Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Service Announcement.

Just a brief note to my readers that I will be not posting for the next five weeks, as I'm off to "the home of the brave and the land of the free."

I'd like to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a safe and prosperous New Year.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Romantic Adultery

One of the curious feature of our decarnalised view of romantic love is that its intellectual underpinning permits a lot of moral evil to fly under the radar. One of the themes raised in Dalrock’s post, concerned the subject of porn. In the movie, Fireproof; one of the justifications that the “heroine” uses to leave her husband is because of his consumption of it. The movie presents her grievance in a sympathetic and justified light and several commentators on Dalrock’s blog felt that this position was both unjust, and that divorce was a disproportionate response in any case. As commentator Grerp put it:
I don’t like porn. It’s dehumanizing, and the industry grinds already broken people up for its own profit. But it sounds like Caleb was only dabbling in it – which is worthy of a trip to the confessional, rather than divorce court. Clearly Katherine was dissatisfied with the bargain she’d made and wanted a “Christian” excuse to get out. Porn use was it.
It’s the “Christian excuse” part of the comment that warrants further elaboration. I think that Grerp’s comment is rather perceptive in that in that many Christians equate porn to a type of adultery.  I imagine it all harks back to the biblical view that looking at a woman with “lust in your heart” is equivalent to adultery and therefore suitable grounds for divorce.

In my post, Anaemia, I argued that traditional Christianity had decarnalised sex, and I imagine that part of porn’s opprobrium is due to the fact that it is inherently and explicitly “fleshy”, It’s not about plot, it’s not about feelings, it’s all about the sex. Porn is all about “carnality”  But what’s really interesting is that this “decarnalised” view of sexuality raises a curious dichotomy.

Theses comment from Grerp:
The thing that annoys me about these sorts of narratives[Ed:Fireproof] is that they are crafted in such a way that it is hard to make a specific judgment because the info isn’t there, but they stand in for a reality that would not be hard to judge. So we don’t really know much about Caleb’s porn habits, and it appears that Katherine didn’t actually sleep with the doctor. But IRL she probably would have slept with him and we would know what Caleb’s real proclivities are. In a similar way, Harlequin romances are chock – absolutely CHOCK – full of single mothers who aren’t single mothers. Or aren’t single mothers of their own doing. They’re the aunts who’ve suddenly inherited children and are trying to do the right thing or widows whose husbands have suddenly died. Or they had to get divorced because he became a raging monster/drug dealer overnight, etc. This sort of narrative allows readers who might disapprove of single motherhood to still enjoy reading the rescue of a single mother by a handsome, well-funded hero who’s always wanted to be a father. Read enough of these things and you start thinking that all women are mere victims of circumstance. And from there it’s only a short leap to believing that they all have a right to be rescued. (To be fair, within the genre, this is changing somewhat. Now you have single mothers who are choosing to be single mothers, whether by sperm bank or ONS, because they are *independent women who can take care of themselves* but who might still like to have a white knight take care of some of the peskier problems of life. Fully entitled to the rescue that’s not a “rescue,” though.)
Another thing I’ve noticed about romance novels that is still more troubling is that the female characters in them have become more realistic – older, fatter, more career oriented, sexually experienced – while the male characters have become hyper masculine. This Batman-obsessively-pursuing-Liz-Lemon narrative is obviously total wish fulfillment (read: delusion) on the part of female romance readers.
My reply to Grerp:
Isn’t a Harlequin novel a female version of porn? I mean for most guys porn is a fantasy, but so are romantic novels for women. The whole idea of the romantic novel is to get the female reader to identify with the heroine and have a bit of fantasy adultery. True, that female porn places far less emphasis on those “yucky” anatomical bits and much more emphasis on “feelings”, but in the end both partners consummate their affections as assuredly as Linda Lovelace did with her lovers. Both “art forms” have fantasy adultery as their end point.
The question is why does our society look down with opprobrium on men who look at porn but at the same time not give a second thought to women churning through the Mills and Boon? It appears that as long as artistic depictions of adultery don’t involve any genital display, then its O.K.
Most religious folk, myself included, will intuitively recognise porn consumption as a moral wrong, and it still attracts a degree of opprobrium from non-religious polite society, but why is there no condemnation of decarnalised fantasy adultery?  Porn, being so overt, is easily recognised as a moral evil, The problem is, that a lot of poison can fly under the radar if its not recognised as such and because romantic love is desexualised some of the more pernicious effects of the romantic novel are not recognised.  To quote commentator Grerp:
My view is that there isn’t anything wrong, intrinsically, with a love story. People have been telling, and hearing, and reading love stories for thousands of years, and readers who read them aren’t wanting to commit adultery any more than people who play video games really want to kill someone. The problem is that a steady diet of even the “clean” romances will set you up with overly high expectations regarding relationships between men and women. The fact that romance novels have become more ubiquitous and regularly read indicates that something is wrong between the sexes and that women are getting their emotional needs met outside of human interaction.
I think she has a very good point. Just as porn seems to influence sexual expectations, so does the romantic novel influence the female expectations of a relationship, and yet our society seems relatively indifferent it.

In Fireproof, the disaffected spouse forms a close relationship with a doctor, something which is portrayed in a sympathetic light by its Christian producers. But as commentator Brendan noted:
Men don’t want to meet the women in porn, they don’t want to have affairs with them or with other women. Porn is an aid to masturbation for men. I’m not a big fan of it myself, but it isn’t at all like flirting with a real life person of the opposite sex in a romantic/sexual/emotional way. The latter doesn’t always lead to affairs, but is pretty much always the gateway to an affair. It is treading on thin ice, and in the case if you fall through it isn’t “virtual adultery” or “lusting in the heart” — it’s good, old fashioned “fucking someone else” adultery. Porn viewing, by contrast, does not lead to adultery. Now, if Caleb were perusing personals sites, or Ashley Madison, or Craigslist or something like that, it would be comparable to what Katherine was doing. Viewing porn for masturbation purposes is not — it’s sinful, but a sin of a very different order than the kind of sin that is the natural gateway to real, physical adultery.
And that’s what I think is curious. Why is overt fantasy sexuality viewed as an obvious evil whilst real intimate(non-sexual) friendship with another member of the opposite sex whilst married, not? I think it’s because we’ve so stripped our feelings from our sexual natures, through ascetic decaranalisation, that we believe that intimate friendships in with the opposite sex are completely possible without a sexual element eventually making its way into the picture. Romantic love is ultimately completed in sexual union, and the decarnalised view of romantic love so downplays the sexual component of it that it causes people to adopt the heuristic of thinking of sex and love as two separate things. Therefore it's perfectly understandable how “Christian” producers could portray our heroine as doing nothing wrong even though she has exposed herself to the real possibility “old fashioned” adultery. Whilst her husband is considered adulterous by looking at fantasy images.

You can’t make this stuff up.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

The Elementary Forces.

Dalrock recently put up another thought provoking post. He gives a commentary on a truly awful film, Fireproof. The film is about the breakdown of a marriage and its story is typical of many marriages. You can go over to his site and read about the details of the movie and his commentary, but I thought it would be worthwhile to make a few comments of my own, especially on the subject of love.

A while ago I wrote a post on the subject of "parasitic lovers". It appears to me that a lot of marriages today are an arrangement of mutual benefit between two parasites ; each staying in a relationship only as long as they are a recipient of some benefit from the host. As soon as the host stops providing the benefit they move on. Another name which I've seen to describe the phenomenon is "Hedonic Marriage".

"Hedonic Marriage " really should be seen as a "fruit" of the modern culture and it is the end consequence of viewing marriage as a sort of "contract"; an exchange of goods. I suppose it is the natural consequence of the "Me" society; a view which places the happiness of the individual above else, even above the happiness of those about them. It's inevitable that in such a culture its constituents will want to emphasise their rights whilst dismissing their obligations. It is the underlying motive behind social atomisation.

Symbiotic love, on the other hand, recognises that's its own well being is contingent upon the well being of the host. Even at its basest level, the recipient of the host's benefits recognises that if they wish to continue receiving them, they've got to ensure the well being of the host. Unlike parasitic love, it is the love that binds.

Friday, December 02, 2011

Conservative Tectonics.

I get the impression that I'm persona non grata at several traditionalist websites. I can understand their position as many of my comments are decidedly nontraditional. As I've argued before, in previous posts, part of the problem with current modern predicament is traditionalism, which paradoxically provides the "life force" for leftist ideas.  For example, the traditionalist idea of creating a social structure which subordinates women to exclusive domesticity innervates the feminist movement by reaction.  Happy women, like happy workers, are not militant except by injustice; and societal structures which rub against human nature are ultimately percieved as oppressive. Sure, there are individuals who are objectively evil and wish to destroy what is good, but evil ideas, much like weeds, can only grow in the fertile soil of discontent.

My contention, and that of G.K. Chesterton and Whittaker Chambers, is that traditional society, whilst good overall, had several "structural anomalies" which produced profound discontent. It's also my contention that traditional western society could have survived intact (albeit in different form) had it changed in a way that accommodated those pressures without compromising the foundations upon which it was built. The problem was that it didn't, and it created the pressure cooker situations from which radicalism emerged.  Of course, traditionalists deny this; attributing to outright malice the motives of their opponents. This has the dual convenience of entrenching their own sense of moral superiority and permits the avoidance of any self reflection as to their own part in the state of affairs.

Therefore the traditionalist is always always harking to reset the system to "initial conditions". The problem is that initial conditions generate the same pressures that radicalised society in the first place, and thus the seeds of revolution are re-energised again. Tradition is the midwife of modern radicalism.

And I think this is why conservatism has failed in the 20th Century; it's failed because it's hitched it's star to traditionalism. I mean, what Negro would want to go back to traditional society? What intelligent woman would? Or even your average worker? How many of them would want to return to peon's existence that was the lot of the worker in early industrial capitalism? Is it any surprise that the main advocates of traditionalism are reasonably prosperous white males?

Practical,  that is political Conservatism, has realised that a return to initial conditions is political suicide and hence has to accommodate the wishes of the electorate. The net result is that modern political conservatism gradually morphs into liberalism by incorporating many of liberalism's ideas as a matter of political expediency.  Indeed, today's conservatism would be regard as leftist radicalism by the conservatives of a century ago.  The question is, why does it morph liberal?

It's my contention that modern liberalism is the only "new ideas" generator out there at the moment. The problem is, because of the liberalism's intellectual underpinnings, it's highly likely the solutions proffered by it  a likely to wrong.  Conservatism, strongly influenced by traditionalism, doesn't generate new ideas because all the "solutions" were worked out years ago by our forefathers. There's no need for any new thinking as all the thinking has been done for us before; it's a question of defending. Conservatism is always on the back foot.

But it's worse than that. Because people don't want to return to "initial conditions" traditional conservatism becomes an exercise in defensive irrelevance. Russell Kirk may have been admired and read amongst thinking conservatives but no one else cares.  From James Kalb's recent essay:
The canonical writers weren’t much help even among conservatives. Kirk’s romantic Burkeanism never had many adherents. Weaver and Voegelin, from most people’s perspective, were off in an ivory tower. And favoring the free market over socialism has gotten some traction, but it’s not enough for an overall conservative movement.
Now, I've had philosophic differences with Mr Kalb,  and I think I'm "on the nose" with him, but being a  man of ideas and not personalities, I've got to applaud him for his this essay: Liberal Values and the Seduction of the American Right. It appears that Mr Kalb has had a shift in his thinking, and it's a shift in the right direction. Commenting on the failure of Conservatism:
We’re in a political hole because we’re in an intellectual hole. If the problem is what people think makes sense, then we have to change or at least challenge accepted understandings in a very fundamental way.
So much for the good. With respect to the true, it’s evident that we need the concept of transcendence, of something that exceeds what we can say or know. The point of talking about truth is that what we say about almost anything is certainly incomplete and might be altogether wrong. That shows we need “truth” as a higher point of reference. It’s an ideal standard that we can’t altogether attain, but can’t do without.
Our debate with the liberals is not over preference choices, rather, the conservative  understanding of reality implies that certain things are, or are not, in accordance with the "truth" of reality: Things are either right or wrong. Truth is the idee fixe of the Conservative, tradition is the idee fixe of the Traditionalist. Now, it's true that there may be truth in tradition, and the Conservative is happy to embrace tradition where it is true,  but where tradition is in error the conservative will ditch tradition.  Of course, by framing conservatism as traditionalism, this immediately pushes him outside of the conservative fold. Both the Left and the Right hate him.

The task then, for the modern conservative, is to look at history and ask, "Where did it go wrong"? "How can we change without compromising our core principles"? Even more importantly; What are our blindspots?" The most effective attack is the one that is not foreseen.

The fundamental error of thinking conservatism has been its assumption of the infallibility of tradition. This is the intellectual hole which conservatism has fallen in to and has effectively rendered it irrelevant. This is why any "Right Renaissance" is not going to occur within the mainstream right but rather outside it. It won't be the academy but the in the blogosphere where the right is reborn. This is not because I'm some technological junkie, rather because the internet provides a forum where all the "odballs" can debate and thrash the ideas out. Orthodox conservatism permits no such discussion. To quote Curtis Le May, speaking of American military culture in Fifties and Sixties:
We must-but do not-have a defense organization which permits controversy, which permits the "unthinkable" condition to be debated freely, which permits the screwball idea to come forth, and which tolerates the maverick officer. The Andrew Jacksons, the Zachary Taylors, the Ulysses S. Grants, the George Deweys, the Alfred Thayer Mahans, the Billy Mitchells, are not nurtured in orthodoxy. They are not products of a party line. And we have not infrequently called on them to save our shirts.
(Curtis Le May, America is in Danger. )

It is only after the traditionalists have been nearly ground into the dust that their prodigal sons will come back to save them.

Sunday, November 27, 2011



Christianity gave Eros poison to drink: he did not die of it but degenerated - into vice.

A commentator on my previous post made the following remark. 
At least to this social conservative, you're going to have to work harder to sell the idea that hypergamy, as it is generally expressed, is not a vice. Here's a piece I wish I'd written, that does a splendid job of pointing out the trouble with 'alpha' behavior. I cannot believe that it is right and proper for women to select for that. It strikes me as something akin to men fetishizing breasts to the point of liking implants - it's a particularly unnatural and dangerous form of superficiality. If that is what it is, not only should it not be pandered to; it should be denounced left and right as the character defect, the symptom of the Fall, that it is.
The commentator links to a website which gives a good critical assessment of "Bad Boy" alpha-behaviour. From the link:
Who can provide for and defend the community. That is the one and only thing that will matter to anyone. For the men, they need to know that their fellow survivors can count on them to fight should the need arise. For the women, they need to know that the men they're now relying on can defend them. In today's world, the ability to provide is not valued at all; men that can provide for a family are a dime a dozen in the eyes of, well, everyone. There is no need, it's implied, for the providers anymore. What there is a need (nay, a desire) for are men that really can't provide, but can only push all the right buttons.
The "jerk" is merely a man that says and does the right things that make a woman attracted to him. What is interpreted as "jerk behavior" is really a casual disregard for the opinions of others, a willingness to do what one wants, and a lack of fear when saying what's on one's mind. This comes across as "strong, capable provider", but women can be much more easily deceived than men in this respect: beauty is harder to change than behavior. Whereas a woman can easily attract a man with her beauty, a man must use his personality and charisma to attract a woman. Women, however, can be fooled into thinking a man is an Alpha when he is nothing more than a jobless tool because what attracts them is not based on appearances, but on actions. A man may change his behavior to hide who he really is, but to the worldly woman this is undetectable and irrelevant: "he just feels right."
I think what horrifies many Social Conservatives with regard to Game is that it would appear to advocate behaviours which are immoral, corrupting and exploitative. Furthermore, the sight of a nice young girl throwing herself with abandon and at "bad boy" whilst a "nice boy" is ignored intuitively strikes them as wrong. Social Conservatives operate within a moral universe where virtue should be rewarded and vice punished, and to them there seems to be something perversely wrong with a young girl physically giving herself to a man with attributes which seem so totally contrary to the Christian teaching and even prudent common sense. The SoCon intuits that there is something wrong with this picture, and indeed there is, but his intellectual foundations preclude him from coming to an accurate diagnosis. Their only explanation seems to be that the girl was either manipulated or that she lacked moral agency. Game then, is seen as a manipulative technique or something that works on women who aren't quite right; for example, women with low self esteem.

 And then there is this:
Hello everyone, i have been married to my husband just over a year but we have been together for around about six years. I love my husband a lot and care for him so much. But unfortunately when we get intimate i am not turned on or even want to have sex. We used to be so passionate and the sex has been fantastic! But the last half year has just suddenly fizzled. And when we discuss it, it's obvious it's not him but me. We find it hard to talk about, as he is normally really upset about it so we normally just ignore the issue. My husband is 10 years older than me, i am in my mid 20's. He is very handsome, intelligent and very loyal to me, so i am not sure why this is happening. I am not at all interested in other men or sex with anyone else. My libido must be so low! I have been hanging around my uni friends (females) a lot more than usual and going out (as we are all graduating), but this is not because i want to meet anyone but more because i just want to get out and away from the situation. Any advice or help or discussion would be very much appreciated as i feel really lost at the moment.
This is not an atypical case, and a cursory search of the internet will find many similar stories. In fact, one of the more common problems seen in General Practice (Family medicine) is that of the woman who presents because of a low libido,  and who feels guilty about it. These women have husbands who are hard working, loyal and treat them well, They want to be able to sexually satisfy and feel a  desire for them and don't know why they can't. They are not hoping to hop onto the carousel, rather, what they want is for their sex drive to return to normal.

Now, it's quite true that in some cases circumstantial stressors such as  financial difficulties, young children, illness, etc. can be contributory factors towards a diminished libido, however in many instances no cause is found. (In my experience, biochemical factors are rarely at play).  On the other hand, how do you explain this?
I can completely relate to everyone who says that they aren't attracted to their husband anymore. I am in the same boat, except for I have no reason except for something inside me, to not be attracted to my husband. He is great he sends me flowers, writes me love notes, talks to me all day while we work, we are true soul mates in every way, he is a great husband & father, but for some reason when it comes to intimacy I just don't want it with him.  I know I have what it seems to me is the perfect husband and I'm not attracted to him, he hasn't let himself go we are best friends and do everything together, so I'm not quite sure what is happening. I know it's me, their isn't anything wrong with my sex drive because I want to have sex just not with him and I can't figure it out.
I've been having feelings towards another man I work with, nothing has happened becuz I can't cheat on my husband but it makes me wonder why I have sexual feelings for someone else other than my husband, I wonder what I'm missing from my marriage to see it in someone else.
Now, if there were an organic cause to this lady's problem then there should be a universal reduction in libido, instead, what we find is a specific reduction which is directed toward her husband but not toward other men. Note too, that the woman is herself totally perplexed by this state of affairs; she has no insight into her condition and does not want to ride the carousel. (Note to MRA advocates, the women here aren't consciously lying). Why is she--despite wanting to--not attracted to her romantically perfect husband and yet is still attracted to other men?

The terminology of love has been mangled quite a bit so what I want to make some clear definitions.

Conjugal love: The romantic and sexual love for a member of the opposite sex.

Eros: Contemporary use of term has sexual connotations, but here I'm using it in the philosophical sense where Eros referred to a type of love where the lover both wanted union and took delight in the object of his affections.  Unlike our modern usage of it, Eros was a type of love that could apply to non-sexual matters. For example, Plato felt that the love of philosophy was erotic since the philosopher both desired knowledge and took delight in it. The important aspect of the concept here is that Eros recognises  and delights in the inner beauty of the object comprehended. From the Wiki Link above:

Ultimately, Plato considers Eros to be a longing for wholeness or completeness, a daemon whose aim is to reach wisdom without ever owning her. In that sense Eros is synonymous with philosophy, which literally means the love or desire of wisdom. And since wisdom is the greatest of virtues, Eros is therefore the desire for the greatest of goods. However, it is important to note that for Plato, the object of love does not necessarily have to be physically beautiful. In fact the greatest of goods will be eternal, and physical beauty is in no way eternal. If he achieves possession of the beloved's inner beauty and goodness, the lover's need for happiness will be fulfilled, because happiness is the experience of knowing that you are participating in the Good.
The conceptually broad nature of Eros doesn't really help us when it comes to conjugal love. Since conjugal love deals with a particular type of Eros; an Eros directed towards a specific person which is meant to ultimately result in a physical sexual fleshy consummation.  C.S. Lewis, in his "The Four Loves", describes this love as erotic(conjugal) love as being comprised of both Eros and Venus  (the sexual appetite). I think a far better description of it would be to describe Erotic love as being composed of both Eros and Libido.

Now Libido needs to be understood as the sexual appetite: the desire to have sex. It is an appetite who's origin is in our biology; our flesh. It is an involuntary subconscious physiological response to the appropriate stimuli. To put it crudely, given the appropriate signals, it's what makes us horny.

Therefore: Conjugal Love= Eros + Libido.

To understand what is fundamentally wrong with the romantic conception of love, and how it injures conjugal love, it needs to be recognised that our modern conception of it has been strongly influenced by the ascetic religious traditions of the West. A tradition which denigrated the sinful nature of the body whilst elevating the spiritual nature of it. The Pagan and Christian ascetics were constantly warring against the flesh, seeing it as an impediment to sanctity, and many of them wanted to deny it its legitimacy. Fasting, flagellation and chastity were considered signs of an elevated spiritual nature, and over time, an association between goodness and bodily denial permeated into high western culture and our traditional conception of romantic love was formed. Romantic love is Sexual Love stripped of Libido: it's all Eros, in the philosophical sense.  To quote C.S. Lewis again:

It has been widely held in the past, and is perhaps held by many unsophisticated people to-day, that the spiritual danger of Eros arises almost entirely from the carnal element within it; that Eros is " noblest " or " purest " when Venus[Libido:Ed] is reduced to the minimum The older moral theologians certainly seem to have thought that the danger we chiefly had to guard against in marriage was that of a soul-destroying surrender to the senses. It will be noticed, however, that this is not the Scriptural approach. St. Paul, dissuading his converts from marriage, says nothing about that side of the matter except to discourage prolonged abstinence from Venus (I Cor. vii,5)
C.S. Lewis. The Four Loves.

This is what Nietzsche meant by his comment. He recognised that ascetic Christianity hadn't killed Eros(Conjugal love) completely, rather the sexual element of it, Libido, was turned into a vice. What was considered legitimate by the ascetics was an anaemic version of conjugal love: Romantic love. It was lots of "contemplation" of the other's beauty with hardly any legitimate sexual desire.  Legitimate love was something far less fleshy and far more platonic. And the whole subject of sexual desire was consigned to the filthy habits of the morally corrupt and was not a subject worthy of serious thought. And so whilst the West was well aquainted with vice it was rather ignorant of libido especially the female component as the feminine was considered higher and more pure than the masculine. Traditionalists use this conceptual framework when it comes to approaching sexual relationship matters.

Take the following situation. Our nice Taylor Swift girl-next-door is standing next to Tommy the thug and is feeling a fire in her loins. She knows that he is not good for her yet she is incredibly attracted to him. She knows he is bad but doesn't know why he makes her feel really, really good. She doesn't register that her attraction to him is not a choice but a physiological response: It is flesh speaking to spirit. A battle ensures between her reason which knows Tommy is bad, and her flesh, which knows Tommy is good. If the Rationalisation Hamster is strong, within a few minutes, Tommy has his hand up Taylor's skirt.

Taylor's in heaven; it's her five minutes of alpha.

Pushing aside the moral considerations of the act, Taylor's actions mystify the Tradtionalists. Tommy is clearly not a good friend to Taylor, and his abusive behaviour in no way follows the romantic script. Two seconds of rational calculation will show that Tommy is not interested in any long term relationship, so why is Taylor apparently acting against her own self interest? Taylor's actions are a mystery to them. Their only explanation is that Taylor either lacks moral agency( low self esteem, low IQ, depressed, intoxicated, etc) or is morally deficient.  The are so invested in their delegtimisation of libido that it never occurs to them to consider that libidinous aspect of Taylor's actions, so invested are they in their romantic model.

The problem with the ascetic romantic conception of love is that it's premised on the fact that consummation will occur given sufficient platonic contemplation by the lovers and the importance of sexual characteristics and behaviour as a prelude to consummation are dismissed. An understanding of what it takes to get  "horny" or even conjugally interested,  is effectively discouraged as a subject of polite conversation. The net result of this cultural practice is that Western society cannot rationally assess female sexuality preferring to work with a conceptual model that ignores the reality of female sexual desire. Now this is is the mainstream Kool Aid that is sold to young men through the media  and through the Conservative religious institutions. The meme traps timid guys into thinking that it gives them a chance with a woman without needing to display some overt masculine qualities, whilst religious guys who have a pair, "are struggling to behave like nice gentlemen" on the advice of their religious leaders. It's a double poison since it stops the beta male from "alpha-ing" up and emasculates the religious guy who is naturally alpha. The winners are the rakes. The losers are the good guys and the women.

Furthermore, operating within the frame of romantic love automatically subverts the woman's libido by making the man a supplicant of her affections. Sure, a woman may be quite flattered by all the romantic attention she is getting, but after a while the libido kicks in and the desire for a man emerges. Romantic love subverts the natural power dynamic which fires a woman's libido as the man is told he must be supplicant to gain her affections; she gets to be in charge. Contrary to Christian teaching, she has assumed headship of the man. You can't make this stuff up.

The fact that women get hot and horny for alpha males is not because of any deficiency in moral reasoning, it's because their libido's  are "wired up" that way. The strongly arousing feelings of attraction are not an aberrations but are a pre-determined physiological response.  Now, when "Gamers" say that "attraction is not a choice" they are basically asserting two millenia of Christian teaching on the subject of appetite:
It means the inclination of a thing to that which is in accord with its nature, without any knowledge of the reason why such a thing is appetible.[ED] This tendency originates immediately in the nature of each being, and remotely in God, the author of that nature (Quæst. disp., De veritate, Q. xxv, art. 1). The appetitus elicitus follows knowledge. Knowledge is the possession by the mind of an object in its ideal form, whereas appetite is the tendency towards the thing thus known, but considered in its objective reality (Quæst. disp., De veritate, Q. xxii, a. 10). 
Libido is the sexual appetite. What this passage implies is that God himself has implanted the hypergamous nature of a woman's libido. This does not mean that God permits adultery or fornication, rather, their sexual response is designed to be elicited in the presence of alpha behaviour. No alpha, no libido it's as simple as that. Blaming women for being sexually attracted to bad boys is just like feminists blaming men for being attracted to beautiful feminine women.

This is what I think horrifies the SoCons and the Feminists; in that the flesh is indifferent to their own conceptions of virtue. Now it's one thing to say that the appetites need to be controlled, but it's another thing to deny the appetites the legitimacy of their natures. SoCons think that their is something wrong with a woman who starts feeling sexual around a bad boy ( I used to think the same), the problem here is that SoCon's conflate moral beauty with sexual beauty. The problem with the girl who runs off with the bad boy is not the nature of her sexual desire, but in her self control; she is imprudent. Being attracted to him is not wrong, it just is. Running away with him is the wrong thing to do from a moral point of view, but it's perfectly understandable from a sexual gratification one.

Biology is not destiny (Something SoCons seem to forget) and human beings can exercise control over themselves.  Whilst attraction is not a choice, choosing whether to follow through on the impulse is. What makes the woman a good Christian is that she resists her desires, not that she has them.  But what also needs to be remembered is that the Good Christian woman can't will her desire ex nihilo in the absence of a hypergamous mate, and the sexual anaemia of many marriages is due to too much romance and not enough hypergamy.

But the other issue that doesn't get far enough mention in the manosphere is just how much happier women are when they are in a hypergamous relationship. Women who were cranky and miserable are suddenly much more fun to be around with. The beneficiaries of "Game" aren't just men.

The task then for today's Christian thinkers is how to incorporate the insights of hypergamy within the context biblical marriage. The SoCons will say that can't be done and they point to the hedonism of many of many of Games practitioners. I think commentator Thursday was absolutely correct in his view that many of Game's critics are "associationist" thinkers; conflating the lifestyle with the knowledge. These would have been the same people who would have denied Plato and Aristotle any influence in Christian thought since they were Pagans. Men like Keoni Galt and Dalrock have shown that it is possible to be hypergamous whilst remaining in a stable marriage with benefits for both parties.

(Hat tip to Robert Brockman II who directed me to the artist, Alex Gray, who painted the image.
Here is a NSFW image which I think is highly pertinent to our discussion. Yeah, I know it's New Age but it helps with the conceptualisation.)

Monday, November 21, 2011

A Few Points.

This is a religious post, so whilst I'd encourage my atheist readers to have a look at it, I can understand them if they don't.

I  felt that I should clarify a point with regard to my last point. Unlike Dalrock, I don't believe that there is a collusion between Feminists and Social Conservatives. People need to understand that the two movements are, at their core, fundamentally opposed to each other. I personally think that the claims about  Social Conservationism deliberately assisting Feminism are wrong. Rather, the traditional mainstream conception of femininity is synergistic with Feminist conception of it. Indeed, the more I think about it, the ascetic romantic conceptions of Gender may have laid the groundwork for feminism. Gender is rooted in biology, not spirit, and hence any weakening of the legitimacy of biology strengthens an ascetic conception of it. 

The reason I wanted to make this comment is because I'm Catholic and pro-Christian, and many of the manosphere crowd are profoundly hostile to both, and I want to clearly disassociate myself from them. In identifying a weak point in mainstream Christianity I hope to assist it, not destroy it which does not seem to be the case with a large portion of the manosphere, who seem to feel that some sort of western renaissance can occur without the foundation stone of European Culture: Christianity.

Some commentators have (on other sites) have accused me of painting a caricature of Western tradition.
I suppose Benedict's Encyclical Deus Caritas Est, should be mentioned here;
This is due first and foremost to the fact that man is a being made up of body and soul. Man is truly himself when his body and soul are intimately united; the challenge of eros can be said to be truly overcome when this unification is achieved. Should he aspire to be pure spirit and to reject the flesh as pertaining to his animal nature alone, then spirit and body would both lose their dignity. On the other hand, should he deny the spirit and consider matter, the body, as the only reality, he would likewise lose his greatness. The epicure Gassendi used to offer Descartes the humorous greeting: “O Soul!” And Descartes would reply: “O Flesh!”.[3] Yet it is neither the spirit alone nor the body alone that loves: it is man, the person, a unified creature composed of body and soul, who loves. Only when both dimensions are truly united, does man attain his full stature. Only thus is love —eros—able to mature and attain its authentic grandeur.

Nowadays Christianity of the past is often criticized as having been opposed to the body; and it is quite true that tendencies of this sort have always existed [ED]. Yet the contemporary way of exalting the body is deceptive. Eros, reduced to pure “sex”, has become a commodity, a mere “thing” to be bought and sold, or rather, man himself becomes a commodity. This is hardly man's great “yes” to the body. On the contrary, he now considers his body and his sexuality as the purely material part of himself, to be used and exploited at will. Nor does he see it as an arena for the exercise of his freedom, but as a mere object that he attempts, as he pleases, to make both enjoyable and harmless. Here we are actually dealing with a debasement of the human body: no longer is it integrated into our overall existential freedom; no longer is it a vital expression of our whole being, but it is more or less relegated to the purely biological sphere.
Benedict here acknowledges the existence of anti-corporeal tendencies in the Christianity (I presume here he means all of Christianity. Catholicism had its puritanical elements as well as the Protestant and Eastern Orthodox religions). So, I suppose my fellow Catholics who feel I'm being revisionist with regard to the Church may want to take the matter up with the Pope. The impression I get, from a historical perspective, is that the Catholic Church has been trying to re-emphasise the legitimacy of the body recently. JP II was particularly active in that regard.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

The Feminist in Every Social Conservative.

Dalrock has recently put up a post (with a very interesting comment thread) which I feel should be commented on.

Many commentators have noted the synergy between social conservatism and feminism.  To quote Dalrock
The underlying feeling is;  who cares, so long as they man up and marry these women once they are done riding the carousel.  It turns out however that the men themselves very much do care.  This is an extremely long time we are expecting men to go before marrying.  During this time we have the unspoken expectation that they will work their tails off to be ready to act as a provider while not getting too used to being single.  Each decade we have pushed the envelope a little further, and we expect each new generation of men to simply suck it up a little more and fill in the gaps.  One can argue that they should have beat another man to the punch and married one of the small number of chaste young submissive women who were looking to marry.  But this is just shuffling the deck chairs around.  At the end of the day this will only determine which men marry in their early to mid 20s and which ones are forced to wait it out;  the overall numbers won’t change because the change is being driven by the choices of women, not men.
Social Conservatives and Feminists have been pretty happy with this deal for the last 40 years.  What could possibly go wrong?

To be fair to the Social Conservatives, I don't think any of them supported the feminist project and its hedonic imperatives, and many of them, if given a choice, would turn the clock back to a traditionalist conception of society. In other words, a society which contained the pre-conditions for militant feminism. What traditionalist's fail to understand, is that traditional society had it's inherent structural problems and it was these problems which gave birth to feminism. (But more on that later)

Although ostensibly, they are two totally opposed movements, Feminism and Social Conservatism both share a commonality which many fail to grasp. Both movements have a warped view of female sexuality; a warped view which ensures a synergy between the two streams of thought. Both feminism and social conservatism share an effectively similar conceptual understanding of woman which ignores her "flesh"; both are in essence ascetic movements.

The first thing that needs to be affirmed is that HYPERGAMY IS NOT A VICE, rather, it is the NATRUAL ORDER OF FEMALE SEXUAL DESIRE.  Now hypergamy needs to be understood as not only as "mating up" in terms of resources and social status, but also as including mating with a sexually attractive mate. As Lady Hillingdon demonstrated, all the social and material resources in the world don't matter if a man lacks the carnal nature of hypergamy. Hypergamy needs to be though of a socio-sexual concept, not a solely a materialist one.

Commentator David Collard puts it as follows:
It seems possible to me that women are built to bond to the first man who masters her [ED]. In a healthy society, this will be a Mr Alpha-Enough who is her first and only lover, and for whom she is expected by social pressure to become Mrs Alpha-Enough. The problems develop when this process fails and she is left permanently bonded to such a man in her mind but in reality married to Mr Another-Guy. Or not married at all.

This is where Roissy’s “five minutes of alpha” being better than a lifetime of beta comes into play.
Now, it should be apparent why feminists deny hypergamy, because  the whole feminist edifice crumbles at acknowledgement of its existence.  Once you acknowledge that a woman's happiness is innately tied to a man who is capable of exerting socio-sexual dominance over a woman, then the whole idea of power-equality gets thrown out of the window.

On the other hand, the Social Conservative denial of hypergamy is more difficult to detect. Social Conservatives don't deny that women want to "mate up", but what they deny, or effectively downplay, is the sexual dimension of hypergamy: the importance of alpha.  For a variety of reasons, Social Conservatives have a real problem in acknowledging female sexuality.  Religious puritanism, historical paternalism and enforced female silence on the matter have engendered a conservative cultural conception of womanhood that paints a picture of the ideal woman as being relatively asexual. Sure there is much approving talk about beauty and love in the context of feminine identity, but as soon the subject of overt female sexuality becomes mentioned, the conservative approval is far more muted or outright critical.

If you look at it, pedastalisation, which is linked to the concept of romantic love,  is really an expression of conservative anti-carnality. Women in mainstream conservative thought are are "above" the grubby desires of men, their purity and beauty as a sex, seems to disassociate them from any form of bodily function. It is a disconcerting thought to imagine the beautiful princess as moving her bowels or passing wind; and yet she does. Dante in his admiration of Beatrice never really raises the subject of tinea or body odour, because mention of such fleshy maladies brings Beatrice back to earth  and out of the heavens. The flesh makes us real. So entrenched is the traditional conservative pedestalisation idealisation of women that that it shocks them when a woman's "fleshiness" is made evident.

Game, which is basically and understanding of female sexual desire, is attacked by Conservatives with pretty much the same language as used by its feminist critics, seeing it as some form of manipulation. It shocks the conservative that the pretty Taylor-Swift-like girl actually has desires of sexual ravishment. Indeed when sweet Taylor gets carnally intimate with Tommy the thug, the only explanation that the conservative gives is that Taylor was manipulated into performing the depraved acts. Never does the Social Conservative acknowledge that the woman is finding the manipulation extremely pleasurable and that she is allowing herself to be manipulated. There seems to be a failure to recognise the moral agency of women when it comes to sexual matters because the ideal conservative woman is relatively asexual (except when it comes to reproduction) This, of course, plays into directly into feminist hands when they wish to avoid the moral consequences of their actions.

The hi-jacking of Christianity by its ascetic-members has tended to downplay the carnal component of male /female relationships, instead focusing on the moral virtues. Christian romantic love, as formulated by these gnostics, was all agape and no eros. Love in this context effectively become a relationship between two disembodied souls, and practically, this is manifest in how Christians give each other marital advice. Its all about care and communication, treating each other fairly and justly, but far less talk about looking sharp, keeping in shape and eliciting sexual desire in each other. In fact, a lot of the ascetic-Romantic conception of love seems to be premised on the fact that corporal reality doesn't matter.  For example, if a husband were to say that he doesn't find his obese wife--who still loves him-- attractive, opprobrium will usually be directed towards him and he would be attributed with moral fault. Apparently, according to the ascetics, love is meant to conquer all, including obesity, halitosis and flatulence.

This Social Conservative position stems from the rather too dominant ascetic's streak in Christian tradition, which was evidenced in the love of mysticism and hatred of earthly reality. These types tend to conflate Christ's sacrificial love with erotic love, which are two separate things. I can chose to sacrifice may life for a woman, but I can't choose to have an erection in the presence of an unattractive woman. Sexual attraction is not a choice, it's a physiological response, and the fact that the flesh is indifferent to moral virtue puts the ascetic types into a tizzy.

Whilst Social Conservatism and Feminism are two different ideological currents, both share the same effective conception of female nature; a nature that devoid of fleshy biological sexuality. Hypergamy strikes at the core of feminism in flatly refuting it's gender equality and it strikes at Social Conservatism by upturning it's conception of the feminine; a conception that is central to its understanding of sexuality. What the Social Conservatives fail to understand is that their conception of de-sexualised femininity--as if erotic didn't matter-- effectively provided and continues to provide the ideological justification which feeds feminist beast.

If a feminist says she wants to pursue a traditional masculine career such as a lumberjack, a conservative will grasp at all sort of reasons why a woman shouldn't be a lumberjack, usually arguing some sort of functional limitation. All it takes to prove that a woman can successfully perform the function, is for a woman to successfully perform the function; demolishing the Conservative's argument. If we admit the erotic dimension to the question however, we could rather successfully argue that masculine jobs make a woman sexually unattractive by masculinising her. Taking on a masculine job is the equivalent of voluntary hirsutism (NSFW). But this of course pre-supposes that a sexual argument is a culturally valid type of argument, something which social conservatism dismisses from the outset as a "base approach" to the subject.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Thoughts on Romantic Love.

There are some people who state that the exterior, sex, or physique of another person is indifferent to them, that they care only for the communion of mind with mind; but these people need not detain us. There are some statements that no one ever thinks of believing, however often they are made.
 G.K. Chesterton
Recently, I was commenting at a conservative religious site(I'm not linking to it) about the subject of Game. The host of the site was critical of Game, considering it to be anti-Christian at heart. Like most conservatives, the host could find nothing good about it, confusing the hedonist imperatives of some of its proponents with the actual teachings of Game.

I've often felt that one of the reasons why churchy types find game objectionable is because of its emphasis on getting a woman sexually aroused; and many churchy types point to this aspect of game when they criticise it. On the other hand, women who respond to game are frequently viewed negatively, as if there was something wrong with them. Even amongst a fair portion of the manosphere there is a lot of criticism of women who find players attractive.

I've been mulling over this point for a while, as I've often felt that there was something wrong with this line of reasoning.  The more I think about it, the more I'm convinced that the problem is not with the women but with their critics. The problem, I think, is in our cultural conception of romantic love.

There has always been an ascetic element in Western Culture which has viewed the pleasures of the flesh as morally suspect. Now, it's my belief that Christian culture has been hijacked by these ascetic types, and whilst Christianity has admittedly always warred against the flesh,  the puritan aspect of  it has seen this war as a war of extermination instead of subjugation. Subjugation at least recognises the validity of flesh's existence whilst keeping it under control, extermination denies the flesh's right to exist. And it appears that this puritan element of Christianity has had the upper hand in shaping our understanding of human sexuality and love.

Romantic love, as idealised, was always above the waist. Somehow, it was always a tender and romantic thing. Fluids, smells and noises were never mentioned; and the idea of a man and woman, shagging each other senseless, doesn't quite fit the fit the picture of romantic love. Indeed, one of the things about much romantic love is that it lacks a "physicality",  instead, being something that exists on another plane.

This romantic view of love, was also contingent upon their being a romantic lover; a lover who was courteous, considerate, gentle and kind. And it was this  romantic masculine ideal that became progressively entrenched in Western Culture, particularly amongst the middle class males. The resultant product was a consciously desexulised man, whom whilst "nice" to his wife, did nothing actively to satisfy her carnal nature.

Just as hunger predisposes the existence of bread, so do our carnal desire predispose the existence of a worthy lover. If we assume that average woman is in possession of a least some form of carnal appetite, then this implies that there is a man out there that can satisfy it. The problem is that the good man--at least defined by the puritans-- could not satisfy it, since he had been taught that the flesh was base and love is on a "higher plane",. The only man who could satisfy this carnal nature was the bad man: Puritan romanticism was the midwife of the "bad boy".

Now, women get a lot of heat in the manosphere for wanting to satisfy their carnal desires by sleeping with bad boys, in other words, the man-o-sphere is criticising women for doing what comes to them naturally. (See note below) However if we think about what is considered the ideal woman; the mother, the madonna and the whore, we find that there is a whorish dimension to the ideal woman's personality. What the manosphere is effectively doing is criticising women for being sexual.  It's  puritanism in another form.

What I'm not advocating here is sexual abandon, rather, rather a acknowledgement of the legitimacy of female carnality within the context of Christian marriage. A lusty but faithful wife is a good wife, not abnormal or impure in some way. If we recognise the legitimacy of this female carnality it becomes incumbent upon husbands to cater to it. Not in a sense of being a slave to a woman's desires, desires that are natural, rather recoginising that they are legitimate needs. Needs, that if not catered to,  will give an opportunity for someone else to do so. The usual Christian response to sexual frustration is re-emphasise the importance of the vow and pay lip service to the frustration, what we never hear is the Christian emphasise the legitimacy of the husband or wife's sexuality. Sexuality here does not imply the simple mechanical action of sex, rather the whole gamut of features which stimulate the partner's desire. When's the last time you've ever heard a minister/priest/religious figure criticise a woman for letting herself go or the husband for being a wuss? The whole ascetic conception of romantic love is that it will conquer all, and that sexuality is not that important.

But as long as Christians keep peddling this "asexual romantic" version  of marital love, they are undermining the foundations of that institution.  Firstly, by ignoring carnal legitimacy, they are promoting an institution that pseudo-legitimises sexual frustration. This does not mean that every Christian marriage is sexually frustrated, rather,  if sexual frustration occurs in marriage it is not viewed as big deal and effectively ignored. The good Christian puts up with it and his faith is constantly tested, the bad Christian seeks satisfaction outside the marriage or deligitimises the institution or the culture that put him in that predicament. Strengthening christian marriage will come about only when there is a recognition of the legitimacy of its carnal component, not in the context of making babies, but as appetites in themselves which seek satisfaction. Wives injure their husbands and their marriages when they ignore this dimension and husbands injure their marriages when they fail to satisfy their wives' carnal natures. The current bad boy fetish is because the "good guys" are  hyposexual.

Viewed in this light, a beta male, is simply hyposexual male from a woman's point of view. And this raises the second problem with the "romantic" view of love; it's an attack on concept of gender identity.  Now, if our sexuality is part of our identity, then masculinity must be defined, at least partially, by what women find attractive. That which sexually arouses the woman is masculine, and that which sexually arouses the man, is feminine. Our gender identity is the complement of our opposite's sexual appetite. Traditional "hyposexual" romantic love is an attack on our gender identity since it legitimises a lover which ignores our sexual needs: Being manly doesn't matter, only being nice and kind and loving, any asexualised man will do.

The solution to this problem is to reassert the carnal nature of male-female love and legitimise it. Romance is important, but so are our fleshy needs. Romantic love needs to be alpha'ed  up.

(For those Aspergy types. A woman who has taken a vow of marriage subordinates her desires to the marriage, hence if she breaks her vows for whatever reason she is the guilty party. But the degree of her culpability is contingent upon the actions of her partner. A partner who has been objectively neglectful of his marriage, in whatever sphere, bears some of the blame as well. Wussy and nice men aren't completely innocent. A man has to have a pair.)


Hayley, over at Hayley's Halo seems to be thinking along parallel lines:

Also, I think the other, not-really-acknowledged part of it is that for all the admonishments for young, Christian women to look forward to the day God brings them to the special man God has picked out Just For Them, a lot of young, Christian women just don’t possess the suite of wifely skills that would increase their marital prospects.  Sure, there are hyper-organized young women whose idea of heaven is The Container Store, but there are just as many, if not more, slobby girls out there whose rooms look like hurricanes blew through them.  A lot of girls don’t know the basics of cooking.  A lot of girls don’t clean…much.  They don’t iron, they don’t decorate, they don’t know how to look for bargains or budget, they don’t know how to dress themselves with both dignity and style.  Some of these skills come with time and experience, but a lot of girls can only offer their youth and their love for Jesus.  That’s just not enough when it comes to marriage, but so much churchly advice does these girls wrong by teaching them that Mr. Right will be identifiable by his love for her good heart alone and that he will arrive in God’s Perfect Timing.  So just keep on being frumpy and praying, because God can see your beautiful heart even if those sin-blinded men out there
who are probably addicted to porn and as a result can’t see your true beauty
 can’t.  Is this really the best way to offer hope to unmarried women? [Or men, Ed.]

Thursday, November 10, 2011

A Beta Tragedy.

A vastly underrated movie (I wonder why?). Duval and Douglas deserved Oscars (or at least some legitimate acting award) for their roles. I'm not saying this lightly, but it's probably one of the greatest movies of the 20th Century.

The last minute of this clip is especially worth watching.

The thing about this movie, is that Douglas is clearly the looser of the new world order, and while we may be sympathetic to his plight, there is clearly something wrong with him. Still, as damaged as he is, he is still less damaged that "winners" of our current society. In my mind, the real hero of this movie is Duval, who finally finds his manhood. He does this by restoring himself as the head of his family, protecting it, and leaving the morally corrupt organisation that employs him. Unlike Douglas, who in a mounting rage eventually reaches a point of self-destruction, Duval manages to find new life.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011


Gucci Little Piggy ran a post the other day on the subject of the Men's Rights Movement and the adherents of Game. It was pretty much the same stuff that has been rehashed on the rest of the blogosphere. But one of the commentators, Harry, most likely a troll, raised what I think is a toxic contemporary issue: that of individual Authenticity. I've edited some of Harry's comments to get to the gist of his argument:
I want to find women who concede that who I AM is a value. I do not want to have to ADAPT to what SHE considers a value. I do not need a woman who does not see ME as a value to become *ideologically contrite* – I simply do not wish to be with her. A self-respecting man does not wish to be with people who do not see HIM (the genuine him) as a value.

Right, and ADAPTING to female group preferences by faking what I think, feel, value, and believe, is NOT honestly presenting myself, is it? Yet you say this is part of game – to the extent that it is, the concept of HONEST GAME is a contradiction. 

I would not insult the interviewer because it is not relevant to the interview. Honesty pays attention to context – you do not pointlessly volunteer information that is not relevant in that particular context. If the interviewer ASKED me, however, I WOULD be honest.

Being authentic does NOT mean volunteering every thought that is on your mind regardless of context. It DOES mean being honest when asked, and not disguising your true thoughts in context where it is appropriate to reveal who you ARE (social interactions).
See what I am getting at?

You make a GREAT point that a job does not NECESSARILY involve degrading yourself. I believe FAKING myself involves degrading myself. If a job required that, I would not do it. If a job required me to PRETEND to think otherwise than I do, I would not do it.
Its the same with women – if she requires me to pretend to be who I am not, I do not want her.
Harry's arguments, like all great heresies, contains an element of truth. Most men would agree, that one of qualities which define masculinity is independence, and Harry's contention that men shouldn't bend to the will or tastes of others would superficially seem quite correct. However, like a lot of mental pathologies, it's a good idea that has been taken out of context and taken too far. The question that needs to be asked is, is changing of self, in response to the desires of others, always wrong? Does a man diminish himself in someway by acquiescing to others?

It's an idea that's rooted in solipsism, an idea that assumes that uniqueness and goodness are the same, and that conformity is someway an evil. It is a profoundly anti-social concept and an inconsiderate view,  in that it denies the legitimacy of other peoples desires, especially those desires that are in themselves legitimate.  It's boorishness masquerading as high principle.

The reason why I raise this issue is because of one of the subtle unndercurrents that bobs up occasionally in the Game and MRA communities, namely, the illegitimacy of a woman's desires. There somehow seems to be this meme that keeps rearing its head, that a woman is somehow in the wrong for wanting an alpha male. There seems to be this disapproval amongst quite a few men, especially in the MRA community that a woman is somehow evil for wanting an alpha male.

Now, there seems to be fair amount of scientific evidence that suggests that women involuntarily find certain traits sexually attractive and that this response is relatively hard wired: Attraction is not a choice. Therefore is a man somehow inauthentic by changing himself in someway to satisfy a woman's desires.

I mean, if we flip the script for a moment, would we criticise  a fat woman for loosing weight in order to make herself more attractive to her mate? Would we criticise a woman who instead of spending all the household finances chose to restrain herself in order to keep her husband happy? Would we criticise a woman who dressed in skimpy lingerie, to keep her husband happy, even though she normally would be quite happy in her standard cotton underwear. Would we say that she is inauthentic or comprimising herself in such a way? Most normal people would say that such a woman is a good woman for doing these things.

In fact, her changing to satisfy her husband has made her more womanly. We become more ourselves when we are considerate of the legitimate desires of others. A man who can push his wife's sexual and emotional buttons is more manly than one who can't. It's  therefore incumbent upon men to ensure that they make themselves attractive to their partners. Men and women are complementary. We were made for each other and we aren't ourselves when we pretend that the other does not exist or matter.

Of course, it would be the radical feminists who would be the first to disagree with this line of thought (It's why I suspected that "Harry" was a woman). Their line of reasoning,  is that any "sacrifice" a woman makes for the sake of a man is somehow a loss of her "identity". It's the same argument made by Harry and some the MRA types. In fact, a lot of MRA thinking has the same structure as feminist thinking, and sometimes  I wonder if the MGTOW types are really the male versions of Andrea Dworkin. What happens when sexual desire needs to be sated and  women are off the radar?  It becomes a choice between celibacy and Homosexuality.

We can't be fully men without recognising that being a man involves being able to satisify the desires of a woman.  Think about it.

Friday, November 04, 2011


Much conservative thought, particularly religious, is of the opinion that the great turning point in the West, the turning point which has led us to the current doleful social predicament, was the  West's embracement of the Enlightenment. Commentator Brandon, sent  me this link, where the author argues the superior intuitive case for Christianity. Here the author argues that Christianity becomes fundamentally weakened when it bases itself upon rationality. Now, I haven't singled out this author for any particular criticism, rather he is a good expositor for what is an increasingly vocal faction of the conservative movement; the anti-rationalist movement.

Somehow, there seems to be this idea floating about in conservative circles,  that native intuitive goodness is somehow corrupted by thorough rationalism.  My response to this line of "reasoning", to use an Australian colloquialism, is it's bullshit.

This idea, of the intuitive innate goodness of people, is what is at the heart of the most socially destructive impulse in our society: the cult of sentimentality.  Born of the Romantic movement, the cult of sentimentality, which places personal intuition above logical reasoning and empirical data is the main motive force behind moral relativism. Furthermore, it's the same claptrap as pushed by Rousseau and his hair brained friends: that of the noble savage. So it's somehow funny to see a conservative site, particularly a religious one,  push the crypto-Rousseauian Kool-Aid with its imprimatur.

The religious Right has a problem with the enlightenment, believing that it was the beginning of the great turning away from God. This of course is a superficial and incomplete understanding of the time. Reason, as St Thomas reminds us, is not opposed to the faith, rather the two are complementary.  Good reasoning, St Thomas argued, serves to illuminate the faith.  Bad reasoning, on the other hand, is the enemy. The Enlightenment would not have been a problem if its worst elements lived up to its ideal. Rather, many of it's chief proponents couldn't recognise a rational idea if it struck them in the head. The problem with the enlightenment, especially in the French instance, is that reason became subordinated to the romantic notions of Liberty, Equality, Fraternity. It was in this era, that "feelgood" politics made its rebirth after being banished from Europe since classical times.

The Jacobin faction of the Enlightenment never had a problem suppressing an idea or fact that didn't sit with their political program. Antoine-Laurent de Lavoisier was perhaps the premier example of a good rationalist thinker in those times, yet the Jacobins -the great upholders of "reason"- had no problem having him guillotined. (Symbolic, don't you think?) The party of reason lopping of the head of society's most reasoned man

A critical eye will see that the enemy is not the good reasoning which came out of the Enlightenment but the bad. The Enlightenment didn't just give us atheism, but it gave birth to the forces that gave us anaesthetics, antibiotics, electricity and sewerage. Think about that for a while.

What people tend to forget is that the Enlightenment didn't just give birth to the scientific age it also gave birth to the Romantic movement as well. This my friends, is where the rot sets in. People tend to forget that the flame of the Romantic movement was lit by the enlightenment. The real damage to Western society was not made because of the the appeal to reason, but rather the retreat from it. The Enlightenment put a bullet into the head of the Classicist.

It appears that at the time of the Enlightenment, European culture underwent a bifurcation. 
Rationalism, after a brief period of universal vogue, was carried over into technical culture, where it made tremendous strides, whilst romanticism was carried over into the rest of Western culture.  Western society becomes schizophrenic at this point, on one hand it becomes hyper-rational in some of its facets (the facets where it is immensely successful) , and irrational in others.  The culture that could be quantified advanced, whilst the culture that couldn't declined.

The romantic movement was an justification of intuition over reason. Noble feelings trumped grubby details, and it was better to be agreeable and nice than disagreeable and good. Worst still,  was it to be right and boring. How you felt about anything is all that mattered. This movement has culturally entrenched and is one of the motive forces behind political correctness. Sentimentality is its public manifestation. Readers are urged to consult Dr Daniel's writings on the subject.

The problem with Romanticism is that habituates an individual towards irrationality. Once again to quote Theodore Dalrymple:
an important feature of sentimentality — one that is disastrous in deciding policy — is the mistaking of a wish for the fact. We would like there to be some better method of dealing with criminals than imprisonment, therefore there is, and must be, such a method. Another important distinguishing feature of sentimentality is that it often manifests itself in a conspicuous display of feeling greater than that which is actually felt by the person displaying it. The sentimentalist often wants to deceive himself as well others. One might almost say that sentimentality is the tribute that indifference pays to compassion
The disregard of the most obvious but disturbing reality in favour of wishful thinking and the desire to appear, both to oneself and to others, as more compassionate than one really is, in short sentimentality, has been characteristic of British social policy for decades. It has led to the police being more assiduous about victim support than about preventing crime or detecting those who have committed it; it has led to the admission in our courts to the ultimate manifestation of psychotherapeutic kitsch, the victim impact statement, in which the victim of a murder is turned by his close relatives into a martyred hero, ex officio as it were, as if what were wrong with murder were the loss of a charming smile or a wonderful sense of humour, with the unpleasant and brutal implication that the murder of charmless or humourless people is a lesser offence. There has long been a dialectical relationship between sentimentality and brutality. 
Sentimentality is hardness of heart, or even contempt, masquerading as feeling. It is to sympathy what incontinence is to urination (except, of course, that it is voluntary, and is vastly more destructive). It is mental and emotional laziness, a refusal to discipline the gratifying glow of self-regard by deeper reflection.

Now it's important to introduce another strand of conservative thought at this point. Amongst the New Right there is a notion that Christianity is one of the corrupting forces of the West, and surprisingly, it's a line of reasoning that I have some sympathy with. However I don't think it is Christianity which is the problem, but the romantic interpretation of it. Christianity becomes a societal toxin when enough of its members stop being good and start being nice.  To the romantic Christian, Jesus talks about Hell but never really means it, because he is a nice person and intuitively, how can the God of Love send anyone to Hell? Jesus is always accepting, despite biblical texts clearly demonstrating that acceptance was secondary to repentance.  But as the good theologians of the past recongised,  Hell and judgements are logical necessity which flows from a common sense reading of the biblical texts. Jesus is not nice, Jesus is Good:There is a difference.

Soft Christianity is not Christianity, it's sentimental pseudo-Christianity. It's a Christianity which places no demands and gives no rebukes; it's a Christianity without balls, and in the end, facilitates evil. The thing about good Christianity, is that it is a bit like instrument flying, in that it is counter-intuitve. Turning the other cheek rubs against the grain, but so is refusing to the feed the dogs with food that is meant for the children. The thing is that Christianity is not a wholly intuitive religion, and resting it on the foundations of intuition, corrupts and eventually destroys it. From the above mentioned blog.
I vividly recall a public debate I witnessed as a twenty-year-old college student. The debate was between an Ivan Karamazov-styled atheist and a Thomist. I was quite prepared to side with the Thomist, because I was a very reluctant agnostic at the time, but I had to admit at the end of the debate that the Thomist had not made a very good case for God. By relying solely on the Thomistic proofs for God’s existence, he left the more human side of the argument to the atheist. When the Thomist took the panoramic, philosophic view of Ivan Karamozov’s seven-year-old girl being beaten with a knotted rope, he left me and most of the audience with a decidedly hostile opinion of religious faith. “Apparently,” I thought, “there is a type of atheism that is purer and cleaner than some people’s religion.”[Ed] It was some years later before I saw a different side of God, through the good offices of Dostoyevsky and Shakespeare.
Our author's "logic" in this instance was purely emotional and naturally intuitive. His disgust at the Thomist was intuitional, not logical. A world without pain can only exist if God takes away the freedom of men to be bastards. Sin is the logically corollary of freedom, no matter how disagreeable this logical outcome is. The existence of a God in a world of pain is counter intuitive and repulsive, whilst an atheist who rambles, no matter how incoherently, against pain in the world is agreeable. Guess which side wins when the culture justifies the validity of emotion above rationality?See where intuition leads?

The problem is though, that sometimes that the early stirrings of religion seem intuitive and valid. And it appears that the early Church fathers worried about this a lot. Their answer seemed to be that our intuition was very unreliable, and hence intuitive insights should be put to the test. The test here being a thorough analysis, and not some uncritical acceptance or primacy of feeling. They wanted to logically analyse the phenomenon to see if it had any validity.

Faith, as I have asserted before, is not a product of cognition, but a vague empirical perception, and it is a perception which must maintain coherence with our understanding of reality. This implies  a test both for rational and empirical ontological coherence of the phenomenon. An intuition which disregards reality is not the faith, it's fantasy. A religion which therefore disregards reason or even slights it, is likely to be wrong.

I mourn for Cambria. Cambria has yielded.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Cognitive Psychology and Democracy.

I've spent the last week surveying the field  of cognitive psychology.  And whilst I had very little faith in Democracy prior, my reading has pretty much destroyed what little faith left I had in it.

The underlying, almost unspoken assumption in democratic theory (and economics as well) is that the average voter is both rational and objective, able to weigh and prudently consider the appropriate issues when it comes time to vote.  Unfortunately, cognitive science seems to have accumulated a rather large body of empirical evidence which shows that most peoples' thinking processes aren't rational but intuitive.  And as the cognitive scientists show, intuitive thinking is not rational thinking.

Keith Stanovich's book, What intelligence Tests Miss, provides an incomplete yet reasonable survey of field, and the emerging evidence strongly suggests that the average man is instinctively a cognitive miser (intuitive thinker).  Now, intuitive thinking is not irrational thinking, rather it needs to be thought of as "roughly rational". It's "judgements", being determined by our affect and not by the laws of logic or data: The answer feels right. 

For example, when asked which is heavier? A ton of bricks or a ton of feathers, a lot of people will instinctively state the feathers, and afterwards correct themselves. It appears that our mind forms associations, and uses these associations in a as the basis of an intuitive logic. Bricks are heavier than  feathers and therefore the conclusion of the intuitive logic . It's only after consciously analysing the question that we realise that the two are the same. I'm not a Darwinian HBD type of guy, but you could see how this type of logic could come very handy in survival situations.  In threatening situations, time is often of the essence, and sitting around trying to work out what is going on may have been counterproductive from the survival point of view. Sometimes its smarter to run first and think later.

Now, most cognitive psychologists seem to view cognitive miserliness in a negative light, seeing it at a sub-rational and "defective" form of thought, however,  I view the matter differently. Given the almost universal prevalence of this type of thinking, it needs to be thought of as the default cognitive process of mankind.  It's an efficient and computationally light type of thinking that is sufficient for the day to day tasks of life. We do things more by "feel" than by "logic". In fact, what probably happens is that logical actions which were cognitively appropriate for certain circumstance, become habituated, and applied to other similar circumstances. Most times this is inconsequential. Most times.

None of this is really new stuff. Advertisers have known for years that the way to convince people to buy their product was not to argue about it rationally but to present it in such a way that people would associate it with positive things.  Apple Guy is cool. Windows Guy is a nerd. Getting into the complex details of the operating systems is only going to alienate a lot of the customers. Go with what the cool guy is buying because I'm not a nerd: Advertising is the manipulation of intuitive logic.

What cognitive psychology does show is that rationality takes some effort, and for most people it is an uncomfortable exercise. Hence, rationality tends to be deliberately avoided and as a result, is poorly exercised: The average man is deliberatively sloppy. From a systems point of view, this does not really matter s much when a man is the only person who suffers from the consequences of his actions, the real danger arises when this type of man is able to infect the governing process of the system as in a democracy. A irrational system is a system that will fail.

To the rational man, there is always a tradeoff between government spending and taxation, but to an intuitive man there is no such logic. To the intuitive man, when it comes time to vote, promises of lower taxes and higher social security payments  are "no brainer", because both concepts are associated with pleasant thoughts, and hence there is no intuitive cognitive dissonance. Taxes, especially those paid by ourselves are always intuitively bad, no matter how justified, and are often resisted. Politicians who point out "inconvenient truths" are voted out in favour of the "feel good" politician. Sugar coated poison is preferred to bitter medicine. Democracy fails because the hard, yet necessary, decisions are intuitively wrong.

But the failure is not only political, it's cultural as well. The law is an both a reflection of culture and an agent of its change. When moral questions are put to the public vote, the intuitive mind wins over sober reflection.  For example, the abortion argument was initially argued on "tough case" grounds, such as the rape victim impregnated, or the horribly deformed fetus. Even strong anti-abortionists can sympathise with the women in these circumstances, but rational (religious) thought would forbid the abortion whilst intuitive thought would permit it. In the end, a democracy votes for a utilitarian morality which ultimately corrupts the society.

Democracy fails because the underlying foundation of democracy, that man is a rational animal,  is wrong. Very few men are consciously rational. It's not my opinion, it's an empirical fact.

Sunday, October 16, 2011


A few things people may be interested in.

Tasks that do and don't correlate with IQ.

And one that probably didn't get much publicity by the mainstream media.

Income and Ideology: How Personality Traits, Cognitive Ability, and Education Shape Political Attitudes.
Good Study from Denmark. Basically, intelligent wealthy people are right wing, intelligent poor people, Left.

Jonathan Haidt gives a very good presentation showing just how biased the cognitive psychology crowd is. He ends up getting a serve from our favourite Nobel Laureate. Apparently he is an expert on cognitive psychology as well.

With regard to bias, this study gave conservatives quite a bit of consternation:
Neurocognitive Correlates of Liberalism and Conservatism, demonstrated differences in experimental performance based on political ideology.
Political scientists and psychologists have noted that, on average, conservatives show more structured and persistent cognitive styles, whereas liberals are more responsive to informational complexity, ambiguity and novelty. We tested the hypothesis that these profiles relate to differences in generalneurocognitive functioning using event-related potentials, and found that greater liberalism was associated with stronger conflict-related anterior cingulate activity, suggesting greaterneurocognitive sensitivity to cues for altering a habitual response pattern.
There was much self congratulatory press amongst the liberal crowd, which was probably premature. Now, I personally don't have a problem with the experimental data, it's the interpretations that I have a problem with. Now another set of researchers have looked at anterior cingualate activity and found that it is involved with the "policing" of conflicting information.  From a review paper:
How should we interpret the anterior cingulate activation? There are two main views of the primary role of the anterior cingulate in cognition. One view is that it is an area of the brain that notes unusual events or errors in the environment. The other view is that the anterior cingulate is involved ininhibiting responses. Either of these two views indicates that in our experiment, participants are treating data that are inconsistent with their plausible theories in ways that are different from consistent information. From the perspective of science education these data clearly show that just presenting students with anomalies will not produce conceptual change. What the results of these two experiments show is that prior belief in a theory influences the interpretation of data in a highly specific way. Specifically, data inconsistent with one’s expectations are treated as errors and thus not easily incorporated into one’s knowledge representation. [Ed]
Yep, liberal brains are more active in suppressing novel data that doesn't accord with preconceived views.

Finally, I managed to track down this interesting paper;  The role of cognitive resources in determining our moral intuitions: Are we all liberals at heart?

Once again, the data is good, the interpretation is not. What the study shows, is that conservatives begin to morally reason like liberals only when their cognitive resources are preoccupied with something else.  My take on it, to put it very bluntly, is that a liberal is a conservative with half a brain.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Intelligence is not Rationality.

Unlike most of the HBD crowd, I don't hold IQ in nearly the esteem that they do. Medicine attracts a lot of highly gifted people, people who still manage to do incredibly dumb things. Still, any fair observer of the literature out there cannot but agree that IQ is a strong correlate to worldly success.

It's therefore with some interest, that I've had the pleasure of  acquainting myself with the  works of Dr Keith Stanovich, Professor of Human Development and Applied Psychology of the University of Toronto, who has much to say on the subject of intelligence and rationality.

Stanovich is critical of the unquestioning acceptance of the IQ test. Unlike other detractors, he does not claim that the tests are not valid measures of intelligence, or that there are different types of intelligence, rather, Stanovich recognises that the IQ testing is valid for the determination of intelligence but misses the mark with regard to rationality. Rationality, according to Stanovich, is an all-together different thing to intelligence, and unlike most critics of IQ testing, is able to prove his case with some conviction.

Here is an easy-to-read article he wrote for Scientific American. 

There is a good YouTube video of him presenting his ideas. (Warning, it's about an hour and a half long). His use of George Bush in the early part of the video, as an example of the limitations of IQ testing--Bush was reputed to have an IQ in the 120-130 range--is reason enough to watch it.

He also has a home page where numerous papers of his are available for those who are interested.

One of the very surprising findings of his research is that high IQ, is in many instances, either weakly or not at all correlated to rationality, as it appears that high IQ individuals are just as able to irrationally "solve problems" as their low IQ peers.  The cause of rationality failures amongst the high IQ crowd seem to cluster around cognitive biases, information lack and "cognitive miserliness ". There also seems to be some evidence of cognitive limitations in rationalisation. All in all he provides a convincing, and more importantly, empirically justifiable argument.

There is also a kindle version of his book, What Intelligence Tests Miss. I'm off to read mine now.