Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Beauty of non-Design: The Circular Firing Squad

"Thou shalt agree with me, for I am a Wise Motherfucker!"

Such is the refrain of many an activist, for whatever cause.  Each of us is certain of our viewpoint to a larger or smaller degree - and the passion for that viewpoint is the reason we are activists at all.  Certainly your average activist has a deeper understanding of issue X than the average Joe.  Activists spend a lot of time learning about issues they care about, while Average Joe's spend a lot of time doing other stuff instead, so it makes sense.

Of course, there's the inconvenient fact of competing activists, and what that says about Truth, to contend with.  This is where the concept of Ideology comes in.  Black and white thinking, as encouraged by adherence to Dogma, is where the problem lies.  The problem does not come into being until "I'm right about this" turns into "You're wrong about this."  Or more specifically, "My view is more popular than yours, so you're wrong."

Competition is not inherently a bad thing.  For example, it's become accepted that Western Europe became as culturally dominant as it has due to inter-State competition, economic, cultural, and military.  Competition is viewed as healthy throughout most of society and most of history for good reason, since the result in 'superior' products or systems is generally a reliable expectation.  It is only when competition becomes unbalanced that we view it as a negative (for the most part), which we term 'monopoly'.

Economic or physical monopoly is a relatively easily recognized phenomenon, even small children can recognize an uneven competition and exclaim it's 'not fair'.  People love to 'root for the little guy', and feel a sense of satisfaction should he prevail that is based primarily on a feeling of revenge, for example.

But all of this is turned on it's head when it comes to social mores, political fights, etc.  In this instance, the more popular the idea, the more 'correct' it is - at least officially.  Adherence to this principle is what leads to the development of Dogma, which essentially is the set of 'True Beliefs' one MUST agree with and adhere to.  These beliefs are ultimately the winners of a type of popularity contest.

When you apply these concepts to the Manosphere, Mens Movement, what have you, what you see is a staunch refusal to define Dogma.  Infighting, splinter groups, new 'movements'....all of them sprout with regularity among the 'sphere.  Articles declaring the death of the Manosphere/MRM/word of the day occur with cyclical frequency, and most of them miss the point.

The circular firing squad is our way of dealing with decay, with stagnant ideals and moribund aims.  If you were to sample many articles from the early days of the MRM, for example, while you would find the subject matter familiar, you would see a marked difference in the approach taken, and massive changes in sophistication of understanding.  None of which could take place if the manosphere was Dogmatic, and stagnant in approach ('correct' approach, for example).

My own personal take on things is a mixed bag, really.  I think the MRM is making people aware of the issues driving society apart, I think PUAs are making lemonade out of lemons by recognizing the reality of female sexuality, I think MGTOWs are simply men with no other option if they wish to live in relative security, I think Traditionalists recognize the importance of the pair bond to civilization, and I think the New Right folks are trying to rejuvenate society in their own way.

But at the same time, MRAs are pretty hunourless and self righteous; PUAs are delusional about the risks they take (due to their own self aggrandizing Alphatude), MGTOWs really are, in the main, men who suck at getting laid anyway (and don't form the basis of many women's fantasies at the best of times), Traditionalists haven't even tried to make the case that this civilization is worth saving, and the New Right is dangerously close to KKK style racial separatism at times.

Imagine, then, if one of these groups got supremacy of acceptance in the Mens Movement.  Imagine if, say, the skinny-jeans wearing, man purse toting leftists at r/mensrights got to dictate what was 'correct'.  Or the racial segregationist aspect of the New Right got to call the shots.  Imagine if (shudder) MRAs convinced men to be the male equivalent of an angry feminist victim class.  Or if Traditionalists stuffed the toothpaste into the 1950's tube, and men were again Ward Cleaver wannabe's.

The success (or stasis) of this social phenomenon we call the Mens Movement is largely dependent on how you define it.  Personally, I choose to define our 'enemy' as not being Feminism, but Identity Politics.  It is not a Right vs Left thing, a feminist vs MRA thing, or a man vs woman thing even.

It is the very idea that certain groups should have their reality dictated to them, or their desires 'modified', or the 'correct' social mores enforced on them.

Identity Politics, is the enemy.  And Identity Politics evolves from the competition in the marketplace of ideas, through the monopoly approach to beliefs of entities with more 'political muscle' than it's competitors.  Enforcement of which is vitally important for it's survival, and accomplished through shame, threat, or mocking dismissal.

The very same aspects to this dynamic that are responsible for damaging feminism (speaking truth to power), ALSO serve to strengthen the Mens Movement - by allowing no Sacred Cows to exist, by leaving anyone open to criticism and frequently criticising each other, the MM both hones it's approach, and guards against such corruption.

It is because the inter-faction warfare is so common, that we prove so difficult to attack.  And that we have such a nuanced understanding of so many issues that the 'experts' can't fathom.

And that no one group gets to dictate how things Shall Be.

Which, as the Founding Fathers of the USA tried so hard to make clear with their silly little 'Constitution', is how it should be.

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