An investigation by The Daily Beast about the New Hampshire state representative who was secretly behind The Red Pill (“the web’s most popular online destination for pickup artistry and men’s rights activists”) got me thinking about how desperate and pathetic these men are.
The Red Pill (the term comes from The Matrix) teaches “sexual strategy,” according to the article, including tips on “how to practice ‘negging,’ a game tactic involving a backhanded compliment calculated to undermine confidence and make a woman more vulnerable to advances.”
Although The Daily Beast’s article doesn’t directly mention the ties between this movement and the alt-right, they clearly exist. The internet misogynist (just like the white nationalist) is one of its strains. Anyone who has ever been attacked by them is keenly aware of the degree to which these guys fetishize “macho-ness,” precisely because they are so insecure in their own manliness. Does a secure person obsess about who is or is not being cuckolded?
Constant handwringing over whether you’re an alpha or a beta suggests the latter. Men who are alphas don’t need to incessantly label other men betas to make them more secure about their manhood.
If I’m secure in my manhood—if I’m successful in my work, secure, and in a fulfilling relationship—do I burn a lot of calories worrying about whether I’m being respected or whether I come across as dominant? Of course not.
How much bandwidth do these alt-right guys expend reading and blogging on Reddit about how they’re not getting laid? Isn’t that, like, a self-fulfilling prophesy?
I’ll admit that I’ve been out of the dating game for a long time, but I don’t think I would have to resort to putting down and manipulating women to score a date. Additionally, the idea that being a jerk is the key to attracting women is pure fantasy.
Don’t get me wrong. I actually have some sympathy for some of these men. For one thing, there have been high-profile examples (the debunked Duke lacrosse rape case and the Rolling Stone rape story come to mind) where men have been falsely maligned. What is more, the world has changed, and many guys are finding themselves in a vulnerable position. In our changing economy, men without a college degree or a job that brings respect might especially feel left behind. And since it’s hard to blame “the economy” for your problems or to take personal responsibility, you might instead choose to blame external forces: immigration—and maybe even women.
I’ve been chronicling this problem for years. In 2012, I wrote about the “silent war on non-college educated white men.” The next year, I wrote a piece called “Going Galt: Why men are boycotting marriage, fatherhood and the American Dream.” I think it’s legitimate to be worried about the rise of unmarriageable men. It’s not healthy for a society to have a bunch of men roaming around (or hanging out in their parents’ basements) who have largely checked out of the civilizing institution of marriage.
Rejection by women, it seems, has radicalized some men and made them bitter. The conservative instinct would be to work harder and succeed. Instead, these men have chosen to embrace their victim status.
The manosphere is ironically full of men who are essentially the male equivalent of bitter feminists. They’re angry, feel unfairly treated, and place the blame for their problems on the opposite sex.
In fairness, not every aspect of this “manosphere” is completely destructive. There is certainly a “self help” aspect associated with it. You are encouraged to work out (often lifting weights), read, and learn a hobby. The problem, of course, is that this is all a means to an end.
And this is where, not to state the obvious, there is a huge dichotomy between the alt-right and conservatism. (Note: For what it’s worth, the state representative was a Democrat when he started The Red Pill forum.)
According to The Daily Beast’s report, the creator of The Red Pill used the username “Pk_atheist” (he was a preacher’s kid and an atheist). This does not surprise me. Sex aside, stereotypes about the way a Christian man should treat a woman include a certain respectful deference (such as holding the door for her).
While radical feminists and alt-righters both eschew these old-fashioned values for very different reasons (both would probably agree that holding a door for a lady is antiquated and offensive), it doesn’t surprise me at all that many prominent alt-righters (Richard Spencer, for example) are atheists. As conservative Erick Erickson observed, “The alt-right is neither Christian nor conservative.”
This manosphere is not merely a departure from traditional conservatism; it’s a departure from what we used to call being a gentleman—which required one to love, respect, and protect women (instead of viewing them as competition or things to be conquered and manipulated).
Sadly, this ungentlemanly worldview has spread and is playing out in practical policy matters, as well. If women want equal rights, the alt-righters say, let’s give it to them.
Recently, some conservatives wanted to cut “essential benefits” from the Republican health care bill because men don’t need maternity coverage or mammograms.
This might sound paternalistic or old fashioned, but, personally, I’m happy to pay a little more to cover women. God knows they do a lot for men. And when it comes to the maternity part, well, we had a little something to do with that.
The sad thing isn’t that chivalry is dead, but instead that so many men are dancing on its grave.