We meet no ordinary people in our lives.
- C.S. Lewis
Enough real and digital ink has been spilled over the fight of “What is The Red Pill?” in the past decade to fill all the great libraries of antiquity.
This is because humans are, generally speaking, creatures governed by some combination of morality, intellect, emotion, and primal urges. The story of Man is one of co-evolving civilization and self, with new constructs developed and employed to advance our survivability, comfort, and psychological wants.
Life was begun on biological urge. A man and woman, somewhere along the line, realized that this goes there, and that the sensation of this most primal act was enjoyable.
That union eventually formed the proto-family, with a new next-order biological urge to protect the child.
Propagation became perpetuation.
And so, we learned to pack-hunt bigger sources of protein.
We built tribes.
We developed specializations outside of hunting and gathering.
We organized civilization around the dual purposes of war and commerce.
We created new scientific and philosophical disciplines to better understand our own experience.
This is because Man is the only creature with an awareness of Self; likewise, the only one who experiences dissonance between biological, emotional, and mental instinct arising from the urge to “better himself”.
Once our purpose of existence ceased to be solely about mere survival, it became a long upward climb to define and then maximize the Self.
And it is here, in the post-modern world, where things have spun spectacularly out of control.
Intersexual balance of roles has given rise to intersexual competition.
Rollo Tomassi, the (pseudonymous) man often described as the “godfather of The Red Pill”, explicitly defines The Red Pill (TRP) as a “praxeology”. Given Mr. Tomassi’s status as the intellectual standard bearer within the TRP community, I will accept this description as true for the moment.
That said, given the relatively obscure nature of the word, it’s perhaps best to begin our exploration by putting everyone on equal footing, in order to have a common starting point of understanding. Much mischief has arisen in intellectual discussion from one party not grasping the terminology (and thus foundational worldview) of the other party.
The word praxeology simply means: “The study (or science) of human action.”
In other words, it’s an attempt to objectively observe, measure, and agree upon why, exactly, humans act the way we do. The word is largely related to the work of Ludwig von Mises, a titan of intellectual capability who organized the Austrian School of free-market economics that would come to broadly shape the political and cultural agenda of the 20th and 21st centuries.
The second key word to understand is axiom: “an established rule or principle, or a self-evident truth”. From a foundation of axiomatic principles, we seek to form the basis of a praxeology.
By defining the Red Pill as a praxeology, Mr. Tomassi is thus saying (in layman’s terms):
”There are certain foundational principles of humanity that are self-evident. And by using these principles to perceive and study the scope of human action, we can derive larger second-order truths.”
And to Mr. Tomassi’s great credit, he has remained intellectually consistent for nearly a decade with his near-daily content across multiple mediums in reinforcing this understanding of The Red Pill. I commend that, because it is so uncommon.
With a common, simple understanding of the language now achieved, we can press forward.
From what source does this lens of intersexual interaction arise? The clue lies in the aforementioned language employed to explain TRP.
Let’s return to the year 1949. Harry S Truman has been sworn in for his first complete term as President of the United States. Mao Zedong has taken Beijing and instituted the People’s Republic of China. And an Austrian economist and philosopher named Ludwig von Mises has released the culmination of his life’s work, a compendium titled Human Action. [It is an intellectual curiosity that two of the great advancements in our current political dialectic of collectivism v. individualism both occurred in the same year, and one to which we shall return at a later date on this blog.]
To downplay the significance of this work in any way is to deny its essential impact on the last half of the 20th century and into today. Its introduction marked the beginning of the The Austrian School of Economics, a body of study that gave rise to laissez-faire capitalism, free market economics, and libertarianism with all of its many penumbras. Broadly speaking, it also became the nominal intellectual foundation of Western economic policy for many years.
Fundamental to Mises’ approach to understanding human interaction was his expansion on a little-studied concept called…praxeology. Mises believed that human action could be understood objectively by beginning with the axiomatic premise that Man always acts to serve an end, and employs certain specific means towards achieving that end. The paths chosen are based on an individual’s available resources, opportunities, and knowledge. Simply put:
Humans will make conscious or unconscious choices to benefit themselves.
Mises called this “economic calculation”. The savvy reader will begin to notice a commonality emerging to The Red Pill. One such example is the oft-discussed concept of hypergamy. Mr. Tomassi defines hypergamy thusly:
“Hypergamy at its root level is about the most efficacious, pragmatic, means of women becoming fertile with the best genetic breeding opportunities, and simultaneously pairing in the long term provisioning opportunities available to a woman.”
Thus, hypergamy is a sexualized form of economic calculation. And, it happens to be correct. Biologically, women are the weaker, care-giving sex, and so evolved natural emotional and social behaviors (means) to serve their need for provision, security, and stability (ends) in the real world. This does not make them wrong from a pragmatic perspective, just as it does not make men wrong for having the biological urge to procreate as often and widely as possible to secure their genetic lineage. “Wrong” is mostly a moral/ethical construct, and we’re dealing for the moment within the realm of purely pragmatic actions.
As one can see, it is not a moral, ethical, or ideological judgment to say that TRP is, at its heart, about framing intersexual dynamics through the explicit lens of rational, transactional behaviors. TRP, then, is best understood as “Sexual Economics” arising directly from the intellectual foundation of Mises and the Austrian School. And while I know that Mr. Tomassi and I disagree on a number of things, this frame is likely not in dispute.
And that is where Mr. Tomassi and other TRP-focused content creators claim to find their water’s edge in the discussion — simple, practical observation of intersexual action.
Descriptive, not Prescriptive.
Praxeology, not Ideology.
THE SOURCE OF ACTION
A s Roman McClay writes in the first part of his sprawling Neo-Reactionary novel, Sanction:
”Pain demands a response.”
Pain, in this case, is a placeholder for the larger concept of a stimulus. If pain indeed demands a response (and it does), then so must any stimulus, as pain itself is but a form of stimulus. And certainly, it’s true that any stimulus can be ignored to a certain point by enforcing self-discipline, focus, and secondary means of mitigating its effect.
But a stimulus cannot be ignored forever.
If nothing else, entropy cannot be disregarded. Time and the natural frictions of the human experience will whittle away the capacity of any man to withstand stimuli. Thus, a stimulus demands that whatever is being acted upon must eventually take action.
Action, then, arises from a stimulus prompting a response in a body or thing.
As we have seen, praxeology is the study of such actions through a lens of claimed objective truths.
The TRP acolytes, however, seem to willfully disregard a second-order axiom — merely observing something IS an action unto itself. By applying effort towards understanding, the mind is acting upon the senses to perceive and orient that observation into one’s own cognitive framework.
This action thus produces the demand for a response.
One inevitably leads to the next. It takes conscious effort to dispute or deny this law of stimulus-action. So why, in an ostensibly rational attempt to understand and explain something as complex as intersexual dynamics, would TRP do its absolute best to avoid ownership of the resulting second-order actions?
Let’s sort this out by turning the lens of praxeology onto The Red Pill itself.
Recall that the very definition of praxeology is “the study of human action”.
Then, recall that the simple act of observation is itself an action undertaken for some discernible reason.
Finally, recall that every action is the result of a stimulus, or a motivating force acting upon something.
So what stimulus is the motivating force behind TRP?
Broadly speaking, most men find their way to The Red Pill for one of two reasons:
1. General desire for self-improvement in a world they perceive in some way as overly feminized or disordered compared to their perspective of past cultural norms
2. Desire for a more concrete understanding of why a relationship went bad, or how to avoid “losing the game of love” in some way
In either case, there is a disconnect between how a man believes something should be, versus what it really is today. That is to say, he has an intellectual AND emotional attachment to reconciling “should” and “is”. He desires a more logical, knowable foundation from which to build whatever his definition of a better life might be.
It is purpose and path alike that the TRP convert pursues.
Motive for action, in search of an outlet.
And TRP, as a praxeology, offers some semblance of a starting line. The answer offered is right there — men and women utilize a convoluted knot of stratagems and behaviors to find individual equilibrium in a transactional relationship.
And now the Red Pilled man sees the truth. He must take these rational, objective observations of fundamental humanity and employ them as tools to resolve his individual means-ends equation.
But now, the praxeology has morphed into something MORE than praxeology, the claims of the intellectual figureheads notwithstanding. Observation is action, and so demands further action as a stimulus. Worldviews (observed reality as filtered through an individual mind) have inertia once set into motion. Cognition and orientation are an interactive feedback process, constantly taking in new data from all sources in order to formulate and then implement new action. Waving away this biological process as irrelevant or separate from the study of human action is conceding that one is has no answer to objective reality.
The axiomatic truth of human nature once again holds true:
Stimulus demands, and will receive, a response.
Employing a praxeological framework shows us that there is something about TRP that is “off”, a disconnect between claim and observable outcome.
Now, here’s where it gets very problematic for a lot of the TRP intelligentsia.
The focus will always shift from what they NEED The Red Pill to mean (pure praxeology) to the inescapable truth that the fundamental nature of a man is to employ TRP as a tool. And if it’s a tool, like a hammer or a firearm, there is an inevitable connection to a larger framework within the context of society. And THAT, the TRP community cannot accept.
See, the other half of the “praxeology defense” is that pure TRP offers no specific remedy, merely observation. Because at the moment a set of guidelines or plans towards specific action have arisen from the action of observation, it cannot logically be called a praxeology anymore. It is something more, by definition. Perhaps a methodology, or an ideology, or a system?
But we have been assured, time and time again, that TRP is most certainly not an ideology. Thus, we must also dispense with any website, notion, book, movie, song, article, etc that implies that leveraging The Red Pill correctly will produce a more-ideal state for a man’s life. This is logically incoherent, though, because TRP is often defended as a means to personal development for men. But “growth” is irrelevant without a specific goal…an ideal.
How can there be growth towards an ideal, if it’s not an ideology?
Nonetheless, we will give the benefit of the doubt to the TRP intelligentsia that it is not in fact an ideology. Our journey towards a definitive understanding continues.
TRP might be a methodology, perhaps. A given framework of means-ends, with specific parameters and recommendations to achieve that desired (if not ideal) outcome? We’re getting closer to intellectual consistency with this understanding of TRP, at least. Yet, the assurances that TRP is solely a praxeology always crop back up. And as a mere praxeology, there are no ironclad, definitive rules to govern one’s responses to observed intersexual dynamics, right?
The Red Pill, then, may perhaps be best-defined as a “praxeology most of the time, but also a methodology when beneficial to one’s economic calculation.”
Alternatively, perhaps TRP has evolved into a “container word”. This was a useful reformulation by Rian Stone of the common phrase “loaded words”, and highlighted by Black Label Logic vis-a-vis the Red Pill. As Mr. Stone ably explains, container words (or phrases) come to be laden with context, meaning, and intent, and are then employed as weaponized labels. In other words, a tool.
See, a tool is a thing of human intent. It must be used, or its existence is irrational. It was designed, built, and sold to assist a human in transferring his intent from mind to reality. Mind, the tool by its very nature holds neither malicious nor beneficent intent divorced from human action. We don’t logically blame the firearm itself for wounding a person, nor should we blame the existence of a spoon for our current obesity epidemic. That being said, neither can the manufacturer of the tool claim ZERO accountability for how a tool could be employed. It’s intellectually and logically incoherent.
Such is the risk of engaging in the commerce of tool manufacturing and sales. The upside of such a business is profit, market share, and economic benefit to all stakeholders involved. Money, power, influence, respect. All are both practical and emotional benefits that accrue to the man who can build a superior tool that becomes the standard of the marketplace. The downside is that you know that any given user of the tool might well employ it for frivolous or malicious ends.
Logically, this means that any given man must find some way to reconcile the inevitable misuse of the tool he has built or sold. He might:
- Plead ignorance that the tool could be used a certain way
- Deny culpability for the actions of another
- Dissemble that the tool was used out of its intended context
- Claim in the face of all evidence that the tool is not, in fact, even a tool
- Accept that he was the vector of some form of harm brought to others, and deal with whatever social, financial, and emotional ramifications follow
Each of these is a rational response to an unfortunate situation. But it does not change the reality that the situation exists.
Stimulus once again demands a response.
Bringing it back to The Red Pill, any man who has ever had a hand in promulgating it CANNOT rationally claim total absolution from the misuse of the construct if they have ALSO derived financial benefit from it. It’s the behavior of a weak man who cannot stand up to the inviolate truth that actions have consequences, good and bad.
EVERYTHING A WAR
W e now see that TRP is a bit more complex of a subject than perhaps the “praxeology-alone defense” implies. It’s many things or nothing, depending on the intent of the man discussing it. It’s a vehicle for self-improvement, or a vector for bitterness and rejection of emotional attachment. Thus, it’s an open question as to the ultimate utility of TRP in our society.
Perhaps we can return to the praxeological examination of TRP to quantify its merit as a lens from which to understand intersexual dynamics.
Recall that TRP treats the intersexual dynamics of men as geared exclusively (or largely) towards the masculine goal of maximum procreative freedom, while the feminine goal is oriented towards safety, security, and provision for her young. These would seem to argue logically that the act of sex originates from a competitive frame. The man wants unrestricted access to any woman within his range of sexual preference, while any woman with whom he interacts will expect him to be a man of high enough perceived sexual value to sire her young and (hopefully) provide for her first-order needs.
However, this also mostly disregards the agency of men and women alike in recognizing when they have achieved their best-case scenario for mutual alignment of sexual strategy. It also deliberately discounts that humans are capable of deriving their own sources of meaning from higher-order considerations, and then using that calculation to override their basic sexual-economic calculation.
The TRP intelligentsia often smugly dismisses religion, philosophy, and social conventions as irrelevant to intersexual dynamics, while ignoring wholesale the rational conclusion that all of these things were co-evolved alongside the aforementioned sexual strategies as civilization matured over the millennia. When it comes to the motivating factors of a man or woman, all of those domains are interdependent and inseparable when engaging in praxeological observation of intersexual dynamics.
This is where TRP wants to (again) have its cake and eat it too. The TRP intelligentsia have a means-ends economic calculation based on that specific sexual-strategy paradigm still being true. Website clicks, book sales, subscriptions, etc all depend on maintaining that constant tension between “should” and “is” previously discussed in the Source of Action section.
Thus, the endless refrain from Mr. Tomassi and others of “This is what a #genderwar looks like.” A man who is confident of his place in his socio-sexual hierarchy recognizes the merit of, but does not respond economically to, jingoistic language.
This is a textbook example of “Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt” (or, FUD) marketing.
It’s an appeal to insecurity.
It’s the same impetus that drove the Patriot Act post-9/11, and the same tactic employed by extreme feminists to fuel the false narrative of every male being a rapist-in-waiting.
This is not coincidence.
Despite the claim from the TRP intelligentsia that it’s simply a lens of observing dynamic action, it is causally linked with intersectional feminism. The more-libertine behaviors of modern women, relative to historical norms, can trace a direct lineage to the early days of feminism and sexual empowerment. This inversion of sexual power in society is a…stimulus.
Stimulus demands a response.
TRP, for whatever offshoots it has spawned of specific goal-attainment (PUA, MRA, etc) over the past two decades since emerging from the Men’s Rights Movement of the 1980’s and 1990’s, is fundamentally a response by men to this radical polar shift in sexual and cultural power towards women. It is patently ludicrous to claim otherwise, but is often attempted nonetheless to avoid framing TRP as culturally-submissive to feminism.
Here again, the TRP intelligentsia refuses to acknowledge two indisputable points:
1. The need for TRP would not exist if feminism had not in fact flipped the socio-cultural power balance against millennia of patriarchal social structure; and,
2. TRP continues to be a losing stratagem in the “#genderwar”.
Every day seemingly brings new erosions of normative standards in our culture. If TRP is supposed to be a means to help men reclaim their masculinity and work towards reclaiming a patriarchal end state, it is failing at the task.
These are objective, rational observations of the current state of intersexual dynamics.
So if TRP is indeed a praxeology (or methodology) that is committed to addressing harsh truths, then its intelligentsia must have the courage to ask: “Why do we continue to lose?”
As it stands, the purist TRP thought-leaders seem wholly disinterested in formulating, testing, and implementing new stratagems towards shifting the culture backs towards historical norms. The obvious reason is a harsh truth, indeed:
The Red Pill intelligentsia’s economic calculation derives a net benefit from propagating a victimhood mindset in men.
The intellectual ghetto of The Red Pill must be protected because their livelihoods, self-invested purpose, and emotional identity as men are tied to a paradigm that is rapidly evolving away from their frame of reality.
WHAT IS TO COME
I n the past several months, we have seen the restless energy of builders and doers beginning to break free from the feedback loop of TRP intersexual dialectic. These individuals have moved towards a more holistic view of male-female interaction within the socio-cultural paradigm, and are building real-world tribes with an implicit shared goal of influencing the larger narrative of reclaiming masculinity for social benefit. Healthier minds, healthier relationships, healthier lives.
Recall what I wrote in the introduction: “The story of Man is one of co-evolving civilization and self.” The individual is intrinsically linked to the collective through a shared cultural framework encompassing media, religion, the law, social institutions, education, and simple proximity. Attempting to treat this interdependence as several from the individual man is another intellectual dodge, because as we’ve seen, much of TRP does not stand up as a praxeology or applied theory for the individual man or woman.
Human interaction is simply too complex to claim that one mechanism of study can provide an accurate lens from which to derive understanding of the world. To attempt to do so is to fall into the trap of “When all you have is a hammer, everything you see is a nail.”
TRP is not dynamic. It is hidebound, static, unquestioning of its own analysis that men and women are competitive, not synergistic. That very foundational frame of TRP’s Sexual Economics assumes its own truth by employing the axiom that intersexual dynamics are purely about the tension between opposing needs of the sexes.
At the top of this section, I linked several different groups that have moved beyond the digital tribal kingdom of Twitter and social media to build offline communities. Each is doing something a little different, but all have one trait in common:
They aim, without reservation, to build cooperative networks of dynamic, antifragile men who are better-equipped to lead their homes, communities, and our civilization.
They are the opposite of TRP’s habit of speaking out of both sides of its mouth. They have skin in the game of our culture. They are not mere observers in our shared reality. They have moved beyond mere analysis and complaining, the endless finger-pointing that arises from the masculine dissonance of “should” and “is”. These tribes are doing what men do: building, growing, adapting, iterating, cooperating, and taking risks individually, but together.
This interdependence is fundamental to the development of civilization. Shared ritual and effort bonds men as firmly as the strongest mortar. But that is not the essential ingredient to helping a man build his life into a thing of resilience and strength. It is confidence. The confident, capable man (or woman) does not bow and scrape to the will of the body politic. He does not apologize for his masculinity, or his essential role in leadership. He values his mate, loves his children, honors his forebears, and forges his legacy.
He MUST do these things, because the real axiomatic truth of the human experience is that we survive better together by creating synergistic relationships with those around us. It is mutual benefit and shared culture that lifted man from the stinking caves of our primitive ancestors and set us among the stars.
And so, we will do these supremely rational things that benefit ourselves, and others in turn. The stimulus of a world descending into insecurity and a resulting dependency on collectivist mentalities has demanded a response. Thus, we will take action without complaint, jaded words, or resentment against an unfair world.
We reject the old things that no longer serve our interests as men and women who are each uniquely constructed by the hand of whichever mechanism an individual chooses to embrace. There are no ordinary people, except those who choose to be. The cynic scoffs at that notion, because he is ego-invested into his own narratives.
I choose to find those ordinary people, like myself, who are taking action to extraordinary things.
Above all, I choose to win, together.
Dum spiro spero,
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