Saturday, May 07, 2022

Standing for truth

I only first watched a Kevin Samuels YouTube video about a month ago. Since then I have watched several more. Sadly, he died of heart issues at the age of 53 just this week.

I obviously do not know enough about his views to give a full endorsement. I will limit myself to one observation, namely that Kevin Samuels insisted on people hearing the truth, as a form of tough love, with the aim of repairing damage done to the African American community. He held not only African American men, but also women, to account for the decline of healthy family formation.  It is uncommon to see someone modelling this type of masculine behaviour, and so he was either condemned for "attacking" African American women or else respected by both men and women as a paternal figure missing in their lives.

I wrote a post last year titled "On being true" and noted that the word "true" has a modern meaning, "consistent with fact", and also a more ancient meaning, "loyal, steadfast, trustworthy, faithful". In a modern, liberal society, the quality of being "true" is in short supply in both senses of the word. I could sense watching Kevin Samuels' videos that he was exasperated by this as much as I am. He wanted people to think realistically about family formation, and was talented at drawing out unrealistic expectations and assumptions. 

Liberalism is based, at least in part, on the idea that we should be free to follow our own will and that anything that limits our will is an unjust constraint that should be remedied by political action or by personal empowerment or by technological innovation. The liberal faith is that there will be "progress" toward these ends.

This is not a belief system that encourages individuals to recognise that there are constraints built into the nature of reality that we must acknowledge and prudently consider when making our life choices. Instead, the mindset of many of the women that Kevin Samuels interviewed was that a decent person should be rewarded by getting what they wanted. These women did not consider what they might contribute to a relationship; what men might be looking for in a woman; what stage of life they were at; where they stood in terms of attractiveness; and what it was realistic to expect of men in terms of employment status or finances or looks.

And here's the thing. As a generalisation women are not meant to be good at providing the reality principle. What we look for from women is emotional warmth, a talent for homemaking, the nurture of young infants, and some of the more appealing soft and sensitive qualities of the human personality. It is mostly a responsibility of men to provide the stable structure within which the feminine qualities can successfully operate and long-term, faithful relationships can be secured. 

Men do not have the same authority in society to carry out this responsibility that they once had. What we can do, however, is to try to model a masculine personality which is tough enough to hold people (including ourselves) to account and to insist on the reality principle, even in a culture that sets itself against the idea that our lives should be ordered to an objective good and to a reality that exists outside of our own will and desires.

In the meantime, the chaos of modern relationships is likely to get worse. On this topic, I'll mention a new book that's just been released, the novel No Hard Feelings. It got my attention because it is set here in Melbourne and describes the life of a young woman, presumably taken from the experiences of the author herself (Genevieve Novak). The 20-something heroine is overworked, survives by drinking too much wine, has a therapist to provide advice, and has a dog and an emotionally unavailable boyfriend. The novel is part of a booming modern genre called "sad girl lit". 

The sense you get from these books and authors is that there is no way out for these young women. Despite expensive therapy, they don't seem capable of critically reflecting on themselves or the culture. They continue to endorse the larger culture and to pursue what they believe to be "progressive" aspects of it. There is a deep gulf between their current state and what they would need to do to have better lives. They do not have the internal means to bridge the divide.

It is going to take a bracing dose of reality to shake things up. There will need to be not just one man or one leader, but a cohort of men who are willing to return to a tough love and a willingness to speak the truth for the culture to change. These men will have to be firm enough to withstand the inevitable criticism and insults. I suspect this won't happen all at once, but that there will be a smaller group of men who start the process and who become models for a larger group of men to follow. 


  1. Are we sure it is despite extensive therapy and not in concert with it? Ever since discovering how often marriage therapists advised divorce I’ve been skeptical of the profession, which has only grown as I’ve considered the ways in which modern society (especially media) has advanced therapy where the traditional West would have sought out priests.

    Even taking a less dim view of therapists, they do not seem on the whole agents for the good. Women accordingly seem to be mired in “psychological restrictions” — therapists, many on mind-altering drugs like antidepressants or anti-anxiety medications, and most hormonally addled by chemical birth control. How would they be able to ever think clearly?

    1. Well, good point. I'm not sure at all. You raise an interesting topic, namely the turn toward so many women having a therapist for life guidance. The best therapists do have skills in identifying thinking errors, but I agree with you that in terms of upholding a commitment to the good, they are not as well placed as priests once were, nor even as much as parents or healthy social norms. Perhaps part of the problem is that we no longer conceive of the "care of souls" as a primary social good but rather the "how do I get what I want". I suspect many women approach therapists with a complaint of "I am unhappy, how do I get x" when what is really needed is for them to stop acting in ways or placing themselves in situations that are harmful to their own souls.

    2. Interesting point. I hadn’t considered it much beyond the problematic presumption of a technocratic worldview, which you’ve talked about before. From an outsider’s perspective, psychotherapy seems based on a model where Man is a machine or purely mechanistic construct and it’s the therapist’s job to repair him in an analogous way to how a mechanic might fix a car or a business consultant might restructure a firm (especially the latter, as a firm is a human enterprise in a way a car isn’t). Hence pervasive media or social media jokes about how “I need a therapist” or “You need a therapist” any time deviations in presumed behavior are encountered. Applying that to people has struck me as disturbing if not probably wrong.

  2. Without disagreeing with anything you've written, I think it's aiming at the wrong target. Women are not made to be self-reflective. They model behavior on what the proximate alpha decrees to be optimal. And quite clearly the proximate alpha is the state. Actually it's even further removed now: The proximate alpha is the World Economic Forum and UN. They determine the optimal behavior for women. And they are trying to reduce global population by 90%+. So ... starting from that perspective, Kevin Samuels is also barking up the wrong tree. He is asking women to be different than they are. The proper solution is to somehow AMOG the WEF and UN to young women, consistently. To un-brainwash them or better yet prevent them from being brainwashed in the first place.

  3. It seems evident that many therapists are simply replacing functional relationships and an embedded community that has been lost in the past 50 years. Women often aren't really even going to therapists for advice--but just for a type of connection and experience of support.

    I've noticed that a lot of women like/need to vocalize and be heard before they make decisions about major issues, without really wanting advice. Its how the go about deciding things. Therapists are filling that role on personal level, just as the state fills it on a financial and political level. But I agree that therapists largely function to confirm and push the larger liberal and big government narrative of how their lives should be structured. The therapists themselves are trained that way--- after all these therapists are 'psychologists', not religious laity, nuns, sisters etc.