 pages of writing) article, I will have to become more intimately familiar with both. The entire article is worth commenting on; I had intended to merely pick “the best” parts but found myself copying entire paragraphs or pages in preparation for this analysis. Let me start by suggesting that perhaps the best course of action is to not read anything I am about to write, and to go read the article yourself.

Still here? Well, perhaps I can convince you to read it by quoting the parts that stuck out to me, with some of my own commentary. Devlin begins quickly and makes an important point about the basics of male-female relationships: that women, ultimately, do the choosing, while men do the competing. Women have a natural advantaged state in this regard. They do not need to “prove” their worth or suitability – the dictates of nature demand that men compete for the mating privilege of women. In the words of Devlin:

Nature has played a trick on men: production of spermatozoa occurs at a rate several orders of magnitude greater than female ovulation (about 12 million per hour vs. 400 per lifetime). This is a natural, not a moral, fact. Among the lower animals also, the male is grossly oversupplied with something for which the female has only a limited demand. This means that the female has far greater control over mating. The universal law of nature is that males display and females choose. Male peacocks spread their tales, females choose. Male rams butt horns, females choose. Among humans, boys try to impress girls—and the girls choose. Nature dictates that in the mating dance, the male must wait to be chosen.

Why does he bring up this point? Because his main aim is to then discuss “sexual utopias,” or the ideal sexual situations that could exist for men and women alike. He discusses the ideal sexual utopia for males and compares it with the ideal sexual utopia for females. He tackles males first, who “are in every respect simpler” when it comes to the matter. A male sexual utopia, Devlin argues, is much what you might imagine it to be: a harem for every man with women constantly coming to him in droves for sexual attention. Marriage, it seems at first, would get in the way of that:

Marriage, after all, seems to restrict sex rather drastically. Certain men figure that if sex were permitted both inside and outside of marriage there would be twice as much of it as formerly. They imagined there existed a large, untapped reservoir of female desire hitherto repressed by monogamy. To release it, they sought, during the early postwar period, to replace the seventh commandment with an endorsement of all sexual activity between “consenting adults.” Every man could have a harem. Sexual behavior in general, and not merely family life, was henceforward to be regarded as a private matter. Traditionalists who disagreed were said to want to “put a policeman in every bedroom.” This was the age of the Kinsey Report and the first appearance of Playboy magazine. Idle male daydreams had become a social movement.

But reform could not have been brought about without the consent of women, Devlin posits, and thus begins his analysis of the ideal sexual utopia for women. As you might imagine, it contrasts quite sharply with sexual utopia for men. He dispels the myth that women are naturally monogamous – something I don’t think needs dispelling if you’ve been paying much attention to the relationships that men and women have even in your own daily life, not to mention what you can read about in news articles and magazines and see on “reality” TV or read about on the internet.
Devlin describes female sexuality as naturally hypergamous (a term I was not previously familiar with), which can be understood with a simple analysis: “They are always satisfied with the best. By definition, only one man can be the best. These different male and female “sexual orientations” are clearly seen among the lower primates, e.g., in a baboon pack. Females compete to mate at the top, males to get to the top.” Thus, in an ideal female sexual utopia, she is able to mate with the hypothetical “perfect” man and is able to get him to commit at the same time (to commit meaning to cease mating with all other females). Just as James Bond appeals to men for being a work of fiction that relates to male sexual utopia, so does the pulp fiction romance novel appeal to women, says Devlin. But just as everyone knows it is impossible fantasy for every man to have his harem, so to is it fantasy to suppose a hypergamous utopia can exist: “The fantasy is strictly utopian, partly because no perfect man exists, but partly also because even if he did, it is logically impossible for him to be the exclusive mate of all the women who desire him.” At best, then, only one female would be able to live in the utopia. In a world of approximately 6 billion people (and approximately 3 billion women), a hypergamous ideal does not seem to be the best way to organize society for the maximum happiness of all.
Devlin draws a further distinction between monogamy and hypergamy:

Hypergamy is not monogamy in the human sense. Although there may be only one “alpha male” at the top of the pack at any given time, which one it is changes over time. In human terms, this means the female is fickle, infatuated with no more than one man at any given time, but not naturally loyal to a husband over the course of a lifetime. In bygone days, it was permitted to point out natural female inconstancy. Consult, for example, Ring Lardner’s humorous story “I Can’t Breathe”—the private journal of an eighteen year old girl who wants to marry a different young man every week. If surveyed on her preferred number of “sex partners,” she would presumably respond one; this does not mean she has any idea who it is.

It is at this point that I suspect a reader with a feminist bent might criticize myself or Devlin for being misogynists by daring to suggest that women are anything but perfect. “Women are not fickle,” they might shout, stamping their feet, “you must either just hate them or you have a small dick!” Maybe they would complain that we’re only saying what we are because we never get laid. Maybe they’d be incensed at the suggestion that there are differences between men and women that are biological as opposed to social. Perhaps only a few years ago, I would’ve had to submit to such shaming tactics and been shouted down; thankfully, I’ve found the resources that enable me to have civil debates with those who would disagree but want to carry on in a rational manner with that disagreement. We can, thankfully, ignore those that would just shout down discourse.
Moving on, then!
Devlin goes on to say that an important part of hypergamy is the rejection of most men. Obviously, not every man can be the best man – hell, not even most men can be the best men – so in a hypergamous utopia, there’d be a whole lot of rejected men. He has some choice words to describe women which, again, would incense most feminists – saying that rather than being naturally modest, they are actually naturally vain, being inclined to believe that they are deserving of only the best suitors – even if this is a logical impossibility. Devlin asserts that the feminist movement was an attempt to realize this female utopia:

The sexual revolution in America was an attempt by women to realize their own utopia, not that of men. Female utopians came forward publicly with plans a few years after Kinsey and Playboy. Helen Gurley Brown’s Sex and the Single Girl appeared in 1962, and she took over Cosmopolitan magazine three years later. Notoriously hostile to motherhood, she explicitly encouraged women to use men (including married men) for pleasure.

It is at this point that feminists might critique myself or Devlin for not knowing what feminism is all about, bellowing that it’s all about “equal rights for equal work!” I would suspect such a commentator is not at all familiar with feminism, and suggest he or she get acquainted with what feminist leaders have to say on the matter of male-female relations. And to those who would say that the extreme opinions of the few are irrelevant in the end (even in light of the last essay), I would say: not so!
Moving on, then!
I’ll skip the play-by-play and cut to the chase. There’s a lot I’d love to comment on from Devlin’s work, but hopefully at this point, I’ve convinced you to go read it yourself. I am going to offer up only the parts of the article that resonate most strongly with my own experiences and opinions before posting this.
After an in-depth analysis on the myth of date rape – exposing it for the lack of personal accountability that it is, rather than a rape in any meaningful sense of the word – Devlin goes on to say this:

I sympathize with the young woman, in view of a miseducation which might have been consciously designed to leave her unprepared for the situation she got herself into. But as to the question of whether she was raped, the answer must be a clear no.

I’ve already linked once to the essay I wrote years ago in school that attempted to debunk feminism on several fronts, one of which was the way in which “rape” has been virtually weaponized as a political tool to achieve political ends. Others have begun to notice and take action, trying to raise public awareness about the insidious effect that such deplorable tactics have had on relationships, men and women. Aside from critiquing feminists for exploding the definition of rape to be practically useless (in the words of Catherine MacKinnon: “All sex, even consensual sex between a married couple, is an act of violence perpetrated against a woman,” and therefore, one would presume, rape) which has been done elsewhere, Devlin offers up a cogent reason why we should oppose legal reform that seeks to explode the definition of rape:

To anyone who believes that a society of free and responsible persons is preferable to one based on centralized control, the reasoning of the date-rape movement is ominous. The demand that law rather than moral principle and common prudence should protect women in situations such as I have described could only be met by literally “putting a policeman in every bedroom.” However much we may sympathize with the misled young people involved (and I mean the men as well as the women), we must insist that it is no part of our responsibility to create an absolutely safe environment for them, nor to shield them from the consequences of their own behavior, nor to insure that sex will be their path to happiness. Because there are some things of greater importance than the pain they have suffered, and among these are the principle of responsibility upon which the freedom of all of us depends.

The only way to protect against rape, as feminists define it and as they attempt to legislate it, is to enter into a Orwellian world of Big Brother and totalitarianism. How else can we protect against the fluid and changing situations under which women discern whether or not they consented to a sexual act, and to absolutely guarantee that no man continue to “go” after he has been told to “stop” even if the woman worked him up into a frenzy up until the point she decided she wanted to stop? There is no way. This is why we must reject such expanded interpretations and return to a moral code that promotes personal responsibility and accountability. Devlin goes on:

It is a cliché of political philosophy that the less self-restraint citizens are able to exercise, the more they must be constrained from without…Human beings cannot do without some social norms to guide them in their personal relations. Young women cannot be expected to work out a personal system of sexual ethics in the manner of Descartes reconstructing the universe in his own mind. If you cease to prepare them for marriage, they will seek guidance wherever they can fi nd it. In the past thirty years they have found it in feminism, simply because the feminists have outshouted everyone else.

I disagree that it is simply because feminists have outshouted everyone else, and would argue it is because feminists have outmaneuvered everyone else; other than that, however, Devlin makes a fine point. And before someone goes whining about generalizations (as so often seems to be the case in discussions like these), it is implicit that Devlin means ‘most human beings cannot be expected…’ Certainly, there are some who will work out such systems of ethics on their own (I might argue I am one of them, though, only to a certain degree of ‘being on my own’) but they are far and away in the minority. And we are speaking of proper ways of organizing a society, for the maximum benefit/happiness of all.
And maybe that’s the most important point of all, and a good one to end on. Devlin does go on to talk about the benefits of marriage and what can be done to save us from our desperate situation, but the real take-home point I’d like people to consider is this. When we are afforded a system that allows us to do whatever it is that we wish (and feminism certainly seeks to allow women to do whatever it is they may wish), we end up, among other things, misbehaving like a spoiled child that is allowed to follow its impulses whenever it pleases. In the words of Devlin: “In a word, [we] learn to think and behave like spoiled children, expecting everything and willing to give nothing.” Expecting everything and being willing to give nothing is a recipe for disaster when it becomes the social norm.
On an entirely unrelated note, I would still consider myself “single and looking,” by the way. Just not looking to get (ab)used, is all.

Room for Improvement

Framing an Objective

The men’s movement has come a long way in the past 8 years, when I was first introduced to it. Back then, the only site I could find that spoke to the inequalities I was living with was NiceGuy’s, which was far from perfect. It wasn’t always objective, it alienated people because it focused on criticizing women rather than solving problems, and so on. I’m not saying this is necessarily bad – catharsis and community are great – but it’s far from the website you’d want to use as an introduction for a skeptic: someone who may be persuaded that feminism is bad, but who isn’t sure just yet.

Further, after a few years, it seemingly dropped off the face of the earth and was hard to find. (It was recently resurrected, mind you, but my point was that even if there were sites that would crop up here and there about men’s rights or critical of feminism, they were just as apt to disappear or fall into disrepair, too.)
As many have noted, feminism has made it extremely hard to get to the truth of the matter. To quote another blogger:

Being of an intellectual bent, I started investigating to see if my impressions were supported by facts.

It took a lot of digging. Feminists try to present themselves as a beleaguered minority, surrounded on every side by Neanderthals who constantly preach the inferiority of women, but try to find male chauvinist books and see if you can keep believing that. But I persevered, ordering expensive out of print books, scouring the internet, hunting through long books about neurology and history and so on to find one or two pertinent facts that had been allowed to slip through.

This is a problem that I would argue is alienating many potential allies. Many reasonable people might be thoroughly convinced, if only they could be led to the facts presented in an unbiased, impersonal and objective manner. (Free of the sort of justifiable yet off-putting indignation on display when NiceGuy greets users to his website by asking “Ever thought women suck? Then welcome!”) Being that I am of a military bent these days, let me frame the problem using some military concepts.
Before enlisting in the Marine Corps, I decided it might be wise to familiarize myself with doctrine, and being that the Iraq War was the major conflict of the time, I thought it would behoove me to read the then brand-new Counterinsurgency Field Manual, produced in a joint effort between the Army and the Marine Corps. Perhaps it is a bit extreme to describe the situation with feminists as an insurgency, but the analogy does tickle me. In either case, paragraph 1-108 in the field manual states (emphasis my own):

In almost every case, counterinsurgents face a populace containing an active minority supporting the government and an equally small militant faction opposing it. Success requires the government to be accepted as legitimate by most of that uncommitted middle, which also includes passive supporters of both sides. (See figure 1-2) Because of the ease of sowing disorder, it is usually not enough for counterinsurgents to get 51 percent of popular support; a solid majority is often essential. However, a passive populace may be all that is necessary for a well-supported insurgency to seize political power.

Let’s do a word swapping exercise. Way back in 1995, Christina Hoff Sommers wrote a book called Who Stole Feminism? and demonstrated that a (I think “militant” is a fitting adjective here) minority of feminists had stolen the mantle of the larger movement for nefarious purposes. From page 22: “Sex/gender feminism (“gender feminism” for short) is the prevailing ideology among contemporary feminist philosophers and leaders. But it lacks a grass roots constituency.” This is the “equally small militant faction” opposing the “government” mentioned above. For our purposes, replace the word “government” with something more relevant – like, say, sanity, society, or whatever.
Meanwhile, the active minority that can be found supporting sanity/society/whatever would be places like The Spearhead and NiceGuy’s MGTOW Forums, among other sites. The vast majority of people, however, exist in that large undecided middle, and that’s where the true contest is. Being that feminism has all of the current political support, it isn’t necessary for this middle to actively believe in their philosophy, so long as they aren’t actively trying to destroy/inhibit it. Passive acquiescence is all feminism needs of the majority of people at this point; the men’s movement needs something more substantial from that, and would benefit most by having a targeted effort to get that large, undecided majority to do something about feminism. And an important point to consider is the “ease of sowing disorder,” which I think is pretty self-evident. Even reasonable people can be convinced of unreasonable things. I think many of us have had the experience of coming to the light from out of the darkness that is the feminist doctrine and all of its lies. They have proven themselves to be very good at sowing disorder indeed, but this could be combated by a reliable website with easy to navigate links to all the sources, facts, and figures that prove feminism isn’t what it claims to be.
Luckily, the situation isn’t an actual insurgency. We don’t have to worry about massive undertakings like providing a stable infrastructure to the undecided middle (electricity, plumbing, access to food and security, etc) and waging a literal war with bullets and IEDs and so forth. However, in keeping with the analogy, let’s talk about “infrastructure” for a bit.
Making Progress

If we liken the progress made by the disparate elements of the men’s movement to a military assault, we’re now in the phase where we need to consolidate. As far as I can tell, we have a whole bunch of great people working towards the same ends but in their own ways and with their own direction. Collectively, it’s apparent that headway has been made, but to truly capitalize on the progress that’s been made it is necessary to regroup before pushing forward. By regrouping, we can: assess where it is that we stand relative to our opposition, take a tally of our progress and figure out what battles we’ve won, and most importantly chart a course for the future.
Another part of consolidating our effort would be to potentially bring more people into the fold. To get back to the first quote I brought up, it is currently very hard to dig for information regarding the true state of affairs with the feminist movement. To that end, I propose someone design a single website to address this issue. While the sites I’ve mentioned before may be great for communities of like-minded individuals, what we really need is a website that addresses the undecided, middle-ground skeptic I’ve been talking about in this post.
The web-site should be a concise and articulate distillation of the very best essays and posts that the men’s movement has created so far. It must be designed with a purpose in mind, the purpose being to convince skeptics that feminism is not a healthy philosophy to adopt, support or even abide through passivity. There should be a clear introduction, then pages that expound a bit on various issues the introduction brings up, and then a conclusion that directs readers to where they can get more information or start doing something about the problem.
Something kind of like this, except for the men’s movement.
If there already is a site of this sort out there, I haven’t found it. That’s kind of telling, considering I’ve been looking for one like it for a long time (to include a pretty thorough search over the past few days). Whether or not a site is out there or we need to create one, we need to promote it. Realize that the undecided middle probably isn’t going to be able to devote every waking hour (or perhaps not even a full waking hour each day!) to this cause or to researching it. That is why it is important to distill the crux of the movement down to some concise and potent analyses. Once someone’s mind has been opened that way, they can then utilize the site to more fully explore the issues that concern them.
This website would be analogous to building infrastructure in a counterinsurgency operation to win the faith of the undecided majority. It would provide them with all the resources they would need to answer questions and criticisms that would arise from shrugging off feminist doctrine. It would point them to communities of like-minded individuals with a wealth of experience dealing with the problems that could arise from shirking off such a philosophy.
What do you think? Comments are welcome and encouraged.

Reinvigorated

I’m feeling better, due to some long and intimate nights with this. Why, as you may have noticed, I even restored my blog. Yes, sometimes I can throw a tizzy fit too. It’s alright. I’m over it.

Anyway, I’ve developed a better strategy for blogging – introspective nonsense will be kept to a minimum here, as I have a private place to store that kind of information now. Rather, I’ll continue to use this as an outlet for my amateur philosophy as well as offering commentary about the things I see while I’m in the service.
Sometime shortly (I predict within the next week or two) after my infatuation with the site linked above is over, I’ll work on cutting this blog up a bit and removing some of the introspective nonsense that doesn’t belong anymore. So, enjoy it while I’m lazy!