Many Spearhead readers consider themselves “Men’s Rights Activists,”¯ or “MRAs.”
I agree that men and manliness are often mocked by smug misandrists and sex traitors in the media. I sympathize with fathers and divorced men who have been screwed over by family courts and our current legal system, which favors women. Women have established massive organizations, many of which are wholly or partially taxpayer funded–to serve their own interests at the expense of the interests of men. Many balk at the idea that men even have any legitimate interests of their own. But men are not women, and they do have different interests, and because their interests are not being addressed, Western men are collectively faltering. Which, is, for reasons I’ll note below, the entire point of feminism and the wider “civil rights movement.”
The powers that be have finally learned to leverage the noblest instincts of men against them. Men are told to deal with it, to handle it. No whining. Just take it, to prove that you can. To prove that you’re better, that you’re stronger. Shoulder it.
I cannot call myself a “Men’s Rights Activist.”
The sticking point for me is the whole “rights”¯ thing.
The notion of “unalienable rights” is an Enlightenment-era rhetorical flourish that has been abused to the point of absurdity. The idea that men or women have “natural rights”¯ is a myth, handily debunked by L.A. Rollins, among others.
“The metaphorical nature of natural rights is obvious in many statements by natural rights mythologizers. Consider a few examples. According to Ronald Dworkin, Individual rights are political trumps held by individuals. But will Dworkin’s individual rights literally trump the guns held by a bunch of cops enforcing an ‘unjust’¯ law? Can shrimps whistle? John Hospers writes, “And so I put up a ‘no trespassing’ sign, which marks off the area of my right. Each individual’s right is his ‘no trespassing’ sign in relation to me and others.” Of course, unlike a real, literal ‘no trespassing’¯ sign, natural rights are invisible. But what use is an invisible ‘no trespassing’ sign? Another natural rights mythologizer is Eric Mack who says, “Lockean rights alone provide the moral and philosophical barrier against the state’s encroachment upon society.”¯ But a ‘moral philosophical barrier’ is merely a metaphorical barrier, and it will no more prevent the State’s encroachment upon ‘Society’¯ than a moral philosophical shield will stop an arrow from piercing your body.”¯
L.A. Rollins, The Myth of Natural Rights and Other Essays
Men have no natural rights. They have no natural right to father their children, or to be heads of their households. They have no natural right to marry, or to have sex, or to “pursue happiness.”¯ Men are animals vying with each other for resources, like every other animal. The United Nations invented a bunch of magic human rights that people “should”¯ have, and it’s telling that most of the states in the world disagree on one point or another. Some of the supposed “human rights”¯ don’t even make a whole lot of sense, and most are merely pleasant ideas. A state serves its own interests, and the foremost interest of any state is to remain in power.
Government is by its very nature coercive. Freedom is a relative term. Freedom within a state means that you are able to do certain things, but you give up the “right”¯ to do other things. A state cannot offer true “freedom.” At least not to everyone. A state offers order in exchange for obedience. Ordered violence. You pay the state with your taxes. For your money and your obedience, the state promises to hurt people before–or after–they hurt you. The state will not always make good on this promise. But it’s the best racket in town. And anyway, like any working mob, your allegiance is considered mandatory–the state is also selling protection from itself.
So you pay up, and you do fine so long as you don’t give no lip to the wrong guys.
They’d be the guys with guns. The guys licensed to hurt people for you.
(Or the guys who are in with the guys with guns.)
When you pay your taxes, you tacitly fund the deeds of men (and women) who are willing to dispenseĀ violence on your behalf–so as you don’t have to get your pretty little hands dirty. You also get to keep your stuff. And if you are wronged, you go to the racket to ask for “justice.”
Men used to run the state, so they enjoyed a favored position in many respects. It asked the most from them, but also flattered their egos and gave them a certain amount of autonomy at home.
When men offered to split the run of the state with women, they divided the state’s interests.
Men tend to want more independence and autonomy. Manliness requires action and risk–risk with the potential of failure. Men of worth crave the opportunity to succeed or fail on their own merits. As the social democratic state expands, it offers more services, more safety nets, more regulations, and fewer opportunities for risk. The good guys who came by once a month to offer you a little protection and sanity are now hovering over your shoulder all day long and offering to wipe and powder your ass. Men are generally the ones you’ll find grumbling about these little indignities as they accumulate. They feel stunted, hemmed in, powerless. This puts them at odds with the state.
Women on the other hand, as all of human history has shown, are more or less happy to be dependent, so long as they enjoy a certain level of comfort and security. They have a greater aversion to risk–they want to protect people from the consequences of their own bad decisions. They’re more empathic — they want to see everyone cared for. They’re less thumotic–they’re frightened by the displays of volatile, spirited anger that men applaud. Women are good at working within a system. This is why women love socialism. They’re abandoning men for the state, because the state is big and powerful and smooth-talking and rich and it says it wants to take care of them forever and ever.
As has often been said, “Security+power+money= gina tingles.”
Women’s desire to be cared for and their support for the state’s growth ultimately gives them a position of favor within the new state.
In the case of “men’s rights,” this is where I see some inherent difficulty.
And I have to ask, men:
Is this really what you want–another place at “The Grievance Table,”¯ another empty bowl, another list of complaints?
An appointment to whisper in the headmistress’s ear, seeking favors or redress?
Men made this world in their own image. Men invented the game and ran the racket. Until a generation or two ago, they sat at the heads of their own tables. They’re the stronger 49% of the population, not a tiny, oppressed minority. If the state no longer serves the interests of men, if they must grovel and petition for “rights”, maybe men should start thinking “regime change,”¯ or better, “paradigm shift.”
The civil rights paradigm is built around the assumption that men, especially heterosexual white men, are the universal oppressors, the source of all true evil. It’s a movement to remove you from power. It’s not designed to address your grievances. It won’t restore what it sees as lost “privilege.”¯ And in determining what is fair and what is “privilege,”¯ the reigning civil rights paradigm is necessarily biased. The only help it dares provide is to assist you in accepting your reduced status–through re-education or therapy. Those who say that you must lower your expectations and abandon your ideals are not friends, but castrating agents of your serpentine masters. These solutions are merely anesthetic.
It is neither acceptable, nor in the best nature of men that they should resign themselves to being mere supplicants in every aspect of life.
I suggest that the civil “rights” seeking posture cannot succeed for men–especially when they seek the favor and permission of women–and that it would be better to consider a bolder, more authoritative stance.
“…since Fortune changes and men stand fixed in their old ways, they are prosperous so long as there is congruity between them, and the reverse when there is not. Of this, however, I am well persuaded, that it is better to be impetuous than cautious. For Fortune is a woman who to be kept under must be beaten and roughly handled; and we see that she suffers herself to be more readily mastered by those who so treat her than by those who are more timid in their approaches. And always, like a woman, she favors the young, because they are less scrupulous and fiercer, and command her with greater audacity.”
— Niccolo Machiavelli, The Prince