Culture Opinion

The Danger of the Incel Is The Danger Of Polygamy: Part 1

“But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband.” (1 Corinthians 7:2)
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“But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband.” (1 Corinthians 7:2)

When I was in my early twenties I was influenced by a preacher called Mark Driscoll. This was 10 years ago now. Driscoll was quite a radical preacher in some ways, and exhibited some unhealthy leadership styles, as a result, his ministry flamed out in a big way.

I have not followed his ministry for many years now, but there is one thing that he often said that has really stuck with me: men are like a pickup truck until you put a load on their back, they don’t drive right, they are bumpy, their grip is loose in the back, but once you put a reasonable load on their back, they drive safe and smooth.

Whatever else you can say about Driscoll, he was right about this, and he was right to be seeking to influence young men to get married, work hard, and take on the responsibility of leading their families. This is a basic necessity for most young men to grow into Men.

One thing I remember from those days is that the Young, Restless and Reformed movement was focused on influencing young men to be strong for Jesus, strong for their wives, and strong builders in their local communities.

That movement was largely rocked by bad leadership, and hence it has dissipated somewhat, but the need to be steering young western men in the right direction is still there. This is true in many ways, but a very dangerous issue which is now facing the West that needs to be prioritized is that of the Incel, or Involuntary Celibate, male.

This is young men who would like to be in relationships and having sex, but aren’t able to make it happen. This problem is going to cause all sorts of issues for the West.

In fact, it is a clearly growing danger, that till this point, appears to be only on the radar of feminists and the fringe man-o-sphere of the internet. Occasionally a conservative commentator will talk about it, usually in a mocking way, which to be honest is understandable to some degree, but I want to take a different approach.

I think the problem of the Incel is the result of the unhealthy way we have structured the modern western sexual marketplace, rather than just a problem of certain individuals not being able to get a date. You can call these guys losers, you can call these guys left-behinds, you can call these guys a plethora of things if you want. But that is not going to help us work towards solutions, and we need to find solutions.

This issue is going to increasingly become our issue, as in all of society’s issue, and probably quite soon. History, and even societies around the world, teaches us what the dangers of the numbers of such men growing too high, is.

First, let’s explore in more detail what an Incel is? As I said above this stands for Involuntary Celibacy, and is a growing community of young men who are upset at the world because of their inability to have sex. The Incel community actually sprang up in the late 90’s:

…a lonely teenager on the West Coast fired up his dial-up modem to find someone to talk to. He was a shy kid, too introverted to feel fully comfortable in the real world, and he logged on to the early internet’s bare-bones web forums for a sense of connection. There he found friends: other people who were awkward in real life, particularly when it came to sex and dating. The group eventually became a community, one that began using a phrase to describe their romantic troubles — “involuntary celibacy.”[1]

So, the Incel community began as an online support group for people who were having troubles in the dating world. They were people who wanted to be in relationships, to be having sex, enjoying human touch and connection but found it much harder to achieve than they expected.

The reason they found it hard, is because the sexual marketplace of the modern West has become hyper-efficient and incredibly deregulated, and this often makes people feel incredibly horrible, shunned, and rejected.[2]

While this community is largely and correctly associated with sexless young men today and often right-wing young men, the irony is that it was originally set up by a woman, named Alanna, who is progressive, queer and an active artist.[3]

In other words, the precise opposite of any Incel stereotype. There is nothing inherently right-wing or left-wing, progressive or conservative, about seeking support and comfort in other people, it is a thoroughly human endeavour. 

Hence we can all understand why Incel’s would seek for, and long for human connection, and would reach out for it, in any way that they could. Even though this movement is now often associated with extremism and hate, it is important to understand that it was not set up for that purpose. The genesis of the community was really quite benign: 

Incels in the late ’90s, ReformedIncel explains, didn’t see themselves as victims of female cruelty in the way today’s incels do. Many of them were in a rut, a sexual dry spell, and like current incels were seeking support from others with similar experiences.[4]

This is human, this is good. When you are struggling you should look to others for help and support. But though this may have been the case originally, the movement has changed, and it has taken a very dire turn.

Rather than being just an online community for support, it has become, at least in some areas of the community, a place for hate, a place for demeaning women in ways that both feminists and Christians can agree to be horrified about. “In the past few years, a subset of straight men calling themselves “incels” have constructed a violent political ideology around the injustice of young, beautiful women refusing to have sex with them.”[5]

And, as is the case in any context of escalating rhetoric, this took a turn for the worst. In 2014, a self-identified Incel went on a killing spree in Isla Vista, California.”[6]

His name was Elliot Rodger.

[He] began his attack by stabbing two male roommates and a visiting friend: Cheng Yuan Hong, Weihan Wang, and George Chen. He then drove to the Alpha Phi sorority at the UC Santa Barbara campus, opening fire outside and in other nearby locations. He killed three more people — Katherine Cooper, Christopher Michaels-Martinez, and Veronika Weiss — and wounded 14 more before turning his gun on himself. All of the dead were UCSB students.[7]

In all of the articles that I read about the Incel community, they all noted that this action by Eliot Rodgers was a turning point. Long before this Incel young men had encouraged each other to say and think and even do horrible things, but to more moderate Incels like the aforementioned ReformedIncel, this was the moment they knew that their more moderate side had lost, and parts of the community were taking a very dark turn.

And Elliot Rodgers has not been the only one to a lash out in violence.

The incel ideology has already inspired the murders of at least sixteen people. Elliot Rodger, in 2014, in Isla Vista, California, killed six and injured fourteen in an attempt to instigate a “War on Women” for “depriving me of sex.” (He then killed himself.) Alek Minassian killed ten people and injured sixteen, in Toronto, last month; prior to doing so, he wrote, on Facebook, “The Incel Rebellion has already begun!” You might also include Christopher Harper-Mercer, who killed nine people, in 2015, and left behind a manifesto that praised Rodger and lamented his own virginity.[8]

Now, if you would like to read more about these accounts of the darkening of the Incel community, I refer you to this New Yorker article here, this Vox article here, and this much better Unherd article here (the links are also in the references). There is a heavy feminist bias in these articles, especially the first two, but they all give a similar account of a growing social issue we need to start thinking about how to address.

For our purposes in this piece, it is important to note that there is a growing number of young men in the West who are being given over to a violent political ideology around the injustices of our modern deregulated sexual marketplace.[9]

Not all Incels would fit into that category, as we have noted, but many do. This is not only not surprising it is to be expected, there will never be equality in this world because it is impossible, but where inequities grow too large, this has serious ramifications for the rest of society.

Effectively what the feminist revolution and sexual revolution, the pill, and abortion have done is caused our Western sexual marketplaces to become a free market zone, where high sexual capital can buy you lots of sex and pleasure. The prettier the woman, the more sexual capital she has. The better looking and more successful a man is, the more he can corner the market on attractive women.

This has created a defacto polygamous culture, or more accurately polygynous, society in the West. That is we have created a society where most of the women are hoarded by a much smaller group of men. Since human beings are created for relationship, and sex within a trusting, committed, and loving marriage, this is leaving many young men frustrated.

This is the natural effect of deregulation, in a society where there is none, or very few, sexual mores, the highest value men, will corner the market on many of the highest value women, leaving a growing number of low-value men out in the cold, relationally and sexually. As women are the gatekeepers for sex, they will largely drive this market. This is born out in the well-known statistic that close to 20% of men, get access to 80% of women on Tinder.[10]

Women largely determine who gets to have sex with them, and in today’s world, it is easier and easier for them to bypass the guys in their local communities who may not quite cut the mustard, and hone in on the top 20% of men, through dating apps and other means. Before feminists celebrate this seemingly unstoppable power of feminine sexuality, we need to understand that this will turn out very badly for women, and men, and hence society in general. This is creating a ticking time bomb. 

One of the saddest tales of history is how often you read of different civilisations making the same mistakes as other civilisations prior to them, or around them. Now you can forgive the Aztecs for making the same mistakes as the Sumerians, or the Babylonians making some of the same mistakes at the Egyptians, or even of the Romans making mistakes similar to the Persians.

You can excuse much of this to some degree because there was not as much historical knowledge that was easy for all of the leaders of these societies to access, let alone the general populace. Sure, it was there to some degree, but you had to really search it out.

Now the information about why past civilisations fell, and what makes society unstable, is very easy to find, in fact, it is all over the place, but still largely ignored. But whether it was Augustus in the late first century BC and early first century AD, or the Catholic Church in the early medieval era, or even the regulations on marriage in the Hebrew Old Testament, you can see various efforts of powerful leaders seeking to stabilize their societies by regulating marriage and making sure their society had a stable base to be founded on.

One of the founding principles of Western civilisation is the family unit, one man, one wife, and their children. The Church was often at pains to stamp out polygamy, and divorce and remarriage as much as it possibly could. The early Church and the Medieval Church were very strict on divorce and remarriage, and some of this influence lasted until well into the modern era.

Yes, the Romans and the Greeks tended to frown on polygamy as well, but between allowing masters to have sex with slaves and owning concubines they effectively allowed it. The Church went much further in seeking to outlaw all of these practices and was really quite successful. Indeed, one of the reasons for the success of the West can be credited to how well the Church regulated the sexual relationships of its people.

Of course, this is in no way to say that every westerner was a chaste, upstanding, righteous person in this regard. But the Church recognized that if sex was deregulated, all hell would break loose. The Bible is filled with warnings about why this is so.

Now, I know that most readers are aware that the Bible teaches that sex is a sacred gift to be expressed and enjoyed in a loving marriage. But what you may not realize is that history and even many cultures today, vindicate the Bible’s teaching on marriage, and show why our society is in such danger right now. You see, this issue is not unique to our modern culture, it is actually quite common. Having large groups of sexually frustrated young men in our society is very dangerous, indeed it is dangerous to any society. There are a plethora of examples that can be given.

Perhaps the most interesting example we can give of this, is the utter destruction and restructuring of much of Europe by several centuries of Viking raids. A lot of people are not aware of this, but an ancient, Scandinavian version of involuntary celibacy was largely behind these raids. A French scholar, Dudo of St. Quention, writing in the 11th century tells us:

Spread out within the huge space between the Danube and the edge of the Scythian Sea, there dwell savage and barbarous peoples, which are said to have sprung forth in various different ways from the island of Scanza, hemmed in on both sides by the Ocean, like a swarm of bees from a hive, or like a sword from a scabbard; as barbarians will…Now these people burn with too much wanton lasciviousness, and with singular depravity debauch and mate with as many women as they please; and so, by mingling together in illicit couplings they generate innumerable children.” [11]

This is a people who are incredibly sexually unrestrained compared to contemporary Christendom. But when it tells us that “…now these people burn with too much wanton lasciviousness, and with singular depravity debauch and mate with as many women as they please…”, we have to understand, that it was the powerful, the successful, the desirable men who go to do this. Not every man. Many of the younger, and poorer men, went without. Just as in the economy, so in the sexual marketplace; when it is highly de-regulated you end up with the haves, have-nots, and the have-a-lots. 

Dudo goes on to tell us:

When these have grown up, the clamour fiercely against their fathers and their grandfathers, or more frequently against each other, for shares of property; and as they are over-many, and the land they inhabit is not large enough for them to live in, there is a very old custom by which a multitude of youths is selected by lot and expelled into the realms of other nations, to in kingdoms for themselves by fighting, where they can live in uninterrupted peace.”[12]

The results of these male raiders, which is what Viking means, are famous to all of us who are aware of the Viking raids. But Dudo’s description of these men is quite vivid:

For they are exiled by fathers, boldly to batter kings. They are sent away without wealth from their own people, that they may enrich themselves out of the plenty of foreigners. They are deprived of their own lands, that they might be settled undisturbed on those of others. They are expelled as exile, that they may be rewarded as warriors. They are thrust out by their own people that they may share with aliens. They are separated from their own nation, that they may rejoice in possessing others. They are abandoned by their fathers, perhaps never again to be seen by their mothers. The ferocity of the young men is aroused, and the nations are destroyed…“Wives are repeatedly raped, and lamentable led off for the stranger. The whole virgin sex is basely deflowered by those men.”[13]

Seventeenth-century scholar, Camden makes the same point, and explains that “‘Wikings’ were selected by lot from among the young men of an overpopulated area and sent abroad to avoid civil strife, after they had ‘multiply’d themselves to a burdensome community’.”[14]

These young men unleashed on the world, with the blessing of their gods, their nation and their fathers, and were sent to ravage foreign lands and make for themselves wealth, families and lineages.

In other words, what we see here, is that young men were driven to rape and pillage by the effect of the highly unregulated sexual marketplace of their home cultures. The powerful men monopolized everything, money, land, women and more and the young men were sent off to find it elsewhere, which they did, with wanton destruction. The results are burned into the cultural memories of most westerners.

Modern scholars explain the cultural pressures in Scandinavia in the 8th to 11th centuries that drove the Vikings to murderous rampage, raping and pillaging this way:

Because polygynous marriage increases male–male competition by creating a pool of unmarried men, its occurrence within a society is predicted to increase risky status-elevating and sex-seeking behaviours among men, potentially leading to increased rates of murder, theft, rape, social disruption, kidnapping (especially of women), sexual slavery, prostitution, and – among high-status men – risky bids for political power.[15]

As I said, the problem we are facing with Incels is not unique, these trends are based on inherent human desires and needs. Young men are created to desire young women and to pursue them if they don’t have healthy ways to achieve this, then this turns bad for a nation, or surrounding nations.

Despite what many of the feminists are writing, this is not a phenomenon that exists just in the straight-white-men they love to demonize and vociferously write against. All we have to do is look at the African continent today, to see how destabilizing polygamous cultures are.

This is part one of a two-part post.

[1]Beauchamp, Zach, 2019. “Our incel problem – How a support group for the dateless became one of the internet’s most dangerous subcultures.” Vox, accessed 17/09/2020.

[2] Tolentino, Jia, 2018. “The Rage of the Incels – Incels aren’t really looking for sex. They’re looking for absolute male supremacy.” New Yorker, accessed 17/09/2020.   

[3] Beauchamp, Zach, 2019. “Our incel problem – How a support group for the dateless became one of the internet’s most dangerous subcultures.” Vox  

[4] Ibid.

[5] Tolentino, Jia, 2018. “The Rage of the Incels – Incels aren’t really looking for sex. They’re looking for absolute male supremacy.” New Yorker

[6] Beauchamp, Zach, 2019. “Our incel problem – How a support group for the dateless became one of the internet’s most dangerous subcultures.” Vox

[7] Ibid

[8] Tolentino, Jia, 2018. “The Rage of the Incels – Incels aren’t really looking for sex. They’re looking for absolute male supremacy.” New Yorker

[9] Ibid

[10] Worst-online-dater, 2015. “Tinder Experiments II: Guys, unless you are really hot you are probably better off not wasting your time on Tinder — a quantitative socio-economic study.” Medium accessed 18/09/2020.

[11] Dudo, Dean of St. Quentin, 1998. History of the Normans, translated by Eric Christiansen, The Boydell Press: Woodbridge, p15.

[12] Ibid, p15.

[13] Ibid, p16-17.

[14] Collar, Mark et. al, 2015. “Male-biased operational sex ratios and the Viking phenomenon: an evolutionary anthropological perspective on Late Iron Age Scandinavian raiding.” Evolution and Human Behaviour, issue 38, pp315-324. p315.

[15] Ibid, p318.

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