This is a guest post from a friend and fellow writer. Needless to say, I disagree with his take on Alpha Males, but it is an interesting piece regardless.
Freaks, Geeks and Alpha Males
Vox’s latest post on bullying and the long-term lives of the bullied crystallised a number of thoughts I have been having along the same lines. And while I agree with most of his points, there are some issues I feel he doesn't take into account.
The bullied - for want of a better term - face two challenges. Most bullies, at least in my experience, are quite insecure. If challenged sufficiently, they either back off or break completely. The trick, of course, lies in actually doing it. A pitiful challenge is largely worthless. If the system - school, university, the workplace - is designed to support the bully’s predominance, beating the bully may be very difficult. All those inspiring stories about standing up to some over-muscled shithead require the fighter to successfully hand out a beating, which isn't particularly easy.
This leads to the second problem. The bullied can come to believe, deep in his bones, that resistance is completely futile. There is no hope. There is no point in striving because victory is impossible. Why spend months or years learning to fight when it won’t get you anywhere?
Now, Vox argues that trying will get you somewhere. Either you become tough enough to thump the bastard or at least tough enough to convince him to get his kicks elsewhere. But you have to overcome, first and foremost, the belief that you can't win.
If you don’t succeed in doing this, you generally turn into a little shit yourself. You find ways to hurt the bully, even petty little ways. (Like the old story of the abused wife who used to serve her husband dog food curry after particularly nasty fights.) The more you embrace this, the nastier you become. And you grow more and more disconnected from the rest of society. No one gave a shit about you, you reason, so why should you give a shit about everyone else? Cue the birth of umpteen internet trolls.
I don't really believe in the wolf/sheep/sheepdog model. It is my observation that sheep can become wolves (and vice versa) under the right conditions. The older brother who is bullied at school goes home to bully the little brother. I don’t believe, also, in Vox’s ranking of social structure. The guy I am describing - an Omega male - might grow out of it with some actual help and support. No one is condemned to perpetual Omega-hood or whatever.
The thing is, as Dave Grossman and Black Five pointed out, the sheep often have problems telling the sheepdog from the wolf. They look alike. Both have teeth and claws (muscles), both have ‘top of the world’ attitudes, both see no reason to pretend respect for the sheep, although for different reasons. The sheep are often just as scared of the sheepdog as they are of the wolf.
Expanding on this a little, true Alpha males feel no inclination to brag or put everyone else down. Why should they? Alpha males are secure in ways no one else - even Sigma males - enjoy. A true Alpha will be friendly towards everyone else because he doesn’t need to do otherwise. He is not challenged by other men. His position is not under threat. The core of his being is never at risk (because, at the risk of sounding sappy, the only person who can bring someone you down completely is yourself.) The Alpha male is the guy who encourages everyone to do better.
Vox notes that Alpha males are in constant competition. But the person they are in competition with is themselves.
But Alpha males are relatively rare.
Most geeks - for want of a better term - don’t meet Alpha males. They are so disconnected from Alpha males that they don’t recognise them, even on TV. They tend to mistake Beta and Delta males - even Gammas - for Alphas. And this poisons their opinion of Alphas and a great many others besides. They see Alphas as people who could turn on them at any moment - and their experience has led them to this. Tell them they’re wrong and they’ll look at you with incomprehension. Tell them that Donald Trump is an Alpha male and they’ll find it a great turn-off.
They also wind up being ... well, triggered. The sort of macho behaviour you get from any reasonably well-adjusted group of men scares them. And why shouldn't it? They have no reason to like such behaviour, let alone to see it as anything other than a threat. It is a threat, to them. They are unable to comprehend that a friendly punch to the shoulder might not be intended as yet more bullying.
Which brings us all the way back to Vox’s original point. These people have SJW ‘group trumps individuality’ attitudes hammered into their heads at school. They are unable to comprehend that there might be decent jocks (or even that jocks are individuals.) They cannot see any good in them. As they grow older, they apply this reasoning to everything else. Right-wingers bring back all their bad emotions from school. The idea that the right-wingers might have a point is lost in the maelstrom. They fear that giving right-wingers power will lead to that power being used against them.
Which is tragic. I feel for them. But that doesn't make them right.