[Editor’s note: See also our other post on Mannerbund And The Sexual Dynamics Of Coordination]
The source of civilization is not the family, the market, the electoral process, or the scientific committee of “experts.” The source of civilization is the Männerbund, hereafter rendered in English as the Mannerbund. The Mannerbund is the source of property rights and sexual morality, as well as the vehicle through which effective group action is performed. For our purposes, we will define a Mannerbund as a group of men organized in an organic hierarchy that springs from the male competitive instinct. The Mannerbund forms quickly and naturally between any group of men because it is predicated on the male competitive instinct.
Men, far from being epicene, atomized “individuals” with strictly “rational” tastes and preferences, have an easily roused and conspicuous instinct towards competition and – more importantly – hierarchy realized through competition. In other words, the natural and default state of men among men is hierarchy, because hierarchy is the end-product of competition, and men instinctively compete with each other.The male competitive instinct pervades male-to-male interactions. Two men will instinctively “one-up” each other in every possible way until one of them submits to the other’s perceived authority. No need to be cartoonish about it, since the one-upping, sizing up and competing can be subtle and intellectual, just as it can be loud and violent. Whether submission is amicable or post-brawl is just a matter of taste. Male rams spar for authority. Male gorillas do it, too. PayPal engineers brawl on the engineering room floor. Sports and war are just the large-scale versions of the same behavior spurred by the same instincts in humans.
This competitive instinct is healthy and necessary for proper order. A group of men will compete with each other implicitly and explicitly until an unspoken hierarchy forms based on perceived authority. Speculating on the origin of this instinct doesn’t require the brain of Charles Darwin – competition is the basic law of nature, and men who compete in cohesive groups out-compete men who go it alone. The instinct for hierarchy is as natural as the instinct for hunger. More important to note is that females do not share this competitive instinct at all, for historical and evolutionary reasons that can be easily imagined – how often were women conquerors, and how often were they the conquerors’ prize?
There is a tendency among modern people to avoid thinking of themselves as what they are (a sack of flesh occupying physical territory) and to instead think of themselves as a disembodied entity that exists primarily in idea-space and social-media-space. The younger someone is these days, the more likely they are to feel that changing the text in the “Political Views” box on Facebook is a profound statement – Facebook is real life, real life is only real if it’s photographed and published electronically somewhere, etc. I’m probably not the only one who’s heard a non-celebrity sincerely refer to their “personal brand.”
Despite this, humans exist primarily in real-space, and not idea-space or social-media-space, and, like all living things, have irreversibly adapted to occupy and survive in real-space, and, when resources permit, to expand in it. The nature of the universe pushes us to accumulate physical space and resources, not “likes.”
Keeping in mind the inescapable territorial dimension of human existence, it is clear that past competitions for territory were won by groups of men competing in cohesive groups, not men competing alone. The Ur-form of the Mannerbund is undoubtedly the gang or team of men who act cohesively to defend and expand a perimeter, and the essential facets of civilized masculinity are undoubtedly derived from the behaviors necessary to defend and expand a perimeter in a team of men – courage, honor, discipline, strength, and so forth. When thinking about contemporary Mannerbunds, the “perimeter” may be more metaphorical than physical, but the principles and mechanisms of cooperation remain the same.
To clarify, we can speak of a Mannerbund that is not a primordial territorial defense team, although all forms of Mannerbunds today descend in some part from this original form. Furthermore, the Mannerbund doesn’t necessarily need to be formalized or permanent. The Mannerbund forms weakly on a short time scale because it’s the network of man-to-man relationships which necessarily exist between any two interacting men. Five men who know each other for a week on a deserted island will have a Mannerbund for that week, but maybe not after they get rescued. That Mannerbund will be weak and mostly theoretical but still extant. Five men who grew up together and go to each other’s weddings after twenty-five years will have a much stronger Mannerbund.
A gang of men that defends a perimeter on a life-or-death basis is probably the strongest form of Mannerbund, in keeping with its historical roots. Just ask a veteran. If you want long-lasting human flourishing and civilization, you will obviously be more interested in forming strong, long-lasting Mannerbunds.
The Mannerbund is also the source of sexual morality, which is actually a subset of property rights, since women are naturally the property of men – of either their fathers or husbands. Suppose you have a good friend. Suppose this friend has a girlfriend. Do you hit on your friend’s girlfriend in front of his face? No? Why not? Isn’t she a free individual enjoying all the rights afforded to her by a liberal democratic society, including the right to accept and decline sexual offers with consent? She doesn’t have to accept your advances, but why is it anathema to even make them? The reason is that your friend’s girlfriend is your friend’s property, and if the two of you are friends, you are members of a Mannerbund with (at least) two men. She is “his,” not yours, and hitting on her would be just as bad as reaching for your friend’s wallet.
This little example illustrating how women are naturally the property of men does not require formality or affirmation by the state to be accurate. In fact, this little example is an example of civilization and order on a relatively tiny three-person scale. With two men and a woman, the correct way to resolve the problem of competition for mates is the Mannerbund and the resulting instinctual respect for property rights and the specific subset of property rights governing mates. If you want civilization, you need order, and order – contrary to the pious proclamations of some – is often most stable when it is instinctual and unspoken.
Were it not for the Cathedral-State and the economic and legal privileges afforded to women over men in the West, this example of order could easily scale beyond three people to three hundred, three thousand or three billion. Over the transition from three to three billion, it would acquire some cultural or religious veneers, but the underlying biological/socio-political arrangement would remain the same. Politics is downstream from culture when the word refers to the kabuki theater of progressive-liberal democracy, but culture is downstream from politics when the word refers to the actual systems of biological and socio-political arrangements between humans. The most basic working socio-political arrangement between humans is the Mannerbund. The only unit smaller than the Mannerbund is the man – not the individual, but the man.
It could be argued that the family (specifically the nuclear family) is a more basic socio-political unit than the Mannerbund, but this approach is incorrect. To paraphrase Mencius Moldbug, hominids need government and politics because hominids are social and violent. To clarify Moldbug, hominids need government and politics because male hominids are social and violent. A man’s woman and children are extensions of the man and dependent on the man’s capacity for violence on their behalf, i.e. on their man’s capacity to defend them physically from other men. Women and children are social but their capacity for violence –- physical, but also psychological — is negligible compared to that of men’s, and for this reason they are de facto property, not political agents themselves. The Mannerbund, not the family, is the basic working socio-political unit.
A solid and dependable Mannerbund is a necessity for every man. No man is an island, they say, and a man without a local Mannerbund is going have deeply limited capacities when it comes to securing his property and legacy. Individualistic proponents of neomasculinity are missing the point already: no man is more “alpha” than a Mannerbund. Without a Mannerbund, a man cannot control his women, he cannot ensure his immobile property’s security in the case of state failure (deliberate or not), and without security of his women or property, he cannot secure the futures of his children.
Take the example of Ryan DeLuca. When fellow cookie-cutter alpha male Dan Bilzerian stole the bodybuilding CEO’s girlfriend and publicly humiliated him about it, the cookie-cutter Manosphere complaint was that modern men clearly have no sexual security left if a self-made fitness millionaire can’t keep his woman’s interest long enough to stop her from cheating. The point missed by everyone was that DeLuca and Bilzerian are two men without solid Mannerbunds (one who depends on social media likes to eat, the other who thinks reaching said position is heroic) and for that reason have no sexual security, despite wealth and fame. For men, sexual appeal and security ultimately stems from power (not wealth and fame, unless indirectly), but no man is more powerful than a cohesive band of men – a Mannerbund.
Suppose your name was Bob. Suppose you had a superpower that allowed you to clone yourself but remain in full control of both yourself and your Bob clone at the same time. Suppose this superpower allowed you to clone an endless army of Bob’s, whom you controlled at all times with perfect clarity of mind. You and your telepathically-controlled Bob clones would have zero coordination costs, and would be able to cohesively act as a group to topple governments, take over continents, and enact a thousand-year-long Bob Reich.
The Mannerbund is how you attempt to approximate the Bob superpower with men who aren’t your telepathic clones – by securing property rights and sexual morality, you and your not-quite-Bob friends approximate Bob’s endless-cloning superpower, and by acting in a strict organic hierarchy, you and your not-quite-Bob friends approximate Bob’s mind-control superpower that reduces coordination costs to zero.
Solid modern Mannerbunds follow a fairly simple formation process. A number of men with similar ancestries, attitudes and temperaments gather, test each other, organize into an informal hierarchy, and begin taking risks as a group. By risks, I mean anything with an uncertain outcome. Small risks such as getting beers downtown lead to intermediate risks like playing on the same sports team or going lifting, shooting, or boxing together, and those risks lead to greater risks, such as starting a business together, or on a more historical note, forming a war party and invading a barbarian land together. Confidence is the fruit of successfully-taken risks. Trust is confidence in another man. Trust requires a track record of successfully-taken and shared risks. Risk is the substrate of friendship, of loyalty, of competition, of hierarchy, and of the Mannerbund.
Great risks lead to great rewards and great wealth, and they can only be effectively undertaken by groups of men oathbound to each other, implicitly or explicitly. Effective large-scale cooperation and action must be undertaken by Mannerbunds.
Great civilizations require great Mannerbunds to found and lead them.