The Problem of Abdication: A Tangential Reply to @AnomalyUK

In recent times, it has become a trend for monarchs to abdicate when they feel they are too old or sick to effectively carry out their duties. Pope Benedict XVI abdicated over a year ago, leading to the election of Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio as Pope Francis (of whom my opinions are well known). Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands abdicated a little more than a year ago in favour of her son, now King Willem-Alexander.

Anomaly UK has written relatively positively (in passing) of the practice of abdication by elderly monarchs. I, however, am concerned by the trend.

Historically, monarchies have always claimed divine origin as a source of their legitimacy, and many of the monarchies of Europe continue, in name at least, to do so. Elizabeth the Second is officially Queen of the United Kingdom ‘by the grace of God’, for example.

Pagan monarchies often claimed their monarchs were gods, or were descended from gods. This has the advantage of lending a divine aura to the entire royal family, so abdication there may not be much of a problem; one simply replaces one god with another. (This system has great disadvantages as well; I’ve touched on these on Twitter once or twice and I may write about them here eventually).

Christian monarchies, however, were barred from this strategy by theological considerations, so instead they claimed that monarchs were chosen by God. This makes a certain amount of sense; after all, no man can control what kind of person is born into a particular family, so it is only natural that such decisions would be attributed to God.

However, the implications for abdication in this case are severe. If the king is chosen by God to rule, then who is anyone — even and perhaps especially the king himself — to set that calling aside and choose someone different for the role?

Of course, there are times when any sane standard of practicality demands that someone else rule in the king’s stead, either by means of regency or abdication. And if a king is genuinely incapable of doing his job — for example, if he is so senile as to be unaware of his surroundings — then one could plausibly make the claim that the time has come to relinquish his divine calling in favour of a more capable successor.

However, when abdication is carried out for the sake of convenience, it seriously undermines the divine justification for the monarchical institution.

Of course, theologically, we cannot say that God’s hands are somehow tied. One can say, as a matter of theory, that in the moment the elder monarch abdicates, the successor receives the divine mandate. However, this doesn’t change the fact that God Himself is supposed to have chosen the previous monarch. And while He has also chosen the successor, abdication for frivolous causes nevertheless tends to convey the impression that the monarch is not taking his divine vocation seriously. And if he does not take it seriously, why should anyone else?

The key point here is not that a monarch must always serve till death (though in my opinion that should be the norm), but rather that he must place his calling as monarch ahead of his personal satisfaction or other trivial concerns. If he does not, he betrays a lack of respect for his own office, and that lack will be contagious.

Abdication cannot be forbidden, per se, but it should be stigmatisedWhen the late Emperor Otto of Austria was asked (many years ago) whom he despised most as a contemporary figure, he answered, ‘the Duke of Windsor who has abdicated.’

The Emperor had the right idea. Christian monarchy cannot survive if kings abandon their posts for light or trivial reasons, and especially not if they are praised for it. If ‘divine right’ is to survive in any useful, meaningful way, it must transcend itself and become the principle of the monarch’s ‘divine duty’, before God, to his realm and his people. Otherwise it amounts to a rather self-aggrandising idea on the monarch’s part.

In other words, ‘abdication-shaming’, if you will, is necessary to the institution of Christian monarchy, and recent reactionary embrace of abdication is, in my opinion, a short-sighted strategic blunder.


Woman’s Primordial Fear

It is frequently observed by Manospherians and traditionalists alike that women have a tendency that borders on the pathological to invade previously male-only spaces, with little to no regard for the effect that has on the dynamic of the existing group; even if the original group’s purpose is entirely thwarted by the presence of women, and even if women have no interest in the thing that prompted the formation of the group in the first place, they nevertheless insist on being admitted to it, or on destroying it.

Now, it is certainly the case, as is usual with feminist nonsense, that men, collectively speaking, deserve some of the blame for rolling over and letting them get away with it. I say that just to get it out of the way, because for the purposes of this post I am not interested in that fact. I am going to attempt to explain why women behave the way they do; the fact that men should have stopped them is beside the point and comments to that effect will be deleted.

Why, then, is it so important to women to be included in everything? Why will they break off a long-held friendship because another woman forgot to invite them to a party? Why must they insist on joining men-only golf clubs and shutting down the old-fashioned gentlemen’s clubs?  I imagine these questions baffle a lot of men. They certainly baffled me, until recently. I could see what women were doing and recognise the ill effects of their behaviour pattern, but I didn’t understand the motivation.

Now, however, I think I do. You see, social exclusion is woman’s primordial fear.  More than anything else, a woman fears being cast out of the tribe.

In the ancestral environment, women were entirely dependent creatures. (Honestly, I think they basically still are, but it’s not as obvious anymore; rising technology makes a lot of social dynamics hard to understand, as neoreaction has previously observed with regard to crime rates.) They depended on men for protection against hostile tribes, wild animals, adverse weather, and other physical dangers, as well as for the provision of basic material needs. A man, of course, benefited greatly by being part of a social group; but if you cast him out, he could probably survive at least long enough to find a new tribe to join. For a woman, on the other hand, to be sent out on her own would be a death sentence.

As such, women are naturally adapted to the task of securing male protection and provision. They do this through the maintenance of social bonds, both to particular men (husbands, fathers, and sons, for the most part), and to the tribe as a whole. Accordingly, women developed a mode of discourse adapted to the realm of interpersonal relations in which they dwelt, and, moreover, they developed desires and fears that would push them toward the achievement of this evolutionary goal. It’s the fears that I’d like to focus on in this piece.

It is only logical that if the maintenance of social bonds is the means by which a woman secures her living, then the breaking of those social bonds is what she would fear most. The idea that people close to her have a social space that she is utterly excluded from causes her great psychic distress. She is not concerned with the fact that her presence would interfere with the group’s ability to perform its purpose, nor with the fact that she has no interest in the activities the group engages in. All she is concerned with, fundamentally, is the fact that a deep biological fear has been triggered, viz. the fear of being cast out on her own.

This same reality also explains women’s obsessive desire for attention, in all its manifestations: the attention whore, the attention-seeking false self-deprecation, the constant need for male validation, etc. If what women need most of all is the protection and provision of a man (usually their father early in life, their husband in mid-life, and a son by the end of their life), then for them to be neglected or forgotten by the men close to them is the small-scale equivalent of being cast out of the tribe, and just as terrifying, if not more so.

This explains a key difference between men’s behaviour and women’s behaviour:

To a man, abuse is worse than neglect.

To a woman, neglect is worse than abuse.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that men want to be neglected, or women want to be abused, exactly. But it does mean that if a woman has the choice between being abused and being ignored entirely, she will often choose to be abused. At least an abusive man is paying attention to her. In the ancestral environment, even a man who would beat his woman for petty reasons probably wouldn’t let her starve or be eaten by wild animals. Suboptimal? Sure. But was it better for her to strike out on her own? Not at all.

Of course, a woman who has options is less likely to stay with an abuser. What kind of options did a woman have in the ancestral environment? Realistically, the only thing that was likely to be on the table for a woman severely mistreated by her husband was a return to her father’s custody.

The absence of her father, therefore, would have two negative effects on a woman:

1. She would grow up starved for male attention, protection, and validation, and would learn to seek it wherever she could find it. She would soon learn that the easiest way to get male attention is to give away sex. It should come as a shock to no one that this theory predicts women with absent fathers will be sluts. (I’d cite a source to prove this is the case, but come on.)

2. She would be more likely to tolerate abuse, partially because of the attention starvation mentioned in (1) and partially because she wouldn’t have a father to fall back on if she left her husband.

And again, I dont really think I need to have a whole lot of scientific study done to confirm that women with absent fathers tend to be: a) more promiscuous and b) more tolerant of abuse than others.

This hypothesis explains a great deal of female behaviour that might otherwise baffle men. As a final example, let’s take men’s and women’s differing responses to shame.

It is well known that women respond to herd-shaming; they want the broader society to think well of them, and as such if the mass of women (or men) disapprove of their behaviour they will change it. (They will also tend to change their behaviour if one or a few men they really respect and consider to care for them disapprove, but men also have this response and therefore it’s not quite as interesting.) Men, on the other hand, are relatively indifferent to the opinions of people they dont respect. Mass cadshaming by women does not work. Mass slutshaming by women does work. It works because woman is a herd animal who fears being cast out of the tribe, and man is not.

When you understand this crucial point, women’s behaviour, and their misbehaviour, starts making a whole lot more sense.

Should one disregard physical attractiveness, in pursuing a potential spouse? Of course not.

Will S covers the rather silly idea that one should ignore physical attraction when seeking/choosing a spouse:


It is encouraging to find elements of Christian ‘Red Pill’ thinking from outside of the Christian manosphere, within the wider Christian community; recently I found such a blog post written a little over a year ago, here, by Stephen Altrogge, a Reformed writer, musician / songwriter and former pastor, in which he combats erroneous thinking encouraging relative disregard for physical attraction in relationship decision-making processes.

Some excerpts:

Recently Mike McKinley and Tim Challies both wrote articles which argued that young people, particularly men, should choose to be attracted primarily to a potential spouse’s spiritual beauty rather than physical beauty. I really respect both of these guys, love their gospel work, and usually agree with them, but as a pastor, both of these articles made me nervous. They made me nervous for two reasons.

First, the articles don’t fully appreciate the place of physical attraction in scripture. Yes, scripture is clear…

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Re: Game Vs. the Reactosphere (ATTN @Aurini)

This post will be a reply to Davis M J Aurini’s post “Game Versus the Reactosphere” at his blog Stares at the World. 

The skirmish between the Game bloggers and the reactionary bloggers has been brewing for a long time, but the blog fights appear to have been started by the post “Pick-Up Artists and the Nature of Women” at Emashee’s blog tba. Emashee criticises Pick-Up Artists for many of the same reasons that I (and Michael Anissimov, and several other reactionaries) have criticised them in the past, especially on Twitter: that they are (and they admit this) ‘enjoying the decline’. They are not attempting to fight the rise in female degeneracy and sluttery, but rather exploiting it for their own pleasure. I have compared this in the past to Nero’s legendary act of ‘fiddling while Rome burns’. Emashee’s thesis, with which I essentially agree, is that women need to be controlled by men, and that they are not going to take the initiative to fix the societal problems caused by feminism.

What I am definitely not saying, and what I dont believe Emashee is saying, is that women are somehow excused from blame for their misbehaviour or that they will not or should not suffer as a result of acting like sluts. What I am saying is that ultimately it is men who must initiate the changes that will fix this situation, as we must initiate all significant social changes, because women simply will not do so.

Aurini makes a sharp distinction between ‘PUAs’ and ‘Gamers’ that does not reflect reactionary usage of these terms (or any usage I am familiar with). We use ‘PUA’ to mean ‘a man who makes a major study of seduction and uses his skills to bed large numbers of women’. On this definition, Roosh is just as much a PUA as Mystery and all our criticisms of ‘PUAs’ apply to Roosh and his ilk.

Aurini then writes that ‘Gamer’ types would theoretically prefer a traditional, feminine (chaste?) woman, but since they have so much trouble finding one, they figure they might as well get laid in the meantime. I hope you can see why this attitude is less than impressive, especially to the Christian traditionalists. It’s a bit like saying ‘Well, I cant put out the fire in the Imperial palace, so I might as well get a bag of marshmallows.’ Cynically exploiting civilisational decline for your own pleasure will always call your reactionary bona fides into question.

Next, Aurini argues that the ‘Gamers’ have been discouraging sluttery and promoting traditional femininity with activities such as the #BackToTheKitchen and #FatShamingWeek hashtags. Well and good. But the above criticism still holds. Moreover, they are still validating the sluts they meet in person, even as their online activities trend in the opposite (and right) direction.

In the section that follows this, Aurini makes what I think may be his most repulsive ‘point’, but one I thank him for making, as I’ve made it before, but I think it has a bit more credibility coming from him; viz. that Roosh is in Eastern Europe because it is more traditional. But Roosh isn’t there to find a chaste young woman, marry her, and settle down; no, Roosh is in Eastern Europe to convince women who are not presently sluts (or at least who are significantly less slutty than the women he could bed in America) to behave like sluts with him. If you think this is admirable you are quite simply not a reactionary. Aurini claims that ‘at the end of the day…this behaviour is completely in the hands of the women.’ And in a sense this is true; Roosh is not a rapist. But when you lead someone to behave badly, even if you dont use force, you become partially responsible for that person’s behaviour. Blame is not a fixed-sum game; you are responsible for your own sins and you are responsible if you give scandal to others. And if you as a man feel you must pursue casual sex, it’s much better that it be with women who are already sluts. I really cannot understand how Aurini expects me to sympathise with Roosh because he makes it his goal to corrupt (relatively) chaste Eastern European women.

Aurini then makes several points that I either have no opinion about or agree with, and will thus skip over. I’ll pick up my criticism of his post at the second-to-last section, viz. the one about ‘white knights’.

The term ‘white knight’, as commonly used in the Manosphere, is a pet peeve of mine. I believe it originated as a pejorative term to refer to men who tried to ‘rescue’ women with the implicit expectation that this would somehow earn them sex; in other words, this was the kind of man a real-life acquaintance of mine would call ‘Captain Save-a-Ho’. However, the term has now begun to be used to mean ‘anyone who defends a woman who is behaving badly, on any level and for any reason’ and sometimes even ‘anyone who defends a woman against Manospherian attack, even when that attack is completely wrongheaded and the woman is in the right’.

To say that the men who convince women to behave like sluts share some of the blame for their sluttery is not ‘white knighting’; it is an obvious truth. Gamers tend to want everything to be considered 100% women’s fault all the time, and while I understand the impulse (because the progressive typically makes exactly the opposite error), it’s simply not correct. Unless the term ‘white knight’ goes back to its original meaning, I think it should be scrapped; it’s not useful except as a rhetorical bludgeon to help certain men escape blame for their degeneracy.

Finally, Aurini writes the following:

At the end of the day, the Manosphere is full of men speaking Truth, and daring to live by the Truth they speak.  That they fall short of an ideal is no surprise – we all fall short, at some point or another.  But don’t let these minor differences drive us apart.

I am afraid I must disagree. The Manosphere certainly is full of men speaking truth, after a fashion. But it is the understatement of the year to say they ‘fall short of an ideal’. They dont even try to live by the ideal, and moreover, they openly encourage others not to try to live by the ideal. If they were hypocrites who slept around while publicly proclaiming the need for chastity, that would be one thing. Most people wont live up to most ideals. But when they encourage sleeping around as a way of life (and when they attract a crowd that often denigrates and mocks marriage) they separate themselves from the values of reaction. And while I’m not above learning from them at times (when a person is right, he’s right), I dont feel the need to accept them as brothers or colleagues, until and unless they embrace the values reaction stands for.

I therefore stand with Anissimov, Steves, and Emashee, and against Roosh and his ilk (and if necessary Aurini as well), and I remain

your humble servant,

Arthur Richard Harrison

On The Treatment of Inferiors

A gentleman is one who treats his inferiors with the greatest courtesy, justice and consideration, and who exacts the same treatment from his superiors. — New York Daily News. (H/T: Quote Investigator)

The true measure of a man’s character is how he treats his inferiors. This ethical principle has a long pedigree but why is it so important, especially from an Orthodox Christian perspective?

First, let me make the usual disclaimer when it comes to theological posts: Although I consider myself well-studied and my opinions well-thought-out, I am neither a hierarch nor a priest and I do not speak for my Church in any official capacity. None of what I say is dogma, unless it’s quoting an official source, etc., etc.

That being said: I think the key thing to bear in mind here is that man is made in the image, and ought to be conformed to the likeness, of God. As such, it would behoove us, when considering how we ought to treat our inferiors, to consider how God, Whose ikons we are, treats His.

To a Christian audience, or an audience familiar with Christian mythology (in the proper sense), I need not belabour this point too much. Our Lord gave His life for those in His charge, and those of us who are called by God to a position of authority are also called by Him to imitate the sacrificial nature of Christ’s rule.

An aside here: The notion of ‘servant leadership’ is heavily promoted among Christian leaders, especially evangelicals, in our modern, egalitarian time. The concept is not entirely without merit; certainly, Our Lord did say ‘He who would be great among you, let him be your servant.’ However, in our time this idea is perverted into a negation of authority per se. The idea often seems to be juxtaposed with Biblical commands for, for example, servants to obey their masters, or wives to submit to their husbands, and although it’s not explicitly said, the implied addendum is ‘but that’s not really what it means.’ ‘Yes, wives are commanded to submit to their husbands, but the husband is called to be a servant [so none of that really applies and the wife is still fundamentally in charge].’

However, this is not how Our Lord operated, it is not how the Apostles operated, and it is not how Christians in positions of authority today, whether they be husbands, fathers, kings, or priests, are called to operate. Christ washed the feet of his apostles, to be sure, but at the same time He never hesitated to give them orders, nor did He beat around the bush when it came to the condemnation of the wicked. The Apostles too wrote in clear consciousness of their own authority; even at their most humble they brooked neither disobedience nor disrespect from the faithful. When it is said that the ruler must be a servant, this is true, but it must not be taken in such a sense as to negate the proper hierarchical relationship between the ruler and the subject.

With that aside complete, let us return to the question of how those who are called to positions of authority should deal with those who are placed below them. As Christians, we ought first of all to honour the image of God in which we are created, and second of all to attempt to conform ourselves to His likeness. As such, His treatment of His inferiors ought to be the model for how we treat our own.

And to me, anyway,  That there is a Being of infinite power Who created and transcends the universe may be on some level a hard concept to grasp, but on the other hand it is on some level intuitive that there must be such a Being. But that He would become a man, that he would suffer, not just pain, which to a being of His magnitude must be a rather small and petty thing, but the infinite humiliation of being tortured to death by His own creatures; this is the truly shocking thing. This is the thing which we must, in our own small way, imitate if we are to be conformed to the likeness of God.

St. Paul writes:

Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;

But this does not apply only to husbands and wives directly. One of the points I like to hammer on is that authority is of one nature. There is not a fundamental difference between the authority of the husband/father and that of the king or the priest.

The reason that a man is measured by the way he treats his inferiors is that there is a mutual exchange in the right cosmic order: respect and obedience flow up, while love and self-sacrifice flow down.

What does not flow down, by the way, is submission or compliance, and what does not flow up is judgment. A woman does not get to say ‘I dont have to submit because I dont feel like my husband is loving me well enough’, for example. This is a side note because I know if I dont throw this in I’ll be accused of making excuses for wives who dont submit, etc. That’s not the point. We’re not talking about them now.

The point here is simply that wherever there is a hierarchy, it is the duty of those who occupy a higher place in the hierarchy to see to the welfare of those under them, even at the expense of their own. The superior man treats his inferiors with compassion; the inferior man, insecure in his position of authority, abuses them to prove to himself that he is in charge,  or disregards them because he is concerned only with his own pleasure.

That’s why the treatment of inferiors, not equals, is the measure of a man.

Barbarians Within the Gates

Neoreaction is a young movement. Moreover, it’s a movement that emerged in a rather unprecedented way. Few if any political movements in history have begun with theoretical work by a loose connection of bloggers.

Early in the history of the movement, it was small and attracted only people of genuine conviction (or at least open curiosity) and exceptionally high intelligence. As the movement grows, however, we will attract, and have already begun to attract, all manner of people we either dont want around or dont want representing us. There are entryists. There are idiots. There are boors and there are trolls.

Until now we haven’t had to deal with this. We’ve been very accepting of anyone who wants to join in on neoreaction, and this has worked out all right. However, recent events have shown that this is no longer the case. We have people on the outside asking us polite questions and we ought to be answering them, trying to raise awareness and bring people in. Some of us, however, see trolls under every bridge and respond in distinctly non-constructive ways.

These people need to be kept under control if neoreaction is to get anywhere. The image we present is important, and recruiting new people is important. If we are overly suspicious and hostile to the curious outsider we will only become an insular club with little development of thought and zero action.

All of this is to say that those of us who are intelligent, serious, and well-established need a way to regulate the neoreactionary masses, and perhaps even each other. We need a self-regulating hierarchy.

The idea of a neoreactionary wiki has been floated several times before, but as far as I know it has never actually been established. I think it should be, and could be with minimal cost and work. The wiki would include contributions from all the major neoreactionary thinkers (and probably many of the minor ones) and therefore would acquire a greater authority than any individual’s blog.

From there, we could set up a directory of sorts for the neoreaction: a list of people recognised by the community as leaders and representatives of the best in our movement. Those people would then have the discretion to expand the list, something they should do very sparingly. We could also keep the list of banned wiki editors public.

The creation of this neoreactionary wiki would thus set up four tiers in the neoreaction:

1. Directory members. These are the authorities on the subject, the people outsiders should read first and the people whose opinions should be given the most weight.

2. Wiki editors. These are people who make contributions of various levels of significance to neoreactionary thought, and who are known and (at least tentatively) accepted.

3. Banned editors. These people have, for whatever reason, earned the disapproval of the community or the leaders. Obviously we dont have the power to finally silence them but they do not represent us.

4. The wild cards: people who dont have an account at the wiki and never have. Over time, as the wiki grows in prominence (if it’s a success), these people should probably be purged, unless they’re indubitably writers of the first order. It wont be that hard to set up an account and having the wiki will be a huge boon to the movement as a whole. That said, we cant expect everyone to be on board right away, and in the beginning this category will be large.

This wiki would give us a way to deal with the barbarians within the gates who threaten to destroy Rome from the inside. Of course, it would only work if it gained the approval of most of the current influential neoreactionaries. I hope it will and I’m prepared to have the idea critiqued and refined. I am of course willing to be heavily involved in the creation of the wiki but I dont think I have the clout to establish it all on my own.

I welcome comments, especially from the bigger NRx thinkers, and I remain

your obedient servant,

Arthur Richard Harrison