Masculinity and The Martial Virtues

What makes us men? What values resonate with men? What is masculinity, and what is it for? How is the title of manhood earned?

To many in the modern world, masculinity is relative. More and more, intellectuals and feminists are encouraging men to ‘redefine’ masculinity. They say that we have no more need of these ‘old ways’. Some even infer that masculinity needs to be thrown out entirely. Not surprisingly, the new masculinity they want us to embrace looks a lot like being a woman.

All of these people are wrong, and they have lied to us. Manliness is not a social construct, and no matter how much people want to overlook what manliness entails, as long as we are alive real masculinity will not go away. It is better for us and for society if we stay here and embody masculinity to the fullest, rather than trade it for some hollow shell of what being a man actually means.

Manliness is visceral, and despite what you’ve heard there is an essence to masculinity that transcends cultural boundaries and academic relativity. One of the best books I’ve read on the virtues of masculinity was “The Way of Men” by Jack Donovan, which is a must read for any man with an interest in masculinity. How others talked about it, and Jack spoke about his own writing, was that he’d found the underlying framework for what men inherently know is masculine. Men have a hard time putting into words because they are surrounded by it all the time. At first I didn’t know if I believed it, and was skeptical beforehand, but I’ve become very much convinced since I read his book.

Through the course of this essay, I will be using small quotes from his book to go over what the basic masculine virtues are. In it, Donovan notes that masculinity does not exist in a vacuum. Men are not manly because they say so, but because other men size them up in performance against a standard of masculinity. This is not a made up or random set of values, but are essential for life and survival.

Masculinity is at work when men gather together, forming a group to protect and provide for society. They preside over the most dangerous aspects of their tribes welfare. In Donovan’s words, the way of men is “the way of the gang”, and these gangs survive and proliferate based off of the four tactical virtues.

These tactical virtues are: Strength, Courage, Mastery, and Honor. They are martial in nature because they are best exemplified in times of war or duress. They are used in keeping the perimeter and staving off animals or invaders; for protecting the family and the home from more domestic dangers that would do them harm; or for hunting for food. Whatever that’s hazardous and needs to get done, masculinity is there to do it. These values exist in all societies across all cultures, and are required for their to be any civilization at all.

Strength

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Strength is the foundation of masculinity. A man’s capacity for strength is what men first notice when they judge whether or not a man is capable and manly. There are no cultures were emasculate or weak men are considered manly. While there are other qualities to masculinity besides strength, strength is what will make all other masculine virtues possible. Without strength, “masculinity becomes something else- a different concept.” Without strength, masculinity is dead.

Strength is physical prowess or power; the stronger you are the greater your ability to dominate your enemy, rather than being dominated. A man who has strength can stand fast when being pushed. A man who has strength also has the means to physically overcome tougher than average obstacles. The greater the strength, the more value a man is to his group. The more strong men in your group, the greater your ability to conquer rival gangs.

Strength is also the most explicit biological difference between men and women. “Greater strength differentiates men from women. Weak men are regarded as less manly, but no one really cares or notices if a woman is physically weaker than her peers.” The strongest of women are about as strong as the weakest of men. Regardless of gender politics and politeness, when it comes to the hunting and fighting, “[it] is almost always going to be up to the men. When lives are on the line, people will drop the etiquette of equality and make that decision again and again because it makes the most sense.

Courage

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Courage is the exceptional ability to apply strength in dangerous situations. “The greater the danger, the greater the courage. Running into a burning building beats telling off your boss. Telling off your boss is more courageous than writing a really mean anonymous note. Acts without meaningful consequence require little courage.” Courage is only applicable when one is tempted to shrink or run away from danger.

When you think of someone who is manly, thoughts come to mind of someone being bold or brave in the face of a great risk. “You won’t want the men in your gang to be reckless, but you’ll need them to be courageous when it matters. A man who runs when the group needs him to fight could put all your lives in jeopardy.

Without the virtue of courage, a man’s strength has lost almost all of its survival value. A man may be strong, but without courage such a man is useless in a time of need or crisis. Talking about politically dangerous or socially unacceptable subjects may require a certain amount of ‘courage’ in civilized areas of safety, but ultimately the men remembered for having the most courage were the ones that put their well being and their life on the line in exchange for a cause or their family.

Mastery

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Mastery is command or having grasp over a subject. It’s expertise in a martial art or a honed skill in a trade. Intelligence and our ability to have command over the elements and nature is what separates us from other species. Mastery, and your gangs level of mastery, is often what separates tribes and civilizations from one another.

A man with a skill set or a technology can either be either as valuable, or sometimes more valuable, than the toughest men. Mastery is often what renders one man a leader or a superior, and other men subordinates. Mastery is essential to the group.  If your group lacks mastery, they will be more vulnerable to a different group of men that is more abundant in mastery.

For a man to be of greater value to the group, he needs mastery. “You’ll want men who are competent, who can get the job done. Who wants to be surrounded by morons and ****-ups?” In survival context, men are required to have adeptness in hunting techniques and fighting. Other skills like blacksmithing or carpentry can increase the gangs martial potency or add to the defensive measures around the perimeter.

Honor

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For your gang to be efficient and unified, you are going to need a certain level of commitment from its members. This means that you will explicitly require them to pledge and obligation to the group with an oath.  Honor is the glue that holds male-driven societies together. If there are no gangs of men bound by an honor code, there are no groups. With no groups to protect them, a societies borders would entirely disappear, and the survival rate would decline for everyone.

Each individual’s contribution to the group bolsters the strength and prestige of the group as a whole. Groups gain an advantage if they have a reputation for holding to the tactical virtues. If your gang exudes enough masculinity, not only will others will be less likely to mess with you, it is more likely they will to want to be your ally.   

Dishonorable men are indifferent to masculinity or the masculine virtues. What Donovan calls “Flamboyant dishonor” is “an openly expressed lack of concern for one’s reputation for strength, courage and mastery within the context of an honor group comprised primarily of other men.” A group accepting unmanly men into its ranks is advertising weakness, and advertising weakness is an invitation for other tribes to attack. Because of this, men will make a “big show of rejecting and distancing themselves from males who are flamboyantly dishonorable. By expelling effeminate males from the gang or by shaming them and pushing them to the fringes of a particular group, the group projects strength and unity. The group demonstrates that ‘we do not tolerate unmanly men here.'”

Masculinity in the Modern World

The people guiding our society are going at greater and greater lengths to make men more passive and emasculate to fit a globalist consumer agenda. Men who care less about fashion and the latest toys and more about masculinity and interpersonal relations in their community are of little value to businesses and profiteers who only see people as a means for dollar signs and international trade.

There is little role for masculine men in our society anymore, and because of this they are valued less. Men who are made into soldiers for combat have little place in our society to come back to outside of some type of position in law enforcement. Fighting, as common as it is to society and the world as a whole, has become increasingly stigmatized in our modern world. The only place left for “sanctioned” disputes or physical conflict are gyms, nationally broadcast fights, and other sports that act as a surrogate forms of warfare.

It should be expedient for men to live up to these masculine virtues, in spite of the progressive feminization of our society. If he is not doing work that is physically strenuous, he should being exercising to increase his strength and athletic abilities. Putting himself in positions that require a certain amount of boldness and risk to it will sharpen his character. At the least, he should seek to put a couple years of martial arts training under his belt (and in with a martial art that’s more useful than flashy).

He should also seek to join a group, fraternity, or a gang of men. Men that will pressure him to live more like a man and push him to raise his own standards. Men that will expect him to be something better than what he was yesterday. A group of men that have similar values to his own. Finding a group that’s already there is easier than making one from scratch, but if all else fails men should seek to create one where there is none. This group of men will give men more value to their life than any type of surrogate meaning the corporate, plastic world can offer him.

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