That's not a phrase that has been heard much in a positive sense for many years. When feminism talks about "masculine power" and the "power of the patriarchy" they speak of it in alarming, sinister ways. Masculine power, after all, brought us Industrialized Warfare, the Holocaust and the Atom Bomb, the three great horrors humanity unleashed on itself in the 20th century. Masculine power, as feminism tells us all too often, is the power to destroy.
Or, conversely, when you point out that not only did the mind of Man build the ovens at Auschwitz also built the Parthenon, the Taj Mahal and the Interstate Highway System, feminists try to say that the male power of creation and ordering is only used to oppress women, that the very structures that give order and purpose to our mighty civilization are there expressly and for no other purpose than to keep women down, while we stand back, twirling our stereotypical mustaches. Feminism has attacked masculine power wherever they have found it. It is anathema to them. In combating it, they attacked the very foundations of "the Patriarchy" -- fathers -- through divorce and hypergamy and crappy visitation and custody laws. You take away the fathers -- boom, no Patriarchy.
Along the way many men lost sense of those powers, as they were told they were evil, wicked, and that they should be ashamed of them. And for a time, we were. We believed that the power to destroy is always evil, the power to order always oppression, the power to lead always dictatorship. We grew up in a world where if we did not just repudiate those powers, but demonstrate our shame at ever having them (and the penis they rode in on) and our collective guilt in the oppression of all women, for all of history.
But even if feminism estranged us from the fathers who could teach us how to use them, they could not banish them altogether. They keep cropping up like a patch of kudzu.
As Men, our masculinity grants us these traditional powers:
The power to Order and Create.
The power to Destroy and Defend.
The power to Know and Do.
The power to Bless and Love.
Stay with me here . . . I'm going somewhere with this.
Within our relationships, within our marriages, within our families men have traditionally, as the feminists like to point out, have been the political and social leaders of our communities: the planners, the directors, the commanders, the leadership. When our fathers became estranged we saw that only through there eyes, in a negative light. The fact that women can lead effectively transformed into the meme that women were naturally better leaders than men, and that if a man beat a woman in competition then it had to be because of the Patriarchy, not because he was better than she was. The men in my life who were leaders led almost apologetically, as if they were doing something wrong. It made an impression.
The male power to Order and Create is the power to decide. There's nothing particularly mystical about it -- as men, we all know how to make a simple checklist and formulate a simple plan and create what we need to get a particular task done. The masculine power of Order is the power to establish a firm set of rules to cover a given situation. It provides the wherewithal to separate and prioritize items and issues into meaningful and manageable pieces. While the exact way we go about doing this varies from man to man, it is a defining characteristic of masculinity that a man be able to order, create, plan and build. To set policy and make decisions.
However, when this shift was made it essentially yanked the traditional male leadership role in the family away. You can see this pointed up pretty dramatically in the contemporary television of the time, specifically the sitcom All In The Family. It followed an older couple, in which the father was an old-fashioned patriarch, who had living with them their daughter and son-in-law, who practiced the newer model of marriage equality. Of course hilarity ensued -- that was the point.
But after that men lost the power of Order in their own families. Policy decisions that used to be made by fiat were now made by consensus. And thanks to an aggressive feminism, ALL marital policy decisions were suddenly up for discussion and debate . . . and veto. If a man tried to Order, he was accused of being a chauvinist and shamed away from the power. Even if the policies and decisions he made were the correct ones. Of course, once he stopped being able to be decisive and bring Order to the household, a kind of chaos set in. Children not only lost respect for paternal authority, they lost respect for parental authority as they saw Mom cut Dad's legs out from under him over and over again. Worse, when a man cannot assert his power to Order, and defers to consensus, he also loses Gina Points to his woman. She may have won the battle to decide how the money was spent, but in doing so she lost the attraction she had for the man who once made that decision (with her advice) to spend. In gaining the power to Order, women diluted it so much with consensus as to make it meaningless.
Part of taking the Red Pill is recognizing your own masculine power, as anemic as it might be. All of them, from Ordering and Destroying to Discovering and Blessing, lie within your masculine soul. We often stumble across them by accident, in the military or in college or even in the course of our relationships, but we rarely get them introduced to us by our fathers, and the other men of our community. Far too controversial now -- how could something like "masculine power" not be misogynistic, after all?
But in order to make a strong Alpha presentation, you have to be able to access those powers -- and not just one or two, but all of them, in balance. Think of the power to Order as the Power To Keep Your Shit Together. Is your car insurance paid? The cable bill? Is your lawn mowed? Do you know your social security number and driver's license number by heart? Did you change out your smoke detector batteries on Daylight Savings Time? Did you check your oil this week? Tire pressure? How's your 401k looking? Is your resume up to date? Behind on your credit card bills?
DO YOU HAVE YOUR SHIT TOGETHER, MAN?
One of the common complaints against the Puerarchy is that these irresponsible guys aren't taking life seriously. I tend to disagree -- live it up, fellas! -- but the perception that these guys are not, in fact, Men, despite their age, is based on the fact that most of them don't know how much toilet paper is in the house at any given moment, their cable keeps getting cut off even though they have the money in the bank, and their laundry is perpetually backlogged. In other words, they don't have their shit together. They have no Order in their lives. Raised by mothers who discouraged the kind of paternal discipline necessary to develop that power, instead these Puerarchs got indulgence and politely-worded, consequence-free suggestions. No wonder they don't have their shit together.
To illustrate this point, I am reminded of an instance over fifteen years ago when my community-minded family volunteered to help with the first-ever hospice camp for children who had lost someone close. A lot of these kids were from working class neighborhoods and many had lost their family members by violence. Needless to say, they weren't particularly well-behaved.
When we arrived there were about thirty kids on the front lawn, mostly running around and screaming, while the three female camp counselors kept trying to gently persuade the children that they should really stick with the published itinerary . . . and of course the kids couldn't care less what three middle-aged, middle-class white ladies had to say. My dad and I watched this for about five minutes, until he'd had enough. He put on his hat, waded into the middle of the chaos and started pointing fingers and directing.
"YOU . . . line up over here. YOU . . . behind him. YOU . . . over there. YOU . . . between them. Now everyone else, pick someone to stand behind. Next kid who talks eats a hand full of sand. Okay, we have four groups now."
The kids responded to his authoritative-sounding voice, his commanding demeanor, and his expectation that stuff would get done when he said so . . . and within three minutes there were four neat little groups of inner-city kids standing quietly in line, waiting to be told what to do. Even the ladies looked at him expectantly -- gratefully, but expectantly. He turned to them and said, "Now what do you want them to do?"
Afterwards, they all were gushing about how well he'd handled the situation that clearly had been too much for them. One of them even asked, "So, who put you in charge?"
My dad shrugged. "I did." End of story. After that, they constantly deferred to him because he had slapped his power to Order on the table with authority. By the end of the day he got a toilet fixed, three day camp sites built, the kids organized by age and gender for activities, ensured that there was someone available to wait with the kids in case of a late pick-up, ensured that the first aid tent was adequately supplied and that there was plenty of ice and water for the camp . . . all without leaving his lawn chair or putting down his guitar.
It was magical.
When a man unleashes his masculine power to Order, great things can happen. Shit gets done. People listen. They may not agree, they may argue, but they do listen. It's not about their feelings, it's not about their self-esteem, it's the command to sacrifice a little of your personal will for the good of the community at the direction of a central ordering authority.
But by implication, issuing policy means being dominant. You are the authority, and they are the directed. You are dominant and they are submissive. You are the manager, they are the managed. And some women take offense to that. I've seen women freak out if there was a man in any kind of authority position -- there's a particular kind of female who seems to live for this challenge. I can only ascribe the motivation as sexual. Regardless of the quality of leadership he displays, a male in a position of authority is always a target for these ladies. They have such a belief in their own infallibility and in the innate ineptitude of men that they chafe at the very idea -- consider them the true masters of the Shit Test.
That's the down side to the power. When you accept your own authority and start Ordering, you also open yourself up to the responsibility for that ordering. If shit goes wrong, it was your decision. In Hamsterland, the existence of consensus allows a rationalization to naturally pop up and keep anyone away from actual responsibility, because there was never any actual authority. I've seen groups of women freak out in the face of failure, each receding into their own protective Hamster bubble, desperately trying to point out that it wasn't their fault. Men, on the other hand -- real Men, not Puerarchs -- take responsibility for the decisions they've made. It's implicit in the power. Once you accept it, there's no going back. YOU are the responsible party.
That's a heady thing for any Red Pill Dude to fathom, but it is vitally important. Some freak over the weight of the responsibility, paralyzed by the prospect of making the wrong decision. Some avoid the responsibility of Ordering out of laziness. Some are still shamed by the idea that their leadership somehow inherently oppresses all womankind. But when the rubber meets the road, being able to lay some Order down on a situation is an incredible power.
Ordering isn't just barking orders, it's barking the right orders. It isn't being dictatorial, it's soliciting advice from the people best able to give it and then making a decision you can be accountable for. Athol's Captain/First Officer model includes the phrase "Options, Number One!" when he wishes for his wife's input. That's an important consideration -- but ultimately you have to make the decision, or yield to her up front -- and let her know you are yielding -- and live with the consequences of her decision as if you had made it yourself.
Ordering isn't easy. It includes the ability to sort, to list, to plan, to conceive of contingencies, to estimate, to allocate resources, to follow through, and to hold everyone accountable, yourself most of all. Sometimes known as the power of the King or the Captain, it is a primal masculine ability, necessary for nearly all else to follow. The confidence to Order must come from within, which means you have to know what your own capabilities and weaknesses are before you can asses the situation. One of my favorite quotes is "To Know Thyself Is The Ultimate Form Of Aggression." And from that self-knowledge comes self-confidence.
Part of Ordering is maintaining discipline and holding your subordinates to account. That's not always easy. Raised as I was in Blue Pill land, I cringed at the thought of disciplining my children, and the idea of disciplining my wife wasn't even on the radar. But after I took the Red Pill and gave a good hard look at my life, I realized that if I wasn't the one to hold her accountable and keep her disciplined, then the Hamster is the one in charge. All of our failures wouldn't be our fault, but gosh they'd start piling up.
Maintaining discipline implies the power to punish, but more important is the power to correct and explain. When your kid screws up, you correct them and explain it to them until there would be no reasonable doubt in any jury's mind that you communicated with him effectively. Then if he screws up and does it again, you are morally obligated to punish him effectively and repeat the lesson, or you haven't lived up to the duties of your command.
|"Dear, don't you think this is a little excessive for forgetting to TIVO|
"Dancing With The Stars"? Or is this foreplay? Just curious."
You might be there a while.
I'm not suggesting that wives, or women in general, can't make plans, establish Order, make lists, delegate, act with authority, or any other of the qualities usually associated with good male leadership. ( Mrs. Ironwood, in fact, is adept at that very thing . . . in her professional life.) And women bring a host of other advantages to the table that are not native to men, such as empathy and communication. I've learned a tremendous amount from my female mentors, and some of the best businessmen I know are women.
It's not female leadership that I discount, it is the tendency for females in aggregate to substitute issues more pertinent to the female social matrix than important to the completion of the goal at hand -- say, "Marge didn't get a turn as an officer last year -- let's make her the treasurer! Her dyslexia won't hold her back . . ." or "Well, Stacy really is the best one to take point on this, but after I heard she was seeing two guys at the same time I just don't feel this is the best time to cut her a break" (both of which are actual quotes I've heard from females in leadership positions).
It's not that women lack them, they just are not their forte -- they have other considerations that are less mission-focused and more people-focused. Men Order, define, and create structures that allow huge increases in efficiency when done properly. By contrast, noted feminist Camille Paglia famously noted "if we had left civilization up to women, we'd all be living in mud huts". For women, the dictates of the female social matrix outweigh the needs of the mission far too often. And the indirect manner in which power and authority is delegated and dispersed in such groups detracts from efficiencies.
I have also noticed that women seem to lead better when they themselves are well-led. I don't have any studies or statistics to back this up, but I have witnessed an entire department undergo an enormous turn-around when a good leader,( man or woman, it didn't seem to matter) was installed over a competent female manager. I've seen this happen a few times, in fact.
Of course often the credit is given to the new leader, when in fact it was the same manager who had made the difference and nothing had other wise changed. But the fact was that without that firm leadership above her, she did not feel the confidence necessary to do the job and manage her subordinates as well as it needed to be done. An Ordering authority gave her the support and delegated authority needed to do it, as well as the need for accountability to compel a good job.
It's amusing -- Mrs. Ironwood served as the head of a small industry-related non-profit group for a while, in which she did simply amazing things in terms of membership and fund-raising. She did it with basically the same set of resources all of her predecessors had, but somehow when she was in charge people just naturally started doing things the right way, and prosperity resulted. Her peers in the organization were always very impressed at how well she did at leading the group, how she delegated, held them accountable, communicated and evaluated, and grew the organization -- without anyone getting too pissed off at her. Even the crazy people.
One by one they told me how impressed they were. I, of course, took credit, because I'm not about to pass up that kind of opportunity to invite a little harmless preselective admiration -- goddess forbid! But after I admitted that I secretly did all of the work behind the scenes while raising three kids and succeeding at my own career, I pointed something out to one of them she hadn't considered.
"Before, you were all waiting around for someone to tell you what to do. You were enthusiastic, you were talented, but you were without a direction. All Mrs. Ironwood did was come in and tell you to do it, and then made sure you did. Y'all need to take the credit." Which is all very sweet and charming, but it's only part of the truth. Mrs. Ironwood doesn't have any particular talent to lead, she's just diplomatic and good with people. But what she is is accountable, and in the absence of authority to guide and validate her, she kinda . . . makes one up.
Sure, it's a cheap trick, but by pretending that there is someone to whom she is accountable, even when she has the "freedom" to run it the way she pleases, allows her the mental space to assume authority on behalf of another, even when there is no "other". Having a fake boss isn't too bad, even if he's a mean fake boss. The trains ran on time, didn't they?
I sure as hell aren't telling her what to do -- running a non-profit sounds like hell to me. I'm a for-profit kind of guy. I wouldn't know where to begin. But I was willing to listen to her talk out her organizational problems and offer my insight, when invited. And that talking-out process felt -- to her -- like she was being accountable to someone. She said it helped. And I didn't really know what the hell she was talking about anyway.
|A Well-Ordered Female Social Group|
Just an observation, as I said. But women respond well to Ordering, even when they resist it. Indeed, flouting your Ordering is a classic passive-aggressive shit-test, and one they crave being called on even if they complain bitterly while they are forced to comply. Enforcing Order on your personal world gives her a sense of stability that acts as an anchor, sometimes. It also gives you the self-confidence that comes from control. Yes, it may appear to an outsider that you are being domineering over your wife and needlessly rigid with your lifestyle . . . but, fuck 'em. This is your house, your life, your wife. You're the one who has to live with her. You either try to bring Order to situation and bring it under your control, or you cede that authority to her by default by becoming a passive part of the consensus. Remember, consensus is the absence of leadership.
So examine your life and discover the areas which cry out for a good dose of Order: set some policies, some house rules, and stick with them. Hold yourself accountable first, then her, then the kids. Start with little things at first, if you need to stick your toe in. You'll become more confident in no time, and with confidence comes mastery. Even if you aren't an "organized" person, you can address this issue within yourself first, and find a way to project that onto the rest of your life. Ordering is getting your shit together. And having your shit together is sexier than not having your shit together. Don't be afraid of the power to Order . . . embrace it. Fight for it, if you have to. But use it.
We'll cover the other Masculine Powers another time.
And yes, I'm making this shit up as I go along.