Monday, 2 December 2013

Male emancipation and the war against self-congratulation and willing slavery

What is the emancipation of our age?

Some of the clever ones among you think that to project a paradigm of sixties emancipation on the present time is to betray the fact one is stuck in the past, stuck in simpler times. Things are more complex now, you say. Things are not what they used to be. Well. To those I say, you're wrong. I say that your saturation in the malaise of popular culture, the readiness of information, the available tools of being able to project an image of intelligence and education, when in fact you have achieved little more than the ability to bluff your way through a house party - all this has given you the delusion of having risen above the problems of the age, as if human emancipation were a thing of the past. As if all the great battles have been fought, and all the great words have been spoken. As if dreams are little more than a distraction.

Well, I am here to tell you, that you are all wrong. Each and every one of you that reads this is in the wrong. You have been suffocated in the detritus of modern culture. Your television obsessions have eroded any need for emancipation or civilisation. Let me tell you. Society, is, and never has been, here for your benefit.

The idea that men have nothing to complain about, and that it is only women who must fight for emancipation, is an insult to the intelligence of future generations of daughters and women leaders.

I tell you, the leaders of a thousand years from now, are women. And they are looking back on this age with a shame about their great grandmothers. They know that the great shift in feminine emancipation came when the sisterhood woke up to the emancipation of men. It is men who are oppressed. Rape, misogyny, domestic violence, emotional and sexual abuse - these are not the problem, they are the symptoms. It is not masculinity that is the problem. It is not men. It is the culture of treating the human spirit, and the human body, as if it were an endless resource. This culture brings men up to believe that the only value they have in society, is in what they produce, how they do their duty, and to what ends they assert their energies. A man's value is in his use.

And many who profess 'feminism' these days are both perpetuating this by equating female power with a sense of entitlement in how much leverage they have over this male resource; and also they are educating their sisters to believe that assuming the patriarchal values of prudential value, of treating their femininity like it was an economic entity, is the very definition of emancipation.

It is nothing of the kind. Feminism has taken one step forward and two steps back. It has become subsumed into the imperial and patriarchal project. Because what defines patriarchy is not just that it is 'male dominated', but that it raises up an ideology of power and subservience, and this ideology is supported by a certain ideology of the value of human life. The human body, the soul, the identity of an individual is determined by its functionality. Women produce and mother babies. Men go to war. Men's reward is the possession of women, gratification. That's ten thousand years of human culture in a nutshell, and I am not interested in your opinion. That's the truth and you either shut up or move on.

But some of you would argue that we live in an emancipated age. That the problem is not that people value themselves for what they contribute, but by how much they can gratify themselves. But gratification is not personal or individual emancipation. Selfishness is not self-command. Narcissism is not valuing yourself.

What you think is the emancipation of the age, is actually an economic master-stroke, selling you slavery under the guise of freedom. And the importance of it is in convincing you that there is nothing left to fight for. That the struggle is over. That it is immature and naïve to think that the pursuit of political and individual freedom is a relevant cause.

But I argue that the great struggle of our age is against this kind of nihilism. That we live in an economic society that is nothing less than the worst kind of political and social conspiracy. Yes, conspiracy, and I have no shame in using that word. Underneath all your superior snottiness, lies the truth that you know I am right.

The great emancipation of our age will be to liberate ourselves from our self-congratulation. We must fight to overcome atrophy and nihilism and conceit, all of which disguise themselves in sarcastic and worldly posturing, the back-patting over-intelligence of a world saturated with information. This emancipation will come only when we understand that there is so much we don't and will never know. That science does not have all the answers. That there is no great authority. That our sense of being at the end of history is a sign not of the triumph of enlightenment reason, but of the most dangerous moment in our intellectual decadence. If you think there is nothing left to fight for, if you sincerely believe that you have seen it all before, that nothing can surprise you, you are not an evolved being. You are the worst kind of slave: a willing one.

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