We in the 'Sphere spend an awful lot of time navel-gazing about what is, and is not, an Alpha male. It is the focus of an enormous amount of time and attention, and rightly so. To be an Alpha is to lead, to command, to be granted near-automatic respect and honour, and- not to put too fine a point on it- to be given the many moist and pleasant rewards of beautiful female companionship.
Vox Day's socio-sexual hierarchy is an excellent summary, but it is rather brief.
The archives and current articles over at Chateau Heartiste are required reading, and everyone who reads my work already undoubtedly reads his- because he's a vastly better writer and a far more interesting one to boot. And, with the greatest possible respect to him, his work is generally more suited to human sexual and political dynamics.
To be clear, I am in no way qualified to provide any sort of definitive classification of what is, and is not, "Alpha". Very, very few men anywhere are. And I certainly do not pretend that what follows is in any way definitive.
Nonetheless, it is worth attempting to cast away some of the verbal and memetic deadwood surrounding this term, so that, even if we do not fully know what Alpha is, at least we know what it is not.
Now, the reality is that if you ask ten different Manosphere writers about what is "Alpha", you're likely to get eleven different answers.
Some would argue that a man who sleeps with many, many women is an Alpha male. But this, alone, is not Alpha behaviour. It is an aspect of Alpha male socio-sexual status, but it is not the sole determinant of that status.
You have only to look at some of the world's most successful pickup artists to understand this. As Neil Strauss made clear in his seminal (heh) work, The Game, master pickup artist Mystery could get just about any woman he wanted into his bed and on her back- but had hard-core oneitis for his on-again, off-again girlfriend, and his game went completely to pieces around her.
Moreover, as Neil Strauss himself admitted years after his adventures as a PUA came to an end, chasing all that tail did not make him happy as a man. Nor did it give him what he was really looking for- a family and a stable life.
In order to get what he wanted, he had to effectively geld himself.
The real-life outcomes of Neil Strauss and Mystery both reveal the major problem with the PUA lifestyle: it is one of hedonistic excess pursued to extremes, and many of the men who engage in it do not really have anything concrete to fall back upon that makes them interesting, powerful, charismatic, and good at being men.
Roosh himself has stated repeatedly that his journey into the hedonistic PUA lifestyle was ultimately unsatisfying, and turned out to be merely a stepping stone along the path to discovering greater and more universal truths.
Success with women, alone, isolated from all other meaningful measures of manliness, is not Alpha.
Others would argue that perhaps it is not the quantity of the women that matters, but the quality. They argue that any man capable of taming and keeping the most beautiful women in the world is an Alpha male.
But this taxonomy too is flawed. Probably the best available counterexample that we have available today is Brad Pitt. During his lifetime he dated, banged, and even married some of the most beautiful women in the world. And yet it can be argued, strongly and in my view correctly, that Brad Pitt in fact was and is not an Alpha in any meaningful sense beyond the sexual one.
Once again, success with women in isolation is not sufficient to be called Alpha.
Yet others would argue that Alphas are successful and confident leaders who take charge of their men, their companies, their fortunes, and their lives. There is a great deal of truth to this. Alphas almost without exception love to take charge and lead; indeed they often expect to be handed leadership and get severely irritated if they do not get it.
And yet this alone also does not define an Alpha male. One can count any number of politicians, industry leaders, or even military men with truly stellar professional records but absolutely disastrous personal ones.
The textbook example of this is probably former Director of Central Intelligence Gen. David Petraeus. There is absolutely no question that Gen. Petraeus was (and is) a badass of the first order, forged from iron and crowned in steel. His military career reads like a Greek epic poem of war and conquest.
Yet he cheated on his wife with a journalist- and covered it up and tried to lie about it, and then got severe oneitis for her. Ultimately, it destroyed his career and his reputation.
Professional success alone is not Alpha.
Some would argue that Alpha males are the quintessential leaders and providers for the ones that they love, the leaders of their own packs and prides. There is, again, much truth to this. Some of the strongest and most self-aware, self-contented men that I have ever met are only truly happy when they are in "patriarch mode", taking charge of their families and making decisions that affect the health, welfare, and comfort of their wives and children.
I have personally seen the tremendous satisfaction that my own father derives from knowing that his actions have ensured that my mother, my sister, and I are happy and healthy. I have experienced that feeling myself when those that I care for the most- particularly the women in my life- are able to relax and feel safe and secure and cared for because of me.
That satisfaction comes at great cost, make no mistake. Every family Alpha has to contend with stress, irritation, worry, and seemingly never-ending outlays of hard-earned money in order to provide for those that he cares for. But for such men, the joy and stability that they find within their family makes them more than happy to make these sacrifices, for the reward is far greater.
Yet, again, this alone is not Alpha. Just as I know many family men who are really only truly happy when they are with their tribe or their pride, I also know that some of those same men tend to be weak in their professional or outside lives. They get pushed around and taken advantage of outside of the confines of their own family, and as such never really get to be comfortable with power and authority.
Alpha, ultimately, is complete and total comfort and confidence with oneself and one's environment. This applies to all areas of an Alpha's life, not merely one aspect or another. That is why Alphas are totally comfortable with leadership roles, that is why they exude natural charisma, and that is why they rarely, if ever, have issues with wielding power. They do not necessarily welcome conflict, but because of their supreme self-confidence, they do not shy away from it or cower in fear of it either.
It also goes without saying that there are different levels and different types of Alpha male.
Take Donald Trump, for instance. He is socially successful, to be sure. He is absolutely sexually successful- you don't marry a woman like Melania Knauss without knowing what you're doing with women. Despite being married three times, he appears to have a harmonious and happy family life and seems to revel in his role as patriarch of his family. He commands respect and obedience almost automatically through sheer force of will and personal charisma.
But there is no question that, as a leader and as a man, he is also deeply flawed. He is vulgar, crass, and driven by a monstrous ego- and reacts violently whenever that ego is wounded.
Ronald Reagan was a very different kind of Alpha male. Good-humoured, jovial, charismatic, and genteel in a grandfatherly sort of way, he was nonetheless hewn of granite and his deepest convictions were absolutely unbending. He was what Cataline Sergius once referred to in a comment over at Alpha Game as a "silverback Alpha"- the kind of Alpha male that made other Alphas fawn over him like giddy school girls.
Yet he, too, had his flaws, and quite a few of them. He was not quite the iron-willed unstoppable force of common-sense grassroots conservatism that so many Americans choose to remember him as. And his personal life was not without failings either.
The point is not that Alphas are perfect. They are not and can never be. They are simply the most confident, energetic, charismatic, self-assured types around. They are deeply comfortable with themselves, they have a clear vision of what they want out of life, and they refuse to let anyone or anything get in their way in achieving their goals.
Alphas, by themselves, are not wholly good or wholly bad. The very traits of almost irrational self-confidence, self-awareness, massive ego, and obsession with personal glory that make Alphas such great leaders and conquerors, can also turn sour very easily with just a slight push in the wrong direction.
Often the catalyst that turns an Alpha bad is, unfortunately, a woman. Alphas have their own insecurities and hangups just like everyone else, and it isn't difficult for an Alpha to succumb to jealousy, lust, wrath, or pride and turn very, very bad.
They also share one other common trait: resilience.
Alphas fail fast, and fail often. Unlike a lot of other types, especially the Gammas and Omegas, they learn quickly from their failures. Some of those failures are truly devastating, but they take their lumps, eat crow and humble pie if they have to, and then just get on with it. If they complain about their lot, they do not do so in order to gain sympathy but in order that others may see their failures and their pain, and learn from these things.
In the end, Alpha is not purely inherited, nor is it purely learned. Alpha is the purest expression of the masculine virtues that can be found- and like those masculine virtues, it can be used for good, or for evil.
Alpha is, ultimately, about balance, in all things, between strength of character and physique, courageous purpose, honourable intent, and mastery of self and others.
Finally, it is worth remembering that agonising over how to become an Alpha male is, ultimately, a futile exercise.
Instead of fretting over whether a particular choice is Alpha or not, worry about becoming the best version of yourself that you can be. The knowledge, wisdom, strength, charisma, inner calm, and experience that you gain through this process will make you a more interesting, resilient, capable, wise, and intelligent man.
Most men completely lack the conviction and willpower to change themselves. Do not be one of them. Be better than them through conscious effort. The status and power of being an Alpha will simply follow naturally from there.