It’s almost cliché to open with a citation from Plato’s Republic; your humble author is not humble enough to avoid the assumption that all of our readership has taken a freshman philosophy class. Then again, as our society becomes more engrossed in the grotesque effort to extend adolescence deep into the decrepitude of the nursing home, revisiting a freshman philosophy class might have value. In Book VIII of The Republic, Socrates is conversing with Glaucon on the natural regression of government among men—and, in analogy, which lurks near to the surface of all ancient writers, the regression of the human soul.
The commonly read segment runs:
The ruin of oligarchy is the ruin of democracy; the same disease magnified and intensified by liberty overmasters democracy–the truth being that the excessive increase of anything often causes a reaction in the opposite direction; this is the case not only in the seasons and in vegetable and animal life, but above all in forms of government… The excess of liberty, whether in States or individuals, seems only to pass into excess of slavery… And so tyranny naturally arises out of democracy, and the most aggravated form of tyranny and slavery out of the most extreme form of liberty?
The Exorbitance of Liberty and the Tyranny of Equality
Contrary to the Enlightenment optimism in man, Socrates proposes that man cannot stomach the strong draught of liberty in an undiluted form; but likewise, tasting of its pleasant effects when it is diluted, he demands it in the pure. The reaction to the pure form, though, is a sort of social purging—the body politic becomes completely intolerant of all forms of liberty and plunges into abject tyranny and equality of enslavement as a result. The philosophical conflict between liberty and equality which has dominated the latter days of Western civilization bears this out. Solzhenitsyn, commenting on the French Revolution and the motto liberté, égalité, fraternité, observed the inherent absurdity in it: “Liberty destroys social equality (indeed, the is one over the very roles of liberty) while equality restrains liberty, since one could not achieve it otherwise.” The citation, from a speech given in Vendée in 1993, is reduced to the more popular misattribution: “Human beings are born with different capacities. If they are free, they are not equal. If they are made equal, they are not free.” The preface is clearly inspired by the Apostle Paul; but it could not be further from the mind of the Apostle or of the time of cultural vitality in which he was born. This is because Solzhenitsyn is speaking to the condition of a society in decline, playing out precisely as Plato’s great teacher anticipated.
But if this is so, the Thermidor was merely a reprieve. Solzhenitsyn is still speaking of a society on the cusp of transition from the drunkenness of absolute liberty into the hangover of absolute tyranny. The conflict of liberty and equality as the chief concerns of society is a sign of the times in this regard. Socrates discusses some other portents of the Kali Yuga of his καλλίπολις:
By degrees the anarchy finds a way into private houses, and ends by getting among the animals and infecting them… the father grows accustomed to descend to the level of his sons and to fear them, and the son is on a level with his father, he having no respect or reverence for either of his parents; and this is his freedom, and metic [resident alien] is equal with the citizen and the citizen with the metic, and the stranger is quite as good as either… And these are not the only evils… In such a state of society the master fears and flatters his scholars, and the scholars despise their masters and tutors; young and old are all alike; and the young man is on a level with the old, and is ready to compete with him in word or deed; and old men condescend to the young and are full of pleasantry and gaiety; they are loath to be thought morose and authoritative, and therefore they adopt the manners of the young… The last extreme of popular liberty is when the slave bought with money, whether male or female, is just as free as his or her purchaser; nor must I forget to tell of the liberty and equality of the two sexes in relation to each other.
Egalitarianism, therefore, need not be totalitarian, but can also be borne out of a certain pusillanimity (and have we not seen it?) There is a great deal of commentary to do on this passage—the collapse of the paternal hierarchy is there, as is the childishness of teachers and professional academics; indeed, even wage slavery was apparently predicted by Plato. Here, though, it suffices to turn our attention to the final line, namely the relationship of the two sexes, and the dangers liberty and equality pose in that realm.
The New Misogyny
The reaction against Third Wave Feminism has been going on for some time—“Feminazi” has been part of our political lexicon since at least the 1990s (relying purely on memory). However, in more recent years, the introduction of meme culture and the aggressive youthful exuberance of the neo-new right has created far more effective vocabulary (like “thot”, or, more properly, “THOT”, since it’s an acronym from Black street culture). It has also taken a far more aggressive approach than the Men’s Rights Movement and other victim-culture reactions (the folks who gave us “Feminazism” as a term). As with most things in a collapsing society, this growth of vocabulary has accelerated as we get closer to the Current Year.
Black Pigeon Speaks produced three videos, the first of which boasts well over a million views, dealing with the sociobiological problems associated with increasingly equality for women, whom he asserts are biologically and historically conditioned to behave in ways that bring about the extinction of societies if they are not reined in. The argument, from a purely biological standpoint, is fairly solid, while albeit failing to account for the moral or metaphysical need for a hierarchy (and, indeed, BPS expresses a libertarian attitude towards such hierarchy elsewhere). Other Alt-Rightists have picked up on the theme—Andrew Anglin’s bombast factory gleefully embraced the White Sharia meme, and the subject of women was in the air, creating a deluge of reaction from the huffing of empowered-but-anti-empowerment female commentators (like Tara McCarthy) as well as I’m-not-as-crazy-as-Anglin-but beggars of the question (like Chris Cantwell).
That’s just the Alt-Right. NRx has done its own soul-searching on issue; Mark Citadel, Elena Russo, and Mark Yuray all furnish admirably measured exemplars grappling to a greater or lesser extent with the thorny Thot Question, as well as dealing with the place of women in the general renaissance of right-wing thought.
What we are witnessing is a dangerous, but necessary turn. Neo-reaction, like the Alt-Right, is not an island. The general tendency towards real cultural critique from the right is full of cross-pollination, and the great burden all mankind bears is his immersion in his civilizational moment: red-pilled or not, we’re all still in the Matrix. This means that the excess of liberty we see reaching its apogee (for, as Peter Brimelow rightly says, nothing grows to the sky) can and will give way to an excess of tyranny even if we are successful, if we are not capable of catching ourselves participating in the transition. Misandry can be answered with a genuine misogyny (so much worse for Western women than the strawman they have constructed in their heads with that name). The “strong horse” of Islam represents a manifestation of precisely this.
The Cultural Necessity of Shame
Our sense of shame, and our awareness of it, is an important tool in offering a solution that keeps White Sharia and (even worse) MGTOW in the realm of stale and forced memes of this brief internet age we are living in. De Maistre notes the fragility of constitutional societies resides in their need to write down things which ought to be customary—they must shame by law where they cannot shame by custom. This article was originally intended to argue for the necessity of laws punishing adultery, for where loyalty collapses in the home, it necessarily follows with a collapse in broader society. Trust and troth are the cornerstones of a healthy community: adultery, especially in women, utterly shatters that, both because of the betrayal of the marital vow and because of the flouting of the familial hierarchy. Upon reflection, though, it is impossible to ignore how broken a society must be if it must legislate upon the preservation of loyalty in the most basic social unit.
It is on these matters that we must preserve and defend our shame—both within ourselves, a sense of shame at the grave transgression, and in others, in the way we treat those who have behaved shamefully. The success of any sort of Western diaspora in the coming civilizational shift utterly depends on the cohesion of a moral order within the diaspora; women shaming women, and women experiencing shame, is an incredibly important part of this, and the loss of shame is precisely what makes it possible for women to commit, and men to assent to, the destruction of the family—not just the nuclear family of the American Mittelstand, but the family as a subset of tribe—that accompanies acts of adultery and divorce. The preservation and encouragement of a culture of shame and embarrassment in our own ranks goes hand-in-glove with the passivist doctrine of becoming worthy of rule.
Likewise, the encouragement of a customary culture of shame escapes the descent into legalism that the new misogyny represents—the wife, as a social role, needs to be regulated, of course, but according to her station and purpose: women are social and customary by nature—applying male standards to them, as the Alt-Right has done both consciously and unwittingly (White Sharia is merely an extreme example), joins in with the Platonic cycle, because it accepts the liberty-equality dichotomy. Matrons need to take an active role in the customary regulation of maidens, as well as younger wives and mothers through the use of shame—and “as above, so below,” for the surface of a culture of this nature is shame, but the inner change of soul is the growth of virtue and honor. A woman who feels shame will raise sons who value honor.