Tuesday, May 17, 2016

One Eight Zero: Galt

Not long ago I ran across the acronym MGTOW. That's Men Going Their Own Way--- a subset of the MRA world. One on-line commenter described the MGTOW types as "the 1970s lesbian separatists of the Manosphere", which is rather funny.

The idea behind MGTOW is that men, or at least those men who've been wounded in the gender wars, should just walk away from those parts of the social world (romance, dating, marriage) controlled by women and live on their own.  There's an unfortunate linkage between the MGTOW philosophy and "exit" libertarians--- the people who talk about "going Galt" and withdrawing from a corrupt and collapsing society.  Somehow there's a connection made between not wanting to pay child support or pay for dinner on a date and not paying taxes.

All this does baffle me.  The political linkages baffle me, certainly. And the tactics here baffle me. Announcing a withdrawal from social life? That's all-too-easily mocked as defeatism. It's all-too-easily mocked as futile vanity, too--- commenters at articles about the MGTOW movement laugh at the idea of men who are self-described losers expecting that women will care about their withdrawal.

I'll say, too, that some of the Going Their Own Way types don't help their case by claiming that they've been traumatized and plundered in divorce settlements. Alimony is no longer what it was in 1950s movies or tabloids.  Here in the state where I'm writing, having to pay periodic support (it's not even called alimony these days) longer than eighteen months can happen under only a few very limited circumstances--- e.g., a spouse who's clearly disabled. If a middle-class couple have even rough parity of income, it's not going to happen at all. And there's no sympathy out there for anyone who feels aggrieved at having to pay child support.

It's unfortunate, too, that the movement pronounces its own name as "Mig-Tau". It's not possible to take seriously a social/political movement that calls itself "Mig-Tau".  Let's remember: it's not possible for anyone male to indulge in the Solitary Vice with any self-respect at all once he's become aware of the words "wanking" and "tossing".  It's just as impossible to maintain any self-respect while belonging to something called "Mig-Tau".

Nonetheless, there are some serious questions that the MGTOW types approach, but can't answer while blathering on about Red Pills and going "off the grid". What about the males who consistently don't do well at games of sex and romance? What about the ones who've run out of the resources (financial, psychological) that you need to deal with dating, sex, or relationships? Is there a case to be made for simply withdrawing from the sexual marketplace--- whether that case is based on age or cost-benefit analysis or just on emotional exhaustion? If there is a case to be made, how do you argue for a dignified withdrawal? How do you maintain yourself in some kind of dignity afterwards?

The world as it stands now isn't all that accepting of the old idea of the bachelor.  I'm not talking here about the recluse, about the aging fellow who lives at the top of the stairs in a walk-up flat and comes out only to go to the market or the liquor store, who snarls at anyone who speaks to him.  I'm thinking of someone who simply doesn't participate in the rituals of pair-bonding or mating. Do we still have social room for the extra man, the quietly courteous dinner guest who'll fill a BGBG-arranged table? Can we accept that someone might want to just withdraw from the search for a mate and devote himself to...reading, or male friends, or a quietly successful career? Is it possible to be accepted as being happy (or not diagnosed with something unpleasant in the current DSM) as an unmarried, solitary male?

Is the social world prepared to accept someone's principled resignation? Can you say "sorry, I just can't afford this" or "sorry, this is too emotionally risky" and not be mocked as a loser who couldn't attract someone anyway, or as someone hiding some deep inner flaw?

I've no idea what Mig-Tau believers do after "going their own way". Perhaps it's only that I see them as having poor cultural capital, or that "Mig-Tau" sounds too close to H.P. Lovecraft's dread Mi-Go. But I'll them serve as examples in a slightly different list of arguments. Is it possible to make a dignified withdrawal from the world of relationships and pair-bonding? Is it possible for someone who's announced his resignation to retain any social value or avoid outright mockery? Does contemporary society have any use for--- or understanding of ---the solitary male?  Can you be a bachelor and be regarded with anything other than poorly-concealed derision?

Any thoughts on any of this?

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