The Alpha Male at Bay
Filmmakers sometimes hit the exact correct symbol to represent an idea.
That’s true of John Ford in the final scene of his masterpiece, The Searchers. Ethan Edwards, frontiersman and Civil War veteran, has succeeded in his years-long quest to rescue a young girl kidnapped by Indians and return her home. He brings her to the cabin, the family fusses over her, and all of them rush inside… All except Edwards, who remains alone, framed by the open door. With an almost childlike gesture, one arm gripping the other at the elbow, he turns away as the door, as if by the hand of God, is firmly shut.
Edwards is portrayed as nearly crazy, almost pathological in his hatred of Indians. But he remains the hero. He is the man who counts -- the one who does things, who will not back down, who takes charge, who accepts the challenge that no one else will dare. He is, quite simply, the alpha male. (And of course, John Wayne never played anything else.)
Ford knew -- and we can assume Wayne did too -- that there is a paradox at the heart of masculinity. Alpha males are necessary and cannot be done without. At times of emergency no one is more lauded. But when the emergency is over, no one is more unwelcome than the alpha.
We see this repeatedly. Mad Max watching the last civilized tribe vanish down the highway before driving off into the desert alone. Dirty Harry turning his back on an utterly corrupted system. Shane riding into the wilderness as the young boy cries his name. It’s no different in the real world; Victor Davis Hanson recently published an entire volume dealing with exactly this phenomenon, The Savior Generals, telling the stories of commanders who redeemed apparently hopeless situations only to be rejected by the very societies they saved. The most recent of these was General David Petraeus, who… Well, we all know that story.
As the Petraeus saga indicates, this has never been truer than in the West today. We live in a world run by betas and their lady friends. A world that is not only unwelcome to the alpha, but one that is blatantly hostile to everything he stands for. A world that not only denies any place to the male champion, but denies any need for him, and even argues that he never truly existed. Much of the history of the past half-century -- from radical feminism to gay rights to the various “New Masculinities” that have appeared, amused the girls on “The View”, and then vanished, can be explained by this paradigm. We live in a culture that has, quite under the table, decided to discard one of the driving wheels of human existence, one in operation since the days of the Serengeti, without considering or planning for what that might mean.
This is put into relief by two recent incidents -- the Mizzou disturbances and the Paris attack. (There’s a third that can act as comic relief: Sen: Claire McCaskill’s on-air tantrum in which she called for males to “shut the hell up.”)
In response to the baseless, halfwit racial disturbances on campus, Missouri president Tim Wolfe and chancellor R. Bowen Loftin resigned, an action explained with comments that can only be called rationalizations. Not only did they flee, they also praised the “extraordinary courage” and “intelligence” of the hysterics who had driven them out, statements that can only be termed as “groveling.”
In the wake of the Paris assault, Francois Hollande vowed immediate and total war against ISIS, an action that was followed by… nothing. A few days later, U.S. forces boasted that they had given a 45-minute warning that ISIS oil trucks were going to be a bombed, a factor that resulted in less than half the trucks being destroyed.
Pusillanimity, excuses, empty gestures -- these are the emblem of the human beta.
First we have to define our terms -- it goes without saying that the definition of an “alpha male” has been thoroughly distorted in hopes of discrediting it. An alpha, we’re told, is a bully, a thug, of low intelligence or even worse -- back in the 60s it was often implied that he was homosexual. You don’t hear that much today, now that gays are the exemplars of the new masculinity. (Let’s note here for the record that Putin and Trump both fit this mold -- they’re transparent bullies. Another trait of the alpha is that they never need to try too hard, as both these characters do.)
All this is nonsense. Alphas are simply the leading males of a particular social unit. In the animal world, this allows him access to more females to better spread his genes. Alphas are stronger, more ruthless, more decisive, and smarter than the average members of whatever their breed may be. Betas are the followers. In the human world, things are a little more complicated -- the majority of men are a mix ranging from the pure alpha (Patton, Muhammad Ali) to the pure beta (Bernie Sanders, Dagwood Bumstead, any given TV ad male), but the basic thesis holds firm. (Things have also been confused by the creation of something called the “female alpha,” who is simply a bully, one given to connivery and backstabbing rather than confrontation, which counts her out immediately.)
Pure alphas, the ones stored in the “break only in case of war” cabinets, amount to about 5% of the male population, though there’s certainly variances there as well. Ireland, the Masai, and Albania would no doubt produce a larger percentage, whereas Belgium and Sweden… not so many.
The ladies, for reasons of their own, like to play with alphas but to marry those of a more beta tendency. It’s one of those things that makes being human so interesting. Part of this is that it makes men easier to control, another is that it makes life much less nerve-wracking. Although it hasn’t been discussed to any extent at all as far as I know, women in moving into the public sphere have tended to bring with them the practices and attitudes of the household, usually with no analysis or adjustment. This is one of them. Women in politics, business, and the academy seem to think that they can run things with men much like their husbands.
The result has been a carnival of unintended consequences, much of it farcical, no small part of it terrifying. As Margaret Mead pointed out decades ago, males (by which she meant alphas) turn their backs on fields in which women are dominant. (Anyone doubting this is invited to examine the Democratic Party.) So we see endless situations in which beta males wander the landscape, in fields such as academia, the arts, and increasingly the sciences and government, looking for alphas to obey, and finding women who have no idea how to fit the role.
This is clearly in play in American academia, which has been totally taken over by feminists and betas. (Most interesting here is the Yale incident in which the college master was publicly berated by a foul-mouthed female student over an email sent by his wife suggesting that students take ethnic Halloween costumes with a grain of salt. Note that it was the wife who was responsible for the offending email but the husband who was sent out to answer for it. Clearly, she was sending a beta to do an alpha’s job.)
There are plenty of other examples. It would bad enough if this were a global phenomenon, with all cultures in the same predicament. But of course, it’s not. It is generally limited to the West, and largely to the United States. Elsewhere, the reign of the alpha continues, often in utterly perverse forms, as in the Islamic world, where it has been twisted by the tribal precepts inherited from Arab nomadic culture. In the Muslim world, we have males who fulfill every tenet of the alpha except for one: they are utterly terrified of females.
Islam is a primitive culture in which traditional masculinity has been distorted by bizarre tribal practices and murderous cultism. In the place of normal males, we see blustering, brutal, near-hysterical adolescents motivated as much by fear as anything else. Fear of women, fear of the intellect, fear of disagreement -- things no mature male would ever be afraid of. You take a few million of these emotional cripples and throw them at the feminized, beta-ized West, and…. Well, it’ll be funny in the 30th century. But it’s not funny today.
This is the meek inheriting the earth in the form of Woody Allen and his nagging girlfriend. Police chiefs who behave like ballerinas. Weird rituals in response to crimes, atrocities, and terror attacks -- hugging, carrying candles, singing “Imagine.” Ritalin being prescribed to “hyperactive” children -- almost all of them male, and almost all of them acting the way young males have always acted. Military forces bending over backwards to avoid the one thing that military forces are designed to do -- strike a target. There’s no such thing as “Let’s roll” from this crowd. The betas currently inhabiting the seats of power in the West (Obama certainly -- one look at Michelle reveals who wears the britches in that family. Hollande is a Socialist, and thus a beta by definition. Cameron is the beta who wishes he were an alpha) are very much in the position of a whipped baboon showing his rump to the pack leader. Unfortunately, while baboons are programmed to back off at that point, jihadis are not.
We were promised by feminists that once women took their places in leadership positions, we would immediately have a better world, predicated on the female virtues of moderation, community, and compromise. This may have worked in a world in which every society was operating on the same level. But in a milieu overrun by gangbangers, jihadis, organized criminals, and petty tyrants, all the Ritalin in the world is not going to help. An aversion to subjecting women to the same level of criticism as men has given a system characterized by fatuity, frivolousness, irresponsibility, and incompetence caused by unwillingness to acknowledge how the world actually works. Angela Merkel, Hillary, and Claire McCaskill can serve as examples. But we could go on.
The good news about this is that it’s self-limiting. No society can operate in complete defiance of natural law for very long (Just look at Islam for an example.) Eventually, alphas will be annoyed enough to leave their current strongholds (generally business and arts such as film and music, where swashbucklers are still admired, along with the Internet -- what are hackers but the highwaymen of old armed with mouse and modem?) to straighten things out. The question is, how much damage will occur before that happens?