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Reply to Bardamu

The Judgment of Paris by Arno Breker

1,297 words

I thank Ferdinand Bardamu for responding to my article at Counter-Currents, “In Defense of ‘Squares,'” which was in itself a response to Jack Donovan’s “The Trouble with Squares.” Greg Johnson has also weighed in on this matter in an incisive and valuable article “Be Yourself?” in which he proposes a kind of synthesis of Ferd’s and my respective arguments.

Given the amount of responses and counter-responses that have already flown in this exchange of ideas, I don’t wish to clutter things up unnecessarily with excessive further commentary. That said, I would like to address just a few things Ferdinand has mentioned in his rebuttal to my initial article, just to clarify my stance, which I think may have been slightly misunderstood. Afterwards, Ferd can have the last word, if he wishes.

In “Can You See the Real Me?” (I dig the Joseph Conrad reference in the title, by the way), F.B. gets “personal,” though not about me, his interlocutor and — on this issue, anyway — intellectual adversary. Though he indicates that he finds my objection to “game” familiar and tiresome, Ferd seems eager to cut me some slack, declaring that I’m probably not as big of a nerd as I make myself out to be. Since the question has been raised, I’ll leave it to your readers to decide if I’m being too hard on myself. Here is a picture of me at age seventeen: skinny, gawky, and awkward, with really bad hair:

But a lot has changed in the last two decades. Now I have no hair:

Still, I am happily married to a fine woman, and the father of two beautiful children, so bitterness is not an option. . . . In any case, when I read Ferd’s amusing and poignant account of his childhood as a lonely fat kid, and his later transformation into a studly “bearded pseudo-hipster” and determined, thorough, and remorseless babe-bagger, I flashed back to two moments of particularly mordant and melancholy significance in my adolescence and young adulthood.

I recall being 15 or 16, and having this one acquaintance decide to help me out. He took me aside once, and let me know that I’d do better with girls if I just stopped using so many big words all of the time. My egregious propensity towards untenable polysyllabism rendered me a dork, he said, and in essence, chicks just don’t dig dorks.

“But who says I WANT to be liked by girls?” I asked, somewhat defensively.

“Oh, you’d like it if you tried it, believe me,” was his smug reply.

The kid was right, in a way. I did want to be popular with the opposite sex, truth be told. But even at the time, I recognized that the price to be paid was far too steep. And I found this well-meaning but somewhat condescending would-be adviser rather insufferable. In order to get girls to like me, I was supposed to talk dumber? Was this for real? Count me out, I decided.

In fact, all through my high school years, there were similar, mostly unspoken strictures in place, markers by which one signified himself as “cool,” and thus sexually desirable. One wore certain types of clothes, had a certain kind of hairdo, and listened to a certain style of music. One went to parties, and drank beer. In defiance, I opted to become a teetotaler and an unrepentant “square,” one who swore off dating and eschewed the notion of making my life into a Porky’s-style 80s teen sex comedy. In short, I became a proud Luke Skywalker in a school full of boys who wanted to be Han Solos.

Did this stubborn disinclination to be “cool” make me happy? Not exactly — I would like to have had more friends, and didn’t particularly groove on being a loner and an oddball. Was I often self-righteous in my non-conformity? No doubt I was at times well-nigh intolerably sanctimonious, expressing myself with all-too typical teenage arrogance. Still and all, I’m happy with myself for the choices I made at the time. I’d happily hold myself up as a model for my own son to follow, though it should go without saying that I hope he makes more friends, meets with greater acceptance, and is altogether happier than I was.

A second memory that I have is a few years later, during my college years. I was sitting in the lunchroom reading a book, and an attractive girl approached and struck up a conversation with me. She seemed to like me, I blearily discerned (there’s no accounting for taste — see my above picture), and the dialogue went smoothly for a while. Then she asked what I was reading. “Kierkegaard,” I replied, showing her my cover of Fear and Trembling. “Oh, it’s for a class?” she asked. “No, I’m just reading it on my own,” I said.

Something changed between us just then. I felt a distance from her that I hadn’t felt before. She seemed to think me rather unpleasantly weird for reading morose, complex Danish existential theology for my own enjoyment. We parted ways soon afterwards, and I had a clear sense that I had again transgressed the prescribed strictures of my social setting. Was I stung by a sense of rejection in this case? Sure I was, a little. But I no more felt like transforming into a different person than I had all those years before, when my “alpha” schoolmate let me in on the supposed secret to success with the ladies. I wasn’t about to forsake Kierkegaard for the sake of sex. Screw that.

My rejection of the pursuit of carnal delights will be looked upon with incredulity by many, and mocked by self-styled “gamers,” for whom sex is the be-all, end-all, and willed celibacy on the part of any man is pathetic and beneath reproach. Still, I hold that my choice was in fact the manly one. A boy meekly conforms with the strictures of his society in order to get laid and be rewarded with the mantle of “popularity.” A man rejects conformity and popularity for the sake of authenticity.

Ferdinand argues that in making an effort to change himself from a geek to a stud, a “beta” to an “alpha,” nothing essential in his personality was lost or betrayed. And I do not criticize him for choosing to lose weight, excercise regularly, eat healthy, and become more assertive. But I wonder . . . in all of the time when he was playing in a “shitty” alternative-rock cover band and trying his best to look like the guy from the Spin Doctors, complete with fuzzy goatee and presumably a wardrobe full of groovy shirts, did he never feel like he was being led by the nose, or made to jump through hoops in a manner most degrading, like a circus monkey? Did no part of him want to say, “Screw you, ladies — I’m tired of trying to be the man you want me to be. Your fickle tastes are shallow and worthless — Cobain today, Bieber tomorrow — and much as I’d like to bed as many of you as possible, I’m not such a slave to my sex drive to play these worthless games . . .  Sayonara, bitches.”

If you are a “gamer,” and if “game” works for you, then salut, and all that; I’m sure you’ve worked hard at your “craft” . . . but, do you never ask what the point of it all is? Are you in it for the hedonistic enjoyment of the sex, or the ego-boosting feeling of “scoring” a lot? Is the slavish pursuit of pleasure and status really what being a man is all about? Is that really the “alpha” way to be? Wouldn’t Tyler Durden himself beg to differ?


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  1. Deviance
    Posted April 4, 2012 at 2:48 am | Permalink

    The love of women for muscular and dumb jerks is, at the time of firearms and industrial civilization, an evolutionary anachronism.

    Should men adapt to women, and thus say goodbye to civilizational progress, or the reverse?

    That’s my final say on Game.

    • Michael Polignano
      Posted April 4, 2012 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

      Marxists believe human nature can “adapt” to a utopian, man-created ideal of how things should be. The New Right doesn’t subscribe to such nonsense: millions of years of evolution cannot be undone just because it isn’t “fair.”

      We must inspire the highest hopes and aspirations in ourselves and our kin and do our best to actualize them. And striving for a constructive, happy, fulfilling relationships between men and women is certainly part of what we must achieve. But we can only do that if we first understand and account for our biological underpinnings.

      We need to work toward a system that complements a nature that is the product of Darwinian evolution, rather than ignores or suppresses it. This is true whether we’re talking about sex or about race.

  2. rhondda
    Posted April 4, 2012 at 7:04 am | Permalink

    Wonderful piece Andy.

  3. Nyklot (Mark)
    Posted April 4, 2012 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    I think it boils down to this, and I will use two philosophers, one which you mentioned above.

    Bardamu believes that your position comes from a type of ressentiment that is articulated by Nietzsche. You are losing in the game of life, so you say the game is evil, and then hold onto some ascetic ideal.

    You are coming more from the Tragic Hero of Kierkegaard. You have rejected the lower ethical demand of success for the higher ethical calling of authenticity, and you are suffering because of it, but this suffering is building your humanity.

  4. Alan Bittler
    Posted April 4, 2012 at 9:40 am | Permalink

    If you are a “gamer,” and if “game” works for you, then salut, and all that; I’m sure you’ve worked hard at your “craft” . . . but, do you never ask what the point of it all is?

    When purpose and meaning are getting low, yes, I do.

    On the other hand, when purpose and meaning reach over-considered levels (i.e., navel-gazing) I respond variously. Sometimes this involves cultivating my pleasure with women.

    There. I accept everyone’s thanks and credit for resolving this debate. Cigars all around.

  5. Alaskan
    Posted April 4, 2012 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

    As I mentioned in another thread, true manliness is measured by the degree to which Man can tame his passions, appetites in favor of reason and higher-order Ideals. This means that a degree of asceticism must be practiced by those in leadership positions. Codreanu certainly understood this,and demanded it of his men. We must be better than our enemies. We must hold ourselves to a higher standard, strive for the Ideal. We must, in other words, be able to resist the temptations and distractions that traditionally enslave us and lead us away from the Truth, our goals. Women, money, petty power positions, that which strokes our ego; these are the very things that our enemies and those that we generally hold in contempt immerse themselves in, hold as markers of “success” and throw our way as the hollow, materialistic prizes of conforming to the corrupt, soulless paradigm of modernity. Unless we truly differentiate ourselves from the “modern” man, become real leaders by EXAMPLE, we are in fact worse than any of our enemies because we should know better. Living an ascetic lifestyle is certainly not for everyone, but we do need to have men and leaders in our movement who have the ability to rise above the influences of the Kali-Yuga, situate themselves in a higher state of consciousness and live in a way that is above reproach. From Plato to Proclus to the Vedas to Codreanu’s Orthodox mysticism, one things is held as essential: mastery over the lowest appetites in order that man may achieve greater things. Modernity is entirely hostile to this ideal and is deliberately designed to excite and validate the lowest appetites, weaknesses and crush the spirit of those who would attempt to rise above such things and create a superior culture and Order. This is obvious. If we fail to recognize this and act accordingly, we ultimately fail ourselves and our people. Our enemies win.

  6. rhondda
    Posted April 4, 2012 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

    Andy, when Kierkegaard said, “Life must be lived forward and understood backward” he knew what he was talking about. The man invented irony in a Christian sense. There would be no existential philosophy without him. ( although some men refuse to credit him) The danger to some men was losing the church and having no where to go. That edge and height can be scary. But it was the quote “before God we are always in the wrong” that spun me out.
    Being female, I am also the devil, I have been told. Always had trouble with that ‘purity of heart is to will one thing’. There are many ‘things’ I love. How is that for irony?

  7. Posted April 4, 2012 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

    Andy :

    I was bummed out when I was unable to read any of your accounts about South Africa after that trip to the Rainbow Nation you announced on

    Please give us some SA Stories !


    – Arturo

    • Posted April 5, 2012 at 5:25 am | Permalink

      Patience, young padewan… The first issue of Radix (which will contain my writeup of my South Africa travels) is coming soon!

  8. Jaego Scorzne
    Posted April 5, 2012 at 10:53 am | Permalink

    Yes, the question, “Is it for Class?” opens up an existential gap that cannot be bridged if the answer is no. People who read would have asked about the book itself – not what it was For.

  9. Fourmyle of Ceres
    Posted April 5, 2012 at 2:39 pm | Permalink


    The Nowicki – Bardamau debate really speaks to cross-purposes.

    Baramau focuses on Game, seeing it as Roissy, He of Blessed Name, sees it – as a Tool that you must understand to not be controlled by, especially when it is used by women.

    This is the hidden secret of Game – it essentially uses the same tools Women have used on Men for thousands of years, notably nonverbal messages that are slightly shaped by words used as Tool – means to an end, defined in terms of social proof, rather than objective standards of proof. It is part and parcel of how Women have defined, shaped, and used the Consensus Trace (HT: Horus the Avenger) to control us to their ends, to fulfill their Purposes.

    The debate/dialogue is best understood by reading the works of F. Roger Devlin, where he makes the absolutely stunning observation – that what Women want in Men is EXACTLY what Civilization does not want, and does not need, save in very limited and structured doses.

    This double message leads to the self-reinforcing double-bind Mind as defined by Bateson. Lack of the clarity of Masculine Purpose supports one accepting the downward defining of one’s Self. Losing one’s attempts to define Masculinity on one’s own terms, one tries to accept the terms of Others, ending up playing WoW and HALO for hours, and accomplishing precious little, indeed, in the Real World. Creating and enhancing Civilization becomes an impossibly distant Dream.

    In short, intellectually, I accept Game as a Tool the other side is ALREADY using, with nonverbal tools used to take control, and Game used to refine the direction in which one is heading. Battling the Consensus Trance remains quite challenging, and quite worthwhile.

    What’s In YOUR Future? Focus Northwest!

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