Scaffolding

In the comments to Rollo’s recent post, Yohami (a decidedly quality blogger in his own right) remarks:

On my mind historically marriage worked like this: the man and a wife. The man has one or several mistresses, as many as he can pay for. And fucks prostitutes. The wife has two or more beta orbiters and might fuck the plumber. Wife and husband have sex once a year. The third son is not his.

So the marriage is a social facade and an economical arrangement, not a factual thing.

He’s completely correct.  He’s also dead wrong.

In one sense, Yohami describes how marraige often actually is, and it would be ridiculous to assert otherwise.  We all know of cheating spouses, cuckolded fathers, ignored and unloved wives, husbands who literally feel nagged to death, and the six wives of Henry VIII.  Hell, even in the Bible, David raises all kinds of havoc to get with Bathsheeba and Abraham loans out Sara to save his own ass twice.

But is this what marriage really is?  In another sense, isn’t marraige also something more?  Does the human practice of marriage negate its ideal?  Allow me to clarify.

Yohami’s comment demonstrates how factual truth can be inadvertently used to contradict the existence of any higher truth.  I call the former A, and the latter G.  The existence of one does not preclude the other, and keeping them straight is essential to understanding the correct way to bring the world from where it is to where it should be.  To forget A is to live unproductively with your head in the clouds.  But perhaps forgetting G is to accept stagnation and to miss the point of life entirely.

One way the left uses this error is in its denigration of the Founding Fathers.  “All men are created equal” wrote Jefferson.  Sounds great, but Jefferson was a slaveholder.  He obviously didn’t really mean it.  America isn’t so damn special.  Our precious founding was based on a lie.  We’re hypocrites!

I can’t look into Jefferson’s heart, and I know that neither Jefferson personally nor the American government during any period of its history has lived up the the Declaration’s AMACE (All Men…).  And yes, obviously, Jefferson was a hypocrite.  Score one for the haters.

But look at it from another angle.  Obviously, Jefferson and the rest of the Founders should have freed all of their slaves right then and there.  However, what if Jefferson wasn’t quite ready to do that, but he recognized his hypocrisy?  What if he stopped his quill and said to himself, “You know, I really shouldn’t even say this.  I think I’ll just start off by bitching about the King.”?

Would we be better off today?  No.  How much more difficult would things have been for Martin Luther King or Frederick Douglass?  Probably impossible.  If Jefferson had done the right thing, admitted he was full of crap and that what he was writing wasn’t real, America would be fucked.

Hence, the importance of the proclaimed Ideal, even if there’s no earthly manifestation of it anywhere whatsoever.  Bold proclamations of what should be make it just a little bit more likely that we might somehow improve what is.  Blacks were slaves then and have suffered far more than they should have.  They’d be even worse off if Jefferson hadn’t been so naive.

The very nature of an Ideal, be it something ethereal like AMACE or more tangible like going to the gym six days a week no matter what is that it’s probably a bit beyond what can actually be accomplished.  It’s what drives us, what improves us.  It’s a great way for our friends to call us out on our own shit.  (“You said you would…, and now you…”)

Instead of recognizing and Ideal for its inherent unattainability, many of us use the fact that we don’t live up to our Ideals to discredit the Ideals themselves.  Because we haven’t lived up to AMACE, because so many marriages are crappy, we can throw out the very idea of either as harmful and evidence that it’s all a big pile of shit.

Buying into this lie is what keeps the guy who’s eaten perfectly healthily for three weeks to go on a pizza binge because he broke down and had a cupcake at work.  Despire our extraordinary history, it’s why so many people of us see America as just another empire.  It’s why we give up on politics because we’ll never be perfectly libertarian.  It’s why we discount traditional notions of family as quaint and unrealistic.  It’s also why modern marriage is more of a farce than it was when we were more “delusional”.

But, at least we can’t accuse a pornstar who’s banged four hundred guys before her twenty-fifth birthday of being a hypocrite.  She doesn’t have any ideals not to live up to.  (Besides, who are we to judge?)

I’ve swallowed the Red Pill.  I know how people are, that chicks dig serial killers and that good girls sometimes aren’t.  I understand that what goes up must come down.  There’s no such thing as a free lunch.  You can’t have your cake and eat it, too.  Ignoring this is suicide.  Objectivists and Christians can both agree that this here planet is NOT Heaven.

Still, I do know there’s something more than what we’ve got.  I’ve met elderly couples who’ve been in love for fifty years and have raised six incredibly happy children and had countless grandchildren.  I’ve felt the pride of achieving my goals even when I’ve failed to live up to my own standards nearly every step of the way.  I’ve heard the voices of immigrants break as they tell me, “I love America” and the sexy Australian accent whisper “You’re the best” into my ear.

Indeed, like any regular reader of Rational Male or the Chateau Heartiste, I know we’re primates.  A is A.  Nevertheless, I will NEVER accept that we are only primates.  Usually we’re louses, but sometimes we’re heroes; expect the former, hope for the latter.  I suspect we might have some dark days ahead, but I also know that we’re had some damn good days, and we might even have some more.

I know I’ve got a few coming myself, and those days will be every bit as really as the crappy ones.

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17 Responses to Scaffolding

  1. Anonymous says:

    Actually, it was/is the complete loss of a healthy reference frame on our ideals that has caused much of the inappropriate re-thinking of the founding fathers. I suspect, however, that society is tired of those ideals and in some cases believes that they were achieved, therefore no effort needs to be made to perfect or maintain them. It may be a case on a society-level of outrunning your goals and failing to set realistic new ones. Jefferson may have written and truly believed in AMACE and himself failed to live up to it, but by and large we do now have equality of opportunity (not result) in the United States. His hypocrisy should be excused at this point since his ideal was upheld and in many was achieved. What we have is about as good as you can get on equality. Some minority groups are still poorer and less educated, but the opportunity to pull themselves into another class still exists at the same odds it does for anyone else.

    What happens when a nation fails to set realistic new goals? I suspect we’re witnessing that now in the all-or-nothing political climate we now have in the U.S. Polarized political parties get further apart if there is no common goal. Each side considers their set of tasks to be more important than the other, and both sides require more executive power to do it. It’s a downward spiral into an executive that is little better than a despot from there.

    On the subject of idealization vs reality for the individual, what I do not subscribe to is the notion of forced idealization. If we suppose that humans are capable of refraining from thought-process A, that in no way implies that it is right to force all humans to so refrain. Simple ability does not imply necessity. How we choose our “ideals” in terms of human behavior is not the simplest matter, and I can’t simply accept anyone’s argument at face value on this matter. Jefferson and friends correctly believed in AMACE, but it was not so obvious at the time just how right they were. In fact they were considered abject radicals at the time by many, even many of the lower class.

    I’m also still bleeding red from my eyes at your blood-red-pill post and the huge web of links it will spawn on anyone reading it. It’s absolutely frightening to see what has happened in the black community, but I had NEVER thought to associate what happened there with what is happening in other communities.

    • Martel says:

      “It may be a case on a society-level of outrunning your goals and failing to set realistic new ones.”

      Partly correct, partly maybe not. One of the biggest problems on the left is continual goalpost-moving. Initially, the Civil Rights movement pursued the perfectly reasonable goal of equality under the law. It soon morphed into equality of outcome. A new goal indeed, but an entirely counter-productive one.

      I would argue that the bigger problems is simply forgetting about the old goals. AMACE in it’s new and warped sense is still being pursued, but in it’s old and true sense is largely forgotten.

      Your comments on Red Pill are part of why I’m resistant to too much emphasis on HBD (see here: https://alphaisassumed.wordpress.com/2013/01/20/a-question-of-emphasis/). We need to recognize that what’s happening in Africa or in parts of Rio isn’t a funcion of biology restricted to certain groups but is instead HUMANITY in the absence of certain standards. They’re simply us before we learned a few (very important things), and if we forget them, there’s no way in hell any “superior” genes are going to protect us.

  2. YOHAMI says:

    Martel, I know what I described is not the ideal. And like with many other things, I wouldnt call those “real” marriages, just as we dont live in “real” capitalism nor “real” democracy and “real” communism was never practiced. And “real” love is such a rare thing.

    I know the ideal of marriage. Deep down I totally believe it’s possible.

    My point when I made that remark was more about the role of monogamy / marriage in the process of building civilization. My take is that while there was a lot of marriage and monogamy around, the ideal was not really being practiced, and that we have now is not that much different, therefore the absence of apparent, not real, marriages and monogamy is just that. The decline of the non-real marriage while keeping more or less the same factual practices. So the impact on civilization shouldnt be that huge.

    And on the other hand Im not very proud of half of more of civilizacion. I’d say this civilization is not real either. Far from ideal. And I too refuse to accept this is all there is, or that his is all we can do.

    • Martel says:

      I hope you didn’t feel misrepresented or anything. That wasn’t my intention.

      I agree that our civ is far from ideal. But again, without it, or at least without its shadow, we’re toast.

      Also, were we only doing away with the facade of marraige, we wouldn’t be seeing such a stark increase in female promiscuity, out-of-wedlock births, unsexed beta males, and declining birth rates. That “facade” is what enabled black America to make such remarkable economic advances despite all the racism and segregation. The facade is gone, and now we’re drowing in unwed mom’s and EBT cards.

      • YOHAMI says:

        Not misrepresented, it’s all good. I also agree that having an ideal and striving for it, and, expecting that society strives for it, even if that produces fakers, facades, and failures… is better than not striving for any ideal and letting things run wild. Same for justice, honesty, respect, etc. We’re better off striving for marriage and long term commitment and long term planning decisions than this culture of living of the moment and everyone for themselves.

      • YOHAMI says:

        *living in the moment and lack of impulse control

  3. Why should we live to ideals? Ideals lose relevance the more specific we make them. Justice is nebulous. All Men Are Created Equal is so specific it is hyperbole at best. I think the original Founding Fathers (now superseded by Father Lincoln) were practical politicians, or they would not have succeeded. Socialism/Communism/Feminism all say All Men Are Created Equal. I agree we need to intelligently strive for improvement from where we are to where we can go, but the noisy haze of evolutionary progress makes immediate ingenuity better than hypothetical ideals. China is stuck 100% culturally for having never been immediately ingenious in the moment. America is stuck 100% politically, with cultural debasement progressing. We have the right stuff at all if we are still losing it, and by lineage forged in past behavior we will have the character scars of proofed actuation for some time. It will be hard to kill off the spirit of American ingenuity or Western liberty entirely because genetic evolution and to a lesser extent meme evolution make history heavy and heavy history makes culture heavy with inertia and character.

    I do not see reformation or redemption of all as an option, certainly not without the liberated reformulation of death. We would contradict evolution? Without the heavy culling of men in prehistoric times, there would never have been logical, civilized men. Mother nature will cull, and not surgically, for the glory and justice of might making right. Corruption burns itself out but becomes a good strategy again in virtue’s luxury unguarded by authoritative jealousy of being over having. And we are back to inner game where it all starts. Why should we live to ideals? Game that works with women is the iconoclast of ideals, certainly the specific variety. Game is immediately ingenious by the individual’s field testing.

    I like the analysis here AisA. I view it as platonic seduction mindful of prevailing politics, but I caution seducers to becoming seduced by supernatural ideals like All Men Are Created Equal or contextual givens like the prevailing political system. Freedom is the philosopher-heretic who asks, “Why?” and equips his toolbox with the best set of axioms he can from his experiences for working through the challenges of life from where it starts for him, in his mind.

    • YOHAMI says:

      Doug, ideals are inevitable. Find your better way to survive and that’s your ideal. The hole human race has one too – one ideal way to do things. We havent found it yet.

    • Martel says:

      Ideals are often nebulous, true. But just because you could pontificate on What is Justice for hours and still not be right, that’s no reason not to strive for Justice in the here and now.

      The Founding Fathers found the appropriate balance between the three ideals. The Declaration was primarily about G. However, the Constitution exemplified their practicality, without which the Declaration would have floundered. They got A is A; they didn’t trust judges, the executive, the people, or anybody. They understood that people want power and always will, but they never forgot the ideals. They also paid homage to the third ideal: I am what I am, through the Bill of Rights.

      The failed revolutions had an incorrect notion of G, but they also failed to recognize A and thought they could remake human nature. Furthermore, their notion of I (I am what I am) was skewed: everythings was based on Anointed being enabled by Entitled and Benighted (three groups described here: https://alphaisassumed.wordpress.com/2013/02/04/they-are-not-what-they-are/ ) They fell into the the Rousseauian concept of the General Will, rejecting Rand’s notion (before she was alive in many cases) that no man be required to live for another.

      All three principles, G, I, and A must find an appropriate balance for any individual, institution, society, or government to prosper. Individual thinker typically favor one of the principles (in your case it seems to be A), are cool with a second (seems to be I in your case), and a bit more uncomfortable with the third (G). This is fine.

      However, although you may not think of them as ideals, you still recognize them. You prefer Western liberty and ingenuity, and those are ideals.

      I agree that Game is mostly about A with certain homages to I. It’s the study of how things are. However, understanding how things are allows us to bring them closer to how they should be.

      Lastly, I agree that we probably won’t turn this around without some serious havoc. I don’t think the die is cast, however, but it’s getting real damn close. Things have turned around before (late 18th centruy England was far more licentious than the Victorian era). But we won’t know until we know.

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  6. vandiver49 says:

    While I’m sure you’ve moved on, I’d like to offer another perspective regarding Jefferson and AMACE…Declaring independence from England required a confederation of 13 individual entities that were broadly divided on the issue of slavery.

    It was going to be an issue that required resolution, just not in 1776. Thus making have the first can kicked down the road become America even exists. But if slavery is made an issue, then the U.S. does not even come into being.

    Being a Virginian, if Jefferson makes the symbolic gesture of releasing his own slaves at any point, the fragile union between the North and the South fractures. I don’t think TJ had any choice but the proclaim the virtue of the ideal, regardless of the hoe far the nascent country was from it.

    • Martel says:

      The can was kicked down the road, but AMACE forced the Founders to recognize that that’s what they were doing.

      The easy road would have been to not even implicitly acknowledge any sort of ideal that might somehow be applied to slavery. Instead TJ couragely called attention to an ideal, setting himself up for charges of hypocrisy.

      They kicked the can, but they also put a big dent in it.

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