(Public domain image, available at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/What_Is_to_Be_Done%3F)
It’s not a vacuous question, actually. It does seem to reassert itself from time to time, which is also natural, given that as time moves along, reasonable goals will (or should) change to meet changing circumstances and conditions. So it’s a useful discussion, I think, and perhaps a good time to take stock of where we have been, and where we might be going next.
The archipelago of websites known as the “manosphere” is actually a quite diverse group of different perspectives and orientations, sharing a loose common ground around a collection of ideas known colloquially as “the red pill” (note that the subreddit is not in any way authoritative, but is as illustrative a place as any for the common principles). Taken quite generally, these ideas represent an effort to re-articulate old truths about men, women and society, and present them in a usable, actionable format for contemporary men (and women). Under that aegis, the diversity of websites is quite striking, ranging from sites dedicated to conservative Christian approaches, to more diverse sites, to more hardcore, in your face places. Many of the participants in these various “sub” parts of the archipelago disagree with each other, often quite vehemently, about a huge number of things, despite sharing rough agreement about the general contours of “the red pill”. At this point, it is a diverse and wide-ranging array of communities which share some common principles, and disagree about many other things.
Alongside this growth and development, we have seen, at the same time, the rather rapid growth and penetration of some of the ideas articulated by the archipelago in the mainstream media. At times it is in the form of commentary on mainstream media news and information sites. At times, it is in the form of current entertainment, or even discussions taking place “in the open” in front of the cameras on mainstream media sites and channels. But regardless of the venue, it’s unmistakeable that the memes that have been propagated by the archipelago are no longer confined to it, and are being increasingly expressed in the broader public domain. There they meet resistance, but there is now a vigorous debate in some quarters about these kinds of issues — this is a relatively new development and one which is tied to the growth of the archipelago and the breadth of its penetration.
Against that background, it is useful to pose the question: “what now?”
In other words, given that the general “memeplex” known as the red pill is now ambient in the mainstream, and is spreading fairly well, what is the next phase of engagement for the archipelago, and what can be done to get there.
I do not have a definitive answer to this question at this point.
A part of the puzzle, I think, is permitting the diversity we have seen so far to continue to develop, so that ideas can germinate in different settings, identifying and refining different solutions for people in different contexts. Some of that can then be cross-pollinated, or not, as suits. But it seems that another part of the puzzle is discerning the proper time for a more straightforward engagement of the core issues in a way that distills them, yet is focused on key areas where engagement is needed. This may mean a type of winnowing, if for no other reason than the fact that such a form of engagement needs to be done in a certain way (or rather, needs to not be associated with those who do things in a certain, other, way) in order to be maximally effective. My personal sense is that we are not at that time, yet, but that we may be there soon enough that it makes sense to be considering these kinds of questions now, while we still have the luxury of a bit of time before the next phase is well and truly upon us. At the same time, we must be aware that the recent growth and spread of the memeplex is triggering a backlash, and that we have not yet seen the real force of that yet. We would be wise, as we plan for the next phase of engagement, to also ready ourselves to withstand that backlash when it comes, so that we emerge from it prepared, and with a plan, for what comes next.