Monday, July 09, 2018

Incels: the ugly truth

There have always been both males and females who fail to find sexual partners ("Incels") -- but in the past they had Christianity to give them a reassuring perspective on it.  Sexual abstinence was even admired as holy.  But for most Western populations, Christian faith is now a relic for all but a few.  Leftists actively despise it. 

But there is very little now to replace Christianity and that is tragic.  Christian thinking was an evolutionary product.  It evolved over a period of thousands of years as an authoritative answer to life's dilemmas.  It made sense of your world and guided you through it.  It was our folk wisdom, the wisdom inherited from many generations of experience

So what is to be done, as Lenin once asked?  The hope I see is only for the young.  The existing generations of incels are probably beyond help.  Teenagers are generally much more open to exploring faith.  A bigger effort to introduce teenagers to Christianity could help.  Evangelical churches do a great work in such outreach but maybe we have got to a point where the churches alone are not effective enough.  Perhaps there needs to be a general societal push to propagandize for the benefits of Christian faith.  The Left regularly preach anti-faith messages.  Perhaps conservatives need to preach pro-faith messages.

And conservatives do not themselves need to be religious. Jordan Peterson has cut a very useful mould in that connection.  He is a great advocate of traditional Christian thinking but is not himself a believer.

I have not read enough of Peterson's life history to be sure but I strongly suspect that he was a Christian in his youth -- as I was.  I was deeply religious throughout my teens.  I was in a very puritanical denomination in which everyone was EXPECTED to be an "incel" and I don't doubt that there were incel personalities -- socially inept personalities -- in the faith.  But, far from feeling inadequate, the incel personalities were praised and supported.  They had a positive role.  And, ultimately, they would marry. Community expectations would be influential and religious faith would provide an emotional bond that would lead to an agreement to marry "in the faith". Their social ineptitude would be excused as spiritual-mindedness.

And what would happen once these unlikely marriages took place?  The incels would learn.  They would learn by doing.  By being tied together they would figure out what they had to do to get on with one another.  They would eventually become a fairly normal, well adjusted couple.  Their ineptitude would mostly fade away.

I left the faith before I got to that point but have the warmest memories of my religious teens and am profoundly thankful for the guidance it gave me through the confusions of teenagerhood.  I did none of the self-destructive things that  teenagers now so often do. I drank no alcohol, used no drugs and committed no crimes. I didn't even take up smoking and to this day have not once smoked or been tempted to do so.  So even as trivial a vice as smoking I was protected from. And I still enjoy the great old hymns.

And, perhaps predictably, I see no harm that my Christian years did to me.  My years as as religious "incel" did not harm my social evolution as far as I can see.  And the fact that I have now been married four times probably makes me as far from an incel as you can get. I have had a great time.

And my son also went through a religious phase in his teens -- with my warm approval.  And it did him no harm either.  His only addiction -- and one he battles manfully -- is to flavoured milk.  He has to hurry past the flavoured milk shelves in the supermarket in order to protect his waistline.  And he is engaged to be married to a pretty woman of strong character and a good brain -- whom he lives with.

So I think Jordan Peterson has shown the way forward.  Conservatives need to do more to promote Christianity and counter the foul moral emptiness of the Left.  Regardless of your own religious beliefs -- and I have none -- one can still see Christianity as a great benefit to the person -- particularly to young persons.  It is our wisdom heritage and cannot easily be replaced.

The strange, self-loathing world of incels owes much to mainstream sexual confusion.

‘The Incel Rebellion has already begun’, wrote Alek Minassian, a self-described ‘incel’, in a Facebook post, minutes before he drove a rental van into pedestrians on a crowded street in Toronto in April, killing 10 and injuring 15. He was inspired by Elliot Rodger, whose shooting and knifing spree in Isla Vista, California killed six in 2014. Mass murders committed by incels have brought incel subculture to mainstream attention, but killers like Rodger and Minassian are a rare, extreme manifestation of the broader incel phenomenon.

Incels are ‘involuntary celibates’ – men frustrated with their inability to find a sexual partner. Estimates on the size of the incel community vary from thousands to hundreds of thousands. The forum ‘r/incels’ on Reddit had 41,000 members when it was banned in November 2017 for violating the site’s rules on violent content.

Incel forums, like the website and the message board /r9k/ on 4chan, are awash with anonymous declarations of self-pity, self-loathing and, at times, a violent misogyny directed at the women deemed responsible for their loneliness. Behind a great deal of mindless chatter and ‘shitposting’ is a shared understanding of how they came to be despised by the opposite sex, alongside a bewildering array of slang terms to describe and explain the various states of ‘inceldom’.

According to the incels, there is a ruthless sexual hierarchy, and as ‘beta males’, they find themselves at the bottom. The foil to the incel is a ‘Chad’ – a confident, attractive man with multiple sexual partners, comprising usually attractive but supposedly shallow women, known as ‘Stacys’. Chads are envied and despised in equal measure. Then there are the ‘normies’ (normal people), hated for their herd-like mentality and mocked for their ignorance of incel culture. ‘Blackpilling’ refers to the acceptance that the traits you are born with mean you are destined to be romantically unsuccessful. The term is a play on the moral dilemma presented by the 1999 film, The Matrix, in which Neo is offered a blue pill to remain in a world of illusion and a red pill to see the world as it truly is – ‘redpilling’ is a central trope in online men’s rights’ activism, while blackpilling is the incel equivalent. Physical traits such as height, facial features or penis size (sometimes posted with accompanying pictures), are said to play a big role in the incels’ low status, while a large number of them also blame self-diagnosed mental-health problems, particularly autism-spectrum disorders.

But while many incels are open about their flaws, ultimately the blame is laid on the women who overlook them. Women are seen as effectively slaves to their biology, guided by so-called ‘hypergamy’: an attraction to higher-status men linked to evolutionary psychology. Some parts of the so-called manosphere – a loose constellation of male-dominated online subcultures, including men’s rights activists and pick-up artists – believe that evolutionary psychology can be used to a man’s advantage, that certain techniques can be deployed to overcome a lack of attractiveness and confidence to manipulate women into bed or into a relationship. Incels reject even this bleak view and insist that beta males accept their place in the social-pecking order.

Incel forums are awash with anonymous declarations of self-pity, self-loathing and, at times, violent misogyny

This belief in a rigid social hierarchy inevitably produces problems when it comes to race. ‘Ricecels’ (incels of Chinese and South East Asian origin) and ‘currycels’ (of South Asian descent) are often found posting photos of ‘proof’ of a theory called ‘JBW’, that in order for them to be successful with women they should ‘just be white’. Some white incels look upon black men with envy for their perceived sexual success, while a minority rail against any kind of ‘race mixing’ – even as a form of escape from inceldom.

In addition, incels speak of an ‘80:20 rule’ when it comes to sexual competition: the most attractive 20 per cent of men are said to be sought after by the most attractive 80 per cent of women, with the least attractive 80 per cent of men left to compete for the remaining 20 per cent of women. In previous eras, this situation would have supposedly been prevented by institutionalised monogamy. Some incels call explicitly for a return to a patriarchal society. Today’s world of relative sexual freedom, contraception, no-fault divorce and dating apps, on the other hand, is blamed for offering an abundance of opportunities for Chads and women, at the expense of incels.

Ultra-conservative calls for enforced monogamy may sound like they sit uneasily with a professed jealousy for the promiscuous lifestyle enjoyed by the Chads. But the incel relationship to sex is one of extreme ambivalence. A lack of sexual contact is seen, on the one hand, as the source of all life’s misery. On the other, it is central to the construction of incel identity. Forums are strictly policed in an attempt to root out ‘fakecels’ (fake incels), who are more sexually successful than they claim. ‘Bragging’ about relationships can lead to bans or having certain posting privileges revoked. This can be devastating to those who have invested such a great deal in this identity. Take 19-year-old Jack Peterson, one of the few incels to declare himself publicly to the media. Jack was banned from the forum after another user questioned his status as an incel, accusing him of bringing up a previous abusive relationship in order to brag about it. The Daily Beast reports that he spent three days straight (occasionally passing out) producing a 30-minute video and Powerpoint presentation that outlines in extensive detail why he believes he is sufficiently ugly and sufficiently mentally ill to still be considered an incel.

Angela Nagle argues in her book Kill All Normies that several of the bizarre online subcultures, from the manosphere to the alt-right, developed in tandem with, and are defined in opposition to, the extremities of the identitarian left. This is clearly the case with incels, where the currency found in unattractiveness on incel forums finds its parallel in the so-called ‘oppression olympics’ of identity politics, where a sense of identity and social status are tied inexorably to victimhood. In the incel world, many seem to revel in their repulsiveness – not only in their frequent use of foul language and imagery, but also in their choice of profile pictures. As most users post anonymously, their avatars might feature anything from other ugly men to frogs, aliens and Hitler.

When the media attempts to account for the incel phenomenon, they rely heavily on the trope of toxic masculinity. It is true that the incels exhibit a great sense of what might be called ‘male entitlement’, to women and to sex, and that they openly lament the passing of a male-dominated world. But far from upholding masculine values like stoicism and self-reliance, the incel subculture is imbued with today’s therapeutic sensibility. Far from being buttoned-up and unwilling to discuss their feelings like the masculine men of old, incels are spilling out their deepest, darkest thoughts and frustrations to strangers. Elliot Rodger spent 14 of his 22 years visiting multiple therapists and wrote a 114-page manifesto detailing his feelings of rejection before going on his killing spree. Plus, it is not only incels like Jack who talk up the poor state of their mental health online to gain the approval of their peers. Teenagers today regularly take to Twitter or Instagram to post about a litany of often self-diagnosed disorders.

Although the incels’ own explanations for their plight border on the absurd, can the emergence of incels be traced to real-world shifts? Research by the UCL Institute of Education suggests that one in eight 26-year-olds in Britain have yet to lose their virginity, up from one in 20 at the same age a generation ago. According to Ipsos MORI, 32 per cent of US millennials (born 1980-1995) are abstinent compared with 19 per cent of Generation X (born 1966-1979). What is more, its polling shows, paradoxically, that the proportion of millennials engaged in promiscuous sex is also higher than previous generations.

Many incels seem to revel in their repulsiveness

Concerned with this mismatch, economist Robin Hanson has proposed redistributing sex, just as the welfare state redistributes income. ‘Those with much less access to sex suffer to a similar degree as those with low income, and might similarly hope to gain from organising around this identity, to lobby for redistribution along this axis.’ Some denounced the idea as effectively a ‘right to rape’ or dismissed Hanson as creepy. Ross Douthat in the New York Times and Toby Young in the Spectator both say that we will have to redistribute sex eventually and that sex robots might offer a partial answer.

But clearly there have always been lonely, loveless men in society. What these debates miss is that the growth of the incel subculture is a product not just of young men not having sex, but of a society which has no agreed-upon cultural script when it comes to sex. The sexual revolution liberated a generation from religious attitudes and superstitious understandings of sex. But now that the sexual revolution is fading from view, there are few robust defenders of sex as a fun and guilt-free source of pleasure today. Ross Douthat writes that ‘culture’s dominant message about sex is essentially Hefnerian’ and promotes ‘frequency and variety in sexual experience’, but this misses key developments of recent years.

While it is unlikely that most ordinary people believe we live in a ‘rape culture’, this idea is nevertheless accepted and promoted by many educational institutions. In the UK, consent classes have been proposed not just for university students, but also school children and even MPs. While older millennials may have escaped them, their schooling still delivered grave warnings not only of unwanted pregnancies and STIs, but also of the emotional dangers of casual sex. The #MeToo movement has led to people being punished as sexual deviants for knee-touching and telling racy jokes. That is not to say that young people are now terrified of sex, or even that they buy into what they learn about sex from school or the media. Rather, it is that mainstream society offers no coherent or compelling understanding of sex and sexuality. Cultural norms are in flux and this produces a great deal of confusion. How else would 28 per cent of young women come to believe that winking ‘usually or always’ constitutes sexual harassment, compared with just six per cent of over-55s? How else can we account for the absurdity of mutually non-consensual sex? In the absence of a coherent mainstream, the incels’ bizarre world of Chads, Stacys, blackpilling and 80:20 rules seems to fill that void for some lonely young men. Just as many young feminists can relate their beliefs to the all-encompassing theory of rape culture, being ‘blackpilled’ provides a framework through which the incel can make sense of their place in a confusing sexual landscape.

The growth of the incel subculture is a product of a society that has no agreed-upon cultural script when it comes to sex

Then there’s the question of masculinity. While it is overblown to say there is a ‘crisis of masculinity’ – talk of such a crisis has been ongoing since the mid-1980s – clearly this is another area where the modern world offers little more than confusion. For Jack Peterson, incel forums offer respite from society’s contradictory messages to ‘both “man up” and renounce your masculinity… it is like the one bright light you see is this community’. The explosion of popularity in clinical psychologist turned YouTube self-help guru Jordan Peterson (no relation to Jack) seems to confirm that the need to fill that void goes much deeper than the incels. His 12 Rules For Life is an international bestseller and he sells out arenas, preaching ‘masculine’ virtues. Peterson sets out to counter the ‘lack of an identifiable and compelling path forward’ for young people, particularly young men, who make up 90 per cent of his audience.

Overall, as strange, repulsive and extreme as the incel subculture appears, it is far from alien. Its absurd narrative of sexual politics is seized upon by misguided, alienated young men struggling to make sense of the adult world while the norms of masculinity and sexuality are in constant flux. Ironically, it channels a great deal of the excesses of the West’s therapeutic culture, identity politics and the fetishisation of victimhood – the very things that came to take the place of the old world that the incels claim to pine for.


Kentucky Defies Leftists & Atheists, Brings the Bible Back to Schools

The state of Kentucky just defied those who want every remnant of the Christian faith to be removed from public schools.

In a ceremony last week, Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin signed a bill that allows public schools in the state to teach the Bible, WDBP reported.

“The idea that we would not want this to be an option for people in school, that would be crazy,” Bevin said at the ceremony. “I don’t know why every state would not embrace this, why we as a nation would not embrace this.”

The new classes would be electives, not requirements, CNN reported.

The bill’s sponsor, Republican Rep. D.J. Johnson, pointed out what many Americans already know to be true — that the Bible is foundational to the American founding and a reliance on God is vital for our nation to flourish.

After all, the freedom and religious liberties we enjoy are based on the knowledge our Founding Fathers had that our rights and value as human beings come from God, not the government.

“It really did set the foundation that our founding fathers used to develop documents like the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights,” said Rep. Johnson. “All of those came from principles from the Bible.”

Unsurprisingly, there are a few unhappy individuals over the new law. “The American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky told CNN affiliate WDRB it will be closely monitoring how the law is used by school boards,” CNN reported.

“A Bible literacy bill that, on its face, may not appear to be unconstitutional, could in fact become unconstitutional in its implementation,” ACLU Advocacy Director Kate Miller said. “We want to make sure that teachers can teach and make sure that they don’t go in to preach,” Miller added.

But Gov. Bevin pointed out that religious people shouldn’t be the only ones who think the law is a good idea. “You could be an atheist, and you would appreciate there’s a lot of wisdom in the Bible,” he said.

According to The Daily Caller, Georgia, Missouri, Tennessee, and Alabama have also been pushing for religion to remain in the classrooms of public schools.

The state of Kentucky has taken a bold stand for the Bible — hopefully, it encourages others to do the same.


Terry Gilliam on diversity: 'I tell the world now I’m a black lesbian'

Terry Gilliam has responded to the BBC diversity debate which referenced Monty Python by saying: “I tell the world now I’m a black lesbian.”

Gilliam was commenting on the row over diversity triggered by the BBC’s unveiling of its new comedy programming, announced in June, at which the BBC’s controller of comedy commissioning Shane Allen emphasised the corporation’s commitment to “the stories that haven’t been told and the voices we haven’t yet heard”. In response to a question about Monty Python’s Flying Circus, Allen said: “If you’re going to assemble a team now, it’s not going to be six Oxbridge white blokes. It’s going to be a diverse range of people who reflect the modern world.”

Speaking at a press conference at the Karlovy Vary film festival, where he was presenting his new film The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, Gilliam said: “It made me cry: the idea that ... no longer six white Oxbridge men can make a comedy show. Now we need one of this, one of that, everybody represented... this is bullshit. I no longer want to be a white male, I don’t want to be blamed for everything wrong in the world: I tell the world now I’m a black lesbian... My name is Loretta and I’m a BLT, a black lesbian in transition.”

He added: “[Allen’s] statement made me so angry, all of us so angry. Comedy is not assembled, it’s not like putting together a boy band where you put together one of this, one of that everyone is represented.”

Gilliam follows fellow Python member John Cleese’s angry response to Allen’s comment, who tweeted: “Unfair! We were remarkably diverse FOR OUR TIME ... We had three grammar-school boys, one a poof, and Gilliam, though not actually black, was a Yank. And NO slave-owners.”

Gilliam has previously attracted controversy for his comments on the MeToo campaign, likening it to “mob rule” and saying: “ It’s crazy how simplified things are becoming.”


Minister in fresh push for freedom of religion in Australia

Social Services Minister Dan Tehan has called for a religious discrimination act to provide greater protections to people of faith, in a move that raises the stakes for the Turnbull government as it responds to a key ­review of religious freedoms.

Delivering the St Thomas More lecture in Canberra last month, Mr Tehan said the “creeping encroachment from the state on religious belief” was a key issue, given new conflicts in the areas of euthanasia, same-sex marriage and the sanctity of the confessional.

However, he identified the main threat to religious freedom as the growing influence of ­empowered minorities that used political correctness as a weapon against traditional beliefs and ­customs.

The address, being made public today, represents a rallying cry for Coalition MPs who ­expect Malcolm Turnbull to deliver a substantive response to the ­review of religious freedoms led by former attorney-general Philip Ruddock following the same-sex marriage victory last year.

Mr Tehan, who describes himself as a “far-from-perfect Catholic”, said all Australians of faith should “take a stand” and “strongly defend our rights and responsibilities to take part in ­debates of national significance”.

His proposal for a new ­religious discrimination act offers a path for the Turnbull government to legislate at a federal level to address concerns that ­religion is being driven from the public square. Citing John Howard — a leading advocate for traditional marriage — Mr Tehan warned against the rise of “minority fundamentalism”, which the former prime minister has called “the ­assumption that traditional beliefs and practices represent an ­attack on those who do not support them”.

“Australia has reached an ­unusual point where the tools of oppression — sowing the seeds of division, conquest, manipulation and cultural division — are being wielded by the minority against the majority,” Mr Tehan said.

“We have not realised Martin Luther King’s dream of a society where you are judged by the content of your character, not the colour of your skin. Instead we have woken up to a nightmare where the value of your contribution to a debate depends on what you claim to be a victim of.”

Mr Tehan pointed to the push to sack Australian rugby union star Israel Folau over his social media posts on homosexuality and the boycott on Coopers Brewery products after it sponsored a debate between both sides of the same-sex marriage debate.

“In a liberal democracy, people must have the freedom to air unpopular views, including those ­informed by their faith, and those views must be open to challenge,” Mr Tehan said. “My observation, however, is that there is more disrespect directed at people who share their faith publicly and that is to the detriment of us all.”

There is frustration in ­Coalition ranks at Mr Turnbull’s ­decision to facilitate the passage of a same-sex marriage bill through parliament last year without a series of protections proposed in a set of amendments.

Promoted by a range of senior MPs, including Scott Morrison, Michael Sukkar and Andrew Hastie, the amendments were supported by a majority of Coalition MPs but defeated on the floor of parliament with Labor opposition.

Liberal senator James Paterson, a supporter of same-sex marriage who advocated for greater protections for religious freedoms, yesterday told The Australian it was important for the government to deliver a meaningful response to the Ruddock review.

“The Ruddock review provides the government with a unique ­opportunity to secure the freedoms of Australians with faith,” Senator Paterson said. “We all ­deserve the equal right to live our lives ­according to our values, free from state coercion.”

There is concern within the ­Coalition that a weak ­response to the Ruddock review could reopen an ideological divide within the government and allow Labor a chance to steal the initiative, given that it holds nine of the western Sydney seats that voted against change in last year’s plebiscite. One Liberal MP said: “The time for action is now. We need to protect conscience and ­religious faith because Labor and the Greens won’t.”

The Ruddock review was ­delivered to the government in May after receiving thousands of submissions. It is unlikely the review or the government response will be released until after the July 28 Super Saturday by-elections.

Mr Tehan bolstered his case for a new religious discrimination act by relying on census data to throw forward to an Australia where people of faith had become a minority with only limited legal protections in the form of ad-hoc exemptions to anti-discrimination laws. He warned the trend towards atheism in the 2016 census was “especially stark” among those aged 18 to 34, with 39 per cent saying they had “no religion” — more than three times the number who identified as Christian. “If this trend continues — and there is no reason to believe it won’t — then one day in the ­future the Australians who are part of any religion will become a minority,” Mr Tehan said.

“In preparation for that day, we need to consider how we will defend religious rights in this country from political correctness.”



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  Email me (John Ray) here


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