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Eggs and Drugs and Rock ‘n’ Roll

Interview
Stone Age Herbalist and Raw Egg Nationalist

Eggs and Drugs and Rock ‘n’ Roll

In this exclusive interview from way back in Issue Three of MAN’S WORLD, HBD-supremo STONE AGE HERBALIST grills RAW EGG NATIONALIST on everything from single-handedly launching a men’s magazine to psychedelics, grain diets, the possibility of a religious revival and careers for men of action.

 

SAH: First off, huge congratulations on the success of MAN’S WORLD, you’ve really made an impact by bringing together so many writers and thinkers. How’s it going with future releases and any exciting plans in the works?

 

REN: Thank you. I’m still rather taken aback by the success it’s had. Although I’ve longed for a decent men’s mag for some time, it’s been extremely heartening to see that I’m not the only one. Far from it, in fact; the first issue has had 60k+ views and downloads, the second was at around 30k after just a month. And there’s so much talent on this side of Twitter – so many funny, interesting, intelligent people – that I really do feel like I’m doing a service by giving them a platform and helping to package their thoughts and ideas in a novel and aesthetically pleasing way. I know I said this about the second issue, but the third is really going to be a sight to behold. I think it may break 200 pages (the first two issues were around 130 pages each, but I’d say the second had double the actual content of the first). We’ve got articles from old favourites, including Orwell N Goode and Sol Brah, the conclusion of Peter Hopkirk Respecter’s thrilling tale of the career of William Hodson and some firsts for the magazine, including the first appearance of a comic, by the fantastically talented Reagan Lodge (@reaganlodge). As far as the future beyond that goes, I’m thinking very carefully about releasing a MAN’S WORLD Annual at the end of the year, in hardback form, to meet the demand for physical copies. In an ideal world, every issue would have been and would be available in physical form, but sadly capitalism and copyright law aren’t always amenable to the heartfelt desires of creators. I’d rather not have the jannies kicking in my door – THE FIRST THREE ISSUES WERE A SCHOOL ART PROJECT – so I’m looking for a totally above-board way of doing it. I’ve got a glossy version of my original cookbook, Raw Egg Nationalism in Theory and Practice, coming out very soon with Antelope Hill, and I’m thinking we might be able to work together to produce a legit physical Man’s World product too. I really hope so. As great as the digital version is, it’s just not the same as having an actual physical mag in your hands – something you can read by the pool, on board your yacht, or in your smoking room, perhaps while savouring one of Mombacho’s finest cigars (we have an exclusive offer with them in Issue Three, by the way).

 

SAH: The choice to theme the most recent edition around the sea proved very fruitful, what made you want to focus on that specifically?

 

REN: Yeah, I think it really worked. The first issue had a theme – ‘the globo uomo’, a handsome nationalist who is basically the opposite of the globo homo, the new globalist man – but it wasn’t really a theme, beyond the essay that I wrote on the globo uomo and the focus on Alain Delon, the face of globo uomo. With the second issue, I needed something that could tie together the entire range of content I wanted in the magazine – history, anthropology, style, literature – so I knew it would have to be something big, something capacious. Well, what’s more capacious than the sea, apart from space? (That might actually be a decent theme somewhere down the line…)

I live near the water and have a lot of nautical-themed things around the house, so just looking at them and having them around me, as well as the salt smell in my nostrils, almost certainly played a part. I’d also tapped BAP for a contribution some time before and said to him that I liked the phrase ‘open steppe of the sea’ in BAM, and could he enlarge on it, so there’s that too.

The process of putting together a magazine, especially when you have zero prior experience, has been a real education. I have a great deal of respect for the people who put them together professionally, even if I think most magazines nowadays, and especially men’s magazines, are absolute guff and worthless even as toilet paper (too glossy, for one thing). A magazine isn’t just an assemblage of disparate bits of writing, or at least it shouldn’t be. A strong theme, whether that’s simply the general theme of the magazine itself or of a particular issue, is absolutely necessary. Even without a specific theme – Issue Three doesn’t have one – I think we’ve already got a distinct identity for MAN’S WORLD, so it will hold together just fine.

 

SAH: BAP’s vision of the sea as an open space akin to the steppe is exciting, it re-frames European history, especially the era of exploration and discovery. Does it chime with what you’ve written before about groups of male friends pushing out into the world?

 

REN: As I just said, ‘the open steppe of the sea’ was a phrase I found intriguing in BAM, and so I asked BAP to enlarge upon it however he saw fit. What he came back with didn’t disappoint at all. What I take away from his piece is that the steppe is not just a physical territory – an actual location with particular physical characteristics that distinguish it from other kinds of physical territory – but also a mental location or mindset as well. There is a kind of steppe mentality, whether you’ve actually ever set foot on the great Eurasian steppe or not; and one mentality it’s opposed to, of course, is the longhouse mentality, which also exists regardless of whether or not you were raised in a smoky Neolithic longhouse by a tribe of browbeaten men in utter thrall to their steatopygeous wives and mammies. One of the challenges of the past, or of using the past, is to make it actionable in the present. Of course, there are plenty of people, academic historians among them, who would claim that the past is no model for the present; but I think that notion is wrong on an obvious, intuitive level and collapses totally on examination. In Three Lives of Golden Age Bodybuilders, my second book, I tried to show that past models of a beautiful body could be put into service of a beautiful life in the present. The notion of a steppe mindset, although it may have originated in a place most of us have never been to, many thousands of years ago, nonetheless has a present relevance, especially with the growing revival and ascendancy of the longhouse mentality.

So, yes, to answer your question directly, I think that the notion of the ‘open steppe of the sea’, if we think of it as a broad mindset, definitely chimes with what I’ve written about groups of men discovering the world together and enlarging the boundaries of their action and power. The Greeks sought expansion and a wild freedom on the seas, and in humbler ways, even if we don’t follow them to the boats as it were, we can still push outwards together, with like-minded individuals, where otherwise the boundaries for independent action and self-expansion are rapidly narrowing.

 

SAH: The link between the steppe expansions and diet is very prominent in our corner of twitter. Do you see raw egg nationalism as rekindling a ‘barbarian diet’, one that is unacceptable to the mainstream?

 

REN: I don’t know if you saw, but around February or March last year this bizarre hit-piece on raw egg nationalism appeared in Mel Magazine. The author, some total unknown who is destined to remain thus forever, laid exactly the kind of charges against the movement you’d expect from a mainstream ‘journalist’: white nationalism, homophobia, and so on. He also said that we believed eating raw eggs was some kind of ancestral diet and actually interviewed an ‘expert’ on historical diets to deboonk this claim! While I have no doubt that eggs have been eaten raw throughout history, I’ve never said that the raw egg part of raw egg nationalism is a ‘return to tradition’ any deeper than the Golden Age of Bodybuilding (1950s to 1970s, roughly), so I found that rather funny. But what else would you expect from a journalist? These people see only what they want to see. Beyond the raw eggs, your proposed notion of a ‘barbarian diet’ is, I think, quite apposite. I sometimes refer to my diet, with the exception of the raw eggs, as the ‘Mongol diet’, because it’s built around red meat and dairy products: lean red meat, organ meat, butter, milk, cheese, yoghurt and cream – these are the foods that I consume on a daily basis. I know that others have followed my lead. This involves a rejection of grains and, together with the big meat and dairy consumption, there’s definitely something political about this, now and in the past too.
I say in the cookbook (Raw Egg Nationalism in Theory and Practice) to reject grains not only on nutritional grounds – including rising gluten intolerance and the growing freight of toxic chemicals found in modern grains – but also because they are a food that goes hand-in-hand with unfreedom. One of the books that I’ve quoted extensively from, especially in the cookbook, is James Scott’s Against the Grain. In the book Scott basically argues that the historical introduction of grain agriculture, far from being the ‘dawn of civilisation’, was actually a disaster for the people it was imposed upon – and it was imposed, rather than being a voluntary choice. Under the early agrarian states, the ordinary man was shorter, weaker and more prone to disease than his hunter-gatherer ancestors, at the same time as being subject to a harder lifestyle and also the exploitation of aristocracies who used his labour to help maintain their customary non-settled lifestyle, including hunting and feasting. Scott sees this as a process akin to animal domestication, and I don’t disagree. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that our political overlords are now pushing a global plant-based diet as part of the Great Reset either. This is a diet made for workers – for peasants – and not for healthy, free individuals. One aspect of Plato’s Republic that receives very little attention, far less than it should, is the discussion of diet (I actually talk about this in my new glossy cookbook). Plato reserves a grain-and-vegetable-heavy diet for the working class of the ideal republic precisely because it instils in them a placid disposition and makes them amenable to their lowly status. He even says that if a meat diet were introduced, the workers would revolt. Now, I know that the Republic is not a ‘political manual’ – Plato didn’t think that it would actually be used to build a perfect society – but these passages do at least show a deep continuity of thinking about the relationship between diet and political control, one that continues to this day. The modern-day counterparts of Plato’s guardians – Bill Gates, Klaus Schwab – know what they are doing. They want us to be grain brains for a reason.

 

SAH: Do you see any connection between the idea of ‘non-state space’, as discussed in the works of James C Scott and Pierre Clastres (French anarchist anthropologist, author of Society Against the State) and the online dissident spaces being constantly created and shut down?

 

Clastres! It’s been about ten years since I’ve read anything by him, but I remember liking it. I’m much more familiar with Scott’s work, most of which I’ve read at one time or another. I know that Clastres has been a big influence, among many others, on Scott. But yes, I think that’s an interesting way to think about such spaces; although I don’t know that there are many or even any spaces online that really are beyond the reach of the state in the way that James Scott’s Zomia truly is. Zomia, for those who don’t know, is an upland area of South-East Asia that has historically been beyond the reach of states because of its inaccessibility and the desire of the people to remain ‘barbaric by design’, as Scott puts it (the book is The Art of Not Being Governed). There’s something like 100 million people in the region, which covers parts of China, Myanmar, Cambodia, Thailand, Laos and Vietnam. These new internet spaces, by contrast, usually end up being heavily patrolled and even infiltrated by agents of the state (‘glowies’, ‘feds’, etc.), if they aren’t just shut down. If we take Twitter as an example, I suppose the ‘barbarism by design’ would be the constant shifting of identities by anonymous users (‘anons’), the use of other anonymising or evasive technology such as VPNs and the coining of euphemisms and argots that distinguish insider from outsider. It’s a game of cat and mouse – or cat and frog, right?

One concept of Scott’s that I like is ‘legibility’ and I think it can do some interesting work in this case. Basically, in his later work (beginning with Seeing Like a State) Scott has been concerned with how the state makes its subjects legible, which is to say, how it makes them ‘show up’ in a way that is meaningful to its purposes, which include principally control and taxation. Enforcing regularity and uniformity is an important part of this process. Even Against the Grain is a study of legibility. The imposition of agriculture was a way for early states to emerge and at the same time put and keep their new subjects in boxes, if you will. Grain farmers, unlike hunter-gatherers, must be sedentary – i.e. they must remain in place year-round – which means they can be controlled and corralled and they can also be subjected to regular extractions. And grain makes the perfect fodder for extraction because it can be gathered together and counted. That’s legibility: a fixed population providing fixed amounts of produce for the maintenance of the state. Hunter gatherers on the other hand, are illegible: they move as they please and need and their food production is erratic; they also look to themselves, rather than others (i.e. the state) for their own protection. It’s an anthropomorphic way to think about the state – as an agent with desires – but I think it’s a fruitful one nevertheless.

So, after that somewhat lengthy preface, I think we could see these dissident spaces as places where individuals attempt to make themselves illegible to the state, principally through anonymity, but also by other means. It’s not so much that the state isn’t there, but that it doesn’t necessarily know what to think or how to ‘read’ these people. Of course, the state has its own pre-existing categories that it tries to fit these people into – ‘white supremacists’, ‘incels’, ‘domestic terrorists’, ‘extremists’, etc. – but these labels very seldom fit. If somebody in a control room somewhere is reading my tweets and DMs, I’m sure they must be scratching their head in absolute puzzlement. Here’s this chap (?) who urges his (?) followers to eat raw eggs, red meat and organ meat, give up grains, work out, be kind to small animals and find similar-minded friends; and who talks privately about the glory days of alcopops, cricket and what constitutes a perfect English breakfast. Who or what am I? Foe? Friend? Something else? If you want a good idea of what state-sponsored incomprehension of this milieu really looks like, try C. Bradley Thompson’s dire series of essays (available on his Substack) on what he calls ‘the BAP boys’, or his discussion of BAP with Yaron Brook on Youtube.

 

SAH: I find Clastres’ work about how tribal societies used ritual violence to prevent the rise of a state fascinating in the context of today’s world – one which is domesticating every space and producing a generation of entirely passive men. Obviously violence is off the table, but do you see any other activities or organising principles that modern men could engage with to help fend off the domesticating instinct and carve out free spaces?

 

REN: As far as I can see, one of the most important organising principles available to us today in our efforts to resist domestication is self[1]reliance, plain and simple. By that I mean exactly what you’d think I mean. Try to make yourself as capable and as self-reliant a man as possible. Of course, total self-reliance is a chimera, but the less you can rely on the state, shaky infrastructure and people of dubious allegiance, the better.

One of the principal ways to do this is to get fit. There you go: you’ve thrown off one of the heaviest shackles most people wear in the developed world. In fact, it’s a shackle most people wear their entire lives. The sickly are wards of the state, pure and simple. And if you’ve been paying any attention at all over the past year – and I hope you have – you will surely have seen that a) being overweight and having an underlying health condition is not a good thing, least of all when a new highly transmissible infectious disease springs out of a Chinese lab (and this isn’t the first time); and b) that medicalisation is a very effective way to increase the reach and power of the state over its subjects. Medicalisation and reliance on the state are only going to increase. Of course, being fit has its own benefits beyond allowing you to resist becoming a perpetual child in the state’s ball pool…

I won’t list all the ways that you can be self-reliant, but I will also mention food. Producing or securing locally as much high-quality food as you can is a good idea, full stop. It’s how you ensure the highest quality nutrition and avoid ingesting as much of the hideous toxic freight of modern food – pthalates, xenoestrogens, mycotoxins, glyphosate and atrazine residue – as possible, as well as ensuring that the animals you consume are treated properly; most farm animals lead lives of absolute misery and you really should care about this. You’d be surprised by just how much you can grow in a garden, even a small garden, and if you can add half a dozen or a dozen chickens and maybe even a goat for milk – well, you’re on your way. There are all sorts of schemes for full or part ownership of larger farm animals – you can buy shares in livestock, for instance – and you could visit local farms, if you live in a rural area, to see if you can come to some sort of agreement with the right kind of farmer (i.e. who treats his livestock properly).

Self-reliance in food will also become increasingly important in the coming years as the Great Reset really begins to bite. I’ve already talked about how control over the food supply and tyranny have gone hand in hand since the dawn of agriculture at least, and there’s no question that people are going to be made, whether they like it or not, to change their habits. Whether it will come down to force or not, remains to be seen. One essential mechanism, it seems, will be shame and social pressure. Look at Oatly’s recent ‘Help Dad’ campaign if you want an example of what I mean: a horrible series of adverts in which misshapen teenagers shame their hapless fathers for daring to drink cow’s milk. Even if people aren’t directly forced, I think there will be artificial efforts to make traditional agriculture untenable. Look at the supply-chain breakdowns during the pandemic and also pay close attention to what Bill Gates is doing. Very silently during the pandemic he became the largest single owner of agricultural land in the US, at exactly the same time as telling us that we all need to eat bugs and drink poop-water (look it up) to avoid a global catastrophe. It may become very difficult soon for anybody but the cream of society to buy animal products. How soon, I don’t know, but things are definitely accelerating.

 

SAH: SAH: I know from previous conversations that we both have a dim view of drugs and psychedelics in particular as a means of escaping modernity. Can you elaborate?

 

REN: There was quite a large stoner contingent at school, so I’ve had a negative view of pot for quite some time. I’m not against the occasional puff, but when it becomes your entire lifestyle and persona you’ve got a problem. And of course being around somebody who is stoned when you aren’t is an exquisite form of torture. I’ll leave ‘hard’ drugs to one side.

I think something very interesting has happened with psychedelics since the 1960s which deserves some commentary. Look at the way that so many people are ‘microdosing’ LSD or psilocybin in places like Silicon Valley; I think even Jack Dorsey is doing it, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they all are, to be honest. So instead of being, as it was supposed to be in the counter-culture, a powerful tool to liberate people from the system and allow them to develop true self-understanding and individuality – and we know how that turned out – now it’s becoming something that will wed us even more to the system, allowing us to become more productive and more creative and thus generate even greater value for it. It’s more than a little ironic, don’t you think? There’s probably something along not entirely dissimilar lines to be said about the legalisation of pot too; from one angle, it certainly looks like a very convenient form of social control. They say that medieval peasants never used to revolt during harvest time; well, nobody ever revolts when they’re stoned either.

Back to the psychedelics. At the same time as all this microdosing is going on, people are still taking LSD, peyote and psilocybin like they used to and for the same purposes, but these drugs seem to be gaining in popularity, helped by a lot of positive coverage from people like Joe Rogan; niche drugs like ayahuasca are also becoming mainstream. The danger, I think, is one that Jung raised; Jordan Peterson has talked about this, IIRC. Using psychedelics is basically a way to gain unearned knowledge, and as such many people just aren’t ready for it. I’d suggest people look up the saga of Connor Murphy if they want a very good contemporary illustration of this. He was a gymbro Youtuber who used to make videos of himself taking his shirt off in public to impress women and mogg their boyfriends.

Then he took an ayahuasca trip and had a terrible mental breakdown on camera not long after; he’s taken the video down but you can still find it. Since then his content has become more and more bizarre: he’s eaten his own shit and another man’s semen, and he walks around referring to himself as a god and speaking in strange voices. It’s as bad as it sounds. He was just a buff idiot, but now he’s gone and totally fried his circuitry – for nothing.

I think people like the idea of psychedelic experience because we’ve been conditioned to see pills as the answer to so many of our problems. ‘Here you go, take this and you’ll understand everything.’ Spirituality, or dare I say it religion, is no longer a quest but a quick-fix. But what a quest involves that a quick-fix doesn’t is preparation and then initiation over a much longer period of time. You don’t just go from being a prick who takes his shirt off in Planet Fitness to embarrass Asian men in front of their girlfriends, to God in a single step: but that’s what Connor Murphy thinks has happened to himself. Taking a pill doesn’t require humility, dedication, pain, suffering or self-abnegation: you just put it in your mouth, swallow and then it has its effect. A book like Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress would just be totally incomprehensible to most people now.

 

SAH: Do you see any signs or even any possibilities of a spiritual revival among young men?

 

REN: I certainly see signs of a hunger for spiritual revival. Just look at the Jordan Peterson phenomenon – all those young men flocking to him for guidance, the tears, confessions and prayers, the rigid rules for self-betterment. If that isn’t a spiritual phenomenon, then I don’t know what is. Of course, it’s all sorts of other things as well – dealing with the consequences of the breakdown of the nuclear family and the near-total absence of male role models in most men’s lives, prominently – but it’s also clearly a movement that’s trying to go beyond the nihilistic materialism of the modern world and re-enchant the world with sacred values. And even if for a good portion of the men this isn’t a direct search for God, it wouldn’t take much for it to turn into one.

As for the prospects for success, I’m a pessimist. It’s been interesting to watch the progress of Jordan Peterson himself, as he’s drawn closer to God and then reeled backwards as if from an abyss. You can see that he just can’t do it, no matter how much he engages with the material (I mean the Bible) and how sincerely he wants to believe. This resonates deeply with my own experience. Let’s just say that I’ve been a student of religion my entire academic career, both Christianity and Eastern religions, and although at various times I’ve actively sought to be a Christian, I’ve just never been able to do it. In one sense, it’s obviously a nonsense to say that I’m not already a Christian, because of the society and historical tradition in which I’ve been raised, but at the same time it’s also true. I think of the negative definition that T.S. Eliot employed in The Idea of a Christian Society: our society is Christian simply because some other positive ideal (say, Islam) has not come and swept it away. I am Christian simply because another positive ideal has not come and swept me away.

I puzzled over why I just couldn’t do it, over what was wrong, for a long time. I still do. One of my favourite books as a student was Alasdair MacIntyre’s After Virtue, which is basically a very sophisticated argument that the entire tradition of moral philosophy is broken and has been since more or less the time of the Greeks. At the beginning of the book, MacIntyre asks the reader to imagine a situation where, after some kind of collapse, only fragments of scientific knowledge as we know it – maybe the odd book here, a paper there and some laboratory equipment and a few practitioners – remains: all that is left is a radically incomplete picture of what was once an extremely complex assemblage of knowledge and practices. As a result, it’s impossible fully to understand what science is, even if you can still use some scientific terminology and method. The whole endeavour has broken down; Humpty Dumpty can’t be put back together again. According to MacIntyre, this is the state of moral philosophy as a discipline. Well, I think this is also the condition of many religious traditions too, but especially Christianity. Christianity has been hollowed out by the Reformation and the Enlightenment, so that what we’re left with now is basically a liberal conception of religion, that it’s just a set of beliefs that you wear like any other set of beliefs you might have. It’s impossible to overstate how big a change this has been, and as a result I find it hard to approach Christianity as anything other than a part of the problem rather than an answer to it. And maybe the seeds of Christianity’s own destruction were there from the start, especially in the separation of church and state, which notably doesn’t exist in Islam.

What was it Heidegger said – now we must wait for God? What I don’t mean by invoking this is that we must sit and wait to be rescued – oh no, far from it – but what I do mean is that the ball is in His court, if you will. I think he’s going to have to reveal Himself to us, rather than the other way round. Even trying to think, let alone talk about religion, has become extremely hard, or much harder than it once was. That’s part of what I mean by saying it’s a broken tradition: we don’t even have the means at our disposal to express what we think we mean, because our understanding and language have become so degraded.

Of course, I’ve been focusing on Christianity. I’ve no doubt that pseudo-religions and forms of spirituality will only continue to grow in popularity, but these are just embarrassing manifestations, mostly of wish fulfilment. The supermarket of ideas: people picking and choosing ideas and practices that suit their preconceptions, never really challenging or disciplining themselves. That absolutely isn’t real spirituality.

 

SAH: What are your thoughts on the emerging allure of the homestead or small scale village trad life? Is a back to land approach necessary to escape modern agriculture or are we setting ourselves up for a new ‘longhouse’ paradigm?

 

REN: I can see the allure of a homestead, for sure. It’s an ultimate ideal of self-reliance and I’ve already said I think self-reliance is something that should be pursued. Although you’d be surprised by how much you can grow even in a modest garden, for most the full homestead ideal is unobtainable – land prices are a significant bar in most parts of the Western world – and I also think people romanticise too much what is actually a very strenuous and difficult way of life. Crops fail, livestock die or get sick – despite our best efforts. I’d advise you to get some experience first before you commit to anything. Thankfully, you can do that sort of thing quite easily through WWOOF (Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms). Don’t get me wrong, I have no doubt that homesteading is a far more valuable and fulfilling way of life than working in an office, but you’d do well to understand exactly what it would require of you before you set out for the frontier.

The village question is an interesting one. Again, I think most people don’t actually have the first idea what small-scale village life was really like. I say ‘was’, because villages aren’t like that anymore. I’ve lived in villages most of my life, and I can tell you that as picturesque as they may be, they aren’t really communities. There’s no real economic life in villages now, and most of the inhabitants – at least in the part of England I live in – are likely to be retirees, second-home owners or no-hopers, people whose ancestors have lived in the village since time immemorial and who now spend their time propping up the bar in the village pub (assuming your village is lucky enough to have a pub any more).

I’m actually planning an essay at the moment on village life and how the return to tradition crowd should be careful what they wish for. The basic premise is, as you say, that the village – in this case the medieval village – was often a kind of longhouse, and to substantiate this I want to discuss Montaillou, the classic historical work by Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie. Montaillou is a village in the foothills of the Pyrenees, on the French border with Spain, and because of the efforts of the Inquisition to stamp out the heresy of Catharism in the area, there are reams of oral testimonies that, as well as providing the evidence the Inquisition sought, reveal the texture of day-to-day village life in the most amazing way. The picture that emerges is of an incredibly claustrophobic environment, no doubt made worse by the attentions of the Inquisition. And it’s not just that the traditional social structure, centred around the house, was extremely rigid, but that the village was a world where everybody knew everybody else’s business; where petty rivalries and hatreds could smoulder for decades; and even an offhand comment could be used as a potentially lethal weapon, especially if the Church got involved. If there was a crack in your wall, you could guarantee that at some point somebody would be watching and listening, even if you were having sex – or should I say, especially if you were having sex. The only people who have any real freedom of movement – and of thought – are the shepherds, who head off into the Pyrenees for months on end with their flocks. The notion that shepherds possess a blessed kind of freedom is an old one, which goes back to Classical times. In Montaillou, it was definitely the case. Some actually evaded the Inquisition by going into the mountains with their flocks.

I think there are and have been other ideals of village life, though. Tacitus, for instance, in the Germania, mentions how the ancient Germans liked to keep their buildings separate, with each family having its own private space; this is an ideal we in northern Europe would still recognise today. I think a study of village life in medieval England or northern Europe might look rather different to Montaillou; although books on witchcraft accusations in Tudor England show just how present petty rivalries and hatreds were there too. Basically, my counsel would be: don’t lose sight of the wood for the trees. There are good things about modern life too.

 

SAH: Similarly there is a huge tension for men who feel disillusioned with the world between essentially dropping out to play games and becoming a corporate drone. Are there still careers or vocations which offer some kind of freedom? Should we thinking tactically and getting jobs in important sectors?

 

REN: It’s a tension I’ve definitely felt, that’s for sure. I think it’s an obvious mark of a society or civilisation that’s headed for the wall, fast, if the people who are supposed to be its future – the young people, but especially the talented young people – feel that they have absolutely no stake and just decide to stop playing the game. I mean, I knew I would never be a corporate drone or clone, but I never thought I would feel the disillusionment that I’ve felt or encounter some of the obstacles that I’ve had thrown in my way. I know it’s a fairly tired refrain at this point, but I can’t believe how much easier it was for my parents when they were my age; even they recognise it. At the very least, they were able to maintain a high standard of living and buy a lovely house on a single normal salary. There’s no question of my being able to have what they had working the job my dad worked. Many young people genuinely feel they’ve been lied to, and I don’t think they’re wrong, at least not entirely. Of course, bitching isn’t the answer, but I understand why so many have a bitter taste in their mouth.

I’d like to think that there are still jobs that offer freedom and fulfilment. There’s actually an article in Issue 3 of MAN’S WORLD called ‘Seeking Adventure in a Sterile World’ which addresses precisely this issue. It’s probably a tad optimistic for my tastes, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. I mean, I’d rather the optimistic case were true, but my personal experience, including with the military, inclines me to think otherwise. I’m sure that some have a great time in the military and make lifelong friends, but I think it’s going to get much harder for particular kinds of man to exist in the armed forces. Look at the purges that are taking place in the US military right now as a result of Biden’s election. What they want is a military that’s loyal to the regime, not the people, and that means getting rid of the traditional serving demographics – especially the poor whites of the South – who’ve bled an ocean of blood on American soil and overseas since well before the Revolution. The US armed forces will increasingly resemble an army of occupation, I think. Rather like the Romans stationing North African legions in Britain – in fact, very much like that.

At the same time, however bad these jobs get, I don’t think we can totally abandon them to our enemies. There’s an analogy here with the urban situation. I think it’s stupid to abandon the cities. For all their problems, the cities, especially the ancient capital cities of Europe, are among the crowning achievements of Western civilisation. Not only would it be a massive tactical defeat to surrender them, but it would also be a terrible symbolic defeat too – an unforgivable act of cowardice. When the Russians abandoned Moscow in 1812, it was only temporary. There has to be a better way, although I know it won’t be easy. It will require a certain kind of person – a man with unusual discipline and poise – to serve in the globohomo armed forces and not give himself away, just as it will require a certain kind of man voluntarily to live in the city and attempt to reclaim it. I know such people exist; the question is whether there are enough of them.

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MAN’S WORLD is now available, for the very first time, as a high-quality printed magazine. Across 200 glorious pages, you’ll find everything that made the digital magazine the sensation that it was – the best essays, the most brilliant new fiction, interviews, art, food, sex, fitness – and so much more.

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