I don’t understand why making people happy, wanting others to be content, secure to do what they want, to be trusted and supported in a way they feel they can stretch and reach for what they imagine, I don’t understand why this belief makes me so naïve. I’ve been told this my whole life. And I know the world is a hard place, it is a mean and cruel place. The world will often break your heart if you have one to break, but I firmly believe it’s getting better every day. Of course, I struggle with this belief. Well, I used to, then I read an article by Katie J.M. Baker, and now my hope is restored. It’s crucial that one has hope.
I’m no bed-sitting John Lennon-style idealist. I see the friction where the softness of humanity meets the unrelenting metallic momentum of day-to-day life. Where flesh meets mineral and the hard lattice of crystalline precision scrapes away the epidermis and exposes the body to the elements. I’d be a fool not to see that. But I don’t believe we have to apply pressure, we don’t have to force ourselves against these hard and presumed unbending realities of life on earth. We don’t have to be brutes. We don’t have to be bastards, bimbos, bullshitters, or bamboozlers. We can be brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers; we can be one supportive human family. Or at least we can strive for that. Who knows if modern civilization will provide us the time and resources to make it there?
Folks often like to say the beastly aspects of Nature are inherent in our nature. They say that we are as opportunistic and coldly calculating as reptilian predators. We are and we aren’t. Other folks like to say that we are as twitchy as herd animals, or as clique-y as our ape relatives. We are and we aren’t. The only true statement one might make about our beastly nature is that we are all animals on Earth, sharing the same ecosystem. Which means, although we aren’t equals, we animals all have our place.
I believe in us and our evolution. I’ve been told my belief in humanity is damning proof of some sort of weakness in my character, that rather than solely count on myself to make my way in the world, I see it as a planetary potluck, of sorts. Some folks suggest that I’m a communist of the worst stripe. But I’m no commie. I just believe we’re all in it together. And you know what, I’m sick of feeling dismissively naïve because I think we do better when we treat each other with kindness, respect, dignity and laugh at all of our many human foibles.
The hair that broke this camel’s back, the feather that forever tipped my personal scales, was one collection of words, rather beautifully, intelligently arranged in a way that made the whole world make sense again. You can read the piece here.
I owe the writer, Katie J.M. Baker, a debt I can never repay. She gave me back the world and all the people who call it home. And she did it with her words. She won the final battle of my personal war of belief.
The reason her article was so phenomenal was that she didn’t argue a polemic against an obvious and pitiable villain. Instead, she slowly undressed him and let him shame himself with all of his naked inadequacies. She let the dick speak for itself. Her article is about pick-up-artist supreme, Daryush Valizadeh, better known to his international followers as Roosh.
I’m sure you’re aware of PUA culture. It’s something I read about when I was a confused young lad. Like many boys I thought there were secrets to charming and bedding women. Of course, when I got to know the women I was fortunate enough to share a bed with I saw they were no different than me. We had different body parts, of course, and many other obvious distinguishing factors, but we were the same. We were both just horny humans who wanted to feel pleasure.
Just as any good teacher will tell you, when you cheat, you’re only cheating yourself. We think they’re full of shit when they say that, but it’s true. And I found it’s true with women, too. If I conned a woman into sleeping with me, I was only conning myself. I was momentarily hurting her with my manipulations to get some sex, while also creating a pattern and reinforcing values that were deeply hurting me as well because I was using negativity to get what I wanted. Soon, I stopped employing any of the bullshit tactics of the PUA. And I let Nature run it course. I didn’t try to game the system. For two simple reasons, I love women and I love myself.
This is why Katie J.M. Baker’s piece is so brilliant. What took me years to figure out she made evident in one article. She addressed what was still a nagging existential question for me: Who’s the real fool, me, the idealist who misses out on the available low-hanging fruit? Or are my critics, the opportunists who outnumber and usually mock me and those like me, the real fools?
To be honest, my side has a pretty shitty record and reputation. We sound like poor people pitying the rich. Now, I can easily find folks who share my values, but they’re just as marginalized because they’re old people in the dwindling years of their lives. They say all the same things that I believe. But who listens to them?
Then along came Katie J.M. Baker, and she used PUA culture to show the fallacy of the selfishness of our modern world. The whole thing! It’s fucking brilliant!
Using Denmark as her Petri dish, and the PUA caveman, Roosh, as her living study, she describes how when he and his fucked-up values were added to the culture of Denmark, not only did his system of opportunism and manipulation fail, but Denmark proves we’re collectively moving toward a possible future wherein our societal evolution might reach a new height, and if we can reach it, the ideals the dying old people argue are the most important, could be the same values we use to arrange our societies. We can treat people with love and respect from the womb to the tomb.
Denmark is feminist, socialist and compassionate. Which, in combination creates a community wherein women, in particular, can’t be “negged” and tricked into sleeping with shitballs like Roosh. This may not seem like much to you, but remember, we’re all the same. And thus, the culture of Denmark is one wherein neither men nor women can easily manipulate each other. To quote Katie J.M. Baker’s article:
“Unlike in America, where bestsellers goad already overworked and underpaid women to Lean In even further, the assumption in Denmark is that feminism is a collective goal, not an individual pursuit. Danish women are less likely to be financially dependent on men and therefore feel less pressure to ‘settle’ or change their behavior by, in Roosh’s words, ‘adopting a pleasing figure or style that’s more likely to attract men.’ Imagine that.”
Women are supported by the state in a way that they feel no need or pressure to have a man in their life. Free of the economic pressures of single motherhood, free of the fear of abandonment by their mate, free of any need to find a man to provide for them, they are able to provide for themselves, and if they can’t then the state steps in and helps them. This means women choose their partners for far different reasons.
“Roosh comes to the conclusion that women who aren’t as dependent on men for financial support are not susceptible to the narcissistic salesmanship that constitutes phase one: ‘attraction.’ That’s why Roosh fails to advance to the second level— ‘trust’ — without being creepy. Thus ‘seduction’ is almost always out of the question.”
As Roosh found, Danish women are immune to PUA bullshit. And subsequently, the men of the community are also free to do as they please, and make decisions that best benefit what matters to them. Everyone is free from negative manipulations, or at least far more than in places like America that use negative motivations as a primary fuel for social conditioning.
“In her essay ‘A Marxist Theory of Women’s Nature,’ philosopher Nancy Holmstrom argues that women’s lives are less free than men’s under capitalism ‘both because they are dependent on men and because they have children dependent on them.’ Therefore, ‘traditional sexual values constrain women more than they do men,’ and women ‘are less able to act to realize their own desires’ and must be ‘more passive and oriented to other people’s wishes than men.’
But in societies with a less marked sexual division of labor, those sexualized generalizations dissipate. Marginalized women who need male spouses to flourish might, indeed, find pick-up artists alluring. But women in countries that have gender-equalizing policies supported by an anti-individualist culture may not.”
More than this being some state-run abomination of the natural order, this system grants everyone freedom and respect to be who they wish to be and how they wish to be, which, to my thinking is the natural order. By protecting all of its citizens with a generous and compassionate safety net, Denmark grants its citizens the freedom Americans like to believe they enjoy. By looking out for one another, they’re all looking out for themselves.
This sort of paradox is hard to sell at the polls and I wouldn’t expect any American politician to make it a plank of their platform. But using only our military spending, the amounts America has spent on our recent wars, using only those extravagant expenditures we dedicate to violence we could have given all Americans a support system even more generous than what the Danish enjoy. Instead, we bomb people. We kill people. And for the life of me, I’ve yet to understand why we’ve been bombing people for 10 solid years. We seem no closer to our goal. How much longer until we see the mounting evidence that soft power and cooperation are far more lasting influences on behavior than the simple dogma that fear = respect?
As a man, I’ve been a reluctant feminist. Not because I disagree with feminism. I totally support and agree with its aims and values. But I never know where to stand and never want to be one of those guys, you know who I mean, the ones who ruin the term “feminist man.” But after reading Katie J.M. Baker’s piece, I know where to stand. I know how to say I am a feminist. It’s actually pretty easy. It’s just five words: I am a human being.
To say you are a “humanist” is just more loaded jargon. But to say you are a human being is akin to the Yiddish/German term “mensch.” In means to be decent, caring, thoughtful, considerate, respectful, loving, laughing and most of all prone to mistakes and errors in judgment, but always willing to address those mistakes, clean them up and do better next time. So rather, than say I’m a feminist because of what Katie J.M. Baker wrote, instead I can now say I whole-heartedly believe in and have hope for humanity. I can now proudly claim that I am not a feminist man. Not at all. I am a human being. And for that I owe her the world.