Try thinking of your culture and society as a battered wife

Tuesday, July 12th, 2022

Curtis Yarvin (Mencius Moldbug) asks ordinary Americans who aren’t power-hungry (“hobbits”) to try thinking of their culture and society as a battered wife:

If your husband hits you, your job is not to hit him back.

Winning a battle in the culture war — as in today’s Current Thing, the repeal of Roe v. Wade — is not like leaving your abusive husband. It is certainly not like finding a new husband. No — it is like hitting your husband back.

0% of domestic-violence educators recommend this strategy — at least not till it is time for Plan E and your actual murder feels imminent. In which case it will probably not work anyway. But why not try.

On the level of physical violence, your husband — a bear of a man — will always prevail. But the cops can easily hogtie him like an animal. If they want, they can make it hurt. If you are thinking like a general, not like a frightened mouse, you reason backward from the assistance of such allies.

Unfortunately, there is only one United Nations, and that one is not much help to such battered ones as we — but this is a type of idea — the strategic idea. In a situation of weakness, the only possible reversal must come from strategy rather than struggle.

Hitting your husband back is struggle. Setting a hidden camera before you talk to your husband about his drinking is strategy. Calling the cops is strategy. And in a dangerous situation, strategy is your job.

So if your husband stole something that belonged to you — do you steal it back? What if he literally stole it 50 years ago? Stealing it back is struggle, not strategy.

Since you are in the right, it is the court’s job to be on your side, and it is your job to make the court’s job as easy as possible. Stealing it back is your natural impulse and your moral right — which is exactly why it is such a dangerous trap. It is not your job. And it certainly does not make the court’s job easy.

Of course, the culture war is a sovereign conflict and there is no court to appeal to — only God’s court, in which might makes right — the ultima ratio regum.

Aggressive defense in a culture war is not a bad strategic idea because it displeases some mysterious higher power. In this case, there is no such power. Aggressive defense is a bad strategic idea for other reasons.

It is a bad strategic idea because it makes the problem harder to solve. It is a bad strategy because it is a trap and it always sucks to fall in a trap. Please do not bite at the bait and trip into the wire. Please circle back and try to get behind the trapper.

If you have limited energy and a limited number of possible wins, it is important to focus your limited energy on one kind of win: wins that make future wins easier. By definition, these are the kinds of wins that augment your power. These are real wins.

There is another kind of “win,” wins which expend your power in order to achieve some result you want. These are sometimes called “Pyrrhic victories.” Pyrrhus took the battlefield, but after the battle his chances of winning were reduced. His tactical “victory” was a strategic defeat.

Among those who believe that an unborn baby is a human life, of course, the result of preventing an abortion is saving a life. So the results of this win are lives saved.

This is a weighty argument to set against strategy — but this is war, in which such weights are often balanced, and must be. The battle is important. So is the war.

And how many such lives, really, are saved? Are there really that many American women who want to get an abortion, but can’t afford an $89 ticket to Oakland? We’ll see mobile abortion death vans lined up like taco trucks at the taxi stands outside all major California airports. A girl in trouble won’t even need a reservation… she may not even need to exit the secure area — major airlines now planning to staff their executive lounges with on-demand abortionists, also expert in Swedish massage… abortion tourism as a whole will blossom… specialized abortion spas… abortion bachelorette parties… abortion gender-reveal ceremonies… abortion with dolphins… “our constitution,” per John Adams, “was made only for a moral and religious people.” Does not Pres. Adams’ data point argue strongly for a new constitutional thinking?


  1. Goober says:

    The way to prevent abortion, is the way that a good portion of anti-abortion people are firmly against, and that is education and access to contraception.

    This is the self-defeating aspect of the pro-life movement. They seek to solve the problem by insisting that sex is not a fundamental human need, and that we can somehow convince people to not have sex, specifically by denying them any education on it, and pushing “abstinence only” sex education.

    The stats prove it – that doesn’t work.

    They’re hoist by their own petard.

    If reducing the number of abortions is really the goal, then the solution isn’t outlawing abortion (in some states), any more than the solution to the war on drugs was to outlaw drugs.

    The way to reduce the number of abortions is very open, honest, unrestricted sex education, good access to cheap contraception, and a social push towards, not abstinence, but responsible sexual health.

    The pro-life movement, on the other hand, is replete with ideas about banning or heavily restricting sex education (reducing it to “hey, just don’t have sex mm’kay?” as if that’s remotely realistic), and restricting access to contraception.

    It’s almost as if their goal isn’t necessarily reduced abortion, per se, but rather a desire to control people and their sex lives through some repressive, regressive desire to impose their sexual hang-ups and religious values on everyone else.

  2. Aurelius Moner says:


    Sorry, you must have thought you were contributing to Teen Vogue’s call for takedowns of Curtis Yarvin.

    Certain persons are wanton by nature and will do any hideously depraved thing, so long as social shame is absent in the face of such a choice. Abortion skyrocketed with the prevalence of “sex ed” and abundant contraception (both of which send powerful signals of the disappearance of social shame in the face of promiscuity). This is such an obvious point, that heretofore only unambiguously hostile elites and foreign powers had the cheek to propose your “solution” with a straight face. No genuine son of the West ever believed that your proposal was anything other than paving the way for casual sex – and, therefore, obviously, for abortion.

    The only thing that ever reduced abortion was the threat of criminal and social punishment for all involved. Also, shotgun weddings and laws respecting a man’s near total sovereignty in his household. And, insisting that young men restrict themselves to prostitutes, or expect to face an hangman’s (or perhaps even, as the community turned a blind eye, an angry father’s) noose. The notion that “just giving the masses some education and prescriptions will *totes for sure* lead the masses to behave***super responsibly*** in regards to the most volatile of all their human passions,” merits a pistol-whipping. Have you looked out the window in 500 years? From Protestantism on, you’re looking at the results of “education of the masses.” It’s hard to believe you could be in good faith.

  3. Harry Jones says:

    Certain parts of Western civilization behave like a battered wife.

    I wonder if Yarvin fully grasps the psychology involved. Something about his reasoning suggests he doesn’t have any experience with these matters.

    Or maybe I’m making too much of a poorly chosen analogy. But no, I think the analogy is apt, and that means his way of thinking about it misses the point.

  4. Gavin Longmuir says:

    The Supreme Court decision had nothing to do with “preventing abortion”. Instead, the decision was a recognition that prior Supreme Court Justices had erred by inventing something that was not in the Constitution those failing Justices had sworn to uphold.

    In effect, the current Justices said (correctly) that abortion is not something which is in the limited remit of the Federal Government. Instead, per the 10th Amendment, doing anything to promote or limit abortion belongs with the citizens and the 50 States. It is an issue which should be addressed democratically, not legalistically.

  5. Hoyos says:

    The problem is, in his view, there are “no courts” and “no cops”.

    What does a win look like for Moldbug is an excellent question.

    The concern some of us have is if we can’t protect babies what other win is going to matter? Same goes for preventing the grooming of children. I mean if you don’t win these battles what are you fighting for?

    If there is a Judge, and I’m sure there is, capitals on purpose. I suspect these things will matter.

  6. Cassander says:

    “What does a win look like for Moldbug is an excellent question.”

    Scott Walker in Wisconsin. It’s embarrassing that the republicans haven’t taken advantage of covid to push school choice, for example.

  7. Jim says:

    That’s an exceptionally bad analogy, because few men take pleasure in disciplining their wives, because under the common law on which the American republic was founded women can’t lawfully own property, and because Heaven cries out for Vengeance.

    Let us look forward to the day that we stop hearing that winning is really losing from Mr. Fiancé von BDSMite.

  8. Mike-SMO says:

    Figure it out. I was bigger and useful. She was a small, fine thing with a core of steel. We did better blending our skills

    Perhaps “Blue” needs a lesson to temper a rrogance.

    Don’t wait too long. Compton, Calif is the model. The open border brings in the replacement population that will bring grift to the pols and profit to the property owners while the ghetto refugees are driven into the surround. You are going to love your new neighbors.

    That is the rationale for the gun control push. If the suburbans and sub-suburbans are too effective defending their homes and families, it might foul that new population scheme.

    After a century and a half, no one has been able to make the ghetto people useful. The imports work harder and cheaper and their English is no worse. The Corruptocrats have abandoned the ghetto and are dumping their trash in your yard.

  9. Pseudo-Chrysostom says:

    This analogy is funny because in reality it’s Yarvin who is the battered wife in this picture.

    Bluetribe keeps abusing him, and he keeps crawling back trying to wheedle and curry their favor; “no, see, they’re really nice guys at the end of the day, you just have to be more understanding!”.

  10. VXXC says:

    [I argued this one to death on Yarvin's substack under Long Warred handle.]

    Politics is Power: The significance of Roe was always Litmus test. When Roe went many Court conjured powers trembled [and their tremors spread to Yarvin].

    Roe meant the Court can legitimize and notarize any policy of the Liberal Establishment and the Government [the real one, not the one we elect].
    The danger to the legitimacy of the entire Cathedral or Edifice of government with Roe falling is real, and more decisions followed hard.

    The Liberal state trembles…Humphrey’s executors might well be overturned…we could stumble into Constitutional government.

    Roe was always a litmus test for many things such as regulations being limited and not anti-business or unlimited and antibusiness, for this reason business supported the cause of conservative judges.

    Business does not care about abortion, they care about money. Like the DC GOP business may be alarmed by this development of the joke going too far…speaking of which up until Dobbs the analysis of Yarvin would be correct. They were getting played with by the GOP, they were considered rubes and a joke…and now the joke’s gone too far and it’s too late.

    But business will of course smell money in Chevron Deference possibly being clipped, here comes money to the cause.

    Roe devolves power to the states, this is extremely dangerous to the Center at present.

    The Catholic Court has now thrown real power into actual organizations at the State level, where for all their small size really are Republicans, no such animal exists in DC. The Christian organizations in those states are energized again and the legislations flows. There are real men and real alliances at the state level and this is happening at the point of maximum weakness for DC, possibly the weakest central government in real terms since the Articles of Confederation.

    There are 2 groups on the Right who actually believe in something besides money; the Christians and gun rights 2A movement and they’re the only ones who won anything but tax cuts for their donors.

    Dobbs changes a lot more than abortion, and a lot more then my fellow men your godd@ammed freaking c*cks habitues and the consequences.

    Grow the Hell up.

    [Yarvin is both trolling to incite and actually scared because his Pinot and brie friends are scared, you see now a real diplomat and scion of communists...yes].

  11. VXXC says:

    To say again standalone:

    Up until Dobbs the analysis of Yarvin on culture war is a trap would be correct. The RTL and social conservatives who actually believed were getting played with by the GOP, they were considered rubes and a joke…and now the joke’s gone too far and it’s too late, it’s too late because at the maximum moment of weakness for the central powers in DC power has just been legitimately given back to the states.

    John Robb by the way has a post on this being part of the devolution of power from DC back to the states, which he writes was inevitable given the Cold War’s ending — the Cold war is what made Centralization of power necessary.

    [I would personally add that WW2 is the great centralization of power, if not the New Deal, but that's me not Robb].

  12. Jim says:


    Live by the rule of law, die by the rule of law.

  13. VXXC says:

    Jim, I won’t disagree. I personally left the law behind when I saw it applied as the ROE (Rules of Engagement) in Iraq. It’s a lying contest; it’s a joke gone way too far. I can’t vilify the law or lawyers enough.

    Unfortunately my fellow countrymen are utterly in thrall to this strange cult called law, so we must work with what exists as opposed to what does not: men with courage and decency to act is what does not.

    Of course my fellow countrymen are b_tch slaves to their wives, who aren’t men, either.

    Having said all that, the “legitimacy” of the entire Progressive century-old Edifice is entirely the Courts, especially since the 1960s. Abortion, gay marriage, runaway regulation [see Chevron], an unlimited bureaucracy, a castrated Presidency, a Carnival Congress that gave away most of its powers because it meant passing responsibility — all, all rest on a court that does what it’s told and rubber stamping Prog madness and the Liberal lust for unelected and unaccountable powers..

    But, instead, this court just threw down the holiest of holies, Roe, the very Eucharist of the Left.

    And returned power to the state legislatures.

    Take what you can get, Jim.

    Other than guns — which this court also wisely shored up before Dobbs — other than guns the right had no victories.

    Until now.

    And with that victory real power flows out of the center and to the states, where the Left is much weaker.

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