Marriage is a Christian ideal, ordained by God. Christians in the Manosphere thus haven’t given up on it and still fight for it, yet Christians who oppose us ostensibly prioritize it, too.
Although Marriage may be ordained by God, marriage here on earth is an institution administered by men, susceptible to all of our flaws and foibles. It’s an ideal that falls under the principle of G, yet it’s carried out in the harsh realities of A. It’s Love and an Inviolable Covenant yet also lust and a violable contract. It’s a mixture of hormones, errands, power-struggles, sex, and paperwork, but also one of the Bonds that has held our very societal fabric in place.
Yet it’s dying, and if Marriage dies, you can kiss goodbye our infrastructure, high standard of living, and lives free from roaming hoards and random wolf attacks.
Mark Driscoll is among the many Christians alert to this danger. Mark Driscoll is also making things worse.
For although Marriage may be a product of G, for men to want to marry, they must be incentivized by A. In the video referenced by Donal Graeme’s guest-poster Donald R., Driscoll’s solution is to simply tell men they’re wrong for not wanting to do what we think they should. He hopes that by turning men’s eyes to G, he can persuade them to forget about A, the understandable and rational reasons men have withdrawn from the societal contract. Donald:
This is why Mark Driscoll gets it wrong. He thinks that, if he can just shame young men back into their old societal role, everything will go back to normal. But this plan is doomed to failure because it doesn’t address the root of the problem. The problem isn’t men; the problem is men and women. The whole system is down and it’s going to take all of us working together to get it back up again.
If two parties are responsible for a problem (in this case men and women), viciously shaming one while failing to criticize the other only makes the latter feel even more justified in their transgressions. If you’re mediating a dispute between Larry and Frank and do nothing but rip into Larry, is Frank going to change his behavior at all? If anything, he’ll feel even more self-righteous and intransigent.
I admit my exposure to Driscoll’s work isn’t exactly extensive, but I’ve yet to encounter him criticize women with anything more than a passing “perhaps to some degree it is young women as well.” The dudes spending too much time playing video games are monsters, yet these women aren’t? Or how about this exemplary Christian wife?
Jenny Erikson, a conservative Christian mommy blogger, recently attracted the attention of the manosphere when she posted posted an attack on her pastor for “spoiling the surprise” of her divorce by telling her husband before she could.
Instead of even mentioning the likes of Ms. Erikson, let’s rip into men for not leaving themselves quite as vulnerable to feminine capriciousness as Ms. Erikson’s ex-husband. Let’s ignore human nature. As I’ve shown before, this approach to morality fails miserably.
Nonetheless, many Christians do recognize the problem of the deteriorating state of modern men and Marriage. I suspect that some like Driscoll have a vested interest in perpetuating the problem, much like the Anointed of the left. Others, not unlike the left’s Benighteds, really want to solve the problem. They’re just horribly wrong about how to do it.
Many of these folks are politically conservative. Conservatism
as I advocate it in its proper form is the correct balance of G and A, of understanding not only our ideals but the ugly realities that make them harder to reach.
Yet regarding Marriage, this balance among conservatives is horribly out of whack. They believe that because Marriage is a function of G, that to save it we can completely ignore the A realities of human nature. Dalrock:
Normally when progressives and cultural marxists make demands for change conservatives point out that by changing the terms of the agreement there will inevitably be unintended consequences. Demanding that insurance companies cover preexisting conditions means health insurance premiums must increase. Rent control eventually leads to housing shortages. Minimum wage laws and union negotiated pay and benefit increases mean employers are less willing to hire local workers. These changes are to some degree inevitable, and for most people the only question is the actual scope of the unintended consequences and whether they are worth the improvement gained.
However, in the case of the gender war feminists have made an unspoken agreement with traditional conservatives:
You hold him down while I rob him.
Not only have Social Conservatives agreed, they were so eager to assist that they even volunteered to create an alibi for the crime. Whenever anything goes wrong with the heist, conservatives loudly blame men.
The reason conservatives understand economics so much better than the left is that they understand that human nature responds to incentives. If you make it more expensive to hire people, fewer people will have jobs. A receives its proper due.
Yet to save marriage, A gets no acknowledgement whatsoever. When Glenn Beck asks Driscoll for a solution, Driscoll’s only response is that we need to tell young men they’re wrong. There’s no recognition that avoiding marriage might make any sense whatsoever, no commensurate criticism for women’s irresponsible behavior (yes, they get better grades, but a straight-A spoiled brat slut is still a spoiled brat slut), no need to address divorce laws or even actively discourage divorce among women in the Church.
Sexual access is one of the biggest reasons men had to marry in the past (even non-believing couples didn’t want to risk ostracism), but today a man who’s successful with women has ample opportunity without it. This is a direct result of changes in feminine sexual practices, yet Driscoll sees no need to address it (not nearly as much need as there is to scream “HOW DARE YOU!!!” at the guys). Men used to know that developing responsible provider traits was essential to securing a mate (or at least the fun part of mating), now not so much. Why spend years in school learning to provide for women who repeatedly assert their independence, who remind you daily of how much they don’t need you, of how your skills, devotion, and training are now superfluous?
A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle, until she realizes she was wrong. When she’s in her forties, less attractive, and ready to settle down, when the cads no longer pay her any mind, then the decent Christian guy who couldn’t get a date in his twenties is supposed to suck it up and marry her. Five years earlier he would have been a presumptuous twit for even asking her out.
If you’ve spent much time in the Manosphere at all, I’m sure you can add plenty on your own.
Aligning the Principles
When a lefty implies that a business doesn’t pay its employees more because it’s mean, conservatives respond appropriately; you can’t expect people to act against their own self-interest. Whether or not we should act for the sake of the Greater Good, we don’t. We care for our own businesses, our own families, our own friends, and our Selves. Whether or not that’s how we’re supposed to be (G), that’s how we are (A).
So conservatives need to start giving men the same benefit of the doubt they give Wal-Mart. We who understand this need to help them along.
Because Marriage is Divinely Ordained, when discussing it conservative Christians will often lose site of the very principles they understand so well in other areas. They know that man is fallen, yet they’re completely flummoxed when men pay attention to the realities on the ground and don’t want to wind up like Mr. Ericson. Perhaps men should abstain from sex until marriage and marry for Love, but if sex is readily available everywhere, why should they risk losing the shirt off their backs to get even less sex from a frigid wife? Say what you will about the evil nature of what men find attractive, they’ll never find an older career woman as attractive as a young and pretty Starbucks barrista. The barrista will either bang him before marriage if he’s a cad, and if he’s not, she’s not going to marry him until her looks deteriorate.
If we really want to solve the problem, shouldn’t we at least address some of this? Can we really get anywhere without calling attention to certain aspects of women’s behavior, too?
Unlike some other folks around the manosphere, I don’t find feminism intrinsic to conservatism. It’s an alien ideology that’s switched around G and A the same way lefties ignore economic reality in their dumbass healthcare law. It distorts our understanding of the vision of our Creator by convincing us that His Word “doesn’t really mean that” while blinding us to the realities of fallen human ugliness.
When a Christian suggests that women are never to blame, he’s making them into a false idol, putting humans on a pedestal where only He belongs.
But Christians aren’t supposed to to this. They see the need for gun control and lower taxes. They supposedly understand the importance of incentives. They understand that a healthy society needs to align the baser human drive for self-interest with objective right and wrong, not simply pretend that people will get it right because they should.
So let’s call their attention to it, make them face their own internal contradictions. If we do it right, we might win a few new allies.
God know we need ’em.