Friday, April 18, 2014

They Walk Amongst Us

I've spent some time musing over whether certain prominent "manospherians" are psychopaths or sociopaths.  I was recently referred to this link which distinguishes the two conditions. 

One of the differences appears to be that sociopaths tend to act out in controlled, premeditated ways, to indulge in "calculated or opportunistic violence," and are "often social predators."  Psychopaths, on the other hand, tend to be impulsive, and more likely to run afoul of law enforcement.  So I will continue to use the term "sociopathic" to describe many of the behaviors I have observed by reading the manosphere.

We are learning that sociopaths are more common than previously acknowledged, and they often function at very high levels.  I've read several articles or books in the past year written by people who identify as sociopaths.  There is even considerable interest in whether, and in what ways, sociopaths serve society or whether sociopathy is an evolutionarily advantageous trait.  It's a topic that the manosphereans themselves occasionally discuss, often with some anxiety.

Personally, I have known two people in my life that I suspect were sociopaths, one a (now deceased) member of my own family.  Intelligent sociopaths perform "normalcy" so well that in the context of superficial relationships, their sociopathy is not detectable.  So it is reasonable to assume that most of them walk amongst us unrecognized.

And that's probably true of many of the "manospherian" bloggers themselves. Some of the manospherian bloggers and their commentators make such chilling pronouncements, evince such utter lack of empathy and such endless wells of rage, that it's hard to deny they exhibit sociopathic tendencies.  Of course, they're doing so, in most cases, under the cloak of anonymity.  Part of the threat of being "doxxed" in this 'sphere is that the disparity between their online and offline personas is so great that they have much to lose by being attached to the opinions they fearlessly share online.  They are well aware that by being doxxed, they will be exposed as freaks, objects of scorn, pity, and fear, to the very people they depend on most.

Of course, despite the handles they hide behind, the active participants inevitably drop clues when they refer to their "real" lives, and from these scattered crumbs it's clear that some of them occupy positions of considerable authority and public trust.  (It's enough to keep a person up at night!)

On the other hand, the same anti-social traits that make them "scary" (or at least damned peculiar) as individuals also keep them immobilized as a social or political group.  As the recent frenzy of doxxing and smearing proves, the most popular bloggers, despite being charismatic enough to generate followers, cannot form the kinds of strong alliances that would allow them to organize an effective campaign or exert much influence on society in general.  They can only wreak havoc on each other, the unfortunate people in their immediate circle (i.e., spouses and children), or upon targets that they perceive are lone, weak, and unable to retaliate (although I think Paul Elam of AVfM may have seriously miscalculated when he decided to take on Prof. Mercier).

Is it possible that the "manosphere" is a symptom, not of some broad-seated social malaise, but of the internet giving the sociopaths who have always existed a loud (albeit rather impotent) "voice?" 

Note bene: Now I am in no way suggesting that everyone who has taken "the Red Pill" is sociopathic.  In fact, most of the traffic on those sites is probably coming from very young disaffected youth who are looking for answers, an outlet to safely vent their frustrations, or a forum in which to entertain their fantasies of dominance.  A recent reddit survey indicates that the majority of respondents who characterized themselves as MRAs are between the ages of 17-20, white, and, while politically "extremely conservative," are not religious. Is it overly optimistic to trust that as they gain experience, intelligence, and find their paths in life, they will wander away from these dark recesses and integrate themselves into the mainstream?

See also Is Roosh a Sociopath?


  1. Is it possible that the "manosphere" is a symptom, not of some broad-seated social malaise, but of the internet giving the sociopaths who have always existed a loud (albeit rather impotent) "voice?"

    It's a little of both, I'd say. The sort of guys who show up on manosphere or MGTOW communities never had much of a voice before the internet. Back in the 1950s, or the 1850s, or whenever, most of these guys would just settle down among the dregs of society and live out their lives unhappily but quietly.* Nowadays, however, it's easier than ever to find people as maladjusted as they are and congregate safely and easily online. I mentioned this on bodycrimes' blog, but it's a double-edged sword: On the one hand, it's positive, as giving these guys a "safe place" to complain means they're less likely to snap IRL, as they often have in the past. On the other hand, it also makes them easy marks for scams and other bullshit. Look at that lady taking 5k from Avoiceformen's coffers, or Nacho Vidal freezing the old MGTOW forums.

    Even so, the manosphere has *some* appeal outside of rejects like those guys. It's important to acknowledge that feminism, along with a host of other cultural, economic, and technological factors, has resulted in many social changes. Many men all around the world--in America, Europe, and elsewhere--have found themselves hard-pressed to adapt to those changes or actively hurt by them. It is, therefore, understandable many would be displeased and would congregate on the internet to express that displeasure.

    But while there are many critiques to be made of feminism (and the other cultural and economic shifts society has undergone since the Industrial Revolution), the thing is, the manosphere's "solution" is far worse than the problem. As a straight guy, I'm as wary of false rape accusations, cuckoldry, etc. as anybody from the manosphere. As bad as those things are, however, they're nowhere near as bad as what the various Stormfront rejects and wanna-be Talibans of the manosphere would inflict upon the world.

    I can take some comfort in the knowledge that many of them will grow out of it, though. As you ask,

    Is it overly optimistic to trust that as they gain experience, intelligence, and find their paths in life, they will wander away from these dark recesses and integrate themselves into the mainstream?

    I don't think it's overly optimistic, I think it happens a lot. Matt Forney's denunciation of the manosphere isn't the only one. I also mentioned this on Bodycrimes' blog, but I've seen a lot of "leaving the manosphere" posts and blog closings. For many men, the manosphere is an understandable stop along the way when they're pissed and looking for answers, but as their situation improves and they get older and more experienced, they gain some perspective and learn to see through all the "redpill" BS. That's when they acknowledge how much they've grown and leave the manosphere--and all its associated silliness--behind.

    1. I'm not convinced "venting" prevents people from snapping though. Studies show that angry venting tends to make people angrier. Although it's certainly true that as long as a person is stuck behind a monitor, he/she is not able to inflict any real physical harm.

    2. I think the "behind the monitor" aspect of it is the most important. Every time one of those crazies starts fantasizing about pulling another Sodini, his fellow Internet warriors will try to rein him in because he'll get their MGTOW forum deleted again or something. It's certainly not admirable, but every minute these guys spend ranting online is one they can't spend ranting IRL, so it's at least a bit of a public service. Though, of course, it does get annoying when they leave their containment areas, which happens lamentably often.

    3. "Though, of course, it does get annoying when they leave their containment areas, which happens lamentably often."

      That line made me laugh.

  2. Wait I'm confused. What happened to Matt Corney? Is he like, gone or something? Is he just leaving the manosphere or does he intend on "joining the mainstream" or what?

    Sorry I don't really follow any bloggers in particular, Corney included. So I'm out of the loop in terms of drama between particular characters.

    1. He's declared that he's leaving the "manosphere" but he's just trying rise above the fray as usual. He will do anything, ANYTHING, for attention. It must be exhausting to be driven by such a relentless appetite for attention, and to have such limited means of earning it.

    2. He needs a decent counselor more than anything

    3. Corney is fast running out of tricks to up his blog traffic.

      He's played the 'Doxx a feminist blogger who dares make fun of him' card.
      He's played the 'fake suicide' card.
      He's played the 'I faked a sub-wife sex blog just to mock you losers' card.
      He's played the 'stab your fellow bloggers in the back and denounce your fan base, again' card.

      What's he going to do next to get a bit of attention?

    4. I've just read your article on Roosh from last year, I think you're spot on. He truly doesn't regard the women he 'seduces' as people in their own right. Then he wonders why so many reject him so early on?

      In my life I've only known one person who I suspect was a sociopath. He was very successful and charismatic. He would joke about not having emotions, but I came to believe he was speaking in earnest. He was very good at manipulating the people immediately around him, he had a way of getting people to work hard for his approval, though he had few genuine friends.

  3. It's hard to diagnose people from behind a monitor, especially as they may be playing games and roles. When you keep reading some blogs over time, though, it's interesting how much the mask ultimately slips and the person reveals themselves. The more neurotic the person, the faster the mask slips.

    Interestingly, I read a 'red pill blog' a while back that I never found again, by a guy who had taken all the lessons about masculinity and put them to work in his own life and marriage in what sounded like a very positive way. There are probably lots of men (and women) who are bewildered by the speed of social change, who need a few pointers here and thereon what is and isn't appropriate and effective behaviour, and they're off and running.

    I also think it's a good idea guys to have places to congregate where they can advise on another on stuff, though the bodybuilding forums seem much better, more grounded, and much more decent than anything the manosphere thinks up.

    The men and women who populate the bulk of the 'red pill' community, however, seem a peculiarly damaged lot. Sometimes they're just socially awkward. But when you find out that some guy is a lawyer who is going around advocating quasi-criminal behaviour like stalking, you have to ask questions about their mental health.

    Then again, maybe we're letting them off the hook by trying to fix mental health labels on to them. Maybe they're just very, very angry and unpleasant people.

    1. So maybe some of these guys are just "role playing" sociopaths? That's an interesting possibility. The Internet is certainly a fertile ground for people exploring alternate identities.

    2. This could be my layman's interpretation, but I always think of psychopaths as emotionless - they're unable to empathise. There are a couple of manospherians who write with what appears to be extreme emotion. Anger, mostly.

      In any case, amateur diagnoses are worth approximately nothing. All it's worth saying is that some of these people need to be steered clear of and aren't we glad we don't know them in real life!

    3. Diagnoses -- whether amateur or professional-- are worth approximately nothing -- and every thing.

      "These people need to be steered clear of." And how, pray tell, do we do so?

      "And aren't we glad we don't know then in real life!" The scary thing is: We.don't!


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