A Crime Boss or a Captive

In some comments SFC Ton made a counter-argument that power is manliness, rather than authority.

Authority comes from power, masculinity is power
You can be a good man and use your power and authority in ways the Almighty would approve of and be a good man.

Or you could use power and authority counter to God’s word. Makes you a bad man

But a man either way

Desire is femininity was settled in my mind a long time ago, and in a future post I will talk about some of that. The nature of manhood took a little longer, and a big part of the reason was because of the way we use the word power. As a word, power is like love in that we use it to mean so many things. It confuses our thinking; mine included. I recognized that, but it still took time to work out.

My first answer was: Manliness is competence. I told this to a friend, and two things happened. First, I was frustrated by my inability to explain what I meant in a way which sounded clear as I said it out-loud. The second was that, while my friend agreed, he wasn’t visibly enthused. My friend is sharp. That lack confirmed my frustrations and I knew I hadn’t got it.

I went through capability, forcewill, and a bunch of words–including several returns to power–each time thinking through the ways each word could be used. That power can be used in so many ways forbade it from me every time I went back to it. Power can mean legitimacy in discrimination. It can mean the force used to exercise discrimination. It can mean the will to make discriminating choices. It can mean the ability to persuade another person to do one or all of those, or to manipulate circumstances to make such events likely!

As I thought about these things, I realized that a common formulation which I learned as a child, was slightly, but significantly, wrong. I had been taught that men have responsibility, and that men who properly handle that responsibility are then given authority. That is wrong because we cannot separate responsibility from authority. We sometimes talk as if we can separate them; as if we are responsible for things over which we have no authority. But that only seems to be true either because we believe lies (like modern marriage “vows”), and because other men in authority sometimes abuse their power. Men are susceptible to this because authority is our thing. We want it to be true when we are told we are responsible. We intuitively grasp that to give us one handle of responsibility should gain us the second handle of power and so the whole of authority. Women, though, are quick to point out their own powerlessness when it true, or even when it merely suits their purposes.

So there is one thing: authority, with two parts: power, and responsibility. When we try to separate them, the effort fails and things go badly because men lose their hearts. Any authority with a those two parts out of balance creates, instead of a man, either a kind of moral monster (power without responsibility), or a pitiful wretch (responsibility without power); a crime boss, or a captive.

This Weekend on: What’s the Real Tradition?

I take it as axiomatic that the lives recorded in the Bible are, overall, just like ours; that we can read about their decisions, relate to their circumstances, and think about how to apply that history so that it informs our own decisions. That doesn’t mean it’s always easy, or that we always get it right. it doesn’t even mean the people in those histories got it right. It just means we can learn from them.

According to traditionalists (and others): Men are supposed to chase, and women are supposed to be caught. Or they might say: Men are to initiate, and women are to respond. Imagine a party. There are single men and women. The traditionalist wants the men to pick a woman, and then woo her. Then he (the trad) wants her to respond with a Yes, or No, or Show me more. That traditional mating ritual is wrong and foolish. Roissy/Heartiste’s maxim that “Men display, women choose” is much more true. Go to a party and see for yourself.

The traditionalist might counter, “Well, that’s not how it’s supposed to work. A real man pursues what he wants.” I say that is half-assed crossdressing. It is the man acting like a woman while the woman smirks and presides.

If you fancy yourself a traditionalist and disagree, then here is an exercise for you: Search your Bible for a story about a man who woos a woman directly. If it’s traditional it should be easy to do, right? If or when you find it put it in the comments and let’s see how that story plays out, and how it compares to the others. Let us discover what is the real tradition.



Provoked Judgment: The Pareto Principle of Manliness and Femininity

Sexual dimorphism in humans is real. There are sex differences and they cannot be overcome except that they are eliminated altogether; the result of which is less than human. But it is not as pronounced as in other mammals. One poignant example is that no other male mammal spends as much time caring for offspring as human males. Maladjusted and bitter feminists gripe about leaving women behind to care for the children, but men are the most tenderhearted males in the kingdom. A man is more womanly than a lion is lioness-ly. He’s also more godly; since women are also made in His image. The inverse is also true.

The division of male authority and female desire is not absolute. Men have desire too, and women also have authority. For the sake of ease of memory, think of it as another example of the Pareto Principle: 80% of a man’s decision-making is in reference to his authority, and 20% is influenced by his desires. The reciprocal is true for women: 80% of choices follow desire and considerations of authority make up 20% of their M.O.

I’m far from the first to recognize this: Taoism’s yin-yang concept is apt. The difference between my view and the Taoist view is, I think, that the yin-yang is egalitarian, and my view is patriarchal. The circularity of the yin-yang symbol is fundamentally egalitarian; each side chasing the other and going nowhere. I submit that there is an order: Authority–judgment–should rule desire even as desire provokes judgment, and that we should desire to go up, towards God and His authority.

Proposed: Manliness is Authority

The essence of manliness is authority. It’s the need and ability to make decisions, to pronounce those decisions, and to act upon them. Strength, power, command, competency, respect, courage, assertiveness…these are all parts of authority, but they lack the spoken component. Good and right speech is indivisible from authority.

When men succeed, they succeed along the paradigm of authority; be it wise decisions, strength, assertiveness, achievement or any of the other forms of authority. The classic example is the Battle of Thermopylae; which is especially poignant because they all died. Because they died in paramount expressions of wise decisions, strength, courage, assertiveness, respect, and achievement we call them manly, and even though they died we mean that with very high respect because of what went into that fight. They were mighty.

A modest modern example is a young man who decides to get a car. He gets a job to pay for a car and buys it. He learns how to maintain that car. That is manly.

We also count men’s failure along the paradigm of authority. Adam listened to the voice of his wife and ate the fruit instead of acknowledging the authority that was given him, acknowledging the authority that was kept from him, and for at least speaking the truth to Eve when she gave him the fruit. We’re still stinging from that one.

The young man who is given a car, doesn’t take care of it and can’t be bothered to learn how: We call him girly. He is not manly even if that car is a $50,000 vehicle.

Cane’s First Law of Female Attraction

This past weekend I was reminded that I still have not posted the basic concept which I am about to write, but which I have stated over and over since my first (guest) post in the Men’s Sphere. It also prompted me to come up with the category Economy of Respect . I’ll call it “Cane’s First Law of Female Attraction”.

Women are attracted to men who are respected by others; especially other men.

Some of you introverts may be skeptical so here’s a dead-common real-world example. The quarterback has a girlfriend because he’s the quarterback of the football team. Without the team he’s still talented, athletic, and so forth…but he’s not nearly as popular. It greatly matters that he is the leader of a team of men. But even better: Fat white lineman have girlfriends, too.

Everything else–looks, money, power, etc.–does its real work by gaining the respect of men. The women follow that. So:

  • If you want to find a woman: Get friends who respect you, and be seen with them by women.
  • If you want to help a man find a woman: Be a respectful friend to him, and be seen doing it.
  • Single woman: Look for groups of respectable men. You will be attracted to most of them. Give an eligible one your number.
  • Married woman: Encourage your husband to spend time with his friends. I bet you get jealous.

On the Problem of a Romantic View of Germanic Women

I might want to refer to this later, so I’m cross-posting here a comment whichI made at Dalrock’s on his post “Riding to Lancelot’s Rescue”. He quotes C.S. Lewis:

They effected a change which has left no corner of our ethics, our imagination, or our daily life untouched, and they erected impassable barriers between us and the classical past or the Oriental present. Compared with this revolution the Renaissance is a mere ripple on the surface of literature. […] [A] glance at classical antiquity or at the Dark Ages at once shows us that what we took for ‘nature’ is really a special state of affairs, which will probably have an end, and which certainly had a beginning in eleventh-century Provence.

In “Masterpieces of Medieval Literature”, the author talks about this extensively; driving home the point that none of the surviving literature[1] of the Germanic/Norse peoples deal with romantic feelings as a thing separate from sex. The only woman in Beowulf is Hrothgar’s wife–with whom Beowulf has no significant dealings–and Grendel’s mother. Beowulf kills her. Brynhildr is a significant character in the stories of Sigurd, but Sigurd’s attachment to her isn’t a religious-devotion-like romance.

In the Icelandic Eddas[2a], there are stories which include women who make large impact on the stories, but none of them have a purely romantic–by which I mean extra-sexual–element. There is a story about a great man named Gunnar who married a beautiful woman with “the eyes of a thief” and who brings about his death because he once slapped her for stealing. She had two previous husbands killed for the same offense.

However, there was a custom of the Germanic/Norse people which was activated by Romantic Fever and caused it to have a more deleterious effect than in southern Europe: Germanic/Norse and Celtic women had much greater freedom, authority, and strength than either the women of southern Europe, or those of the Near, Middle, and Far Easts.

Once Romantic Fever took over those peoples, pedastalization of women–and thus Feminism–was probably already an unavoidable symptom. Under the infection of religious-devotion to “love”, those Germanic/Nordics had beautiful, strong, independent demi-goddesses on their hands. In more Latin lands (Italy, France, etc.) Romantic Fever didn’t elevate women to such heights.[2b]

[1] This is significant, says Shutt, because only the most popular, the most retold, stories would have survived. The Germanic peoples were late to the written tradition and passed on their stories via an oral tradition. While it’s possible that at one time there existed stories with “romantic” elements, logic says that they weren’t popular, i.e., if they did exist, they didn’t resonate with the audience.

[2a] Because of it’s relative isolation from the rest of Europe, Iceland was less effected by European trends. These descendants of the Norse people (and some Irish) weren’t infected with Romance Fever as early, or for as long, as the Continentals. This allowed them to become literate, yet not become severely romantic. Meanwhile, in mainland Europe, Germanic traditions were infected. So while the same stories of the oral tradition live on for a bit, they were treated as vulgar and passe…sort of like the American Coastal Elite’s view of gun-toting Bible-thumpers.

[2b] We still see this today. My home, Texas, is to America what America is to the world. And it is absolutely lousy with strong, beautiful, independent women who are loud, obnoxious, and monstrously entitled–and the men who enable them. “Sassiness” is virulent. The majority are downright stiff-necked, crude, and ungrateful. Texans are, perversely, proud of this. Women like Sarah Palin are hugely popular down here, and seen as the epitome of conservative strength.

(This post was edited to correct attribution of the quote from Dalrock to Lewis.)

Half-Cocked Variations

On the topic of “Shotgun Dads” trying to scare their daughters’ dates or boyfriends, Scott wrote:

Set aside all the stuff you tell yourself and probably your wife about “traditional values and gender roles” or whatever. You cannot, in todays world seriously plan on carrying out any of these threats. You are puffing out your chest to “scare” off the “bad” boys, who know you are full of crap.

He’s right. And if the date in question really is a bad boy this attitude is helpful to him for a couple reasons. First of all, any girl who is entertaining a bad boy is expressing to her father that his approval is meaningless. Attempts to warn off a bad boy heighten the stakes of the game she is playing. The most likely outcome is that she will do more with the bad boy, and sooner. Second, bad boys don’t want permission. They are planning to leave after they’ve had their fun any way. A father who falsely threatens is dancing to the same song as the bad boy.

The best foil to the plans of bad boys and the girls who want them is to trap them in forced commitment. If only someone had thought of that.

16 “If a man seduces a virgin who is not betrothed and lies with her, he shall give the bride-price for her and make her his wife. 17 If her father utterly refuses to give her to him, he shall pay money equal to the bride-price for virgins.

That is impossible in the modern world. However, the minds and desires and spirits of humans–including those of girls and bad boys–have not changed since that was written. A protective father could adopt the Lord’s strategy in the OT to our weakened and less manful times by introducing the topic of marriage every time a date/boyfriend’s name is raised, or whenever he is around. Girls perhaps don’t want to marry right now, but they all want to be marriageable right now.

A father could cajole or question a boy to express how he finds the daughter marriageable. This is sure to cause discomfort, but most girls will not be able to resist the temptation to inspect every nook and cranny of the boy’s hems and haws. Any resistance by either the girl or boy to such lines of inquiry ought to be met with the innocent and forthright truth that Christian sexual and romantic relations are always concerned with, and pointed towards, marriage.

Scott also wrote:

It feels good, because all the women around you pat you on the head and nod approvingly. You have earned your cookie.

This is incorrect. If any women pat a man on the head for this it’s because she think he’s a fool; like how a mother “Awwws” over and hugs a child who has done something stupid. It’s not a reward, but consolation.

Dalrock wrote a post commenting on Scott’s post and elaborated in a similar direction as one of my previous essays. While I agree with what both Scott and Dalrock are seeing–the foolishness and the empty posturing–I do wonder what we should expect of most men. I’m much smarter than the average guy, yet my blog isn’t brimming with answers. And it is by far average guys who say things like, “I’ll be cleaning my gun when my daughter’s date gets here.” They’re fantasizing. It’s a really stupid fantasy with contradictions and perversion, but its seed is a honorable desire to protect their daughters. That desire is wholly frustrated because we live in a really shitty culture. Dissolute elites and social science freaks have spent years undermining husbands and outlawing every embodiment of patriarchy. Fathers have been legally emasculated so that no man may truly say it was he who protected his family.

Until there is either an outbreak of sanity, or a breakdown of political entities, we have only one option: Be humble, brave, and truthful; any one of which cannot be done without the others.  Many will protest and question what good are such spiritual weapons against the materialist weapons of our enemies. They’ll put forward some scheme or system which pretends to be a psychological machine that produces Good Kids (or controlled women). They’ll say, “Look what I did. I did this and this and this, and I made my kids do that and that and that, and now they’re so awesome because I did it right.”  That’s as foolish as saying you’re going to scare away bad boys from the girls who love them.

If anyone did it right, then what he did was recognize the truth, told it to himself, told it to those around him, and then tried to live in obedience to it.

A Draft of a Manual to War Against the Necropolis

I wrote earlier that I would write some thoughts on how one goes about living and moving in Babylon, the Necropolis. Here is the first draft of what I hope to become a fully-realized manual, or even possibly an organization.

  1. Men going into problem churches, or church-related problems, in elite teams of two or more. These men are armed with scripture and resources provided by other members. They should also travel with arms against physical foes. Jesus said:

35 And he said to them, “When I sent you out with no moneybag or knapsack or sandals, did you lack anything?” They said, “Nothing.” 36 He said to them, “But now let the one who has a moneybag take it, and likewise a knapsack. And let the one who has no sword sell his cloak and buy one. 37 For I tell you that this Scripture must be fulfilled in me: ‘And he was numbered with the transgressors.’ For what is written about me has its fulfillment.” 38 And they said, “Look, Lord, here are two swords.” And he said to them, “It is enough.”

When Jesus had first sent out the disciples he sent them out in twos:

10 After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them on ahead of him, two by two, into every town and place where he himself was about to go.And he said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest. Go your way; behold, I am sending you out as lambs in the midst of wolves. Carry no moneybag, no knapsack, no sandals, and greet no one on the road.

“But now…” Jesus said, and has the state of things from that time–that now–changed? I don’t believe it has. I believe He meant from that moment going forward. I want to be clear that weapons are for defense on the way to the mission; not to accomplish the mission. The battle is not against flesh and blood, but we have to survive highwaymen and murderers to arrive at the spiritual battles to fight them. I would go so far as to say that any man who is not physically armed had better have an excellent reason.

I also note that the scheme of sending them out in groups has not changed. Jesus doesn’t send out individual heroes. I am strongly against the idea of “bootstrapping” a correction of a church.

We need an elite group of men who both drink the living waters, and who keep sharp eyes on their surroundings.

2. We need a resource for men searching for a church home. It is no longer enough to look at a church sign and determine what they practice. Churches of the Southern Baptist Convention, for example, say as a matter of faith and doctrine that they believe in families and churches led by men. In practice though, they vary. You will find among them Sunday School classes, and worship services, and Bible studies led by women.

As another example: Many believe that there are no churches which teach head-coverings by example. That’s not true. You can find some Anglicans who do (Even in America!), as well as some Pentecostals, and I believe some Lutheran as well. I’m sure I’m missing some.

Another example: The Biblical instruction for choosing elders/priests/bishops and deacons is the husband of one wife, and a father of children who are well-behaved believers. Is this true of the First Baptist Church of Podunk? Does he have a whore-mongering son? Does the pastor of Grace-filled Calvary Chapel have children in another state whom he does not see?

The point of this…database…would be to provide a catalog of churches which shows who they really are, and thus hold them accountable to the Scriptures, and force them to make a defense of themselves–to show themselves approved.

Feel free to criticize, suggest, or otherwise improve upon this barest of beginnings.


The Full Cane Caldo

I’ve mentioned in the past that I am an extrovert and over the past month I’ve been able to meet up with four of the authors and commenters[1] that travel in the same blogging circles. This brings my total face-to-face encounters to seven, and I am very glad to report that I enjoyed them all, and I look forward to seeing them all again, and to meeting more people as they allow.

Of these recent conversations, one small off-hand comment by me during dinner and the reply to it lingered more than the others; especially in light of some recent kerfuffles. I had said off-handedly, in the course of a larger point, “I don’t want people to like Cane Caldo.” to which it was replied, “Hmm, interesting.”

I didn’t mean it is my preference for others to dislike my online personae, but that I am very conscious of the fact that the Internet is an unavoidable world of masks. We may shout solidarity or whisper truths about ourselves to one another, but we should not fall in love with the masks. That goes double for oneself. All of which brings up the question of exactly how masked am I?

Good question. I’m probably the last person who should try to answer it, but I can relate a story.

Last year a friend of mine threw a party. All of us have been close since high school, and so we happily attended and enjoyed the chance to reconnect while our wives giggled and our children played. All of us men smoke, and so we spent most of the time on the back porch smoking cigarettes, drinking beer, poking fun at each other and laughing.

The kids–about ten of them–were outside with us. There was a trampoline. They jumped and tussled and laughed and cried and got over it when we made sure they weren’t injured and told them to get over it. Sometimes a mom would come out to furrow her brow and find out what was going on. And we’d laugh and tell her to get over it, too, and so they all got over everything and the kids would go back to play and the wives would go back to their fun.

The sun was on the horizon and and we had just assuaged hurt feelings and staved off bitterness. There were no women in earshot, and the children were in oblivious play. My friend, a military vet for almost two decades said, suddenly serious, “I just want to thank you guys for showing me how to be a man.” We protested, but he wouldn’t have it. He talked about growing up without a father, and–a year younger than us–about how he took to us as older brothers. And we are brothers, and we had been young together.

Because the laughter of men is catnip to women, they would occasionally come outside and hang around; just being pretty and waiting for an entrance to the conversation. Then, after a bit, they’d go back inside and rejoin the wives. They wanted to belong to the laughing men, and that is good because they do. But bubbling up from under that goodness was something else, and that was the desire of our wives to be the center of the laughing men. That is not good, as you’ll see.

It was dark, and some had drank a bit too much beer. We were still on the back porch, but the kids had moved inside to the toys, and the wives had come outside to us. One man’s wife could no longer withstand the desire to be the center of our attentions, and so it happened. She went inside and came back with a box. She said, “You guys are going to love this game.”

Everyone but my wife and I knew what it was, and the rest of them smirked and giggled nervously. I asked, “What’s it called?”

She beamed. “Card’s Against Humanity. It’s a party game with topics that are just stupid, or kinda mean, or kinda gross, or whatever.”

“Gotcha. That doesn’t sound like a good idea.”

“No, it’s really fun.”

“Ok. It still sounds like a bad idea. It sounds like the game is to make everyone feel awkward.”

Then, to prove it was fun, she read off one of the Cards Against Humanity in front of me, my wife, my friends, their wives, and even my adult daughter. I don’t remember what she said except that it had the word “cum” in it. My wife and daughter looked at the ground and immediately began for the safety of house.

“That’s enough.”, I barked.

Her grin faded and she began to protest. “No, it’s just funny–“

“It’s not funny. It’s embarrassing. If you want things to get awkward, then I can make it awkward.”

Silence. She bowed her head, slipped the card back into the case, and went inside. Our host pulled me aside and said, “Man, I want to apologize. I knew what it was and I should have said no. I guess I just…” He trailed off. He didn’t know what to do because it wasn’t his wife.

“It’s over now. I know that everywhere else she goes people would love her for bringing up that game; even other Christians. They don’t think it’s a big deal, and so she’s been tricked into thinking it’s acceptable because it’s “just a game”. She had no idea I’d have that reaction. I’m not mad at her. It just needed to stop.”

“Well, I’m sorry anyways. I’m glad you said something, and I wish I had. I shouldn’t allow it around my family, either.”

“Bro, we’re all learning.”

A few minutes later the woman came back out. She said she was apologizing to my wife, and then she realized that she should be apologizing to me; which she did and I forgave her. Her instincts to apologize to my wife were correct, though. I treasure my wife and kids, and her offense wasn’t against me but against my family, by extension my brothers, and by further extension my brothers’ families. If it had been just us guys when she pulled that stunt, I would only have looked at her husband with a concerned scowl and then walked off.

By the way, he was silent the whole episode.

As far as I know, everyone left on good terms. Still, it would have been much more pleasant for me and probably everyone else if that game had never come up. Then again, it wasn’t really the game’s fault, either.


(Author’s Note: Title taken from here.)

[1] They can choose whether or not they want to accept the infamy.

Free-Agent Women are Bad for Team You

I saw this video linked on a couple sporting news websites as evidence that NFL Fan Fights season has kicked-off. Language warning for the faint.

Did you see what I did? Because what I saw was:

  1. A Mexican woman allowed to run her mouth while her men looked on, helpless. Watch their expressions. They are embarrassed, but conflicted because–unlike white people–they’ve been taught to stick by their own kind even when she’s stupid, endangering others, and wasting hundreds (or possibly thousands) of dollars in tickets and parking.
  2. More egregiously: A white woman repeatedly put her hand over her man’s mouth, and he tolerating mommy’s physical censorship. Whatever that fat Mexican chick did to the white guy was nothing in comparison to the disrespect his own woman has for him.

I wonder if he knows that, in her mind, contract negotiations are never over and every day is the right day to disrespect him if she can get her way.