from Sept. 24, 2017
It’s really, really hard to look at yourself and think about the social forces that gave you the good things you have. It’s much easier to naturalize the world as you want it to be, the world in which you are the greatest and those not like you are the worst, and everyone should just know their place.
The disruptors of society really don’t like being disrupted. The answers? #1: Fight back. #2: Take your marbles and go home to your MGTOW clubhouse. What’s MGTOW? Men Going Their Own Way. It’s a thing. It’s like those dreams of “separate but equal”, or “multiculturalism” in South Africa (which is code for whites only communities not having to deal with others except as servants, so, apartheid all over again).
The difference between Silicon Valley and Wall Street and many university campuses is negligible. There’s a sense of entitlement on the part of some of those who are there. There’s a sense that it was achieved through inherent intelligence, hard work, and general virtue, not the vagaries of history, social status, connections, or money. There’s a macho culture of competition and individualism (I was told once by a faculty member in my grad school that there’s macho philosophy and there’s wimp philosophy, and I was doing wimp philosophy and that I should get with the program). There’s a sense that some groups who are not part of “my people” are there illegitimately, through some affirmative action program or feminism or something else that tilted the playing field against the Truly Deserving, those who really have the true ability and talent, those like me, white men.
This article is clear about this attitude of entitlement. It’s logic is insidious – if you start from the premise that you and your group are the truly good, the truly talented and deserving, then no amount of contrary evidence will be enough to unseat that assumption. Any statistic showing the success of someone else will be evidence of their corruption. Any story about cooperation between groups will be seen as a story of how a project was not as good as it might have otherwise been.
The problem starts from the absolute refusal to look at oneself in an unflinching manner. Looking at yourself doesn’t mean tearing yourself down. It means understanding the influences and causes that made you what you are. It means questioning all your assumptions – all of them, not just the convenient ones. It means not starting from the classic right-wing playbook move of turning every question back on the opponent – “but, what about X??!! What about your entitlements??!! What about Hilary’s emails??!!??!!?”
There’s an irony that we see some of these people claim a background in philosophy. The foundation of philosophy is Socrates’ dictum: Know Thyself. That’s where it starts, and that’s precisely what never happens with these entitlement groups, or with any of the other members of Trump’s MAGA army. The philosophy that some of these people produce is laughably bad, precisely because it is held hostage by its objective, which is the justification of their own privilege. It cannot be self-reflective, so it can only mimic philosophy.
Looking at oneself is a hallmark of mature thinking. It is what people learn to do when they grow up. MGTOW can only exist in a mindset of resolute refusal to grow up and take on the responsibilities of adulthood.