Dalrock has recently tackled the question “What is the manosphere?“ Posts like this are an important service to other branches of the neo-reactionary tree, somewhat sympathetic outsiders trying to decide whether the entity in question is entirely, partly, or not at all compatible with their own commitments. “Definitions are important”, Dalrock rightly says. I would add that dogmas, properly enunciated, facilitate conversation rather than shutting it down. It helps to know very clearly what one is being asked to agree or disagree with. This is, if anything, even more true for the “orthosphere”, since the words we would ordinarily use to describe ourselves–”social conservatives”, “traditionalists”, “orthodox Christians”–have been stretched and debased almost to the point of uselessness. I don’t blame liberals, men’s rights activists, or anyone else for believing that social conservatism is what prominent people calling themselves social conservatives say it is. What else are they to think? Nevertheless, what passes for conservatism, even Christian conservatism, these days is deeply contaminated by liberalism, as a look at the historical record and an examination of basic philosophical premises makes clear. By the same standards, the orthosphere is not thus corrupted. The following will be a work of dogmatics, not apologetics. I will not try to convince you that the orthosphere’s beliefs are true, but I do want to give you a sense of what they are and how they differ from those of related schools of thought.
A guest post by Dalrock.
Alan Roebuck recently asked Can Man Live Traditionally?
Alan answered yes, and went so far as to argue that a man has an obligation to marry even though this means marrying in a legal and social regime which has done all it can to eradicate traditional marriage, and even if this means marrying a woman who wouldn’t have been considered appropriate to marry by tradition minded men of past generations.
As a member of what I have dubbed the traditional marriage group within the manosphere, I asked Alan if he would be interested in me providing a response as a guest post. Alan very graciously accepted. I suggested this because while I differ in some important aspects with Alan’s position on the topic, I was impressed with his willingness to go against the grain of our thoroughly feminised culture and acknowledge the unpopular truths regarding what our society has transformed marriage into. While I think it is unlikely that opinions will be changed on either side, my hope with this exchange is that each of us will better understand the positions of the other. Continue reading
The problem with TradCons is that it [sic] proposes men behave according to traditional behaviours while the underlying rules that supported that behavior doesn’t [sic] exist.
- A commenter at Oz Conservative
-An individual calling himself “Pro-male/Anti-feminist Tech,” at his blog
It is said by many (not just the individuals quoted above) that since the traditional rules of traditional society have been overthrown, a person cannot live traditionally without incurring a severe penalty.
In response, we traditionalists say that indeed, man must always make some accommodations to his environment. But to be properly virtuous, a man or woman must not live just for himself. He must also live a life that contributes to his family, his people, his religion, and his nation. And this can only be done by living, to a greater or lesser extent, traditionally.
The topic is large, and this post will only respond directly to one of its manifestations: It is said by some in the Manosphere that we traditionalist conservatives are betraying men by urging them to act according to traditional rules of chivalry towards women, with the result that women have the advantage over men. In brief, they say we traditionalists urge men to submit to women. Continue reading
The basic operation of every society is maintaining its essential order – the order that makes it the society that it is – in the face of adversity. It is the work of tradition: of transferring to rising generations the essential order of their forefathers, amended at the margin, or accidentally, so as to cope with changes in the environment.
This interminable project of social reproduction requires practical wisdom. And practical wisdom is possible only to the virtuous man, and then only to the extent of his virtue. Societies live or die, then, depending upon their preponderant degree of virtue. This is just as true for societies of multi-celled organisms – i.e., for men themselves – as it is for societies of men. It is true for any social organism: for the family, for the tribe, clan or people, for the church, for the guild or business enterprise, for the town or for the nation.
Thus the basic task of social existence, the quotidian moral housekeeping that is the sine qua non of successful social life, is the attainment and maintenance of virtue. The first and most basic product of society then, is righteousness. All other economic production is founded upon it. Worldly success – survival, vigor, prosperity, strength – is the fruit of practical wisdom, of applied virtue. Prosperity, then, is a fairly good indication of virtue.
There are to be sure in this Fallen world many ways to get rich by wickedness. Thus the fact that a man is rich is no sure indication that he is mostly righteous. But even ill-gotten wealth, such as that of the thief or gangster, is the product of a kind of virtue – a corrupted and ill-directed excellence, yes, but an excellence nonetheless (the competition among gangsters is keen, and ruthless; only the best survive). Likewise for the wealth of the corrupt executive or politician. The excellence of these sorts of men lies in their ability to game the system: to exploit the niches created by defects of the social order.
Such men are always with us. And indeed, they are not altogether useless, or they would never have succeeded at what they do. The corrupt politician succeeds by pleasing his constituents and his customers; the thief succeeds by pleasing his fences with the goods he offers; the Mafioso succeeds by pleasing the customers of his drug distribution system. The social utility of such men derives quite directly from their gaming of the system. In effect, their exploitation of defects in the system design corrects for those defects, or at least compensates for them. Their gaming activities are similar in some ways to arbitrage. Like the arbitrageur, the wicked exploiter restores some equilibrium or other, and compensates for a defect of society.
Can the system be gamed? It will be. Indeed, it ought to be.
Two Orthosphereans have been published in the Spring edition of The University Bookman. Tom Bertonneau has an essay about Ray Bradbury, The Pulpy Roots of Fahrenheit 451, and Jim Kalb reviews D.A. Carson’s book The Intolerance of Tolerance.
Glorifying God, leaking into the world the love that he leaks into us through the wounds and breaches and gaps of our own lives, is a severely practical and down to earth activity.
In that sense we do in the world what God does in us. We receive His love where we are vulnerable and weak, and lose sight of it when we claim strength and power. Christians reach to the jagged edges of our society, and of the world in general. Food distribution, places for rough sleepers, debt counselling, credit unions, community mediation, support for ex‐offenders, support for victims of crime, care for the dying, valuing those who have no economic contribution to make, or are too weak to argue for their own value. All this is the daily work of the church, which goes on every day and everywhere. We leak out into the world the love that God leaks into us.
The above bit of revoltingly banal, worldly shlock comes to us from the Christmas sermon of the new Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, who was enthroned today as head of the Anglican Communion in a ceremony that looked like this:
Why another essay about liberalism? Because the common man needs to be equipped to defend himself.
And speaking of the common man, for whom is this nine-thousand-word essay written? For the man who understands some things about the ubiquitous liberalism but has not yet been properly schooled.
The intended reader, then, is intelligent, perceptive and fairly knowledgeable of the general ways of the world and therefore naturally senses that there is something wrong with the status quo. The intended reader knows the basic liberal rules of society and knows that they are held to be obviously true and good, but he has enough knowledge to sense that these rules are wrong. So he does not need to be convinced about the basic nature of liberalism; this essay assumes that the reader can recognize liberalism from a general description of it.
But the intended reader, ready to learn and also knowing that he needs to learn, has not yet discovered how properly to think about liberalism. This essay (a major expansion of my “Liberalism 101”) presents an introduction to proper thinking about liberalism. It also introduces the reader to the antidote for the poison of liberalism.
The Essay Itself
Something is fundamentally wrong with the modern world. If you sense this, you have taken a great step toward wisdom. But what exactly is wrong?
There are many specific troubles, too many to count. But let us consider some examples.
Observe first that not only is there great trouble in our times but, even more alarmingly, the authorities often approve of (and are often the main source of) the trouble, such as:
Legitimization, even celebration, of sexual disorder. Since disorder is bad, why do they celebrate? Continue reading
You will notice that the “hats off in the house” rule is included in the course-syllabus. It is an item in the “Guidelines for Classroom Decorum”:
Hats and head-coverings off during class-time. A college-level humanities lecture is a serious, adult occasion and a civilized, professional activity even quasi-solemn in character. The Instructor therefore institutes the “no hats” rule to help students, especially the hat-wearing ones, make the sometimes-difficult transition from their state of pre-critical high-school-and-popular-culture conformism to that of adult, civilized, intellectual reflexivity and ethical independence. In practice, the “no hats” rule applies mostly to men, but in principle it includes women.
The American Traditionalist Society does not exist. Not yet. But it is in the serious planning stages.
The Society’s purpose, in brief, is to help foster a more properly ordered American nation through the spiritual, intellectual, and moral renewal of Americans, both individually and collectively. This renewal will be a vast undertaking, and any organization can only help this process, not control or direct it. Nevertheless, concrete organizations large and small devoted to this purpose will be needed.
Here, by way of further introduction, are three brief statements:
Brief Description of the American Traditionalist Society
The American Traditionalist Society is dedicated to spreading proper—that is, traditionalist—conservatism. We call all people to understand and repent of liberalism, and we seek the renewal of American society.
Traditionalism Briefly Defined
Whereas liberalism denies man all that sustains his spirit, traditionalism restores the life-giving ties between a man and his people, their past, and his God. It restores wisdom and common sense by reconnecting man to the eternal order of being, a multifaceted order that is spiritual, moral, intellectual, religious, social and physical. Whereas contemporary thinking is fundamentally unwise outside of the procedures of the natural sciences and technology, traditionalism seeks to fill this void and strives for justice, truth, beauty, and the proper ordering of society.
Our traditionalism is therefore not simply a longing for the past. Since the present is radically defective, we naturally look to the past for a model of a more properly-ordered society, but we do not aim to recreate the conditions of the past. As Lawrence Auster has said,
“Traditition” is but one dimension of traditionalism. Traditionalism is, first, an orientation toward the transcendent structure of the universe–the natural, social (including historical and traditional”), and spiritual orders that make us possible. Each society orders itself uniquely according to those orders. So traditionalism is not just the past tradition, it’s our active relationship and tension with the order of the world, but always grasped and expressed uniquely and newly in each time and society according to the particularities of that society.
The American Traditionalist Society: Our Raison D’être
Since roughly the 1960s, America has pursued a determined course of self-destruction in the name of liberalism. Our nation is now in a state of undeniable crisis. The federal government, close to insolvency, openly defies the Constitution and asserts its increasingly unaccountable and tyrannical power over the states and over the life of every individual. Our borders have been effectively erased, our language weakened, and our cultural foundations overturned. Our major institutions have been undermined from within. The media and popular culture have marginalized decency and virtue and made filth, transgression, and every kind of nastiness the new norm—a norm unquestioned by anyone in the mainstream culture, including conservatives. Our leaders pontificate that we must be tolerant above all else, and so many draw the natural conclusion that life is absurd. With the official-in-all-but-name denial of the God of the Bible and of any transcendent truth, many young men and women have become demoralized, leading lives that are amoral, selfish, and dissipated.
The response of institutionalized conservatism to this catastrophe has been wholly inadequate, for it has assumed that our nation is fundamentally sound and that we need only oppose the latest liberal initiatives. Failing effectively to challenge the false and evil premises of liberalism or even to acknowledge that these premises now hold effective control over all aspects of American society, the organized conservatism of our day has, at best, only slowed the rate of destruction. It is therefore time for a new, a traditionalist, conservatism which recognizes the dominance and falsehood of liberalism and the need to restore the traditional American way of life, yet updated to suit the times. It is time for men and women of good will to stand together before God, repent of their liberalism, and turn their hearts and minds toward the formation of a new social and political order, an order based on God, the wisdom of the ages, and that which is enduringly true in the American and Western tradition. We seek to foster a better order through the spiritual, moral and intellectual renewal of individuals, families, churches, and other fundamental units of society, leading naturally to an organic renewal of American society.
To this end, ever in debt to our forebears and beholden to posterity, the American Traditionalist Society is devoted.
[End of statement.]
Stay tuned for further details.
Note: Since this is an occasion for, if not exactly celebration, then at least optimism and dedication, comments that are primarily or entirely hostile will be deleted / blocked. Disagreement that is respectful and at least somewhat rational will, of course, be allowed.
The reader probably knows this already. But here at the Orthosphere we’re not just interested in conversing among ourselves. We’re also interested in evangelism, in spreading the word.
And what is the word we spread? That the current system is fundamentally broken and wicked, and that we must all repent of the liberalism that is killing us spiritually, intellectually, emotionally and socially.
So there is a need for simple and visceral proof that liberalism is wrong, proof that anyone who has been paying attention to the world can acknowledge as valid. Here’s one such proof:
Ask yourself: According to our leaders, what is the greatest social good?
The answer is obvious. They all say it is diversity. All of Western Civilization is currently organized around the moral principle that diversity is the greatest good, and opposition to diversity is therefore the greatest evil.
[John Q. Public knows that diversity is held to be an important social good. He may not be aware that it is held to be the highest social good, but that realization will come later, if he pursues the line of thought that we are opening up here.] Continue reading