Sunday, March 25, 2018

Ten Hot Takes on MGTOW

These are just some thoughts and observations about the Men Going Their Own Way movement. They may be half-baked and contradictory.

1. MGTOW is logical

Marriage entails a great deal of legal and financial risk for men. Half of marriages end in divorce and a large percentage of the ones that stay intact are unhappy marriages of convenience. The vast majority of divorces are initiated by women, often for things like, "lack of contentment." In such cases a man can end up paying alimony and child support for decades. Even if the kids are not biologically his, even if he never formally married the woman, he can still be on the hook for large sums of money. Prenuptial agreements can help but many women won't sign them and they can be tossed out by chivalrous judges. Domestic violence laws everywhere from the UK, to Israel are written such that male victims often end up in jail. There are few shelters or support services for male victims as well.

Thus MGTOW is a logical response to the removal of incentives for marriage. Karen Straughan described the problem quite thoroughly in her video on the subject of men not marrying. She pointed out that on top of all of the legal and financial risks there is also the simple fact that the role of husband and father is no longer a source of masculine pride and respect for men. When society tells young men that husbands are either oppressive abusers or chumps, it is no wonder that men stop seeking to become one.

2. The issue is bigger than we realize
I don't think society needs to worry about self-identifying MGTOW as they constitute less than 1% of the population and are generally harmless. I think the bigger issue are "unofficial" MGTOW - men who have dropped out of society or been left behind. There is a natural hierarchy among men. It is based generally on skills, income, intelligence, and attractiveness. It is not nice to talk about but all men intuitively know their relative position on that hierarchy. The men on the lower end, say 25th percentile and below, are struggling to keep pace in a world where they must compete with globalism driving down their wages and automation destroying their jobs. There are many millions of such men in America alone and in other developed nations. They become MGTOW involuntarily because they are unable to find a spouse. When the proportion of these men gets too high, society will suffer.

 3. MGTOW is a good temporary solution for individuals but a bad way to fix society

Promiscuity I think is unhealthy and bad for society. Therefore I support men who identify as MGTOW simply because they want to do other things than chase women for sex. I support the young guys I see in MGTOW communities who read Jordan Peterson, start going to the gym, and work on building a career. They may intend to find a woman and start a family sometime later in life once they feel more established, and that's totally fine.

Where I take issue is with those MGTOW that believe men turning away from women en masse is a viable solution for curing society's ills. For one I think attempting to convince any large percentage of men to cease having relations with women is a nonstarter. We're just not wired that way. Throughout history human beings have created families under far more extreme circumstances than today's dicey cultural and legal landscape. 

Even if the number of MGTOW increased ten or twenty fold there would still be plenty of men willing to give women sex and children. One or two men can easily impregnate dozens of women. 'Who will provide for all these children in single mother households?' you might ask. Who does so today? Taxpayers. The welfare state will happily step in to replace fathers as it does today. The inner city black communities where I worked for many years offer a vision of this grand future. In any event, I cannot imagine more than 10% of men voluntarily choosing celibacy and the end of their genetic line on the blind hope that it will pressure society to enact a number of specific reforms. It is more likely that it will lead to some sort of ugly backlash or the gradual replacement of MGTOW with other communities of men.

4.  It is indicative of a culture selecting against its own survival

Nature's gold standard for fitness is reproduction. Any cultural trend that reduces fertility is maladaptive. MGTOW, though logical in itself and perhaps not bad for individuals, is a sign of an unhealthy culture. Back in my social libertarian days I would have said, "Well, so what if some people want to be hermits? Everyone is individual! Just let everyone do whatever, man." However individual choices are not made in a vacuum. They are often the product of incentives. If society incentivizes lots of men to avoid making families, there will be consequences for all of us. We will have demographic crises that could lead to economic depression, political instability, and general cultural malaise. Politicians might respond to the problem by claiming that the country needs more immigrants, which could lead to erosion of cultural identity, social friction, crime, and depressed wages. The individual choices people make behind closed doors matter, especially if you have children and care about your society's future. The growth of MGTOW is a canary in a coal mine.

5. It's a white people thing

The vast majority of MGTOW I see online are white. There are exceptions, especially when we include the unofficial MGTOW I described earlier. Yet there are no comparable movements in South America, Africa, the Middle East, or Asia. It is only in white western countries that MGTOW has any sort of relevance, and within those countries, non-white minorities are not terribly interested in MGTOW. African, Arabic, Asian, and Hispanic men in America do not seem to be afraid of having relationships with women. Among blacks there is certainly a decline in marriage, but this is a different problem. Black men are still making babies and pursuing women like it’s going out of style.

Some argue that Japanese "grass eater" men are an Asian form of MGTOW. They also rope in South Korean and Chinese men who spend all their time playing online games and not pursuing women. I disagree that these east Asian communities are analogous to MGTOW. These men do not really have issues with women or their society or marriage laws. Rather they just have not adapted to the rapid westernization of their cultures that has introduced a dating paradigm in which they feel they cannot thrive. They do not see themselves as part of a movement, and most would be happy to get married if an agreeable woman came along and did the work. Even if we use the looser concept of just men who have dropped out of society Japanese grass eaters would not be a part of that trend. Grass eaters have not been left behind by society. Most of them pay taxes and take care of themselves just fine. So I reiterate, MGTOW is by and large a white western phenomena.

6. MGTOW won't have much affect until higher status men start joining

In the 'manosphere' there is often mention of Apex Fallacy. The idea is that women generally don't notice lower status men. As an example of this, consider the common complaint from young women that men just like to sleep around and never commit. In reality only a tiny fraction of men get to have casual sex whenever they want. The average guy is looking for a girlfriend or at least a chance to date every now and then.

Assuming there is some truth to the Apex Fallacy concept, it means women won't really notice MGTOW, not while they are at their youngest and most attractive anyway. Higher status men, say the 80th or 90th percentile, are very unlikely to go MGTOW. They have too many options and too much self-esteem. They want a family and have the resources to deal with any obstacles in their way.

7. Middle status men are increasingly outsourcing to foreign women


Middle status men, say 30th to 70th percentile, are increasingly turning to foreign women when looking for a bride. This is not the same thing as MGTOW but it will have important ramifications on society. For one, it will alter the demographic makeup of the country. Also, as it becomes more common, middle status women will grow more annoyed about foreign women taking their men. Some will double down on Feminism and claim that the men are Patriarchal abusers and the women are just doormats and scam artists looking for a visa. Other women will try to compete with the more traditional and feminine foreign competition by loudly disavowing Feminism and trying to convince quality men that they aren't like other girls. For men whose priority is to influence the behavior of white western women, replacing them with foreign women is likely a more effective solution than MGTOW. For various reasons western women really cannot do the same thing as men and just get a mail order husband up to their standards.

8. It may be eugenic

ThuleanPerspective argued that MGTOW may actually help improve the gene pool by preventing less fit males from reproducing. There are two questions to consider: Which males are choosing not to reproduce due to MGTOW and do those males have traits we want to see passed onto the next generation? The key traits necessary for human thriving have changed over time. In the ancient world, men needed aggression, physical strength, and some degree of intelligence. In the modern world, intelligence is by far the best guarantee of success. Unfortunately IQ correlates negatively with fertility.

Do MGTOW men have a higher than average IQ? It’s hard to say. It depends on who we define as being part of the movement. I suspect self-identifying MGTOW may have a slightly higher than average IQ just based on my own impression of the men who frequent MGTOW communities. But what about all of the effectively MGTOW men I described earlier? The 25th percentile guys who have nothing going for them. In an earlier period these guys might have been lower working class tradesmen who eventually married and had kids with a woman on their level. To the extent that MGTOW is weeding them out of the gene pool, we could argue that MGTOW is eugenic.

9. The activists have conflicting goals

Among the activist MGTOWs (the ones that think mass adoption of MGTOW will fix society) I have observed two camps with opposing goals. On the one hand you have the MRA egalitarian types, such Karen Straughan. Their goal is to see men and women treated equally. They want women to have to register for the draft, get joint custody by default, and split housework and financial responsibilities 50/50 with their husbands. They basically want the same thing as feminists – the elimination of gender roles. On the other hand are the tradcon MGTOWs. They see MGTOW as a way to get women back into the kitchen.

Both groups I think hope that the damage done to society by large numbers of men going MGTOW will force changes in the laws. The problem is, the changes these two groups want are very different. Tradcons don’t want women registering for the draft. They want to get rid of no fault divorce. They want to end affirmative action employment discrimination that encourages women to work. The more extreme don’t even want women voting. Meanwhile MRA’s support the Equal Rights Amendment. They dream of a future where women will ask men out on dates, propose marriage, and happily allow their husbands to stay home with the kids if he wants.

Spoiler Alert: If MGTOW becomes popular, neither of these outcomes is likely.

10. It is cowardly 

Tyler Durden in the movie Fight Club said the following of the men of his generation: “We’re the middle children of history – no purpose or place. We have no Great War, no Great Depression. Our war is a spiritual war, our great depression is our lives.”

I sometimes imagine my ancestors looking down on me. I think of what my father went through as a child growing up in Jamaica in the 1950’s. I think of my grandfather’s struggles, and his father, and his father before him. Some of them were enslaved. Some suffered horribly. The men who came before us tore civilization out of a cruel and indifferent Earth over the millenia. They battled in the trenches and foxholes of Europe, were racked with infectious diseases while exploring the new world, fought wild animals and braved natural disasters while protecting their women and children. When I think of the horrors those men faced for thousands of generations that we might sit at our computers and complain about bitchy women, it gives me pause.

I am not implying that the dangers men face today are not real. I am simply agreeing with Tyler Durden: Our war is a spiritual war. Our grandfathers had to fight to pass on their heritage. We are not exempt. We are not entitled to their legacy or heritage. We too must fight – we must make the choice to work to fix our societies. What men ought to be doing is raising the loudest possible fuss at every state and federal legislative body imaginable to fix the bad marriage laws. There should be daily demonstrations that are extremely disruptive as well as endless phone and letter campaigns that make it impossible for politicians to get any work done until they act. Men also need to rebuild their communities - male only spaces where they can mentor one another. The internet is helping with this. At the individual level, men can still go off the grid to build families, or move abroad, use prenups, marry foreign women, or do some combination of the above.

In other words, men need to do what they have always done - be aggressive and innovative. MGTOW is neither. It is passive and unmanly - a collective silent treatment built on the hope that it will be properly interpreted by women and the wider society. Boycotts are fine for punishing retailers that sell insensitive T-shirts. I doubt they are the best answer for preserving civilization.