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Jack Donovan’s The Way of Men

[1]5,809 words

Jack Donovan
The Way of Men [2]
Portland, Or.: Dissonant Hum, 2012

1. The Way of Men is the Way of the Gang

How do you define masculinity? If you listen to today’s feminist-approved “authorities” on the subject you will be told either that masculinity means nothing at all — that it is “constructed” differently from place to place or time to time — or you will be told that masculinity is now being “redefined.”

As you may have heard, there’s a “men’s movement” today, but it more or less consists in rescuing men from having to be manly. Its aim is essentially to help men divest themselves of the burden of manliness and have a good cry. Time in the sweat lodge (no smoking please!) will be followed by a steaming cup of chamomile tea and a hot towel.

One could call this the “new, effeminate masculinity.” The tremendous irony here is that while good-old-fashioned manliness is being spat upon, suppressed, and defined out of existence, it is simultaneously being urged upon women. Boys need to get in touch with their feelings, but girls need to haul their asses off to soccer practice. Boys need to stop judging, while girls need to be more “assertive.” Boys need to sit still and take their Ritalin, while girls need to “question authority” (remember: “well-behaved women seldom make history”). Boys need to stop being so competitive (because that’s a bad thing), and stop recoiling from competitive girls (because that’s a good thing). And when the day is done, boys need to learn to keep their hands to themselves and let the girls go take their SlutWalk.

Jack Donovan’s The Way of Men is the best book on masculinity I’ve ever read. Why? Because Donovan isn’t out to re-define masculinity; he’s out to recover what is timelessly true about it. The trouble with the “social construction” theory of “gender” is that it flies in the face of thousands of years of human experience, as well as all the science on sex differences that’s been done for the better part of a century.

Everyone whose mind has not been completely warped by political correctness is aware of this. We all know that the differences between men and women are enormous. We all know that any man who thinks that “masculinity can be anything you want it to be” is just trying to change the rules in order to disguise his own pathetic failure at being manly. But even if we’re all on the same page about the falseness of PC “gender” garbage, we’re still left with the problem of how exactly to define masculinity.

Ask around and you’ll find that even those of us reactionaries who believe that masculinity is timeless and biologically-based will differ in what they think is essential to being a man. How do we settle such disputes? Donovan has come up with an ingenious solution. It’s a thought experiment, really. Imagine a primitive society concerned with day-to-day survival. We’re not talking about anything more advanced than a very small village. Given the basic biological differences between the sexes, it is men who would be charged with doing the difficult and dangerous work of hunting animals and defending the tribe’s territory from outsiders. (Donovan doesn’t spend a lot of time trying to prove that men are physically stronger and more aggressive than women. Anyone needing such proof is far too dishonest, or far too brainwashed by PC, to appreciate the rest of his argument.)

Donovan doesn’t refer to Carl Schmitt, but his understanding of the essence of “the political” is uncannily like Schmitt’s. The basic distinction that makes our village a social unit is “us vs. them.” We recognize insiders and outsiders. And “politics” begins when some men (and I mean males) are given authority in virtue of having the appointed task of protecting us from “them.” It’s when men go about this task together, in what Donovan calls “gangs,” that manly virtue first makes itself known.

As I will indicate a little later, there are some ambiguities in Donovan’s treatment of “virtue.” However, he essentially understands it along the lines of Aristotle’s areté, which is usually translated as “virtue” but is better translated “excellence.” (Donovan points out, however, that the Latin “virtus” comes from vir– which means “man,” so that “virtus” originally meant “manly quality.”)

The manly virtues are excellences of the male. Donovan wants to make a distinction between specifically masculine virtue (what he calls “being good at being a man”) and virtue that any “person,” male or female, can manifest (men who achieve those virtues may be “good men,” but may not be “good at being a man”). He makes this distinction in a simple and extremely clever way. He points out that there are certain qualities which we expect men to have. When we don’t find those qualities in a man, we think less of him. However, we don’t think less of a woman if she lacks those same qualities. What are they? They are the basic attributes men must have in order to play their primal role as guardians of the tribe. Specifically, they are: strength, courage, mastery, and honor.

By “strength,” Donovan has in mind literal, physical strength. He’s not talking about Jesus’s “strength” on the cross, and still less about the “strength” that helped transgendered Pat endure all the bullying s/he received in high school. Donovan means strength in its most primal and basic sense. Men have to have this in order to be guardians. If they don’t have it, they’re not good at being guardians and they are perceived as weak links by other men. This is as true today as it was in the primeval forests. Our biological makeup remains unchanged. Life in today’s modern world may require very few displays of physical strength on the part of men, but men are still judged as inferior if they are physically weak.

Why else is it that so many men shell out billions of dollars each year for gym memberships? They want to be strong and to be seen to be strong — by women, yes, but preeminently by other men. Men are hard-wired not just to want to achieve masculine virtue, but to want acceptance and honor from other men based upon their masculine virtue. Why? Because that unit of men that guards our perimeter, that protects “us” from “them,” only functions if all the men are driving each other to cultivate manly virtues.

As for women, nobody thinks Martha is less of a woman if she needs help changing a tire. We never observe physical weakness in a woman and think “she’s unwomanly.” Sally may defeat Martha in an arm-wrestling contest, but no observer thinks “Wow, Martha isn’t half the woman Sally is!” Now, the feminists, of course, will claim that this way of approaching things is the worst sort of sexist ignorance: “Strength isn’t thought of as essential to being a woman, just because women have been taught to think that strength is unfeminine!”

Isn’t feminism just the most shocking hogwash? We really live in the topsy-turvy world, folks, where reality just doesn’t matter anymore. But the reality is that men really are stronger than women, just because there’s always been a division of labor between the sexes: men hunt and guard the perimeter, women cook the stew and have the babies that make guarding the perimeter necessary. We admire strength in men because it’s a sign men have what it takes to play their allotted role. We don’t admire strength in women because they simply don’t need it.

Donovan essentially applies the same sort of analysis to the other three primal, masculine virtues. For example, it’s true that women can sometimes display courage in physical danger, but if a woman runs from a club-wielding Orc we don’t think “What a coward!” If a man did, we would (and even male hobbits don’t get a free pass here).

By “mastery” Donovan means a man’s ability to manipulate and control his environment. This means everything from creating makeshift bear traps to navigating by the stars (at least, this is what it means in the “primal scene” Donovan starts from). To this day, we’re not the least surprised if women aren’t good at these things. If a woman can’t fix a toilet, we find it endearing; if a man can’t fix it for her, we feel just a little contempt for him.

When a man refuses to stop and ask for directions, it’s because he’s got a platoon full of imaginary comrades looking over his shoulder waiting to see if he has the “mastery” it takes to be one of them. His honor is at stake — which is the fourth and last of the virtues Donovan discusses. We men just can’t shake such feelings. And why should we? It’s these vestiges of our primordial drive to achieve the manly virtues that are the last slim thread connecting our doughy modern selves to an authentic sense of manhood.

For Donovan, therefore, what it means to be a man in the most basic sense is to achieve, to one degree or another, these four primary virtues. Further, the drive to achieve these virtues is rooted in our biological makeup. No matter what setting men find themselves in, they are going to feel the desire to prove their strength, courage, mastery, and honor. They will feel the desire to prove this to themselves and, primarily, to other men. Because also hard-wired in us is the desire to belong to the Männerbund — to that fraternity of men who recognize each other as comrades capable of protecting the perimeter. Men are fundamentally pack animals.

But don’t men also want to prove their virtues to women? Yes, of course. In fact, Donovan argues that the primary characteristics that make men sexually attractive to women are strength, courage, mastery, and honor. It’s this last point — honor — that’s crucial in a way, however. Honor refers to men’s desire to be honored — to be praised and accepted — by other men. And the sort of men women find most attractive are those who receive the most honor from other men: the alpha males, in other words. So, it is actually through making themselves accepted and admired by other men that men make themselves attractive to women.

In sum, Donovan’s approach to getting at the core of masculinity consists in identifying the most essential traits men would have to exhibit in playing their basic, primal social role — a role marked out for them by their biological makeup. The result is the most persuasive argument for the “true meaning” of masculinity I have ever encountered.

2. Masculinity: Refined or Unrefined?

Of course, there are certain assumptions that underlie Donovan’s approach. The first is that “true masculinity” is to be found among men in their most primitive and undeveloped form. But I can imagine someone responding to him along the following lines.

There are certain human traits that have developed over time, and we have to understand them in terms of their most developed form, not in terms of their most undeveloped. Take human reason, for example. It begins with a caveman reasoning that since wild boar have to drink, and since the only water source around is this here stream, it follows that a good place to ambush and kill wild boar would be at this stream. Flash forward a few thousand years and human reason is firing rockets to the moon.

To understand reason is to understand it in terms of its excellences — in terms of what it is capable of doing. Clearly, that means that we have to understand it in terms of its most developed form, not its most primitive form. To borrow some words from old Aristotle, we have to understand reason in terms of its actuality, rather than its potentiality. To do otherwise is a bit like defining an oak tree by saying that it’s an acorn.

And shouldn’t this be true of masculinity as well? If we want to understand manliness, shouldn’t we also look to manliness in its most developed and refined form, not exclusively to the manliness of our primitive, subhuman ancestors?

Donovan several times dismisses talk about “nobility” — for example, in Aristotle’s treatment of the noble man — as if it were merely a kind of “moral veneer” painted over primal manliness; as if it were somehow a kind of inauthentic and decadent “civilized” version of manliness. That may be one way to look at it.

But another way is to see ideals such as nobility as a higher-level development of primal masculinity, arrived at when men began to consciously reflect upon the manly virtues. In other words: when men began to be more like men and less like beasts buffeted about by instincts and hormones.

While masculinity may emerge initially from instincts and hormones, as the minds of men developed it became an ideal. And men developed and refined and codified this ideal over time, until manliness actually became something pursued for its own sake. In other words, the manly virtues discussed by Donovan ceased to be thought of by men as good merely because they have utility (utility for attracting babes and guarding babies), and became things noble and fine and pursued for their own sake. (My language here deliberately echoes that of Aristotle, who gets a rather undeserved beating in this book.)

Donovan sometimes distinguishes between “manly virtue” and virtue that has nothing to do (specifically) with being a man in a way that is rather arbitrary. For example, at one point, listing virtues that don’t have anything to do with being good at being a man, he gives “justice” and “honesty.” But both of these seem pretty manly to me.

As Schopenhauer and Weininger will tell you, justice is something women are particularly wretched at. You might say that some women can be just if they try — but some women are capable of being courageous as well. I do associate justice with manliness. And it’s certainly necessary in a basic warrior band setting, by the way — where rewards (honors) must be distributed fairly and with justification, just as blame, dishonor, and punishment must be.

Women seldom have any real concern with justice. It’s usually all about hugs and forgiveness. (Unless they’re scorned, then it’s all about revenge — but that’s not a motivation that flows from a sense of justice.) And the same is true of honesty. Women are the most dishonest, guileful, manipulative creatures on the planet. Honesty is speaking the plain truth, having the conviction that truth is paramount, that reality cannot be faked, that one must present oneself as one is without sham or fakery. This is truly a part of manliness. And it is important, again, to the most basic and primal of male survival situations.

Both justice and honesty seem like very manly virtues to me. But of course they are more refined developments of manly virtue, of which our most primitive ancestors would probably have been incapable, since they require a certain facility with abstract thought and with reasoning in terms of ideals like “fairness” and “truth.”

Now, my kneejerk Aristotelianism tells me that all the above is correct — that we cannot understand manliness by looking solely to its most primitive form. Nonetheless, there are some serious problems here.

Donovan points out, quite correctly, that as civilization developed manliness came to be more and more “refined” to the point where all sorts of things were claimed to be “manly” that . . . well, aren’t. For example, any man interested in the subject of manliness will surely have read one or two medieval accounts of chivalry — and found them pretty disappointing. Why? Because they tell us that, among other things, knights shall exhibit the virtues of “chastity” and “faith.” Well, that doesn’t sound too manly to me. Of course, I’ve got an imagination and I can make up an account of how it’s manly. “Chastity” involves self-control, not giving way to your impulses, and that’s manly. “Faith” means committing yourself to belief even without evidence, fighting for that belief without wavering, etc. Sounds manly. But the trouble is that women too can exhibit chastity and faith — and they’re often better at both than men.

Today we have all sorts of absurd claims about what “refined” masculinity now must consist in. Masculinity means tolerance, non-judgmentalism, and fighting for equality. Masculinity means strength used to help the weak; courage used to help the meek; mastery used to build a prosthetic penis for transgendered Pat; and honoring “diversity.” And all the puny little men making such claims will tell you that this is the telos of masculinity’s history: masculinity in its most developed and refined form. They will agree with me that we cannot understand masculinity merely be looking to its earliest and most primitive state.

Bloody Hell! I don’t want those people agreeing with me!

Jack Donovan is clearly worried that once you start talking about “refined” forms of masculinity there is a danger you will define masculinity out of existence. He’s right. This is why he takes primal masculinity as a kind of touchstone, and there is a great deal of sense in this approach. Nevertheless, I am torn. As I argued above, it makes a lot of sense to say that our conception of manliness has grown and been enriched in some ways, as men like Aristotle came to consciously reflect on those primal manly virtues that Donovan speaks about. However, we need some non-arbitrary way of deciding when “refinement” of masculinity becomes negation of masculinity.

This is a very tricky issue. For example: according to Donovan’s four criteria, members of urban black street gangs would be exemplars of manliness. This is clearly a problem. Yet, there is also a problem with going in the opposite direction and upholding “the gentleman” as the true exemplar of manliness. There is definitely a part of me that sees the classical conception of the “English gentleman” to be a bit effete and unmanly — yet these gentlemen at one time ruled most of the planet. There’s a Tyler Durdenish part of me that sees “civilization” itself as crying out for demolition. But isn’t that the same thing as yearning for a life akin to that of the black street gang? And isn’t that far, far beneath me?

Ultimately, the issue I’m raising — about whether masculinity becomes legitimately refined over time — really may come down to how we evaluate civilization itself. I think one factor that motivates Donovan to take his position is that he is clearly a kind of Tyler Durdenish primitivist. Quoting Tyler: “In the world I see — you’re stalking elk through the damp canyon forests around the ruins of Rockefeller Center. You will wear leather clothes that last you the rest of your life. You will climb the wrist-thick kudzu vines that wrap the Sears Tower. You will see tiny figures pounding corn and laying-strips of venison on the empty car pool lane of the ruins of a superhighway.” I think this is Donovan’s world too, but maybe I’m wrong. Again, I’m torn.

3. Nietzsche: He’ll Tell Us What to Do

Really, what I am suggesting above is that while Donovan gives us excellent guidance in understanding the core of masculinity, I believe his account of manly virtue can be expanded. The tricky part is how to do the expanding without diluting manliness until it’s unrecognizable. That would happen, as Donovan astutely recognizes, if we made being “manly” include virtues that we expect women to exhibit as well — or (worse yet) if we twisted manly virtue so as to make it serve unmanly interests.

I alluded to this last point when I spoke about how the PC morons want manly strength to serve the weak, manly courage to serve the meek, etc. Some of my readers may have immediately recognized this sort of thing as what Nietzsche calls “slave morality.” In The Genealogy of Morals [3], Nietzsche hypothesizes that the first human civilizations were ruled by the “master” type of men, who exhibited virtues (excellences) like strength, courage, mastery, and honor. Everyone in these early societies, even those who were not warriors, paid tribute to these virtues and to the men who achieved them. Nietzsche refers to this as “master morality.”

But what about those who failed to live up to these standards? The men, for example, who were physically weak or cowardly? Well, some men of this sort recognize and accept their own inferiority, but nonetheless revere their betters. (Donovan points out, correctly, that the stronger men in warrior bands are often quite gentle with the weaker men and try to find some way to make them useful — unless their weakness becomes a serious liability.)

There is another sort of man, however, who feels hatred for the men who embody the virtues he lacks. This is what Nietzsche calls the resentful type. Such men eventually find ways to turn the tables on the masters by spreading, through various means, a new “slave morality.” This consists essentially in inverting the values of the masters, so that, for example, “meekness” is celebrated instead of courage (“the meek shall inherit the earth”).

What slave morality is really all about is getting masters to do the bidding of slaves. But this means not so much destroying master virtues as perverting them so that they wind up serving slave ends. So master types are allowed to be strong and to display courage — so long as they understand that it’s the weak and the meek that these virtues must serve. When Donovan writes about how political correctness actually tries to appeal to the very manly virtues it attacks — telling us, for example, that “real men” honor diversity — he is giving a very Nietzschean analysis. (This is particularly true of his free eBook No Man’s Land [4] where he convincingly argues that PC critics of masculinity like Michael Kimmel are motivated by resentment against the manly virtues they sorely lack.)

Now, in The Way of Men Donovan is concerned to make the point that the manly virtues of strength, courage, mastery, and honor are “amoral.” This can easily be misunderstood. All Donovan means is that these are virtues that even gangs of scoundrels, up to no good, find useful to cultivate. Even men bent on evil purposes strive to cultivate strength, courage, and mastery. And as the old saying goes, there is honor even among thieves. This is a perfectly correct observation — but it leads us into some very deep waters. The truth is that we men admire these manly traits even when they are exhibited by evildoers. And this means that there is a kind of manly goodness that exists quite independent of what most of us think of as “moral goodness.”

My contention here is that Donovan is really resurrecting Nietzschean “master morality.” One could equally well say that he is resurrecting old-fashioned, pre-Christian pagan warrior ethics. I think this is a point Donovan would be sympathetic to, but he does not develop this idea in The Way of Men. Indeed, he does not offer a very clear sense of what he means by “morality,” and more often than not (unless I am mistaken) he seems to simply identify it with Judeo-Christian slave morality. Because authentic manly virtue has nothing to do with that sort of morality, he seems to conclude that it is therefore outside the realm of ethics entirely.

For example, Donovan tells us that “Being good at being a man isn’t a quest for moral perfection, it’s about fighting to survive” (p. 45). In a way, this is certainly true just in that men fighting to survive aren’t thinking about moral perfection. But as a good pagan moralist I would take the position that moral perfection indeed comes from developing all that it takes to survive (and to protect one’s one). Donovan actually states the pagan perspective quite well when, earlier in the book, he alludes to the fact that virtue originally had to do with manliness, and that andreia (courage) just means manliness.

The problem here seems to come from assuming that “morality” always has something to do with fealty to abstract laws which apply universally to everyone, male or female. But this is simply to take the Judeo-Christian view of morality as absolute. Again, when Aristotle speaks of moral or ethical virtue he simply means excellences of the character. I am not simply a “person,” however: I am a man. Developing my moral character, therefore, involves developing excellences exclusive to males. But this is nonetheless part of “moral character.” So, in a sense “being good at being a man” is definitely about “moral perfection.” In order to see this, however, one has to thoroughly purge any hidden vestiges of slave morality from one’s mind . . .

Again, I don’t think that Donovan is in principle opposed to the idea that the manly virtues can form the core of a “new” master morality (or of a resurrected one). And to give such a morality to men and say “Go and be manly, knowing that this is true virtue,” would be an enormous service. But he doesn’t do that here — and actually that’s just fine.

The first step in freeing men from the ways in which slave morality has perverted manliness is to get them to see that manly virtue doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with any kind of “higher” moral aim. Nevertheless, even though this is the case all honest men will see that manliness is “good” whether it is exhibited by saints or sinners. Donovan accomplishes this in The Way of Men, and this is enormously important. The next step, in my view, is to go “beyond good and evil” —  beyond morality as we know it — and establish a new morality altogether, from the four small seeds of manly virtue sowed by Donovan. Or: breathe new life into the oldest of old moralities. It comes to the same thing.

As the reader will no doubt have gathered by now, this is a book that is not only filled with new and bold ideas: it will also give rise to new insights, new values, new ways of living and of facing the world.

4. Save the (White) Males

Suppose Donovan is right that the drive to achieve manly virtues is rooted in our biological makeup, and that no matter what setting men find themselves in, they are going to feel the desire to prove that they have these qualities. If so, then we have to recognize that men are fated never to be satisfied by the modern world. Much of The Way of Men is devoted to discussing this point. This is an important book for many reasons, but one of them is that it so clearly demonstrates that the modern world is built upon the suppression of masculinity.

Because this world is focused entirely on the achievement of material comfort and security, it satisfies only one of the three parts to the Platonic soul: the appetitive side of our nature. Ideals that rise above the desire to acquire more money and possessions are ridiculed, and the idealists who dream them are regarded as in need of better medication. It is the spirited part of us — what Plato calls thumos — that motivates us to strive for such ideals, particularly where this involves a vision of ourselves and how we might and ought to be. It is thumos that is the primary thing that is manly about men (as I believe Donovan recognizes).

I’ve discussed thumos in other essays, most recently in my review of Fight Club [5]. Thumos can be found in both males and females, but it is far more developed in the male. We see thumos especially behind Donovan’s concept of honor, motivating us to keep to our code, to be loyal to our comrades, and to strive to be more than we are. It’s also thumos that is behind courage. Donovan speaks of courage as putting strength into action. This is true, but behind courage is thumos, which is not a “virtue” per se but the part of the soul that spurs us to achieve virtue. Thumos is even behind “mastery”: driving us to want to dominate our surroundings.

But to make this modern democratic, capitalist, egalitarian, feel-good world work, thumos has got to be ruthlessly suppressed. Male aggression, ambition, competition, and desire for dominance have got to be pathologized, lampooned, and drugged away (while, as I noted earlier, women are simultaneously encouraged to ape these very traits).

Our modern world neuters the natural male desire to construct hierarchies and to make distinctions by means of a pervasive relativism that teaches us never to judge — just like our (female) kindergarten teachers wanted. All the traditional settings in which men proved themselves as men have either been done away with or invaded by women. Male bonding has been destroyed not just through the presence of female interlopers, but through the post-modern hermeneutic of suspicion that reads “latent” into everything. And speaking of which, men who openly reject and deride masculinity are now officially welcome in what everyone once thought was the last and best school of manliness: the military.

In an essay [6] published on this website, Derek Hawthorne quotes D. H. Lawrence characterizing masculinity as follows: “It is the desire of the human male to build a world: not ‘to build a world for you, dear’; but to build up out of his own self and his own belief and his own effort something wonderful. Not merely something useful. Something wonderful.” But today, men no longer fulfill themselves by building a world that is noble and fine, and not merely useful. They have been conned into building “a world for you, dear,” a world for women, that enshrines the values, attitudes, and priorities of women.

Thumos is permitted to display itself today only in so far as it can be channeled into the service of this feminized world. So, for example, male aggression and honor-loving are allowed to express themselves in military service — but the military, of course, is merely a tool used to safeguard the world we’ve built “for you, dear.” One has to feel sorry for all those poor dumb recruits who think they are going off to prove their masculinity, not realizing they are just cannon fodder for Big Sister.

Make no mistake, this modern world is built upon the broken bodies and spirits of men. If Donovan is right about our nature, however, one can almost construct an argument for the historical inevitability of the modern world’s downfall. So long as our biology remains the same, we will continue to feel the desire to live as men — and we will continue to feel oppressed by the present situation. Can our thumotic rage be forever contained? Because it is so clearly at odds with biology, the modern world is inherently unstable. (And I might add here that while it can be argued, as noted earlier, that this world is inherently “feminized,” ultimately it leaves women unfulfilled as well.)

The logical “what do we do now?” conclusion to Donovan’s case would be “go form Project Mayhem.” He doesn’t say this, of course, because he doesn’t want to encourage criminal behavior. Instead he concludes The Way of Men simply by urging men to form “gangs.” He says little here, other than urging men to come together and form groups of whatever kind they choose. He speaks of Mormon men forming male Mormon “gangs,” etc. It all sounds a little too non-specific. But I think there is a hidden agenda here, and I like it.

If men do form “gangs” then, by virtue of our biological programming alone, they will find themselves spurring each other on to cultivate the manly virtues. And the more these men come to realize their own masculine nature via the gang, the more they will feel cut off from modern sensibilities. The commitment to cultivate the primal masculine virtues implicitly entails a rejection of the modern world. And truly cultivating those virtues creates an ever-widening distance between ourselves and the beaten-down bonobos who are quite happy with their Ipads, their porn, and with vicarious enjoyment of masculine virtue.

I have very subversive hopes for these gangs. (And I think Donovan’s hopes are subversive too — though I’m not sure, and I don’t want to put words in his mouth.) I would like to see these gangs proliferate, to grow in power and influence. I want more and more men to essentially “go on strike,” binding themselves to other men in loyalty, and in reaction against the modern world, coming more and more to hate that world with each passing day. And I want them to eventually come out of that basement . . .

But don’t misunderstand me. I don’t really want to bring down the modern world to save “men” in general. I do sympathize with the men of other tribes, in so far as men are men and have much the same problems and concerns. But it’s the men of my tribe that I am really concerned with — just because my primary concern is with the survival of my tribe and my culture. Jack Donovan has taught us that masculinity first displays itself in this concern with the survival of the tribe — of our tribe, not theirs; with “us” not “them.” Fundamentally, what he has taught us is that to be a man means to be at odds with the men of the other tribe. If Donovan really gets his way and “gangs” proliferate, they’re not going to all go bowling together. They’re going to begin history again. And it’s going to be intense.

Our people can only survive if our men go back to being men again: if they can throw off the weight of slave morality — feminism, multiculturalism, relativism — and recover their primal nature as those who guard the perimeter, protecting us from them. They must cease being camels and go back to being lions, to borrow an image from Nietzsche. Their souls must be quickened again by the desire to test their strength and courage, and to prove themselves to their comrades. Saving our people means saving our men. This is the wider political implication of Donovan’s book. (An implication he does not himself speak of.)

As I put it in another essay [7] inside every “nice,” metrosexual, non-judgmental Nancy boy — yes, even inside Justin Bieber — is a real, hot-blooded thumotic he-man screaming to get out. Get our men back in touch with that primal man inside them, and the whole great, stinking edifice of lies, envy, and ressentiment will collapse so quickly it will surprise all of us.

This is the ultimate reason why The Way of Men is such an important book. And the reason why every man reading this review should buy it today.