I recently had a conversation with Rollo of The Rational Male. Rollo is somewhat unique in that he is one of the few manosphere authors who have actually touched on the topic of unstated axioms and their consequences when applied to the interpretation of the sexual market place. Most frequently he will refer to this as the error of egalitarian equalism, which is a contraction of two elements.
A) Egalitarianism meaning that both men and women are considered equal in their worth as human beings.
B) That there are no biological differences between the sexes and that any difference results from social influence.
The former would be the Enlightenment interpretation of egalitarianism, that form the foundation of the statement, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.” from the Declaration of Independence, where one must interpret the meaning of the statement, in context of commoners that had lived in societies where rights and duties were dependent upon your social rank at birth, as “Nobody is born with more or less rights, duties or worth as a human being than anyone else”.
The Second would be the belief based in the Tabula Rasa that there are no meaningful psychological or behavioral differences based in biological evolution among the sexes or other characteristics, and that all differences that do manifest are a result of social influence. From this it follows that men and women think, reason, and value the same information, that they make decisions the same way, and that any representation within a field of endeavor other than the demographic one is the result of discrimination in some form.
In this case, “egalitarian equalism” is an axiom that has formed, and still forms part of the foundation upon which analysis of intersexual and intra-sexual dynamics is based.
In classic philosophy an axiom is a statement that that is so evident and well established that it is accepted without controversy or question. These come in two varieties, stated and unstated. For instance in mathematics the results of elementary arithmetic are considered unstated axioms, meaning that one does not need to state these explicitly when making an argument. Stated axioms on the other hand are those that are made explicitly clear, when making an argument. For instance, if I begin an argument with “For the purpose of this argument I will consider [insert statement/fact/statistic as being representative, accurate and true] I’m stating a premise that will be utilized within the logical framework of the argument.
The former often takes place where a field or a discussion has statements, facts or otherwise that are so fundamental that only extremely pedantic people may challenge them. The latter is often necessary when making an argument on principle or where there are statements that may be challenged. In order to avoid these protests and make an “If it is so, then it follows” style argument, one states that “for the purpose of this argument, this axiom is considered to be true“.
The Red and Blue Pill are both interpretations of observed reality. In the case of both framework, persons have observed an event or multiple events, and have formed arguments and conclusions around those events. For instance, a man may make an observation that the 437 point checklist a woman lists on her eharmony profile, is only applicable to a certain category of men based on the woman’s history of dating, mating, and associating with men who do not fulfill the criteria on the list. Furthermore, he may add inductively, that if she has such a checklist and it applies only to a subset of men, she must also have a list of sorts for the remaining subsets of men. After all, if every man is considered a potential intimate partner for a woman, and the 437 bullet point checklist is only applied to 80% of men, then there are really only two options:
A) The remaining 20% of men are not considered intimate partner prospects
B) The remaining 20% of men are evaluated using a second list
If he adds to this the observation that the 20% group appear to jump through less hoops, can escalate the relationship faster and generally appear to get better treatment, then attempting to decipher the items on this second list, and utilizing his knowledge would gain him benefits in the sexual market place. The Blue Pill Analysis of the same situation would yield a much different result, as the 437 point checklist is viewed as being true, while the remaining 20% of men to which it does not apply are considered mistakes the woman must make in order for her to learn that she should stick with her list.
The Effect of Unstated Axioms
Identifying unstated axioms is of great importance, because they affect the potential outcomes of any analysis. For instance, a physicist will tend to make the unstated assumption that the laws of nature hold. The Blue Pill man will make his sexual market analysis based on such axioms as “egalitarian equialism”, The Blue Pill illusion, and that what he has been told about female nature since birth is true.
If one begins a sexual market analysis from the starting point that there are no psychological or behavioral traits that differ between the sexes, this not only limits the scope of the inquiry, it also limits the depth quite substantially. If one is wondering why 70% of divorces are initiated by women, using the axiom of egalitarian equalism would automatically assume that this behavior is not related to a trait unique to female biology or psychology, but rather a consequence of social factors. Furthermore, it would make the assumption that men manifest the same tendencies, but only social factors lead to males not initiating divorce more frequently. Thus, the analysis would begin from the point of “What social factors lead women to initiate a majority of divorces?”, rather than “Why do women initiate a majority of divorces?”
More severely, the position of egalitarian equalism will have to view any distribution that does not identically reflect the demographics of a given population as being caused by social factors. This follows from the simple fact that if all are created equal, not just in terms of worth, but also in ability, proclivities, interests and every other variable that could influence outcomes, yet outcomes differ, then there must be social influences that lead to uneven outcomes. If there are social influences that lead to unequal outcomes, then obviously this must be rectified as not offering equal opportunity means there is discrimination. This follows quite simply when applying the law of large numbers to populations, with the unstated premise that all sub-populations are equal in every factor except their distinguishing features such as sex, ethnic background, and various others. If every population group is identical in ability, then it follows than any deviation from a normal distribution of the population as a whole, results from social discriminatory factors.
The trouble with such unstated axioms is that often we are not even conscious of them, they are to us as the basic rules of mathematics are to a man doing calculus, he just does addition, subtraction, division and multiplication without have to explicitly think about the rules that govern them. If your mind automatically assumes in system 1 fashion that we are born as blank slates, then one does not consider inborn differences, only social ones. If system 1 assumes that men and women share the same concept of love, evaluate partners in the same way, make decisions about reproduction in the same fashion, or decide when to commit using the same form and chains of reasoning, then one has halved the potential explanations.
When the “Good Boys” enter the mating market after having checked 437 boxes, and their outcome does not reflect that outcome that they were promised, the blue pill offers them a convenient interpretation as for why, they merely have not met that one woman whom the Universe has designed with the capacity to appreciate their sacrifices. Most men initially approach the sexual market place with the outdated social contract as their unstated axioms, experience a lot of failures, some successes, and after some time start to wonder why their results do not match their efforts. Such thinking tends to lead to various “manosphere friendly” google searches such as “Why doesn’t my wife want sex”, “Why did my girlfriend let herself go”, “How to get laid more” and various others.
The man then lands on a blog, forum, or something else where red pill thoughts are discussed in some form, he may find some game techniques and start gaming his wife or girlfriend. However, he never really questions or even thinks about his axioms. Thus, while he may experience some success after adopting the red pill methodology and he may notice that utilizing some red pill truths in his life leads to desirable results, he never questions the more fundamental axioms to his worldview.
Summary and Conclusions
The idea for this essay landed in my mind after a discussion with Rollo on how men like Jordan Peterson, Steven Pinker and Warren Farrell have conducted very good analyses and have solid insight on male-female interactions, differences between the sexes, dominance hierarchies and various other differences that appear to be biological in origin, yet seem to not take that step away from “Egalitarian Equalism” to a position that appears more congruent with the very data they present in their writing and lectures. The trouble isn’t so much the “Egalitarian” part, but the “equalism” that was added to it during the 20th century.
There is a very clear distinction in my mind between egalitarianism defined as “the doctrine that all people are equal and deserve equal rights and opportunities.” and the belief that all people should have equal outcomes. For some strange reason, the idea of biological differences leading to a difference in outcomes appear to be much more accepted in athletic endeavors, where we have little problem accepting that some people have innate biological gifts that permit them to attain a high level of performance than others. Whether this be a higher proportion of a given type of muscle fibers, higher testosterone levels, or any other inborn trait, within athletic competition is accepted with little quarrel. However, when it comes to the domain of psychology, such as IQ, behavior, interests and five factor traits, the idea of biological differences are much less accepted.
Perhaps this has changed since physical prowess and advantages are less salient characteristics in a modern knowledge economy, or perhaps it is due to the Marxist influences during the 20th century, it could also be due to the historical dominance of a belief in inborn characteristics leading to less opportunity. After all, as a species we do have a long history of noble birthrights, aristocratic lines dominating and a social history of denying people rights based on their status at birth. My estimate is that the idea of giving people equal opportunities is a case of a house of cards, after all if one seeks to be efficient one would need to ensure that one does not offer opportunities to the people who are incapable of making the most of them. For instance, talent shows such as American Idol would save a lot of time if they didn’t have to audition people who cannot sing.
However, such an approach would go against the idea of everyone being granted an opportunity, even though the discrimination is based on merit. One must keep in mind that despite the word “discrimination” being very negatively loaded, it has different definitions:
- The unjust or prejudicial treatment of different categories of people, especially on the grounds of race, age, or sex.
- Recognition and understanding of the difference between one thing and another.
- The ability to judge what is of high quality; good judgement or taste.
- The ability to distinguish between different stimuli.
These fall within 2 broad categories, “Unjust and prejudicial treatment of categories” and “Recognition of differences”, it is very easy to merely utilize the first one, as appears to be the habit of many. One must also keep in mind that we all discriminate in the form of the second definition every single day of our lives. In the case of the former, it is very easy to fall into the trap of confusing legitimate statistical and observed differences with prejudicial treatment of categories of people. Recognizing that statistically speaking men are heavier and taller than women, does not mean that every man is taller or heavier than every woman, as covered in the NAXLT Fallacy essay.
In many ways it becomes a slippery slope argument to protest, argue and work against research focused on differences between people, and groups on the basis that the observation and documentation of such differences with scientific accuracy would legitimize discrimination based on prejudice or in the face of justice. The position that everyone can become exactly what they want to be is also a comforting thought, and perhaps an opiate of the people of sorts.
However, at which point is it salient to conduct a cost-benefit analysis of the axioms on which our society is constructed? Does it lead to more pleasure than pain to tell children that they can become anything they want to be? Perhaps it leads to more pleasure in the short-term but a higher level of pain when they realize that it is untrue. In the same manner, what damage does the Blue pill axioms of our culture lead to the temporary pleasure for men, yet as the source of their ultimate undoing when they realize that they are not true? After all, as they grow up, men are indoctrinated with the idea that there is a woman out there who will complete them, who has the unique ability to value the sacrifices they make in their life, and without whom their life will be for nought, that their duty is to find this woman, who holds the key to their self-actualization. Yet, the red pill reality is that there is no such woman out there.
How much pain is caused by sending men into a harsh world, with the belief that the universe is just? To borrow two of Jordan Peterson’s favorite terms, the blue pill approach is to tell men that they live in a world of order, that if they behave in a given manner, then good will come to them. The red pill approach is to tell men that they live in a world of chaos, and a life in chaos requires behavior suited for chaos.
By demonstrating the opposites, the veneer of order covering the chasm of chaos, a man is able to make an informed choice about how to behave, rather than merely adopting a convenient one.