Today, the pro-Game blogger Obsidian invited me to a debate about Game and related subjects. I accepted, of course. And here is my first post...
Obsidian: In this post, I’ll try to summarize my position on Game succinctly (knowing in advance that the short length of the post won’t make it very persuasive). Even so, maybe it can serve as the basis for a deeper dialogue.
Let me begin by expressing a few things that I’m pretty sure we can agree on.
1) While “feminism” (i.e., the women’s movement) may have served a useful function in the past (suffrage, anti-discrimination policies, etc.), today it is a counterproductive force that hurts men and women on an individual level and harms society at large. We should oppose radical feminism.
2) Because of feminism and other ideologies, men are facing an “identity crisis.” The qualities that defined men for thousands of years are labeled as either “wrong” or “irrelevant.” We – as men – need to define what it means to be a man (instead of delegating that role to feminists and others who don’t have our best interests at heart).
3) The dating/sexual landscape is wrapped in confusion. The goals are still the same (having sex, marriage, and children), but the way to go about achieving them (and how to establish priorities between them) is unknown to most folks. For example, most women want to have a sprawling sex life until the age of 28 or so, have a successful career, a strong alpha male husband (who also meets her emotional/spiritual needs), and eventually raise 2.5 kids. Obviously, this is a recipe for failure and depression. The need to re-establish logic and common sense to the dating/sexual landscape is urgent.
4) For men, in particular, sex is an important “higher need” which is a vital ingredient in his self-esteem. Any program which encourages men to remain celibate until marriage is doomed to failure. For that reason alone, social conservatives are almost irrelevant to this discussion.
But does this mean we need “Game?” No. Let me give 3 criticisms of “Game” (and please note that I don’t mean “Game” as in “tools to pick up chicks;” I mean “Game” as an overarching life philosophy which seems to be the modus operandi of the online Game community.
1) The foundation of Game (as described by Roissy, Ferdinand, The Fifth Horseman, and others too numerous to count) is “evolutionary psychology.” “Evo psych” is basically the ideology of E.O. Wilson, Robert Wright, and many others which states – and I’m paraphrasing here – that men and women – despite many years of living in “civilization” – are still – on a mental/moral level – chimps living in the savannahs of Africa. We have not “evolved.” The goal of men is to impregnate as many women as possible and the goal of women is to secure an “alpha male” with the “resources” to care for her offspring. What’s my complaint? While there is some truth to Evo Pysch, much of it is false, and even the stuff that IS true has a habit of being misunderstood and abused (as we’ve seen many times in the Game community). To deny the “human” aspect to human life (or to relegate it into the dungeon) is grossly counterproductive. There is a critical role for things like shared interests, shared values, emotional depth, a spiritual connection, etc. These are the true building blocks of a successful relationship.
2) By adopting the “Evo Psych” philosophy, Game encourages men to see themselves (and women) as “animals” and thus, it is much easier to hold women in contempt and to justify using them to gratify our sexual needs and then disposing of them quickly. Needless to say, such a view of women is darkening, and prevents men from expressing the love and commitment necessary for a healthy, happy relationship.
3) The online Game community has chosen to adopt Roissy as not only a member of their movement, but also a leader of it. I find this mind-boggling because Roissy is a hedonist and a nihilist who finds pleasure in the grossest things in life. The fact that Gamers “deify” Roissy (to use your words) shows that Game is a chauvinistic pseudo-religion, in my humble opinion. Any attempt to turn Game into a positive force for men should include – as a first step – a very easy assignment which is to ostracize Roissy from the community and to say “Roissy’s nihilism and genuine contempt for women is not something we can, or will, support.”
Back to you, Sir…
Obsidian's response is here. I'll reply later today.
***UPDATE, NOV. 6, 2009***
And here's my latest...
I’m going to clip the highlights of your essay, and respond to them one-by-one. Please see below.
OBS: “No Man gets to define what an Alpha Male is-Females define that. The only choice we have is to whether we wish to be that for her or not.”
TW: This strikes me as a questionable assertion. If Men are the leaders of society – as Game claims – then men should have the ability to influence what women view as “desirable” or “undesirable.” For example, in Indian society, the Brahmin (the religious caste) are the elite of society, whereas in a commercial republic, like the United States, wealthy businessmen represent the elite. The decision to choose religion over wealth or vice versa was a decision made by men in each culture, would you agree? At the very least, I would say that waving our hands and saying “we can’t help ourselves; the women are in control” is very “unGame-like.” I would wager that Men can be a major factor in improving the situation – maybe up to 50% of the solution. Maybe even more.
OBS: Please see my Open Letter to the Ladies of “Girl Game”…
TW: I will in a little bit. Scout’s honor. But let me address your other points first.
OBS: “Specifically tell me what EP got right, then tell me what it got wrong? I need specific examples, because I can then relate that directly to what you say is wrong about Game, OK?”
TW: E.P. strikes me as a useful (but not proven) paradigm for understanding how our ancestors lived millions of years ago. As it pertains to the year 2009, E.P. can give us some genuine insights as to what human “instincts” are. And – for those among us who are – to put it unkindly – “dumb and primitive”- it can also give us some useful insights as to understanding their behavior (basically, a lot of sex and violence).
For the rest of us, though – I’m referring to civilized folks – E.P. strikes me as at least 80% worthless, and if Gamers are using it as the foundation for understanding romantic relationships, then it becomes 100% worthless. Why? Because we are not animals; we are human beings. We have logic. We have values. We have morality. And all of those things shape our motivations and behavior. To believe – as E.P. does – that the secret desire of all men is to sleep around and impregnate as many women as possible – is absurd. I can’t think of any man I know who lives that way. Most men I know want to get married and have 2-3 kids with one woman. And the evidence backs me: Birth rates have declined over the last 40 years or so – not just in the West, but throughout the world. E.P. can’t explain that.
OBS [on my assertion that Gamers deny the importance of emotional/spiritual connections]: “I don’t recall any writer on Game saying otherwise, Todd-and if you have, please provide the direct quote.”
TW: In early September, I asked Chuck Ross, “What does Game have to offer men and women who want a deeper emotional/spiritual connection?”
He wrote back, “Todd, you always assume that every facet of a male/female relationship has to have some emotional/spiritual connection. These can be fostered by Game in that healthy physical attraction has spillover effects into the other realms even though Game doesn’t necessarily have direct spiritual/emotional ties.”
I responded, “Chuck: Basically this is your answer: Focus on the physical stuff and eventually the emotional/spiritual stuff will work itself out later. Sigh. I don’t think I’m being unfair when I say that’s not a compelling answer at all.”
Chuck did not reply. For more, see my essay, The Neverending Game.
OBS: “I’ve openly and vociferously disagreed with Roissy on a whole host of issues and points, from his views of Race to his views of what constitutes Feminine Beauty, you name it. Having said that, I also give him a heck of a lot of credit not only for making Game principles accessible to the Common Man, but for also giving a much needed commentary on some of the very things you mention at the outset of your post here.”
TW: I think it’s interesting you brought up the issue of race because it seems to me that most members of the Game community have an attitude toward rare relations that seems to be…how can I put this nicely?… “primitive.” Note their love for Steve Sailer and “Human Bio-Diversity.” And what is the basis of Sailer’s race views? Evolutionary psychology. And what is the foundation of Game? Evolutionary psychology. Put it all together, and it seems to me that anyone who cares about racial justice should be highly dubious of Evolutionary Psychology, and thus Game itself.
Also, if you have “vociferously disagreed with Roissy,” I applaud you for doing that. As far as I know, you’re the only member of the Game community who’s done that.
OBS: “Moreover and in fairness to R, he’s said on more than one occasion that one need not be an Atheistic Hedonist in order to reap the benefits of Game.”
TW: I can imagine Roissy saying something like that, but that doesn’t change the fact that Roissyism is the logical destination for Game as a life philosophy.
As I wrote on Aug. 26: “Once you accept that evolutionary psychology and biology are the only ways to meet women and have women fill your physical needs, its only a hop, skip, and a jump to the proud nihilism and boastful hedonism of Roissy. Is it possible that Roissy might be the only Gamer who truly understands Game?”
OBS: If not Game, then…what? Your detailed, and field-tested response?
TW: Instead of adopting a system (such as Game) in which we allow other people (in this case, loose women) to change who we are for questionable goals (casual sex), we should find happiness from within. No man should judge his worth by how much “gina tingling” he elicits in the opposite sex. That is a recipe for anxiety at best or despair at worst.
The alternative to Game is to take ownership of your life. Everything you need to build a happy and successful life is inside you – inside your mind. The power to think – and by that, I mean the power to think rationally – is the power to grow, and to be everything you wish to be. A rational man is a competent man…and a competent man is a confident man…. and a confident man is a happy man. A man with those qualities (competent, confident, and happy) is extremely desirable to other women (or at least those women who are worthy of his love). And that man can give an incredible amount of love because he is complete on the inside. There are no guarantees in life, but I’m confident that nearly every man who applied my principles would find more love and happiness than he would through Game. I can say that from experience.
**UPDATE, DEC. 9, 2009**
As Obsidian requested, I read through his essay, An Open Letter to Girl Game, and what I found most interesting about it was its numerous attempts to justify Game through evolution: "the truths of evolutionary psychology," "extensive evolutionary hardwiring," "evolutionarily speaking," "passing on a genetic legacy," etc.