Are covert methods equivalent to crafty, conniving coercion?
Biblical Gender Roles has offered a valuable series of essays reviewing the Biblical consistency of Red Pill postulates. In his latest article, Is the Red Pill Concept of Frame Biblical? (2020 January 21), BGR brought up a question about whether a Christian man’s methods should be transparent or not. He writes,
“Red Pill is absolutely wrong in its insistence on men using covert measures to bring women into their frame. What Red Pill asks men to do with both frame and game is to engage in what the Bible calls “craftiness”.
The truth of the matter is not easily cast into clear cut, right-or-wrong categorizations, but instead, is strongly dependent on what is appropriate within the context.
BGR makes several important distinctions between the following qualities.
- Active vs. Passive
- Overt vs. Covert
- Covert vs. Crafty
In this post, I’ll offer an analysis of these three aspects, as well as some thoughts on the role of secrecy in a relationship.
Active vs. Passive
I believe it’s been made very clear that a man’s role in leading, shepherding, and managing his wife should be predominantly an active role. To offer examples, I’ve written several posts that revealed how marriages are stronger and happier when the man has certain expectations and goals for the relationship, and he is requesting more from the woman than she is from him.
- Σ Frame: Conflict Structure and Marital Satisfaction (November 15, 2017)
- Σ Frame: Disciplined, Submissive, Happy Wives (February 15, 2018)
- Σ Frame: How To Get A Better Response From Your Girl (February 27, 2018)
- Σ Frame (feat. J.T. Anderson): Moulding an Excellent Wife (March 5, 2018)
- Σ Frame: Why Do Men Need Visions and Dreams? (May 15, 2018)
- Σ Frame: Man as the Manager, Woman as the Helper (May 19, 2018)
- Σ Frame: Man as the Middle Manager (May 21, 2018)
- Σ Frame: Revealing Her Unencumbered Beauty (June 26, 2018)
- Σ Frame: Washing Her Clean (October 21, 2019)
- Σ Frame: This means WAR!!! (December 19, 2019)
Just as Christianity and Masculinity, Donald Graeme, and others (including myself) have said, a man needs to be pursuing his God-given purpose in life foremost, and drag her along for the ride, whether she likes it or not. (She’ll learn to like it after a time.)
However, there are times in which passivity is appropriate and necessary. A few examples might be,
- When she’s trying to create drama or start a fight, just for the heck of it.
- When she wants to argue, just for the sake of contention.
- When she’s trying to make you jealous, just to stroke her own ego.
In such cases, the man’s goal is to NOT reward her unwanted behavior with attention and emotional investments. This gets interesting, because a man must make a concentrated effort to remain passive, so in a way, it is not truly passive at all.
Overt vs. Covert
In Red Pill praxeology, there are elements of both overt and covert operation. The overt strategy is as BGR described, teaching, rebuking, moulding the woman, and “washing her clean” from false notions and debilitating habits.
Concerning the covert aspect, surely there are some men who have wrong motives and would therefore want to keep their thoughts and plans opaque. But for the Christian man seeking to find a wife, or shepherd a wife, there is nothing that should be shameful, or an esoteric secret. But still, there are good reasons not to emphatically discuss the psychological minutiae. I’ll briefly describe a few reasons here. Others may exist as well.
- Most women cannot understand the male viewpoint, and they can’t offer helpful insight or advice either. Even if a male attempts to discuss his viewpoint with a woman in good faith, it’s seldom accepted for the subjective truth or wisdom it might contain, and instead, is often misinterpreted, twisted, mocked, and criticized, likely in an attempt at $#!t testing.
- The nonshared environment within the man’s frame is intrinsically covert by God’s design. That is, there are aspects of his senses and sensibilities that simply cannot be known by others. Part of the challenge men endure is in developing his own character and his accompanying frame such that he can navigate through life in a way that glorifies God and allows him to get a sense of accomplishment and contentment, instead of becoming a failure and a laughingstock.
- The marital structure prescribed by Christianity is ignorantly condemned by the unbelieving as “oppressive” and “patriarchal” (as if the latter were a bad thing). So among this crowd, revealing too much of your hand would only attract negative attention and slow you down.
- Planning a surprise (even an unwanted one) can be a joyful blessing to your spouse. Of course, this requires some amount of covert activity. For an example of an unwanted surprise that became a blessing, click here.
There is just an element of wisdom in not broadcasting every trick of your trade. The Bible offers a few admonitions to this effect,
…in glorifying God.
“It is the glory of God to conceal things, but the glory of kings is to search things out.” ~ Proverbs 25:2 (ESV)
I dare say, the vague meaning of this verse lends itself to the glory of God.
The availability of key knowledge at opportune moments under certain circumstances can prove to be redeeming. But in general, too much knowledge about certain matters can kill one’s joy and gratitude of the thing. The Red Pill knowledge about the nature of women is one such matter. After taking the Red Pill, one’s eyes are opened, one becomes further aware of good and evil, and the charming feminine mystique is destroyed. It is common for Red Pilled men to say that they’ll never look at women in the same way again. Now, I wouldn’t call Red Pill knowledge evil, but rather, it’s just “solid food for the mature”. Remember to brush your teeth before you kiss her.
…and in giving.
1 “Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.
2 “Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. ~ Matthew 6:1-4 (ESV)
A cursory glance at this scripture would dismiss its application to marriage, because we have been conditioned by our culture to believe that it’s chauvinist to think of women as needy waifs. But in fact, women are designed to receive, and so they are needy by nature. Human anatomy makes this all too obvious. There is an endless list of things that women want and need, and this is only the top of the list…
Men are expected (either by women, or by God, according to the Bible) to give all these things to women.
Concerning verse 3, in typology, the hand is a symbol of expression, strength, power, protection, and providing for others. The husband’s God-ordained role in marriage is to be a provider and protector, as well as many other things.
Not letting your left hand know what your right hand is doing has different meanings, depending on the context. In sex and marriage, it means retaining a semblance of mystery and unpredictability, which does much to attract respect and brings the joy of life to the union. It also means not to dump too much of your personal anxieties onto your spouse. In child rearing, it means not to let the children know how much more time, money, attention, etc. you gave to the one than the other. In business, it means keeping your various interests separated, e.g. not telling one partner how much money your other associate is making. In social matters, it means to be modest about doing good deeds.
There are many reasons for these behaviors.
- One prevailing idea is that if you receive praise here on Earth, you won’t get a star in your crown in heaven.
- Another is not to arouse envy, jealousy, and suspicion among your peers and beneficiaries.
- A third reason is to discourage others from exploiting your weaknesses.
- As mentioned earlier, too much knowledge detracts from living life joyfully and passionately from the heart.
Further concerning these reasons, perhaps the most poignant verse about “secrecy” is found in Micah, which describes how important it is to protect one’s heart (and other interests) during times of tribulation.
1 “Woe is me! For I have become as when the summer fruit has been gathered, as when the grapes have been gleaned: there is no cluster to eat, no first-ripe fig that my soul desires.
2 The godly has perished from the earth, and there is no one upright among mankind; they all lie in wait for blood, and each hunts the other with a net.
3 Their hands are on what is evil, to do it well; the prince and the judge ask for a bribe, and the great man utters the evil desire of his soul; thus they weave it together.
4 The best of them is like a brier, the most upright of them a thorn hedge. The day of your watchmen, of your punishment, has come; now their confusion is at hand.
5 Put no trust in a neighbor; have no confidence in a friend; guard the doors of your mouth from her who lies in your arms;
6 for the son treats the father with contempt, the daughter rises up against her mother, the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; a man’s enemies are the men of his own house.
7 But as for me, I will look to the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me.
Many men naturally expect their wife to be their best friend and companion. But sadly, this is seldom the reality. If a man has a wife who is emotionally immature or spiritually unregenerated, then he’ll always have to watch his own back. Also, man has a peculiar, pervading, pernicious, and deterrent weakness of letting his hopeful expectations (of enjoying the benefits of his wife’s better nature) degenerate into chivalrous pedestalization and idolatrous Oneitis. Moreover, for many men these days, marriage life is indeed a tribulation, the church emasculated, the culture corrupt, and the court system a veritable enemy.
Covert vs. Crafty
Covert means to conceal a matter, and this could be as simple as not drawing attention to it. The section above discussed some ways in which being covert might be wise and beneficial.
On the other hand, Crafty implies some sort of deception or evil intent. To the Christian, obviously, being crafty has no place in a marriage.
There are a couple proverbs that speak of the wisdom of concealment.
“Whoever goes about slandering reveals secrets, but he who is trustworthy in spirit keeps a thing covered.” ~ Proverbs 11:13 (ESV)
No doubt, revealing the darkest aspects of the feminine nature is invariably interpreted as slander, misogyny, etc.
“Whoever covers an offense seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates close friends.” ~ Proverbs 17:9 (ESV)
The idea here is to protect and support those whom you have intimate knowledge of, those whom you love. That would include one’s wife, and to some degree, one’s self.
In general, maintaining a good will in the relationship is important for the health of the relationship. It’s also important to make the impression of having a good will. Talking about Red Pill praxeology to an excessive degree may easily be interpreted by a woman as bitterness or an ill will. In fact, women have recently taken to the habit of rejecting men by calling them “misogynysts”, “incels”, or similar. In short, we must be wise, but we must also project the image of Christ.
Although exercising good faith is difficult to do at all times in every circumstance, I think the difference between either being apathetic and contemptuous versus being faithful and “all in”, should be apparent to the average reader. I could imagine an extreme situation in which an excessively evil spouse might require, as a last resort, a little taste of their own medicine. But even then, the overall motive for this approach would still be a wake-up call for their own good.
It would be easy to condemn all covert action as being equivalent to crafty deception and then dismiss it as being dishonest or manipulative. But in reality, there is a myriad of moral possibilities based on the context, as well as the personalities and character of the parties involved. Being covert at certain times and under the right circumstances can be a wise move that takes into account the weaknesses of one’s self and others, which can preserve reputation, wealth, and goodness, and bring blessing and joy to one’s self and others.
Ultimately, the moral value of an action will depend on one’s awareness of the context, and the faithful exercise of discernment — not in how well one can conform to the rules. The appropriateness of the moral decision lies in the detection of either spiritual confederacy or enmity, and the assertion of the most effective course of action. This is AKA wisdom.
- A Proverb a Day (Jonesboro Calvary Chapel): Cover-up or Love-covering? Proverbs 17:9 (2009 November 17)
A couple more items for you: (1) The Book of Proverbs often extols the virtue of keeping your mouth shut. Jesus extended it with His comment about pigs and pearls. Not everyone deserves to know everything in your mind at any given moment. (2) A part of civility is not exposing every thought that passes through your head; that’s not appropriate behavior to maintain biblical shalom. Gamma boys are particularly bad about imagining every thought the crosses their minds is somehow important for others to hear. You must discern who is actually trustworthy.
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This is a great article you have written and I don’t see anything that pops out to me that I would disagree with. I don’t disagree with all covert action or a husband doing passive things to influence his wife. In fact, I think it is absolutely necessary for a husband to sometimes take covert action, act in passive manners toward his wife or keep some information from her.
What I was getting at is that the non-Christian version of Red Pill I have seen (aka Rollo) seems to say husbands should NEVER use overt methods to try and influence or modify their wife’s behavior. In other words, the Biblical concept of a husband disciplining his wife for failure to follow his leadership or failure to follow God’s commands is foreign to much of the Red Pill community.
Proverbs 29:11 states “A fool uttereth all his mind: but a wise man keepeth it in till afterwards.” I very much agree with you that a husband does not have to reveal all his private thoughts to his wife nor should he. And you are spot on with what you said here that a husband should not burden his wife or his children with concerns (i.e. finances or others). He is to be a pillar of strength for the family. If a man confides his concerns it really should be with other men away from women (like his father, his brothers or close male friends).
And you are also correct that a woman cannot truly understand the male nature in same way we as human beings cannot understand the trinity and God’s nature. And it is futile to ever think men and women can truly understand one another’s nature.
I totally reject the idea that a husband has to tell his wife everything. You are absolutely right that God conceals things from us and there is nothing wrong with a husband concealing some things from his wife. She is his subordinate; she does not have the right to know all things.
His reason for concealing things can be for many reasons. Some things he just knows she cannot process or handle. Other things he knows she would handle in very wrong way. On a lighter note as you allude to, what if a husband wants to surprise his wife with something? Perhaps it takes several months to prepare and save for something he wants to do for her – certainly he cannot reveal that either.
I will have more to say to your comment on my blog as well – I just wanted to leave this comment here too.
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