Sunday, October 4, 2015

Freedom and Equality: A Critique of Roosh V.’s Antifeminism

Roosh V. is a cosmopolitan pickup artist and an author and blogger of some renown. He was recently in the news in Canada because his scheduled talks in Montreal and Toronto were protested. 42,500 Canadians signed a petition to bar him from entering the country because his writings allegedly violate Canada’s hate speech laws. Protestors threw drinks at him at a bar and hounded him. The hotel where one of his talks was scheduled cancelled the event, due to the negative publicity, forcing him to change venues. One of his articles, in particular, became infamous for allegedly advocating rape.

I was intrigued by this controversy and decided to investigate further, reading ten or so of his articles. Much of what he says turns out to be plausible or compelling, but limited.

Roosh’s Case for “Game”

His detractors call him a misogynist, whereas he says he’s more specifically an antifeminist. Arguably, he’s both. Here’s a summary of his case for “game,” that is, for realistic techniques for seducing women, gleaned from the following of Roosh’s articles: first, second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth.

Roosh is a traditionalist, at heart, who longs for the return of a more conservative era in which women accepted their natural roles as mothers, managers of the household, and supporters of men. He accuses feminism and Western culture in general of ruining Western women’s sex appeal. He went as far as to leave the United States, his home country, preferring places populated by more traditional women such as in South America, Eastern Europe, and Southeast Asia. The problem with the West, he says, is that feminists demand equality whereas biology makes men and women unequal. This leads women who are infected with the feminist virus, as he puts it, to insist on beating men at their game, acting tough and manly instead of allowing alpha males to tame them.

In his words, the Western woman “has lost her reproductive imperative and sees men as nothing more than sources of entertainment to improve her soulless existence of having to attain a meaningless education to labor in an insignificant office job”; moreover, “because of her rejection of the feminine nature given to her at birth, you [the male reader] are even more qualified to take care of children than she is.” According to Roosh, “within every woman on this planet, regardless of her education or background, is a bitch, a cunt, a slut, a golddigger, a flake, a cheater, a backstabber, a narcissist, and an attention whore that is dying to get out…This is the true nature that will come forth if society doesn’t put constraints or limitations on a woman’s behavior and choice…Free from the shackles of acting within traditional sex roles, all women of the world would much rather act like a lazy sailor than a prim and proper lady as long as male attention continues to flow…As the women of this era find their basic needs being increasingly met, and the direction of societies moves towards one of automatic reverence to women instead of bemused skepticism of their childlike decision-making and behavior, reversions will occur across all economically rising countries of the world” as the virus of feminist culture spreads.

“Game,” then, is a man’s donning of a clown mask to entertain attractive women so that both parties get what they want. Women should want to succeed in their premodern, feminine roles, but in the West women want to be equal to men, so instead of tending to their traditional duties and relying on men for their welfare, women become financially and emotionally independent. Instead of looking for love and happiness with a man, the heterosexual woman seeks only to be entertained by him. Thus he must act like a sociopath, putting her “on a rollercoaster of abuse,” as opposed to boring her with beta-male meekness and effeminateness. He must roleplay as the aloof villain to arouse her fear, giving her respite from the tedium of her office life. Nature’s blessed her with one true asset, which is her physical appearance, but she squanders her window of opportunity when she’s youthful and at her prettiest and most beguiling, going on libertine binges with alpha males who are too discerning to be interested in a long-term relationship with a debased Western woman. Thus, she’s left to court beta-male suckers on dating websites when she’s older, used up and saddled with children, begging those second-class men for companionship if not also for shelter. 

Game, the quasi-science of seducing women, is a form of realism, for Roosh. A Western man should acknowledge the backwardness of modern culture and exploit the opportunity to satisfy his desire for a “healthy sex life,” if not also his anachronistic goal of finding happiness in a traditional home. As Roosh puts it, “I would be foolhardy to try to build a home with her [the modern girl] since she is not made of the same stuff as her mother and grandmothers, and so I will not treat her as if she’s something she’s not. She’s an oil well, and I will use my drill to gain as much black liquid as I can until the well taps out, and then be forced to move on to another.” Western culture makes clowns of men and women alike, forcing us into unnatural roles, but savvy men only pretend to be alphas to get laid or else are luckily born with no conscience, being sociopathic, bad-boy alphas so they can effortlessly attract women. Meanwhile, feminist women war with biology at the cost of all heterosexuals’ chance to be happy. Armed with techniques for exploiting women’s biological weaknesses and learned decadence, the wily male uses women for all they’re good for now due to female empowerment. Ideally, women’s empowerment would have doubled human ingenuity and vastly accelerated the rate of human progress, but that hasn’t happened. Roosh’s explanation is that “Women have been quiet in the history of the world not because of male privilege, but because they’re not designed to achieve.” Socially- and economically-equal women are ill-equipped to fulfill their natural role of being caretakers and are reduced to being objects for crafty men’s pleasure.

Critique of Roosh’s Case: From Misogyny to Misanthropy

As I see it, the root of the problem in this modern war between the sexes is individualism, the ideology common to the Protestant Reformation and to the Enlightenment. The culture descried by Roosh is based on the idea that human nature isn’t biological but psychological. In each human body there’s an individual, otherwise known as a person, who has the right to self-determination. By contrast, the traditionalist maintains that members of a society should defer to their elders or ancestors and to their conventions, for the sake of social cohesion, favour in God’s eyes or some other higher good. Curiously, Roosh arrives at his Sayyid Qutb-style distaste for modern individualism, by way of modernity’s science-centered hostility towards all fact-free traditions; hence, his appeal to biology in support of his contentions about gender inequality. The individualist, in turn, mixes naturalistic critiques of stifling premodern ideologies, with the modern invention of the individual moral agent. You see, on one hand, premodern social conventions are assumed to be merely mythical, the myths being instruments for imposing mass ignorance so that the populace might be more easily oppressed and exploited by some gang of power elites. On the other hand, the sovereign individual takes on God’s role as the originator of morality; whereas science may show that we’re merely clever animals, all moderns—including the power elites—foist on each other a new metanarrative, a noble lie according to which they’re persons rather than animals and are thus entitled to a higher form of happiness.

Roosh speaks of women’s “natural role” as feminine caregivers, as though there were any room in modernity for natural rights; instead, science eliminates any such supernatural basis for traditional societies, which means that the inference that women ought to do what biology equips them to do efficiently is merely a crude instance of the naturalistic fallacy. Even were Roosh’s generalization about the different biological strengths of men and women correct, such empirical knowledge would have exactly zero prescriptive implications. Roosh’s case seems to lack the philosophical step between those premises and that conclusion, such as the existentialist’s assumption that we must create our values by a leap of faith in something’s sacredness. That latter assumption, however, happens to be implicitly individualistic and thus liable to be consistent with the principles of feminism.

But what to make of Roosh’s argument about the damage wrought by feminism? That argument rings true to me, but the phenomenon of Western infantilization is much broader than Roosh suggests. Many men are likewise reduced to being childish consumers; indeed, Roosh’s distinction between alpha and beta men implies as much. Only the enlightened alphas consume women with a tragic yearning for a more honourable quest, as opposed to doing so with the glee expressed by the clownish mask they wear in their pursuit of deluded women. Beta males, or at least those with no interest in emulating alphas with game, are as deluded as the women poisoned by feminism: they too eschew their biological roles as hunters and providers, domesticating themselves and thus requiring a wife not for any romantic reason but just to complete their To Do List, adding one more possession to their catalogue, the woman who turns into a harpy who duly pussy-whips him. If some men are free from the process of Western infantilization, the same is likely true of some women. They, too, may toy with men, hoping for a sea change in modern culture, but stoically coping with the farcical conditions of the mating game.

Roosh says women are inherently inferior creatures and require male guidance to avoid making self-destructive, childish decisions. Thus, he says women who toy with men are bitches and flakes, whereas alpha males who do the same to women are wise game-players. The arbitrariness of this double standard means that Roosh’s misogyny is only half right: the more adequate philosophical response to our scientific enlightenment is misanthropy, contempt for humanity in general, not just for half of its members. Roosh lauds males for the human history of cultural achievements, blind to the fact that such progress appears to be utterly self-destructive. Our technological breakthroughs merely speed up the rate at which glorified monkeys may destroy themselves, taking half the planet with them. From the anthropological perspective, such as that of Harari in his history of our species, Sapiens, our cultural achievements are so many propagations of useful fictions to distract us from the catastrophes caused by our ballooning populations. The men who carried human civilizations forward have hardly been free from delusions. Most alpha rulers of megamachines (dominance hierarchies in which a minority controls the majority by treating it as a social machine) thought of themselves as gods. The current titans of Wall Street are sullied by their weakness for all manner of Ayn Randian or social Darwinian fallacies of egoism and narcissism. His swagger may be attractive to helpless women, but this doesn’t mean that a sociopath is an admirable figure. Indeed, the sociopath’s selfishness pales next to the average child’s. We must remember that while children are helpless without their guardians, children are also notorious bullies if given the slightest opportunity, so both women and men who display advanced forms of those behaviours (helplessness or arrogance, respectively) are equally comparable to children. Advocating for men’s rule over women is advocating for the quintessential case of the blind leading the blind.

The standard way of thinking of individuals as liberated persons is all wrong. The myth is that the freedom to choose your course is an inherent right, a modern victory for humanity. In reality, this Western myth papered over the breakdown of medieval civilization. Just as Christian egalitarianism was a rationalization of the fall of the Roman Empire, since the vigorous, rugged militarism of Rome couldn’t last into the Dark Age and an ethic of compassion was needed for an impoverished, fragile continent, modern individualism rationalizes the fall of the Catholic Church. When many Christians awoke to the unsettling fact that God isn’t present in the primary Christian institution, in the Church which had become unspeakably corrupt, they retreated to a proto-Darwinian doctrine according to which each isolated soul must work out its salvation in fear and trembling, to paraphrase Kierkegaard. The Church’s disgrace brought on the Protestant Revolution, whereupon the idol of scripture replaced the priesthood’s authority, and each Christian had the duty to bolster her precious faith by divining the hidden meanings of God’s Word. Protestant individualism was secularized by Enlightenment substitutes for theistic formulations of the underlying admission, which is that when society breaks down we must reap the whirlwind: we must inure ourselves to our basic, existential situation, which is that we’re lowly animals and can’t count on our social structures. Even when aided by others, natural patterns prevail, we fall well short of our dreamlike ideals, and we’re left with genetic narrow-mindedness, with the empty freedom to do whatever we will in the concrete jungle, lacking the direction that requires faith in something besides our pitiful selves.

In the existentialist’s big picture, freedom is something other than this state of being bereft of social guidance, of being alienated from our dysfunctional institutions. The lone individual’s freedom is a crypto-Satanic adventure that began with the advent of sentience, with the genes’ loss of direct control over their animal hosts, and with the development of mental powers of self-creation and thus self-control. Individuals in the broadest sense are animals that have been severed from nature and thus liberated from the self-creating god (the only divinity there manifestly is, being nature as a cosmic whole), animals that are therefore free to create themselves anew from next to nothing, which is to say from an artistic leap of faith in some ideals. With higher-order thinking, primates face the curse of reason which is also the problem with modern individualism and with feminism: these celebrations of liberty are unbridled in their optimism, because the corresponding conventions are noble lies. The point is to conceal what was lost in the breakdown of Catholic and of ancient Roman civilizations and above all to distract from the implication that American society too will fail. We assume we needn’t dwell on such downfalls since they have a silver lining, the individual’s freedom, that is, the creation of persons in the fullest, most existentially dazzling sense, since such disappointed persons are socially-inclined animals that are nevertheless left to their own devices in deciding how to live. This is evidently the reason for the current burgeoning of post-apocalyptic fiction (The Walking Dead, Mad Max, etc) and for the earlier popularity of Old Western fiction. The heroes in such tales are perfectly free in the absence of social constraints, but the context hints at the dark side of self-determination: social creatures are inept at role-playing as sovereign, self-sufficient deities; after all, the freest individuals in the aftermath of the apocalypse are homeless and doomed to wander aimlessly and anxiously in the hostile wilderness, the thought of suicide their only consolation. This is the dark, satanic aspect of liberty which existentialism brings into the light.

The Vacuity of Canadian Individuals

With this in mind, we can explain the Canadian overreaction to Roosh’s antimodern writings. Canadians, and especially Ontarians, strive to be as uninteresting as possible to live down to the Enlightenment diversion of self-determination. The Canadian practice is to erase cultural differences to eliminate the distinction of specialness, reducing Canada’s citizens to cogs in the technocrat’s megamachine. We Canadians become just rationally autonomous individuals and thus neutered, neither masculine nor feminine, but views from nowhere indeed. We're freed by detaching ourselves from any tradition or organization that deserves our trust and thus we're hollow, lacking ultimate goals that are meaningful to each person in so far as they’re self-chosen by faith (by a heartfelt, creative endeavour).

You might be thinking this is obviously false since Canada is multicultural whereas the United States, for example, is a melting pot in which cultural differences are more effectively dissolved. But these differences are only superficial. Cultural differences are indeed nominally preserved in Canada, because Canada has no unifying culture to uphold as superior to its competitors. What transpires is a postmodern reduction of all ways of life to mere variations of culture-in-the-abstract, as Canadians drag foreign cultures down with them into the abyss of nihilistic relativism. For example, the question of whether Muslim women should be allowed to wear a hijab or a niqab in government buildings in Quebec isn’t decided by reflecting on the garment’s religious significance. Canadian liberals think of religion only in sociological terms, not in the theological ones that indicate the practitioner's leap of faith, so the issue becomes the mathematically-decidable one of whether one “culture” should be given special consideration. Secular Canadian government is anticultural, which means its role is superficially to preserve cultural differences, but it does so by ignoring the latter and implicitly secularizing cultures, interpreting them in sociological or anthropological terms.

By contrast, American government is nakedly xenophobic rather than cosmopolitan, and so a bastardized form of Christianity predominates there as the standard by which all other cultures are judged. That is, Americans haven’t absorbed the fact that science has demolished the foundations of traditional religion, for example, and so they naively cling to their guns and bibles, as President Obama put it. Americans still take what they misconstrue as their founding culture for granted, so in practice they preserve cultural divisions as so many iterations of Us versus Them. In Canada, there is no us or them, but only technocratic distractions from the emptiness of what Arcade Fire calls the modern and the normal people. For example, in Canada there’s no bluster about a titanic struggle between Christian/modern atheistic and theocratic Islamic civilizations; at least, there’s no such native fear-mongering that isn’t borrowed from the American discourse. This is because Canadians have no culture to lose and thus nothing to fear from the threat of having some culture imposed on them. Of course, there’s fear of being killed by terrorists, but in Canada (and perhaps in Britain, France and Germany too) the ideas that drive militant jihadists are neutralized by the nihilism born from the incompletion of Canada’s satanic adventure.

What I mean is that Canadians and Europeans are stuck with the postmodern angst arising from the failure of secular institutions to replace the foundered medieval ones. In Canada there’s hockey and in Europe there’s football, while the US has Hollywood as well as its military and its own football. But these secular institutions infantilize us by reducing us to small-minded consumers, as opposed to teaching us how to live as awakened, sentient beings. There’s a process of alienation which begins with the realization that social norms are preposterous compromises that tend to abet a minority class of spoiled alpha males. According to existential philosophers, that process can end in a rebellious, self-creative act, in a leap of artistic commitment to certain speculations and values. Canadians have no faith in their society, because they can’t even stay awake long enough to summarize how their society works. But Canadians haven’t used their individual liberty and alienation to create something new. And so when Roosh V. comes along with his politically incorrect talk of how men and women aren’t equal, he arouses the ire of ashamed Canadian feminists who rally around the invisible flag that stands for pride in Canadian technocracy. Of course men and women should be treated equally as persons, says the average Canadian, just as cultures should be treated equally. This amounts to saying that gender and culture should be eliminated, that there’s nothing special about persons or societies, because all are equal according to some pretentious postmodern abstractions or to sociological explanations of their material underpinnings. Women and men are equal as persons, but a modern person is just the disembodied inner self, a capacity for higher-order thoughts that could excite only an introvert with too much time on his or her hands.

The Existential Stakes of Individuality

To say that men and women are different is to say that they have different specialties, and because something’s specialness alone can interest us, inequality between the sexes is a precondition of sustainable sexual attraction. Feminized men no longer interest women even though their feminization is caused by the understandable feminist reaction to decadent, patriarchal masculinity. Likewise, “liberated” women who behave just like masculine men set themselves up as friends or as sex objects, as Roosh says, not as mysterious others that excite lust and awe. The reason most Western couples are serially monogamous rather than committed to a stable, long-term home life is because the sameness of Western men and women, that is, their equality, bores them so they lack the endurance needed to tolerate each other’s presence for long. The hope of each affair is that it will be qualitatively rather than just quantitatively new. Alas, we’re mostly just half-born individuals, not masculine men or feminine women, not special classes of creatures with distinct habits to complement each other. We’re infantilized consumers, distracted from our suspicion that precisely as hypermodern individuals we’re fundamentally all alone with faith in nothing, no values to guide us to some transcendent state of salvation from our natural doom.

To insist on equality between men and women in all matters is ironically to submit to forces that depersonalize us. Here’s the process in a nutshell: in a patriarchy, men are privileged and so after feminism, women demand to be treated like men; but the patriarchy had been defined by a subset of men who had dominated, namely the minority of sociopathic alpha males; thus, feminists effectively lobotomize themselves, holding up as their standard of personhood not the tortured, creative lone artist, but the calculating, shark-like machine at the heart of economic models, the corrupted, unfeeling male perfected by the invention of the “personal” computer. Equalized individuals lose their existentially-meritorious personhood along with their specialness that makes them different, and so they’re objectified—just as arid Canada objectifies cultures to tame them, to establish a firewall around Canada’s status as the least interesting place on Earth. Am I being facetious? Not really: hypermodernity ends in the extinction of values, of the difference between right and wrong, and of positive freedom, of the choice of an ultimate purpose in life to direct us towards some authentic destination for which we can take responsibility as worthwhile, enlightened and noble creatures. By taking a stand against being the least bit interesting, Canadians push modernity to its limits, diminishing themselves in the name of the obsolete modern ideal of the (merely) rationally-autonomous person. One glance at the current decrepitude of American democracy suffices to show that David Hume was right and Plato was wrong: for most “people,” emotions are stronger than reason, which means that most hominids aren’t people in the higher sense. Like Canadians, liberals, and other blinkered champions of modernity, feminists blather in their fight for self-destructive ideals as though they’re in a trance. And why did Western women seek to be equal to men? Not because of the allure of male power, but again because the medieval civilization that justified the social differences between the sexes collapsed, and the Enlightenment myth of the mere rational (as opposed to aesthetic, artistic) basis of individuality distracted from the horror of the existential stakes of sentience.

Individual freedom is a promethean opportunity to seize godhood by a creative act of artistic inspiration. This is more or less what Nietzsche surmised when he spoke of the bitter-sweetness of God’s death. John Stuart Mill likewise applauded the idiosyncratic individuals who stand out in a crowd rather than being submerged in an equalized mass of humanity, whose marks of personal distinction vindicate the compromised ideology of individualism. But we deluded moderns speak of freedom as though it were the ultimate good itself rather than just the means to some other end. We wage war “for freedom,” which is as nonsensical as warring against terror. The freedom to choose is valuable only if we choose well. But what should we choose to be? Should we choose to be the same in an infantilizing monoculture in which we rank each other according to how drastically we each consume the planet’s nonrenewable resources? Should we model ourselves on the spiritually poorest among us, that is, on the materially richest one percent of subcriminally-psychopathic males? And should heterosexual men and women strive to be like each other, to lose their specializations that alone are attractive to non-narcissists? (As the saying has it, opposites attract.)  

Mating between equals is absurd. For example, the movement of sapiosexuality, of the alleged sexual attraction to intelligence in general ends in a Gattaca-like form of mating in which potential mates will scan maps of their brain or lust after the results of their IQ tests. But sapiosexuality follows from modern individualism, since both make idols of reason. Existential philosophers and theologians remind us that while reason makes men and women more or less equal, personhood is something more profound than rationality. Rationality is an instrument for succeeding in certain competitions, such as in the primordial war against the indifferent wilderness or in the Machiavellian conflicts that arise in ambitious tribes. Personhood is the fall from god’s monstrous grace of being blissfully ignorant in our animal oneness with the natural plenum, the original sin of being severed from the zombie god’s bosom so that we must face the existential, metaphysically-fraught choice to become something else, something unnatural, that is, something artificial and virtually miraculous. Like bastardized, so-called conservative Christians who twist their religion into an excuse for the palpably natural causes of American plutocracy and military hegemony, feminists and other liberals who demand equality between the sexes are effectively mouthpieces for that which would just as soon annihilate as create the conditions for all persons as such.

Equalized men and women aren’t original artists in the metaphysical business of complexification, dedicated to replacing the undead wilderness with a new order of being. Instead, they’re cogs in a dominance hierarchy, infantilized consumers who fall back on their lauded reason to exercise their mere negative freedom to choose between the goods that are served up to them, as opposed to the positive freedom to choose what they consider to be good. At a less lofty level of analysis, effeminate men and bossy women condemn themselves to a grotesque battle between the sexes that dares not speak its name. Disgusted by our doppelgangers, we sad individuals argue over petty grievances, searching for an excuse to summon the energy to move on to the next sexual conquest. We’re too much alike for our conflicts to be interesting, and yet our biological makeup condemns most of us to be curious about our physical opposites. The mismatch between the oppositeness of men’s and women’s bodies and the sameness of our modern mentality makes for a grim spectacle. We pretend to be individuals, but our preoccupation with (mere) rational autonomy makes us puppetsjust as computers, the benchmarks of rationality, are playthings of computer programmers. Reason is the process of following rules of inference, but as any student of logic knows, a good argument is both valid and sound. Reason alone doesn’t provide the curiosity to search for premises as inputs to the argument of how to be a good person, if you will. Moderns believe that reason is the source of our specialness, of our being persons who stand above the animals. But the idolizing of reason at the expense of aesthetics and of our realizing that creativity is the name of our existential game prepares the way for Zeus’s revenge against Prometheus. The modern metanarrative of individualism desexualizes heterosexual men and women as in Canada and Europe, so that the liberals’ birth rate falls and enlightened civilization will be crushed once again by barbarian hordes.  


  1. Thank you, Benjamin for this brilliant essay! I just wish that my son could come home one day from the MacMaster University and would say to me, "Dad, we had a quest speaker today"
    I would put away the book by Will Ferguson 'Why I Hate Canadians' and will ask him "Who was it ?" And my son still trembling with excitement will answer. "Mr. Benjamin Cain."

    1. Thanks, Jindra. I hadn't heard of that book by Ferguson. Its satire seems to be making a slightly different point, that Canadians are deserving of hatred for our hypocrisy, whereas I'm saying Canadians deserve to be ignored because our "culture" is boring.

  2. Your rant on male/female interaction is reactionary at best and illusory at worst. Let me speak for the many men, red blooded and virile, who enjoy the company and favor of the new woman, freed from all her passivities, domesticities, and fawning obeisance, who do not have to rely on any false "games" or physical dominance or patriarchal traditions and cultures to enable us to get what we want with women, the other half of the human race. And what is it we want? Love and companionship, sex and friendship in CO-creating a future for all of us--both sexes. That may involve competition, but we have always enjoyed engaging only worthy opponents. That may involve dialogue--we men love the give and take of good conversation, the repartee of humor, the sheer exuberance of flirting, even and especially with a wife of forty years! We love the exuberance of the quest for women and the finding of the Holy Grail of their physical abundance and mental depth. As for Jindra's comment above, I need only remind Jindra of his physical and mental strength, that humor and brevity are his talents, and that his ironies tell us much more about the complexities of our common life than the interpretations of Roosh V. or what I have read above.

    1. Well said, Marcus. I think we should be clear on where the disagreement lies, though. I’m not defending patriarchy or traditional forms of inequality. I’m saying that part of the absurdity of human sexuality is that our reason demands the equality between persons, whereas our animal instincts and curiosity attracts us to that which is special and thus unequal. I’m saying that the physical differences between men and women won’t suffice to sustain heterosexuality in modern cultures in which we pride ourselves on being better than animals. Were we to think of each other solely as individuals and not as men or women, divided by different social roles, our heterosexuality would be purely biological, a matter of hormones that could be adjusted by drugs. But in so far as we adapt our biological underpinnings to the cultures in which we actually live as relatively liberated minds, the physical inequality between men and women is sanctioned and rationalized by politically incorrect, anti-modern, and even nonrational mores.

      Look at what you say you want as a modern man: love and companionship, sex and friendship. Suppose we could download our mind into a different body, thanks to some piece of miraculous technology. In that case, everything you want from a woman you could have with a man’s mind that’s been relocated to a woman’s body (assuming you’re heterosexual). What you want is essentially a good friend, companion, and partner—with benefits. You want “good conversation, the repartee of humor,” and “flirting” which amounts to the sort of teasing that happens even between men and between women. The sexual benefits are almost afterthoughts forced on us by our hormones.

      You say this modern sexual love is for the purpose of “co-creating a future for all of us,” but that’s belied by the fact that the fertility rate in modern, liberated societies is falling and is far lower than that of traditional, patriarchal societies. (The US is somewhat exceptional precisely because of its anachronistic religious conservatism, which is a stubborn source of antifeminism and gender inequality.) The lesson is that the more we treat ourselves as equal partners, the less serious we are about sexuality; we treat sex as a game or as a vacation from work, not as the cornerstones of society and of the species. Indeed, egoism goes hand in hand with this individualism that’s at the root of feminism, and so modern couples are dismissive of marriage, let alone of any mission to propagate future generations.

    2. I happen to agree that a liberated woman is in some ways more interesting than a submissive one. But this is to say I’m a man-child who wants a buddy to hang around with. As I explain elsewhere, consumption-based societies infantilize their members. Modern men and women are equally childlike in our egocentric individuality: we’re spoiled and bent on expressing ourselves at all costs, and so we eschew the notion that we’re obligated to fulfill a function on behalf of the species. What sort of liberated individual is nevertheless bound by an agreement with the genes, which he or she had no chance to sign and which is thus no respectable social contract? In fact, the reproductive instinct is a force of nature, not an imperative, because the biological process is inhuman and robotic. Thus, enlightened, modern individuals revolt against that biological role. Resisting the desire for sex itself, though, is almost impossible, so we fold sexuality into our modern myths of individualism, egoism, and consumerism.

      Sex is purely for “pleasure,” as one reader recently commented on my article, “Embarrassment by Sexual Ecstasy”; this is the infantilized hedonist’s view. The Earth may not be central to the universe, but each ego is central to its inner world of subjective opinions and values, and that ego has the right to be fed an endless supply of schlock for its entertainment; that’s what you do with babies, you feed them and distract them so they won’t annoy you with their outbursts. Sex is put on the same shelf that holds the rest of our material possessions, and we objectify our partner or construe him or her as a fellow ego, so that sex becomes a perverse sort of child’s play for so-called grown-ups. Such are the myths we spin and the knots into which we twist ourselves, to accommodate the absurd practice of sex, in the first place, with our modern, science-centered enlightenment.

      I agree, then, that modern life is complex, as you say, Marcus. But not all complexities are admirable. Mental disorders, for example, can be immensely convoluted. If you’re assuming I defend a conservative take on inequality between the sexes, though, you’re misreading me.

  3. I will direct my response to two words you used to displace my word "love" with your repressed words "with benefits," displacements and repressions that are "embarrassingly" Freudian by the way, in the second paragraph of your first of two lengthy replies. That word love like all language covers a universe of possibility which your opinions reduce to pitiful categories, pitiful in their reduction, their specification, and their limitation. You are like a blind man claiming his darkness is the color red or blue, and I am like a sighted man speaking of experiences--the colors, for example--that it is obvious you have never known or experienced. Your rants against sex are negative and from my reading of their repetitive diffuseness hammering "the absurd practice of sex," (stated immediately above in your second rant). I can say that my experience belies your conclusion; even if I were the only male on earth who experienced sex as joyous, off the charts wonderful, the incarnating of the spiritual in my body and the body of my woman, the dance of partnering and the communion of friendship, my exception to your rule would prove my point. To say that this joyous sensuality as the commingling of the material and the spiritual is infantilized, narcissistically individual, consumerist is not a quid pro quo. We are talking at cross-purposes: only you are claiming your experience intellectually, philosophically, historically, and psychologically applies to everyone, or at the very least is true. Your analysis does not apply to everyone. With pride I will admit my sexual experience is animalistic. What man has not taken exquisite pleasure in the power and force of his erections and what they hold out into space as promise, possibility, and futurity? Doesn't every erection connect us to our visceral, marvelous animal nature, our biological nature that shows us we are inseparable (except through our negativities and hyperintellectualized conceptualizations) from all life? I conclude with a categorical and experiential "no" to your hypothetical conclusion to the science fiction scenario where my man's mind is in a woman's body and that with that experience I would want friendship, companionship, partnering--with benefits. The "love" men and women want is fully equal with the other human experiences of connecting and not just an added benefit. Not everyone, female or male, is "into" sex or gets it, as your rants so aptly demonstrate. And that, Benjamin quite frankly is all your rants demonstrate. From my experience I have found that females are just as into sex as males, just as hungry, ravenous, and appreciative (notice the "animal" adjectives). Not all of them; 80% (my experience) are. So where does that leave us? At the only conclusion possible: my experience of sex and your experience of sex are very different.

    1. Marcus, I don’t know what you’re talking about regarding an alleged Freudian, repressive displacement of your use of the word “love.” I twice summarized what you said you wanted, the first time thusly: “Look at what you say you want as a modern man: love and companionship, sex and friendship.” The second time I alluded to the idiom “friend with benefits,” since that’s what individualistic, feminism-directed sexual love (eros rather than agape) comes down to.

      And that’s the point of my thought experiment. Just to be clear, the idea isn’t that *your* mind gets transferred, but that your partner’s does. That is, the scenario is that your romantic partner turns out to be a man’s mind implanted in a woman’s body. The point is that individualists who demand full personal equality between men and women (if not equality between their bodies) shouldn’t be interested in any remnant of masculinity or femininity. Thus, they should have no trouble falling in love with a mind from their gender that’s been placed in a body of the opposite gender. The reason you give supporting your “categorical No” doesn’t seem relevant. You say sex isn’t just an added benefit, but the sex would be the same because your biological heterosexuality would be taken care of: the man’s mind would be in a woman’s body. So far as I can tell, then, the thought experiment’s point stands.

      The egoism at the core of modern individualism is consistent not just with hyper-consumption-based infantilism, but with postmodern relativism. The logic would extend that of the ancient Greek skeptic, Protagoras, “Man is the measure of all things.” Replace “The individual” with “Man,” and you get not just relativism but solipsism and ultimately nihilism via an application of Wittgenstein’s private language argument. Just as there can be no private language, if language is functionally meant to regulate a group of users, so too there can be no private values, if values are likewise supposed to regulate individual behaviour in a group context (because there would be no moral imperatives for the last person on Earth).

      You instantiate that relativism with your stated conclusion: our writings only express our personal experiences, you say. Then comes the nihilism, the feminized, compromise-seeking reluctance to judge: our experiences are “different,” with neither being worse than the other. I see all of that as pretty problematic. At least, I argue for the objectivity of certain value judgments even in the context of atheistic, naturalistic philosophy. The judgments are aesthetic and they latch onto the difference between originality and cliché. Anyway, these are other problems with the individualism that’s at the core of modern sexuality.

    2. You say your romantic love is “joyous” and “spiritual.” I’m sure it feels that way to you and to the majority who have similar experiences. I don’t deny that that’s the commonplace experience. But if you want to talk Freud, one of the lessons of modern psychology is that what we say or do consciously doesn’t always align with our unconscious beliefs. We experience sex as joyous when we’re in the act, because at that time our biology shuts off our higher-order thinking and only the physical sensations are left (unless we’re bored by the experience and our minds wander). As for the attitude towards sex when we’re not in the middle of the sex act, those will be dictated not just by the prior sexual experiences but by the background of our worldview which frames our interpretations.

      Of course, if we commit to a life partner, we’re not going to dwell on hints of the horrors that underlie our most intimate moments with that partner. That sort of philosophical reflection would be an insult to the partner. Indeed, your comments’ aggressive tone and personal attacks indicate that you’re offended by my article. That’s understandable since sexual love is obviously an emotional matter. But my point is that emotions can indeed blind us or steer us into interpreting our experience this way rather than that one. You say I’m like a blind man, whereas you’re like a sighted one. But the more accurate analogy would be the neo-Kantian one: our concepts and philosophies filter our experience, so we’re both selectively sighted and blinded.

      The relevance of this is that what I call the beta person’s experience differs drastically from the alpha’s or the omega’s. Creative philosophy derives from alphas (power elites) and from prophetic omegas (social outsiders), both of whom stand outside the herd, affording them a synoptic view based on their detachment and ultimate alienation from the group and from objectified nature. (I write a lot about that elsewhere.) The subversive, pessimistic views on love and sex are esoteric in that they rest on outsider experience, which is the more philosophically revealing sort; as such, they’re not suited to the majority of optimistic followers and adherents to the myths, conventions, and noble lies that make up received, exoteric wisdom. What I’m saying is that while I agree our experiences likely differ, I think my outsider take lends itself to philosophical insights about love and sex, whereas someone who takes the latter for granted won’t be inclined to reflect on them at all, let alone put them in the context of the dark, cosmicist worldview that’s called for by science-centered naturalism.

      Without making this personal, I’d contend that the majority of betas who insist that their sexual love is joyous and spiritual will be tripped up as soon as they’re expected to treat that experience in a way that’s consistent with similar experiences, such as religious ones. Notice how American Christians love to parade their ecstatic relationship with Jesus. In their megachurches, they televise their tears of joy as they lift their hands to the heavens and cry out to God. Despite Jesus’ advice that they shouldn’t be quick to show off their religious experience, since that way lies hypocrisy, they have no compunction against doing so. So why would the majority be reluctant to film themselves in the joyous, spiritual sex act with their life partner and display it on TV or on the internet? I’m aware that the internet has drawn out the maximum number of exhibitionists who produce amateur porn, but they’re in the minority that proves the rule. Most people will say their sex life is joyous and spiritual, but their keeping that life secret indicates a darker, unconscious dynamic: shame, embarrassment, disgust, and delusion.

      You concede that animal reversion is involved in romantic love, but I don’t think you’ve reckoned with the implications that I spell out on this blog.

  4. I was a one time reader of Roosh's blog. At the time he was mostly writing off his own experience as a backpacker in South America. It was not particularly glamorous or coherent. I liked his simple deadpan writing style and his unapologetically brash traditionalist take on the dating game. It resonated with my own experience trawling the clubs of London in the noughties. There was a bite and honesty to it that I didn't see in other mainstream dating advice. Roosh's writing was existential and messy. He often didn't end up with the girl - but alone, masturbating to porn in his cheap favela room. It was prosaic. Forget about mainstream dating advice off the front page of Cosmo magazine - he even took the sheen off the whole PUA lifestyle that commericial companies by this time were already trying to photoshop, glitz and PC'ify - in a desperate bid to monetize.

    It does seem that with time the daily blogging and need to maintain his provocateur image took its toll. He became increasingly more ideological and repetitive. In short a bore. His caveman rants now are as predictable as the female moral majority reaction to them is petty, lacks nuance and is disingenuous. I think Roosh has lost his sincerity too. He seems to play to his notoriety with the gusto of a man who's livelihood depends on it.

    It is interesting that a phenomena (pick up artists) once considered silly and mildly interesting now incites intense passions and conflation with rape by women and men alike. I guess what was previously considered novel and faddish has now become a societal staple - marginal as it is. That is threatening for those who see it as the old-style patriarchy deceptively dressed in purple furry clothing.

    Modernism covers up animalistic coupling and a culture of rampant and understandable hedonism that accompanies the decline of familial prohibitions with the hopeful artifice of romance narratives. Roosh's retrogressive traditionalism unmasks it, but does so - in large part - to be provocative and therefore sounds empty and hollow itself. It is rather like creationists and anti-creationists battling each other. It makes for insipid debate.

    It seems to me that the alpha theory - itself a narrative semi-borrowed from ethology - has been overstretched and tortured to within an inch of its life. It is a fetishized collapsing of the sum of a man's failures and woman's imaginative desires - into a singular entity. I'm not saying that women do not like a confident man. But more that pairing is complex and ethological paradigms have limited explanatory power in a post-modern world. I'm saying that there are no biological paradigms who's salience modern society prefers to deny. Just that the claims that traditionalists are making of such paradigms being 'biological' or 'real' are often just socially produced 'golden age' meta-narratives. Selective memory and abstraction are involved in over-valorising of sexual dynamics of a limited number of 'traditional' societies e.g. Eastern Europe, Brazil etc.

    1. Thanks for the background on Roosh, Griseofulvin. Whether or not he means to be provocative, Roosh ends up making some interesting points. As you say, this is how daily blogging works; it's a hit-or-miss affair.

      I agree that biological paradigms can be reductive. When I speak of alphas or betas, though, I mean to be speaking only of the biological aspect of mating, which is clearly present. Indeed, I talk about what we do with alpha or omega status at the cultural level: sociopathic alphas become the models of gods and omegas become subversive artistic, prophetic visionaries who use their outsider status to see society in its objective glory.

      I doubt Roosh's comparison of women in different countries has scientific value. But I wouldn't be surprised if feminism has made more inroads in the US than in more traditional parts of Europe. Of course, the southern states in the US are likewise comparatively traditional (patriarchal).

  5. You seem to cover about ten topic, Ben? Playing rant bingo? Got 'Canada is boring' certainly scored off on the sheet!

    This Roosh guy...I don't think he hates women. It's like how I don't hate cows. I drink their excretions. I eat their meat. I clearly love cows and I think if pressed, Roosh would say he loves women as well. In much the same way. Like he loves vending machines. And he thinks feminism is mad cows desease.

    It must be strange to think of yourself in a species that only has men in it. Though he probably thinks of most men as simply competition (or as 'alphas' if he feels trying to beat them leads to mutally assured destruction). It's rather like experiencing what would happen if you transfered the brain of a cat to a human male body.

    But you're covering about ten topics, so how the hell do I know how to actually weigh in at all, eh? I don't.

    1. Thanks for weighing in anyway, Callan. I cover the topics that interest me, but I do so from what I hope is a unifying, coherent perspective.

      I suspect Roosh doesn't love women in general, but just the women he's successful in seducing. He berates overweight women, for example, so his standards are likely superficial.