Men’s rights and historical realism

In Mala Fide lays heavily into The Thinking Housewife, but to my mind, the primary criticism should be the way in which she missed the point of the reader’s question as well as the larger issue underlying it:

We don’t live in a culture where responsibilities can be ‘imposed’ on persons outside of voluntary choice. So, my question would be, how can you possibly speak of men possessing ‘responsibilities toward women’ (and therefore reject the MRM’s self-focus approach) as a group when our culture doesn’t even recognize ‘groups’, it only recognizes individuals?

Men’s rights advocates say they seek equality with women and aim to redress the inferior status feminists have imposed on them. They seek to counterbalance feminism with “men’s rights,” envisioning some hypothetical state of fairness and justice, or at least saying they envision some hypothetical state of fairness and justice. Feminists also claim to seek fairness, but this is a dishonest pose, a cover for the pursuit of superiority for women. Men’s rights advocates say they want equality too and generally do not argue for patriarchal authority. This may be because they labor under a sincere, but misguided belief in radical egalitarianism or because they know that an explicit affirmation of male leadership entails some formal recognition of male responsibility. Some seem to detest the notion of male responsibility because they genuinely detest women and want to owe them nothing.

Male authority, on a practical level, is necessary. But it is more than a practical necessity. It is rooted in human nature and in the nature of God. Men’s rights advocates do not seek the restoration of the traditional father or male head. That generally does not seem to be their goal although certainly there are men who do advocate this, men who do criticize feminism and who do not fit into the mold of the typical men’s rights supporter. Typical men’s rights supporters speak of equality with women, but at the same time relentlessly assert the morally superiority of men. They offer some token acknowledgement now and then that women may be capable of good, but mostly they demonize women and offer virtually no acknowledgement of the good women may do or the harm done to women by feminism. They would just as soon see women sink or swim their own. Just like feminists, they say women should have a choice to be either careerists or homemakers. This is true. Women should have some choice, but our culture must affirm one of these roles as superior since they are mutally exclusive. Men’s rights advocates will argue that women are not very good at being careerists, but they are remarkably silent on the subject of what women are good at and how they might be enabled to do what they are naturally good at doing.

The Thinking Housewife summarizes the matter by naming her post Does Society Need Men’s Rights. Now, regardless of whether one interprets this question overly literally or with regards to the sense in which she and the reader refer to “Men’s Rights” as the male egalitarian response to the legal overreach of the feminist movement, I tend to see the entire discussion as somewhat beside the point. I am not a men’s rights activist nor a men’s rights supporter for the obvious reason that I do not believe in the existence of equality before the law or any other kind of equality. I would simply describe myself as a historical realist, which is why my general sympathies are with all three of them despite their differences.

The simple fact is that restoring Western society to a genuinely equalitarian state will change nothing about its trajectory, it will merely provide for a nominally more equitable period of decline and collapse. Neither MRA atomists nor traditionalists under the influence of quasi-egalitarianism are relevant to the larger scale problem, which is more related to demographics and debt than who gets what after the divorce or whether men should avoid marriage. That doesn’t make the personal issues any less important to the individuals concerned, but let’s not have the discussion under the illusion that it’s actually significant on the societal level.

At this point, I am skeptical that even banning women’s suffrage tomorrow would suffice to salvage the Western society. And that’s not going to happen until Western democracy collapses as completely as Athenian democracy did.