The Way of Men, by Jack Donovan


The Way of Men
by Jack Donovan
62 pages, Dissonant Hum, $6

Very many academics have studied gender but very few have studied masculinity. As the presumed original privileged gender, masculinity does not interest those who are looking to re-make nature in the image of human preferential notions. But Donovan, along with only a handful of others at the top of the masculinist ecosystem, has undertaken a penetrating analysis of what it is to be a man.

His latest, The Way of Men, first gives us a working definition of masculinity as an expression of the ideals men must share to be effective in hard times. It then describes the inherent tension between masculinity and society, expressed as the contrasted ideals of “being a man” and “being a good man.” Donovan disentangles the two, showing that the masculine imperative of the former conflicts with the type of compromise-based society favored by committees, merchants and the politically-correct that the latter endorses. Finally, he gives us a roadmap for the time after such a degenerated society, and hints on how to get started before that downfall.

A man who is more concerned with being a good man than being good at being a man makes a very well-behaved slave. (32)

For an e-book that runs to 62 pages, that’s a lot of information in a compact form, much less an ambitious thesis. Donovan keeps the writing interesting throughout with eclectic examples and analogies. His verbiage doesn’t sparkle, or quirk, or do any of the other stuff that self-pitying literary magazines do. Instead it keeps a solid focus on its theme while yanking in related ideas to broaden our horizons. The result reads like it could be a keynote address and keep the interest of a large audience. This enables him to tackle controversial ideas from their gentlest sides, as if discussing rotor diameters for automatic transmissions.

What is most convincing about the prose however is that for writing that could appear in a mainstream magazine, The Way of Men is forceful and direct in a way that modern people would consider feral. It is not apologetic, or evasive. It is not indirect or passive. Like a boxer, it walks right to its objective and begins the pummeling. It is not a tantrum, or a rant, or any of the other artifacts of the democratization of language. It is Jack London-style writing, words applied with intent and unrelenting pressure, yet with an inner soul and attention to detail. Nothing is unnecessary. This alone lifts it from the cloud of frustrated impotence that is most writing about masculinity and manliness.

The central theme of The Way of Men is the definition of masculinity not as an individual trait but a social one. Masculinity according to Donovan is a sense of being able to uphold one’s role in a tribe by virtue of the four cardinal abilities of a man, which are Strength, Courage, Mastery, and Honor. In his architectural description of these abilities, Donovan relates them to the ability of men to rely on each other in pursuit of the objectives that have been the traditional domain of men: hunting, defense, conquest and exploration. These are things men will live for, or die for, and it’s the latter that gives them the significance to convey meaning to life through them.

Men respond to and admire the qualities that would make men useful and dependable in an emergency. Men have always had a role apart, and they still judge one another according to the demands of that role as a guardian in a gang struggling for survival against encroaching doom. Everything that is specifically about being a man—not merely a person—has to do with that role. (12)

The Nietzschean undertones to this book are not concealed, but are downplayed from the almost metaphysical ideals of the German philosopher and translated into an assessment of human experience and what makes existence worth surviving. This is an existential view, not a utilitarian one. Most of our social rules and regulations consist of utilitarian thinking, like “What quantity will materially benefit the majority of people?” and never concern themselves with the quality of existence. Donovan’s point, and Nietzsche’s, is that we should look at life as artists: what will make our experience here the most intense, the most vivid, and the most worth living?

By embarking along this line of thought, Donovan touches on where the right-wing and the masculinists combine. Both groups believe that morality and civilization, through their equalizing and leveling tendencies, both adulterate our population with incompetents and also reduce life experience from a natural, organic, inequal and exciting existence to a hum-drum and dull one in which we make few important choices and as a result, feel impotent in daily life. What do we really have control over? The TPS reports? We are manic consumers and individualists because we are seeking a meaning that no longer exists for us, Donovan argues, and so we have embarked on surrogate activities that much like the relationship between pornography and sex, replace an experience with a symbol.

Cosmopolitan journalists from elite schools like Betty Friedan filled women’s imaginations with fantasies of exciting big-city careers that only a few could ever hope to attain. For every woman living that fantasy today, there are a bunch of women scanning merchandise through a checkout line at some big-box retail store, or doing repetitive data-entry in some gray office…Many of those women would probably rather be spending more time actively engaged in the lives of their children, but they no longer have the choice to stay home.

The cost of civilization is a progressive trade-off of vital existence. It’s a trade of the real for the artificial, for the convincing con, made for the promise of security and a full belly. (45)

It’s best not to be fooled by the seemingly specialized title. This book is about men, and being a man, but it’s also about “being good at being a man” and not “being a good man” as defined by the selfish desires for control and equality of others, which become the voice of civilization. However, that is the doorway to its underlying topic, which is about civilization itself. We know we can regulate ourselves into a stupefactive state of no risk, but how much should we?

Between the primal state and the neutered over-socialized state, is there a stopping point? Civilization has for centuries been headed in one direction only. Conservatives put out a hand to halt progress, but Donovan snarls and turns on progress itself, suggesting that when we let our fears rule us, we eliminate the few things that make us feel actually alive. This underlying tension makes The Way of Men a challenging and provocative read.

66 Comments

  1. A. Realist says:

    Anyone who has natural power is hated by this society. Men, white people, aristocrats, the intelligent. They are all hated and penalized for being above equal.

    1. Them types are dangerous, dontcha know.

    2. The Crowd hates anyone of superior ability in any form.

  2. EvilBuzzard says:

    Many of those women would probably rather be spending more time actively engaged in the lives of their children, but they no longer have the choice to stay home.

    It’s worse than that. Women I’ve discussed this with feel torn in half. They are guilty if they aren’t on the job kicking @$$ like the boys, but at the same time, they feel like they fail their kids if they aren’t at home. It’s a less-than-zero sum game for them. I genuinely feel empathy and respect for the ones who aren’t man-haters and just want to lead good, honest lives.

    1. Motherhood is more complex than any job. In a job, you get given tasks. In motherhood, you have one task and you have to wait 20 years to see if you did it right. It doesn’t happen in eight hours a day. It’s a 24-hour-a-day job. It also extends past when the offspring leave the nest. It never ends. Hail mothers, and pity the society that like ours has been so mediocre as to throw women into the furnace of labor as more warm bodies to catch bullets.

      1. Sun says:

        What happened to my lengthy write up?

        Guess it didn’t go through. :(

        Or was it not approved?

        1. crow says:

          It’s easy to get a rep, less easy to dispose of one :)
          You’ve become a solid supporter, Sun, but momentum affects everything that has mass.

        2. None of your posts were not approved (in fact, because your earlier posts were approved, none of your current posts show up in our moderation queue). Are you sure it was successfully submitted to the site?

          1. Sun says:

            Clicked the “submit.”

            Could there be a bug?

            1. Yes, we find ‘em all the time. Unfortunately, to hunt anything down, we’ll sort of need a packet dump… I’ll check the logs tomorrow and will see if I can find anything.

              1. Sun says:

                Its fine. I’ll write another time to make up for it.

                (Don’t punch the computer. I made that mistake one time.)

                :)

    2. Women in this society are in general miserable. But they think differently about it and don’t realize this until it is too late. Where a man rages, a woman calms, and then the disaster snowballs until she needs a man to fix it.

    3. N/A says:

      It’s worse than that. Women I’ve discussed this with feel torn in half. They are guilty if they aren’t on the job kicking @$$ like the boys, but at the same time, they feel like they fail their kids if they aren’t at home.

      This is why 1 in 4 women are using anti-depressant/anti-anxiety medications.

  3. Oznoto says:

    Yo Brett,

    You forgot to mention that Jack Donovan is a homosexual activist, and the author of the “hard-queer” manifesto “Androphilia”. Unusual among homosexuals, he hates sissies and likes to humiliate them, yet he fucks other men in the ass. Go figure.

    When we still had military conscription in the US, the classification of 4F (given to homosexuals) meant “unfit for military service”. Today it means: “Faggots Frequently Favor Fascism”. And of my experience, they indeed do. So it does not surprise me to find you among them.

    I’ll suspect you won’t post this missive.

    1. EvilBuzzard says:

      clASSy.

    2. Ryan says:

      thats sort of the problem with this “masculinist” edge to the right, it inevidably becomes narcissistic and “faggy”. look at the old german SA, bunch of pedarists. maybe it is impossible to foster that “warrior ethic” or the “ubermensch”,etc without a bit of narcissism?

    3. Ted Swanson says:

      You contradict yourself. On the one hand you say it is “unusual” for homosexuals to hate sissies. Then you say most “fags favor fascism” in your personal experience (you must lead quite a life, btw). So which is it?

      Are you a gay man, yourself?

      1. crow says:

        Really, Ted!
        One must not appear to notice such things.
        I’m not sure what I mean, by that, since I didn’t appear to notice anything. In fact whenever I am around other people, I don’t appear to notice very much at all. Sadly, though, beyond appearance, I notice pretty much everything.
        We live in difficult times.

        1. It is best to hide your intelligence. The Crowd hates intelligence.

          1. Sun says:

            Or balk about it and pretend one doesn’t engage in such practices (like emphasized in Mr. Swanson’s great piece “Wisdom”).

            1. crow says:

              You dolt! Mr. Swanson writes some terrific essays, but he didn’t write that :)

              1. Sun says:

                Woops wrong guy.

                Mr. Johnson, my apologies.

              2. Ted Swanson says:

                LOL! I need to use the word “dolt” more often.

          2. crow says:

            “It is best to hide your intelligence. The Crowd hates intelligence.”
            For one awful moment, I thought that said: “The Crow hates intelligence”!
            Although, come to think of it, crows don’t value it very highly.

            1. Sun says:

              Ah even you have the tendency to misread at times ;)

              Guess that human trait exist in us all!

            2. crows > Crowds

              Q.E.D.

      2. Sun says:

        You both use Fascism differently.

        He probably believes that Fascism to mean big bag evil dictator, with large amount of group think (a.k.a collective hive mind), that leads to persecution of minorities and outspoken peoples for truth and justice.

        So he is saying that collectively most homosexuals will vehemently attack anyone who is against the concept of “sissy-hood” often resorting to “fascistic” methods.

        Most people view Fascism this way.

        1. Jack Donovan says:

          What matters is content.

          Either I’m right about masculinity or I’m not.

          Gossip is for women and the left.

          “* RULE 12: Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.” Cut off the support network and isolate the target from sympathy. Go after people and not institutions; people hurt faster than institutions.”

          – From a summary of Saul Alinsky’s 12 Rules for Radicals

          The Way of Men was written primarily for straight men, and does not take a position on homosexuality. Frankly, I think straight men have more legitimate issues to deal with in our modern world (like losing their children, false rape accusations, lack of women suitable for marriage, etc.) than homosexual men, who for the most part are busy taking meth and trading VD.

          I’m interested in the future of men, because I respect the past. I have observed the “bonobo masturbation society” that the gay world promotes, and I’d rather see straight men tear the world apart than turn into hedonistic mamma’s boys without honor.

          1. crow says:

            Well said, Jack, well said :)

          2. Jason says:

            Well said!

          3. A. Realist says:

            The far right is so polarized it is inert. If you don’t join one of the extreme groups who like to talk about Jews and Negroes as the devil, they all jump on you for being soft or disingenuous. If you do join one of these groups, half the people are informants and another quarter of them are just deranged. If you join the mainstream conservatives, they are relatively accepting and will let you have your beliefs as long as you don’t express them in any way that causes the party harm. It’s why I checked out of the right and into the mainstream right long ago. Now I’m slowly changing minds but none of the people I know would have anything to do with the far right.

    4. This blog is the last place to find PC opinions. Jack Donovan does good work. I wonder if the rest of us measure up. Beyond that, I think modern society blows everything out of proportion and there are some things nature creates that are sufficient in their place but destructive when amplified. I’ll be sure to pass on your other words to Mishima and Burroughs.

      I respect you and your other comments here, and also respect Donovan’s contributions. For the moment, I request that we all stop tearing ourselves apart and focus on the substance of his argument, which is relevant not only to all men but also to all conservatives.

    5. The far right shoots itself directly in the foot every time it tolerates people who behave the way you are behaving. Use lots of offensive words, demand extreme responses, blame some intermediate group for the bigger problem. People who behave like you do can go into a room full of people, open your mouth and within one sentence, have convinced everyone in that room that the far right are crazy. You like doing it, too, because it lets you leave that room and tell yourself, “I knew they were all sheeple, they’ll never accept the Word of white power, so I’m better than all of them.”

    6. Esotericist says:

      I read the book, it turned me gay. Oh snap! Do you really believe the stuff you’re typing?

  4. Sun says:

    This sounds like my type of book!

  5. Maybe I should read this.

  6. Ouroboros says:

    Feminism and the destruction of the masculine in our societies is easily within the top 5 reasons why we’re sinking.

    1. crow says:

      Agreed. Absolutely.
      For too many years I’d been taking on-board the absurd dogma of feminism, to the point where, not only did I no longer know who I was, but not even what I was.
      The really ironic result was to discover that the more I tried to become what women claimed I should be, the more they found fault with what I had become.
      One’s first responsibility is to be true to oneself.
      That, alone, can be almost a lifetime’s work.

      1. Feminism, liberalism, class warfare, and the lynch mob mentality share a common root: outrage that someone somewhere is getting ahead of the rest of us.

        These are social disorders, masquerading as political ones.

        They are all destructive, especially to those that they use as their weapons: the objects of pity such as weaker women, impoverished minorities, miserable poor, etc.

        Has feminism made women happy?
        Grow up, have sex, end a marriage, live in dysfunction, tell your kids it was great and chew through your fingernails as you watch them do the same.

        Everyone in this modern society is crypto-miserable, and only the rich and the dissidents can admit it. (The rich need some means to feel self-pity, and some justification for further rapacity, and also make their money by seeing the bottom line; the dissidents simply detest it and thus have seen its weaknesses.)

        1. Sun says:

          Well (wrote this before as a part of my lengthy grab), you should feel sorry for some of us younger folk, me being 24, for dealing with dating hell.

          Sometimes I feel that stacks are against me. I stand on two extremes. Yet, I still try everyday. Who knows maybe I’m meant to be alone

          :(

          However, the women at “Network of Enlightened Women” do give me some light that there is alternative out there that is different then the Liberal Modern Woman in the area I live…whom I despise with a passion.

          1. Sun says:

            I want to fall in love and have the burning desire to to provide and protect. I feel that modern society denies this to me.

            Maybe this song does justice: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t62B1EzTmDg&list=UU3swwxiALG5c0Tvom83tPGg&index=5&feature=plcp

            1. crow says:

              The young imagine any old female will fit the bill, and flit from one substandard example to another.
              Someone to fall in love with, is the one in a million that will take some real finding.
              There’s no hurry!
              Although, as I recall, it can sure feel like it.

              1. Jason says:

                Crow, sometimes your posts feel like they’ve come out of my head in a perfectly articulated form.

                Modern day masculinity helps teach men that manhood is based on how your sleeve tatties look, how many jagerbombs you can do, how much you know about MMA, and how many clapped out whores you can bed. I meet my peers and I literally find myself loathing society to the point where I just want to avoid as many people as possible.

                1. crow says:

                  I’ve been avoiding people all my life :)
                  Every few years, I take another shot at socializing, because actually, I am a very sociable type.
                  And then I get reminded once again, how dire most people are, and how, really, all they want is an audience, to tell them how wonderful they are, while slamming that same audience for a million absurd reasons.
                  I loved Robinson Crusoe, as a child, but thought he was crazy for wanting to escape his paradise, and return to the babbling world of crazy people.

                  You have to make the best of it.
                  It’s your job!

              2. Sun says:

                The young imagine any old female will the bill?

                :/

                Um, yeah. This must be crow’s wisdom speaking, no doubt?

                ;)

                1. crow says:

                  It’s just an old crow remembering what it was to be a young crow. Hormones unbalance one, so.

                  1. Sun says:

                    You mean you liked OLD women when you were young?

                    Speak for yourself!

                    :p

                    1. crow says:

                      As a matter of fact, I have always been attracted more to older women.
                      But that was not the context of old in this case…
                      Here’s a U.K. English lesson for you:
                      “Any old woman” can mean “any woman, no matter her quality.
                      “Old”, in this context, is not a reference to her age.
                      Where do you live, anyway?

        2. Ted Swanson says:

          “crypto-miserable!” that has legs!

          1. A. Realist says:

            What does it mean?

            1. Ted Swanson says:

              “secretly-miserable.” Don’t mind me, some people get a kick out of math and playing with numbers, I get a kick out of language and playing with words. I am rather obsessed with old sayings, creative turns of phrase, new word combinations, metaphor, etc. Lately I’ve been keen on calling people names (friends and foes, alike) in an endearing way: goofball, knucklehead, dolt, nitwit, etc. Anyway, I’ve never heard “crypto-miserable” before, and maybe I have an odd sense of humor, but for some reason I found it both comical and apt.

              1. crow says:

                Secret society of Miserablists.
                Miserablism.
                Not so secret, really. More a modern religion.
                Ask any doctor.

                1. Esotericist says:

                  We are miserable, therefore we are like Jesus and blameless. We died for your equality.

                  1. crow says:

                    “We died”, or “we will die”?
                    Dead people aren’t that dangerous, usually.

      2. Ted Swanson says:

        This is why I’m thankful for my thick skull and my nostrils. On paper something like feminism, for instance, almost makes sense. But “on the ground” my instincts and my gut told me something otherwise. Only now am I beginning to be able to translate so many feelings and intuitions into words and coherent thoughts.

        1. crow says:

          It never made any sense, at all, to me, Ted. Even on paper.
          Looked wrong, smelled wrong, tasted wrong, and was wrong.
          But women, you know, have this thing that men go nuts for…

          1. Esotericist says:

            The ability to decorate?

            1. crow says:

              That’s another thing.
              Didn’t think of that one :)

    2. Feminism is the destruction of women. They totally failed to learn from the unions. No union in the universe will demand equality. What they want is exclusivity. Only union members can operate the television remote control, so you have to hire one if you want to watch television. What women have is the oldest union on the planet. If you want a family, or sex, you need to have one. The only reason this is tolerated is that good things came from it. It protected the family from the crazy ambitions and manipulative finance of other people.

      1. crow says:

        Feminism doesn’t destroy women; it transforms them into monsters. It is men that feminism destroys. Along with society in general.
        For as long as men fail to instantly boycott any woman who mouths feminist dogma, the rot will continue to spread.
        Men are as much to blame as women, though.
        If they weren’t so intent upon getting laid, they wouldn’t take feminists seriously, and sell themselves out, the way so many do.

        1. Nicholas Marville says:

          This is a 100% true!

  7. “Cosmopolitan journalists from elite schools like Betty Friedan filled women’s imaginations with fantasies of exciting big-city careers that only a few could ever hope to attain. For every woman living that fantasy today, there are a bunch of women scanning merchandise through a checkout line at some big-box retail store, or doing repetitive data-entry in some gray office…Many of those women would probably rather be spending more time actively engaged in the lives of their children, but they no longer have the choice to stay home.

    The cost of civilization is a progressive trade-off of vital existence. It’s a trade of the real for the artificial, for the convincing con, made for the promise of security and a full belly. (45)”

    ..that’s extremely powerful and well -written. A passage like that makes me want to go out and read this book. I’ve been having arguments with friends who, after landing jobs in NYC or other urban areas, ask me about the benefits of having children, owning a home, etc. and if it’s “worth it”. My response is usually something along the lines of, “if you view kids and a mortgage as an opportunity cost to your career or personal lifestyle, don’t have them.” To a lesser degree than the quote above, I think it highlights the importance of small communities projecting out into the larger one (family > village/suburb is more effective at maintaining a set of values and keeping a connection to that “vital existence” than individual > huge city with nothing in between).

  8. [...] writer and publisher of masculinist theory and dissident opposing the nanny state. His latest work, The Way of Men, is a comprehensive theory of masculinity and tribalism that presents profound challenges to [...]

  9. [DerHammer] says:

    Rumor has it, that this book is easily available as an ePub, through a simple search… ;)

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