Recently, I’ve been thinking quite a lot about the internal divisiveness in parts of the manosphere, after a conversation on the 21 Convention Podcast where the topic of different groups within the sphere came up. The discussion was regarding Red Pill theory and how various groups within the sphere accept and utilize this theory as part of their belief system.
It was largely prompted by the fact that the manosphere has experienced quite a bit of turmoil recently between these different groupings. This is not an uncommon reaction within a system, and we’ve already seen this happen with the increasingly fragmented nature of communism where the constant striving appeal to increasingly diverse groups has created what can only be described as a potpourri that is stinking up the space.
For the purpose of this essay, I’m not going to analyze each major group in depth, I’m just going to provide a brief outline of the groups, as I view them.
Red Pill Scholars
First there are red pill scholars. These are the men who regard the red pill as a praxeology, which is a bit of a misnomer. Praxeology is a methodology or alternatively a framework for conducting research, and is defined as “The branch of knowledge that deals with the nature of human action, especially in later use as understood in economic theory by the Austrian economist Ludwig von Mises (1881-1973) and his followers.” . The methodologies employed by praxeologists often include observation of real world events and the deductive study of such events, based on axioms. For instance, human action is purposeful. A human acts when he or she uses means to achieve an end that he or she subjectively values. Their action is therefore intentional, and the person acts for a reason.
Therefore, I would argue that it’s more accurate to refer to the red pill as a body of knowledge, generated and developed through praxeology and other methods, with the totality of the body of knowledge being the red pill grounded theory project.
What red pill scholars have in common is that they view the generation and development of red pill theory as something, which should remain amoral, objective, rational and empirical. Which means that great care must be taken to avoid mixing red pill theory with a particular religious, political, economic or otherwise. This is due to the fact that red pill theory deals with a highly controversial topic in and of itself, the study of intersexual and intrasexual dynamics in human mating and relationships. Thus, it can be applied regardless of religious, political, economic, moral or other perspectives. This is because from a red pill perspective much of mating behavior has its origin in biology, which transcends many if not all human structures that have been socially constructed to reign in our biological natures.
The view of red pill scholars is that it doesn’t matter if you’re a communist, liberal, conservative, anarcho-syndicalist, anarcho agrarian, or any other political perspective. What religion, or no religion at all you subscribe to, which economic system you prefer, what moral framework or none at all guides your life, which philosophical perspective you utilize, does not matter, red pill theory encapsulates it. The men who fall into this category are frequently the most theoretically and academically oriented segment of the manosphere.
Traditional Conservatives (TradCons)
The next group are the traditional conservatives. This group consists of men who largely view the red pill as a methodology to achieve a desired end, or ends. Recently the focus has largely been on saving the social structures that serve as the foundation of western civilization. Thus, these men focus on traditional values, such as family and community. Therefore, this group both advocates utilizing parts of red pill theory in order to realize their desired end of long-term monogamous marriage, in order to raise the next generation of children, however they are frequently also critics of the parts of red pill theory that is unflattering to their desired end, such as the full extent of hypergamy.
The traditional conservatives seek to save what is left, and ideally bring back the old values that the western world is founded on. To this end, they seek to cultivate not only the traits and behaviors of an Alpha Male, they also seek to add virtues that make a great patriarch such as wisdom, compassion and empathy.
To summarize the goal of this group in one sentence it would be “Utilize the red pill body of knowledge to realize a blue pill end”, to take the Matrix reference a step further, I would say that these men have no desire to tear down the matrix, they want to live inside it, and use their knowledge of it to influence it. These men, unlike the red pill men outlined above are frequently less theoretically inclined, and much more focused on the application of red pill theory. To them, “What is” matters less than “How can I use this”. Another major difference is that these men tend to infuse red pill theory with their own political, religious and moral frameworks, which is why their descriptions of Alpha for instance often include moral dimensions.
Pick-Up Artists (Playboy segment included)
Like the traditional conservatives, the PUA segment of the manosphere are frequently more practically inclined than red pill men. The difference is in the desired end more than it is in perspective. Where the traditional conservative seeks to utilize red pill theory in order to bring about a blue pill end, the PUA frequently seek to live a life of pleasure. Thus, one could refer to the two groups as the Apollonian and Dionysian sides of the red pill, to put it in more contemporary terms, order and chaos.
The focus of many PUA is the cultivation of Alpha traits just like the TradCons, but where the tradcon is more likely to seek to add the traits of the patriarch, the PUA are more likely to dabble in dark triad traits and other traits associated with conquerors or outlaws.
Pick-up artists have adapted to the new social reality of open hypergamy and liberated sexuality, and seek to take advantage of it to realize the male sexual strategy of maximal sexual access with maximal sexual variety. Thus, a frequent accusation levied against these men in that they are not only enjoying the decline, but hastening it. Where tradcons view themselves as seeking to take the world back to a simpler time with better moral values, they often view pick-up artists as the force that is opposing them in this endeavor.
The most interesting dynamic between the tradcons and the PUAs is that it’s not uncommon for men to belong to both groups during different stages of life. I know many men who got married in their early twenties to their high school or college sweetheart who find themselves divorced some years later who engage in quite massive binges of PUA, or PUA who have spent their 20s and 30s engaging in a lifestyle that would make Hemingway look like a teetotaler who develop a desire to settle into the role of Patriarch later in life.
Men’s Rights Activists (MRAs)
MRAs can come in many forms, but among the groups within the manosphere they are the ones who I would argue are the furthest removed from red pill theory. While there are probably many red pill men among MRAs, there are also many blue pill men among them. What sets this group apart is that they are seeking to influence the social frameworks that they view as being unfair to men, such as child custody, alimony, family court in general, domestic abuse, male suicide and many others. Their desired outcome is to negotiate an armistice with feminism and to improve the social structures to improve the state for both sexes.
However, it would seem, based on my research that they haven’t quite noticed that when feminists are arguing for women’s rights, they treat it as a non-zero sum game, meaning that they sell it as “win-win for both women and men”, but the second the discussion turns to the male state of affairs, they treat it as a zero-sum game. One cannot negotiate peace with a person who hasn’t stopped shooting at you.
Men Going Their Own Way (MGTOW)
Men Going Their Own Way is a very divided group, that has a lot of different types of men within it’s ranks who think of themselves as MGTOW. I elected to put MGTOW last, because for the most part I tend to think that all men within the manosphere are men going their own way to some extent. MGTOW are challenging to categorize quite frankly, because it’s not so much a group, as a collection of men who share some views but differ in many. There are MGTOWs who minimize contact with women to the greatest possible extent, viewing every interaction with a woman as a highly risky event to be avoided. Then there are MGTOWs who just avoid marriage, MGTOWs who avoid long-term relationships in general but are OK with one night stands or shorter term relationships and many others.
There are MGTOWs who engage in many of the typical self-improvement avenues, such as health, finances, there are also MGTOW who are more similar to hikkomori (herbivore men) who seek to minimize their needs and contributions to a system they view as doomed to decline who do the bare minimum.
Summary and Conclusions
When I sat down to write this essay I was somewhat conflicted, because I find myself agreeing with every group on many issues. For instance, I agree with tradcons that our current social structures are unsustainable and venerate some of the worst aspects of humanity. I agree with PUA that being able to regularly get laid with women you find attractive is important, both for short-term sexual health, but also to build a foundation of experiences with women to inform your choice of mate should you elect to settle down. I agree with MRA that male issues are greatly neglected in our public discourse, including the male suicide epidemic, boys in schools, and various others. I also spend a lot of time on this blog writing essays that are by large highly theoretical in nature.
The reason for my choice to use the snake eating itself as the illustration for this post, was a statement I heard that was “I get accused of being jealous or a huge critic of this guy, when I agree with 95% of what he says“. This is somewhat my view of in-fighting in the manosphere, because for the most part there are no major incompatibilities between the various groups, just differing areas of focus. For instance, I think most Red Pill Scholars, Tradcons, PUA and MRAs agree that the male suicide epidemic, male health concerns, on the job deaths, divorce laws and child custody are important issues for men that need to be fixed. I think most men in all groups view self-improvement in physical health, psychological health, financial health and social health as critical areas to live a good life. Red pill scholars view the theories being applicable as important, just like PUA, TradCons and MGTOW view the theoretical side of the manosphere as important to serve as a foundation.
A major reason why the political left has been winning the culture war, is that the political right has been busy fighting itself. While the political left was busy infiltrating and occupying academia, major news organizations, HR departments, and the arts. The political right was engaged in a bare-knuckle brawl in its own ranks between people who agree on about 90% of the issues. Libertarians fighting social conservatives who are busy fighting people who are socially liberal but economic conservatives. While the political right was fighting each other on what color curtains to hang in boardroom, the political left was busy setting the board room on fire.