have said before, I regard Roissy as evil. At the same time, as the below autobiographical account by a reader brings out, Roissy’s war against feminism and the rule of women has helped free young men in their twenties and thirties from lies that have dominated their generation. The problem, of course, is that being freed from liberal and feminist lies is not of much help, if it only delivers you into the lie of Roissyite nihilism. But the reader, Daniel H., did not stop there.
By way of setting this up, I copy his introductory e-mail to me. After that I copy his long e-mail to VFR commenter Kristor in which he tells of the turnabout in his life that was initiated by his immersion in Game.
Daniel H. writes:
Dear Mr. Auster,
I have only recently discovered “View from the Right,” but I have been devouring your writing in huge chunks almost daily since that discovery. I am frankly astonished at the salutary effect it has already had in my life. Thank you very much for maintaining this site and for all your care in writing, editing, and sharing. It is a service to people like me, and I am in your debt.
I would like to write a reply to your reader “Kristor” who wrote this short essay about “Game” and I request your assistance in contacting him.
My particular journey to traditionalism, as you call it, started, in all places, with discovering Roissy’s blog. Amazing this is, since it has ultimately led me back to the church of my youth and of my forefathers (the Anglican church, which I love—let us not discuss for now the sickness which plagues that particular institution). Learning about “game” was the first deep and sustained puncturing of my bubble of liberal non-reality, and from there I began to question everything I had believed.
All this has happened in a remarkably short time—a little over 18 months. As with any endeavor that happens in such a rush, I find my worldview to be a terrible jumble of inconsistencies and contradictions…. But I must bore and burden you with this self-absorbed rambling. Please just know that your site has been bracing and difficult for me, in the best possible way! I would greatly appreciate the opportunity to respond to your reader Kristor.
Again, thank you very much for your time and efforts. They are not wasted. Best wishes to you.
I forwarded Daniel’s e-mail to Kristor, and after some preliminaries Daniel sent this long e-mail to him, with a cc to me.
Thanks again for your willingness to correspond to a stranger out of the ether in this manner. I’ve taken the liberty of copying Lawrence Auster on this email, as it seems proper. Mr. Auster, please feel free to read/publish as much or as little of this email as you wish.
Kristor, I as you can see from my first email to Mr. Auster, I have been quite fascinated with “View from the Right” lately. But it was your essay here [“Game versus the Good”] that inspired me to write:
I hope you’ll forgive me a bit of self-indulgent personal history here, as I think it will shed some light on why I’m writing. I grew up in the Episcopal Church, but my moral instruction was rather weak—or I was too dense and willful a student. Instead I soaked up like a sponge just about every liberal lie you can think of. In college I devoted myself to “Critical Theory,” which farce requires no elucidation here. I was fully taken in by the hocus pocus, and what’s more, I was good at it, earning praise from my professors and classmates for my ability to obfuscate like the next Derrida. I proudly called myself a “feminist.” I pioneered the comparison of fighting global warming with resisting the Holocaust as the great moral calling of our time (this was back in the late 90’s—I was precocious in my know-nothingness). And on and on.
Through all this, looking back, I can see there was very little tethering me to love and the Good at all. But those things were powerful enough—a devotion to great literature (my original reason for becoming an English major, before I was seduced by the poisoning inversions of “Theory”); a love of classical music that I harbored half out of true joy and half as a distinguishing affectation in a generation obsessed with indie rock obscurity; the residual effects of my years of daily church going; and of course the grace and goodness of the people in my life, especially my family. I don’t know now if this is merely back-projection, but these years have in my memory an odd cast, like a 3-D picture seen without the glasses: the shapes are discernible but it hurts your eyes to try and focus. That’s the cognitive dissidence of espousing a nihilist point of view when everyone you most sincerely admire—living and dead—seems to be telling you something profoundly different about the true nature of the universe.
For the most part, I did everything in my power to deny the Good. I won’t list my failings here, because I don’t wish to burden you with my embarrassments, but believe me, it’s an impressive stew of drunkenness, concupiscence and sloth, slathered in a reduction of resentment. At age 28 or so, I moved to New York City, and for the first time I found I had difficulty meeting (read: bedding) girls. After a couple of years of adjusting to my new found small-fish status and building up a healthy store of bitterness and recrimination toward the hyper-feminist women of my class and place (white, middle- to upper-middle class, West Brooklyn and Manhattan), I stumbled across the blog of Roissy in DC.
On a trip home to see my parents, I stayed up several nights in a row reading his entire archives. It’s hard to overstate the impact it had on me. I was initially enraged by everything he said: not because of the filth or the nihilism, but because of the anti-feminism. His writing was in total violation of everything I had been taught about womyn. Ironically, it was the pornography and the fascinating cruelty that kept me reading long enough to begin to sift out the gold flakes. Or perhaps “gold” is overstating the case, but there was some real value for me amidst the dross of egotism and lust.
It’s astonishing for me to phrase it this way now, but the teachers of Game reintroduced me to the concept of truth. I was refreshed—amazed—to read the (sadly accurate) skewerings of contemporary big-city feminist women. It was exhilarating. At the time, I of course focused primarily on using those lessons for their stated purpose: bedding women. And let me tell you, they work. A line I still remember from that blog ran like this: “Success with women is more disillusioning than failure.” The success came, and with it came the propensity to see a robot and a robot: myself and the girl. It became thrilling, then disturbing, to see how predictably women would react to the techniques I taught myself. (And lest you have pictures in your head of drunken bimbos in tight dresses at night clubs, I used them on artsy girls, shy girls, bimbos, sporty girls, you name it … everything except church-going girls, of course). Eventually the thrill that became disturbing ended where it must: with disgust. Disgust with the girls, and disgust with myself. I see this process now as the endgame of my nihilism. I’m thankful now that it didn’t go any deeper—I’m quite certain it could have.
There was a transformation happening that I barely noticed at first. Seeing so starkly the exposure of a lie I had believed all my life (the feminist lie that says that women want men to be cowering, weak, and asexual), caused me to finally question the whole edifice of lies: my pained and excruciatingly refined white guilt, my worship at the temple of environmentalism, and my carefully cultivated belief that any non-liberal was either stupid or malevolent or both. It was like shedding one water-logged blanket after another, my intellectual burden getting lighter, my steps getting freer.
But of course, all I describe here is reactionary, and essentially negative. I lost my devotion to lies, and bully for that. But the even better thing was the flowering of Love that came. It was delayed by a few months perhaps (though how does one draw up an itinerary for things of this nature?), but it came nonetheless. All the inarticulate Truths I had been clinging to throughout my dark years—my Shakespeare, my Mahler, those memories of Easter morning, those dearest and most true friends—began to seem fresher and brighter than ever before. Gradually I found myself unable to read the Roissy-style blogs anymore. They still spoke a form of the truth, of course, but it was so twisted and just ugly. I wanted no more part of it.
I’ve read mountains of conservative writing in the past year or so, and I still often feel the shock of seeing one of my old precious illusions get skewered (the global warming debate has taken a lot of consideration for me, for example). The goal is not to align myself in lock-step with any political group, you understand; if any good can come of it, my experience as a goose-stepping liberal has hopefully inoculated me against that somewhat. (Though perhaps the opposite is true, perhaps it only indicates that I am susceptible to behaving that way … oy, let us hope not.)
Reading your essay the other day (in the course of sifting through the archives at VFR) was one of those strange moments where everything falls into place. You wrote:
One must decide what one’s life is about. If a woman is to go on living, there must remain somewhere in her a bit of moral purity, for depravity and sin are defects of a basic goodness. Destroy that basis altogether, and you destroy altogether the life in which alone depravity and sin can make their dwelling place. Evil parasitically depends upon the good that it destroys. So, a living woman necessarily has in her somewhere a bit of goodness, that yearns for what will support her true flourishing—that will discourage her depravity, and encourage her virtue. So every living woman is attracted at root to men who are good.
and you wrote:
Life of any sort, whether or not it is well and virtuously lived, entails, and will sooner or later require from all of us, every sacrifice that we can possibly make. Life in this world entails suffering and death, including the utter privation of all the sexual pleasure in lust of which the gamers spend their lives. Life will empty all of us completely. The only question is whether one will approach the altar of that sacrifice with a clean heart, or with wailing and gnashing of teeth. There are only two possible approaches to life and its death, albeit that in all of us they are ever subject to some admixture: the cynicism, hatred and despair of the nihilist, or the faith, hope and charity of the successful monastic.
Those words rang like a bell in my heart. I have known this all along. Everyone does, as you point out too: “At bottom, we all know perfectly well what is going on, for the only way to feel truly good is to be truly good.” Coming now to address your actual words, I find I have little to add. I suppose the next thing I wish I could say is to tell you what a saint I’ve become in the meantime, but of course that’s not true. Perhaps I don’t have much more to say on the topic of the Good because my sense of it has so atrophied. But the journey of a thousand miles begins beneath one’s feet. And today was a beautiful day.
I meant to write my little personal history by way of introduction to some more substantive comment on your words. I have noticed that VFR commenters are pretty vigorous in their efforts to stay relevant to the topic at hand. But now I see that perhaps it was the personal history itself, my sordid and self-absorbed little tale, that was the comment that needed to be made. Perhaps it is not so inappropriate. Wallowing about in depravity is a willful mode of self-denial, and of denial of others (and what is the latter if not ultimately a species of the former?). Getting pulled out of the muck, even if it’s only into the old barn, is worth commemorating. I hope it’s not been too tedious to read.
In any case, before I ramble on to the ends of the cyber-earth with this email, I will wrap it up. I wish to thank you for your little essay, and for other comments I have read at VFR. I hope it is not impinging on your modesty to tell you they have had a profound impact on me. Likewise, Mr. Auster, if you have managed to slog through my purple mud, I echo my earlier thanks to you for the work you have done. And to both of you, a word of thanks for your cheerful willingness to correspond. Vile sycophants, indeed.
Yours most truly,