Miscellaneous: worth reading

Justin asks “Can a Christian support Game?

Whose banner are you flying?  Let’s put it this way, are [you Game-promoting Christians] spending more time trying to convince Christians to adopt Game, or Gamers to adopt Christianity?   Yeah, thought so.   When the sheep are being separated from the goats (and the true Christians know what I am talking about), I think we will find that “Gospel talks, Psuedo-Christian bullshit walks”.

Yes!  This question “which do you spend more time promoting?” deserves wider application, to “Christian libertarians” for example.

More on the evil of the Allied forces of the Evil War, as I call that conflict of 70 years ago over whether Europe should be Nazi or communist.  Murder by freezing, starvation, and slave labor apparently don’t count as crimes when the victims are Germans. (H/T Pittsford Perennialist)

The 21st century is here, so where are the flying cars, dammit!?  Putting aside Graeber’s silly “capitalist conspiracy to keep the workers down by suppressing the Star Trek technology” speculations, he does make some solid observations about the ways American corporate capitalist (and government) bureaucracies stifle innovation.  As he points out, great discoveries stopped about the time America took the lead from England, and those countries do things quite differently.

We’ve known for a long time that the Andromeda galaxy is headed towards our own; more precise measurements of the proper motion confirm that, yes, it is a collision course.

I feel less ideologically lonely than I did when I started Throne and Altar.  Nowadays, I find myself bumping into arguments similar to those I used to make there.  I doubt the ideological climate has really improved, much less that I’ve personally improved it; I have, though, gotten better at finding worthwhile writers.

Exhibit A (H/T WWWTW) is Douglas Wilson on tradition and gender roles, and why “X is a cultural construct” does not mean “X is unnatural and should be ignored”:

There are certain creational differences between the sexes, which God intended to be operative from the begining of the world to the end of it. Women bearing and nurturing children would be something in that category. Men protecting and providing for their families would be another one. But these creational differences have a deep need to find, discover, and apply a wider vocabulary. They want to express themselves further. That is why there are other differences that do not fall into this category of creational difference, but which are roles assigned to the two sexes by societal expectation

When I am told in the Scriptures to love my wife, I am told nothing about what I must do on our anniversary. But the anniversary gives me an opportunity to do what the Holy Spirit commanded me to do. And recovering male sinners should never waste such opportunities. I am told that I must do something, and a great deal of the raw material for obeying Scripture is given to me by my culture. That’s the way it is supposed to work.

Exhibit B:  J. Budziszewski in his new book on sex describes natural law in a way very similar to our Orthosphere series on nautral law:

After some well-laid-out arguments about function, purpose, and natural law, Budziszewski argues that our bodies and actions have natural purposes. This means that some actions, such as those necessary for sexual union, mean something, whether we want them to or not. To put it another way, they say something, even if that is not what we want them to say: “A bodily action is like a word; we mean things to each other no less by what we do than by what we say. . . . To crush your windpipe with my thumbs is to say to you, ‘Now die,’ even if I tell you with my mouth, ‘Be alive.’ To join in one flesh is to say, ‘I give myself to you in all that this act means,’ even if I tell you with my mouth, ‘This means nothing.’” What sex means is total gift, a union of selves instantiated through bodily union, and it cannot but help mean that. By acting against this nature, which we cannot change, we do damage to ourselves and others.

24 thoughts on “Miscellaneous: worth reading

  1. I doubt the ideological climate has really improved, much less that I’ve personally improved it; I have, though, gotten better at finding worthwhile writers.

    I’m not sure. My perception is that there’s been a subtle but real shift in public discourse: these days I regularly see “traditionalist” (i.e., ones that we would agree with) arguments on more “mainstream” sites like The Atlantic or wherever. At least online, though of course most people don’t read even mainstream publications online.

    are [you Game-promoting Christians] spending more time trying to convince Christians to adopt Game, or Gamers to adopt Christianity?

    I’ve seen Christians doing a large amount of both. Not that I think it’s a useful question in the first place.

  2. I have been reading Christopher Sykes biography of Evelyn Waugh and have just gotten through the chapters about the conflict you have dubbed “The Evil War” (a label far more apt than the more common one). Waugh’s own satirical account of that war, the Sword of Honour trilogy, I have long considered to be the best remedy for those who have uncritically swallowed the Manichaean tripe about WWII that is still served in history classes and motion pictures, and it was interesting to read about how Waugh’s own experience shaped what he put into his novels.

  3. I think Game gets a bad rap because certain pieces of the concept are exhausted by the PUA’s, whereas Christians and pro-patriarchs are trying to uphold other pieces. This is a good article to start thinking about what these pieces are.

    I agree that if you are a Christian, promoting Christianity comes before promoting Game. That being said, the base principle in Game is to have frame control. Frame control isn’t limited to dating, as it can be used with children and maintaining your authority, with gaining friends, arguing your perspective on why you should earn a raise, etc. Let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater.

    • Exactly, Lacey! We at Patriactionary stand for patriarchy AND Game, to be used for good, righteous ends, not womanizing… Absolutely, our faith comes first. But indeed, many married men, including Christian men, have found Game useful as a tool in their marriages – and singles, like myself, have found its lessons worth internalizing, as a strategy in learning how to ‘win over’ a woman, i.e. establish and maintain attraction and interest. Far too many people see Game used for ill ends, and automatically, knee-jerk dismiss it, rather than understanding why trads might profit from it.

  4. Do you believe human beings have a distinct human nature? Do you believe men have distinct masculine natures and women distinct feminine natures?

    If you do then you must believe in “game.” I don’t mean weirdo acronyms or pick up techniques, those are merely applications and not always accurate ones. The theory, namely the belief that distinct masculine and feminine human natures tends toward certain norms of desire, is beyond question for somebody who claims to believe in natural law.

    Applying “game” to marriage is functionally no different from a woman keeping in shape to retain sexual desirability for her husband.

    The truth is the thinkers of the enlightenment were wrong. We are not infinitely antonymous engines of pure reason. We are bundles of leftover instincts as well as patterns and conditioning burned into our neural pathways by constant repetition. A woman is no more free to not have her desires than you are free to not appreciate the look of pretty girls.

    Women, viscerally desire to submit to a dominant man. Grow a spine, act like a man, and refrain from deferential or submissive behavior towards your wife. Do it because you love her and that is what she ultimately craves. That is all “game” is in essence. Marriage is a two way street. Talking about submissive wives is one thing but men need to act in a way that is worthy of submission. After all you don’t see men falling all over themselves to romance, wed, and support ugly shrewish women do you?

    • “Applying “game” to marriage is functionally no different from a woman keeping in shape to retain sexual desirability for her husband.”

      I agree. Women’s magazines like Cosmopolitan are a culture of filth too, but that doesn’t mean I can’t adopt makeup or exercise tips that happen to appear in their pages–so long as I’m not purchasing the magazine itself.

      • Helpful analogy. And, of course, then the most important step would just come to regard a practical formation of some general principle which allows various individuals to roughly determine an acceptable degree of absorption in such morally-compromising substance, to know right when they are imprudently nearing the border that separates safe from intemperate indulgence.

    • Do you believe human beings have a distinct human nature? Do you believe men have distinct masculine natures and women distinct feminine natures?

      If game were reducible to belief in these two things, no one here would object to it — in fact game itself would be unnecessary, since these beliefs predate it.

      • Right. “Game” apologists can claim that their creed is common-sense, manifest truths or they can claim that it’s the revolutionary “red pill” greatest-discovery-since-Newtonian-gravity, but not both. If it’s just the idea that women don’t like wusses, it’s not worth making any fuss about. If it’s the Earth-shattering secret that women are soulless sexual automata, it’s damnable falsehood. I think the best response to this came from “Reggie”, the liberal Catholic commenter at Throne and Altar. As I remember, his opinion was something like the following. He allowed that there were some truths on the “Game” sites (the obvious stuff, which–as Proph and Justin keep pointing out–was well known before “Game”) but that the proper context for passing on this practical wisdom about women was missing. It should be given to boys by their elder men (e.g. fathers, uncles) who will properly embed it in their moral traditions. Pick-up artist websites mix in too much of their authors’ noxious worldview. I was pretty impressed to read this from a liberal.

      • If game were reducible to belief in these two things, no one here would object to it — in fact game itself would be unnecessary, since these beliefs predate it.

        But a lot of people here do seem to object to finding out precisely what that female nature actually is and how one might appeal to it in the context of a romantic relationship. Many of them also seem troubled by the fact that part of that female nature includes a rather strong and potentially unruly sexual drive.

      • The “red pill” is not about Game specifically, but about the realization that we’ve all received a false indoctrination in general. It’s not just applicable in the sexual realm, but also in the economic, theological, physiological, and political realm. It’s about waking up from the Dream World our “betters” have created for us, and facing the stark reality of our existence.

        For instance, I’ve definitely taken “the red pill” on religion. I was raised to believe that we should all just “try to be nice people” and that God just sort of hung around to comfort us when we’re sad. But I converted in my 20s and try to take my faith seriously because I realize that there can only be one truth: either God doesn’t exist and He doesn’t matter, so He does exist and He does matter. That’s an enormous departure from conventional wisdom, adopting that stance is socially isolating, and once you’ve taken that pill your entire worldview changes and your life changes in concrete ways.

        That’s what it’s about. It’s about realizing that sugars make you fatter than fat does. It’s about realizing that if God exists then you should take up your cross. It’s about realizing that the government has turned against the citizenry. It’s about realizing that it’s easiest to rob a bank if you own one. It’s about realizing that man and woman were created equal but different. It’s about realizing that the people who whine the loudest often have the least to complain about. It’s about the fact that concepts like Game, that used to be common sense, are now considered radical and dangerous.

        It’s about that.

    • The Game movement is about rediscovering those principles, especially their impact upon human psychology. Even many Christians aren’t aware of those truths, except in a superficial manner. They can see that men and women have different bodies, but that this difference reaches right up into the mind is a whole step further.

      Our ancestors would laugh at us for not knowing these things, and you can glean everything you need to know (and more, and in a more balanced moral framework) from classical and scriptural sources, but it’s a radical concept today. Most people aren’t going to read Aristotle, or the Church Fathers, or the Bible, but they will read Game blogs. I would obviously prefer that men learn these things from the better sources, but I’m sure the women in their lives are just grateful if they finally get a clue, regardless of who has clued them in.

      And how many people have read those honorable texts and still don’t understand this reality? Most of them, probably. The cognitive dissonance runs deep.

    • This is a somewhat new era. It used to be that a man could simply excercise his conjugal rights, and did not need to worry that his wife will abandon him for being uninteresting. The fact that a women can divorce with such ease today makes game more necessary now than in the past.

    • “Game” apologists can claim that their creed is common-sense, manifest truths or they can claim that it’s the revolutionary “red pill” greatest-discovery-since-Newtonian-gravity, but not both.

      There’s no reason why it can’t be a bit of both. Some of it would have been common sense 100, 200 years ago, some of it would have been pretty revolutionary at any time.

      If it’s just the idea that women don’t like wusses, it’s not worth making any fuss about. If it’s the Earth-shattering secret that women are soulless sexual automata, it’s damnable falsehood.

      This is a way false dichotomy. 1. Women are automatically attracted to certain things, just like men are attracted to nice eyes, nice breasts etc. 2. When it comes to the top 5-10% of men, women can become just as sexually turned on as men and just as willing to indulge in casual sex. So, yes, you can turn women on pretty automatically and make them interested in casual sex, just like a woman can show some skin and get a pretty automatic sexual response from most men.

      But that doesn’t necessarily mean that women are deprived of moral agency and are helpless to resist. They still have to choose to engage in these behaviours, just as men can choose not to have sex with the more or less attractive women available to them.

      It should be given to boys by their elder men (e.g. fathers, uncles) who will properly embed it in their moral traditions. Pick-up artist websites mix in too much of their authors’ noxious worldview.

      I agree that it would be much better to get this information from such sources, embedded in a strong moral tradition. But sadly the traditionalists seem to have pretty much let down the side here, and some young men have been beat up and frustrated in the search for a mate and have thus felt the need to turn to other less reputable sources for practical advice. I’ve just been reading some of the older writings of Jim Kalb on this sexuality and even he goes on a bit about how these poor women have been made into sexual objects by men, when it pretty much seems that women have been just as guilty of turning (at least some) men into sex objects. Both sexes have very much been active agents in this. If someone as wise as Jim can make that mistake, that doesn’t bode well for your average trad.

      I will put in a few words here for some of the old school nuns and some other females who taught teenage/early 20s women. Most of them seem to have known the score about what those young women were like, but the information doesn’t seem to have become common knowledge in more traditional circles in the West. Some other trad cultures (but mostly not ours) may have had a more realistic view of this too. But then this information wasn’t as much of an issue when women were more economically dependent on men.

      I will absolutely concede that there are dangers in reading game writings, but there is also important information there that is simply not available elsewhere.

  5. Game is just a subset of rhetoric; the ancients knew that.

    I suppose the visceral reaction to it is based upon the idea that it’s shameful to try to persuade a woman to do anything, or to care about what a woman desires. She’s just supposed to heel and be grateful that you deign to feed her.

    • It’s not quite the ancients, but this quote from 1857 nicely expresses the fundamentals of Game and the traditional Christian conception of sexual equality. It is from Orestes Brownson’s “The Convert.”

      “Women do not usually admire men who cast off their manhood, or are unconscious of the rights and prerogatives of the stronger sex; and they admire just as little those ‘strong minded women,’ who strive to excel only in the masculine virtues. I have never been persuaded that it argues well for a people when its women are men, and its men women . . . . I raise no question as to woman’s equality or inequality with man, for comparisons cannot be made between things not of the same kind. Woman’s sphere and office in life are as high, as holy, as important as man’s, but different; and the glory of both man and woman is, for each to act well the part assigned to each by Almighty God.”

    • “She’s just supposed to heel and be grateful that you deign to feed her.”
      To be frank, I kind of feel that is how it is supposed to work. She should know she has no right to divorce, regardless of hamster behavior.

      • I don’t think any Christian has a right to divorce or to frigidity. Marriage is more about mutual sacrifice than about exercising your rights, anyway.

        But that wasn’t the point I’m making. My husband is required to love me, but I try not to make that hard for him by getting fat and nagging him all the time. A wife was designed to be ruled over by her husband, but he can make it a lot easier on her by not acting like a dweeb. Who wants to be ruled by a dweeb? Who wants to sleep with someone who starts complaining as soon as you walk in the door?

        It’s simple charity, in either case. Life’s hard, so we should try to help each other out.

        That said, “simply exercising his conjugal rights” sounds pretty hot. I think women would be pleased if they had a bit more of that and a bit less of the sexual groveling that’s going on.

      • Brownson also had a good deal to say about the new attitude towards marriage and divorce that Liberals (that’s what they called themselves) were promoting in the 1830s. He broke with the Liberals (who were actually socialists) over the doctrine of “free love,” and this began his movement towards eventual entry into the Roman Catholic Church. Writing as a former member of the inner circle of Liberals (socialists) that was centered on Robert Dale Owen and Francis Wright, Brownson said that the main objective behind all their plans was to assume control of the education of children by (1) discrediting the family as the institutions of primary socialization, and (2) replacing the family, insofar as possible, with a system of free public schools offering a national secular education (The Convert, pp. 91-92). As Brownson put it, the proposed public schools “were intended to deprive, as well as to relive, parents of all care and responsibility of their children after a year or two of age,” on the grounds that “parents were in general incompetent” to perform this task, and then secularize these children through the ministrations of expert “teachers and governors” who would train them to “look upon this life as their only life, this earth as their only home, and the promotion of their earthly interests and enjoyments as their only end” (p. 97).

        According to Brownson, the Liberal (socialist) doctrine of free love and easy divorce was primarily intended to weaken families and so bring children under control of the public schools. This is what liberals were aiming at when they taught that marriage was “ the expression of the mutual love of a man and a woman,” and therefore “there were to be no wives or husbands,” only “men and women who would be free to cohabit together, according to their mutual likings, and for as long as they found it mutually agreeable, and no longer” (p. 97). This is why, under the “modern theory,” love was understood as a “fatal” attraction that no person could resist or will. Under Christianity, marital love was understood as a promise, freely undertaken but permanently binding, to perform “all that is implied in the marriage contract.” Adoption of this system would, of course, put an end to that great bugbear of the liberal mind, the loveless marriage, and this is how it was to be sold to the public. It would also lead, eventually, to unstable families that would produce but not socialize children, and this is what appealed to the liberal reformers

  6. The “cultural construct” line of argument is almost always poorly, shall we say, “constructed.” Those who use it wish to emphasize that an institution, role, or practice is “made,” and therefore may be unmade and remade in any way they like. But, of course, real constructions (such as houses) are made out of something, and are designed with the capacities and limitations of those materials in mind. Over in the College of Engineering, students of construction science spend a good deal of time learning material science, and so understand that there are differences between, say, steel and stone. In the College of Liberal Arts, on the other hand, students learn that humans are all interchangeable, and that they may be configured in any way one likes.

  7. The phenomenon of “Game” (I mean the conceptualizing of it as a whole system, not necessarily certain particulars contained in it) I see as pointing out the tragedy that we as a society have at some point in time broken with our parents’ wisdom, and it has created a void in our understanding that simply defies being filled any other way. There is something to being human that cannot be obtained any other way than through the transmission from one generation to the next, and somewhere along the line this has failed to happen. If it had not failed to happen, I suspect we wouldn’t be dealing with the uncouth bludgeoning that is Game Theory. Considering the present-day circumstances, perhaps the bludgeoning is necessary.

    No one will deny that the ancients and Church Fathers grasped their place among humanity themselves, but I search in vain for help from them to answer the straightforward question of what it is to “be a man.” I do not blame my own father, who transmitted much to me, and to whom I consider to have been the best example he could have been for me, considering his own set of cards he was dealt. Nor, by the way, do I see this as reason to despair in the grand scheme of things. It does help to diagnose your injuries and be aware of your weaknesses and recognize those areas where you are likely always to come up short somehow, even if it’s through no fault of your own.

    • Different men have always exhibited manliness to differing degrees, but widespread emasculation is a recent phenomenon. Until fifty years ago every man believed that there were circumstances, however rare, under which he would be expected to fight, and that there were certain questions on which a woman’s opinion was of no importance. This was part of what was meant by the phrase “man’s estate.” It had good and bad points, but a man felt no more need to explain his occupancy of a “man’s estate” than I feel a need to explain why I’m sitting in my own house.

      What our fathers failed to bequeath to us was this “man’s estate.” It did not matter whether they provided a good example of the way a man should live in this estate; by the time we came along, the estate had been broken up and sold off. More and more men then conformed to a new reality that officially had no use for manliness.

      But, of course, that new reality was merely social and economic. At the sexual level, the old rules still applied. Game simply exploits the socially-induced scarcity of manly men by providing something–manliness–that has been made artificially scarce by feminist ideology. Think of it as a black market in sex-appeal. Take away feminist shaming and mainlines will return to natural levels, and Game will loose much of its value.

      If evolutionary theory suggests anything, it is that we are not descended from betas. Betas are cultural constructs.

      The Christian objection to Game is that it treats a woman simply as a stimulus-response mechanism, and not as a creature made in the image of God (i.e. a free and rational being). The Christian objection to Game is, in other words, precisely the same as the Christian objection to pornography or lascivious female behavior. Once a man is exposed to pornography, arousal is automatic; he becomes a simple stimulus-response mechanism.

      The proper use of Game by male Christians is, I think, similar to the proper use of erotic appeal by female Christians. It is not altogether illicit, but when used to attract a mate, it should never be used at or beyond the “strength” where the free and rational being is reduced to a stimulus-response mechanism. There may be more scope within a marriage, but I’d advise caution even here.

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