Last year, I wrote a piece at the Federalist in which I illustrated submission in marriage by relating a story about kayaking. To recapitulate it here, my wife and I went to Hawaii a number of years ago and took a kayak trip upriver. Our guide made it clear that in a two-person kayak, there are distinct roles for making it work: the person in back needs to steer while the person in front needs to provide even forward momentum. I was in the back attempting to steer, but my wife was so worried that we might bump into the riverbank that she kept attempting to steer as well. In case you’ve never tried it, it’s about as difficult as you’d expect to steer a kayak when the other person is actively working against you. So we did end up bumping into the river bank a few times–and this only increased her resolve to keep trying to steer. After all, from her perspective, I wasn’t doing a good enough job so she had to steer. Eventually our guide and I convinced her to stop steering, at which point our trip upriver became much more enjoyable for everyone.
I never addressed it at the time, but there was one comment on that essay that caught my eye. A reader asked:
I want to know how you, even with help, were able to convince your wife that she was wrong to try and steer from the front and got her to listen and quit doing it. You would literally save this entire nation if you could find a way to teach us how to convince women to admit they’re wrong(when they’re actually wrong, not to gaslight them).
I bring the question up because I’ve recently been pondering the common presumption among MGTOW that Western women are simply incorrigible and impossible to deal with.
I’m not going to rehash the enormous challenges men face in our society that lead men to give up on marriage. Examples are legion, and I’ve written on the subject time and again. Male disengagement from culture is not an altogether unreasonable reaction to our current social incentives. Many men find themselves more free to pursue their personal interests without heartache and interference by despairing of women and simply going their own way.
Because of that reality, I have a great deal of sympathy for MGTOW. But here’s the thing: “The only winning move is not to play” may be a reasonable attitude to have if you’re a hedonist/existentialist, but I unfortunately encounter the same kind of despair among Christian men. Those of us who are not called to celibacy are called to marriage and family. And celibate or not, all of us are called to various work in our nation as well–serving our neighbors by building and maintaining civilization. Accordingly, it’s always bothered me to see Christian men who (correctly) believe that feminist rebellion is destroying our civilization disengage from it all under the excuse that there’s just nothing to be done until women stop rebelling. And no, not all MGTOW are like that (NAMGTOWALT?), but the despair is nevertheless very common.
That said… I don’t want to dwell on that either. Considering the challenges men face, I don’t want to heap more scorn and discouragement on the pile because there’s already plenty of that to go around. Men need encouragement instead. I only bring up the criticism briefly because too many people have embraced a false dichotomy between “go your own way” and “man up and marry those sluts.” Both of those options are grounded in despair, and so encouragement necessitates moving towards a third option.
Which leads me to the key question: If feminist rebellion is the problem, who exactly is going to correct rebellious Western women? Women sure as hell aren’t going to independently self-correct. It’s not going to happen by men disengaging either–the fantasy that men’s absence will teach women how badly they erred is both fatalistic and bitter. For one thing, the parasite’s regret at inadvertently killing its host is irrelevant to said host. For another, mere disengagement alone won’t actually cause it to happen–it’s simply passing the buck to other men further down the line.
So any way you slice it, men are going to have to correct women. Given our demographic realities, that means it’s going to be either Christian men or Muslim men. I much prefer the former because if the Muslims do it, then that will mean the West is entirely dead. That is a possible outcome, but embracing it is simply despair again, so that’s not encouragement. The mere possibility of defeat is insufficient cause for laying down arms. Accordingly, I’m going to move forward on the presumption that it’s going to be us–Christian men–who will succeed in this.
But if the task falls to us, who among us are going to carry it out? It’s not going to be our older gentlemen who succeeded in a far saner culture and can’t even truly understand the modern difficulties. It’s not going to be the hyper-attractive, high-status men who virtually can’t fail to marry and have kids if they want to. I don’t begrudge them their good fortune, but it’s of little use to the rest of us. No, if our civilization is going to be saved, it’s going to be accomplished by the ordinary men who find a way to marry and have a family in the conditions we have now.
Looking forward to where you take this. Again, glad to have discovered your blog. Thanks for the topics you tackle.