On the Original Meaning of “Red Pill”

To have been “red-pilled” has come to mean that one has experienced a change in one’s political orientation. More often than not, the expression, as it is used in popular discourse, is meant to signify that a person, man or woman, has come to realize that certain dogmas of Leftism or Progressivism rest on falsehoods. One can claim to be “red-pilled” after having come to see that the Left’s critique of free-market capitalism is inadequate. To be “red-pilled” might thus be understood to entail an unthinking acceptance of what the “Right” thinks. To which doxa of the Right might one ascribe? The unsettling quality of the new meaning of “red-pilled” is that it culminates in the acceptance of any dogma of Conservatism Inc. What is most characteristic of the new meaning of “red-pilled” is that it is a rejection, a “moving away from.” To be sure, the so-called “red-pilled” are correct to wish to distance themselves from the false views of the Left. But these individuals run the risk of undergoing a false or incomplete liberation from untrue opinions.

To put it succinctly, the so-called red pilled have set up a simplistic disjunctive syllogism.

 Premise 1: Either the Left or the Right is correct.

Premise 2: The Left is wrong.

Conclusion: The Right must be somehow correct.

The truth of the matter is that, in reality, the syllogism above is presented in the form of what modern logicians call an “enthymeme.” In other words, the first premise is hidden and never stated explicitly. The so-called red pilled actually make the following argument. The Left is wrong. Hence, the Right must be correct. It can be no question that this signifies a deterioration in what the term “Red Pill” means. The “red-pilled” know of no other place to go than to the Right. (It goes without saying that by “the Right” I mean the mainstream Right.)

In its original usage the term “Red Pill” meant primarily the acceptance of specific, unsettling truths about human nature. Of course, the acceptance of these truths also entailed a rejection of what one previously thought. But there was never any guarantee that one would conform to a common political ideology after the acceptance of newly discovered truths. For one would be irreparably severed from the horizon in which one is able to see the simplistic disjunctive syllogism described above as a genuine way to deliberate about the world. In other words, to take the Red Pill, in its original sense, would necessarily entail not only seeing the Left as wrong but also seeing that the first hidden premise of the above syllogism, either the Left or the Right is correct, must be rejected. In this respect, the original meaning of Red Pill has been fittingly lifted from The Matrix. If both the mainstream Left and Right are part of the “Matrix,” then how could one ever believe that either of them is true after taking the Red Pill?

What, then, were the truths about human nature that were said to sever someone completely from his earlier horizon? These truths concerned human sexuality. It was the disclosure of essential, natural differences between men and women. Among these truths was the harsh fact of the phenomenon dubbed “hypergamy.”* After one has come to see this aspect of female sexuality, one might very well become a proponent of traditional sexual morality. But the ground of that defense of traditional sex roles is essentially different from that to which a typical conservative might appeal. The individual who accepts the truth of hypergamy will come to recognize the necessity for strict regulation of human sexuality. Accordingly, he will not see marriage or strict sexual taboos as a divinely granted sacrament or commandment but as stern political necessities which every healthy body politic must uphold with institutions and inculcated senses of shame.

Hypergamy, the name for the fact that women ineluctably, to put it literally and politely, “marry-up,” brings to light the ugly consequences of the Left’s teaching about sexual mores. For instance, the sickly groups of men known as “incels” or “men going their own way” are consequences of unfettered hypergamy. While I have no sympathy for incels, their existence makes manifest the fact that marriage is becoming an untenable endeavor for many men. Even men who, unlike the incels, are quite able to attract the opposite sex cannot have any great confidence that their wives or girlfriends will remain faithful to them. The institutions and mores that used to provide some modicum of confidence that one’s children would be one’s own have ceased to be.

My intention is not to complain or be angry about the present state of things. My intention is merely to recover an unfortunate truth in order to face it squarely and act accordingly. Despite the fact that we live in an undesirable time, one can still benefit from the sexual chaos. For one thing, men should find it easier than ever before to climb to the top of the sexual hierarchy (most men today are, after all, quite low on the sexual totem pole). Hypergamy, of course, means that the men at the top will get the attention of the vast majority of the women; the unfettering of hypergamy has restored the sexual aristocracy. Thus, the lack of restraints on hypergamy can provide an incentive to men to become better. You don’t have to just want to become a philanderer. If you want more than mere sexual gratification, e.g., to get a wife and start a family, then you are compelled to create the security a healthy society would afford by your own means. How do you do this? Lift. Read. Become better. Don’t date feminists. Keep lifting. In short, never be a schlub; always be a man.

Next time you hear someone misuse the expression “Red Pill,” remember what it really refers to. Then, act accordingly.

*Note: For the best account of hypergamy, see Roger Devlin’s “Sexual Utopia in Power.”

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