BreakPoint: The “Incel Movement” and the Redistribution of What?

The Bitter Fruit of the Sexual Revolution

We say it all the time: Ideas have consequences and bad ideas have victims. The “Incel movement” proves that the sexual revolution was full of bad ideas.

On April 23, 2018, a van allegedly driven by Alek Minassian, drove onto a sidewalk in downtown Toronto, killing ten people and wounding eighteen others. Many, I admit myself included, had the initial thought that the motivation for this attack had something to do with ISIS or radical Islam. But the truth turned out different, and in some ways more disturbing.

On his Facebook page, Minassian pledged allegiance, not to ISIS, but to the “Incel Rebellion.” “Incel” stands for “involuntarily celibate.” As Vox.com explains, the “rebellion” is “not an organized militant group but rather an ideal developed by . . . an online community of men united by their inability to convince women to have [intimate relations] with them.”

This sounds like the stuff of a Saturday Night Live skit until you remember the bodies on the ground in Toronto. And not just there: In 2014, Elliot Rodger, before killing six people in Santa Barbara, California, made an “explanatory video” whose principal complaint was that attractive women wouldn’t sleep with him.

In the same post in which Minassian pledged allegiance to the “Incel Rebellion,” he hailed Rodger as the “Supreme Gentleman.”  And he wasn’t Rodger’s only fan: Alleged Parkland shooter Nikolas Cruz is said to have written “Elliot Rodger will not be forgotten” in response to Rodger’s video.

That’s at least thirty-two deaths that can be linked at least in some way to young men’s frustration over “their inability to convince women to have [intimate relations] with them.”

This has understandably prompted an examination of what’s been dubbed the “Incel movement,” an examination that tends to focus on the undeniable misogyny of some of the young men involved as well as “the power of online communities to radicalize young men.”

What’s left unexamined, however, are the ideas and beliefs behind their frustrations. At least until now.

In a recent New York Times column Ross Douthat did just that. He wrote, “the culture’s dominant message about sex is still essentially Hefnerian . . . a message that frequency and variety… is as close to a summum bonum as the human condition has to offer.”

In this worldview, “virginity and celibacy are at best strange and at worst pitiable states.”

The problem is that while the sexual revolution elevated intimate relations to a kind of sacrament and told people that sexual freedom is the most important freedom, it made no provisions for the fact that, in this new regime, there would be winners and losers.

Certain kinds of men and women—the beautiful, rich, socially adept—would enjoy the lion’s share of the promised “frequency and variety,” while others would be relegated “to new forms of loneliness and frustration.”

The “dominant message” created an expectation and even sense of entitlement concerning sex that cannot be fulfilled in the real world.

This reality, plus the lethal violence in Toronto and Santa Barbara, led George Mason University economist Robin Hanson to muse that “One might plausibly argue that those with much less access to sex suffer to a similar degree as those with low income, and might similarly hope to gain from organizing around this identity, to lobby (and I’m not making this up) for redistribution” of the benefits of the sexual revolution.

What? That’s insane! What on earth would “redistribution” entail?

But it’s no more insane than telling young men that sex is everything, exposing them to countless hours of pornography, and then being shocked when these young men feel “cheated.”

As we say, ideas have consequences, and bad ideas have victims. The victims of the sexual revolution are really adding up.

 

The “Incel Movement” and the Redistribution of What? The Bitter Fruit of the Sexual Revolution

God’s plan for human flourishing, sexuality, and family is quite clear. The sexual revolution has done all it can to overturn that plan, and the chaos and victims are evident to those who choose to see.

 

Resources

The Redistribution of Sex
  • Ross Douthat | New York Times | May 2, 2018

Comment Policy: Commenters are welcome to argue all points of view, but they are asked to do it civilly and respectfully. Comments that call names, insult other people or groups, use profanity or obscenity, repeat the same points over and over, or make personal remarks about other commenters will be deleted. After multiple infractions, commenters may be banned.

  • Steve Fouch

    It is also a symptom of the ‘victim culture’ – that if I am wronged, I have the right not just to defend myself, but to inflict retribution on those I perceive to have wronged me. While Alek Minassian’s actions are an extreme example of this, it goes on in social media, the press and the courts all the time. One’s identity and self-justification arise solely from one’s sense of being a wronged party. That coupled with the awful impact of the sexual revolution, are leaving a growing trail of casualties across the globe.

    • SSouthwest

      Well thought out and well stated response. We are living in sad and frightening times indeed. Fortunately, we need fear not.

    • coloradojed

      Well said, Steve. It is the consequence of an “entitled” culture. And not just that they are entitled to welfare, health-care or other social benefits, but that they are entitled to be happy and have an equal share in every aspect of life. Whether in the financial arena (as evidenced by the “Occupy” crowd) or the area of personal relationships with the opposite sex, we have engendered a populous which feels constantly entitled, and hence feels constantly wronged when those entitlements are not realized in their lives. Combine that with an almost complete inability to process and properly deal with those feelings without lashing out in violence, and you have the behavior that this article points out.

  • jason taylor

    I am involuntarily celibate and I don’t like it one bit. I do not intend to run people over, nor do I consider doing so gentlemanly.

  • jason taylor

    It’s more then hard enough without that murderous absurdity. No he is not a “gentleman”. He is a cad. Aside from being a barbarian. One does not have to be lucky in love to be a gentleman.

  • Joel Stucki

    Wow. It’s hard to even absorb that. But if any culture could produce such twisted thinking, this one could.

  • Gilda Vincent

    Starting in my early teens, nearly every date I had was with a young man who felt entitled to sex. I never married, in part because I was tired of men’s attitudes. As I got older, it became harder to find a man who wasn’t sexually entitled. It is no wonder that in my late fifties, I now have no interest in dating or a relationship. I know there are decent, godly men out there, but I am just too tired to seek them out.

  • Susan Smith

    Just a thought – in the not so distant past, a less attractive, socially inept man would find a less attractive, socially inept woman and they would develop a relationship, marry, and live happily ever after (hopefully). Now those men have watched so much porn and feel such a sense of entitlement, that only a sexually attractive, socially adept woman will satisfy and those women feel they can do better…… so incel….

  • The history of the Incel Movement by Gimlet Media’s Reply All, “a podcast about the internet.” Episode #120 INVCEL. “How a shy, queer Canadian woman accidentally invented one of the internet’s most toxic male communities.” http://bit.ly/2G6m5WS

  • jason taylor

    Isn’t this simply an idea of the modern bestial idea of sex as competition, combined with the idea of victims having privileges?. If people unlucky in love for whatever reason are to be despised then sooner or later they are a special interest group like any other. Or we might consider acting like humans instead of, oh, walruses. Except walruses compete impersonally at least and the winners do not mock the losers. Nor do the losers hold grudges.