The burning question: Can a pick-up technique save the West?

An open letter to conservative advocates of Game
By Alan Roebuck

Although many Gamers are in it for the thrill of sex—or the thrill of nonconformity—you have said that you desire to use Game to defend Western civilization.

I’m glad to hear you say that. Our civilization is worthy of being defended. But the burden of proof is on you to vindicate your doctrine, especially if it is as crucial as you say it is.

After all, the declaration that a series of techniques for bedding women can help to restore our civilization is counterintuitive, to say the least. We non-Game conservatives are inclined to think that your doctrine contains an element of truth, but that’s not enough. Every great error contains an element of truth.

No, as the latest kids on the block of conservatism you will have to give a persuasive account of the conservative value of Game before we members of older conservative traditions will grant you respect. This account will have to define Game, show its connection with other basic human truths, show how it is the best response to the current situation, and show how it will contribute to the comprehensive restoration of society at which all true conservatism aims. Since the disease of liberalism is comprehensive in its manifestations, the cure must also be comprehensive, and if Game does not fit in with this comprehensive conservatism it will be globally counterproductive even if it is locally effective.

One of your own has said

As an underground movement, there is no central source or document codifying in clear terms what the precepts of game are. The various schools of game—the Roissy school, the Mystery school, etc—all agree that game works and is effective, but can’t agree as to why. I imagine as game becomes more popular, we will see a “First Council of Nicaea” event to sort these issues out.

I encourage you to engage in this examination and codification. If Game really has value to conservatism, persuade me. And if, upon further examination, you find Game to be ultimately destructive to conservatism, I hope that as a conservative you will advocate something better than Game.

—end of initial entry—

PA writes:

Alan Roebuck asks, “If Game really has value to conservatism, persuade me.”

My answer, as concise as I can make it: Game is about regaining control of our women, who are presently out of control.

Alan Roebuck writes:

Last Friday I sent the below email to Roissy. So far no response. If his doctrine is under attack and he makes no response, is this not strong evidence that he’s got nothing to do with conservatism and is only in it for the thrills?

Dear Roissy,

Are you aware that Lawrence Auster has made the following comment about the worldview you project?

Again, we see the applicability to Roissyism of Eugene (Fr. Seraphim) Rose’s analysis of the four stages of Nihilism.

In the first stage of Nihilism, Liberalism, people stop believing in any higher truth, but they don’t come right out and say so. They maintain some outward deference to the tradition and so keep using the names of higher truth even though they don’t believe in it. In the second stage of Nihilism, Realism, people say that the only truth is material. Realism corresponds with positivism, Darwinism, sociobiology, and so on. In the third stage of Nihilism, which is Vitalism, people react against the depressing sterility of Realism and embrace fun, excitement, stimulation as ends in themselves, explicitly rejecting any notion of truth.

And this is more or less the way Roissyism has developed. Coming out of a background of Liberal relativism toward truth plus brutal biological reductionist Realism, Roissyism promotes a cult of sexual conquest for the sake of sexual conquest. And this embrace of pure selfishness and meaningless excitement combined with the rejection of all truth except for materialist truth (which is no truth at all) leads to the fourth and final stage of Nihilism, the Nihilism of Destruction, which we see in the Roissyites’ continuing promotion of and pursuit of sexual promiscuity even as Titanic is sinking.

In the interest of full disclosure, I agree, at least in general, with Auster’s characterization of your enterprise. “Game” may be a useful—and popular—tactic [I should have added “for getting laid”], but is it not more honorable to fight the cause of social decay rather than just accommodate one’s self to the symptoms?

Alan Roebuck

LA repiles:

I wouldn’t expect Roissy to reply to something like this. I think he would take one look at all this business about “truth” and spit in contempt.

Michael S. writes:

Alan Roebuck quotes some seducer as saying:

I imagine as game becomes more popular, we will see a “First Council of Nicaea” event to sort these issues out.

A “First Council of Nicaea event”?!? Incredible. That’s just too low for words.

LA replies:

Yes, but the whole R***** phenomenon is too low for words, but it’s happening, and we’re dealing with it.

M. Mason writes:

Well, if it’s accurate to say that his attitude toward objective truth would be contemptuous, then ultimately Game isn’t only about hard up, egotistic males cynically using brutish verbal and behavioral techniques to take advantage of “out of control” liberal females. He actually has his sights set a bit higher than that. Roissy’s gaming conservatives too, and on some level he knows it.

LA replies:

I said that a week ago, it was a comment that I pointed to under the title, “Roissyism explained in 150 words”:

So here’s what I think this is all about. The Roissyites are into what they’re into, we all know what that is. Going to bed with the greatest possible number of women, and the most attractive possible women, is the only thing that matters in life. And because they know that such libertinism is deeply offensive to most people, they need to dress it up with this pretty idea that it’s really about saving civilization. And this scam—fortified by their impressive, conservative sounding diagnosis of society’s sexual ills—works! People—especially conservatives—fall for it. And they start rhapsodizing about how Roissyism is conservative, traditionalist!

Roissyism, as everyone knows, consists of techniques to manipulate the emotions of liberal women. What is less appreciated is that Roissyism also consists of techniques to manipulate the minds of conservative men.

Steven Warshawsky writes:

Alan Roebuck asks “conservative advocates of Game” to explain how “game” helps defend Western Civilization. My god, what a stupid debate this is. It is based on the false, and even disingenuous, assumption that “game” offers an all-encompassing philosophy or set of policy prescriptions for every social or political problem. Obviously it doesn’t. What is the “game” position on immigration? What is the “game” position on Islamic terrorism? What is the “game” position on Obamacare? [LA replies: I myself challenged the Gamers on the very point you’re making at In Mala Fide a few days ago and pointed out that Game obviously has no answer for a variety of issues.] To even ask these questions is ridiculous. [LA replies: The argument may seem ridiculous, but it is necessary because the Game proponents most definitely do claim to have a political ideology that can replace what they describe as the exhausted forms of conservatism, including traditionalist conservatism.] Frankly, so are the efforts on this website by “conservative” defenders of game to argue that “game” carries some larger civilizational significance. [LA replies: you’ve just admitted my point. Conservatives are (in my view) very wrongheadedly defending Game as some kind of political program, and their belief needs to be confronted.] These arguments are unconvincing, precisely because all that “game” ultimately offers is a way for more men to have better sexual success with women. Not that there is anything wrong with this, but it is a real stretch to argue that “game” is going to revitalize monogamy or marriage or whatever aspect of our civilizational woes “game” supposedly will cure. [LA replies: Now you’re making the very type of argument that you criticize this website for making.] To state an obvious point, “game” does not address the political, economic, and legal factors that promote and subsidize female promiscuity and “hypergamy.” But, of course, that is not the purpose of “game”—which is to maximize male sexual success under current cultural conditions. On the other hand, you can almost see the critics of “game” crinkling their noses disgustedly at the notion that men want to have sex with women, the prettier the better. Would they condemn the masses of “beta” men to largely sexless lives because of the excesses of a few “alpha” males? In any event, the female promiscuity genie is out of the bottle and no one has offered any remotely plausible ideas for bottling it up again. Under these conditions, I fail to see how it benefits “beta” males not to play the game, so to speak. [LA replies: Now you’ve switched from an anti-Game argument to a pro-Game argument. So you oppose some pro-Game positions, and you agree with other pro-Game positions. You have a whole thought out position on the subject. It looks to me as though this debate has quite a bit of interest to you, even as you’re attacking others for engaging in it.] In my opinion, there is nothing honorable about celibacy. Anyway, the point is that some “gamers” may be concerned about broader issues (Roissy himself is an interesting mix of libertarianism and paleoconservatism), including what they perceive to be our nation’s unfair divorce and child support laws, but these other issues shouldn’t be confused with the “game” mentality. Game is about dating and sexual relationships, period. I am stunned that VFR has devoted so much time and attention to this fringe issue.

LA replies:

So, after totally dismissing the notion that Game has any larger political/cultural/intellectual significance, you describe the leading proponent of Game, who does argue that it has a larger significance, as an intellectually interesting right-wing figure. Not only are you contradictng your dismissal of the larger significance of Game, but you are legitimizing that person and leading others into having a positive or at least non-judgmental attitude toward him, this woman-hating spewer of extreme pornography. And the fact that many people—intelligent conservatives—are saying exactly the kind of thing that you are now saying, is exactly why I and others have had to engage in this debate, which you condemn us for doing. Rarely at VFR have I seen a comment that contradicts itself as much as this one has done.

LA continues:

Another reason the debate has gone on so long is that there is intense interest in it. People keep offering their passionate and lengthy views on the subject. It’s not that easy to turn off a debate when people are in the middle of it and obviously care a lot about it. These things have a momentum of their own.

Speaking personally, I also feel that the subject of Game is stupid and silly and distasteful in various ways. But guess what—our whole culture is now dominated by stupid and distasteful things. Cultural conservatism is about criticizing those things. If it were forbidden to criticize stupid and disasteful things, we would just have to sit back and let liberal and materialist insanity take over the world.

Alan Roebuck writes:

In response to my challenge “If Game really has value to conservatism, persuade me,” PA writes

Game is about regaining control of our women, who are presently out of control.

But Game is just about gaining control of women in order to have sex, not to bring them into a virtuous lifestyle, much less to re-order civilization along conservative lines. Theoretically, Game could be a tactic used by a conservative man for conservative purposes, but since the basic premise of Game is that women are genetically programmed to be slutty, he would have to apply the tactics while totally ignoring their theoretical underpinnings. [LA replies: Haha, fantastic point. According to Game, human virtue, particularly female human virtue, is an impossibility. Acceptable (not virtuous) female behavior can be brought about ONLY by men treating women like slaves, animals, or machines—in any case, by absolutely controlling them, because they are by nature incapable of being anything other than whores. Can any pro-Game conservative explain how this is compatible with a conservative or traditionalist vision of society?]

Gamers think Evolution is all, so they cannot conceive of any way to engage in direct action that will change the way society is ordered. “We’re just acknowledging reality,” they say, instead of understanding that the direction in which Western civilization will go is currently up for grabs, and that societies change in response to the ideas that are acknowledged to be true. A true conservative would understand the power of ideas rather than claiming nothing can be done to change the Zeitgeist.

Steven Warshawsky’s response fascinates me. The Gamers are obviously twisted, so he is right to dismiss what they’re peddling. And yet the subject of their concern is obviously of great importance for civilization, as he himself (perhaps inadvertently) acknowledges. I have an intuition that Game could possibly be transmogrified into something useful for the defense of Western Civilization, but it will have to undergo a fundamental change in premises. To be genuinely conservative, Game will have to acknowledge that man (including woman) is fallen, but capable of some virtue, provided he inhabits a social environment where he has incentives to act virtuously. In so doing, of course, it will cease to be a game.

Gamers, and other cynics, scoff at the idea that rationally persuading individual people can save us. But persuasion can be heavily leveraged, in at least two ways. For one, when we persuade poeple of deep truths, the results are far more powerful. Persuading someone that God exists, or even that God is capable of existing, has a far greater effect than persuading him of some lesser and more specific truth. Furthermore, we only need to persuade the tiny minority who will be the intellectual leaders of tomorrow, because people go along with what society’s leaders teach.

Furthermore, the liberal emperor is definitely naked. Persuasion is far more powerful than most people think.

August 26

Steven Warshawsky replies:

I truly expect better from you as an interlocutor. You state that I am “highly interested” in the subject of “game,” implying that my interest is of a prurient nature, then claim that I am “taking the very positions that the Game critics have found it necessary to refute.” Which positions are those? [LA replies: First, after I initially replied to you, I changed “highly interested” to “this debate has quite a bit of interest to you.” “Highly” was not the best word, but, as I pointed out, you certainly showed interest in the subject, while criticizing others for talking about it. With regard to your next point, how the phrase “highly interested” connotes a prurient interest I cannot imagine. That obviously wasn’t my intention and I said absolutely nothing to suggest it. That you would imagine I said something that I did not remotely hint at suggests the quality of attention you’ve brought to your reading of this debate prior to attacking it.] Unlike both sides of this debate, I do not imbue “game” with civilizational significance. Yes, it is an interesting subject (clearly you agree), and it may be relevant to the contemporary dating scene. I am happily married (16 years), so I am not going to pontificate about what single men should or should not be doing to be more successful with women circa 2009. I only know what I read and hear. But unlike the “conservative” defenders or the “traditionalist” critics of “game,” I don’t take it seriously as a philosophical or political system. To do so, in my opinion, is what is stupid about this debate. [But its defenders do imbue it with that significance, and they use that significance to enhance its value, its importance, its life and death necessity, even its role as the substitute for all existing forms of conservatism. Game is presented by its supporters as this fantastic package and magic bullet in both the dating sphere and the civilizational sphere, and others have responded to it as such. Then you come along and completely separate the dating aspect from the civilizational aspect, ignoring what the promoters themselves are saying.

[Also, as I said in reply to your previous comment, the world is filled with stupid and ridiculous ideas that millions of people believe and that governments put in place. So opposing stupid and ridiculous ideas is a major part of what conservatism is about.]

But there is a deeper issue here, I think, and that is the morality of premarital sex. This appears to be the great divide on this subject. The traditionalists (e.g., Michael S.) claim that “unmarried fornication is not considered a genuine option.” Well, obviously it is for a great many people in this society, even “nice” girls and “responsible” men. With all due respect, I think this is the point of view that Mark P. asserts is “marginalizing” the traditionalists in this debate. Granted, one is not required to embrace contemporary morality, but any practical political program that does not acknowledge it is doomed to failure. [LA replies: This is overstated. Other than Michael S. no critic of Game explicitly told people they should not have sex before marriage. The attitude has been more like, “People are going to do what they’re going to do, but don’t expect traditionalists and Christians actively to counsel people to have non-marital relationships.”]

Lastly, there is a lot of question-begging going on here. Todd W. asserts that all that men need to do is “remain self-confident and proactive in terms of meeting women.” What does this mean? Surely he recognizes that these terms are not self-explanatory. What “game” purports to do is explain to “beta” males—who are not naturally self-confident and proactive in terms of meeting women (which would be the mass of men)—what it is that “alpha” males do that allows them to be more successful with women. E.g., how they carry themselves, what they say, how they react in various situations, etc. The “gamers” claim that this is a skill that can be learned like any other (e.g., athletics, public speaking). I cannot understand why traditionalists so strongly object to this, as a matter of principle. [LA replies: If you disagreed with our side, that would be one thing, but, after the trads have said a hundred times why they object to Game, for you say that you “cannot understand” why trads object to Game suggests a profound determination on your part not to attend to what’s being said. Also, how strange it is that after criticizing me for carrying on this long and repetitive debate, you ask a question that is designed to make me repeat myself yet again.] Learning how to approach and attract women more successfully does not mean that one should or will pursue a life of hedonistic excess. [Our side has said the same thing many times. It would be laughable, if it were not so irritating, that that after obviously not reading what our side has repeatedly said, you criticize us for not saying it.] Does Roissy pursue such a life? Apparently he does. So what? There are morally corrupt people in every sphere of life. This alone does not “refute” the point of “game.” (Nor, obviously, does it render Roissy’s various cultural and political observations any less “interesting”; to say something is interesting does not mean it is meaningful or valuable or significant in a larger sense.)

To give an analogy, should we condemn the entire field of acting because so many actors lead immoral lives? [Again it’s clear you haven’t read what I’ve been saying about Roissy and why I said he’s objectionable. But for me to explain it again would needlessly extend the debate, the length of which you have already said has stunned you. Indeed, of all the many comments that have been made on both sides in this week long debate, there are only two that I would regard as having uselessly lengthened the debate. To conclude with a word of advice, if you regard a discussion as a stupid waste of time, don’t participate in it yourself. ]

Michael S. writes:

Steven Warshawsky writes:

The traditionalists (e.g., Michael S.) claim that “unmarried fornication is not considered a genuine option.” Well, obviously it is for a great many people in this society, even “nice” girls and “responsible” men.

The comment about fornication not being considered a genuine option was a somewhat tongue-in-cheek understatement. It’s not considered a genuine vocational option by the Church because it is mortally sinful. It destroys the life of the soul—the capacity for man to know God. Since ultimate success consists in the salvation of one’s soul (union with God), any way of life that works against that cannot be considered a wholesome alternative. But that’s the crux of it, I suppose. Most people hear that word and they think they must be hearing a commercial for Wonder Bread.

It’s like positing these alternatives for dinner: (1) we can cook at home, (2) we can get take-out, (3) we can go out to a restaurant, or (4) we can eat (or ingest, anyway) mud and grass. Clearly (4) is not a genuine option, IF your goal is to nourish yourself, and enjoy all of the other opportunities of mealtime. But that’s exactly the mistake many people make with regard to their sexuality.

The fact that many people in this society recognize unmarried fornication as an option, and embrace it, does not change its morality. People can choose to do it, but they will face consequences—not only in this life, but in the world to come. But it is not a genuine option because, to put it crudely, it does not work. (They may not realize what they’re missing now, but they will, sooner or later.)

A girl who fornicates can only be considered “nice” because the world’s standards have eroded. Yes, many so-called “responsible” men fornicate as well. Most human adults are “responsible” with regard to their sexuality, in that they have, to some degree or another, the capacity to choose how they will respond to their sexual impulses. Not everyone agrees, however, on their sexual accountability. To whom are you accountable for your sexual behavior? Are you accountable to yourself only, or to your Maker and Redeemer? That, as I see it, is the essence of the issue. Any suggestion that taking the seducer’s attitude in life is going to do our civilization any good is sheer folly—madness, nothing more.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at August 25, 2009 02:55 PM | Send

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