There has recently been a push by the elements within neoreaction who most closely identify with mainstream religious social conservatism to force a schism in the interest of ideological and religious purity. Trannygate was the most recent, and highly embarrassing, development in this trend. Ironically, I think many people would never have even heard of Justine Tunney if Anissimov didn’t freak out about it. If your goal was to minimize exposure of this person to neoreaction, the proper thing would have been to ignore him (her?) entirely. Instead, as a result of Anissimov’s antics, many more people know about Tunney and his efforts can only be described as counter-productive to his goals. The only thing I will say about this episode is that I don’t feel that transsexuals are really worth much discussion, either by myself or in neoreaction more generally. I acknowledge the reality of evolution and natural selection and thus see transsexuals and homosexuals as flawed outcomes of natural genetic variation. In order for natural selection to work, there has to be genetic variation, and it is inevitable that some (actually the vast majority of) combinations of genes formed in meiosis will result in individuals poorly adapted to the environment or for successful reproduction; improper development of neurological gender is just one of many ways things can go wrong. Homosexuals and transsexuals are “losers” of the genetic lottery and I will never be able to see their mere existence as avoidable given the mechanisms of biology and there is no risk of increase in their numbers since they do not reproduce. The problem is self-correcting. Therefore I don’t view them as especially important to societal engineering questions.
A related issue often brought up by social conservatives as part of this trend and that is more relevant, by far, is how neoreaction should relate to the red pill community of cads and PUAs. The traditionalists are correct in asserting that stable, biologically intact family formation (patriarchy) is the foundation of civilization because that is the social technology that maximizes the largest amount of productive output by the largest number of men. Stable families (IE, marriage 1.0) require sexual restraint by the majority of members of society. Fidelity within marriage is undermined by people who demonstrate a lack of sexual restraint and who reduce the sexual restraint of others through seduction. A society full of freely acting rakes is ultimately doomed and will suffer a lot of heartache along the path to destruction. These facts lead me, and I would argue any true neoreactionary, to whole-heatedly endorse traditional family values, traditional gender roles, and traditional restrictions on sexuality when considering how to design a society optimized for advancing civilization.
However, the intellectual acknowledgement that traditional values are indispensable to putting a culture on a trajectory for the greatest heights of civilization doesn’t tell us anything about how individual men should conduct their lives given the actual, non-ideal culture that they live in and as of now have little power to influence. In case anyone has forgotten, neoreactionaries are in no position to actively engineer society and it doesn’t appear like they will be getting that ability anytime soon, if ever.
When you advocate that men should marry and take on their traditional role at any cost (misandromasochism), you out yourself as not being a neoreactionary capable of critical and pragmatic thinking, but an unthinking and dogmatic social conservative, and given the history of profound failure of the conservative movement, that isn’t something to be proud of. Moldbug found quite a good quote by R.L. Dabney in the previous link which I think is worth repeating here:
It may be inferred again that the present movement for women’s rights will certainly prevail from the history of its only opponent, Northern conservatism. This is a party which never conserves anything. Its history has been that it demurs to each aggression of the progressive party, and aims to save its credit by a respectable amount of growling, but always acquiesces at last in the innovation. What was the resisted novelty of yesterday is today one of the accepted principles of conservatism; it is now conservative only in affecting to resist the next innovation, which will tomorrow be forced upon its timidity and will be succeeded by some third revolution, to be denounced and then adopted in its turn. American conservatism is merely the shadow that follows Radicalism as it moves forward towards perdition. It remains behind it, but never retards it, and always advances near its leader. This pretended salt bath utterly lost its savor: wherewith shall it be salted? Its impotency is not hard, indeed, to explain. It is worthless because it is the conservatism of expediency only, and not of sturdy principle. It intends to risk nothing serious for the sake of the truth, and has no idea of being guilty of the folly of martyrdom. It always when about to enter a protest very blandly informs the wild beast whose path it essays to stop, that its “bark is worse than its bite,” and that it only means to save its manners by enacting its decent role of resistance. The only practical purpose which it now subserves in American politics is to give enough exercise to Radicalism to keep it “in wind,” and to prevent its becoming pursy and lazy, from having nothing to whip. No doubt, after a few years, when women’s suffrage shall have become an accomplished fact, conservatism will tacitly admit it into its creed, and thenceforward plume itself upon its wise firmness in opposing with similar weapons the extreme of baby suffrage; and when that too shall have been won, it will be heard declaring that the integrity of the American Constitution requires at least the refusal of suffrage to donkeys. There it will assume, with great dignity, its final position.
Now, as then, social conservatism is synonymous with failure and if there is to be any hope that neoreaction could restore traditional values, it needs to do everything it can to separate itself from that tradition. Keep the baby, but ditch the bathwater. To that point, Neoreaction should never become guilty of its own version of the folly of martyrdom by advocating that men should sacrifice themselves in a doomed unilateral attempt to protect a system of values that can’t survive without proper legal and cultural support. Fatherhood is precious and fragile and protecting it must start with properly structuring institutions, and not from shaming men into irrationally ignoring the profound misandry they face in divorce. When men martyr themselves, they enable these poorly designed institutions to continue unchanged and thus delay any possible neoreactionary re-boot. The only thing this sort of delay can accomplish is an increase in the severity of the post-progressive hangover.
To quote “The misandry bubble“, a classic in red pill writing, on the failings of social conservatives:
Everyone from women to sadistic social conservatives to a young man’s own parents will pressure and shame him into marriage for reasons they cannot even articulate, and condemn his request for a pre-nup, without having any interest in even learning about the horrendously unequal and carefully concealed laws he would be subjected to in the event that his wife divorces him through no reasons he can discern. But some men with an eye on self-preservation are figuring this out, and are avoiding marriage….
…the religious ‘social conservatives’ who continue their empty sermonizing about the ‘sanctity of marriage’ while doing absolutely nothing about the divorce-incentivizing turn that the laws have taken, have been exposed for their pseudo-moral posturing and willful blindness. What they claim to be of utmost importance to them has been destroyed right under their noses, and they still are too dimwitted to comprehend why. No other interest group in America has been such a total failure at their own stated mission. To be duped into believing that a side-issue like ‘gay marriage’ is a mortal threat to traditional marriage, yet miss the legal changes that correlate to a rise in divorce rates by creating incentives for divorce (divorce being what destroys marriage, rather than a tiny number of gays), is about as egregious an oversight as an astronomer failing to be aware of the existence of the Moon. Aren’t conservatives the people who are supposed to grasp that incentives drive behavior? An article worthy of being written by The Onion could conceivably be titled ‘Social conservatives carefully seek to maintain perfect 100% record of failure in advancing their agenda’.
Knowing that neoreaction should adopt completely separate strategies from social conservatism in an effort succeed where it fails doesn’t tell us how neoreaction should approach the red pill. After all, the traditionalists aren’t wrong about cads being bad for society. What is needed is a uniquely neoreactionary attitude towards cads and PUAs that does not deny the harsh realities in the field or the need of civilization for traditional values. Let’s begin with how a community in which traditional values have force might credibly be formed regardless of what is present in the wider culture, and tackle the PUA community specifically in part 2.
First, the story of Isaiah offers a valuable lesson for neoreaction on community formation by demonstrating who exactly is worth appealing to. Where social conservatives try to appeal to the masses and thus save them, neoreaction will only attempt to reach the remnant and will allow the masses to follow the path toward perdition without interference. Ex-social conservatives will have to give up wailing about the moral failings of wider culture and focus on the morals of their newly exclusive local community. The nascent neoreactionary community will have to go to great lengths to separate its members from outside progressive culture. Once enough degrees of separation are established between the neoreactionary community and broader culture by the exit strategy, new pro-family and pro-civilization cultural norms can be enforced.
The steps social conservatives have taken to “protect” marriage and family have all tolerated the loss of essential cultural norms and this loss has subsequently been codified in the legal system. The original design of the legal institution of marriage ensured the longevity of a large majority of unions by strongly disincentivizing couples, and women especially, from breaking their vows. A divorce rate of 50% unambiguously demonstrates that the legal institution of marriage is already dead and isn’t worth the paper it is written on. Therefore, the primary point of this social technology is to revive something similar to the original institution of marriage and to do that it must be able to identify which women make good wives and to preserve that characteristic in them throughout their lives, both before and after marriage. Once these women were identified and their chastity protected, neoreactionaries could then in good conscience advocate for neoreactionary men to marry from and create families with this carefully selected group. However, to accomplish this the social technology must place restrictions on women that result in making them appealing and durable wives:
In India, for example, it is normal even today for either the bride’s father to pay for the wedding, or for the bride’s family to give custody of all wedding jewelry to the groom’s family. The reason for this was so that the groom’s family effectively had a ‘security bond’ against irresponsible behavior on the part of the bride, such as her leaving the man at the (Indian equivalent of the) altar, or fleeing the marital home at the first sign of distress (also a common female psychological response). For those wondering why Indian culture has such restrictions on women and not men, restrictions on men were tried in some communities, and those communities quickly vanished and were forgotten. There is no avoiding the reality that marriage has to be made attractive to men for the surrounding civilization to survive. Abuse and blackmail of women certainly occurred in some instances, but on balance, these customs existed through centuries of observing the realities of human behavior.
Unfortunately, Neoreactionaries will have to consider what alternatives are possible to prevent modern women from destroying their families without current or medium term recourse to formal law. This will require the development of social technologies that reduce separation of couples independent of, and often despite, the legal system and the wider culture. The destabilizing incentives of legal marriage should be actively and aggressively avoided by forbidding community members from entering state recognized marriages. Once Marriage 2.0 was abolished, it could be replaced with a community specific and socially enforced alternative that resembles marriage 1.0. Should a woman exit the community and attempt to use the outer culture to confiscate her ex-husband’s property and children, community solidarity and resistance could be an option.
Being extra-legal, ensuring female adherence to the neoreactionary norms will necessarily require the social technology to utilize an exceptionally accurate understanding of female psychology. The three most important points follow:
- Women with multiple sexual partners are much more likely to cheat and/or divorce.
- Women are herd animals and will mimic the actions of other women in the herd.
- Being herd animals, women innately possess a profound fear of being cast out of the of their communities.
From this, there are two corollaries:
- The risk of a couple divorcing increases greatly when a woman’s close friends or relatives divorce.
- The risk of being sexually promiscuous is greatly increased when a woman’s peers are promiscuous
A woman with a history of promiscuity, cheating, or divorce simply can’t be admitted under any circumstances and should not be interacted with by members of the community. Empirically, a man’s risk of divorce is not increased by his sexual history so past sexual restraint for men who might join is more optional, assuming he is willing to reform himself (Edit: This claim is not as strong as originally thought). Should a member of the community separate from or cheat on their partner, or become promiscuous outside of marriage, they would have to be expelled, shunned, and never interacted with by members of the community again. Not only will this ensure separation from the outer culture is maintained, but it will also capitalize on the primordial fear women have of being excluded from the herd. If the women of the community see that the consequence of dalliance and the destruction of family is complete expulsion from the entire social community, they will dread doing those things and avoid them at all costs.
The most likely way to begin establishing this sort of community is through the church. However, even most churches now support frivolous divorce so Christian neoreactionaries will have to form entirely new churches from scratch to begin enforcing the separation from progressive culture. Only once a neoreactionary social institution that socially enforces strict rules with regard to marriage and sexuality, and by necessity strong separation from the outer culture, will it be responsible for the neoreactionary to advocate marriage to men. An entire community can succeed where individual men can not, and this is an atavision worth working towards.
The superficial similarity of having the same goals conceals the chief difference between social conservatism and neoreaction. The conservative impulse to appeal to the irrational masses to persuade them to willingly adopt the values that are good for them is the source of their constant failure and ultimately why social conservatism (though not ex-social conservatives) is the enemy of neoreaction. Neoreactionaries prefer to only receive and accept into their communities those who already possess consistent values. Those with inconsistent values are simply excluded or expelled and are allowed join a community in the patchwork model they are better suited for.
Discussion of the red pill will continue in part 2.