Two months ago I accepted the invitation of my good friend Giannozzo Strozzi for a celebration of his forty-second birthday at his family’s modest yet comfortable villa outside Spoleto, in Umbria.  He had mentioned that Roosh V would be flying in from the Ukraine to be present, and that some writers at Return of Kings would also be in attendance.  (Not all writers were present, some having been detained at Rome due to travel delays).  So I looked forward to the event with great anticipation.  It is rare enough when the responsibilities of life allow us to escape and savor moments of reflection and conviviality, but it is rarer still to have an opportunity to share those moments with serious and stimulating personalities.

The topics we discussed at Strozzi’s villa were weighty, beneficial, and memorable, and affected all of us deeply.  I am sure all of us recall vividly the sight of Roosh V pacing back and forth, sometimes standing and sometimes reclining, answering our questions and goading us on, in his own maddening yet effective way, to greater and greater depths of inquiry.

I could not allow what was discussed there to fall into oblivion, so I took it upon myself to sketch some notes as our discussions during the weekend ran their course.  What follows is my best recollection of the statements and dissertations of the speakers.

The Speakers:  Roosh V, Athlone McGinness, Tuthmosis, Samseau, Christian McQueen, Emmanuel Goldstein, Law Dogger, Quintus Curtius, Giannozzo Strozzi, Rinaldo Manetti, Mario Palla, unidentified party.

spoleto1

Petri.  Yesterday, Roosh, you presumptuously suggested that you could trace the origin and development of the patriarchy.  I should like to hear more of that.

Goldstein.  I would concur with that suggestion.

McGinnis.  And I also, without doubt.

Roosh.  Well, you certainly seem eager not to waste time on preliminaries, my dear Petri.  I suppose you could assist me by first explaining what you mean by “patriarchy”.  Am I to know what you mean by this word?

McQueen.  Let’s have none of these evasive games now, Roosh.  The day has been long, and the mind grows weary.  I think we all know what is meant by the term.

Roosh.  Do we, now?  I certainly have never sought to wear out my welcome with unnecessary repetition.  I have no desire to become one of those irritating poets who peddle stale verses.  As Martial said of the annoying Ligurinus, who pestered him everywhere,

Et stanti legis, et legis sedenti,

Currenti legis, et legis cacanti.[1]

But I will certainly explain in detail what I mean by patriarchy and its origins.  It is an important issue deserving of our patient consideration.

Tuthmosis.  It would be well to do so, for your position on this matter has yet to be fully clarified.  We are thirsty, yet you seek to deprive us of the sustaining drink.  One is reminded of Tantalus, surrounded by water but never able to quench his thirst,

Mento summam aquam attingens enectus siti.[2]

Law Dogger.  Well said, Tuthmosis.  But let him proceed.  I wish to hear the details, and can only gnaw on these olives here for so long.  Pass me that wine there, Manetti.

Roosh.  First, some preliminaries. The first matter is one that most of you are already aware of, but nevertheless must be said.  This concerns the initial priority of silence in conducting inquiries into important issues.  Silence must be the first imperative in the acquisition of knowledge and wisdom.  Modern communication and technology has extended the persistence and scope of random opinion beyond anything imaginable by our ancestors; but this advancement in technology has not been matched by a concurrent advancement in patience and judgment.  Technology has multiplied not only the volume of dispensers of knowledge, but also the founts of idiocy and jibberish as well.

Too many knaves now have a platform, too many dunces an outlet, and too many fools an unsustainable position.  I often regret that our educational system places too great an emphasis on the training of the student’s mind, but hardly anything at all on the development of the character and moral fortitude.  Knowledge untempered by the fire of experience and wisdom is hardly worth its name.

spoleto3

Samseau.  I would agree strongly with you on this point.  Yet the modern environment is not exactly conducive to calm reflection and reasoning.

Roosh.  Consider, my friends, the philosopher Pythagoras.  As soon as he deemed a novice worthy of admittance to his school, he would order the new student not to speak at all of the doctrines he was learning.  This practice would continue for two years.  Restraint in speech was the first imperative, as St. Benedict discovered centuries later when constructing the rule for his own order.  Pythagoras believed, quite correctly, that a man was incapable of speaking coherently before he first learned to hold his tongue.

And so it is also with the art of leadership:  one cannot lead unless one has first learned how to follow.  It is also recorded that the second king of the Romans, Numa Pompilia, thought that his people should devote special worship to the goddess Tacita (that is, the goddess of silence).  One seldom errs or goes astray by keeping silent, whereas injudicious speech has brought down many a house.

Palla.  I have often been sorry for my speech, but never for my silence.

Roosh.  Indeed, brother.  It is a lesson that is lost on many people today, who can barely restrain themselves from offering an ill-considered thought on any occasion, and are hypersensitive to any perceived criticism.  For this reason, we should not value what the ignorant multitude says of us, but only what wise men may think.  Fame or infamy are two sides of the same coin; and the multitude, due to its feminine and fickle nature, can alternate between the two with startling rapidity.  But let us consider the proposition at hand, the origin of the patriarchy.

[Unidentified party].  Yes, certainly.  You had promised us an explanation of your position.  But be mindful also of the warning the philosopher Pittacus issued:  Tempus cognosce! [3]

Roosh.  Let us begin.  If I need to pace the room, forgive me in advance for this distraction.  In most societies throughout history, the subordination of women has been the rule rather than the exception.  Yes, there have been female rulers among some sub-Saharan African peoples; and in the social structure of the Pelew Islands, we are told by ethnologists, the chief made no decision without consultation from elder women.  American Indian tribes present another example. Among the Iroquois and the Seneca, women also held great power.  But these are the exceptions, rather than the rule.

Quintus.  True.  And during the Periclean period of Greek history, the social position of women was even lower than that of North American Indians.  This, despite the fact that the relative position of women usually rises with the wealth of a society.

Roosh.  Precisely.  In the hunting stages of civilization, women perhaps did most of the work of the tribe except the dangerous pursuit and killing of big game.  Agriculture, woodworking, weaving, pottery, child rearing, cooking, were all most likely female innovations.  Because hunting involves brief periods of intense activity followed by long periods of rest, we can imagine that the life of a man in that age was something akin to bursts of danger interspersed by long periods of repose and idleness.  We see this even today in many parts of the undeveloped world.  In Neolithic times, women were most likely our near equals in strength and endurance.  This is so because the sex roles may not have have been as differentiated as now with regards to physical labor.  Anyone who has tried his hand at agriculture, the butchering of game, or any of the other handicrafts I have described will know how physically demanding they can be.

We are all, both men and women, but pale reflections of our ancestors!  How many of us here can say they know what it is like to go without food, or without shelter, for any extended period of time?  Or to be hounded by the ravages of disease? Primitive man knew that his life was either feast or famine.  Some weeks the hunt went well, and some weeks he caught nothing.  He and his kin were at the mercy of the elements, and the wild animals around him.  Life could not be counted on beyond the next meal.  And this is why in the primitive state before civilization, greed and cruelty may have been virtues, rather than the vices which they are today.

Manetti.  I am not so sure, Roosh, that you are correct on this point.

Roosh.  Women, at that time, were prized for their abilities as workers, artisans, and burden-bearers.  I read once that a chief of the Chippewa Indians told an explorer, “Women are created for work.  One of them can carry or draw as much as two men.  They also pitch our tents, make our clothes, mend them, and keep us warm at night… we absolutely cannot get along without them on a journey.  They do everything and cost only a little; for since they must be forever cooking, they can be satisfied in lean times by licking their fingers.” [4]

Law Dogger.  Women may have been the original impetus behind primitive forms of commercial trade.  That is, the exchange of agricultural goods, commodities, and necessary foodstuffs.  We can imagine the women of one tribe or village exchanging “manufactured” goods with those of other communities.

spoleto6

Roosh.  Perhaps.  Primitive man, it is clear, had no delusions about sex and marriage as modern man does.  He took his sex much more practically and philosophically than we do now, with no pretense to idealism.  Marriage to primitive man was a frank economic transaction.  He demanded from his woman practical virtues, along the lines of what I have earlier described.  A woman who could function as an artisan, burden-bearer, child-rearer, or the like, was infinitely more valuable than one who could not.  All women in those days, presumably, could do something useful.  A woman who could do nothing was a burden, not a benefit.  Certainly primitive man appreciated beauty—who does not?—but he was able to subordinate this appreciation of beauty to the necessities of life.

To him, marriage was worthless if it did not add to his economic benefit.  How much more sensible were our ancestors than we are!  Marriage was a profitable partnership, not a private pantomine of sexual frolic.  The marital unit was meant to be a way for both parties to be more prosperous than if each worked alone.

We would do well to remember this, brothers: in the history of civilization, whenever women have ceased to be an economic asset in marriage, the institution of marriage has declined.  And when the institution of marriage has decayed, civilization has decayed with it.  We see this process happening now with varying degrees of acceleration in different Western nations.  Marriage has become nothing but a private contract, to be broken at a whim, with a resultant unequal transfer of wealth to the female.  Civilization cannot sustain such an affront and a mockery for long.

Goldstein.  I can see your point on this.  But the implications are disturbing, and the leadership is incapable or unwilling to address it.

Roosh.  Let us develop this point.  As agriculture and societies became more complex and differentiated, it appears that the stronger sex—man—took more of the control of it into his hands.  The domestication of animals, especially cattle, provided a source of wealth and power that women were unable to compete with.  Slowly, women became replaced by animals in the fields; and the development of the plough placed more of a value on physical strength.  The cultivation of the soil rose greatly in importance.  For that reason, the stronger sex–man–desired the ability to pass it on to his offspring.

Manetti.  Yes, this is quite true.  The primacy of agriculture cannot be overstated.  Land was transformed into a commodity of great value.  As you know, Cato the Elder wrote in his treatise De Agricultura that the best use of agricultural land was “profitable cattle raising.”  He said the next best use of such land was “moderately profitable cattle raising”; and that the third best use of such land was “unprofitable cattle raising.”  In such a way did the great landed estates of Italy develop, the latifundia.  

Roosh.  The only way for a man to ensure that his woman’s offspring were his own genetic product was for him to adapt custom and law to require the sexual subordination of women.  Until that time, it is likely that virginity was a handicap rather than a virtue.

Strozzi.  How so?  I am not sure I follow you there.

Roosh.  Primitive societies valued fertility over virginity, my dear Strozzi.  The ability to bear offspring was an economic advantage.  An obvious pregnancy settled all doubts as to fertility.

In any case, property began to be passed down through the male.  Motherhood gave way to the patriarchy.  Idols of worship which were once feminine fertility symbols began to be replaced by the graphic representation of gods as stern male figures.  In essence, patriarchs.  Have you not seen primitive Neolithic carvings of obese female fertility symbols? This ethic was replaced by another.  And religion adapted itself to social and economic development.

And this is how the patriarchy was born.  The woman essentially became the property of the man, first of her father or oldest brother, then of her husband.  A woman could be bought in marriage just as a slave was bought at a market, and in some parts of the world this is still true.  In some regions, such as New Guinea, Fiji, the Solomon Islands, the ancient Scandinavians, and India, the woman was either killed or expected to commit suicide when her husband died.

Samseau.  I understand the British abolished the custom of the suttee in India when they consolidated their control over the country.

Roosh.  The life of the woman was everywhere considered to be cheaper than that of a man.  In Fiji, wives could be sold on a whim, with the price usually being a good rifle.  In New Caledonia, we are told, the wife would sleep in a shed, while the man slept in the house.  Marriage as an institution was the synthesis of two things:  the law of property and, frankly, the institution of slavery.

Palla.  Surely, Roosh, you have gone too far with this.  And in any case, of what importance to us are these anthropological speculations?  I fear we are exerting much effort for little reward.  Remember the legend of Sisyphus, forever toiling to no avail:  Sisyphus versat saxum sudans nitendo neque proficit hilum, as Cicero says. [5]

spoleto4

Roosh.  You are mistaken.  They are important because, in order to understand our present situation, we need to know a little about the origins of civilization and the differentiation of gender roles.  Have you not heard anything I have said?  Have you not reflected on my words, Palla?  It is clear that every civilization in history has been patriarchal in nature.  Do you think this is an accident?  Hundreds of thousands of years of human evolution have produced social institutions that have stood the test of time.

Modern feminism seeks to substitute its limited judgment for the verdict of thousands of years of human development.  Can you imagine the arrogance, the egoism, of this presumption?  It nearly takes one’s breath away.  But I believe the firm subordination of women to be more than just the result of economic factors.  It is clear that all societies have recognized the inherently unstable and hidden destructive power latent in the female psyche.

It is for this reason that all major civilizations found it necessary to keep feminine instability firmly under control.  We forget these lessons at our own peril.  Left unchecked, feminine energy inclines towards mischief and irrationality.  Our ancient Chinese, Mesopotamian, Greek, Roman, Aztec, Peruvian, and Abyssinian ancestors recognized this quite clearly, and never romanticized women as modern men do.  The need to keep feminine irrationality firmly under control was a prerequisite for the smooth functioning of society.  How can one hope to argue against the collective evolutionary wisdom of hundreds of thousands of years of hominid development?

Feminism, in its quest to destroy the patriarchy, seeks to overturn previous stages of human development.  It seeks to replace the wisdom of thousands of years of trial and error with an androgynous, sterile, and fundamentally cruel conception of humanity.  Few men have truly understood the fact that feminism is profoundly anti-civilization, at its core.  We could correctly say that feminism is a new form of barbarism, in that it seeks to destroy the social basis for civilization.

McQueen.  Do you think, Roosh, that you may be exaggerating a bit here?

spoleto5

Roosh.  Am I?  Look around you at the creeping barbarism that is taking over America and parts of Europe.  Already we are seeing clear signs that the social basis of civilization is being profoundly undermined by the influence of feminism.  This is not a natural outgrowth of technological development.  It is the result of the adoption of a specific, nihilistic philosophy of life.  Feminism seeks to destroy the male identity, the social basis of the state, and the sound functioning of social systems.

As we know, the feminist’s vision of humanity is a mindless army of drones, lacking in any beauty or virtue, mouthing its false slogans and genuflecting to its altars of obesity and androgyny.  It is a new barbarism, and I fear we are at the doorstep of a new Dark Age.  Vulgarization of our social and intellectual life has been proceeding steadily for decades now, birthrates are in decline, and the modern male is in deep crisis. The barbarians are not at the gates; they are already within the gates.  As the old order collapses, we can expect generations of chaos and insecurity.  So it was in Europe from roughly the deposition of Romulus Augustulus to the middle of the tenth century.

And yet, at the same time, feminism could not exist without the support and encouragement of the existing institutions.  The existing institutions in the United States and Europe find it useful to support it because it enables the existing wealthy classes to make more money.  Economic gain is held to be more important than social stability.  Our leaders have betrayed all of quite profoundly.

Because it is based on lies, feminism cannot stand on its own.  And the paradox of feminism is that it is destroying the very institutions which nurture and protect it.  It saws the branch upon which it sits.  Just as reputation follows virtue, so must infamy follow vice.  Once those institutions finally crumble, it will likely burn itself out, much as a disease contagion burns itself out when there are no more hosts left to infect.

Samseau.  What, then, can be done?

Roosh.  Let us save that topic for future discussion.  For now, let us adjourn this session, and meet again tomorrow.  For just as we cannot pronounce many words simultaneously, so we cannot engage the intellect on many different subjects.  Intellect is a kind of internal speech with which the mind speaks to itself; and whosoever proposes to use his intelligence, cannot hope to bring it to bear on more than one thing at once.

But know that virtue shall carry its own rewards, my dear Samseau.  The virtues are  the practice of good arts, by which men are made good.  And know that this material world, and everything in it, is naught but shadow, and illusion.  He who has equipped himself with the arts of virtue will be armored against the cruelties and brutalities of the vulgar mass, which hinders and obstructs rational inquiry.

A virtuous man will not fret about what others say, or do not say.  As Augustine truly and wisely noted:  “Glory is in hiding, and disgrace is on view.  If a wicked act is being performed, it convenes all spectators.  If a good deed is said to be taking place, it hardly finds people willing to listen, as if honorable actions were to be blushed at, and dishonorable ones matter for boasting about.” [6]

At this point the discussion ended.  Each of us left the dining room, and returned to our individual lodgings.  I found myself thinking about the ideas discussed well into the night.  More than ever before, I was convinced of the curative powers of philosophy for those matters which oppress the hearts and minds of thoughtful men.  And I resolved, notwithstanding any obstacles, to record the substance of these matters which we discussed, so that they could be pondered and reflected upon by like-minded souls.  The vine of human wisdom tends to wither at its root, unless that vine is regularly refreshed and sustained by a virtuous caretaker.


[1] Martial, Epigrams III.44.  “You read to me as I’m standing, and read as I’m sitting; you read as I’m running, and read as I’m shitting.”

[2] Cicero, Tusculan  Disputations, I.10:  “Touching the top of the water with his chin, dying of thirst.”

[3] “Know the time”.  Diogenes Laertius I.79.

[4] Muller-Lyer, F. Evolution of Modern Marriage.  New York, 1930 (p. 112).

[5] Cicero, Tusc. Disp.  I.10:  “Sisyphus working hard, rolling a stone, sweating, and achieving little”.

[6] Augustine, Civitas Dei, 2.26.5

Read More:   The Roots Of Feminism In America