The Thinking 

More on Game

February 27, 2011


HERE ARE more interesting comments from readers regarding “Game,” which many readers say is a nihilistic, anti-Christian, hedonistic form of manipulation of women. There is no question that it often is. We are all agreed on that. However, one reader adds another impassioned defense of Game and advocates a Christian interpretation of it that rejects hedonism and recognizes the moral responsibility of both men and women in marriage. 

Mark Richardson writes:

Youngfogey wrote that “the core of Game is manly virtue.” I have to disagree with him on this.

What Game teaches is that women are sexually hypergamous, meaning that they will be attracted to men who demonstrate higher value (DHV). You demonstrate higher value as a man by adopting an attitude of “amused mastery” and by learning how to fend off the “beta tests” sent your way by women. You are supposed to assume that, as the one having higher value, it will be the woman who will want to be with you, rather than you employing romantic supplication to try to win her over.

There are other techniques as well (e.g. “contrast game”) and advice on how to present yourself. That’s the kind of discussion that tends to dominate at Game sites, rather than a focus on manly virtues.

It’s true that Game teaches that men will do better if they show masculine self-confidence, but I haven’t known it to venture much further than this.

 Lawrence Auster writes:

I haven’t yet read in their entirety the two entries by Youngfogey and Thomas Bertonneau, but I like the way Bertonneau leaps on the very word “Game,” exposing, by virtue of that single term, the palpable falsity of the whole enterprise. 

That’s what traditionalist critics need to do: leap immediately to the root of a falsity, not fiddle around with secondary levels of the problem.

David Lee Mundy writes:

My wife and I have been following with some interest the posts relating to Game. We read them aloud on the way home from church. Our reaction is as follows.

It appears that some of your readers lack a deeper understanding of Game while others may not immediately see how Game relates to Christianity. For instance, some, like Peter S. refer to Game as deliberately manipulative. He prefers empirical researchers like Gottman and Huston who say things like “men and women have very typical and distinct patterns of potential maladaptation with respect to one another, and that these patterns can be recognized and, at least to some degree, reformed.” And that “spouses who get along better are happier and more stable in their marital lives and the interaction between spouses in courtship and early marriage is largely continuous with their interaction in later marriage.”

That is the whole point of Game. Roissy, the writer of an oft referenced blog, has consistently said the exact same thing just more colorfully and without the lifetime of dedicated empirical studies. Specifically, he claims there are patterns in the interaction between sexes, and the successful recognize and conform to those patterns. For instance, it’s a bad idea to marry a whore.

That scientists like Gottman continually prove Roissy right should not be surprising. In fact, if one defines philosophy as a characterization of the world that conforms to human experience both objectively and subjectively, then Game is one of the greatest philosophies to emerge this century and Roissy one of the most influential philosophers of our age. Is he despicable? Was Socrates a pederast? That we are speaking of relationships in terms of game, alpha, beta, PUA, goes to the point. Of course, Roissy simply claims to be reacting to the world as it is and not as one hopes or wishes it to be. To him it is Risk, not Candyland.

To Christians, Game dynamics are old news. Its roots are found at the Fall. In Genesis chapter three, God tells the Eve “Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.” In a previous post, Jesse Powell gives a thorough and insightful explanation of the consequences of this passage. He says, “by challenging the man’s power she forces the man to reveal himself as either strong or weak and if the man is strong she submits to him, which is her preference, and if the man is weak she dominates him, which is her preference when she is with a weak man.”

Game is a way for men to rule over women who seek to supplant them. It is a consequence of our feminized status quo aka “the mess we’re in.” Herein lies the tension between Christians and Game. We admit that philosophically it matches the fallen world and that practically it works. Christians also approve of Game in that it recognizes the God-given distinctiveness of the sexes. For instance, Laura approves of Game in that it encourages men to act like “a man.” That is nothing other than to say a man should act as he was created by God to act, with dominion, leadership, rule, authority, responsibility, et al. A woman will find those traits attractive because a man acting as he is created to act will be attractive to women who were made to be attracted to men.

But Christians are also wary of Game because interaction between the sexes and marriage in particular are meant to be more than that envisioned in the Fall. These are to be redeemed by the life giving sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Here is where we part ways with the Roissians. We do not submit to the philosophy or wisdom of this age but to the wisdom of God, because we have within us “not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words. The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit.” (1 Corinthians 2.)

Hence, we are not surprised that Roger G., while appreciating the teachings of the Bible, cannot properly comprehend them. For Christians who follow the Bible as God’s authoritative word, the answer is straightforward. A wife who is contemptuous of her spouse, must repent and show actions consistent with repentance. Game puts the onus on men to alter the actions or character of their wives. In contrast, for Christians, wives have been told by God to “submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.”  (Ephesians 5:22-24.) What a husband is primarily due is respect not love. As Laura mentioned, wives should submit regardless of whether the husband is a beta schlub or an Herb-ivore. The wife is ultimately responsible to God alone for her attitude and actions. A changed wife is one who, through the wonderworking power of the Holy Spirit has been convicted of sin and is enabled by God’s grace to live according to His word. Not one who has been Pavloved by Game.

What is the husband’s responsibility? Specifically, what of a wife who will not repent perhaps because her mind is captive to the world? Well, husbands are commanded by God to “love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.” Ephesians 5:25-28. That one’s wife is an unrepentant, contemptuous shrew does not absolve a husband of his obligation to follow God’s command to love his wife. Before you complain, consider the prophet Hosea.

This is a hard teaching. As Peter acknowledged, Paul’s “letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.” (2 Peter 3:16.) In Game there may be sex and domination. There may be the pursuit of pleasure. But there is no life. Romans 1:24-32. In God there is abundant life.

Bottom line, Christian men should either marry sincere Christian women or marry not at all. Roissy himself, consummate philosopher that he is, has said the same thing many times over. Yet if a Christian marries poorly or if the spouse changes during the marriage, still out of obedience to God our Father who for the sake of Jesus Christ has forgiven and adopted us, we obey His commands. Because they are good and right, refreshing and pure. (Psalm 19.) Unlike Roissy, Christians believe there are eternal consequences to present actions. If we are wrong, we are to be pitied. Not because we could have pursued hedonistic pleasures but because our great hope of eternity with God is lost.

These principles totally changed our marriage. In this we are indebted not to social scientists but to the Bible and to the biblical teaching of Michael and Debi Pearl.  Christians seeking an alternative to Game might start on their website.

Laura writes:

On a small side point, it is not true that Socrates was a “pederast.” The philosopher declines to be seduced by one of his young followers in a Platonic dialogue. There is no evidence he was a hedonist. He was also married and had sons.

I have only looked at Roissy’s website twice and was repelled. While he may have a grasp of the dynamics between the sexes in a hedonistic, feminized culture, I have a hard time swallowing the idea of him as an influential philosopher.  An influential observer perhaps, but not a philosopher.

Bruce writes:

I have read many hundreds of blog postings and comments advocating ‘Game’ (since they overlap with the libertarian blogosphere).

I conclude:

1.) “Game” = seduction.

Insofar as seduction is good, then so might be “Game.” But “Game” entails groups of men getting together and explicitly discussing tactics and planning to seduce women (women in the abstract, and also specific women), for exploiting their defensive vulnerabilities – being ‘taught’ by people who claim to be experts at this. The very act of creating a social group for this purpose converts tactics into a strategy – a life goal. With “Game” men are forming political alliances dedicated to manipulating women-in-general in order to seduce them.

2.) “Game” is atheist, usually very aggressively so – I don’t think I have ever come across a Christian “Gamer” – because, of course, Christianity stands in the path of “Game” and puts forward a wholly different purpose and ideal for life.

3.) “Game” – as a strategic life choice – is implicitly (and often explicitly) an act of revenge on ‘women’ in general, and perhaps a specific woman. This is rationalized as ‘merely’ an act of revenge on (evil, corrupt) ‘modern women’, but what I hear is men taking revenge on women because men want and need women, but cannot get what they want. I hear men wanting to take revenge for their dependence on women by demonstrating to themselves and each other the worthlessness of women.

4.) “Game” is not innocent and it is deliberately and coldly manipulative. In so far as manipulation is an unfortunate necessity in a ‘fallen’ world there is perhaps always going to be something of the sort; but as a ‘men’s movement’, a new kind of purposive alliance, “Game” is corrupting at best, deliberately evil at its extreme.

5.) “Game” is short-termist, hedonistic, and based on objectification and vengefulness. This is anti-Christian, and also anti-Natural and Spontaneous Morality. Everybody ‘knows’ in their hearts it is wrong – even or especially when they cannot help wishing to be able to be able to do it. But, should men be reassuring each other and training themselves and others in such wicked habits, to implement such wicked desires?

6.) Insofar as “Game” succeeds, it destroys love. Any woman who “falls for” Game tactics will be despised for doing so. This response is, indeed, almost ‘hard-wired’ into men – because (as biological animals) men know that a woman who is an easy conquest does not make a good wife, because a woman who is an easy conquest for ‘me’ is also vulnerable to seduction by other men using similar tactics.

So “Game” is not (whatever its advocates may say to themselves to justify themselves) about finding a long term partner – if some “Gamers” think it is, they are making a big mistake and falling into corruption. At most “game” is about ‘weeding-out’ women who are unsuitable to be a long-term partner, by ‘testing’ them. However, if the ‘test’ involves deliberately seducing (rather than merely detecting) unsuitable women, then its wickedness is surely obvious. “Game” is like robbing banks and keeping the money, and justifying this act as merely testing the security system – and doing so by forming gangs of robbers who do rob banks as a deliberate strategy, and rationalizing the robberies by claiming that each robber was merely trying to find a secure place to store their gold.

An old word for “Gamer” is “Rake.” The hero and ideal of “Gamers” is therefore the John Malkovich character in The Dangerous Liasons movie – but without his eventual regrets and repentance.

Laura writes:

Bruce assumes Game is used only by powerful men to bed many women. What he fails to recognize is that Game is also used by relatively powerless men not to bed many women, or to coldly manipulate them, but to find a wife and to keep her from deserting him. If one learns about Game from the Internet, one may see only bravado and calculation. But step into the real world, see the human context behind the slang and the showing off, and you will find ordinary men attempting to keep afloat in a culture of promiscuous women and no-fault divorce.

Bruno writes:

Without Game, most men would and will remain helpless against the feminist onslaught, and certainly would be exploited and emotionally abused.

Learning Game is pretty much just like learning martial arts: it’s not like you are going to fight against everybody who comes your way, but if they threaten you, then you might be able to defend yourself. And, of course, just like Game, martial arts can be misused, too.

But it isn’t something bad in itself. What every man nowadays should do is learn Game…and refrain from using it except in self-defense. Meanwhile, he should be looking for a woman whose manners and temperament do not require him to use Game on her (just as a martial artist does not befriend anyone who requires him to use his martial arts to get respect).

I believe that sums it all up.

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