The problem with TradCons is that it [sic] proposes men behave according to traditional behaviours while the underlying rules that supported that behavior doesn’t [sic] exist.
– A commenter at Oz Conservative
-An individual calling himself “Pro-male/Anti-feminist Tech,” at his blog
It is said by many (not just the individuals quoted above) that since the traditional rules of traditional society have been overthrown, a person cannot live traditionally without incurring a severe penalty.
In response, we traditionalists say that indeed, man must always make some accommodations to his environment. But to be properly virtuous, a man or woman must not live just for himself. He must also live a life that contributes to his family, his people, his religion, and his nation. And this can only be done by living, to a greater or lesser extent, traditionally.
The topic is large, and this post will only respond directly to one of its manifestations: It is said by some in the Manosphere that we traditionalist conservatives are betraying men by urging them to act according to traditional rules of chivalry towards women, with the result that women have the advantage over men. In brief, they say we traditionalists urge men to submit to women.
The accusation is at first sight puzzling because traditional society makes men the leaders, and we traditionalists hold patriarchy as one of our ideals. In such a society “chivalry” cannot mean male submission. Instead, it means men not abusing their power over women, but instead treating them with respect. In traditional society men and women submit to those who have legitimate authority over them, and they in turn exercise authority over others, all for the end of glorifying God and contributing to the well-being of family, tribe (i.e, ethnic group), church and nation.
But times have changed for the worse. The traditional ordering of society has largely been overthrown, and not just in the sense that men and women no longer feel obligated to follow the traditional ways. We also have the authorities actively undermining society by upholding liberal rules and standards.
In today’s disordered society, then, what do we traditionalists say should be the behavior of the male toward the female? And, most importantly, why do we advocate it?
The behavior of the male toward the female should be based on his knowledge of the purpose of male and female. The purpose, stated in Scripture and confirmed by common sense and the record of history, is marriage leading to family leading to the well-being of tribe, church, and nation.
So the purpose of man and woman is not just the mutual satisfaction of two individuals. Its highest purpose is to connect the individual to the order of being that terminates in God. At the lower levels of this order, sex and marriage allow the man and the woman to participate constructively in things greater than themselves, such as family, religion, tribe, and nation.
In today’s disordered society this ideal has been the object of a largely-successful leftist campaign of vilification and obfuscation. The proper, traditionalist, ordering of society is officially held in contempt, and the modern man or woman is expected to think primarily of his own well-being, only looking to family, tribe and nation if they fit with his personal agenda of self-satisfaction.
In place of a proper social order based on respect for God and the traditions of our people, the current Western social orders are based on a revolutionary ethos that demands tolerance and freedom at the personal level and multiculturalism and nondiscrimination at the national level. Traditional authorities and institutions are to be suppressed or overthrown, but everywhere else there is to be freedom, tolerance and diversity.
But this is a blueprint for the death of the nation. A group of individuals whose highest loyalty is either to themselves or, if the individual is not purely selfish, to ideologies of liberation and social revolution cannot form a cohesive and self-perpetuating nation. Selfishness, even when dressed up in the self-righteous language of praising the gods of liberalism, cannot be the basis of an enduring social order.
The properly masculine man, therefore, seeks to understand the times and what is to be done. (Cf. I Chronicles 12:32). He understands that selfishness—including his own selfishness—cannot sustain the social order upon which we—and our descendents—all depend.
Therefore a properly masculine man does not seek just to protect himself from the very real dangers of our liberalized, feminized, age. The properly masculine man understands that marriage, like any other noble undertaking, involves risks but is ultimately honorable and rewarding if done well, or even adequately.
We may liken the traditionalist man facing courtship and marriage to a soldier going into battle. The enemy is not the woman, but the institutionalized forces of liberalism that are seeking (sometimes unconsciously) to destroy his marriage and his society. In real warfare, some soldiers achieve glory and others die in battle. Some are wounded physically or mentally, and others survive unscathed. Some endure great hardships, and others find the time relatively uneventful. But despite these uncertainties and dangers, we recognize that the soldier is doing something noble. We do not allow him to opt out when the going gets tough, for the future of the nation is at stake.
The same is true about courtship and marriage, for the leaders of our Western societies are doing their utmost to destroy marriage and the family, and therefore our nations. They have placed great dangers and obstacles in the path of any man or woman who wants to marry honorably, some of which are:
- No-fault divorce, which allows selfish spouses (these days, mostly women) to destroy a marriage through divorce for no valid reasons.
- Family law that generally favors the woman at the expense of the man and the children, even if she is divorcing for selfish reasons. We say “at the expense of the children” because divorce for any reason harms the children.
- Unlimited abortion, which makes it easier for selfish adults to shirk their duty to raise the next generation.
- Abolition of male authority over wives and children, which opens the path for the soft tyranny of female rule.
- A sex-saturated culture which dissipates sexual energy in sterile activities and makes people unsatisfied with real marriage.
In other words, our society is in many ways like an enemy which we must defeat—or at least defend against—if we are to have a good, or even satisfactory, marriage. In such an atmosphere, the Manosphere’s complaint—that the rules have changed and therefore traditionalist behavior gives the advantage to the woman—seems to make sense. If a man acts with “chivalry” by sacrificing himself for wife and family, he may well be rewarded by his wife leaving him on a whim, taking his children with her, and no authority will try to stop or even to chastise her. Or he may never get married in the first place, as sex is easily available and women are encouraged to look on men as either playthings or rivals, so that the advantage passes to the one (generally, these days, the woman) who wants to avoid the commitment of real marriage.
So the man who aims for marriage is, in a very real sense, going into combat. Not with the woman, but with the evil forces and institutions which influence us for the worse.
Yet we cannot say that it is acceptable for men to avoid marriage. For men are the natural instigators and leaders of marriage and without marriage, a nation cannot survive. And it is not enough to make marriage just a valid option, for when doing what is right is nothing but one option among many, then what is right will rarely be done, because it is difficult.
And “survival of the nation” is not just an abstraction. The nation is what surrounds you when you walk down the street. It is the world in which you live. If your nation is perishing, every aspect of your life will be disrupted and corrupted. Conversely, if the nation is being upheld by her men, then your life will be upheld by your nation. Some people are content to be “free riders,” enjoying the goods of a society without contributing to their upkeep. But too many free riders destroy the nation, and the goods which everyone needs. So the soldier must fight, not run away.
Yes, the soldier must fight. But we do not expect him to expose himself to unnecessary danger. We expect the soldier to be properly trained and equipped. We expect him to know, whenever possible, the ways of the enemy and the terrain of the battlefield. And we do not want him to fight in a manner that makes him more vulnerable than necessary. It is here where the insights of the Manosphere could perhaps be useful tactically.
The denizens of the Manosphere accuse those whom they call “traditionalists” of sending men into battle unarmed, by telling them, in effect, “Just man up and do your duty: Marry the woman and support her. Never mind the fact that most divorces are unilaterally initiated by women for essentially selfish reasons, never mind the fact that family law overwhelmingly favors the woman at the expense of the man and his children, never mind the feminism-saturated culture that teaches women to be dissatisfied with real men. Just do your duty.”
Few traditionalists, if any, give this advice, but apparently there are some conservative authorities who do. These authorities focus on exhorting the man rather than the woman, and they often ignore the complaints of the manosphereans, complaints that do have much validity.
[Perhaps the Manosphere uses the word “traditionalist” to mean anyone giving traditional-sounding advice. But for us, traditionalism is far more than telling men “do your duty.” It is a worldview and a way of life based on the enduring principles and an understanding of the order of being. For a discussion of “the order of being,” see here.]
So how do real traditionalists say a young man should conduct himself toward women? No blog post can possibly give an adequate answer to this question but we can at least give the general outlines of an answer. We do so, not to teach the young man all he needs to know about his relationship with the woman, but rather to answer the accusation that we traditionalists are giving bad advice.
Our basic advice is that you must find the best woman you can find, and you may have to settle for a far-less-than-ideal marriage. But even a poor marriage has some great benefits, and a good man usually can influence his wife for the better. Knowing you will be engaged in a form of “holy war,” you can prepare for battle, avoid the easily-avoidable failures, and contribute to the life of your nation, that is, your people. In this way, you will honor the struggles of your ancestors who fought analogous fights, and you will leave a legacy for your descendants.
Know that you are a warrior participating in a noble cause. We all desire peace, but ours is not a peaceful time. Every man faces only two choices: contributing to the leftist destruction of our nation by going along with the status quo, or emulating your ancestors in building up our nation and fighting leftist barbarians in whatever way you can.
In courtship, the traditionalist advises the man to seek a woman who has womanly virtue rather than superficial sex appeal. This, of course, requires great self-discipline. Keep in mind that the greatest of the womanly virtues is the willingness to be led by a good man, and that a wife who lacks this virtue will make your life very difficult. Marry in haste, repent at leisure.
Women possessing womanly virtue do exist, but they tend not to be the first woman who catches your eye. So start training your eye.
Once you have the correct frame of mind about the nature of the marriage enterprise, you can sometimes profit from tactical advice given by the Manosphere. As long as your goal is to honor your God and your people by being a good husband and father, there is no dishonor in using even some of the tactics of “Game” to manipulate your wife into doing the right thing. There is an ancient tradition of stories of wives manipulating their husbands into doing the right thing; turnabout is only fair.
The most fundamental tactic of the husband and father is both to be strong and to appear strong, while at the same time being sensitive to the needs of wife and children. Their greatest need, of course, is to be led toward the development of virtue, but if your wife, being an adult and therefore being less malleable, resists your attempts to increase her virtue, you can at least stand unambiguously for virtue yourself. Even if your wife does not appear to respond to your virtue, you can at least maintain your personal honor and keep up your spirits by knowing that you are doing the right thing.
When the threat of divorce looms, how should the traditional man respond?
Ideally, we would take action and overthrow the unjust laws permitting frivolous divorce and allowing the woman to loot her ex-husband. When a properly-ordered American society is restored, these evils will be a thing of the past. But these changes will not happen in the foreseeable future so for now, we have no choice but to go into battle.
Know first that if you choose a better woman to marry in the first place, you will lessen the chance of divorce. There are women who have the supreme feminine virtue of being willing to be led by a good man, and who are of a personality and background that will go well with yours. Ignore the sirens who are luring you to your destruction, and seek the good woman. If you marry one such as her, your desire for her will increase as your marriage proceeds.
If you are facing the possibility of divorce, understand that the system favors the enemy. Divorce, even for manifestly selfish and invalid reasons, is always permitted by the authorities. Therefore you must either convince or manipulate your wife into not divorcing you. Do not panic, and retain at least the appearance of strength and calm. If your wife respects your strength, there will be less chance of divorce.
Is there a chance of divorce? Yes. This is war, and some men die in battle. But they fight for a noble cause.
If you cannot appeal to your wife’s better side by showing her the great advantages of remaining married and the great evils of divorce, you may have to resort to something like manipulation or even dissimulation. There is no dishonor in the greater scheme of things in granting (or appearing to grant) your wife what she wants but you don’t want, in order to prevent divorce, as long as you maintain your dignity. Keep your dignity at all costs for without it, no woman will respect you, nor will you respect yourself.
What do we mean by “appearing to grant your wife what she wants, but you don’t want”? Find out what you wife wants, as a condition of remaining married to you and then, as long as it is not illegal, immoral, or grossly undignified, grant it to the best of your abilities. There is much more at stake than just your personal comfort. Presuming that it is something you find distasteful (why else would she have to obtain it by pressuring you?), go along with it without complaining. But do not act like a defeated warrior trying to curry favor with his captors. Instead, act like a warrior who does what he must to win and remains cheerful in the face of adversity. By doing so you will look strong, which all women find appealing
And what if your wife demands that you do something illegal, immoral, or grossly undignified? Try to find a way that gives the appearance of satisfying her requirements without transgressing the boundaries of what a virtuous man would do. In war, a man must sometimes do what would ordinarily be considered wrong in order to obtain a greater good. Can we give some specific guidelines here? No we can’t, for none exist.
We must also point out an uncomfortable truth: You may bear some of legitimate responsibility for your wife’s unhappiness. Not all female complaints are frivolous. Although it is wrong for the woman to allow these complaints to drive her to divorce, the man should not goad her into doing evil. If you can change those of your behaviors that ought to be changed, to prevent the great evil of divorce, more the better. Do whatever it takes, short of sin or dishonor, to prevent divorce. Women have a tendency to blame their man, whether the man deserve it or not, for their marital unhappiness. This is the evil flip side of the virtuous woman’s willingness to be led by the man, and it is part of female nature. But as a man, you understand that you cannot get away with just blaming the woman. As a man, you are accustomed to either taking action to fix a problem, or shutting up and bearing with a situation if it cannot be fixed.
Not being divorced himself, your author cannot offer much practical advice for the one who is divorced, except this: You are still in the fight. You still have influence, albeit reduced, over your children, who are your own flesh and blood. Do not abandon them, or give less to them, out of spite for your ex. You are still their father, and there is still much that they need and only you can give. Out of love for your descendants you will have to bear the unbearable. As a soldier does.
In summary: To marry well, a man must be a leader, not just an individual who learns to manipulate female whims. To be a leader, you have to understand the times what you must do. So learn from the wise, wherever you find them.
Eventually we will have to repeal the laws that permit easy divorce and that favor the woman at the expense of the man and the children. And we will have to form a better society that is not saturated with disrespect for men and fathers and proper marriage and family life and proper sexual morality. That is an obvious given. But until that happy day dawns, men of good will shall have to fight against an enemy determined to destroy their chances of a good marriage.
Finally, are we collectivists, as was alleged? If the word means that we are concerned not just for the well-being of the individual, but also the group—the family, the church, the nation—then yes, we are collectivists. As were our ancestors, without whom we would not exist.