Sunday, May 23, 2010

Revealing political profiles

The issue of men's rights has taken off over the past couple of years. It's big enough now to be very politically diverse. One of the major sites where men's rights is discussed is at reddit - the men's rights page there has 8,500 registered users.

However, it's worth knowing that some of the most active commenters there are far from being traditionalists. Recently someone asked for commenters to reveal their political affiliations and these were the results:
  1. socially liberal Green voter
  2. libertarian
  3. Marxist
  4. libertarian/anarcho-capitalist
  5. left-leaning liberal
  6. economically socialist/politically liberal approaching anarchist
  7. classical libertarian
  8. neo-conservative
  9. classical Marxist
  10. far left libertarian communist
  11. libertarian
  12. left wing socialist
  13. very socially liberal, economically free market
  14. anarcho-socialist
  15. left libertarian, anarcho syndicalist
So we have libertarians, Marxists, social liberals and anarchists. Even if the general readership is much more conservative than this, as usual the most active participants come from the radical left.

That's a pity as it's likely to distort the movement. The far left types are likely to argue that men are lacking in rights because they haven't been "liberated" from their masculinity or their masculine role. They'll argue that the way forward is a social change in which gender distinctions are finally abolished.

The far left types - the Marxists, the anarchists, the radical left-libertarians - are also more likely to try to blame social conservatives for the problems facing men. That's a bit perverse as it's clearly been a liberal philosophy rather than a socially conservative one which has affected the position of men in society over the past century or more. And yet on many men's rights sites, it's not a liberally inspired feminism, but social conservatism and/or the remnants of chivalry which is thought to be the underlying problem.

That can have some strange consequences. It means that Laura Wood, who has written boldly in support of the male role within the family and society, is attacked more fiercely at some men's rights sites than the radical feminists who want to abolish any kind of distinctive or necessary paternal role within the family. (If Laura Wood is reading this, you have my sympathies - I hope it's reassuring for you that some of your attackers describe their politics as "classical Marxist" and "anarcho-socialist".)

(Another strange consequence is that it leaves the Roissyites as the better, more "realistic" wing of the men's rights movement - at least they get the drift of what has happened in society over the past generation, even if their response is to collapse into it.)

I don't believe that traditionalists should give up on the men's rights issue. It's a growing movement attracting men who are disaffected by the changes wrought by liberal society. And we can offer much more to these men than an assembly of Marxists, anarchists and libertarians.


  1. Marxist, anarchist and socialist views are grossly unscientific and impractical.

    There are men's rights activists like Glenn sacks, who propose that men should "liberate" themselves from the role of being a "provider" and should "enjoy" being a stay at home dad. In essence he wants men to be more like women.

    Some how, this brand of MRA's are as impractical as their feminist friends.

  2. Neither women nor men respect the 'homemaker' dad. It's not an option for any man who wants to maintain his self respect, and probably never will be. If it were a respected role, as it is in some species, some men would give it a go. I might (currently we have 2 breadwinners, no homemaker, a super-destructive toddler, and the house is a dump). But it's not an option.

  3. Leftists have nearly destroyed the traditional female role within the family, having convinced women that it was "oppressive".

    Now they are actively trying to destroy the traditional male role, which will lead to the total societal collapse and grass hut matriarchy like in Africa.

    There is no coincidence in this, since the leftists' objective was the destruction of the Western civilisation from the very beginning.

    And it was Marx, who wrote that the ideal system was matriarchy, because patriarchy equaled capitalism and private property.

    It doesn't surprise me at all, that a lot of MRAs are leftist since they hate the traditional family and mock the concepts of honour and duty, all the while arguing that the government must sponsor day care. They are not one ounce better than the feminists, imo.

  4. Some of these people, probably aren't what they say they are. I'll say someone who describes themselves as a "mercantilist liberatarian" for example, is effectively a conservative (ie, they're willing to put significant restricitions on their libertarianism in the interests of social cohension and sustainability.

  5. There is a "left-wing" way of looking at feminism and family and cultural breakdown as manifestations of capitalism or consumerism.

    It is egalitarian mainly in economics, objecting to monied interests who have broken apart the cultural wealth of the poorer classes and have seduced men into puerility and women into the workplace and the "Sex in the City" lifestyle. This mindset requires giving traditional Western culture the same sympathies that leftists show towards third world traditions.

    Only Christopher Lasch comes to mind as a recent representative of this tradition. Arguably the U.S. New Deal coalition operated out of this view.

    The neo-conservatives used to be much better on family issues and relations between the sexes. In the U.S., they saw the importance of culture and the ways in which government policy could break down fundamental human institutions.

    They were very good at developing policy which politicians desperate for ideas could adopt. Unfortunately, their work in the U.S. on welfare reform may have further disincented family formation among the poor

    Lately, "neo-con" is more associated with foreign policy hawkishness.

    In theory libertarians should be allies against aggressive state action targeting traditional mores or creating left-wing monopolies.

    In practice they care more about personal indulgence rather than a sustainable, self-governing society. They are lackeys for what James Poulos calls the pink police state.

    It strikes me that there are divisions within the traditionalist movement which should be examined for clarification.

    Religious traditionalism is a category too obvious to explain.

    But there is also a type who advocates stoic dedication to duty and excellence amid irresponsible mediocrity. I sense this in Udolpho, who although an atheist has nonetheless penned a touching essay on chastity.

    Aside from the cultural populism I mentioned at the beginning of this entry, I can't think of any other traditionalist categories. Suggestions?

  6. Reddit is unreliable, as its 'Mens Rights' group has been hijacked by anti-mens-rights types, as has been discussed already in the 'manosphere', if you paid more attention, you'd know that - unless you have, but find that inconvenient. So Reddit's Mens Rights group shouldn't be conflated with the rest of the manosphere; it's hardly representative. Much more representative, is the Spearhead Magazine, and the cluster of sites extending out from it - the contributor's personal sites, and those on their blogrolls.

    There are different strains within the manosphere; there are the PUAs, then there are the MGTOWs and the MRAs; these don't necessarily have much in common with another, except in terms of their observations of female nature, and concerns for how society today treats men. But nevertheless, there does appear, to anyone who spends enough time there observing / participating, to be a general political consensus of sorts, a propensity towards libertarianism, in all its many varieties. (Some more libertine, some more traditionalist-friendly; depends on each member, whether they are Christian or not, etc.) A perusal of the contributors to the Spearhead magazine, and the sites they link to, and the people who comment regularly, will confirm this.

    Your characterization of so-cons as coming in for fiercer attack than left/liberals, and rad-fems is
    ludicrous; all these get much attack, and rightly so. But yes, so-cons do get attacked, too, and fiercely by some. Why? It's quite simple; they expected better of them, and feel let down by them, for not 'getting it', and for not standing up for them, instead being part of the problem in pedestalizing women, and blaming men. So-cons are the one group out there who ought to 'get it', and be working to fix the problem, but instead, they're at best, doing nothing; at worst, exacerbating it.

    Insofar, too, as you remain willfully blind, obfuscating and stereotyping and straw-man-building, rather than actually trying to understand, you, like Laura Wood, Larry Auster, and others, remain part of the problem, and not part of the solution.

  7. Will,

    It's inevitable that there will be a variety of different political views within the men's rights movement. I'll continue to contribute a traditionalist perspective.

    I do believe that there is a sometimes unreasonable animus against socons at some MRA sites. It's unreasonable because:

    a) socons have not really had the power to influence society for some decades

    b) the socons who actually get attacked are the more principled ones, like Auster, Laura Wood and myself, rather than the ones who really do blame men or pedestalise women

    c) there is a hair trigger readiness to jump in and attack socons like Laura Wood that's not in proportion to her overall politics or her influence on things.

    Why the lack of a measured response? I can't know for sure. But there are some possible reasons.

    a) The one you yourself mention, that people instinctively look on socons as the responsible ones, the father and mother figures, who are supposed to look after us. So when things go wrong there's an emotional feeling of betrayal. That, however, is an emotional reaction that needs to be held in check.

    b) It's possible that socons have had more influence in America than in countries like Australia. It's possible, for instance, that there are parts of America in which the protestant churches have remained stronger and that within some of these congregations men are belittled and women are pedestalised. So maybe the focus on socons makes more sense in the American context.

    c) The argument I made in this post: that the men's rights movement is big enough now to have drawn in a lot of men with a more radical modernist mindset (Marxists, anarchists, libertarians). These men will simply not be well-disposed to socons, particularly to the more principled ones such as Laura Wood and Lawrence Auster.

    Will, you write that you want to be part of the solution. The solution, really, is to get to the heart of what motivates the Western political classes. It's a false lead to think that the Western political classes are dominated by socons in the mould of Auster or Laura Wood. Or even that the Western political classes still pedestalise women out of a sense of chivalry. The Western political classes have an ideological bent that has brought us to our current state. That's what has to dealt with above all else.

  8. I don't have any illusions about the lack of clout so-cons have within the broader society, and that it is rather the rad-fems and left-libs who have brought us to this state; my point, though, is the one group who should be natural allies, the manosphere finds is also committed to the status quo between the sexes, whether or not they realize it. Therein lies the problem. Who will ally with us? No-one.