As I look at what passes for “mainstream” opinion in major media outlets and approved cultural channels, I find myself starting to seriously question whether it will ever be possible to find any common ground, or even engage them at all. It’s almost as though they live in an entirely different country and speak a different language. Their values, religion, and sense of normalcy simply don’t match up. I don’t think I’m alone in this; it’s pretty clear that wide swaths of the US are occupied by people who can’t relate to the urban metaculture that dominates the narrative.
While writing and publishing articles for this site, it was my intention to exert some influence, limited as it may have been, on this prevailing narrative. That is, after all, the conventional route one takes to effect change. It is commonly thought that in this country, with a democratic political system and free press, it is possible for dedicated, independent actors to make a difference through perseverence and some ability.
However, as I gain some perspective on history and society, I’m starting to doubt this is true. On some reflection, it seems to me that these independent actors and their achievements were products of their time rather than the other way around. Barack Obama, for example, is not a great man who willed himself into power to change the world to suit his image, but rather a part of a collective vision, thrust into power by the aspirations and beliefs of millions. Nor is he an agent of change so much as the culmination of it; he is the crown on the head rather than the boots on the ground.
But every dream comes to an end, and this end is characterized by the cultural shift that inevitably occurs in the restless hearts of the people who, being mortal, strive for their own place in the sun as they come of age. This being the case, I wonder whether there’s much point in trying to work within the system now, or to fight it. Instead, I think the right way to go is to abandon it and move on to what is springing up in its place.
Jack Donovan has advocated this approach (with his own twist on it), and I’ve always paid attention to him. The emphasis on the “paleo” lifestyle that many young men have adopted strikes me as a statement rejecting the dominant culture, as does the movement toward psychosexual realism (i.e. Game).
One of the most remarkable sites (and most popular) that I have come across that embodies rejection of the narrative is The Art of Manliness. I used to think the site was a generally positive, but not particularly consequential, place for young men to explore masculinity in a healthy but not raw, extreme manner. However, I’ve since come to see it as one of the most profoundly subversive sites online from a “Cathedral” perspective. Site owner and author Brett McKay, rather than attempting to work within or against the narrative, brazenly bypassed it, creating an enormous online presence with how-to and advice articles that flatly ignore the holy tenets of contemporary discourse. His approach, ultimately, will have a far more profound cultural effect than my own.
So how did Mr. McKay do it? I think it helped a great deal that he lives in Oklahoma, and was a cultural outsider to begin with. Many of the urban folk among us – myself included – often forget that there’s another world out there. A world where your car won’t be vandalized if it has a Republican bumper sticker, there are no “Pride” victory marches, you don’t have to lie about your beliefs to keep your job and neighbors actually talk to each other. We tend to think the narrative is all-pervasive, and sometimes it affects our perspective. For McKay, on the other hand, it is relatively easy to ignore, and bypassing it probably seemed not only natural, but entirely plausible and even more convenient.
However, we don’t all have to live in suburban Oklahoma to “secede,” and in fact we may have little choice no matter where we are. The logic of the narrative will eventually shove out even the most supplicating of us because – let’s face it – there really is no place for middle or working class white men in their vision of the future. Their vision is fundamentally similar to many Latin American countries, wherein a small, white, technocratic elite rules over an ethnically (and possibly linguistically) distinct plebeian mass. California is already halfway there.
So at this point, I’m not sure it’s worth the effort fighting the narrative any longer. Instead, I’d counsel men to do what they can to ignore it and bypass it wherever possible. This alternate culture will grow, swelled with recruits and racial and class refugees from the coastal bastions of the narrative. Someday, it may even surpass its rival in strength. However, until we adopt not only an attitude, but the actual practice, of cultural secession, it will be a painfully slow process.