Accountability


Matt Forney's latest featured post opened up a can of weapons-grade whoop-ass on a number of topics and people:
Yesterday morning, I had a realization: I don’t want to be part of the manosphere anymore. 
I remember the exact moment when it happened. I was sitting in a brunch joint in downtown Buffalo, waiting for the waitress to bring me my orange juice, when I came across Danger & Play’s article on quitting the ‘sphere. Like an empty car ambling forward on drive, I slowly grew angrier, my left hand balling into a fist under the table. 
Mike’s article was the catalyst for my growing revelation: the manosphere is dead. 
I’ve defended the manosphere for years now because as one of its founders, I felt a certain loyalty to it. Mike’s article made me realize how I’ve sold myself out in the process. As he pointed out, almost no one came to his defense when Tucker Max and Geoffrey Miller plagiarized his blog for their watered-down ripoff site Mating Grounds. I’ll freely admit that the week prior to that, when Frost discovered that Jack from Viva La Manosphere was plagiarizing Mike’s site Fit Juice for his own juicing blog, I didn’t want to do anything initially because I didn’t want to “rock the boat” in regards to site traffic (Viva La Manosphere was one of my blog’s biggest referrers). It was a completely cowardly cop-out and I apologize for it. 
But it goes deeper than this: two of the manosphere’s biggest voices are frauds.
Read the whole thing. As polemics go, it's a doozy. In the course of the article, Matt names and shames both Sunshine Mary and Dannyfrom504, outs them publicly, and does everything possible to discredit and humiliate them.

Basically, he performed the blogging equivalent of a carpet-bombing campaign.

Now, I am not going to wade into the middle of an argument over whether he is right to say what he said, mainly because out of the three people in the middle of that issue, I have only met Matt himself. I can, and will, vouch for his authenticity- he is a genuine guy, who has done genuinely amazing things, and he is honest. I don't always agree with everything he writes, but I have great respect for him, so if he's that willing to name and shame, chances are that he's doing it for good reasons.

I don't know SSM or Danny, and they've done nothing at all to me personally, so I have no axe to grind here.

I do, however, think it's worth expanding upon the basic theme that Matt brought up- namely, the importance of being held accountable for who you are and what you write.

It's all too easy for any keyboard jockey with an idea and some spleen to vent to sit down, start a blog, and start writing. It's very easy to hide behind an anonymous identity and talk smack about pretty much anything you want. And if no one calls you out about it, eventually you might just start believing your own petty lies and constructing your own identity based on self-delusion.

This is incredibly dangerous, not only because you're lying to yourself, but because you're lying to others. And if they believe what you have to say and glom onto your words without running some basic sense checks on what you're saying, then you are potentially endangering the minds, and possibly the lives, of other people.

If you write something based on some idea you've concocted- such as "do X to this girl and she will respond with Y, because hypergamy!!!", or "look how EEEEEEEEVIL liberals are, because cultural Marxism!!!"- without backing it up using either actual, verifiable experiences, or authentic, verifiable sources, or both, and you sucker someone else into believing what you have to say, then you are responsible for his false understanding, and the consequences that arise from it.

If that isn't a wake-up call to be accountable for who you are and what you write, then I don't know what is.

Think I'm making a mountain out of a molehill? Let's take a powerful and compelling real-world example and look at how it applies to blogging.

As I've said many times, I practice Krav Maga, and I love it. I will listen respectfully to any man who has a real background in martial arts and shows that skill regularly, whether on the practice mat or in the sparring ring. And because I practice the art (to whatever poor level of skill I can muster), I know the difference between real skill and BS.

Unfortunately, there are some martial arts "masters" out there who get away with teaching pure BS- also known as "bullshido". They get away with it through what I can only call very skilled mass hypnosis or mass delusion. And when they, or their students, get in trouble and get flattened by guys who actually know how to fight, the results are really quite awful to see.

Kiai Master Ryukerin, a "red belt" (which in any real martial art is a very serious and very prestigious rank), is particularly (in)famous for this sort of thing. He claimed to have won 200 victories with zero losses just by, essentially, waving his hands around and throwing... um... "chi attacks", I guess. Then he got overconfident and offered $5,000 to anyone willing to challenge him in a martial arts bout. A Pancrase fighter took him up on it and... well, watch the video. The results are equally pathetic and hilarious.


What is truly sad about teachers of bullshido like Kiai and dim mak and kyusho-jitsu, is that they seem to believe their own BS. And then they go and teach it to students, who believe that they've unlocked some truly deadly secret to fighting. The moment they get into an actual street fight, though, and get tackled to the ground by some B. J. Penn or GSP clone, they have no idea how to fight- because they've never had to actually, y'know, fight. They've never been held accountable for their own nonsense until it's far too late. And because of that, they end up getting seriously injured- if they're very lucky.

Question: Who is ultimately responsible for that student's injury or death?

Answer: the teacher. It's his damn fault.

The lesson for any "manosphere" blogger is simple. You are accountable for what you write. Being anonymous is no excuse. If you write something online, be prepared to back it up with facts and/or real life experiences. Many of us- most of us, I think- write anonymously because we have to. We have a lot to lose and can't be as open as we would like to be.

In my case, I personally like the fringe and am perfectly content to stick to my little corner of the world. I have nothing but respect and admiration for those writers who not only write well, but do so under public identities. That is why I openly promote and admire the work of established writers like Vox, Roosh, Rollo, Matt, and others like them- and I do the same with relative newcomers like Stephanie and Carey.

That said, I write based on my own experiences. What you read on this blog is verifiable. There are eyewitnesses who can verify what I have said and done.

When I write about how to lift weights properly, I'm writing from the perspective of someone who squats and deadlifts well over 300lbs, for reps, for fun- and I will happily work out with any man who demands that I verify this.

When I write about martial arts, I'm writing from the perspective of someone who actually practices an art, and who actively watches MMA, and actually spars against real, live opponents- some of whom are far bigger, or stronger, or more experienced than me. If someone wants to verify this, then you are welcome to grab a pair of boxing gloves and join me on the mat during our sparring sessions. I don't claim to be good at it, but I know the difference between theoretical and actual fighting, and I can tell you right now- I don't care how many black belts you claim to have, I don't think you're worth a damn unless you actually spar and know how to fight, how to punch, how to kick, how to block, and how to go to the ground and defend yourself.

When I write about investing, economics, personal finance, and money, I do so from the perspective of a man who lives debt-free, is careful with his money, lives alone and very comfortably, and has an actual track record of picking stocks and investments*. I have picked winners and losers both, and I do not lie about my mistakes on the subject. (Remind me to tell you about my investment in Intuitive Surgical sometime.) I write about economics and Austrian theory from the perspective of someone who has a degree in conventional economics, who has worked as a risk management consultant and has an advanced degree in mathematical finance, and who not only reads but critiques the works of alternative economics like Mises, Hayek, and their students and followers. Quite simply, I know of what I speak, and I can prove it, and have proved it, repeatedly.

When I write about books or music, I'm writing about things that I've actually read or listened to. Every post that I write is authentic for these reasons- I know that I am accountable to my readers, and I take that responsibility with absolute seriousness.

And on the very rare occasions that I write about game, I don't pretend to be some pickup artist or ladies' man. I'm not. Not even close. I have no real desire to be, either, but I have a lot of respect for those who are successful with women and who are good at teaching others how to be the same. I write from the perspective of a man trying to shed the lies that he was taught from birth, and trying to learn the lessons that others have learned through hard work and persistence. I don't have some magic formula for getting a girl into bed within ten minutes of meeting her, I can't tell you how to make her squirt, and I can't tell you how to get a threesome. (Halfbreed can, so go read his book instead.) I can only tell you what not to do, based on my own experiences.

That, ultimately, is, or should be, the point and the value of the manosphere- to teach, to enlighten, to forge a community of better men who actively try to improve themselves and become the best versions of themselves that they can be. It should never have descended into self-parody, which, to a large extent, I think it has. We should have each other's backs, so that when a self-promoting guy like Tucker Max comes along and openly rips off one of the best bloggers out there, we should stand up and argue against what the guy's doing. We should never allow the 'Sphere to become yet another circle-jerking exercise in echoing each other's ideas and conclusions, standing around pointing at the undeniably putrid corpse of Western civilisation and screaming, "EEWWWW!!! GROSS!!!" like a bunch of autistic children.

We should be forging the future, not rehashing the past- a future based on a powerful understanding of human nature, an ironclad belief in masculine prowess and pride, unshakeable faith in masculine virtues, and absolute fidelity to ourselves and our peers.

Think about how much better the manosphere would be today if we were all held accountable for the words and deeds of our mouths and hands, the way Matt Forney and Vox Day and others like them hold themselves accountable. That is the 'Sphere that I want to see.

Help us build it by holding yourself, and others, to task for what they say and do.

* Future post on long-term investing coming up. Stay tuned.

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