A commenter writes:

“The next fifty years may be years of despair or enlightenment. We will have to wait and see.”

And WallStreetPlayboys tweeted:

“We can either fix it. Or watch it crumble. The USA still has the most innovative products so the brainpower is there. Just no collusion yet.”

I think both of these speak to the heart of the problem.  We have a visceral reaction to what we perceive as the mismanagement of an entire society, perhaps even extending to a global scale.

Take an issue such as feminism.  While its modern basis was a natural outgrowth of Enlightenment values, it has developed over the past 200 years into an increasingly anti-egalitarian, misandrist farce.  Whether this is a feature or a bug, remains to be seen.  It should be noted, ideologies can moderate and are not monolithic.  There are man-hating feminists, career-focused feminists, equal-rights feminists, choice-feminists, (there are also women who are not feminists).  However, there are realities to feminism’s continued prominence:

  1. Voting.  This chart speaks clearly enough. (click to enlarge)Male and Female Voters
  2. Consumer spending.  While there is an oft-reported “fact” that women control 80% of consumer spending, the truth remains in doubt.  This WSJ piece, however, still points out that anecdotally, there still may be some truth to the primacy of women in a consumer driven economy.  HBR also points out that this holds true globally.
  3. Lifespan development.  George Friedman makes the point in The Next Hundred Years, that while the primary task of a woman’s life prior to 1900 was child rearing (due to infant mortality rates, death in child birth, necessity of large families for agriculture), since the advent of industrialization, child rearing is merely a single task among many which a woman will pursue over her lifetime.  To paraphrase his analysis: “prior to 1900, from 15 to 45 a woman would be raising children, if she survived, she may spend the last 15 years of her life helping to raise her grandchildren.  Now, due to education, better healthcare, etc, a woman will spend between 5-10 years raising her children (2-3) between their birth and entry into the education system.  She will then reenter the workforce (if she ever left it), and work or be retired until 80.  Compared, what was once a woman’s primary task (2/3 or more of her adult life), is now at most 15% of her adult life (10 years / 80 – 15 adult lifespan).”
  4. Education.  More women than men are getting degrees.  Also, at least according to this article, more women than men read.  And I think reading is a key factor in changing your life. As Malcolm X says in his Autobiography:

 “I have often reflected upon the new vistas that reading opened to me. I knew right there in prison that reading had changed forever the course of my life. As I see it today, the ability to read awoke inside me some long dormant craving to be mentally alive. I certainly wasn’t seeking any degree, the way a college confers a status symbol upon its students.”

So, with apologies to James Brown, this isn’t exactly a man’s world, anymore.  And while this post wasn’t primarily intended to be a screed against feminism (I think I’ve given it a fair shake), the larger point is that even in this one issue, the tide has turned against traditionalists, and probably for the long term.  There are dozens more issues where progressives have won the day, or where traditionalists have ceded the field.

Which brings us back to the question, What is to be Done?

In my mind, there are probably three main courses of action: fight, flight, or adaptation.

  1. Fight.  This is probably the least successful, but most common reaction.  I think that the entire basis of Conservatism is the “fight response”, in which political means are used to overturn the existing paradigm.  However, it’s not working and likely won’t work.  The reason is simple: culture is in the driver’s seat, not politics.  To rephrase, the cart is sitting squarely in front of the horse.  One only needs to read the previous information to see that while Conservatism may have short-term victories through legislative change, the overall cultural shift has already been made.  And therefore, political action can only be used as a rear-guard to allow for strategic retreat and regrouping of cultural forces.  Even then, cultural change in a progressive direction is already baked-in to the very post-Reformation/Enlightenment values that go unquestioned by the vast majority of Conservatives.
  2. Flight.  Some may choose to call this the chickenshit response.  Ultimately, it is a losing proposition as well.  While individuals or even groups may withdraw from society in order to preserve their traditions, eventually the realities of the world come crashing in.  One needs only to look at the fate of Rome’s Patricians who withdrew as the barbarians encroached.  Similarly, today, a man seeking to find a more traditional woman may choose to venture to another country to raise a family.  Others choose to flee from their value system itself, while not fully accepting the culture’s values.  They may find themselves becoming nihilists or hedonists, seeking to only take care of themselves and their needs.  Or some groups seek to isolate themselves in cultural enclaves.  The Amish, Mormon, and White Nationalist responses to the problem will be able to operate successfully as long as the outside culture tolerates them.  Once tolerance fades, they will be forced to rapidly choose between fighting, succumbing, or adapting; (and they may not have the resources available to fight or adapt).

Adaptation

I think that ultimately this is the wisest decision a man can make.  But, it comes with a price: one must give up the urge to fight, to “retake society” (at least in the short and even medium terms); one must also give up the urge to flee, to “abandon the bastards to their fate”, because ultimately in a globalized world, there is (or will be) nowhere to run.  Therefore, we’ve got to adapt.  This does not mean that one gives up their values and joins the herd.  No.  This means engagement with society, realizing that though we can’t change the culture rapidly, we may be able to slowly temper its worse excesses and (most importantly) to be able to live lives we can be proud of.

 Lastly, the example of early Christians ought to be illuminating.  In the very beginning they were a tiny sect of a minority religion in an unimportant province of the Roman Empire.  Within a few years, they had acquired a Roman citizen (no small feat) in the personage of Paul who then spread the religion throughout the Empire.  Now large enough to suffer persecution, their numbers continued to grow.  By 313, Constantine I had issued the Edict of Milan, legalizing Christian worship.  From the reign of Nero to the reign of Constantine I is a mere 245 years.  This is not much longer than the period separating us from the Declaration of Independence.

Here’s how I see adaptation working out, on a personal level:

  1. Understanding (pt 1).  First a man must figure out what he stands for.  For some this will be harder than others.  Those who are religious may be able to look to a long-standing tradition; those who aren’t will have to develop a set of values.
  2. Understanding (pt 2).  After (or while) figuring out what values he holds, we’ve got to figure out what society believes, where those values come from, and how much those values conflict with our own.
  3. Growth.  Once a baseline set of values are established, we’ve got to work on ourselves.  This isn’t some call to “Man Up” by those who would seek to use you.  This is a call to re/make yourself into the best possible you that you can be.  The primary areas here are Ben Franklin’s “healthy, wealthy, and wise”.
  4. Conversion.  This step is the giving back stage.  It’s not “fighting” the culture, it’s subverting it.  By spreading the ideas you’ve discovered, communicating your values, and ultimately helping other men grow as men, you’ll neither be fleeing or fixing society, but as Jack Donovan says, you’ll be “starting the world”.

So, there is hope, there is despair, there will be darkness and there will be Enlightenment.  How we react is a matter of personal choice. I know what I’m doing, do you?

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