[Warning: If you are one of the readers who thought the wordiness and repetitiveness of Part 3 or any of the previous installments outweighed the useful information contained in them, or worse believed they had no useful information at all, don't bother continuing this post. It's more of the same stuff you hate. The rest of you, dig in.]
One of the great works of Western philosophy is the book Leviathan by Thomas Hobbes. It is widely considered one of the earliest and most influential treatises on social contract theory ever written. Wikipedia defines social contract theory as “a broad class of theories that try to explain the ways in which people form states to maintain social order.” And Wikipedia, in describing Leviathan, states
Hobbes wrote that chaos or civil war — situations identified with a state of nature and the famous motto Bellum omnium contra omnes (“the war of all against all”) — could only be averted by strong central government.
This strong central government is what Hobbes called the Leviathan, as described in this Sparksnotes summary of the book (pay particular part to the section I emphasize and bold below):
Hobbes’s political state, the Leviathan, is a monster. The name “Leviathan” itself refers to the Biblical sea beast: “None is so fierce that dare stir him up . . . his teeth are terrible round about. His scales are his pride, shut up together as with a close seal. . . . His breath kindleth coals, and a flame goeth out of his mouth. . . . When he raiseth up himself, the mighty are afraid . . . Upon earth there is not his like, who is made without fear” (Job 41:10-33). Yet Hobbes takes this creature as the inspiration for his political state, because the Book of Job describes Leviathan as “King of all the children of pride.” Hobbes’s political state has to be a Leviathan, the most terrifying of all monsters because it must subdue the pride inherent in its human constituents, and it must use fear to prevent a recurrence of the state of nature.
The horrors of the state of nature are always lurking behind the state of the Leviathan. Civil war within the Leviathan causes the artificial body to collapse and all the subjects to fall into the state of nature. Fear of the state of nature is one reason for avoiding civil war. Fear of the sovereign Leviathan is another. The Leviathan is constructed to combat the fear of the state of nature, but it is capable of doing so only by wielding fear as its own weapon. Thus, in Hobbes’s view of things, fear never disappears from human existence. However, there is a security accompanying fear of the Leviathan, an assurance of peace and the preservation of life. In contrast, fear of the state of nature has no such assurance. Thus the fear experienced by people living within the Leviathan is infinitely preferable to the fear experienced by people living within the state of nature.
Let that marinate in your skull for a bit. That’s what modern society is, a Leviathan where we trade in fear of the chaos of nature where lower status men live in constantly fear for their lives and have little hope of reproducing thanks to incredibly powerful high status men, for the infinitely preferable fear of the Leviathan, which at least promises the assurance of peace, better protection of their lives and better chances for the average man to reproduce with a quality woman. We agree to let the Leviathan be society’s ultimate alpha because we know despite how flawed as the Leviathan is, it has a much better track record at not abusing ultimate alpha status than individual humans.
All this has already been laid out in the earlier installments of the series. I already described life for lower status men before the Leviathan existed. I already described how the Leviathan was collectively created by lower class men to protect their interests from uberalpha males who ruled their lives and hoarded their reproductive opportunities through despotism, polygamy and hoarding of reproductive opportunities. I already described how democracy, monogamy laws and property rights were the political mechanisms that allowed this leveling of the playing field between lower-status men and higher-status men.
This installment elaborates on the specific tools our modern Leviathan uses to maintain this status quo and keep things from returning to the state of nature Hobbes described, the short, brutish, chaotic existence where everyone fended for themselves and the strong had free reign to crush the weak and take their shit at will.
To make the idea of monogamy work, lower-status men had to make marriage to lower-status seem to be as good a deal as marriage to higher-status men. The problem was, how could they do this? Not only were women back in the day physically weaker than men (same as today), but also,unlike today, they had little rights and protections and few independent means of income. Choosing a strong, powerful alpha male was especially important for women back then for mere survival, not just bragging rights.
Lower-status men simply couldn’t cut it. Say a pack of men want to rape her. Is he high enough in status or badass enough in combat to protect her? Because there’s no reliable police force to do it for him. Or if some thugs do rape and violate her, is the lower-status man badass enough to storm up to the thugs stronghold, kick in the door and get revenge for her? Does he have strong alliances and coalitions that allow him to get things done? Even if he’s able to accumulate decent resources, if someone comes along and tries to take his resources, his worldly possessions, run him off his land, burn his house down, kill his children, and/or steal his wife, what is he prepared to do? Once again, no police force to call. And no reliable court of law and property rights in existence to intervene and set things right if you were violated in such a way. No institutions dedicated to righting your wrongs and enforcing your rights for you.
In the olden days, you and you alone as a man are responsible for providing physical and financial security for all your resources and family yourself. There’s no one else for the average lower-status man to assign these tasks to. In such an environment, how can a lower-status male compete? A woman back then relied on her man for everything when it came to her physical and financial security. Think of the level of responsibility a woman, or even worse, a whole family was for a man back then.
This is where a concept I call alpha proxying comes into play. This is where lower-status men, in a democracy where they have a vote and the ability to change public policy, collectively create alpha proxy institutions to relieve less powerful men of their alpha responsibilities. And a major tool these alpha proxies use to is renegade alpha suppression. Some examples of alpha proxies and renegade alpha suppression, but far from an exhaustive list, can be seen below:
- Police. Protects and serves. Punishes those renegades who try to attain alphadom using routes not approved of by society. Gets retribution for victims against those who wronged them, saving them the burden of having to avenge themselves. You’re wife gets raped, you get beat up or your kid gets robbed or killed? You can have the cops accomplish your alpha duty of retribution for you. Suppresses alphas of the violent and greedy variety.
- Insurance companies. One advantage of marrying an uberalpha back in the day for a woman is that she and her kids could get his resources when he died. A lesser-status man didn’t have the same resources to leave, which was yet another way he couldn’t compete. A life insurance policy accomplishes that. The way insurance works, lower-status men collectively pool their resources to accomplish what only a super powerful resource-rich alpha could do back in the day: leave a lot of money to his family.
- Civil and criminal courts and strong property, torts and criminal laws. It wasn’t enough for a woman to get a man with resources back in the day. She had to find a man who was bad enough to hold on to his resources. If he was too weak to stand up for himself and hold on to his shit, then they were in a precarious position. And if her man lost his resources, she and her children were screwed because she had no way of making money on her own. If someone was violent against their family and he couldn’t take care of business and offer retribution, they’d continue to get victimized. If someone stole from them, if he wasn’t man enough to take it back, same thing. Courts and strong laws and rights relieve lesser-status men of these burdens as well.
- Justice Department and Antitrust laws. This alpha proxy works to keep rich uberalphas in check by punishing them if they are found guilty of running monopolies and crushing their competition. Forces them to spread the wealth and play fair.
- The IRS. Takes money from those successful at acquiring resources, and the more powerful the person and successful at accumulating resources, then the more this alpha proxy tries to take from the uberalpha. Then it works to redistribute this wealth among lesser status men. A legally sanctioned extortion and protection racket designed to control and suppress excessive alpha ambitions. Relieves lesser-status men of the alpha duties of trying to take down the big man, trying to get a crack at his resources and stopping him from getting too powerful and rich.
- Capitalism, Division of Labor, Technology and the Service Industry. Not handy around the house? Hire a contractor. Can’t hunt and gather or grow food and run a farm? Create a society of convenience where you can just buy things at supermarkets. Don’t have the skills to build a house for your family? You don’t need to have them. Can’t fight? Technology has created the gun and capitalism has created the means of getting it in your hands. In a capitalist society with division of labor, efficient allocation of resources and a thriving service industry, many of the traditional manly skills an alpha male was expected to have can be outsourced to others.
- Media, Public Opinion and Social Norms. Hobbes envisioned the Leviathan as being composed primarily of a strong government. But the Leviathan we have is made up of more than just government, it also has a strong social component: collectively agreed on social norms and public opinions at play, and a pervasive media entity with which to disseminate these social norms and public opinions. You may wonder how this works for alpha suppression? Start examining the stories in the media and the recurring themes. If a billionaire alpha like Tiger Woods tries to build a harem, he’s shamed into apologizing for his natural male urges. Bill Gates is demonized as evil incarnate for attempting to build a monopoly and become even more powerful. The media becomes more liberal and less and less sympathetic to powerful men unless they’re willing to openly celebrate, praise and feed the Leviathan (which is why powerful liberal men like celebrities and Democrats fare better in the media than so-called “greedy” men like Wall Streeters and Republicans).
- Military. Channels young male aggression that could potentially turn renegade alpha into being used for the Leviathan’s purposes as its enforcement arm. Teaches potential renegade alphas to play by the Leviathan’s rules and become part of its international renegade alpha suppression force.
- Jails. If someone is stubborn about refusing to concede to the Leviathan’s ultimate alpha status and insists on not playing ball and reaching for ultimate alpha status for themselves without playing by the Leviathan’s rules? They end up fast-tracked to jail and set straight. Relieves lesser status men of having to find a way to punish ambitious renegade alphas in their midst themselves.
- New Deal Entitlement Programs. The Great Depression and the fallout from it among lesser-status men was a great illustration of the dangers to a woman if she married a lesser-status man. If you ever read a book describing life for the average man in this era, it was horrible and emasculating. Now if a man runs out of ways to support a family, he can get unemployment benefits to help him get by between jobs. And Social Security and Disability Insurance relieve him of the burden of having to figure out how to support his family after he can’t work anymore.
As I said earlier, this is far from an exhaustive list. If you think about it, you can come up with a ton of other alpha proxies and methods the use to suppress renegade alphas in our society. The more alpha proxies a society has, the more attractive lesser-status men become as marriage material as a result. If you’re a lesser-status man, you no longer have to be capable of singlehandedly doing all the traditional alpha duties in order to promise financial and physical security to a prospective mate. You have all of the Leviathan’s alpha proxies to do that for you and keep renegade alphas from getting too much status and making your life hell! And as a result lesser-status provider males become a competitive marriage option against uberalpha males.
This also explains why many less developed countries can technically have democracies yet still have a dog-eat-dog environment with badass uberalphas like CR alpha from part 1 of this series ruling the roost: because despite the existence of democracy, these societies do not have good alpha proxies in place and therefore individual men are still ultimately responsible for their own alpha duties. For example our expat concierge in Costa Rica from part 2 in this series told us how pathetic and powerless the police were against truly dangerous criminals and how you had to “handle your own shit” there. But on the bright side, he proudly said, it was much more acceptable in Costa Rica to kill someone in self-defense without any bleeding hearts ganging up on you for it like in America.
It’s not just democracy’s one-man, one-vote system that curbs abuses by uberalphas, it’s democracy combined with institutionalized, well-funded alpha proxies. See this article about Costa Rica for example:
One such cultural characteristic of Costa Rica that is both deep rooted and unfortunately very public is a lack of respect for their own law enforcement …
“Largate, largate” … or ‘beat it’, ‘go away’ was yelled by many in the crowd at the recent San José Festival de la Luz celebration whenever Costa Rica police would walk by on the parade route.
Valid arguments to justify mistrust by the general Costarricense public of government police agencies include; lack of qualifications or education for recruits, poor initial training, little or no in-service training and corruption from top officials down to the street-level officer.
The mistrust of Costa Ricans does not end with the effectiveness of the police, but of the entire criminal justice system. Too often the few criminals that are actually apprehended by the frequently scarce and slow to respond police are not even prosecuted with ‘lack of evidence’ cited as the main reason.
This broken system leaves Costa Rica citizens’ feeling the only real solution is to take matters into their own hands – especially when it comes to petty crime and repeat local offenders that plague a neighborhood, often referred to as “ladrones”.
The United States found the solution to improving its own police problems was to professionalize law enforcement. Active and public pursuits of police corruption, expectations of more accountability, better training, higher standards for police recruits and improved salaries to attract better officers all resulted in a better social image and increased respect for police by the American public.
I also did some research and discovered Costa Rica had no standing military to channel renegade alpha aggression. It was abolished in 1949.
Now as you review the alpha proxy list I made above and come up with your own examples, notice something. Even though alpha proxies work to limit excessive alpha ambition across all socioeconomic levels, who do they disproportionately affect more? Middle class men! As I said in an earlier installment, upper-class men have the resources in the form of riches and connections and the best legal assistance to get away with going against the Leviathan more often, or to become an important part of the Leviathan and use it to their own adantage. Lower-class men have an advantage in that they have nothing to lose in terms of resources and reputation, aren’t afraid of punishment and are conditioned for hardship and free-for-all dog-eat-dog conflict.
The middle-class man has the worst of both worlds: unlike the lower-class man he has just enough resources, respectable connections and reputation to be irreparably hurt if he loses any of them, plus he’s not cut out for environments like jail or the ghetto, but unlike the upper-class man he doesn’t have quite enough resources, respectable connections and reputation to buy off or successfully infiltrate the Leviathan either. Although the alpha proxies that make up the Leviathan use their power to punish renegade alpha’s across the board, it’s the middle class man who suffers the most from going renegade by trying to be too alpha. Hence the title of this series.
An illustration of what I’m talking about with lower-class men. I was on the train once in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, where I lived. Two guys were talking about a third guy, a friend of theirs who was recently arrested. They were talking about how he got arrested and went to court for a crime and ended up copping a plea so that he could go free but end up with a very long probation period. I believe several years long (I was eavesdropping so I didn’t catch every last detail). Guy #1 was dumbfounded and asked why he would agree to such a long probation period. Guy #2 said he had the option of doing “a bullet” (street slang for a year in jail) and possibly getting out in a little less time with good behavior, or taking the years-long probation instead.
Guy #1 said “What an idiot! Why not just do the bullet! It’s just jail, we all done a bullet before.” Guy #2 laughed and agreed that the guy they were talking about was an idiot for choosing probation over jail, but said in his defense that he just had a kid and wanted to be free to spend time with him. But even after that they both seemed unconvinced still that their friend did the right thing and continued shaking their heads and debating it. You and I may call these priorities fucked up, but that recklessness and personal disregard is exactly what makes lower-class men so hard for the Leviathan and its alpha proxies to control.
In parting, look at this scene from the wonderful television program Jersey Shore:
Now look at the fallout from that alpha moment, as shown in the first 9 minutes or so in the clip below:
Notice how Ronnie went a little renegade, got his alpha on and began to puff his chest out and strut. Look at how all the Leviathan’s alpha proxies like the police, the courts, jail and public opinion immediately swooped down and work together to put him in his place. And finally, look at the speech he gives in the second clip, remorseful, contrite, and ashamed for doing what was totally within his rights to do according to the laws of nature: punch a man who was following him home and threatening the safety of him and his woman. He’ll think twice the next time. If he was rich, he’d have been able to buy his way out of this little scrap. If he was poor and blue collar/ghetto he’d have been undeterred by a stay in jail and wouldn’t hesitate to do the exact same thing next time and go right back to jail. But Ronnie has neither option and as a result is still facing the charges even today as prosecutors build their case against him.
All because he bought into the myth of the middle-class alpha male.
[Only two more parts to go: Feminism: The Monkey Wrench and The Conclusion: How All This Translates Into Practical Advice for You To Use. Hang in there.]