The Rise- And Ongoing Fall- Of Beta Society

Paul Gauguin once said “Where do we come from? What are we? Where are we going?” I got that from a Calvin and Hobbes strip. Wisdom is nonetheless where we find it and it’s a good question. I think looking into it will help us understand where we are today in the sexual marketplace.

The nature of a society might be determined by looking at its elite class, the people who control the culture. In our culture- I speak of North America, and to a lesser extent Britain and western Europe- these people are located mainly in New England and New York. They are mostly of British descent, and they or their parents were Protestants of such genteel denominations as Episcopalian, Presbyterian, maybe Quaker or Christian Scientist. They are investment bankers or lawyers. They might possibly be college professors or physicians. They love genteel sports such as golf and tennis. They are inclined to cutting wit. Their fathers or grandfathers may have been in World War II but no one in the family has been in the military since. They love the countryside but are not farmers.

Picture, if you will, such a person at a party in the Hamptons. We open up a wormhole and transport him back in time to an upper class party in England 200 years ago, in London or in the country. The attendees are mostly landed gentry, people who get their income from renting their farmland. There are some army officers and maybe navy officers. There are no lawyers or investment bankers, who to these people are little more than servants. He tries to talk about the market, but is firmly rebuffed for bringing up such a crude subject. They try to talk to him about hunting, foxes on horses with dogs or birds on foot with shotguns, but he tells them he doesn’t like killing animals, which they find really weird. He tries to talk about golf and tennis, but nobody plays those much as they aren’t really regarded as masculine pursuits. A cavalry officer, regarded as a bit of a rake but a great chap by all, suggests a nice whorehouse they can visit later, and he shudders. He makes a witty, cutting remark and is challenged to a duel at dawn the next day. Does he manage to withdraw his remark, or is he killed? With wormholes you don’t really know. In any case he has a really bad evening.

So obviously the ruling class of one era is not the ruling class of another era, and does not have the same outlook on the world, method of living or morals. How then did we go from the one to the other?

The Protestant Reformation hit England pretty hard. The urban middle class took to Puritanism, which briefly established a dictatorship under Oliver Cromwell. That didn’t last, and while the hostility towards Puritanism, Calvinism, and the numerous “non-conformist” Protestant sects outside the Church of England subsided, these people were definitely not the ones in power. They continued to beaver away though.

Up to the early 1800’s Britain remained firmly in the control of the aristocracy, people who in our quaint “game” terminology were very alpha. They drank, they screwed prostitutes or their female servants, they fought duels, they went fox hunting and they drank some more. The period of the late 1700’s to the 1830’s or thereabouts is called the Regency period, and was particularly fashionable and dissolute. Women love this period; many romance novels are set in this place and time. Membership in this class was pretty much all hereditary as to have both money and leisure meant you had to have inherited an estate, or some portion of income from one. Note that by “estate” we don’t mean “the financial assets of a deceased person” but an actual estate, that is a big piece of land in the country. Most people were farmers and most wealth came from owning farmland.

Something else was happening though- the Industrial Revolution. The Puritan merchants, bankers and manufacturers were getting richer, more numerous and more powerful. The aristocratic lifestyle of leisure in the country, drinking a lot, screwing whatever you could, duelling, and dangerous sports like fox hunting had little appeal to them as they lived in the city and worked most of the time. Their church membership and reputation for moral conduct was an important part of their credibility as businessmen. They loathed the aristocracy and with their increasing power were in competition with them. They looked to replace the controlling position of that culture with their own.

I’m not a historian and those who have studied this time and place might dispute some aspects of this. I’m not writing a paper here, I’m making a point. At this time dawned the Victorian era, a time associated with personal restraint, strict morality, and various crusades of social improvement. The masculine, alpha culture of the Regency period was excoriated. People were expected to strive for the virtues of Christian morality and charity. Women were thought to be naturally morally superior to men; while men might be dominant in the outside world, the home and relationships were the domains of women, and men should defer to their wives and try to be more like them- more sensitive, more caring, more gentle, more loving, more forgiving.

There was one small snag with this division of woman running the home, man working out in the world. Factories would hire anybody, men, women, children, it didn’t matter to them. Victorian moralists didn’t like the idea of women and children in such a crude environment, and it disrupted their concept of family life. An idea called the family wage was promoted. Factories would only hire men, and they would pay them a wage adequate to support a family. Under pressure manufacturers went along with this. A factory can make money paying people a higher wage, they just higher fewer people and make them more efficient. Obviously this wasn’t society as a whole. Poorer women worked. But the ideal was clear- a woman who stayed at home and worked at maintaining a Christian household and raising Christian children, with a steady, reliable husband who brought home his wages.

Feminists would say this is sexist. On the contrary it was quite feminist, in its own way. Women gained a lot of power and influence they never had before. Nobody before had thought women were morally superior to men, or should control the home, the children, and strongly influence the religious life of the family. But what about women working? Running the home was regarded as the work of a woman, and very noble work at that. Certain professions for women were developing at this time- nursing, teaching, and running various kinds of charitable activities and non-clerical religious activities. But in general women were to stay in the home.

For this to work of course you need the steady, sober, hard-working, humble husband. It was common in those days for men to stop at a pub after work and get very drunk. They might then go home and behave badly, perhaps beating their wives and children. In any case it was not the behavior expected of a good Christian man and involved spending a lot of money, money the wife might be spending as she saw fit. “Temperance” or stopping the use of alcohol was then a big cause in this time.

To review-

-Women are superior to men morally and spiritually and should control the home and relationships.

-Men must control their urges to be violent, aggressive, sexual, and to party for the benefit of their wives and children. They must be humble and submissive to their wives.

-But this only works if most men can get a job that will allow them to support a stay-at-home wife and a few children, and women don’t work.

Sounds great, right? Really “Leave It To Beaver”? Under this system of social organization a woman is going to want a not particularly dominant, humble guy who is gentle, loving, caring, listens to her and does what she says, and comes home after work and does things around the house and doesn’t spend time drinking at bars, going after other women or other masculine pursuits.

This man is the “Beta Provider” of game-o-sphere fame. (did Roissy coin this usage? I’m not sure.) He certainly seemed to rule before; Ward Cleaver and Ozzie Nelson were happy men and thought of as the male ideal in their day. There is the strongly held belief that this is the way it should be, this is the way it has always been and this man is who society should lionize and who men should aspire to be. But it’s not that way any more and probably won’t be again.

This form of social organization, what we tend to think of as “normal”, only lasted about 100 years, from the mid 1800’s to the mid 1900’s. It worked because the Industrial Revolution provided lots of factory and office jobs for this type of man- the “Organization Man” as he was called in the 50’s, close to the end of his reign.

So how does it work now?

-Women are superior to men morally and spiritually and should control the home and relationships.

-Men must control their urges to be violent, aggressive, sexual, and to party for the benefit of their wives and children. They must be humble and submissive to their wives.

-Men should get a job that will allow them to support a stay-at-home wife and a few children. They should also come home and do half of the previously female housework, as well as all the male housework. The wife might work, if she wants, or she might stay at home, it’s up to her. In any case she retains all the privileges women had before and gains part of the ones men had, taking them away from the husband.

-In any case a woman can do any job a man can and get married or not and stay married or not, keeping any children of course, receiving child support, solely at her discretion.

Note that #3 has changed and there is a #4. A woman might want a Beta Provider but she doesn’t need one, and she can discard the one she has if she gets tired. For the period outlined most men could be Beta Providers; now you probably have to be a doctor to qualify, with little guarantee she won’t divorce you or cheat.

I’m all for being Ward Cleaver; I still hope to find my June and live happily ever after. But as you can see, the time when being a nice guy with a decent job would get you a stable relationship with a woman and a decent life was a historical anomaly. We have to deal with what works now, not what worked for Dad or Grandpa.

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8 Responses to The Rise- And Ongoing Fall- Of Beta Society

  1. Anonymous says:

    Cue all the harpy women telling you that you CAN find your June Cleaver — if you don’t mind settling for a fattie, single-mom or some other reject.

  2. MQ says:

    This is good just because it recognizes that culture determines a hell of a lot, instead of doing the half-baked neo-Darwinism that is so common in the man-o-sphere.

    you CAN find your June Cleaver – if you don’t mind settling for a fattie, single-mom, or some other reject

    well, they have a point. A big share of the troubles guys run into comes from insisting on an 8+.

  3. […] Omegaman: Paganism Vs. Christianity,  The Rise- And Ongoing Fall- Of Beta Society […]

  4. […] Omega Man – “Paganism vs. Christianity“, “What is Love? II – In the Sexual Marketplace, What Are You Buying?“, “Dopamine vs. Oxytocin“, “The Rise – and Ongoing Fall – of Beta Society” […]

  5. Vincent Ignatius says:

    I hate having to control the violent impulses. It’s not like I get the urge to beat up random people, but sometimes a guy steps over the line too far and the proper response is to pop him in the mouth. I guarantee social interactions would be very different if it was still acceptable to pop a man in the mouth for being disrespectful.

  6. Sheila Tone says:

    You talk a lot about what you think women want, but you never talk about what you want.

    What do you mean by your “June Cleaver?” It seems as if you wanted a housewife in pearls, you’d have been able to get one. But you don’t seem like that traditional a guy.

    In one post, you said you used to be looking for a woman to fill a hole inside you. How do you imagine a woman doing that? Would she give you lots of emotional attention, or would that just make you feel smothered? You’ve said you don’t even like to talk that much.

    Perhaps it would help you to do a “High Fidelity” inventory of your past relationships.

  7. TMQ says:

    well, they have a point. A big share of the troubles guys run into comes from insisting on an 8+.

    That’s because women these days bring nothing to the table but sex. The typical western woman is lazy, selfish and inconsiderate. When sex appeal is the only thing the opposite sex brings to a relationship, of course men will require only the most attractive.

  8. Library Desk Graffiti says:

    @TMQ: PREACH!!

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