The plague of modern masculinity

Authors note: This essay is a revision, a radical overhaul and expansion rather, of an earlier piece, “Killing the Alpha Male.”  Writing that piece caused me to rethink and revisit the subject of modern masculinity. I was also prompted to consider other factors after reading Pelle Billing’s piece “Feminism and Chivalry” and the comments there regarding the symbiotic relationship between feminism and masculinity. It is part of a developing treatise on modern masculinity so criticisms are most welcome, either in the comments or by email.  Thanks.

Scores of our young men today are stranded at an impasse on the road to realizing manhood. They are bogged down in the confusion of a generation lost to treacherous forces they never saw, for reasons they were never able to comprehend.  They are struggling and starving; unable to feed their souls in a world that finds them increasingly unnecessary and burdensome.

They have come of age in a time of coerced impotence, their nascent masculinity gutted and stripped long before having the opportunity to shape their character and their destiny. In that they are suffering from the loss of things never held, from things missing but never known. They are, quite literally, a lost generation of the walking wounded, wandering blindly from a battlefield on which they never knew they stood.

In that light, the path they are on is not really the road to manhood, but simply a retreat from the effacing malice woven into the very fabric of their developmental lives.  And it takes them not to safe ground, but directly into a dismal culture of shallowness and self-indulgence; a realm of options without obligations; of self-gratification without self-awareness or self-discipline.  It is the death march of the western male, destined for a withering end ensured by intellectual, psychological and moral atrophy.

This aimless, narcissistic existence is a forced escape from lives shrouded in shame; from manhood being reduced to an evolutionary joke in the eyes of a culture that holds it in contempt, even as the elders deny it is happening.  With the wholesale whitewashing by society and abandonment by the fathers more or less complete, the newly (de)engineered young man is all but defenseless against this downward spiral into terminal insignificance.

It’s happening all around us.  One only need look at current events to see that the world of men is quite literally circling he drain; disappearing from the stable foundations of education and employment. They are targeted with disinformation about crime and domestic violence, and about deviant sexual proclivities with women and children.  These are no longer just the ruminations of twisted ideologues. The demagoguery now emanates directly from the government, backed by men with gavels, and men with guns. The judicial apparatus has been reshaped, not to pursue justice, but to incarcerate men at every opportunity, even to enable and encourage false accusations to accomplish that goal. This isn’t just about male bashing any more. It is about male subjugation. And it is not being executed by feminists or women, but by men.

We might proffer that the solution is a redirection to days past, when we imagine that men made masters of sacred codes; when they possessed strength and purpose and would stand against this growing tragedy and defeat it.  We would be wrong. We can only find that Thomas C. Wolfe was right. You can’t go home again.  And what’s more, you really don’t want to.  It was, in a sense, home that got us here. And that is a truth we must face, no matter how natural or compelling the tendency to point to any other “outside” force and satisfy our frustrations with the simplistic convenience of an easily identified enemy.

As always, our true enemy is in the mirror. The only thing that will save us is to face up to that and act accordingly.

In the fitful and often strange world of the men’s movement, we attempt to answer this social malady; to create a haven, if only an intellectual one, for the refugees of this godforsaken gender war.  It is a mission often hobbled by our own hands, yet the work goes on, limping toward solutions. We strive, I think, as men who have taken the red pill and seen through the Matrix, to formulate an appropriate response, and in our own way to push some sanity and balance back into the collective consciousness; to force it past the architects of institutional misandry, both male and female. But even as we exert pressure, we don’t have a firm grasp on what it is we are fighting.

We have not ascertained, nor have we even really thoroughly tried to, what role traditional manhood plays in the problem. Unfortunately, what we have too often done is practice the obstinate politics of wounded children who insist that they have no role in whatever befalls their lives.  We have, at times, angrily and energetically reacted to misandry, but have balked with equal vigor at seriously examining how we fostered and enabled it with masculine codes of conduct. Consequently, all of our efforts rooted in this approach have failed, and miserably so.  We have made some progress, and will no doubt eventually mature into a more effective movement, but not before we embrace more than the hostility we feel for perceived enemies.

Our most functional response thus far is to check out and go our own way, but I contend that an exit is not a destination, but just a needed removal from the line of fire; a chance to collectively regroup and rethink.  Remember that the young men festering at those crossroads have, in their own way, checked out, too.  It isn’t looking too good on them.

And it forces us, sooner or later, to swallow a pill that some will find bitter. And to face a reality that some will find unconscionable.

The feminists were right.  Masculinity has, as it relates to modern realities, corrupt, oppressive and destructive elements that need to change.

And yes, I mean that literally.  And no, I’m not kidding.

In fact, the entire thrust of my argument is that the monstrous social degeneration we are now witnessing, more than anything else, is the result of outmoded and horribly misguided masculinity.

Of course, once we dig more than a nanometer deep into the subject we find that objectivity and reason veer us onto an entirely different philosophical trajectory than the pathologically twisted and apoplectic mindset of feminist ideologues.

To chart our course, we will do two things that feminists never did. First, we will look at the subject without a politically driven agenda for unjustified revenge, or a mandate to dominate the other half of the population. And two, we will proceed with the sincere goal of benefit for everyone, not just an elite group.

The only sensible place to start is with a more grounded understanding of masculinity itself, something that can’t be done in a 3,500 word essay, but can, with even marginally appropriate treatment, arrive at far better conclusions than the last forty years of women’s and gender studies. We can rely on the combined contributions of history, mythology, politics and, most importantly, human sociobiology.  For in the end we are a species of animals whose very existence depended on the development of reproductive strategies, the primary of which is that the most aggressive and powerful males are selected for mating by the most reproductively viable females.  Those strategies arose from an environment of necessity and produced an effective way to produce offspring with the highest probability of survival. As a function of survival, that strategy, and not patriarchal conspiracy, shaped the male hierarchy, as well as what we now call masculinity.

Some dry facts- The hierarchy of men:

Despite the numerous male archetypal figures of history and legend, there are truly only four basic types of men.  Three of the more commonly known are the alphas, betas and omegas.  The fourth I will address later.

Alpha males are a very, very small fraction of the male population.  They are highly dominant men who reside at near the top of all populations, from social groups to national governments. These men are generally characterized by the ability to force the deference of other men, often mistaken for leadership, and to obtain and hold power, which lends them dominance in being selected for mating by the most desirable females. There is no evidence to suggest this is any different now than at any other time in history, and there is no way to underestimate the importance of the mating strategy in the phenomenon of the alpha male.

Success often has its price. Alphas also tend to be obsessively controlling, abusive and megalomaniacal. If you point to any despot in world history that slaughtered scores of his own people, for the need to maintain control, or for sheer sadistic pleasure, you are pointing at an alpha male. With alphas, you can throw your imagined codes of honor out the window.  Those codes are nothing more than tools used to force betas and omegas into compliance with their agendas.  All romanticism aside, the code of the alpha male is to conquer and control, both the objects of his desire and the men he exploits and expends to acquire them.  Characterologically speaking, they are a minute, worst representation of the male of the species.  But they also get things done, and with great efficiency if you don’t factor weigh the loss of freedom and human life.

Incidentally, their characteristics are also the same ones that feminists have erroneously used to define masculinity in one broad stroke, painting all men as domineering and oppressive.  Success at this enabled them to take other microscopic minorities of men and attribute their characteristics to men in general as well, e.g. abusers, pedophiles, rapists, etc…

Historically, the challengers to alphas frequently came from other alphas and often from the ranks of beta males, who form the next tier down in the male power structure. Betas serve as the alphas enforcers, the strong-arms used to maintain control over greater numbers. They also play the role of  “yes men,” affording them their own realm of power and putting them within striking distance (or scavenging proximity) of the alphas position and status, including sexual primacy. Like roadies for a rock band, fortune often filters its way into their hands, and beds.

At the bottom, and most heavily populated part of the hierarchy, are the omega males. These are the pawns on a chessboard, often under the direct control of alpha, or by proxy, beta males.  This is the common man, and the one most vulnerable to the hazards of common life.

A good way to look at this is to take a look at the military chain of command. The general tendency is that the alphas, betas and omegas shed increasing amounts of blood in descending order and claim the spoils of victory in ascending order.

Government runs in the same way. In the simplest of terms, alpha lawmakers use beta law enforcement officers to exercise their will on the generally omega population.

Or rather government used to work that way, but it really doesn’t any more.

The political sell out that changed the world.

Alpha males in government didn’t just collude with feminist ideologues in order to garner a sizable and dependable voting bloc. They had wives to contend with, many of whom were supporting feminism, which effectively reduced everything to the biological imperative. Alpha males are no less, and arguably even more disposed to take whatever measures are necessary to ensure sexual status. Faced with a perceived threat to that, they effectively ceded the alpha position and became beta enforcers for the feminist agenda. You won’t find better examples of that than Barak Obama or Joe Biden, or George Bush for that matter.  These alphas became the beta muscle for a feminist Mafioso, maintaining rank and privilege through enforcing ideological imperatives on the defenseless masses beneath them. They became cops hauling men to jail on the simple accusation of their wives. They became judges bludgeoning men with their gavels in corrupt courtrooms; politicians passing ever more misandric legislation; C.E.O.’s of pharmaceutical companies pushing drugs like Ritalin to sap the vitality and strength out of our boys, to make them more malleable in female hands once the father had been removed from the home.

Isn’t this ironic?  The supposed pinnacle of strength in the male hierarchy was revealed by feminism to actually be the pinnacle of sexual weakness. This series of events is also a lesson in real power, and where it resides, which in the realm of sexual selection has always been in the hands of the women who did the selecting.

But an even greater irony is revealed.  Women, who have bemoaned a lack of power for ages, and in fact still do, found out four decades ago that all they had to do to gain almost complete control was step up and demand it be handed over, playing the sex card as they did so.  And it was handed over, by the most powerful men in the world, who in the presence of these women became like butlers offering cocktails on a serving tray.

I am not fond of that conclusion.  In fact, as a man who continually struggles to break old world ties, I am rather embarrassed by it.

Nothing learned, nothing gained.

Nonetheless, what happened here on the whole was that women, their raw biological power masquerading as feminism, have taken the dominant alpha status in our culture, and the result is quickly becoming an age of oppression and injustice more insidious and intractable than any other. It is in the biological, survival oriented nature of women to enhance their lives through the utilization of male labor and male expendability, without compunction or moral constraint, and that is exactly where our culture has ended up on an Orwellian scale.

Defeating this monstrosity requires the insanely formidable task of battling (figuratively) through beta enforcers masquerading as alpha controllers, not to a command post with someone in charge, but through a pervasive ideology that snakes like countless invisible tentacles through the consciousness of the population at large, and that emanate from the very heart of human evolutionary psychology.

And the first strike in that battle should be, must be, at the elements of masculinity that allowed it all to happen.

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

They say there is nothing new under the sun.  History infers wisdom in those words. We can see with proper discernment that the women’s movement was not really a new era for women at all.  It is, on close inspection, just women and men practicing their biological strategies in a highly successful manner. So successfully, in fact, that it is rendering large portions of the male population even more expendable.  So expendable, in fact, that we are now creating reasons to get rid of them.

It was destined to happen once male control of the environment made it safe enough for women to start acquiring power and resources outside the traditional and protected realm of the home.  This is why you see feminism with its strongest foothold in industrialized nations founded on the rule of law.  And it is why you see that law itself is now being manipulated away from the idea of justice (which was its intent in a man’s world) and toward the funneling of added protection and resources to women (which has always been the intent in the world shared by both sexes).

It is not the pursuit of equality or the love of egalitarian values that has led to feminist governance, but pure blind human biology, practiced in the same way it was on the plains of Africa a million years ago.  And the stunning successes of men making all manner of advances since then has now begun to take us out of the picture.

Quite simply, men have worked themselves out of a job.

As noted earlier, we have already begun to disappear from the ranks of the employed and educated, and the government is adopting policies to accelerate that process.  It doesn’t take a conspiracy nut to understand that this will eventually become a disappearance from the planet.  In practical terms, there are not near as many men needed proportionally as there once was. The ones that remain will be of increasingly lower status and will be subject to ever more draconian control.

But of course, there is one factor that will turn the tide before it’s over.  It is the instinct for survival.  It is the only instinct stronger than sex, and it has already shown signs of emerging. We call it the men’s movement; MRA’s, MGTOW, and the like. We are the evidence that men transcending biology is possible; proof that there actually can be something new under the sun.  And we are growing rapidly because more and more men are beginning to see misandry for what it is; a loaded gun pointed directly at their heads, and at the heads of their sons.

Unlike feminism, which is simply a normal, functioning part of the female sex role advanced to destructive levels, masculism is the exact polar opposite.  This is the first time in human history

And this is precisely the battle we need to fight! Not with women and not with feminists of either sex, but with the aspects of masculinity that are leading to our destruction because they are now outmoded, archaic and self-defeating.  What remains of chivalry is better described as toxic waste in the water supply.  And just as we depart from the old definitions of masculinity, we must do the same with chivalry.  It may have once also been a code of honor used by alphas to control other men, but in the modern world we all know it has but one meaning- female privilege.  And so now we can call chivalry by more modern, more appropriate names, e.g. VAWA, primary aggressor laws, Title IX, rape shield laws, Title IV-D, family court, prosecution on false accusation, media bias against men, or, if you prefer the short and simple version, misandry.

The fourth type of man- the zeta male.

As previously noted, the men’s movement is a unique and literally unprecedented phenomena. It will bring with it some other firsts.  One of them is the socio-sexual warrior, and I refer to him for the purpose of this discourse as the zeta male.  The tag remains faithful to the Greek alphabet classification of the other three types of men, but there is more purpose to the label.  I took it from the star Zeta Persei. I liked the navigational metaphor of the star as it is applicable in the context of the lost generation.  But I was also intrigued to learn that Persei is a variation of Perseus, the first of the Greek mythological heroes. Perseus had a remarkable talent for slaying archaic monsters, Medusa the Gorgon among them, who as a mortal woman possessed great beauty, and was self enamored and struck with the power of her sexual allure until she was turned into a hideous monster by Athena, who later used her severed head as a weapon on her shield.

In 1940, an article by Sigmund Freud was posthumously published, entitled Medusa’s Head (Das Medusenhaupt) in which he postulated that Medusa represented castration in a child’s mind related to discovered and denied maternal sexuality.

Even more interesting is that in modern times, feminists (Women: A Journal of Liberation, 1978) adopted and reinterpreted the image of Medusa as representative of women’s rage, and it served as a binding symbol of feminist solidarity.

So Perseus, namesake of Zeta Persei, was the slayer of Oedipal shame (control) and the murderously powerful raging feminist archetype.

The zeta male.

This classification of a male is new because this is a male that until recent times was never needed, and indeed was never there. He is emergent and unpolished and struggling to find his legs, but is doing so thanks to the fertile, safe ground, provided by, of all things, other emerging zetas on the internet.  He has no allegiance to tradition or nostalgia for the past, and in fact is charged with plotting a new course.  He cannot be shamed into control or intimidated into silence or seduced into capitulation. He doesn’t fit in the classic hierarchy, and would gladly bring it down in the name of his cause.  When someone says he needs to act like a real man, he smiles and says, “No, thank you.”

He doesn’t seek power, but justice.  And he has one overarching feature largely absent in the world around him.

He cares about those lost young men who were ambushed coming out of the womb. And he will strive to make himself an example, living proof that there are other roads to take than the ones that lead to self-hatred and self-destruction.

About Paul Elam

Paul Elam is the founder and publisher of A Voice for Men, the founder of A Voice for Men Radio, the AVfM YouTube Channel, and appears weekly on AVFM Intelligence Report, Going Mental with Dr. Tara Palmatier and weekly on MANstream Media with Warren Farrell and Tom Golden.

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