Monday, January 9, 2017
Lifestyle Nationalism and the No Fap Scam
Another day, another 'NoFap' thread on 4Chan; this week there will be another, the next another, and the week after that... Nationalists seem to like NoFap ideas, which stem from the work of the notorious crank Gary Wilson and his wife Marina Robinson, who are untiring propagandists for a neo-Puritanism wrapped up in 'neuroscience'; I myself, in a credulous state of mind, once wrote a glowing review of Wilson here.
As to why nationalists like Wilson, the answer is two fold. One is that a strong - very strong - puritan and moral current flows through modern-day nationalism and Far Rightism. Secondly, many nationalists see pornography as 'degenerate' and 'Jewish' and believe that those who obsessively view and masturbate to pornography are victims of 'Jewish mind control'.
Related to this is the fact that those who post on 4Chan/Pol are more often than not NEETs or what the Japanese call 'Hikomori' - Shut Ins; these young men lead unhealthy and unproductive lives, rarely get out and interact with others, and spend most of their free time playing computer games, eating junk food, watching pornography, smoking marijuana, consuming pop culture and 'sh*tposting', or trolling, on 4Chan and other forums. They recognise, to a certain extent, that they lead 'degenerate', unhappy lives and so Wilson's simplistic, reductionist model offers a coherent and on the surface plausible explanation for their misery: it's all the fault of porn (which in turn is the work of the Jews); that's to blame for their alienation, cynicism, listlessness, lack of motivation; that's to blame for their inability to connect to the opposite sex. Get rid of porn, and stop masturbating, and most if not all of your problems will be solved.
Now this idea may seem refreshing to some. Our culture these days doesn't favour self-discipline, self-restraint; it encourages people to indulge in vices as much as possible. Wilson's message stands in contrast to this, and whatever seems opposite to 'degenerate' modern culture can seem good - in the way that Putin can seem good compared to Obama. Wilson's idea harkens back to the 'good old days' before the sexual revolution, when Dr John Harvey Kellogg invented his famous cereal as a means of helping curb masturbation and dampening sexual desire. But Kellogg's puritanism had its roots in religion - he was a Seventh Day Adventist; Wilson's owes its origins to - science, which makes it plausible to NEETs, who aren't inclined to religion.
The trouble is that Wilson claims his ideas are based on scientific facts, and this is false. His followers will claim otherwise: that neuroimaging studies show that pornography stimulates the same parts of the brain as cocaine use, for example. But this is not true: see here. Sexologist Jessi Fischer wrote a fairly comprehensive refutation of the 'science' behind Wilson and NoFap in an article which deserves to be more widely read.
But much of NoFap doesn't accord with common sense, much less science. One can't be addicted to pornography and masturbation, or sex, or gambling - or rather, the pleasant sensations which follow from them - because whatever neurotransmitters and hormones which are 'released' through these activities belong to the body; they can't be classified as foreign agents, chemicals which are introduced from without such as, i.e., caffeine. It's nonsense then that abstention from pornography and continence produces 'withdrawal symptoms' which, if not combated sufficiently, will encourage one to 'relapse'. These drug and addiction metaphors are overblown. Giving up caffeine - a real drug - can induce withdrawal symptoms; abstention from pornography, sex, masturbation, gambling - which are vices but not drugs - can't.
Today I tend to be sceptical of most 'addictions' - addictions to alcohol, for instance; does alcoholism exist or is it merely an excuse for bad behaviour and weakness of will? Modern psychology frames everything in terms of chemicals and withdrawal symptoms, but I think most vices - and the failure to overcome them - owe their origin to weakness of character and lack of virtue. In other words, Aristotle and the virtue ethicist school of philosophy were right...
I first came across Wilson's ideas through a white nationalist website, and it may strike outside observers as paradoxical that the Far Right when it comes to pornography has formed a de facto alliance with the Christians and the feminists; moralistic politics makes odd bedfollows. The question is, why has the Far Right taken this peculiar turn? The answer lies in part in the fact that the Far Right has been out of office in the West for a very long time. This has meant that the energies normally expended in politics must find an outlet elsewhere; they are displaced, to use Freudian jargon, to other activities - such as moralism and what I call 'lifestyle nationalism'.
Far Right nationalist politics becomes a matter, not of seizing power, of running a country, but of moralising and instructing - hence the threads and YouTube posts on the virtues of exercising, working out, etc., and the vices of pornography and masturbation. I myself could jump on the bandwagon if I wanted - I think Western man's diet of meat and dairy is doing him real physical harm - more harm than pornography - but I won't. Such topics, important as they are, should not occupy the first place in our discourse.