A Conversation With Arthur from Arthur's Hall of Viking Manliness.
Arthur's Hall has been around a while -- covering weightlifting, guns, heavy metal, conservative politics. All of the best things in life, except of course..."To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of their women." Tell me a bit about how you got started writing and how the site has evolved over the years.
Well obviously Conan's wisdom is something that we should all live by!
When I launched the site, I had no concept that it would become what it has become. Shatner and I just thought it would be funny to post some of my aggressively offensive and terrifically true observations on the Net. It was not long before I had a good following of readers and I quickly came to the realization that there is a latent desire for masculine camaraderie that is sorely lacking in our post-modern emasculated society.
I have worked hard to create a site that represents the true virtues of masculinity while maintaining a level of humor and irreverence. It is a difficult balance and I have to say I have done a damn good job of making it work.
I have, and always will avoid, the trap of the only "manly" lifestyle sites that revolve around the opposite sex. Our official philosophy is that if you are great and act like a real man...women are a given.
The site's evolution has been driven by two things.
1) The nature of my readers and Hall members. The primary demographic of The Hall is younger men with far above average intelligence who feel adrift in this world due to the aforementioned emasculation. These younger guys know that something is amiss in the world and when they stumble upon The Hall they see that they are not alone in their instinctive understanding that the world of our ancestors is being pissed away.
2) My evolution as a man. In 2005 (when the site was launched) I was a pretty "by the book" Republican who saw the world through tinted glasses. In the last couple of years I have come to the realization that power, in the hands of anyone, is what I should fear. Freedom is the only true pursuit for a man. That freedom is only achieved with a superior understanding, rational worldview and the pursuit of arete.
My disdain for being "like everyone else" has lead me to create a site devoted to excellence, independence, honesty, and most importantly freedom.
Regarding your readers, didn't you have some sort of Arthur's Hall gathering recently?
Yes, the first annual ManFest was held at Knob Creek Gun Range near Louisville, Kentucky. It was planned by a valued member of the site and we had a good gathering of like minded folks from all over the US and Canada.
We had our own private gun range with an impressive array of weapons including a .50 cal Barret, a belt fed Browning auto and dozens of Mosin Nagants. We had a couple of smokers and BBQs running all day to nourish the manliness of the event with more meat than you can imagine. It was great to introduce some younger members to the joys of rifles and nasal snuff!
It was a humbling experience for me. I never had any notion that my site would bring men (and a couple of women) from across the continent to meet and create long term friendships. It was incredible to meet so many guys that I have known in cyberspace for so many years.
2011 ManFest will be held at Knob Creek (May 12-15, 2011) again and I have little doubt that we will have 50-100 in attendance for the four day event. We, of course, will consume absurd amounts of meat, tobacco and alcohol. It will be one hell of a time!
Sounds like a good time. Guns, tobacco, alcohol, grilled meat...all indulgences that connect with something primal in men. To some this might make the kind of Viking manliness you advocate seem like little more than a beer commercial. Sure, a lot of men seem to be drawn to these things, but I suspect there is something beneath the surface, a reason men are drawn to them. All of these things have some symbolic value. They're associated with strength, independence, self-reliance, boldness, fearlessness, virility, and a rejection of prissiness or delicacy. Being a man means more than being part of a marketing demographic.
You call your site a "Hall of Viking Manliness." What does it mean to be a man? What is manliness and and why is it important? Why exalt it?
Manliness, in my vision of it, is modeled on the concept of arete. Men are to strive for greatness in all things. The acceptance of mediocrity and weakness is the BIGGEST THREAT TO WESTERN CIVILIZATION. You know the parents who tell their kids "Oh it's ok that you came in 10th place, you tried your best, you get a trophy". It is pathetic.
Self-reliance, responsibility and achievement is what being a man means. All three of these aspects are being ignored by society. Men ask their wives if they can do things with their friends, help plan weddings, attend baby showers, etc, it's hideous. It is common practice on The Hall to destroy new posters who can't construct a sentence, misspell words and make other egregious errors. Guys are surprised to have their grammar corrected on a "manly" forum but we strive for greatness in all things. That is what sets us apart.
Men do what they want, have no regrets and don't question themselves knowing that they made the best decision based on the information available. Allowing emotions or feelings into the decision making process is what women and 12 year olds do... it is reprehensible.
Some people seem to think that if someone isn’t good at something right off the bat, he shouldn't bother trying -- that trying to emulate an ideal or push yourself is somehow inauthentic, indicative of some sort of “insecurity” and ultimately a Sisyphean task. This is a bit odd, given that it reflects a kind of determinism most often coming from those on the Left who tend to believe that aptitudes and personality traits are the result of socialization. Those on the Right seem more likely to believe that men have differing natural attributes and limitations, but that certain ways of being and acting -- virtues -- are better than other ways of being and acting. Perhaps, as you say, we should focus less on "being ourselves" and more on being virtuous, being the best we can be.
Now, I'm going to try to head off some readers here and ask: if men are to strive for greatness in all things, what are women to do? Surely women should strive to be the best they can be as well. Is it a question of different directions, different focuses, and different ideals? Apples and oranges? What distinguishes manliness from womanliness in your view?
I simply don't consider "womanliness" as a factor or more succinctly I don't care. Men are to be as good at what they do as they can be. Women? They will do what they do, mimic others and be informed by the opinions of society or their inner circle. Arthur's Hall of Viking Manliness ignores the lives of women. They have nothing to do with manliness.
It's refreshing to see that you're not going to fall over yourself trying to please everyone. That's probably part of the appeal of Arthur's Hall. Straight-shooting and straightforward. No apologies. A man dares you to contradict him. Harvey C. Mansfield equates manliness with "assertiveness" and his description of what he means by that matches your writing style.
Mansfield caught a lot of flack when he spoke up on behalf of manliness and the need for it in a sane society. Do you get a lot of angry emails? Why do so few men speak up publicly and unapologetically -- with assertiveness -- about the value of manliness?
I find that I don't get a lot of angry emails. Very rarely in fact. I think part of the reason for that is that, unlike some other "men's sites" I don't openly disparage women. I think that a lot of masculine styled thinkers are too busy worrying about women i.e. writing about ways they can use them or how stupid they are. To me...those are somewhat given. I also do not make an effort to widen my audience by writing articles that soften the stance of the site. So I think from the outset the people who are reading Arthur's Hall are almost 100% self selected and in the right demographic.
The reason that more people don't speak up about it is that most men simply don't live it. They would like to think they do but then they remember that last weekend they were re-carpeting the living room because the wife was bitching about it. It is hard to talk about manliness when your evenings revolve around eating vegetables, soy laced products and watching American Idol in order to "keep the peace" with the woman.
99% of men who are married are completely emasculated and they know it. As for the younger men who are not married... they have been brainwashed so completely by a school system and society bent on destroying every vestige of masculinity left. Someone has to do what I do and I just happen to be lucky enough to have seen the light on this phenomenon very early in my life.
I personally benefit from the utter lack of manliness in our society. I service women all the time who are sick of their boyfriend's lack of dominance and pathetic low testosterone body. So either I help make boys into men or I end up banging their girlfriends/wives...win-win for me!
Fair enough! Though I don’t get the sense that you actually want to be the last man standing in the West, servicing the women of the men who can’t keep them. At least not all of them at once.
You talked about how brainwashed young men are, and how pussy-whipped most older men are in your view. Is there anything we can do to right our course? If Arthur the Viking were King -- wearing his crown upon a troubled brow -- what are some realistic first steps?
Ha, Ha. I fear that I will be the last man standing. But it would have benefits.
The first thing I would do as King would be to separate boys and girls in schools. Co-ed schools would be a thing of the past. That way you could reestablish hazing, bullying, fights, etc. Men need to learn where they fit in the order of things. It is part of being a man. When you are a 14 year old smart ass kid you NEED a 18 year old Senior to pound you or make you run for your life. It is the natural order of things. A 14 year old boy MUST have a teacher who says "you write like a god damn mongoloid, fix it". That can't happen in a school system that has to deal with girls.
A question that weighs on my own mind is: “How does a man live an honorable life in a world that is hateful to honor?” Any thoughts?
I don't think the world is "hateful" of honor, just completely unfamiliar with it. More importantly, a truly honorable man should not deal with the society who is fearful of them. Do your own thing, do not conform and mock, humiliate and destroy anyone who does not stand with you. The culture of politeness has destroyed us. If you see someone being a piece of shit... tell them. When you see someone on food stamps, point and laugh. The lines are being drawn. Choose a side.
OK. One last question. What's the deal with Milton Friedman -- how does he fit into the picture?
Milton Friedman represents freedom. He understood that government regulation of anything would result in market distortion and inefficiency. His book "Free to Choose" is the most important work done in the last 50 years. Anyone who has not read it is doing themselves a disservice. He, along with Barry Goldwater and Thomas Jefferson are my personal idols and models for my political ideology.