The outline of Maletopia

by [anonymous] 14 min read19th Feb 201587 comments


Inspired by the idea that Eutopia is supposed to be scary. Well, some of the things I like, moreover, I figure things a lot of other people either consciously or subconsciously like are scary indeed.

In Maletopia, violence is not seen as something abhorrent. It is well understood, that the biological wiring of men (largely on the hormonal level) sees fighting and combat as something exciting and winning it is rewarded with a T boost, and on the gut level masculine men do not see fighting as something abhorrent. Videogames are a proof of this. Instead of trying to suppress these instincts and trying to engineer violence-abhorring pacifist men who would probably end up with low testosterone, lower sex appeal to many a straight women, maybe bullied, and depressed, in Maletopia the goal is to provide safe and exciting outlets for these instincts.

EDIT: The ideas being tested

Traditional masculine instincts evolved for an ancestral environment got out of synch with the modern world, became misleading, harmful, and downright dangerous. Having realized this, there were also movements to suppress them. Which is a less than ideal solution. Generally speaking the ancestral environment is fairly simple and not hard to simulate. Why not do it then?

The instincts in question are:

1) Warmongering, finding violence cool, hawkery, militarism

It is a scope insensitivity issue. War was not so costly in human lives and suffering when it was about a tribe raiding another with arrows and bows.  Having the same hawkish, yee-haw, let's kick some butt instincts in an age of world wars and nukes is incredibly dangerous.

Having realized the issue, many intellectuals promoted pacifist humanism, an abhorrence of violence, in German speaking countries there is a clearly visible line from Stefan Zweig type WWI-opposers to the hippies in the 1960's. However these people generally ended up suppressing all aspects of masculinity. They would not let their children learn boxing, they would say it teaches them to solve problems with violence. German hippies tried to be as unmasculine in everything, hair, clothes, as they could. It is fighting against your own testosterone producing glands. Not a very good idea.

2) Tribalism, us vs. them

Obvious enoguh. Camaraderie, an esprit the corps is very important in a war. It is also very harmful when it comes to arguments between political parties. Or about preventing a war.

3) Setting up gendered standards, "a real man should so-and-so", often combined with sexism and homophobia largely in order to set up a contrast ("You hit like a girl! That is totally gay!")

Here the issue is largely that gender as understood today, a binary thing, is a too large scope. It is okay to say "A real marine should be strong and tough!", that is a small and relevant enough scope. Saying "A real man should be strong and tough!", well on one hand I do sympatize with the sentiment, but on the other hand such an expectation should not be cast over literally 50% of humankind. Why cannot we have 4-5 smaller genders, and express such expectations only inside them? And it is also wrong to contrast it to women and gay men, men of whom are strong and tough, this is simply not a properly calibrated contrast. We need to keep the general idea of gendered masculinity, but no longer think in these really broad categories like men, women or gay men. Traditional masculinity should be understood as a subculture, and on one hand it is generally correct to expect those men who want to be parts of it to try to live up to its values, but on the other this simply does not need to have anything to do with women, gay men or men outside this subculture.

4) Sexism and homophobia getting detached from serving as a contrast and becoming a problem on its own

Obvious enough. The core problem is a miscalibrated scope like expecting all men to be tough instead of a subset only, this is e.g. contrasted to the weakness of women and then becomes a stereotype of all women. Everybody loses.

5) A dislike of softness and coddling leading to the opposing of compassionate social policies, being a proud self made hard worker, not wanting to pay taxes to pay welfare lazy people

This is counter-productive in age where more and more work will be automated and sooner or later basically it is either a Basic Income or a violent revolution. A tribe fighting to survive cannot accomodate softness, but a rich modern society can, and it is especially wrong calibration when the lack of jobs is seen as soft laziness.

These instincts are out of synch and problematic. But the goal is not to suppress them, the goal is to simulate that ancestral environment where they can find an outlet.


Some boring background

Maletopia has a highly advanced social market economy where most work is done by robots, most people live on Basic Income and people have a lot of free time. The government does not provide much services directly, letting people buy education or healthcare on a competitive market, but there are also regulations wherever customers cannot really be expected to make informed decisions. They are not dogmatic libertarians, they don't see much wrong in making the generally accepted procedures and rules of e.g. medicine mandatory and not expecting every patient to be able to choose doctors on the competitive marketplace efficiently. However, since it is a robot economy, the people are no longer assets for the state, it means having an educated or healthy population is not necessarily a competitive advantage for the state. This enables governments to be a bit relaxed about this. Some education is mandatory until puberty, but if you think at 12 you never want to see a math textbook anymore, it is no longer the government's job to force you to, just collect your BI and live as you wish. Since politics is largely about who gets to spend whose money, and there is not much spending besides BI, most services are provided by a regulated market, politics as such is largely ignored by the populace and much simpler than today. People can directly elect a Minister of Health, Minister of Agriculture etc., this was implemented in order to push people to look more at their qualifications and not their party affilation or ideology. Besides, there is a Parliament, which is filled by a lot, not election, as here qualifications matter less than being truly representative. Governments  are over smaller areas than today, modeled after Swiss Cantons. Politics is largely considered boring, people are more excited about whether it is the Aalborg Vikings or the Detroit Thug Life who wins the next World Top Raid. DTL's top fighter Jamal has promised to put his diamond-decorated gold chain on the loot pile, can you imagine that? Word is, AV is having a golden wolf's head made in order to be able to match the bet honorably. Why would anyone care about endless debates about car safety regulations when cool things like this happen?

EDIT: To avoid some misunderstandings

People who read the pre-edited version of this article have misunderstood some of my intentions. The basic idea is a standard post-scarcity sci-fi where there is nothing important to do and people live for their hobbies a'la Culture, with the only difference being that I don't think people like being that isolated and generally I think people like to form fairly closely-knit like-minded groups. But what I have in mind is obviously an incredibly diverse world with a million hobby groups for every kind of people possible. The whole thing you might call Utopia, and then it has subsets, the hobby groups of gay artists may be called Gayartopia, the hobby groups of woman gamers Femgamertopia, and the hobby groups of traditionally masculine guys would be called Maletopia.

I will focus on the last subset, because it is the most controversial, interesting, unusual, and scary. But it does not mean that the rest of humankind (about maybe 90%) does not have a wonderful life pursuing their very different kinds of interests. It is just not the purpose of this article to flesh it out.

One reader assumed something like a  generic mainstream pop culture exists in Utopia and it is filled with shows from its Maletopia subset. I would like to leave the question open. To me the idea of a mainstream is already outdated, let alone in the future. It will be YouTube, not CNN.  But sure, Maletopia can generate some spectacular TV shows. Not sure how much it matters.

I also think social oppression is largely the factor of competing for resources or economic exploitation, and if you think some aspects of this sound oppressive, you need to explain how would that make any sort of sense in a post-scarcity world where everybody who does not like the sub-reality generated by any group has access to resources for generating their own.

A fighter's world

The basic ideas were there at least since the early 20th century. Orwell called the spirit of sports as "war minus the shooting", which he understood as a bad thing, Maletopia agrees but sees it as a good thing: it is precisely the shooting what is wrong with war, otherwise, war would be an exciting manly adventure. Or maybe it wouldn't, but clearly the millions of 20th-21th century men who watched war movies and played wargames on their computer thought otherwise. They liked war, or at any rate liked the ideas they had about war, even if those ideas were completely wrong. So Maletopia is really into sports. Into sports of the kind the look a lot like war minus the shooting.

A sport like tennis is obviously a poor simulation of war. It lacks both of its major aspects: the excitement of conflict, violence and danger, and the strong us vs. them tribal spirit of camaraderie.

We have already seen simulations of both aspects in the 20th century. The tribal, us vs. them spirit of camaraderie was simulated in Europe and indeed in most of the world outside America by association football or soccer, both national teams ("Wave your flag!") and clubs.

The fighting aspect is a bit harder to simulate. Clearly, you can simulate a shooting war with paintball or airsoft, you can fence with longswords and look rather awesome at it, but you know it is not serious, your opponent cannot hurt you seriously with those weapons. You could experiment with semi-hard half-nerf swords that kinda hurt but not so much, but there is one traditional and well-respected way to fight while causing real damage, yet keep it reasonably safe: the empty-handed martial arts or combat sports.

Again, the basics were there already at the end of the 20th century. MMA eclipsed the popularity of boxing, largely through looking more vicious, gladiatorial and flashy, yet (this is being debated) being less dangerous, and when in the first days of Maletopia an entrepreneur came up with flashier looking versions of the head protection used in amateur boxing, which were then made mandatory, the problem of concussions and brain damage largely being solved, the safety concerns were largely alleviated. It was understood that it cannot be perfectly safe and yet provide a believable simulation of real combat, there must be a trade-off, and Maletopia has good enough healthcare that lacerations or even broken bones in the ring are not a major issue.

In the first years of Maletopia, Dana Jr. figured there is still one problem left. It is an individual sport, not a team sport, it does not have the tribal, camaraderie aspects of, say, soccer fandom. To keep a long story short, a team version of MMA was made, which required a certain modification of the rules, but I don't want to bore you with the details. Sufficient to say, it was possible to fight team against team now, to fight a simulated, yet believable enough empty-handed tribal war in the MMA ring, with real enough broken noses.

Soon, teams were called tribes and matches were called raids.

The whole thing was made even better when simulated looting was incorporated into the rules. Before a raid, the tribes are supposed to make a bet, and put the money or other valuables they bet visibly on a table. Bystanders, spectators are welcome to put more money or valuables on the pile. After the raid, the winning tribe takes it and parades it around, showing off their loot. After that they distribute it between each other.

Money does not play any other role in the sport in order to be prevent it becoming too profit-oriented. Ticket prices and advertising is only used to pay for costs like renting the venue, which is not much, and only advertisements appropriate to the mood (i.e. MMA gear)  are allowed. Fighters don't receive any other payment than their share of the loot. There is a strong rule against rich people or really anyone sponsoring teams or paying fighters salaries (they collect BI anyway), although offering them gear, a gym to train for free etc. is allowed. But generally speaking the only way a rich sponsor or a fan can get money to the tribe he supports is putting it into the loot pile: and if they lose, the opponent will get it. There is a strong social taboo against paying money to figthers or tribes any other way, there is an oft-quoted saying taking money not fought for is a cowards' wage.

No armchair fans

There is another strong social taboo against armchair fandom. The idea of a fat slob drinking beer and eating wings in front of the TV and rooting for his tribe is considered ridiculous by all. You show respect to the fighters of your tribe by imitating them to a certain extent, by being fit, learning basic self-defense moves, doing a bit of grappling sparring and heavy bag work, so basically do the same thing that the non-competitive people who train at todays MMA, boxing or BJJ gyms do. Fandom and getting your own training is merged into one at your local tribal HQ which also doubles as a training gym. There is no clear separation between fighters and fans, it is simply that only the elite fighters participate in raids. But the idea of a fan who could not do at least some light sparring himself or would run out of breath is considered ridiculous, unless he has a physical disability.

Tribes - by that I mean both the elite fighters who raid, and the amateur fighters who are the fans -  have a strong spirit of camaraderie. This is represented by flags, coats of arms, uniforms, greetings, hand signals, or anything else really, depending on what the tribe and its identity is. They are basically brotherhoods, they take solidarity and honor very importantly. Your tribal HQ is practically your second home. If you have nothing better to do, and some time to kill, you go down to the local tribal HQ to practice a bit or maybe lift some weights, watch the serious elite spar, watch recorded raids, or maybe just have a beer and chat. You can count on each other. If you move houses, your brothers will carry your furniture. There are other organized activities, usually manly fun like shooting clay pigeons.

While it is not mandatory to be a member of a tribe, many men are. Obviously there are pacifist, intellectual, low-testosterone or gay men who dislike the idea. It used to generate a lot of grief, fighters saying a real man must fight and not be a sissy, non-fighters told them their view of masculinity is toxic, sexist, patriarchical, barbarous and completely outdated, since the only place they can practice it in the modern world is a simulation, a sport - the raids are not like _actual_ raids where people die and village get burned down. This resulted in a lot of mud-flinging until a clever solution was found.

Solving the gender conundrum

The clever solution was to define more than two genders. Specifically, two different male genders were defined. Unfortunately our records are lost with regard how exactly they were called. One dubious and unverified source is saying that there were multiple terms, at and least a subset of English-speaking people preferred Mentsh vs. Mannfolk. The first is borrowed from Yiddish, where it roughly means "a good person" and it is used as a gender self-identification of those males who generally abhor the idea of fighting, focus on productive or altruistic pursuits, and if they are straight, their sexual relations with women are based on egalitarian friendships. The Mannfolk is from Old Norse, as white-skinned fighters tend to like a certain (not historically accurate) Viking ethic, they are the fighters in tribes, they have a high-testosterone ethic, and have a certain tendency to sexually objectify women. However, violence against women is strictly forbidden in the Code of Honor of most tribes, this was based on an agreement with the Fempire. As for the sneakier forms of rape, most tribes have a culture that having sex with a woman is not a masculine achievement as such: doing her so good that she comes back asking for more tomorrow is one, and it is the only proper basis of sexual bragging. It is not just ethics, but also a pride in their own manly attractiveness that makes the idea of roofing a drink unthinkably low for the vast majority of tribe members.

It is also helpful that when a member of a tribe behaves unethically outside, the whole tribe is shamed in the media and they will sort out their own punishment internally. Usually it means having to fight the elite fighters, and they will not hold back.

At any rate, inventing two male genders, Mentsh and Mannfolk, sorted out the problem nicely. From that on, sentences like "a real man should fight" or "your sense of masculinity is wrong or outdated" would be almost unintelligible, because would sound like "a real human should fight" or "your sense of what is to be human is wrong and outdated". Instead it is widely accepted truism that real Mannfolk fight and real Mentsh usually don't, that real Mannfolk need to be strong and tough and real Mentsh need to be empathic and sensitive. It also makes it easier for straight women to tell what they are attracted to. Instead of complicated descriptions and instead of men having endless debates like whether women like "bad boys" or not, most women openly state whether they like Mentsh or Mannfolk. This makes things quite easy. It is understood that women who like Mannfolk will be turned off by cowardice, will put up with some sexism, and expect the man to play a leader role in the relationship, while women who like Mentsh will expect equality, sensitivity, respect, and in return their men can allow themselves to show weakness.

Thus nobody talks about "real men" vs. "toxic masculinity" anymore. They see the whole human history through these glasses, nobody was simply a man, or a manly man, or unmanly man, but for example Holger Danske or Arnold or Musashi or Patton were Mannfolk and Einstein and MLK and Freddie Mercury was Mentsh. Some people who are interested in history argue about which gender did e.g. Winston Churchill belong to, but not many are interested in this.

Mentsh usually focus on intellectual, artistic etc. pursuits.

The rise of the knightly orders

There is a new trend in Maletopia that some tribes call themselves chivalrous orders. The idea is that they try to combine the ideals of Mannfolk and Mentsh. The knights, as they call themselves, think that physical fitness, courage, knowing self-defense, and having some exciting fun at a sparring is not a bad idea at all, but the higher morals and higher intellectualism of Mentsh is also something valuable. Knights generally agree that a valuable way to live is to work on the Four Virtuous Activities, namely:

1) physical fitness, fighting and physical challenges,

2) scholarship, intellectualism, learning and rationality,

3) altruism, charity and good works,

4) and protecting the Earth, animals, plants, the natural environment, or indigenous people.

Knights of the Fox are supposed to be versatile, work on all four.

Other chivalrous orders focus on one, also do other two, and are allowed to go easy on the fourth. Knights of the Sword are the closest to the tribes of Mannfolk, they focus on fighting and physical challenges, learning and knowledge matters for them too, but they will usually go easy on either altruism or environmentalism. Knights of the Scroll focus on learning and rationality, find altruism and environmentalism important, and go easy on fighting and physicality. Knights of the Heart and Knights of Earth are easy enough to figure out.

So far I have only talked about men, and mostly about the Mannfolk gender. And I named it Maletopia. Where are women and LGBT people, or the disabled who cannot fight, in all this? Are they an oppressed minority? No.

Women and everybody else in Maletopia

EDIT: as indicated above, Maletopia, i.e. the fighting tribes of the Mannfolk are only a small subset of hobby groups in Utopia. Many, many other kinds of subsets exist to cater to other people. However, we simply focus on the Mannfolk now and their interaction with everybody else.

One of the most important elements of the Grand Compromise with the Fempire was that discrimination and inequality is not allowed in general society as such, but is allowed in private organizations such as these tribes. The reason it was allowed was partially because some MRAs were adamant to be let allowed to organize tribes where only men and only masculine men - the later Mannfolk - are allowed, and be allowed to play these violent games with each other even if others find it revolting. For this reason, they wanted to prevent "entryism", the practice where people who disagree with the values of a movement or group enter it, and then vote and exert pressure to change them.

But the main reason was that now there was hardly any important work to do, as work was done by robots, and people lived on BI, discrimination in these organizations had little affect on how succesful individuals could become. Since basically everything was a hobby now and nothing really mattered, success lost its former meaning, and if some fools wanted to form a hobby group that consisted entirely of tall ginger demisexual males, there was no good reason to not let them to.

As a result, many fighting tribes of Mannfolk consist of straight cissexual men with significantly sexist views and are often recruited from a particular culture, ethnicity or race. Such things tend to strengthen their tribal identity, their solidarity, camaraderie and this is seen as super important in Maletopia. Inclusiveness is not emphasized, since these organizations are essentially about hobbies and thus it is very easy to found many competing ones for every possible identity or need, hence they tend to be exclusive, and use the exclusiveness to form tightly knit  communities with a strong esprit de corps. This also means often disturbing views, like sexism or racism are openly professed by certain tribes of Mannfolk.  However it does not affect anyone outside their tribe, except others tribes they fight with, and women outside their tribe they date, but there are solutions for the worst aspects of it (see above, violence, rape), and since those women who want to be treated as equals usually completely refuse to date Mannfolk and choose to date only Mentsh, basically this sexism does not make anyone miserable.

It is not a surprise that tribes often challenge each other to raids precisely based on their conflicting identities, prejudices and discriminations, and this is seen as a feature, not a bug, a little hatred just makes the raid more real and more warlike. Thus, Steela from Bay Area Amazons likes to say that she will bathe in male tears after their upcoming raid with Italian Cowboys, and Eli from the Lions of Judah is looking forward to break some Nazi bones during their upcoming raid against the Aryan Brotherhood. As a commenter has put it, letting evil tribes exist makes better villains for the raids, and if you complain that evil people are being racist or sexist, that is obviouly stupid. Just put a tenner on the loot pile and hope the bad guys will get their noses bloodied.

The parallels between the ethnic gangs of the 20th century are obvious and intentional.

Besides the straight Mannfolk tribes, there are male fighting tribes who are not straight but androphile (masculine-gay, see Jack Donovan), there are butch amazon fighting tribes, and of course a million similar hobby organizations for people who are not fighters, for the Mentsh, for women who dislike fighting, for LGBT people, for the disabled, for all.

Of course, those groups can and should be fleshed out. All in all, the only reason I called it Maletopia is because I wanted to focus on how the fighting tribes of Mannfolk serve the emotional needs of masculine men. Really, Maletopia is simply a subset of Utopia where everybody else, too, finds groups where they can be themselves.