The Gender Fascists of the Dark Enlightenment

The antifeminist pick-up artist Roosh V made headlines this week after announcing worldwide rallies to “Make Rape Legal” in at least 43 cities. These rallies, part of the Men’s Rights Movement, are an effort to unite the various tendencies of the neoreactionary manosphere in the real world.

The Men’s Rights Movement is the name given to the latest incarnation of the antifeminist movement, the gender faction of the white male Protestant culture that has been at the heart of America’s foundation. Since the early days of the suffrage movement, there’s been a reactionary backlash to counter the calls for women’s liberation.

In the 2010s, the growth of the internet has given rise to a network of virulently antifeminist, jingoistic, racist and misogynistic websites. Men from all over the world post their darkest violent rants about their hatred of women. Some of these threads lead to the creation of gunman Elliot Roger who targeted a sorority. Other sites provide an intellectual backing to the whole ideology of neomasculinity.

Roosh’s flagship site, Return of Kings serves as his personal blog to advocate his ideology and recruit followers. Thanks in part to Trump and the past two years of misogynistic backlash, it is now one of the fastest growing pop-fascism sites on the web.

With articles demeaning women, jingoistic racism, apologies for colonialism, and blatant transphobia, the site has become the refuge for openly-bigoted opinions of the hard right. Return of Kings is so racist that it even has a eugenics report of Germanic Tribes written in the style of a Roman conqueror’s traveling diary. Their politics section focuses on support for Western culture and triumph of civilization over the lesser peoples. They posit that rape culture is a product of Eastern civilization. Most contributors hold an admiration of the Roman empire, while others advocate a conservative-libertarian philosophy. All seem to reject more mainstream politics, though many sympathize with the Trump campaign.

All of this press attention may actually backfire against the MRA movement as many of the target cities have announced counter-demonstrations against Roosh’s rallies.

“We want to bring attention to the fact that this group is advocating rape and violence against women, and we don’t want their horrible views to gain any kind of foothold in Australia,” said Jennie Hill, an organizer with an Australian feminist group. “There are people all over the world who are very upset about what they are trying to do.”

The MRA’s responded by saying they will film and dox any “crazy feminists” who try obstruct their freedom to assemble and speak.

Roosh V and his hypermasculine cohorts are just part of the larger neoreactionary movement that has blossomed in the past twenty years. Coalitions of Christian evangelicals, survivalist militiamen, and xenophobes organized by the GOP over the past 30 years have paved the way for an alternative rightwing intelligentsia to claim leadership over these foot soldiers. Just as anarchists and communists have a tenuous relationship with the liberal Left, the alt-Right view their Republican allies with contempt for being beholden to what they perceive as the “cultural Marxism” of mainstream politics.

Termed the Dark Enlightenment by philosopher Nick Land, this new theoretical movement rejects democracy advocating a form of monarchy based off intellectual racism, libertarian economics, technological transhumanism, traditional gender roles, and aggressive promotion of Western values. The MRAs, with their embrace of technology and advocacy for “old world values,” definitely fall into this larger reactionary trend. The name “Return of Kings” clearly alludes to the restoration of monarchy and features explicit critiques of democracy.

Granted, the backlash against Roosh shows that the pro-rape crowd is still a minority. But recent fascistic trends in American culture have emboldened them to take a more active approach in furthering their agenda.

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